Huge Savings on Succulents and Live Plants!

Huge Savings on Succulents and Live Plants!

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Huge Savings on Succulents and Live Plants!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Today only, Amazon is offering huge savings on Succulents and Live Plants! Here are some deals you can score… Get this Pack of 20 Succulents for just $29.99 shipped! Get this Variety Pack Mini Succulents (6 count) for just $17.99! Get these Ionantha Hand Selected Variety Pack of Air Plants for just $11.99! Shop the Succulent and Live Plant sale here. Valid today only, February 7, 2020. 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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Amazon: Get $10 off three household essentials

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Amazon: Get $10 off three household essentials
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Need to stock up on household essentials? Amazon is offering $10 off when you purchase three select household essential items. Amazon is currently offering $10 off your purchase of three select household essential items! Just choose your products from this page, add them to your cart, and the discount will automatically come off at checkout. Here are a couple of deal ideas… Buy 3 Tide Free and Gentle HE Laundry Detergent Liquid or Original Scent  – $11.97 each Get $10 off 3 select household essentials $25.91 shipped after discount = $8.63 per bottle shipped Buy 3 Swiffer Sweeper Dry Mop Refills – $11.37 each Get $10 off 3 select household essentials Choose to subscribe and save (you can cancel your subscription at any time after your order has shipped) $24.11 shipped after discount = $8.03 per box shipped Buy 3 Clorox Disinfecting Wipes Value Pack (3 pack) – $9.44 each Get $10 off 3 select household essentials Choose to subscribe and save (you can cancel your subscription at any time after your order has shipped) $18.32 shipped after discount = $6.10 per pack shipped *Note: For Subscribe & Save items, you can go into your Amazon account after your order ships and cancel your subscription if you don’t want recurring orders. [...]
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This Week in Fintech ending 14 February 2020

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This Week in Fintech ending 14 February 2020
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It’s Back!! Buy 2, Get 1 Free Books on Amazon {Includes Many of My Favorite Reads!}

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It’s Back!! Buy 2, Get 1 Free Books on Amazon {Includes Many of My Favorite Reads!}
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Wow! If you love reading, don’t miss this HOT deal on Amazon where you can score Buy 2, Get 1 Free books! Woohoo! This HOT deal is back!! For a limited time, Amazon is running a big Buy 2, Get 1 Free Sale on a huge selection of books! No promo code needed. Just add three books to your cart and one of them will automatically be free. This is a RARE offer and is a perfect time to grab some of your favorite books or a few to give as gifts! There are over 1200 book titles to choose from. The offer also includes movies, music, toys, and games. You can click on “books” on the left sidebar to see just the book titles. Looking for book recommendations? Here are some books included in the sale that I’ve read and enjoyed in the past: Before We Were Yours — This was one of my top 10 favorite reads from 2019. Daring Greatly — This book impacted me deeply and has forever changed how I think and live. Atomic Habits — This is one of the best books on habits that I’ve ever read. I listened to the audiobook for free on Libby and loved it so much that I bought a hard copy — something I rarely do! The Tattooist of Auschwitz — This true story really drew me in and was a beautiful and heart-wrenching story. Rhythms of Renewal — I loved this book enough to ask Rebekah Lyons (the author) to join me on a podcast episode! Wonder — This was one of my top 10 favorite reads in 2017. This book is such a worthwhile read! I read it in two days and can’t recommend it highly enough — especially if you have kids around ages 9-12 Parenting — I really enjoyed this book and appreciated the author’s strong emphasis on the Gospel as that is often missing in parenting books. The Giver — I absolutely loved this story and it was one of my top 10 favorite reads in 2017. Present Over Perfect — This book is one I savored slowly and it was the perfect book for me during my Year of Rest in 2018. The Road Back to You — If you’re interested at all in the Enneagram, I highly recommend this book as a starting place! Hillbilly Elegy — This was a really interesting read, if you can get through all the language. You can see my complete honest thoughts here. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up — I thought I was a minimalist. Then I read this book. And the question, “Does it spark joy?” really changed how I approached so much of life! Read more of my honest thoughts here. Uninvited — If you struggle with feeling lonely, left out, or like you don’t belong, please do yourself a favor and get a copy of this book. It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way — If you’re going through a difficult time in life, this book might be a real encouragement for you. Lilac Girls — This is a really compelling, tragic, and gripping story of the horrors of concentration camps. It was one of my top 10 favorite books from 2017. Crazy Love — If you’re a Christian, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I read it years ago, and it challenged me to pull out of my complacency as a follower of Christ. Big Magic — While I strongly disagree with much of the author’s worldview and some of her insights, her book really challenged me as a creative. I especially loved her thoughts on fear. All The Light We Cannot See — This is a well-written and deeply moving book. I really enjoyed it! The Jesus Storybook Bible — This is our family’s favorite children’s Bible story book. It’s accurate, doctrinally sound, and not filled with nonsense and fluff. We read it out loud to our children when they were younger over and over again. Here are some other popular books included in the sale: The 5 Love Languages The Total Money Makeover The Complete Ketogenic Diet for Beginners The Whole30 Jesus Calling Magnolia Table The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl Oh, The Places You’ll Go! The Giving Tree There are also several popular children’s books to choose from: Llama Llama I Love You The Very Hungry Caterpillar Giraffes Can’t Dance Are You My Mother? The Day the Crayons Quit The Pout-Pout Fish Press Here God Gave Us You Love You Forever Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Dr. Seuss Beginner Book Collection Go here to browse all the books included in this sale. 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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Facts & Figures of Amazon lending and the Goldman Sachs X-factor

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Facts & Figures of Amazon lending and the Goldman Sachs X-factor
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YETI Rambler 18oz Bottle only $22.49, plus more!

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YETI Rambler 18oz Bottle only $22.49, plus more!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Love YETI products? Check out these hot deals on Amazon right now! If you love YETI, don’t miss these RARE discounts!! Amazon has this YETI Rambler 18oz Bottle for just $22.49 right now (regularly $29.99)! Choose from Navy, Black or Stainless. You can also get this YETI Rambler Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Colster for just $18.74 (regularly $29.99)! Choose from Black, Clay, Navy, Peak Purple, River Green, Seafoam or Silver. Or get this YETI Rambler 36 oz Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Bottle for just $37.49 shipped (regularly $49.99)! Choose from Black, Brick Red, Charcoal, Clay, Navy, Peak Purple, River Green, Seafoam, or Stainless Steel. Sign up for a free trial of Amazon Prime to get guaranteed FREE two-day shipping (and possibly one-day or same-day shipping!). And don’t forget you can sign up for Swagbucks to earn free gift cards to use on deals on Amazon. [...]
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17 Amazon Finds Under $20 That Will Organize Your Life

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17 Amazon Finds Under $20 That Will Organize Your Life
A new year signals a fresh start, which means it’s the perfect time to get — and stay — organized. But first, you’re going to need a few low-cost tools. From the ultimate home organization manual to an annual planner with mass appeal, we’ve rounded up must-have products to help you get all your ducks in a row. Note that although the prices you see here will almost... [...]
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How to Organize Your Finances in 6 Simple Steps

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How to Organize Your Finances in 6 Simple Steps
Not all of us are born to be organizational wizards, but if you want to get ahead with your money, you’ve got to get it under your control. It’s the only way you’ll get any of the big stuff done, such as paying off debt, taking a real vacation, buying a house or saving for retirement. We get it, though. Not all of us keep everything neatly filed, color-coded, alphabetized and prioritized. And you don’t have to be. Here are seven things you can do — in seven days — to get your finances under control: Day 1: Make a Budget That Works for YOU Creating a budget is one of the best ways to organize  your finances, but it’s important to set up a budget that’s a fit for you. How else will you stick to it? One of our favorite budgeting methods is the 50/20/30 method. It’s one of the most straightforward budgeting strategies, and it offers a lot of flexibility. Here’s how it works: 50% of your income goes toward essentials. 20% goes toward financial goals. 30% goes toward personal spending. Once you get the hang of it, you can tweak the ratios to fit your specific situation. Some people like to put more toward their savings, while others need a bit more for expenses. Take some time to find what works best for you and your goals. Day 2:  Ask This Website to Pay Your Credit Card Bill This Month 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 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. Plus: No credit card payment this month. AmOne won’t make you stand in line or call your bank, either. 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. Day 3: Add up to 300 Points to Your Credit Score When it comes to your credit score, it’s important to stay organized and keep tabs on it. After all, it’ll play an essential role in any big purchase you want to make — whether that’s a home or a car.  So if you’re looking to get your credit score back on track — or even if it is on track and you want to bump it up — try using a free website called Credit Sesame. Within two minutes, you’ll get access to your credit score, any debt-carrying accounts and a handful of personalized tips to improve your score. You’ll even be able to spot any errors holding you back (one in five reports have one). James Cooper, of Atlanta, used Credit Sesame to raise his credit score nearly 300 points in six months.* “They showed me the ins and outs — how to dot the I’s and cross the T’s,” he said. Want to check for yourself? It’s free and only takes about 90 seconds to sign up. Day 4: Secure Up to $1 Million in Life Insurance; Rates Start at $5/Month Have you thought about how your family would manage without your income after you’re gone? How they’ll pay the bills? Send the kids through school? It’s easy to procrastinate, but now’s a good time to start planning for the future by securing a life insurance policy. You’re probably thinking: I don’t have the time or money for that. But your application shouldn’t take more than about five minutes — and you could leave your family $1 million with a company called Bestow. Rates start at just $5 a month, and you can change or cancel 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. Day 5: Cancel Your Car Insurance Chances are, you know it’s entirely possible to find a better deal on some of your pesky monthly bills but what a hassle. Here’s an easy one to start with, though: Car insurance. You should be shopping your options every six months or so. It could save you some serious money. A company called The Zebra will do this for you. It makes it super easy to compare car insurance prices for the same exact coverage you already have. Plus, it makes canceling your current can insurance and switching plans a breeze. Take Lourdes Robles-Velazquez, for example. The single mom lives on a tight budget. She was paying $205 a month to insure two Toyota Priuses — hers and her daughter’s. By using comparing prices, she knocked $80 off her monthly car insurance bill. That’s nearly $1,000 in savings per year. The Zebra says it saves its users up to $670 a year. Wondering how much you could save? Head over to The Zebra, and link up your current insurance account (this is how it gets you that apples-to-apples comparison). Then, browse your options. It takes all of two minutes. Day 6: Have a Huge Bonfire You’ve probably got a bunch of boxes and folders filled with financial paperwork you don’t need anymore. Scan all of those docs, and save them in a secure file on your computer (this is important — you need these!). Then, eliminate all the physical and mental clutter… with a bonfire. It will feel good to burn those superfluous stacks, and you can also use it as an excuse for a fun get-together with your friends. Once you’re done, say goodbye to extra paper, and sign up for electronic statements on all your accounts to keep your life tidy and organized in the future. Day 7: Get Up to $500 in Free Stock If you feel like you don’t have enough money to start investing, you’re not alone. But guess what? You really don’t need that much — and you can even get free stocks (worth up to $500!) if you know where to look. Whether you’re got $5, $100 or $800 to spare, you can start investing with Robinhood. Yeah, you’ve probably heard of Robinhood. Both investing beginners and pros love it because it doesn’t charge commission fees, and you can buy and sell stocks for free — no limits. Plus, it’s super easy to use. What’s best? When you download the app and fund your account (it takes no more than a few minutes), Robinhood drops a share of free stock into your account. It’s random, though, so that stock could be worth anywhere from $5 to $500 — a nice boost to help you build your investments. *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. Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) 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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Use a Five Dollar Challenge to Easily Grow Your Savings

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Use a Five Dollar Challenge to Easily Grow Your Savings
Here at The Penny Hoarder, we kind of have a thing for Abe Lincoln.  His face is profiled on our favorite coin after all. But as much as we love our pennies, we also like seeing Lincoln’s bearded mug on the front of the $5 bill. Because saving $5 bills is much more lucrative than hoarding pennies after all. How to Save Money With the Five Dollar Challenge The five dollar challenge is a simple money-saving strategy — one that doesn’t involve much thought or effort. You don’t have to do any math. You don’t have to review your past spending to figure out where to cut back. All this challenge requires is for you to stash away every $5 bill you get as change. That’s it. If you’re paying for something and the cashier hands you back a bill with Lincoln’s solemn face, don’t use it to buy coffee or a cheap lunch from the drive thru. You’ve got to commit that $5 bill to your savings. Depending on how long you participate in the challenge, you could end up banking a lot of cash. Five dollar bills can add up quickly. Just putting aside two $5 bills a week will give you $520 in savings after a year. And since the amount is fairly nominal, your savings can grow without even missing your $5 bills. Where to Keep Your Money Separating all your $5 bills from the rest of your spending money is key to succeeding in this challenge. Many folks who participate in the $5 challenge stash their cash in jars, envelopes or shoe boxes. You can keep a running count of your balance or just wait until the end of your challenge to be surprised by the total. If you don’t feel like keeping all that cash at home though, you can make weekly deposits into a savings account. Your savings will be insured, you’ll distance yourself from your stash and you can even earn interest — especially if you have a high-yield savings account. FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM Auto Ins based on usage 1/4/20 @ 10:15 AM K Saving for and with grandchildren 12/23/19 @ 6:52 PM M 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 See more in Save Money or ask a money question Participating in the Challenge When You Don’t Use Cash If you’re used to swiping your debit card everywhere you go, that doesn’t mean the five dollar challenge isn’t for you. You’ll just have to do a little extra work. When you make a purchase, think about what change you would have received if you paid in cash. For example, if your Target run totals to $84.25, you’d likely get a $5 bill, a $10 bill and 75 cents back if you paid with a $100 bill. Before you pull out of the parking lot, log onto your online banking account to transfer $5 to your savings. To make it simpler, you could resolve to transfer $5 to your savings account every time you swipe your card. Or you could be more selective and only add $5 to your account when you make a specific purchase, like filling up your gas tank. Another option is to, well, make the switch to using cash — but do it just for your fun money expenditures. Stick with swiping your card to get groceries or stock up on toiletries, but pay with cash when you go to the movies or to the bar. Any $5 bill you receive in change goes — you guessed it — straight to your savings. Customizing the Five Dollar Challenge If squirreling away $5 bills doesn’t work for you, you can modify your money-saving endeavor while still sticking to the basic premise of the challenge. Save all the coins you get as change. (Piggy banks aren’t just for kids, you know.) Or you could put aside all the $1 bills you receive. Pro Tip Go digital with your challenge by using a micro-savings app. Here are a few of our favorite apps that help you save money little by little. However, going with a smaller denomination of money doesn’t mean you’ll be saving less. If you get several $1 bills back in change more often than you get $5 bills, you could end up saving more. Have a Goal for Your Savings Whether you plan to stick with this savings challenge for a couple months or the whole year, it’s good to have a plan for what you’ll do with the money you save. You could afford something nice for yourself, like taking a much-needed vacation or buying something on your personal wish list. Or you could use the money for something that reflects your financial goals, like making a nice dent in your student loan or credit card balance. However you decide to use your savings, having an end-goal in mind can keep you motivated to stay consistent — and to not dig into your stockpile before the challenge ends. 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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Decluttering Our Home (before and after pictures)

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Decluttering Our Home (before and after pictures)
Need some motivation to declutter your home? We’ve been working on decluttering our home this week and I wanted to share the progress we’ve been making: As I shared in my Weekly Goals post, this week, my goal was to declutter the house from top to bottom. I decided to focus on the biggest problem areas in our home for this week — namely the storage room, the Master Bedroom closet, the library, my bedside drawers, and my purse. The Storage Room I’m pretty embarrassed to show you these photos because this room has been neglected for so incredibly long. In fact, when we moved to this house — almost two years ago — we never unpacked or organized a lot of the boxes in here. We just stuck stuff in here and I hoped to eventually get to it. Obviously, it took quite awhile to get around to that “eventually” plan! There were hundreds and hundreds of school papers in here. I didn’t want to throw anything out  since this was theirs… so since they were on Christmas break, this was the perfect time to tackle the boxes of school papers. They pared them down to a few small tubs and recycled a TON of old papers! In the process, they loved getting to look back on how far they have come academically in the last few years! Jesse also went through a lot of his old law firm stuff and so many different old tech things. He ended up finding quite a few things he had forgotten we had or that he had wanted to find — including one item he’d been looking for for 4 years! The three pictures above show the final results. It took hours of work, but it was SO worth it! Our Master Bedroom Closet So our closet wasn’t near at all as messy as the storage room, but it still needed quite a bit of TLC. Both Jesse and I got rid of quite a few clothes, we pared down some other things, we moved some items to other parts of the house where they really belong, and we cleared out a space for the baby’s stuff. (We’re planning to have the baby sleep in our room for at least the first few months, probably longer. So I wanted to have the three drawers on my side of the closet plus some of the shelves available for the baby things.) I couldn’t believe how much stuff Jesse got rid of — including shirts that he’d had for 8-10 years!! My Bedside Drawers Next up, my bedside drawers. This has become a catchall for all sorts of random odds and ends. (Can you believe all of that was in there! Yikes!!) I thought about what I actually want to keep in my bedside table and couldn’t come up with much when it really came down to it! So here’s what it looks like now! The Library Okay, so the before and after pictures of the library aren’t as impressive, but this was a BIG project that I’ve been wanting to tackle for months. I finally took all of the books off the shelves and re-organized them in a really systematic way. And now we know where to put new books when they come in and where to re-shelf books when we put them back! It feels so amazing to have a system!! My Purse And last but not least, I went through my purse. I started by dumping all the contents out — yep, ALL of that was in my purse! Then, I threw out a lot of stuff, put some other things that didn’t belong in my purse away, and only put back what I really want and need in my purse. Now, every time I go to take my purse with me somewhere, it makes me smile to see how clean and organized it is! Let’s see if I can keep it this way! Did you do any decluttering this week? P.S. I love my purse! A number of people reached out via messages and asked where I got it. It’s from Amazon and it’s around $35-$37 there. I use it pretty much every day and have had it for almost a year. Other than a little wear and tear on the strap, it’s held up really well! Here’s the link to it. [...]
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If You Live in Maine, Here’s an Easy Way to Get a Free $25 Amazon Gift Card

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If You Live in Maine, Here’s an Easy Way to Get a Free $25 Amazon Gift Card
Who couldn’t use an Amazon gift card? I mean, seriously, you can get everything on there.  Get this: A company called Arcadia Power is handing out a free $25 Amazon gift card when you try out its free service. (It’ll help relieve some of your guilt about that lamp you decided you needed.) How to Get a Free $25 Amazon Gift Card in 2 Minutes (Seriously!) Energy-saving company Arcadia Power wants to help Maine residents use cleaner energy and save money on their electric bills. All you have to do is connect your utility account, and Arcadia will tell you if it can lower your electric bill. Financial services worker Rebecca Rindler signed up for Arcadia Power. She didn’t think much of it then, but about three months later, she got an email from Arcadia that it found her a better deal. “Basically, I did nothing,” she says. She estimates she saved $120 on her electric bill in a year. Even better? Right now, when you activate your free account, Arcadia Power will send you a free $25 Amazon gift card. Hello, Wish List.   This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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The Top 10 Books I Read in 2019

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The Top 10 Books I Read in 2019
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Want to know what my Top Favorite Books were that I read in 2019? In this post, I share my Top 10 Favorite Books from 2019. I set a goal to finish 80 books in 2019 and a second goal that 40 of those books would be books I already own. I ended up only finishing 65 books and reading 20 books I already owned. But I read and listened to some great books, so I’m going to call that a win — even if I fell short of my goal! This was my first year to use GoodReads to track my reading. You all were right! It is really motivational to see my progress and to have a one-stop place to see all the books I read + my star rating of them. Of the 65 books I read in 2019, I picked 10 favorites. These were the 10 that impacted me the most, that I enjoyed the most, that resonated with me deeply, and/or are the ones that I will carry lessons from for years to come. #1: Deep Work This book is actually one I had planned to read in 2018, but I’m really glad I saved it for the beginning of 2019 because it was the perfect book to kick off the year. Deep Work is a little more scholarly than most books I read, but I’m so happy I stuck with it because it really challenged me to think of how I’m approaching life and work and whether I’m investing time every day in what the author refers to as “deep work” — that kind of work that is meaningful and really makes a difference. In this book, Cal Newport encourages you to have periods every day where you are completely offline and not distracted by all of the hustle and bustle of life to allow for this “deep work”. If you struggle to focus or get things done, if you wish you could be more structured in your day, or you’d like to look back on your week and guarantee that you devoted time to work that matters, I’d definitely recommend reading Deep Work. Note: I was privileged to have Cal Newport on my podcast. You can hear our interview here. #2: Eat Cake, Be Brave I listened to this book on the Libby app for free and I loved hearing this in the author’s voice. I felt like it made the book come alive and seem so much more authentic. The author, Melissa Radke, has gone through so much in her life from weight struggles, to infertility, to infidelity, to losing a child, to rejection. And almost all women will be able to relate in some way to her story and her bravery will inspired you. I found myself want to jump up and down and yell “preach it” as I was listening… and I’m not even a very charismatic sort of person. I loved the book so much that I ended up buying a copy from Amazon after I finished listening to it since I wanted to have it in my library so I could re-read parts of it and loan it out to others. Note: I was honored to have Melissa Radke on my podcast. You can listen to our interview here. #3: Sacred Ground, Sticky Floors I picked up this book on the recommendation of a blog reader. And then I put it on my list of 40 books I plan to read — and so many of you commented and said I MUST read it right away so I bumped it to the top of the list. The subtitle for the book is How Less Than Perfect Parents Can Raise (Kind of) Great Kids. I love that… because it feels like it’s actually doable and not like a book that is going to make me feel like I’m just not measuring up as a mom. Jami’s humor and candidness in this book was a breathe of fresh air to me. Her writing is so down-to-earth, so raw, and so real. She makes you feel less alone, but she also does such a good job of pointing you to Jesus and encouraging you to lean in and love your kids — even when it’s really hard. If you are looking for a parenting book that isn’t about formulas or perfection and doesn’t make you feel like you need to overhaul your schedule and life and chore charts in order to be a better mom, definitely check out Sacred Ground, Sticky Floors. This book reads more like a memoir, but it’s packed with powerful truths, too. Note: I loved getting to have Jami Amerine on my podcast. You can listen to our interview here.  #4: Killing Lincoln If you’ve listened to The Crystal Paine Show this past year, you know that Jesse and I both really enjoyed this book this past year. (Jesse read it first and his review of it on the podcast intrigued me! So I ended up downloading it on Libby.) While I thought I was pretty familiar with the Lincoln assassination, this book brings history to life. I learned so many intriguing details that I never knew before. Plus, having more historical context made the story so much more compelling. From what I could tell, it was very well-researched and historically accurate. I appreciated that it didn’t seem politically motivated/biased but just very facts-based. If you enjoy history, this is a must-read/must-listen. A big thank you to Jesse for inspiring me to listen to this one! #5: Killing Kennedy After listening to Killing Lincoln and really finding it fascinating, I added this one to my list to listen to it (I got it free from the Libby app.) It was really good, as well, and I learned so many details of history that I didn’t know. I will say that it did have some details that were definitely not appropriate for young ears. (Jesse and I were listening to it while on a road trip and had to turn it off since the kids were in the car!) As I said with Killing Lincoln, “I learned so many intriguing details that I never knew before. Plus, having more historical context made the story so much more compelling. From what I could tell, it was very well-researched and historically accurate. I appreciated that it didn’t seem politically motivated/biased but just very facts-based. If you enjoy history, this is a must-read/must-listen.” #6: Before We Were Yours This was one of those books that I couldn’t stop talking about. Many of you told me you thought I should read it as soon as possible and you were so right. It’s the tragic and true story of the Tennessee Children’s Home scandals and how they played out in the lives of the children who actually went through this horrific experience. Truth be told, I had never heard of the Tennessee Children’s Home scandals before listening to this book — and I live in Tennessee! I have asked multiple people who live here and they haven’t heard of it either. It’s heart-wrenching and horrible and I think a powerful reminder of how money can cause people to make terrible decisions that can hurt people in devastating ways. The book is well-written and engaging and appears to be very well-researched historical fiction. It is also the beautiful story of sibling love and how trauma and devastation doesn’t have to define your future. Note: There are a lot of situations in the book when it comes to abuse that could be very triggering to people, depending upon your life experience and trauma. The book doesn’t give nitty-gritty details, but it’s enough that it could be very triggering. #7: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society I read this book a number of years ago and loved it. Then, I watched the Netflix movie they did based upon the book. Well, after watching the movie and enjoying it, I realized I couldn’t remember enough about the book to compare the movie and the book. So, in an uncharacteristic move, I decided to read the book again. Only this time, I listened to it (thanks to getting the audiobook for free from the Libby app). I loved that the audiobook is narrated by multiple voices. It’s so well done. And I ultimately decided that the book is great, the movie is good, and the audiobook is very well done. So I highly recommend all three. By the way, this novel is written entirely in the form of letters and telegrams. Considering that this book and Dear Mr. Knightley are two of my top favorite books and both are written in letter form, apparently I’m a big fan of that style of writing! #8: Everybody, A [...]
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These 9 Free TV Apps Let You Watch Your Favorite Shows — Without the Bill

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

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Not the Right Gift? These 6 Stores Offer Extended Return Policies
Getting stuck with a gift you don’t want is one of the most frustrating parts of the holiday season. It may seem ungrateful, but we’ve all been there! Some gifts just won’t fit right, aren’t the model we needed or simply weren’t a good choice for us. Unfortunately, you could ultimately be penalized if the giver of your ill-fitting gift planned too far ahead. Typical store return policies often require an item to be returned within about two weeks of purchase. That’s pretty tough to do when your aunt starts shopping in July! Thankfully, many retailers understand this dilemma and have extended return policies to accommodate unwanted holiday gifts. Here are the special holiday return policies for some of the most popular retailers this season. 6 Popular Retailers With Extended Holiday Return Policies  1. Amazon You can return items Amazon shipped between Nov. 1, 2019 and Dec. 31, 2019 for a full refund until Jan. 31, 2020.  Items shipped from other sellers should fall under this policy, unless otherwise noted in the seller’s Return Policy. 2. Walmart Items at Walmart have varying return policies: 15 days, 30 days or 90 days.  For items purchased between Oct. 24, 2019 and Dec. 25, 2019, here’s the deadline breakdown: Jan. 10, 2020 for items with a 14-day return policy. Jan. 25, 2020 for items with a 30-day return policy. No change for items with a 90-day return policy. 3. TJ Maxx With an extension to the typical 30-day return policy, you can return purchases made between Oct. 13, 2019 and Dec. 24, 2019 until Jan. 25, 2020. FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM 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 SAVING MONEY ON A FIXED INCOME 6/7/19 @ 9:31 AM See more in Save Money or ask a money question 4. Best Buy The store’s extended its return period through Jan. 14, 2020 for purchases made between Nov. 1, 2019 and Dec. 31, 2019.  This excludes cell phones, tablets, wearables, major appliances and AppleCare monthly plans. 5. Sears Items purchased between Nov. 1, 2019 and Dec. 24, 2019 have a return period that extends through extended through Jan. 31, 2020 — including sales with or without gift receipts. 6. Lululemon The yoga-wear retailer makes an exception to its return policy for the holidays.  For purchases between Nov. 4, 2019 and Dec. 24, 2019, you’ve got until Jan. 24, 2020 to make a return.  Dana Sitar (@danasitar) 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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Cancel Free Trials Before You Start Getting Charged. Here’s How

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Cancel Free Trials Before You Start Getting Charged. Here’s How
Free trials aren’t really meant to be free. The goal is to introduce you to a product or service and then hook you so you decide to keep it (and pay for it) beyond the trial period. Either that or the company is hoping you just forget to cancel so they can automatically start charging you for it. Ever wonder why you have to provide your credit card information to sign up for something that’s free? That’s why. If you don’t want to become an unintentional paying customer, it’s vital that you know how to cancel free trials. Consider the Cost Before Signing Up for a Free Trial Signing up for a free trial is a great way to test out a product or service without spending any money. Curious how YouTubeTV works but aren’t ready to sign up? Feel like binge-watching your favorite animated classics without forking over the $69.99 Disney+ annual subscription? Free trials can give you a sneak peek. But they can end up costing you if you’re not careful. Even if you think you’ll definitely cancel the service before your free trial is over, be cautious about signing up for something that doesn’t fit into your budget. You don’t want to fall in love with a service only to have no choice but to cancel it because you can’t afford it. And you don’t want to overdraft your account in the event that you don’t end up canceling in time. In addition to hoping you don’t cancel, companies also want to make sure they can actually get paid. Though a free trial shouldn’t cost you anything, you may see a pending charge or pre-authorization on your account, which is basically the company’s way of verifying that your account is legit. Avoid Paying When Your Free Trials End One way to avoid going past a subscription’s free trial period is to cancel right after signing up. You won’t have to worry about remembering to do it at the end of the week or month or whenever the trial ends.  However, it’s important to note: Only do this if the company will continue providing the service through the end of the trial period. Some don’t and will cut you off as soon as you submit your cancellation. Then you’ve wasted the opportunity to test out the service. Using a virtual credit card is another tactic to avoid paying for subscriptions past the trial period. Virtual credit cards are credit card numbers issued by some banks, credit card companies and independent financial companies. (You don’t actually get a physical card.) These virtual cards often are restricted to a one-time use or have a short expiration period, which makes them favorable to people signing up for free trials. The startup DoNotPay has a similar service that generates virtual credit card numbers you can use for free trials. The card numbers can’t be charged again after a trial period ends, and they aren’t tied to your bank account. Then there’s always the strategy of simply canceling your free trial right before it ends. Set a reminder (or two) to cut your ties with the service before payment becomes due.  Most companies aren’t going to send you a reminder that your free period is about to be over. (Though Mastercard requires some merchants to do so.) Mark your calendar, set an alert on your phone or do whatever you need to remember to cancel. Pro Tip Regularly review your monthly bank statements or credit card statements so you can catch any unexpected charges — like a subscription you forgot to cancel. Make sure you read over the cancellation policy when you sign up for a free trial. Some companies require you to submit cancellation requests a day or two before the start of the first billing period. Generally, when you log into your account, there’s an option to cancel under the section for billing or subscription management. There will probably be multiple prompts to convince you not to cancel, but don’t let them sway you. How to Cancel 12 Popular Free Trial Offers We browsed the cancellation policies of several popular services to get instructions on how to cancel their free trials. In every case, make sure you complete all the steps to confirm your cancellation. Lots of companies send email confirmations. These guidelines are based on canceling directly through each service. Canceling a trial you acquired through a third party — for example, a free HBO trial you signed up for through your cable provider — may require different steps. 1. How to Cancel an Adobe Free Trial Here are the steps to cancel a free trial of Adobe. Go to www.adobe.com and log into your account. Find your plan and click “Cancel Your Plan.” Select the reason you want to cancel and hit “Continue.” 2. How to Cancel an Amazon Prime Free Trial According to the terms and conditions for Amazon Prime, you have three business days from when your free trial converts to a paid membership to get a full refund, provided you haven’t used any of the Prime benefits during that three-day period. However, to cancel your trial before it switches to the paid version, visit this page and click the “End Membership” button. 3. How to Cancel an Ancestry Free Trial According to Ancestry Support, your free trial ends automatically once you cancel it, even if additional days were remaining in the trial period. Cancel Ancestry’s free trial by following these steps. Log into www.ancestry.com. Select your name or username in the top right corner and click on “Your Account.” Go to the section for “Subscriptions” and click “Cancel Subscriptions.” 4. How to Cancel an Audible Free Trial Here’s how to cancel your free trial of Audible. Log in to your account at www.audible.com. Go to “Account Details” and then “Account Settings.” Click on “Cancel my Membership.” 5. How to Cancel an Avast Internet Security Free Trial An article from Avast’s support page states the company will send an email notification to remind users before their trial period ends and auto-payment starts. See the steps below to cancel your free trial before you get charged. Log into your account at my.avast.com. Click “Unsubscribe” for the subscription you want to cancel. Select “Unsubscribe from Future Renewals and Let my Subscription Expire on MM/DD/YYYY.” Make sure the date indicates the end of your trial period. Click “Confirm” and then click “Got it” at the next prompt. See here for additional instructions on how to cancel if you signed up using a different order distributor. FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM Saving for and with grandchildren 12/23/19 @ 11:52 PM M What has been your money epiphany? 2/22/19 @ 3:59 PM Saving money 2/8/19 @ 11:59 AM M SAVING MONEY ON A FIXED INCOME 6/7/19 @ 1:31 PM See more in Save Money or ask a money question 6. How to Cancel a Disney+ Free Trial According to the terms in its subscriber agreement, you can cancel at any time during your free trial and still enjoy the service through the end of that trial period. Follow these steps to cancel your free Disney+ trial from your web browser. Go to www.disneyplus.com and log in to your account. Click on your profile in the upper right corner of the screen. Click on “Account” and then “Billing Details.” Choose “Cancel Subscription” and then hit “Complete Cancellation.” See here for more [...]
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29 Last-Minute Gift Ideas

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29 Last-Minute Gift Ideas
Need some last-minute gift ideas? I put together a list of 25 gifts that would not only be appreciated by almost everyone, but that can be easily made or purchased at the last minute! For more ideas, be sure to check out my post on 20 Quick and Easy Neighbor Gift Ideas. 29 Last Minute Gift Ideas 1. A Christmas ornament (Here are 25 different DIY Ornament ideas.) 2. A gift card for take out 3. A homemade meal or freezer meal 4. A movie theater gift card 5. Homemade Sugar Scrub 6. Fancy hot chocolate mix 7. An easy to care for house plant 8. Winter accessories gift basket with a cute hat, gloves, scarves, and lip gloss 9. Car stuff in a wash bucket 10. Stove Top Potpourri (here are some creative ways on how to gift it) 11. A gift subscription to a magazine 12. Fresh flowers 13. Make a donation to a charity in their name 14. A local coffee shop gift card 15. Homemade Bath Salts 16. Whipped Body Butter 17. Homemade Fudge 18. Homemade Lip Balm 19. Homemade Banana Bread or Muffins 20. Homemade Bath Bombs 21. Gingerbread House Kit 22. DIY Ice Cream Sundae Kit 23. Cookie Mix in a Jar 24. Homemade Marshmallows 25. DIY Personalized Mugs 4 More Ideas from Followers 26. We love to give Party Mix! My husband makes several gallons and I put it in small goody bags! Everyone who comes to our door gets one! Also the neighbors, friends, and church staff! -Rebecca (Here’s a super easy recipe for Christmas Trail Mix.) 27. My favorite last-minute gift idea is to create calendars and photo magnets from the Walgreens photo department. They have same day pick up and run really great deals. -Kelly 28. I like to put together a little gift basket or box with a bag of microwave popcorn, movie candies ($1 or less at the store), and a $10 Amazon gift card for a movie night. -Karissa 29. I buy pretty containers and fill them with homemade peppermint bark, peanut brittle, and turtles. This year, I found some cute glass jars with metal latches at Dollar Tree and I found a recipe for Chai Latte Mix to fill them up. -Robin What are some of your favorite last minute gift ideas? [...]
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How I’m Changing the Way I Set Goals in 2020

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How I’m Changing the Way I Set Goals in 2020
Note: I said in the episode that next week we’d be talking about foster care next week. Well, I completely forgot that next week was Christmas! Whoops! We’ll be taking next week off for Christmas but then we’ll be back the week of New Year’s with an episode on our Word of the Year for 2020. And then the following week, we promise to do the foster care episode! Thank you for your grace! We’re nearing the end of the year and it’s time to reflect on this year to prepare for next. This is the time of year that Jesse and I sit down and review the past year. How did we do on our goals? What worked? What didn’t? What did we learn?  In this episode, we talk really candidly about our goals we set for 2019 and what worked, what didn’t work, what we learned, and how we’re changing up our goal-setting for 2019. If you’d enjoy a personal peek into what goal-setting has looked like for us, what we’ve learned about goal-setting, and how I’m completely changing the way I set goals in 2020, you don’t want to miss this episode. Psst! You’ll also get some first word news on a little of what you can expect on MoneySavingMom.com in 2020 (I think you’re going to like it — especially if you love my personal posts and enjoy my book posts and goal-setting posts!) We also give you a framework to reflect on your past year and how to use this as a reference point for setting goals. And by the way, even if you really despise the idea of setting goals, I think you’ll still enjoy this episode! In This Episode:  [00:49] Jesse and I are skipping our usual segments to dive straight into goal setting for the new year. [01:34] We share what our goal setting process looks like now versus in previous years. [03:27] Learn the three questions I ask myself as I reflect on the prior year. [03:50] Why should you set goals each year?  [05:36] Make sure your goals are serving you. [06:42] Jesse and I share the goals that worked in 2019. [13:44] Next we ask ourselves, what didn’t work for the year? [17:34] The third question I like to ask is, what did I learn?  [26:57] The last focus of goal setting for me is to think about what I hope for in the new year. [29:11] My two big goals for 2020? Have a baby! … and write a book. Plus, why I’m not setting yearly goals in 2020 and what I’m doing instead. Links and Resources: Michael Hyatt – The Full Focus Planner Choose Faith: Men’s Gratitude Journal Crystal’s Favorite Things on Amazon CrystalPaine.com MoneySavingMom.com Crystal’s Instagram account (I’d love for you to follow me there! I usually hop on at least a few times per day and share behind-the-scenes photos and videos, my grocery store hauls, funny stories, or just anything I’m pondering or would like your advice or feedback on!) Have feedback on the show or suggestions for future episodes or topics? Send me an email: crystal@moneysavingmom.com How to Listen to The Crystal Paine Show The podcast is available on iTunes, Android, Stitcher, and Spotify. You can listen online through the direct player we’ll include in the show notes of each episode. OR, a much easier way to listen is by subscribing to the podcast through a free podcast app on your phone. (Find instructions for how to subscribe to a podcast here.) Ready to dive in and listen? Hit the player above or search for “The Crystal Paine Show” on your favorite podcast app. Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission — at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support! [...]
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Ask Yourself These 5 Questions Before You Start a Ridesharing Gig

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Ask Yourself These 5 Questions Before You Start a Ridesharing Gig
You have a vehicle. You need to supplement your income. Driving for Uber or Lyft may seem like a no-brainer. Since Uber’s 2009 launch (and Lyft in 2012) rideshare driving has become almost synonymous with side hustles and the gig economy. Lyft self-reports 1.5 million drivers in the U.S. Uber doesn’t share its numbers, but many drivers work for both apps, which tout flexible work and quick money.  But is ridesharing all it’s cracked up to be? Before you sign up, take some time to answer these sobering questions. 1. How Much Will I Really Be Making? Uber and Lyft drivers are considered independent contractors, not employees. So earnings can get a little tricky. First of all, the companies don’t pay by the hour. They pay per fare. Even trickier, the pay is broken down into several parts: base pay (a guaranteed amount), plus bonuses, promotions and tips. Every part of that equation may fluctuate per ride — making hourly earnings nearly impossible to project. Still, on average, drivers can rake in decent dough. The Penny Hoarder analyzed self-reported wage data from Glassdoor and found that Uber drivers earned between $12 and $16 per hour, based on 461 wages. Lyft drivers took home $15 to $16 an hour, according to 394 drivers. But technically, as an independent contractor, you’re only getting paid if you’re en-route or already chauffeuring a passenger. The time you spend waiting for a fare or returning to a populated area after you’ve dropped off a passenger doesn’t count. All the while, you’re racking up mileage and burning gas, another expense that should be subtracted from your earnings. Jerry Brown, a library tech and former rideshare driver from Louisiana, started picking up on these “invisible expenses” when his bank account balance wasn’t what he expected. “I did a cost-benefit analysis,” he said. “The profit only ended up being $10 an hour when we broke down all the other expenses… I didn’t really think of that going in.” 2. Can My Vehicle Handle It? The first thing you need to determine is if you’re vehicle is eligible for ridesharing. In our Uber vs. Lyft guide, we break down the basic requirements. The biggest one being: Your car, truck or SUV needs to be a 2002 model or newer to drive for Uber and a 2006 model or newer to drive for Lyft.  Your vehicle must be able to fit at least four passengers for both services. It needs to be in good working condition, too. But just because it’s in good condition at first doesn’t mean it’s going to stay that way. Besides gas, Brown said his maintenance costs piled up quickly. “I put almost 30,000 miles on my car,” Brown said. Those miles cost more than just gas and oil changes. They depreciate your car’s value, too. “I eventually decided to pivot away from Uber as a side hustle because it was too much wear and tear on my car,” he said. 3. What Are the Risks? The most dangerous part of driving for a rideshare company … is the driving part. Driving is one of the most dangerous things we as Americans do on any given day. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, law enforcement recorded 6.5 million automobile accidents in 2018. Those accidents resulted in 36,560 deaths and 2.7 million injuries. In addition to the nature of the job, rideshare drivers and gig workers in general have a few other factors to keep in mind. While drivers have to go through background checks and submit government-issued IDs to the gig companies, passengers are often anonymous and untraceable. “The risks workers encountered are pretty extensive,” said Dr. Alexandrea Ravenelle, a gig economy researcher and professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina. “Workers don’t always know what they’re getting involved in” when they take a fare. In December, Uber released the extent of those risks in its first ever “US Safety Report.” The study analyzed fatal accidents, physical assaults and sexual assaults across 2.3 billion trips in 2017 and 2018. The company reported 5,981 incidents of sexual assault. An analysis of Uber’s data indicates that in almost 2,700 of those incidents, the driver was the victim. Twenty two drivers died in car accidents, and seven died from physical assaults. Lyft has not released similar statistics. 4. Are Dash Cams a Good Idea? If you are prepared to invite strangers into your car, a dash cam may be a good investment. Because of your independent contractor status, neither Uber nor Lyft will cover the cost of the camera, but it could be a lifeline should something go wrong during a trip. Dash cameras are relatively inexpensive and easy to set up. On Amazon, a standard HD camera costs between $30 and $100. Both Uber and Lyft offer complimentary insurance for drivers, but the policies are nuanced. Uber insurance coverage varies depending on if you are merely online, en route to a passenger, or have a passenger in your car. Lyft’s insurance policy works similarly. The biggest difference between the two is deductibles: $1,000 for Uber and $2,500 for Lyft. A dash cam provides legal backup in case an accident happens while you’re logged on. It may also strengthen your claim to receive reimbursement if a passenger damages your car. For example, if a passenger spills a box of greasy take-out all over your back seat, you’re going to have to stop taking fares and deep clean your upholstery. You can make an inconvenience claim to receive up to $250, but the hard part is proving who caused the damage. That’s where a camera comes in handy. Perhaps the biggest perk is the Hawthorne effect: When you have a camera clearly visible to passengers, they’re likely going to be on their best behavior. 5. What’s My Exit Plan? The gig economy offers easy entry compared to the traditional job market. It’s the leaving part where most people get stuck. It’s easy to start depending on the extra money from driving. But once that cash starts going toward rent or groceries, quitting puts your finances at risk. And that situation can easily snowball into never-ending work. To avoid that scenario, create a side hustle exit plan before you take on additional work. Compared to some side gigs, the startup costs to rideshare driving are relatively low. So your plan doesn’t have to be bound and laminated.  It can be something as simple as: I want to pay down my remaining $1,500 in credit card debt by driving for Uber on the weekends. Pro Tip Give yourself clear working hours. Having a cut-off point can go a long way. When Brown started driving for Uber, he had a clear financial goal in mind to pay off his car loan in six months. Even with that goal, he said the work sucked him in. “It was kind of addictive,” he said, telling himself “just one more ride, just one more ride.” Brown was indeed able to pay off his car, but his hustling wasn’t sustainable. He wanted to take better care of himself.  He realized, “I need to spend less time working so I can enjoy life.” Adam Hardy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He covers the gig economy, entrepreneurship and unique ways to make money. Read his ​latest articles here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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*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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Your Guide to Citi’s 48-Month Rule

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Your Guide to Citi’s 48-Month Rule
Citi has an impressive lineup of rewards credit cards with generous welcome bonuses. Whether you’re looking to stock up on transferable Citi ThankYou points or AAdvantage miles, Citi has multiple cards to choose from. The downer? Citi has also begun restricting the welcome bonuses on some of these credit cards. In some cases, if you’ve... Ariana Arghandewal is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: travel@nerdwallet.com. The article Your Guide to Citi’s 48-Month Rule originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Stop Waiting Until Your Kids Are Teenagers to Talk to Them About Money!

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Stop Waiting Until Your Kids Are Teenagers to Talk to Them About Money!
“When do you start talking to your kids about money and how old should they be before you talk to them about it?” We get this question often and we decided to tackle it head on in today’s podcast episode. And by that, I mean we talked about a number of things that might be a little be controversial. 🙂 We approach the conversation of money with our kids much like we approach anything else in our parenting — with the desire to lead by example and raise future adults. In this episode, we share when we begin talking about money with our kids, why we think it’s important to let your kids handle money from a young age, why we involve our kids in financial conversations and decisions, how we offer our kids opportunity to earn money, and why we are okay with letting our kids make mistakes with money. In This Episode:  [01:14] What’s saving our lives? It’s all about Christmas decorating,  [06:14] Off the bookshelf: A Cross to Kill by Andrew Huff and Families Where Grace is in Place by Jeff VanVonderen. [13:57] Learn four strategies to help kids learn how to think about and handle money. [14:58] Strategy number 1: Set a Great Example. More is caught than taught. [18:22] The second strategy: Start Teaching From a Young Age. It’s never to early to begin! [21:39] Strategy number 3: Involve Your Kids as Much as Possible. Make it a family conversation and work together to achieve your financial goals! [24:42] The fourth strategy: Let your kids make mistakes. Save them the $3000 and $30,000 mistakes later by letting them make $3 and $30 mistakes now. [28:12] Why we let our kids earn and handle money and what this looks like for us. Links and Resources: A Cross to Kill by Andrew Huff Families Where Grace is in Place by Jeff VanVonderen Why We Pay Our Kids For Doing Chores Crystal’s Favorite Things on Amazon CrystalPaine.com MoneySavingMom.com Crystal’s Instagram account (I’d love for you to follow me there! I usually hop on at least a few times per day and share behind-the-scenes photos and videos, my grocery store hauls, funny stories, or just anything I’m pondering or would like your advice or feedback on!) Have feedback on the show or suggestions for future episodes or topics? Send me an email: crystal@moneysavingmom.com How to Listen to The Crystal Paine Show The podcast is available on iTunes, Android, Stitcher, and Spotify. You can listen online through the direct player we’ll include in the show notes of each episode. OR, a much easier way to listen is by subscribing to the podcast through a free podcast app on your phone. (Find instructions for how to subscribe to a podcast here.) Ready to dive in and listen? Hit the player above or search for “The Crystal Paine Show” on your favorite podcast app. Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission — at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support! [...]
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How to Save on Prescriptions With the Kroger Rx Savings Club

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How to Save on Prescriptions With the Kroger Rx Savings Club
The following reader tip is from Rachel: Our family has some insurance, but not on prescriptions. I shop a lot at Kroger and recently realized that we could save a BUNCH on our prescriptions if we joined the Kroger Rx Savings Club. The club costs $32 per year for individuals and $72 per year for a family. This annual fee paid for itself when we filled my husband’s $100 prescription for only $28.50 at Kroger! Their website allows you to enter your medication information and to figure out what the cost would be as part of the Kroger Rx Savings club. NOTE: A family plan is good for up to 6 members (including pets!) and could potentially be a great option for those without traditional insurance. What is your best advice for saving money on medical expenses? Related Posts: 5 Simple Ways to Save on Medical Bills Cutting Down on Healthcare Costs 8 Ways to Save on Medical Necessities What Not to Do When You Get a Large Medical Bill [...]
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Our December Bucket List for This Year

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Our December Bucket List for This Year
One of the most requested podcast episodes has been for us to talk about our Christmas traditions, what Christmas looks like for our family, and how we do gifts for our immediate and extended family. In this episode, we sat down with Kathrynne, Kaitlynn, and Silas and had a discussion on our favorite Christmas memories, why we make a December Bucket List, what we chose for our bucket list this year, some things we’re doing differently for Christmas this year, how we do gifts, and what Christmas Eve and Christmas Day look like for our family. One of our biggest goals for each December is to keep things simple, not over-commit, and focus on memory-making and shared experiences. We sit down at the end of November and talk about what we want to prioritize for the Christmas season and then we make a list and block out days and times on the calendar to make these priorities happen. We’re excited about some new things we’re trying this year and we’re looking forward to another special December season of celebrating the true meaning of Christmas and spending lots of time together as a family! In This Episode:  [01:58] We kick off the show by each sharing one of our favorite Christmas memories. [07:29] Want to know what’s on our December Bucket List this year? [11:16] Hear about our Dollar Tree stocking tradition and why we’re stepping it up this year. [13:16] How we do presents at our house. [15:45] Giving is something that is always a big priority for us, thanks to the kids’ initiative in this area! [18:00] What does our actual Christmas Eve and Christmas Day celebration look like for our family? [21:38] The kids share our quirky wrapping tradition. Links and Resources: Dollar Tree Stocking Stuffers Jesse Tree Ann Voskamp She Reads Truth He Reads Truth Crystal’s Favorite Things on Amazon CrystalPaine.com MoneySavingMom.com Crystal’s Instagram account (I’d love for you to follow me there! I usually hop on at least a few times per day and share behind-the-scenes photos and videos, my grocery store hauls, funny stories, or just anything I’m pondering or would like your advice or feedback on!) Have feedback on the show or suggestions for future episodes or topics? Send me an email: crystal@moneysavingmom.com How to Listen to The Crystal Paine Show The podcast is available on iTunes, Android, Stitcher, and Spotify. You can listen online through the direct player we’ll include in the show notes of each episode. OR, a much easier way to listen is by subscribing to the podcast through a free podcast app on your phone. (Find instructions for how to subscribe to a podcast here.) Ready to dive in and listen? Hit the player above or search for “The Crystal Paine Show” on your favorite podcast app. Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission — at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support! [...]
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7 Everyday Items You Can Get Paid to Recycle

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7 Everyday Items You Can Get Paid to Recycle
Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We provide you with accurate, reliable information. Learn more about how we make money and select our advertising partners. Why toss things in the trash when you can repurpose or recycle them?  In addition to diverting items from the waste stream and keeping them out of landfills, you can also make extra money or help out worthy causes. From scrap metal to ink cartridges, bullets to construction materials, you can recycle a huge variety of items in exchange for cash or goodwill. Ready to see all the different things you can recycle for money? Find a Collection Point To find a recycling center near you, head over to Earth911.com and plug in the item you’re looking to recycle along with your location. The site lists collection locations for everything from antifreeze to ammunition. Of course, not everything pays, but it’s important to properly dispose of potentially hazardous items.  Prepare Items for Recycling Check with your local collection point for specific rules for preparing your recyclables for the collection center. Some centers require you to remove bottle caps, rinse and bag bottles in certain increments, or sort and tie together cardboard. Checking the rules before you go will save you time later on.  Be sure to properly bag items that may make a bit of a mess. Even if you thoroughly rinse all your bottles and cans, there might be water and other residue on them, so be sure to transport them in bins or bags to protect the interior of your car. If you’re donating a cell phone or other electronic item, be sure to clear your personal information from it, including contact lists, voice mails, text messages, photos, passwords, downloads and anything else that you wouldn’t want random strangers to access. Back up your information on your new phone, your computer or a cloud-based service, then restore your phone to factory settings before recycling it. 7 Items You Can Recycle for Money Depending where you live, you can get paid to recycle certain items. Here are some common recyclables and how to recycle them. 1. Scrap Metal Scrap metal is one of the more profitable materials to recycle. For this reason, scrap metal theft is not uncommon. Many local recycling programs fund their programs through scrap metal collection, so be sure to check your local rules or laws about collection. Copper, steel and aluminum are just a few of the scrap metals that you can recycle for money. Google your local area and “scrap yard” to find a facility that takes whatever metals you have and learn their procedures for drop off. Once you have rounded up your metal, find out if it is ferrous or non-ferrous by seeing if a magnet sticks to it. If it does, the metal is ferrous and likely a common metal like steel or iron. These items typically aren’t worth much, but it’s still worthwhile to recycle them. If the magnet does not stick, you likely have copper, aluminum, brass, bronze or stainless steel on your hands. These metals are more valuable.  You can make money recycling a variety of these metals. Copper is one of the more profitable metals: Some scrap yards offer over $2 per pound. Aluminum typically earns between 40 and 70 cents a pound, yellow brass can yield $1.40 per pound, and die-cast metal goes in the 30-cents-a-pound range, though local prices vary.  2. Bottles and Cans One Penny Hoarder writer made $1,500 cashing in soda cans he collected at work. You, too, can make money by rounding up bottles and cans, whether from work, friends and family, at events, or just the recyclables you use at home. California offers 5 cents for most plastic and glass bottles and aluminum cans smaller than 24 ounces, and 10 cents for 24-ounce or larger containers. It’s technically a bottle deposit, but many people don’t bother to collect their refunds, so it’s easy money for bottle and can collectors.  Michigan has a 10-cents per bottle recycling rate, which has prompted people to illegally smuggle in empty bottles purchased out of state to cash in. (This was even the plot of one Seinfeld episode!) Many states have similar deposit programs, so check what’s available where you live. 3. Car Batteries Advance Auto Parts offers a $10 store gift card to customers who bring in their used car batteries (light-duty truck batteries are also accepted). If the company doesn’t have an outlet near you, call your local auto parts stores to see whether they offer similar deals. 4. Ink Cartridges A number of office supply stores, including Staples and Office Depot accept used ink cartridges for recycling. Staples offers $2 back per cartridge, with a maximum of 10 returns per month, and you have to spend at least $30 on ink or toner within 180 days of recycling.  Office Depot also gives you $2 back in program rewards for each ink or toner cartridge you recycle, up to 10 cartridges per month. But you must also purchase ink from them the same month. There is no limit on the number of cartridges you recycle, but you will only receive points on the first 10 per month. You can use your points toward a number of different perks and discounts.  5. Electronics Eco-Cell is one of many companies that offers cash for old cell phones and other electronics. The company accepts working or broken phones, tablets, rechargeable batteries, circuit boards and a variety of other electronics. Even if an item is broken or was submerged in water and is unusable, Eco-Cell will accept it in order to divert electronics from landfills and properly dispose of their toxic components and metals. Many cell phone providers, including Verizon and AT&T, have trade-in programs where you can receive a voucher, gift card or other reward for turning in your old phone. Amazon Trade-in is another way to earn gift cards. A number of charities also accept cell phones, whether to re-purpose or sell and use the funds for a charitable purpose. Cell Phones for Soldiers refurbishes and sells your old phone to active-duty military members and veterans. If a phone is too old or broken, Cell Phones for Soldiers sells it to recyclers who strip it for parts and dispose of its metals responsibly. The proceeds from the sales go to purchase international calling cards for troops and provide emergency financial assistance to veterans. And of course, you can always sell your old phone yourself. 6. Junk Cars Your rusted old jalopy? You can recycle it for money. There are companies that pay cash for broken down cars.  Junk Car Medics is one, and you can sell your car to them online or over the phone. You enter details about your vehicle, such as condition and mileage, and quickly get an offer. If you accept it, you’ll have to provide proof of ownership and a few other details before you get paid. The company says most transactions are same-day, and they take the car away for you. 7. The Rest of Your Unwanted Stuff You can “recycle” belongings you no longer want on a variety of apps and platforms and get a little something back for them. ThredUp and Poshmark are popular second-hand clothing apps where you can sell your wares.  ThredUp will send you a free shipping label and apply credits for anything that sells to your own account, but it’s often not a lot of money. Poshmark offers bigger potential payouts, but you have to put in more work to make your items move. Letgo is a second-hand site where you can buy or sell just about anything you no longer use. Kristen Pope is a freelance writer and editor in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Up to 64% off PlayMonster Games and Toys!

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Up to 64% off PlayMonster Games and Toys!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Today only, Amazon is offering up to 64% off PlayMonster Games and Toys! Here are some deals you can score… Get this PlayMonster 5 Second Rule Game for only $7.99! Get this The Game of Things for only $8.99! Get this Relative Insanity Party Game for only $7.99! Get this MOLUK Plui Rain Cloud Tub Toy for only $9.02! Get this Patch ProductsToss-Up Dice Game for only $5.05! Get this MOLUK Bilibo in multiple color options for just $20.99! Shop the PlayMonster sale here. Valid today only, December 4, 2019. 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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All the Best Cyber Monday and Black Friday Deals Still Available!

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

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It’s Cyber Monday: Here Are the Best Deals at Amazon
Not to worry if you missed out on any deals on Black Friday. Cyber Monday — today — brings plenty of second chances. In fact, on Amazon, you will find many discounts that are at least as steep as they were on Black Friday — as well as deals that weren’t even available on Black Friday. Just take a look at the hundreds of deals on Amazon’s Cyber Monday site. Or... [...]
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6 Easy Ways to Outsmart Porch Pirates and Protect Your Holiday Packages

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6 Easy Ways to Outsmart Porch Pirates and Protect Your Holiday Packages
The porch pirates got me good one holiday season.  I arrived home after a long day at work to find two empty packages on my front stoop. The thermal sweatshirt that was supposed to be a Christmas gift for my dad? Gone. The pricy face cream I bought for myself? Gone. And the townhouse I was living in, which was on a residential street, didn’t have security cameras.  There were plenty of places to tuck the packages out of sight, but the delivery person was either too busy or had done so only to be foiled later by the thieves. That was years ago. Now I can simply install a smart lock on my front door and have Amazon or Walmart deliver items directly to my living room. Thieves can’t steal your packages if there’s nothing on your doormat to yoink. But what if you’re trying to receive packages and deliveries without allowing our e-commerce big brothers to let themselves in on a regular basis?  6 Ways to Stop Porch Pirates Once and for All In a 2017 report, insuranceQuotes estimated that 25.9 million Americans had a holiday package stolen from their front porch or doorstep that year. And across the United States, 36% of consumers have reported having a package stolen at least once, at an average cost of $109.  Don’t want to be a part of that very sad group of people? Try one or more of these methods to deter package thieves when you’re doing your online holiday shopping.  1. Make Delivery Requests Some online ordering systems allow you to make delivery requests, like putting the package in a secure area. Making a request doesn’t guarantee that it will be met, but you may be surprised at how attentive delivery people are when dropping off your goods. “Leave on basement steps” or “upstairs neighbor can sign” are simple instructions that can help ensure your package gets to you. If you happen to run into your regular local USPS, UPS or FedEx carrier, you may be able to make requests in person. But keep in mind that your neighborhood delivery person may have the best intel on which bushes are ideal for concealing packages. 2. Work With a Neighbor If you know your neighbors — come on, go meet your neighbors — you can work together to thwart package theft. If you have alternating or overlapping schedules, swiping a package off their stoop — for good, not evil — means you can make sure it gets into their hands after dinner or whenever they get home.  3. Get Packages Delivered to Your Workplace Not every employer will welcome your holiday shipments with open arms, so check with your office manager to see if they’d mind signing for packages you don’t want to risk having delivered at home.  Hauling items home can be cumbersome later, but if you want eyes on a package ASAP, your workplace may be your best bet. 4. Pay for a Package Receipt Service This isn’t the cheapest option, but it may be the most secure. Some businesses offer to receive packages for customers for a small fee.  I once lived around the corner from a dry cleaner that always had a line at the counter. Why so popular? Not only did it offer quick cleaning services, but you could pick up your dry cleaning and your packages in the same trip — and the hours were convenient, too. 5. Get Your Stuff Delivered to an Amazon Locker It’s not quite as convenient as home delivery or the corner store, but if you’d rather have your Amazon package delivered to a secure location, add an Amazon Locker location to your account.  Amazon will deliver the package to the locker and when it’s ready for pickup, you’ll receive an email with a six-digit code to pick up the package from the self-service kiosk. Lockers are located in stores, apartment buildings and malls across the United States, which offers you convenient times to pick up packages on in the evenings or on weekends. And if you’re a Prime member, you get to use the lockers for free.  6. Watch Your Tracking Info Like a Hawk Ah, the beauty of technology. I can see the exact moment my package went from a warehouse plane to another warehouse and onto a truck. And I can see the moment it finally lands at my home. Tracking services may not prevent you from losing packages to theft, but the available tools can help you stay up to date on its path and estimated arrival so you can plan accordingly.  Frequently, you can sign up for text or email updates on your package’s journey, and if you miss a delivery you need to sign for, you can sometimes have the package rerouted to a shipping service center, like the UPS Store, so the delivery person doesn’t spend three days knocking on your door.  Pro Tip If you have the Ring doorbell camera, sign up for reports on the Neighbors App, where you can share info about package thieves if they hit your area. The postal service even offers Informed Delivery, which sends you images of small pieces of mail that are on their way to your mailbox that day. If you’re willing to make a bigger investment, home security systems like the Ring can also let you monitor your front door — and the police department can use the footage to track down the porch pirates. If the worst-case scenario happens, detailed tracking information and video can help make a case to your credit card company, which may reimburse you for lost or stolen packages, or it could help you get a replacement item from the retailer. Lisa Rowan is a former senior writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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5 Ways to Buy Discounted Gift Cards So You Can Save Big on Black Friday

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

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

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10+ Eco-Friendly Gifts Under $30
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Looking for the best eco-friendly Christmas gift ideas this season? We have you covered with this Eco-Friendly Gifts Guide — and they’re all under $30 to help you stick to your gift budget! This Eco-Friendly Gift Guide was thoughtfully put together by Meg on the MoneySavingMom team — who is very passionate about making healthy and eco-conscious life choices. Do you know somebody who is striving to live an eco-conscious, lower impact life by choosing more sustainable products in their everyday life? Check out this list of fun eco-friendly gift ideas that are sure to excite that person in your life! Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas 1. Essential Oils Diffuser — A diffuser is a great gift idea for someone wanting to replace candles with essential oils to avoid polluting the air in their home. There are lots of great diffusers less than $30 on Amazon that come in all shapes and sizes! 2. Beeswax Food Wraps — One of the easiest ways to reduce plastic use is to stop using plastic baggies for food storage and transportaion. These Beeswax Food Wraps are the perfect replacement solution, and you can get them in all kinds of really fun designs! 3. Bamboo Toothbrush — Bamboo is compostable and biodegradable, so it’s a great option to replace plastic toothbrushes! I personally love the ones with activated charcoal for an added whitening effect! 4. Stainless Steel Straws — For someone who loves using straws at home, a stainless steel straw is an excellent option to help reduce plastic use. Straws are one of the biggest plastic pollutants, and it’s such an easy replacement! I use these inexpensive straws in my YETI every day and love them. 5. Reusable Produce Bags — These mesh produce bags are a great way to reduce plastic bag use when you’re at the grocery store. I have this set and love them! And they’re easily washable. 6. Ella+Mila or Zoya Nail Polish — If you know someone who loves doing her nails, this is a great eco-friendly gift idea! Zoya Nail Polish is 10-free and Ella+Mila is 7-free. These are two of my all-time favorite nail polish brands, because not only are they more eco-friendly than other brands but they’re also quality polishes that go on nice and opaque and have beautiful finishes to them. 7. Starbucks Reusable Cup with Gift Card — Do you know someone who frequents Starbucks? Consider buying them a Reusable Starbucks Cup! It saves on plastic and also gives them a $0.10 discount each time they use it. Stick a Starbucks gift card inside for a nice little surprise! 8. Mason Jar Lids and Straws — This is such a fun, eco-friendly way to hydrate! Gift someone this set and they can just re-use mason jars that they already own. This works great for on-the-go hydration — perfect for water, infused fruit drinks, lemonade, teas, and more! 9. Lush Body Care Products — Lush has worked really hard to almost completely eliminate plastic use in their packaging products. Many of their products are “naked” without packaging and the rest are made from recycled and recyclable/compostable materials. To encourage recycling even further, you’ll receive a free face mask when you bring in 5 empty Lush pots. They have tons of beautiful gift ideas, including luxurious bath bombs and yummy lotions. (This Sleepy Lotion is my FAVE.) 10. Reusable Grocery Bags — This is an idea that’s been around for a long time now and has become more mainstream, but it can be fun to give cute and different reusable grocery bags as a gift! Amazon has lots of fun options! Maybe even add a gift card to a whole foods grocery store! 11. Organic Cotton Socks — For someone who loves socks, organic cotton is a great sustainable option, because it doesn’t use any chemical pesticides or artificial fertilizers. Plus, they’re extra cozy! 12. Tarte Cosmetics — All of Tarte’s products are made without harmful parabens, mineral oil, or sulfates. They also have an entire line called Rainforest of the Sea that are made from entirely plant-based ingredients. Be sure to check out their sale section for lots of options under $30. 13. Succulents — Plants are a go-to gift idea for someone who is interested in a sustainable lifestyle. And succulents are so much fun and easy to take care of! 14. Zero Waste Home Book — For someone interested in reducing waste and lowering their environmental impact, this book would be a great gift! It’s full of all kinds of easy and creative ideas. Bonus Ideas (Over $30) Have a little extra wiggle room in your Christmas budget and willing to spend a bit more? Try one of these bonus recommendations for eco-friendly Christmas gifts: 15. YETI or Hydro Flask — This is another easy way to hydrate in a plastic-free way! I love my YETI and Hydro Flask and use both almost every day for different uses (YETI for everyday water drinking and Hydro Flask for yoga or working out). Both are quality brands that will last forever and keep water super cold. 16. Pela Phone Case — These phone cases are really cool because they’re 100% compostable! Choose from lots of different colors and fun designs! I’ve been eyeing these for a while now, but haven’t splurged to buy myself one yet! This is a really unique gift idea for the eco-conscious person on your gift list! More Holiday Gift Guides Looking for other budget-friendly holiday gift guides? Don’t miss these: Beauty Gift Guide Tweens Gift Guide LEGO Gift Guide Outdoor Gift Guide Gluten-Free Gift Guide Little Boys Gift Guide Expectant Mothers Gift Guide Psst! Be sure to sign up for our hot deals newsletter to make sure you don’t miss any of the hottest deals each day this holiday season! Can you think of any other great eco-friendly Christmas gifts? Let us know in the comments! [...]
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Feel like a failure?

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Feel like a failure?
What do you do when you experience failure in your life or your business? One of our wonderful listeners asked how you get back up and keep going after failure, and Jesse and I had a lively and honest discussion around this in this week’s episode of the The Crystal Paine Show. Failure is a part of life, but it shouldn’t define who we are. For instance, for a long time, Jesse identified as a lawyer and that title made up his identity in many ways. If he failed or if he perceived a failure, that lack would directly impact his identity.  For many others, they don’t feel like they are good enough. When this is the case, it’s so easy to see failure and setbacks as defining you as a failure personally. The truth is that true failure only occurs when you stop trying and give up. Until you stop trying, you haven’t failed! So keep moving and learning and growing from your mistakes. Also, don’t forget to stop and celebrate your wins. It’s so easy to focus on what we’re doing wrong instead of recognizing what we’re doing right. In This Episode:  [01:23] What’s saving our lives? Under Armour hoodies and my Sole F80 treadmill. [07:36] I’m reading Tasting Grace by Melissa d’Arabian. [12:25] Jesse shares how he gets up and does the next thing after a big fail?  [16:03] So many people identify as “failures,” how do you separate the act of failure from your overall identity?  [19:01] Everyone fails and each failure is a lesson learned. [21:51] True failure is when you stop taking action. Just keep moving forward. Links and Resources: Zulily Under Armour hoodies Sole F80 Tasting Grace by Melissa d’Arabian Crystal’s Favorite Things on Amazon CrystalPaine.com MoneySavingMom.com Crystal’s Instagram account (I’d love for you to follow me there! I usually hop on at least a few times per day and share behind-the-scenes photos and videos, my grocery store hauls, funny stories, or just anything I’m pondering or would like your advice or feedback on!) Have feedback on the show or suggestions for future episodes or topics? Send me an email: crystal@moneysavingmom.com How to Listen to The Crystal Paine Show The podcast is available on iTunes, Android, Stitcher, and Spotify. You can listen online through the direct player we’ll include in the show notes of each episode. OR, a much easier way to listen is by subscribing to the podcast through a free podcast app on your phone. (Find instructions for how to subscribe to a podcast here.) Ready to dive in and listen? Hit the player above or search for “The Crystal Paine Show” on your favorite podcast app. Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission — at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support! [...]
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Seventh Generation Free & Clear Dish Liquid Soap for just $1.94 each, shipped!

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Seventh Generation Free & Clear Dish Liquid Soap for just $1.94 each, shipped!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Stock up on dish soap with this Seventh Generation deal! Amazon has this Seventh Generation Free & Clear Dish Liquid Soap 6-Pack for just $11.65 shipped when you clip the 20% off e-coupon and check out through Subscribe & Save. That’s like paying just $1.94 per bottle, shipped! This is such a great stock-up deal for this brand. Note: Once your order ships, you can go into your Amazon account and cancel your subscription if you don’t want recurring orders. Thanks, Hip2Save! [...]
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This Week’s Kroger Shopping Trip + Amazon Order = $63 spent!

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This Week’s Kroger Shopping Trip + Amazon Order = $63 spent!
Want to see what we bought for this week’s $70 grocery budget? I’m currently challenging myself to stick with a $70 budget for our family of five. This includes almost all of our breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners + most household products (toiletries, laundry soap, etc.). For live updates, be sure to follow my Instagram Stories. See all posts on my $70 Grocery Budget here. I only ended up going to Kroger once this past week, but I got some great deals and markdowns! The Cream of Chicken soup was in the markdown section and it was just $0.49 each + it was part of the Buy 10, Get $5 off deal which meant that I got $0.50 off each — making them free! I was super excited about finding the Yoplait 8-count packs of yogurt for just $0.99 and also the Off the Grid Waffles for just $0.99 each! There is a $0.50/1 iBotta rebate with a limit of 5 so I got back $2.50 for buy 5 boxes! And finally, I was super thrilled to find eggs marked down! We were down to our last few eggs so it was perfect timing! Kroger Shopping Trip: 5 Campbell’s Soup — marked down to $0.49, got $0.50 off each because they were part of the buy 10, Get $5 off deal 2 cans of Swanson broth — $0.49 each when you buy 10 participating items 4 cans of Green Beans — $0.49 each when you buy 10 participating items 2 pounds Land O Lakes butter — $2.49 each when you buy 10 participating items 3 boxes Creamette Pasta — $0.49 each when you buy 10 participating items, used $1/3 coupon from a Kroger mailer = $0.50 for all three 2 cartons cottage cheese — $1.49 each when you buy 10 participating items 3 boxes of Swiss Miss hot cocoa — $0.99 each when you buy 10 participating items Annie’s Mac & Cheese — marked down to $0.45 5 boxes Off the Grid Waffles — marked down to $0.99 each, plus I got $0.50 back per box from iBotta Old El Pasa Taco Shells — marked down to $0.39 2 boxes SO Right frozen burrito bowls — marked down to $0.89 each 1 dozen Kroger eggs — marked down to $0.59 5 dozen cage-free brown eggs — marked down to $1.29 each 2 Chobani yogurt flips — marked down to $0.19 each Kroger peanut butter — free with Kroger coupon from the Kroger mailer Kroger water — $0.89 2 Dannon Oikos yogurt — marked down to $0.49 each 2 packages Roasted Turkey — marked down to $1.79 each Broccoli crowns — $0.70 Kroger smoked sausage — free with Kroger mailer coupon 2 8-count packages of Yoplait yogurt — marked down to $0.99 each 1 bunch of green leaf lettuce — $1.79 Bag of 3 apples — marked down to $0.99 Bananas — marked down to $0.50 Dole Salad Kit — $1.79 4-lb bag of oranges — $3.99 Milk — $2.99 Total with tax: $53.28 Since I had some extra wiggle room in the grocery budget, I went ahead and ordered this great deal off of Amazon. Dinners This Past Week Monday: Frozen Pizza Tuesday: Lasagna Casserole, Green Beans, Rolls Wednesday: Chicken Noodle Soup, Best Bran Muffins, Cinnamon Apples Thursday: Homemade Mac & Cheese, Green Beans, Grapes, Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins Friday: Pumpkin Waffles, Bacon, Scrambled Eggs Saturday: Leftovers (fend for yourself) Rebates earned: $2.75 back from iBotta + 225 points from Fetch Rewards [...]
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Who wants a FREE $5 Amazon gift card??

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Who wants a FREE $5 Amazon gift card??
This is a super easy way to earn a quick $5 gift card for your holiday spending! Trying to stretch your holiday budget? I’ve got a way for you to easily earn a $5 Amazon gift card in just minutes — completely free! If you are planning to do any errands or shopping in the near future, don’t miss this! Here’s how to earn your free $5 gift card: 1. Sign up for Shopkick through this link, use code MOM5 during the registration process. 2. Go to one store listed in the app within 7 days. (Some of the stores listed: Kroger, CVS, Walmart, Target, Publix, Dollar General, Aldi, Sprouts, Walgreens, Whole Foods, Sam’s Club, and more!). 3. When you’re at the store, open up your app and click on the store and then scans. Scan one product listed in the app. 4. That’s it! You don’t have to purchase anything. Just use the code MOM5 when signing up and then scan one item in-store. 5. Because you used the code above, you’ll get 1250 bonus “kicks” instantly added to your account. You can trade these in for a $5 Amazon gift card! (Or any other gift card!) Want to Earn Even More Points? Want to earn more points? Make sure to have the Shopkick app open when you walk in the store (you’ll earn kicks for this) and then scan all the other items listed in the app that you can earn points for. For instance, right now, I can earn 24o kicks just for scanning products in the app at Kroger, or 335 kicks for scanning products in the app at Publix, or 75 for scanning products at Aldi. I don’t have to buy anything at the stores. All I have to do is open up the app when I’m in the store and scan the specific item and I’ll earn the kicks. Best of all, I can do this every single time I go shopping — and it’s FREE points to use toward FREE gift cards! Find Out More About Shopkick Read more about how Shopkick works and how to earn more points with Shopkick here. Also, check out my post on 7 Easy Ways to Earn Amazon Gift Cards for other ways to earn free Amazon gift cards. Psst! Getting ready for the holiday season? Be sure to check out our Holiday Shopping Survival Guide! And don’t forget to sign up for our Hot Deals Newsletter to make sure you don’t miss any of the hottest Black Friday and holiday deals! [...]
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8 Products That Solve Everyday Annoyances

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8 Products That Solve Everyday Annoyances
Think there’s nothing you can do about life’s little annoyances? We’ve taken it upon ourselves to help change your mind! From adapters that magically transform one outlet into three — for less than $5, we might add — to silicone lids that prevent liquids from boiling over, we’ve rounded up a variety of products available at Amazon that put an end to the everyday... [...]
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The Enneagram and Marriage

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The Enneagram and Marriage
We had a lot of fun with this episode — and we learned a few things about each other in the process of recording it! What’s today’s podcast episode topic? The Enneagram and marriage. Whether you love all things Enneagram, are skeptical of it, or don’t even know what it is, I think you’ll enjoy this candid conversation about our differences, how we have worked through them, and what it looks like to love and respect someone who is the complete opposite of you in many ways. Pull up a chair (or a load of laundry!) and listen in as we chat about our big foster care news, grilling meat, my favorite makeup cleaner (and I make a confession that I might get some flack for), a book I’m reading, and marriage and the Enneagram! In This Episode:   [01:55] What’s saving our lives? Butcher Box and Mary Kay 3-in-1 Timewise Cleanser. [07:20] I’ve been reading Come Matter Here by Hannah Brencher. [11:28] How do marriage and the Enneagram tie in with one another? [14:37] Jesse talks about what it’s like to be married to a very strong Enneagram 8. [18:30] On the flip side, I share what it is like being married an inquisitive Enneagram 5. [25:34] How do we reconcile our differences? [30:19] Learning more about our personality types has helped us to build a stronger marriage through understanding. [33:57] Choose to see differences as strengths and it will change your perspective — and maybe your relationship! Links and Resources: What is the Enneagram? (Podcast I did with Leigh Kramer) Butcher Box Mary Kay Timewise 3-in-1 Cleanser Come Matter Here by Hannah Brencher Crystal’s Favorite Things on Amazon CrystalPaine.com MoneySavingMom.com Crystal’s Instagram account (I’d love for you to follow me there! I usually hop on at least a few times per day and share behind-the-scenes photos and videos, my grocery store hauls, funny stories, or just anything I’m pondering or would like your advice or feedback on!) Have feedback on the show or suggestions for future episodes or topics? Send me an email: crystal@moneysavingmom.com How to Listen to The Crystal Paine Show The podcast is available on iTunes, Android, Stitcher, and Spotify. You can listen online through the direct player we’ll include in the show notes of each episode. OR, a much easier way to listen is by subscribing to the podcast through a free podcast app on your phone. (Find instructions for how to subscribe to a podcast here.) Ready to dive in and listen? Hit the player above or search for “The Crystal Paine Show” on your favorite podcast app. Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission — at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support! [...]
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20 Gifts for Tweens Under $30

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20 Gifts for Tweens Under $30
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Looking for the best Christmas gifts for tweens this holiday season? We have you covered with this Tweens Gift Guide — which includes gifts for tween girls and gifts for tween boys that are all under $30 to help you stick to your gift budget! Silas and Kaitlynn had a blast helping to choose ideas for this gift guide. I hope that their selections of things they and their friends love will give you some great suggestions for gifts that might work well for your tweens, too! -Crystal Pre-teens can be kind of difficult to buy for! But this list of gifts for tweens will give you lots of fun and budget-friendly ideas to pick from! Gifts for Tween Girls 1. Bath & Body Works Fragrance Spray — My girls love these. They have so many different scents and Bath & Body Works is often offering fantastic deals — especially if you buy multiples. Sign up for their email list to be notified of when their best sales are. 2. Bath Bombs — You can make your own or purchase a set like this from Amazon. {These would make a great stocking stuffer gift, too, if you have multiple tween girls to buy gifts for. You could put one or two in cute little bags with a ribbon.} 3. Scrunchies — You’ve probably heard that scrunchies are back in style and our girls can’t get enough of them! {Again, these would make fun stocking stuffers or get an entire set for the girl who loves to wear lots of different colors! Psst! It’s pretty easy to sew scrunchies if you have basic sewing skills.} 4. Letterboard — These are such a great way to display a tween girls’ personality and originality. Best of all, Letterboards now come in many different colors and styles. 5. PopSocket — The girls cannot figure out how I manage to have a phone without a PopSocket on it. Just call me old-fashioned! They adore PopSockets and there are so many cute and fun ones to choose from. This one is a favorite of Kaitlynn’s. 6. Craft Kits — Most tween girls love creating, so a craft kit is usually the perfect idea and something they’ll spend hours enjoying. Plus, if it’s something they can display in their room or wear after they make it, they’ll get even more fulfillment from it! 7. Twinkle Lights — You just can’t go wrong with Twinkle Lights — and there are so many fun uses for them. Kaitlynn is often rearranging her room and coming up with some new way to display her twinkle lights! Gifts for Tween Boys 8. Nerf Toys — When I asked Silas to help me put together some gift ideas for tween boys, he literally picked out 7 different Nerf Guns to include on the list! Suffice it to say, these are a big hit with him and his friends. And it seems like you just can never have too many Nerf Guns, according to him! 9. Sports Pillow — Silas has a football pillow he got last year that he uses as room decor — and to sleep with. In fact, he brings it on every trip! There are pillows for just about every team under the sun. 10. LEGO Kits — There are SO many different LEGO kits to choose from and there’s practically something for everyone. This LEGO Movie Kit is a fun twist combining stop motion film plus LEGO design. 11. 3D Maze Game — These are so much fun, not just for boys, but for adults, too! If you have a son who loves to solve puzzles or be challenged, this might be a great gift idea! 12. Catapults & Crossbows — This kit would be perfect for a tween boy who loves science and engineering and nerf guns. It’s kind of like building your own nerf gun! 13. Flag Football Set — Jesse bought the kids a flag football set a few years ago and it has been well-loved and well-used. A great gift for sports lovers and something the whole family can end up using! 14. Mini Basketball Hoop — Any boy who loves basketball will likely get hours of fun from a mini basketball hoop. Mount this on a door for lots of indoor entertainment. By the way, this Hamper Hoop is a unique twist on a mini basketball hoop — and it might actually get your tween to put his laundry in the hamper! 🙂 Stocking Stuffers for Tweens 15. eos Lip Balm — Kaitlynn loves eos lip balm and it’s such a practical and useful, but also cute and appreciated gift. Perfect for stocking stuffers! 16. Fuzzy Socks — What girl wouldn’t love fuzzy socks? I’m 38 and I still love them! Bonus points for tween girls if they have unicorns on them! 17. puravida bracelets — These bracelets are waterproof, handmade and come in many different colors. They are so fun to mix and match! 18. Thinking Putty — This stuff is always a hit and it comes in so many different colors! (I personally think the Liquid Glass one is the coolest!) 19. Baseball Cards — You can never go wrong with baseball cards if you have a baseball lover at your house! 20. Cool Socks — Socks are such a practical and useful gift… and if they are cool-looking that makes them even better! More Holiday Gift Guides Looking for other budget-friendly holiday gift guides? Don’t miss these: Beauty Gift Guide Gluten-Free Gift Guide Little Boys Gift Guide Stay tuned as we roll out several more gift guides over the next couple of weeks — put together by several different MoneySavingMom.com team members! Psst! Be sure to sign up for our hot deals newsletter to make sure you don’t miss any of the hottest deals each day this holiday season! What other fun ideas do you have for gifts for tweens? Let us know in the comments! [...]
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12 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now

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12 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now
What better way to find your next great purchase than to consult financially savvy consumers much like yourself — you know, the kind of people who read Money Talks News? We couldn’t think of a better way, which is why we rounded up the Amazon products that were most popular last month among Money Talks News readers, including our own staff and contributors. Don’t worry: [...]
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Spend Too Much on Vacation? These 5 Tips Will Help You Rebuild Your Savings

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Spend Too Much on Vacation? These 5 Tips Will Help You Rebuild Your Savings
The best vacations are carefree escapes from everyday stresses. Bills and budgets? That’s for non-vacation life. When you’re on the beach or at a five-star mountain resort, you buy the lobster dinner, you splurge for the couples massage and you make sure to pick up a few souvenirs along the way. But once you return home, you’re hit with the realization that you spent much more than you intended. Making up for a huge dent in your savings can be tough, but these five ways will help you save up money when you’re coming down from that vacation high. 1. Try the Pantry Challenge Going to the grocery store to restock the fridge is a natural response after spending a week or two away from home. But what if you delayed that shopping trip and got creative with what you already have? The pantry challenge involves using up the often overlooked food in your cupboards, freezer or fridge before buying new ingredients. Then, if you normally drop about $100 on your weekly grocery trip, you can add that to your savings instead. Of course, pantry items won’t sustain you forever. Making a meal out of rice and ketchup is really pushing it. When it’s finally time to go shopping, try using some of these tips to save money on groceries. 2. Sell Clothes You Never Wear As you’re unpacking your suitcase and putting things away, take inventory of your closet and drawers. Surely you’ve got a few items in there that never see the light of day. Turn a profit by selling your old clothes online, using a clothes-selling app or going to a brick-and-mortar second-hand shop to make the sale. Not only will you get cash to pad your savings, but now you have extra room for those graphic tees you bought on vacation. 3. Take a Break from Spending If you blew through a lot of money over vacation, balance things out with a no-spend challenge. You don’t have to commit to a month of not buying anything besides essentials — though that would do wonders for rebuilding your savings. You can customize your no-spend challenge in a variety of ways, like focusing on temporarily nixing your weakness for buying things on Amazon. While you’re on your spending freeze, try not to think of it as deprivation. Try some free ways to have fun, like exploring the great outdoors, being a tourist in your own city or hosting a game night at home. 4. Automate Your Savings Use automation to take the work out of saving money. Money-saving apps like Digit and Acorns pull small amounts from your checking account to save without you even thinking about it. A few dollars here and there will add up over time. If micro-saving apps aren’t your thing, arrange for a percentage of your paychecks to be deposited directly into your savings account, or pay yourself first by setting up automatic transfers from your checking to your savings account right after payday. 5. Bite the Bullet and Start Budgeting Your Money You may think you’re getting by fine without budgeting, but establishing a plan for your spending — and prioritizing saving — can help you make up for overdoing it on vacation. Learn how to develop — and stick to — a budget next month with these seven steps to budgeting. If you think you’ll have trouble sticking to your spending limits, try the cash envelope system. This method keeps you from overspending, because you physically have no more cash once the envelopes are empty. No cheating and swiping your debit card! Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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I earned 117 Swagbucks today

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I earned 117 Swagbucks today
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Did you see that I earned 195 Swagbucks yesterday? I thought I’d give you an update on what I earned today, too… 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 117 Swagbucks Today! I earned 117 SBs (these are points you can redeem for free gift cards) today. Here’s how I did it: I uploaded a receipt for purchasing bread — 20 SBs I watch some videos — 20 SBs I answered the Daily Poll, Profile Questions, and a quick Survey (and earned some bonuses) — 18 SBs I signed up for the Pillsbury email list — 70 SBs (Also, I’m not sure why that doesn’t add up to 117 so the math is off somewhere but I can’t seem to figure out what I’m missing where.) 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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4 Ways to Earn More on Your Savings — Despite Another Fed Rate Cut

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4 Ways to Earn More on Your Savings — Despite Another Fed Rate Cut
The Federal Reserve lowered its benchmark federal funds rate on Wednesday. It’s the Fed’s third rate cut this year — and bad news for your money sitting in the bank. The interest rates that banks pay on interest-bearing accounts like savings accounts rise and fall with the federal funds rate. So, after the latest Fed rate cut, the chances are good that the interest rate your bank... [...]
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Why I Stopped Drinking Coffee

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Why I Stopped Drinking Coffee
Have you ever wondered how to stop drinking coffee? This post and podcast episode is my journey of why and how I did it, plus the unexpected results of how it really changed my health and life! {To see what I drink instead, check out my favorite Decaf Chai Latte recipe or this list of my favorite decaf teas to drink.} Any time I mention that I no longer drink coffee, I get so many questions on why and how I did this. I decided it was high time I write a post about my journey with quitting coffee! Why I stopped drinking coffee Let’s be clear. This is not something I ever wanted to do and I never ever dreamed I’d be a non-coffee drinker! {So there’s still hope for all you coffee drinkers out there who would like to try giving up caffeine but can’t imagine a world without your coffee!} I started working with a nutritionist in August 2016 in hopes of clearing up my eczema and acne, and one of the first things he told me was that I had to stop drinking coffee. I immediately replied to him and said, “Hold up. I’ll do anything else that you say, but I can not give up my coffee.” He told me to just give it a try, trust him, and see what happens. So I did (reluctantly). Giving up coffee wasn’t easy If you’ve ever wondered how to stop drinking coffee, I’m here to tell you that it was not easy. Prior to that I had been drinking two BIG cups of coffee every single day for a really long time — and even three cups on the really rough days. And let me tell you, it was really, really hard to think of giving it up. I ended up deciding to stop drinking coffee cold turkey, and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that method. I started drinking a gallon of water every day, and I was also doing a cleanse at the time — eating only greens and then slowly adding foods back in. The first 8 days were awful. I had a horrible headache and I craved coffee like crazy. I missed it SO much. Mostly, though, I missed the routine of my morning coffee. I had a ritual of getting up and pouring my cup of coffee, and I didn’t know what to do without that morning ritual. I really loved savoring my morning over a cup of coffee, and it was something that was really cathartic for me. Because I couldn’t drink coffee, I had a horrible headache and was extremely lethargic. All I wanted to do was sleep nonstop! I was sleeping about 10 hours every night in the beginning. (And this is a lot more than normal for me. I typically only need about 7 hours for a really good night’s rest.) But you know what was happening? My body was finally trying to get caught up on all the sleep I had missed! My body had become SO dependent on coffee for so many years. I didn’t even realize this until I stopped drinking coffee, but I had been masking my exhaustion and lack of energy with caffeine. How giving up coffee was life-changing for me I never imagined I’d learn how to stop drinking coffee, and it did take a few months for me to stop craving coffee. (And honestly, every once in a while — even after two years — I still crave it! But it’s not worth the headache I immediately get even if I just have a few drops of caffeine!) Over time, it got easier and easier, and I slowly started noticing significant health changes from not drinking coffee. And I learned I can actually survive without drinking coffee — something I never thought would be possible for me! Giving up coffee was a radical choice for me, but the radical results and changes were totally worth it: I finally felt rested. For the first time in months, I felt caught up on sleep. Because I was getting enough sleep every night, I wasn’t getting tired in the middle of the day! I felt happier. I had SO much more energy and was way less irritable. All around, I was just in a much better mood every day. It helped my anxiety. I didn’t realize giving up caffeine would help my anxiety, but this was a life-changing result I wasn’t expecting. I’ve now realized I am extremely sensitive to caffeine, and I can immediately feel the effects even if I have a tiny bit. Not drinking coffee has helped me feel calmer on a daily basis. It improved my overall health. This — combined with drinking more water and eating better — really helped improve my overall physical health. Also, it’s been really empowering for me to realize that I’m not dependent on coffee anymore and I have the energy to get through my days without it! What I drink instead Since the morning ritual was what I missed most about coffee, I had to replace those habits so that I could still enjoy waking up and savoring a hot beverage first thing in the morning. Because I’m highly sensitive to caffeine, I don’t drink caffeinated teas. So I’ve replaced my cup of coffee with a huge cup of strong herbal tea. I typically use two bags of tea so that it’s super strong, I add lots of cream (just like I did when I drank coffee), and I add honey to sweeten it. This strong cup of herbal tea with lots of cream and honey has become a great alternative for me without sacrificing my morning ritual. If you’re looking for some tea ideas, you can check out my favorite Decaf Chai Latte recipe or this list of my favorite decaf teas to drink. Listen to the Podcast on This Topic For more about how and why I stopped drinking coffee, listen to this week’s episode of The Crystal Paine Show. In This Episode:  [00:41] This is going to be a hot button episode – learn all about why I stopped drinking coffee! [01:44] Jesse and I chat about the Spartan Race the family ran. [05:54] Mint Majesty Tea is saving my life these last few weeks! [07:09] Check out The Only Plane in the Sky. I finished it this week and it was captivating. [10:10] So… why did I stop drinking coffee?  [12:49] What did it feel like to even think of giving up coffee?  [13:39] It was hard… awful… miserable… yep, all those things! [16:56] But I stuck with it — and I’m so grateful that I did!  [18:22] Jesse too has been focusing on drinking more water and it’s changed how his body reacts to caffeine. [19:23] I had no idea how much caffeine was affecting my sleep and my overall health. [23:11] Do I miss or crave coffee still?  [26:02] If you’re feeling tired or sluggish, here are some others options for a pick-me-up. [27:03] Learn more about my favorite coffee replacements! Links and Resources: Mint Majesty Tea The Only Plane in the Sky by Garrett Graff Dandy Blend with Morning Motivator Crystal’s Favorite Teas Teeccino Crystal’s Favorite Things on Amazon CrystalPaine.com MoneySavingMom.com Crystal’s Instagram account (I’d love for you to follow me there! I usually hop on at least a few times per day and share behind-the-scenes photos and videos, my grocery store hauls, funny stories, or just anything I’m pondering or would like your advice or feedback on!) Have feedback on the show or suggestions for future episodes or topics? Send me an email: crystal@moneysavingmom.com How to Listen to The Crystal Paine Show The podcast is available on iTunes, Android, Stitcher, and Spotify. You can listen online through the direct player we’ll include in the show notes of each episode. OR, a much easier way to listen is by subscribing to the podcast through a free podcast app on your phone. (Find instructions for how to subscribe to a podcast here.) Do you have any other tips on how to stop drinking coffee? I’d love for you to share them in the comments! [...]
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Target: Free Shipping On All Online Holiday Orders!

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Target: Free Shipping On All Online Holiday Orders!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Woohoo! Target is once again offering FREE shipping this holiday season! Starting November 1st, you’ll be able to get FREE shipping on any Target online orders — no minimum purchase required! (Go HERE for the press release!) No promo code is needed for this deal. Just buy anything online and you’ll get automatic FREE shipping — including Black Friday and holiday season purchases. This is a great deal, because you usually have to make a $25 minimum purchase in order to get free shipping. And not only that, many of the shipments will get to you as soon as the next day after your order is placed! Looks like lots of competition for Amazon again this holiday season. Valid through December 21, 2019. [...]
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HUGE Savings on Muck Boots = Boots as low as $39.99!

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HUGE Savings on Muck Boots = Boots as low as $39.99!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Love Muck boots? You can score up to 60% off right now! Right now, Zulily is having a huge sale on Muck Boots where you can score up to 60% off boots for the family! Check out these deals… Get these Kid’s Brown & Pink Rugged II Boots for only $39.99! Get these Women’s RealTree Camo Arctic Hunter Mid-Rise Boots for only $69.99! Get these Men’s Brown MK Woody Sport Country Boots for just $99.99! Get these Men’s Brown Muckster II Ankle Rain Boots for just $64.99! Shop the Muck boot sale here. Psst!! You may be able to score free shipping when you use the promo code JUST4YOU22 at checkout but please note that this code is not working for everyone. [...]
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You Could Save Money by Ditching These 9 Disposables and Buying Reusables

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You Could Save Money by Ditching These 9 Disposables and Buying Reusables
Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We provide you with accurate, reliable information. Learn more about how we make money and select our advertising partners. Saving the planet doesn’t always come cheap. Many of the disposable products we use and love are easy to buy at lower prices than their reusable counterparts. But the convenience of disposable products often comes at a steep cost to the environment. Plastic bags and straws pollute the ocean and end up being ingested by sea animals. Disposable diapers take hundreds of years to decompose in landfills. Reusable products often cost more up front, but you may be surprised to find out how soon they end up paying for themselves since you can use them again and again instead of buying more of the disposable versions. 9 Reusable Products That Will Save You Money Over Time We took nine household products, searched for both reusable and disposable versions on Amazon and compared the costs. Here’s how they stacked up. Editor’s note: The prices in this post are valid as of Sept. 23, 2019. Diapers Diaper prices can vary widely. For example, cheap (read: leaky) store-brand diapers cost just a few cents each, while Pampers can set you back $40 a week. The same is true of cloth diapers.  For this comparison, take a cloth diaper costing $4.50 and 16 disposable diapers at 28 cents each, and the cloth diaper has paid for itself after 16 diaper changes. Multiply that over two years of a child’s life before potty training, and there are major savings to be had by reusing cloth diapers — many of which have different settings that adjust to your baby’s growth. Dryer Balls If you’ve never heard of dryer balls, they’re little wool balls about the size of a tennis ball that you throw in your dryer with your wet laundry in place of fabric-softening dryer sheets. Because the wool can absorb some moisture from your clothes, manufacturers claim they cut down on energy use and drying time. They can also save you some pennies. A set of six reusable wool dryer balls costs $7.97, while a box of 240 disposable dryer sheets costs — wait for it — a buck more. This one’s a no-brainer. Feminine Products Listen up, gal pals. We’re here to tell you that you are not — we repeat, NOT — doomed to pay an exorbitant monthly fee for tampons and liners and pads (not to mention Midol) simply for the privilege of being female. With a box of 40 tampons costing $6.47 and 38 pads ringing in at $6.97 times every month of your adult life, it’s … a lot. So consider this: One pair of Thinx period underwear is $23, and a Diva cup is $24.48. K-Cups Did you even know there was a reusable alternative to those little pods of delectable, life-giving coffee? There totally is!  While a box of 40 Starbucks K-Cups will set you back $28.36 (OUCH), a set of four reusable pods that you just refill with your favorite ground coffee runs $9.95.  Paper Towels One cloth kitchen towel at $1.33 is only slightly more than the cost of one roll of paper towels at a cost of $1.10 per roll. Enough said. FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM Teaching Your Kids to Save: I am a Bit Confused (HELP) 10/10/19 @ 8:24 AM Traveling All 50 States On a Budget 10/9/19 @ 4:40 PM Acorns 8/14/19 @ 2:00 PM Saving money on pet meds 9/11/19 @ 11:41 AM See more in Save Money or ask a money question Razors Razors are synonymous with disposable. A box of 100 of the plastic ones: $17.90. A single chrome reusable safety razor (that will make you feel like Don Draper): $12.66. You do have to replace the blade on the reusable one. Don’t worry, they’re cheap. A box of 100 is about $7. Straws A stainless steel straw costing $.75, or $5.99 for a set of eight, is equal to the cost of about 19 disposable straws at 4 cents each. That means that after 19 uses, the reusable straw has essentially paid for itself — plus you’ve got seven more left over. Sandwich Bags This set of six reusable sandwich bags costs $9.99, while a box of 280 Ziploc bags runs about $8.38. Think about it this way: The first time you replace that box of disposable bags, you’ve nearly bought another whole set of the ones you could be reusing. Water Bottles One reusable water bottle costing $15.76 is equal to the cost of about 72 single-use water bottles at 22 cents each.  Translation: Refill your bottle 72 times and then you’re done paying for water entirely. That’s a considerable up-front cost, but these products — and really all reusable replacements — are all about long-term savings. Not to mention tossing a little less waste in the landfill. Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Senior editor Molly Moorhead contributed to this report. 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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Why Jesse and Kathrynne Went to South Africa

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Why Jesse and Kathrynne Went to South Africa
As a mom, there’s not much that warms your heart more than seeing your child find such fulfillment in loving on others. We usually go to South Africa every year to spend time with our friends there and to see the progress and work being done by Take Action Ministry — the ministry that is near and dear to our hearts and the one we are very involved with there. (If you’re interested in reading about previous trips, you can read more and see lots of pictures here.) I couldn’t go this year because of my pregnancy, but I got to send Jesse and Kathrynne instead and they had the absolute BEST time! I just couldn’t stop smiling as Jesse sent me pictures when they were there. To see my 14-year-old so happy and at home in the country that has stolen my heart made me beyond thrilled and proud as a parent. There’s a lot of things we’ve gotten wrong and are getting wrong as parents, but we will never regret the priority we’ve placed on travel and experiencing other countries and cultures. It has so profoundly impacted all of us for so much good. In this week’s episode of the podcast, I sat down with Jesse and Kathrynne and asked them to share about their trip. I loved getting to hear their perspective, what they experienced, and what they have learned from our time spent in South Africa. In This Episode:  [01:19] Jesse and Kathrynne share why they went to go to South Africa. [02:33] We all talk about what the flights to South Africa are like and the anxiety that sometimes has surrounded these long international flights. [08:03] Jesse chats about some of the highlights of this year’s trip and how the area has changed so much. [08:51] What does Take Action Ministry do at the centers and what is the purpose of these centers?  [13:06] Kathrynne shares her experience with the food prepared and served at the centers. [15:09] Hear about Kathrynne’s trip highlights. [18:14] What was different about this trip from the ones taken in the past? [20:32] We could just give them money, but going and being there is so much more impactful.  [22:50] How have these trips impacted Kathrynne’s and Jesse’s lives?  [27:45] Kathrynne ends the conversation with how appreciative she is for all of the opportunities she has in her life. Links and Resources: Take Action Ministry Take Action Donations Joint Aid Management Crystal’s Favorite Things on Amazon CrystalPaine.com MoneySavingMom.com Crystal’s Instagram account (I’d love for you to follow me there! I usually hop on at least a few times per day and share behind-the-scenes photos and videos, my grocery store hauls, funny stories, or just anything I’m pondering or would like your advice or feedback on!) Have feedback on the show or suggestions for future episodes or topics? Send me an email: crystal@moneysavingmom.com How to Listen to The Crystal Paine Show The podcast is available on iTunes, Android, Stitcher, and Spotify. You can listen online through the direct player we’ll include in the show notes of each episode. OR, a much easier way to listen is by subscribing to the podcast through a free podcast app on your phone. (Find instructions for how to subscribe to a podcast here.) Ready to dive in and listen? Hit the player above or search for “The Crystal Paine Show” on your favorite podcast app. Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission — at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support! [...]
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What has triggered the explosion of payments for order flow? Not Fidelity

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What has triggered the explosion of payments for order flow? Not Fidelity
The Robinhood effect popped up again, as Schwab slashed its stock commissions to zero and forced TD America, E-trade, Interactive Brokers, Ally Invest, and Fidelity to follow suit over the next few days. Schwab called this the zero commission brokerage war, on CNN. This war is just the beginning of a broader trend that will […] The post What has triggered the explosion of payments for order flow? Not Fidelity appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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9 of the Hottest Products on Amazon Today

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9 of the Hottest Products on Amazon Today
Whether you’re an impulse shopper or just like to be on top of the latest trends, you need to check out Amazon’s “Movers & Shakers” lists. These are the hottest items on Amazon right now, based on how much their sales rank has jumped compared with 24 hours earlier. According to Amazon: “For example, if a music item has a current sales rank of 10, but was ranked 30... [...]
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*HOT Clorox Wipes Deal | $10 Money Maker After Rebate!!

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*HOT Clorox Wipes Deal | $10 Money Maker After Rebate!!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. WHOA! If you’ve been needing to stock up on Clorox Wipes, this is a deal you don’t want to miss! Top Cash Back is offering a $14.65 rebate on any $11 or more Clorox Wipes purchased from Staples, making it FREE! But that’s not all! Right now when you sign up as a new member, you also get a $10 bonus! That means you’ll get back $24.65 when you purchase this slow cooker — which is a $10 money maker deal! Here’s how to get your FREE Clorox Wipes + Bonus $10: 1. Head here for the special Clorox Wipes offer and sign up for a new Top Cash Back account. 2. Spend at least $11 on Clorox Wipes. Select free in-store pickup at your local Staples to avoid shipping costs. 3. Within 21 days, your Top Cash Back account will be credited with $14.65 — so all you’ll pay is tax! Once your account is credited with the $14.65, you’ll immediately see the bonus $10 in your account, too! That means you should get $24.65 cash back total! 4. After you receive the $24.65 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 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 October 20, 2019 — or while supplies last. [...]
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How to Finally Break Free from Anxiety & Stress

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How to Finally Break Free from Anxiety & Stress
Need some practical encouragement to move past anxiety, stress, and survival mode? Longing for life of more wholeness? Don’t miss this episode with Aundi Kolber! Missed previous episodes of The Crystal Paine show? You can listen to them here. Okay, I know I’ve said this before about other episodes, but I truly think today’s episode was one of my very favorite podcast recordings to date! Maybe it had something to do with the fact that Aundi Kolber is a therapist and I felt like I got a therapy session just by spending an hour with her?! 🙂 Listen in to the episode and you’ll see what I mean. Aundi has a gift of sharing so eloquently and yet also in such a heartfelt manner. She just exudes such peace and calmness, but also such profound wisdom and understanding of how we are wired. In this episode, we not only talk about what’s saving our lives (I had to laugh that she talked about something related to brain science and I talk about leggings!) and the books we’re reading, but then we dive into some deep heart topics. She shares what it means to Try Softer (the title of her new book), the difference between Big T trauma and little t trauma and how we might be experiencing the aftershocks of little t trauma without even realizing it and this might be at the root of our stress, anxiety, and overwhelm. Aundi explains thoroughly how the body processes pain — whether physical or emotional. And she provides very concrete suggestions and ideas for how we can start to take steps toward more healing and wholeness. Whether you feel stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed or whether you know someone who does, this conversation is highly important and one that you do not want to miss. I have thought of it over and over again since we recorded last week and will be taking so many nuggets of truth from it to apply to my everyday life. In This Episode:  [00:25] Welcome back! I am so excited to have Aundi Kolber on the show! [01:06] Aundi shares about a little about her background and family [03:43] Meaningful walks are saving Aundi’s life — and the brain science she shares here is fascinating! And then, to keep things a little more down to earth (!), I talk about my new favorite leggings. [09:25] We discuss our current reads, including one written by a therapist and a novel I finished last week.  [13:08] Why did Aundi write Try Softer? (I loved that she wrote it as a love letter to her younger self!) [17:20] We talk about the stigma surrounding the word “trauma” and why it’s important to understand if you’ve experienced little t trauma. [19:27] How can you tell if you’re holding onto the pain of the past and how does it show up in your life? [23:50] What does it mean to “try softer” and how can we apply this in our every day lives? [27:37] Aundi shares practical first steps for beginning to break free from stress, anxiety, and survival mode — even if you feel so stuck and overwhelmed that you don’t know how to take the first step! Links and Resources: Try Softer by Aundi Kolber Aundi’s Website My New Favorite Leggings Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb (Note: Aundi wrote me a few days after the interview to say that she would give a language warning with this book. She said it didn’t show up until the later parts of the book which she hadn’t read yet when we did this interview.) Boundaries for Your Soul by Allison Cook and Kimberly Miller The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay Aundi on Facebook Aundi on Twitter Crystal’s Favorite Things on Amazon CrystalPaine.com MoneySavingMom.com Crystal’s Instagram account (I’d love for you to follow me there! I usually hop on at least a few times per day and share behind-the-scenes photos and videos, my grocery store hauls, funny stories, or just anything I’m pondering or would like your advice or feedback on!) Have feedback on the show or suggestions for future episodes or topics? Send me an email: crystal@moneysavingmom.com How to Listen to The Crystal Paine Show The podcast is available on iTunes, Android, Stitcher, and Spotify. You can listen online through the direct player we’ll include in the show notes of each episode. OR, a much easier way to listen is by subscribing to the podcast through a free podcast app on your phone. (Find instructions for how to subscribe to a podcast here.) Ready to dive in and listen? Hit the player above or search for “The Crystal Paine Show” on your favorite podcast app. Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission — at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support! [...]
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Smart Bricks meet Clicks & Voice – the Walmart Way

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Smart Bricks meet Clicks & Voice – the Walmart Way
PHYGITAL E-commerce giant Amazon is a big player in many markets. From e-commerce, cloud, delivery, entertainment, payments, smart home devices, and physical stores. Retail giant Walmart, not included in the FANGs or the GAFAs, as it is a native of another tribe (physical retailers), can actually stand respectfully next to Amazon and other large non-financials […] The post Smart Bricks meet Clicks & Voice – the Walmart Way appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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Life Update: Pregnancy (week 11) & a trip to South Africa & Herndon, VA

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Life Update: Pregnancy (week 11) & a trip to South Africa & Herndon, VA
Welcome to my weekly life update where I share about my pregnancy & give you a peek into our life this past week. If you want to follow a lot more behind-the-scenes and real-time updates every week, be sure to follow my stories and posts on Instagram. In case you missed last week’s update, check it out here. 11 weeks! I’m so excited to be getting close to the 2nd trimester! This week was a week full of ups and downs. I had some really bad days and two surprisingly decent days where I actually had a few short windows where I didn’t feel nauseous. It was the most incredible feeling and, even though it was short-lived, it was just the encouragement I needed after having a really rough and discouraging week last week nausea-wise. (By the way, it seems that most people have told me that their nausea is always worst in the mornings. For some reason, mine gets progressively worse as the day goes on. By bedtime, it’s at the severe level and often keeps me up for a few hours. I don’t have any explanation for this but it’s how it’s been in all my pregnancies so I guess it just is what it is!) HIGHLIGHTS: I had another doctor’s appointment this week and another ultrasound. Since Jesse and Kathrynne are in South Africa, I took Silas and Kaitlynn with me to the appointment. It was exciting for them to get to see our baby on the screen! Also, my doctor says the baby has grown quite a bit & everything is looking so healthy. NOTABLE: We had the NIPT test done this week. We opted to do it for a variety of reasons, even though it’s not 100% accurate. One exciting side benefit: we should be finding out what we’re having in the next two weeks! We haven’t decided whether we’ll be telling people or not. We didn’t find out with either of the girls but chose to find out with Silas and decided that we preferred finding out to being surprised. However, with Silas, we decided to keep it a secret from everyone, including our extended family. We may or may not do that again. WEIGHT GAIN: A total of 4 pounds so far… which means that I have officially outgrown a lot of my clothes. I ordered a few new tunic tops from Amazon and a few new pairs of leggings. I also went through my closet and pared it down to the looser-fitting tops/bottoms I already own that I can still into comfortably. I’m guessing I’ll be transitioning to maternity clothes sometime in the next 4-6 weeks. (If I remember right, I usually start wearing them around 17-20 week but I feel like my belly has popped faster this pregnancy!) A Peek Into Our Week A number of you have asked for me to post a picture of Quill (our pet hedgehog). He’s doing so well and has grown so big. A Trip to South Africa Jesse and Kathrynne flew to South Africa on Wednesday to visit our friends there and see how things were going with the ministry we support there. (We usually go every year and it’s one of my favorite places ever, but for some reason, I didn’t feel a peace about going this year. It didn’t make any sense at all, but I just felt strongly that I wasn’t supposed to go… little did I know that it was going to be because I was pregnant!) They’ve been sending me pictures of their time there and I am just so happy for them. Jesse said that Kathrynne is having the best time and it warms my mama heart so much to see my girl halfway around the world loving on these kids and teens. While they’ve been gone, we stayed busy back here. I got to interview Aundi Kolber for next week’s podcast episode. I can’t wait for you to listen to this episode; it is fantastic! (Also, we looked like we were dressed for a gender reveal party or something! I didn’t even realize it until I looked at the picture we took together after she left!) I also was so excited one morning to feel well enough to go to Kroger quickly and pick up their Friday-Saturday deals! A Trip to Herdon, VA And then Kaitlynn and Silas flew with me to Herdon, VA for me to speak at the 2:1 conference. (I usually only bring one child with me on speaking engagements, but since they were both on fall break and Jesse and Kathrynne were gone, they both got to come with me!) One of the highlights of the conference was getting to meet Janet Benge, who has co-authored so many of the Christian Heroes Then and Now books. I had to get a picture for my mom. I loved getting to do a breakout workshop about exploding your engagement on Instagram! The attendees were the best and I could have stayed for another hour or two and answered all the questions I didn’t get to answer during the session and at the end! One of my favorite things is getting to help others also fall in love with the power of Instagram. Speaking of which, are you following me on Instagram? If not, you’re missing out as I share lots of behind-the-scenes, money-saving deals, and real-time updates there… many that I never get space to share here on the blog! I also gave the morning keynote sharing how my parents impacted my life and the power of legacy. What I’m… Reading right now: The Only Plane in the Sky (Note: This has a little bit of language in it, but it is a very worthwhile read and I would highly recommend it.) Watching right now: Have you seen the Enneagram Rhapsody? Multiple sent it to me this week and I had to laugh because there was so much truth in it. If you are an Enneagram fan, you’ll probably love it, if you haven’t seen it yet. 🙂 Listening to right now: This week, I’ve been listening to the Serene and Pearl UnShow at night when I have trouble sleeping because of nausea. I love the Trim Healthy Mama podcast and their quirky sense of humor and the way they disagree with one another and tease one another. (A lot of people are annoyed with how they talk over each other on their podcast. I happen to love it — probably because I grew up in a large family and we are always talking over each other and teasing one another mercilessly!) Loving right now: This kimono (I have it on in the photo at the top of this post. It’s perfect to dress up an outfit, so comfortable, and is something I’ve worn multiple times in the last month!) What are YOU reading, watching, listening to, and loving right now? I’d love to hear! In Case You Missed It: Guess what? I actually went to Kroger! Jesse Answers Your Burning Questions 2019 Goals: September Update [...]
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5 Shrewd Secrets from Women Who’ve Fixed Credit, Paid Debt and Made Fortunes

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5 Shrewd Secrets from Women Who’ve Fixed Credit, Paid Debt and Made Fortunes
Looking for some advice when it comes to managing your money? We have stories from a former Merrill Lynch executive, a mom of nine who overcame a job layoff and a college grad who was able to pay off $100,000 worth of debt — then start her own business. They share their tips and secrets for financial success. You can even start using some of their strategies right now. Secret No. 1: Women Should Invest Differently Than Men Traditional investing companies have never really considered the fact that women statistically get paid less, yet live longer. That’s why Sallie Krawcheck, the former head of Merrill Lynch designed an investing company for women called Ellevest. With Ellevest, you can start investing with as little as $1. Plus, when you sign up through The Penny Hoarder, you’ll get a $25 bonus in your Ellevest account.* When you sign up, Ellevest will build an investing plan just for you and your financial goals. It considers gender pay differences, any potential career breaks and overall lifespan. Even better? It invests your money in women-owned businesses. Thanks to Krawcheck, we can invest exactly for our needs and feel more confident in our financial future. Secret No. 2: Be an Advocate For Yourself (and Your Credit Score) It’s easy to pass your credit score off as some silly three-digit number — that’s what most of us did throughout our early twenties anyways. But what happens when you want to buy a car? Or a house? That seemingly arbitrary number starts to play a huge role in your life. And here’s the unfortunate fact: You can do everything right, but if your credit report has an error (one in five reports do), it could be holding you back — for no good reason. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on things. Thankfully, a free website called Credit Sesame will give you your credit score for free and help you detect any errors on your report. If you find any, it will even help you dispute them. Salome Buitureria, a working mom in Louisiana, found a major error on her report — a supposed unpaid medical bill that had definitely been covered by Medicaid. Using Credit Sesame, Buitureria fixed the mistake and took additional steps to raise her credit score from 524 to nearly 700.**  Now? She’s focused on buying a home. It only takes about 90 seconds to sign up with Credit Sesame. Secret No. 3: You’re Not Stuck With Your Credit Card Debt Wanna know something? Even if you have loads of credit card debt right now, that doesn’t mean you’ll have it forever. Heck, that doesn’t even mean you’ll have it tomorrow. What? We’re serious. One of our favorite first steps in escaping credit card debt is to refinance it with a personal loan. It might sound counterintuitive — like you’re just moving your debt from your credit cards to a loan — but the truth is, this could lower your monthly payment, save you tons of money in interest over time, and allow you to pay off your debt faster.. If you’re not sure where to start looking, use a website called Fiona. It’ll match you with a low-interest loan (rates start at 3.84%). You can then use that loan to wipe out your credit card debt. Then you’re left with just one bill to pay every month. Pro Tip When shopping personal loans, look for interest rates lower than your credit cards’ and manageable monthly payments. Oh, and don’t take out more than need to pay off your credit cards. Fiona won’t make you stand in line or call a bank. And if you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free to check online. It takes just two minutes, and it could save you thousands of dollars. We chatted with one San Francisco resident who struggled to keep up with her credit card debt. She faced a minimum monthly payment of $274 plus $154 in monthly interest plus a $99 annual credit card fee. She said it felt like she was on a treadmill. She decided to refinance with a personal loan, which spared her from what would’ve been $14,000 in interest over time. Secret No. 4: You Can Leave Your Kids $1 Million for $5/Month If you have kids, you’ve probably worried about what’ll happen to them if something were to happen to you… For single mom Rebekah Pearsall, this was difficult to consider. “Since my son doesn’t have a biological father in his life, I wanted to make sure he was secure if something were to ever happen to me,” she said. That’s when she started looking into life insurance. Before you start thinking you don’t have the time or money for that, look into policies through a company called Bestow. It offers $1 million policies starting at only $5 a month. Your application shouldn’t take more than about five minutes. You can change or cancel your plan at any time. Plus, the security of knowing your family is taken care of is priceless. Pearsall had seen firsthand the benefits of life insurance; her childhood friend lost his dad and life insurance helped his family make it through that time financially. It takes only a few minutes to get a free quote. Secret No. 5: You Don’t Have to Have an MBA to Start a Business If you dream of starting a business, don’t let the fact that you don’t have a business degree from an Ivy League school hold you back. (Yeah, imposter syndrome is the worst.) We’ve talked to plenty of women who’ve successfully started businesses on their own. Here’s a story that really resonates with our frugal hearts: The Budget Mom. After graduating college, Kumiko Love had $100,000 worth of debt — student loans, credit cards and medical bills. All that good stuff. Still, she had trouble sticking to a budget. So she gave up. Then she started studying the psychology behind money and that gave her a renewed hope: She started viewing her situation through a positive lens. She combined several budgeting tactics and started logging her process through her blog, The Budget Mom. And guess what? Love is now debt free and she recently quit her full-time job to focus on her seven-figure business, The Budget Mom. *The Ellevest The Penny Hoarder promotional offer is valid for the first 1,000 new clients of Ellevest who enter through this designated landing page. Clients who enroll and fund their non-retirement account will receive $25 added to their highest priority goal in their Ellevest account. Clients who enroll and fund their retirement account will receive a $25 Amazon gift card which can be redeemed by visiting www.amazon.com. Please review Amazon.com Gift Card Terms and Conditions prior to redemption. Ellevest is not responsible for lost Amazon Gift Cards. Ellevest’s processing time for depositing $25 into a client’s Ellevest account or delivery of a $25 Amazon gift card may be up to 60 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. Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Survey: Lack of Financial Literacy Means Lower Incomes, Less Savings

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Survey: Lack of Financial Literacy Means Lower Incomes, Less Savings
Almost one quarter of Americans have no savings and even more — 40% — don’t keep a budget. One driving factor: a lack of financial literacy in the U.S., according to a survey by The Penny Hoarder. The problem, say experts from government organizations, advocacy groups and academia, comes from a lack of education on personal finance topics, beginning at home and continuing in school. “Parents will sooner talk about sex, drugs and alcohol than they would about money,” said Rob  Sansome, director of strategic initiatives at the Florida Prosperity Partnership, which partners with local organizations and agencies to promote economic stability. The survey also found that one-third of Americans while growing up did not discuss basic personal finance topics, such as credit scores, debt, being a smart shopper or opening a basic savings account. Only 13% of those surveyed talked about their own family’s financial situation. It’s like teaching a kid how to ride a bicycle. We didn’t get them a book on balance and motion, we put their butts on a bicycle and let them scrape their knees a little bit. The April 2019 survey of more than 1,500 adults underlines just how much early financial education impacts financial health in adulthood: 17% of those who discussed finances growing up have no savings at all. That figure balloons to 40% among those who had no early financial literacy. 18% of those who talked about money management at home report household income of less than $50,000. But for those who didn’t talk about money, almost a third — 31% — earn less than $50,000.  Here are some other survey highlights: 13% of those surveyed talked about their family’s finances while growing up. Only 20% of Americans learned about the importance of credit scores. 40% of Americans do not maintain a budget. 23% of Americans have no savings; 40% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings. So how did we get here? Financial Literacy Gap Widens Across Generations Teaching basic financial concepts to children leads to better money outcomes when they grow up. It’s a point experts can’t emphasize enough, but it’s easier said than done. Embarrassment is one of the main reasons parents struggle instilling financial literacy in their children. They might be embarrassed about their own finances and even bringing up the topic brings on pangs of regret. “I can’t tell my child not to go into debt without cursing myself because I’m in debt,” Sansome said. “It all comes together in this quiet, creeping lack of knowledge.” Another factor driving financial illiteracy, Sansome said, is our culture’s obsession with tackling debt versus saving in the first place. For example, if you turn on the TV you’re far more likely to be hit with a barrage of advertisements for loan refinancing services rather than budgeting apps. “I call it the Smokey Bear concept,” said Bill Mills, president and CEO of the Florida Prosperity Partnership. “We need to have a national campaign on the good of saving and not have it be perceived as spending’s stinky brother.” Further compounding the problem with saving, those who didn’t discuss personal finance topics while growing up are more likely to fall within a low-income stratum, according to The Penny Hoarder survey and an analysis of data Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Our survey found that nearly one-third of Americans who didn’t talk money management as children report household income of less than $50,000. That and other factors can lead some parents to question their own financial knowhow and whether they’re qualified to be passing on information to their kids, said DeAndrew Geels, a senior who works as a financial adviser at Texas Tech’s Red to Black financial literacy program. “Money is such a taboo topic,” he said. “It’s something you don’t really like to talk about, and that can be pretty harmful for everyone.” For one, it’s a factor driving the rise in student loan debt, which has soared past $1.5 trillion this year. Many parents and students don’t take the time to understand the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. The form determines whether a prospective student is eligible for financial aid.  Students or parents who miss FAFSA or other deadlines for financial aid awards leave free money on the table — and end up taking on debt to fill the void, said Erin Dunn, associate director of financial aid at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. “Students were coming in the door without ever being exposed to financial concepts, and it was a much bigger conversation than financial aid,” she said. The repercussions stretch into the retirement years. In 2000, 12% of Americans over the age of 64 — about 4.1 million workers — were in the labor force, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That number increased to  20%, or roughly 10.6 million people, this year. “People are very concerned about not having enough money for retirement and many people don’t,” said Helen Colby, assistant professor of marketing at Indiana University, who studies consumer financial decision making. FROM THE ANNOUNCEMENTS FORUM Some bittersweet news! 9/19/19 @ 11:42 PM This week in... The Penny Hoarder Community! 7/30/19 @ 3:26 PM This week in... The Penny Hoarder Community! 8/6/19 @ 2:47 PM New announcement: We've introduced a few new threads! 1/23/19 @ 5:32 PM See more in Announcements or ask a money question Financial Literacy Programs Can Help Break the Cycle There are hundreds of financial literacy programs run by nonprofit and educational groups throughout the country that are based on the FDIC’s MoneySmart program. The federal agency offers a guided online course that ends with a nifty certification.  In the 15 board game-style modules, the FDIC covers everything from making sure you get the best deal on a credit card to identity theft. And you can even order a physical copy for free. For those who aren’t into playing games, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau broadcasts free monthly webinars on personal finance topics. The agency also has a database of answers to questions its experts have been asked over the year, and you can ask your own if you don’t find what you’re looking for. Pro Tip When crafting a monthly budget, be as specific as possible. You’ll be surprised at how much more you spend than you think. Every cup of coffee counts. The Penny Hoarder Academy offers simple, easily digestible information on budgeting, credit scores, groceries and even homebuying if you’re that far along on your financial journey. College students who want to get out ahead of looming debt have some options right on campus. Dunn, from USF St. Pete’s financial aid office, recently launched AFLOAT, a campus financial advising program that has attracted freshmen interested in budgeting, juniors and seniors interested in learning about student loan payment options and post-graduates hoping to catch up on personal finance topics. Dozens of colleges have programs like USF’s AFLOAT and Texas Tech’s Red to Black available free to students. For many students, college is the first time they’re de [...]
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8 Ways to Snag Big Back-to-School Savings on Cellphones

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8 Ways to Snag Big Back-to-School Savings on Cellphones
This post comes from partner site WhistleOut.com. You don’t have to be a student to get in on great back-to-school cellphone savings. But you’ll need to act fast, because these amazing discounts won’t last long. By taking advantage of a buy one, get one free sale, you can potentially cut costs in half when purchasing a phone for yourself and the student in your life (or anyone... [...]
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Two live Blockchain use cases in Mutual Funds administration and four pilots

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Two live Blockchain use cases in Mutual Funds administration and four pilots
In Blockchain world everybody wants to be `the World`s first`. The term started being a must in white papers, now it is all over social media, with announcements about The World`s first tokenized equity The World`s first STO The World`s first regulated Crypto bank The World`s first Initial Wallet Offering The World`s first Regulated ATS […] The post Two live Blockchain use cases in Mutual Funds administration and four pilots appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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5 Reasons You Should Work for as Long as You Live

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5 Reasons You Should Work for as Long as You Live
dotshock / Shutterstock.com While countless workers dream of retirement, millions more have decided to work full time or part time after age 65: The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that by 2024, there will be more than 13 million working Americans ages 65 and older. A 2017 Gallup poll found that 74% of working Americans planned to work past retirement age. Working longer might be your best... [...]
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Checking vs. Savings Account: Here’s Exactly When to Use Each One

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Checking vs. Savings Account: Here’s Exactly When to Use Each One
When it comes to our finances, it can feel like our list of decisions is never-ending. Should I start saving for retirement now? How should I file my taxes this year? Do I need homeowners and flood insurance? To make any decision about money, it helps to have all the pertinent information. When deciding whether to open a checking or savings account, you should start by knowing how they differ. Checking vs. Savings Account: What Are the Differences? Here are the major differences between a checking vs. savings account to consider before depositing your money. How They’re Designed to Be Used A checking account is designed to store the money you plan to spend, while a savings account is meant to hold your money for a relatively long time. Checking Accounts Use the money in this account for small and/or everyday purchases, such as buying groceries, going to the movies and filling up your gas tank. Savings Accounts Ideally, you don’t spend this money in the short term. You’d use it to build an emergency fund for, say, unexpected house repairs, or save for something big, like a car, wedding, house or college. You don’t invest through a savings account, nor do you save for retirement here. You’ll want to open a separate retirement account to save for the future and invest. How to Access Your Money It’s typically easier to access your money through a checking account than it is through a savings account.  Checking Accounts You can spend or withdraw money in your checking account by: Using a debit card: Paying with a debit card is the same as paying with cash; the money is withdrawn directly from your checking account.  Writing a check: Although paying with paper checks is becoming less common, you can often make payments from your checking account with a check, too.  Withdrawing cash from an ATM.  Savings Accounts Accessing money in your savings is a bit more difficult than acquiring cash from your checking account. You can: Transfer money from your savings account to your checking account online: Even if your checking and savings accounts are at different banks or credit unions, it’s still possible to transfer money from one institution to another. Withdraw from your savings account at an ATM: Using your debit card, you can withdraw money from your savings account at an ATM if your accounts are at the same bank or credit union. Just select “savings” instead of “checking” when the ATM prompts you to choose which account to withdraw from. Withdrawal Limits Unlike checking accounts, savings accounts have limits on the number of withdrawals you can make. Checking Accounts Checking accounts don’t have limits on how often you can withdraw money. You should be able to do so as many times as you want per month, provided you don’t overdraw your account.  However, many accounts do have restrictions on how much you can withdraw from an ATM or spend with your debit card in a single day. These limits vary by banking institution and can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. Savings Accounts Federal law says you can only withdraw money six times per month from your savings account. However, this rule only applies to certain transactions, such as transferring money from your savings to your checking account and sending wire transfers to someone else. When you’re withdrawing money from your savings account at an ATM or your bank, the limit does not apply. Fees and Deposit Requirements Fees and minimum deposits for both checking and savings accounts vary by institution.   Checking Accounts Some institutions have a minimum deposit to open a checking account, usually ranging from $25 to $100. It is possible to find a bank that doesn’t have a minimum to open an account, though. Some banks and credit unions also charge monthly maintenance fees for checking accounts. However, if you also open a savings account with the same bank and/or maintain a minimum balance, many will let that monthly fee slide. There are a few other fees associated with a checking account. Depending on your circumstances, you may have to pay: Overdraft penalties.  Card replacement fines. Incoming/outgoing wire transfer fees. Out-of-network ATM fees if you withdraw cash from an ATM that isn’t operated by your bank. Savings Accounts Many banks have a minimum to open a savings account. They also sometimes charge a monthly fee, but as with a checking account, they might waive it if you meet certain criteria, such as maintaining a minimum balance and/or having another account with the bank. Remember the aforementioned limit of six withdrawals per month for saving accounts? Well, if you exceed that, you’re charged a fee. It’s usually under $15, but if this becomes a regular occurence, a bank may convert your savings account to a checking account. FROM THE BANKING FORUM Aspiration 4/30/19 @ 9:08 AM Best bank to use? 7/12/19 @ 10:52 AM Women's Month 3/11/19 @ 9:34 AM Home Equity Loans / Lines of Credit 7/3/19 @ 12:12 PM e See more in Banking or ask a money question Interest Savings accounts usually pay slightly higher interest rates compared with checking accounts. Checking Accounts Checking account interest rates are notoriously low, with a national average of 0.06% as of Aug. 12, 2019, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC). To clarify, that means you’d earn 6 cents per year on a $100 balance.  There are accounts that offer interest rates that are higher than the national average known as high-yield checking accounts. Usually, though, those interest rates are still minimal, so to find an account that offers higher interest rates, most people focus on savings accounts. Savings Accounts Savings accounts are known for having higher interest rates than checking accounts, but they still aren’t much: The national average is 0.09% as of Aug. 12, 2019, or a mere 9 cents per $100.  Because you theoretically leave money in a savings account for a long time, that money could build a decent amount of interest if you strategically choose a high-yield savings account.   Checking Accounts Savings Accounts Designed For Spending Saving for emergency funds or financial goals Accessibility Debit card Checks ATM Withdraw money at the bank Transfer funds to a checking account ATM Withdraw money at the bank Withdrawal Limits None Six times per month Fees Fee to open account (sometimes) Monthly maintenance fee (sometimes) Overdraft fee Card replacement fee Wire transfer fee Out-of-network ATM fee *some fees may be waived Fee to open account (sometimes) Monthly maintenance fee (sometimes) Withdrawal limit fee Out-of-network ATM fee *some fees may be waived Interest Minimal to non-existent; rates vary Higher than checking; rates vary Checking vs. Savings Account: Which Should You Open? Ideally, you would have both a checking and a savings account. In your checking account, you’d keep money for small or everyday purchases, while in your savings account, you’d store money for emergencies and short- or long-term goals. It’s worth considering whether you should open both accounts with the same bank or credit union. There are a few pros to keeping them at the same institution. For example, some places wi [...]
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7 Surprising Ways Retirees Waste Their Savings

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7 Surprising Ways Retirees Waste Their Savings
fizkes / Shutterstock.com Retirees usually have a limited amount of money to spend during their golden years. Unfortunately, some people make costly mistakes that can deplete their nest egg prematurely. From giving away cash indiscriminately to refusing to embrace lifestyle changes, here are some surprising ways retirees waste their hard-earned savings. The Only Retirement Guide You'll Ever Need... [...]
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Live in Seattle? See How Much Money Your Home Could Earn For You This Summer

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Live in Seattle? See How Much Money Your Home Could Earn For You This Summer
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. But if you’re willing to give it a shot, you could make some serious extra income. You can share a spare room — or list your entire place if you’re headed out of town. Yep. You’d basically be making money for going on vacation. Hollis Giammatteo, a writer and Airbnb Superhost in Seattle, has been listing her downstairs guest suite since 2015. She says it’s a great way to earn extra money — and to capitalize on living in a city that’s so popular with tourists. Seattle has come a long way from the slow-moving port and manufacturing town Giammatteo remembers it being when she first moved there in 1979. Today, it’s known for its big businesses and major tourist attractions — something she says works in her favor as an Airbnb host. With Pike Place Market, the Space Needle and professional sports galore, there’s always a demand for space. In fact, Seattle is a top summer travel destination, and there’s a shortage of hosts. If you’re starting to come around on the idea of becoming an Airbnb host, see how much money you could make by listing your place. How Much Could Your Place in Seattle Fetch? First things first: list your property on the Airbnb website. You’ll want to create a listing that stands out from others so potential guests will take notice. You can adjust or change your information and settings at any time, so you’re not committed to anything permanently. Yep. You’re not locked in. Try hosting and see if you like it — if you’re curious, it’s worth a shot. Use Airbnb’s price calculator to see how much money you could make in your area. We’ll walk you through the process with some insider tips from Giammatteo. How to Create the Best Airbnb Listing in Seattle The first step to becoming an Airbnb host is to check your local laws and prepare your space for guests. (We’ll get into that later.) We’ll show you everything you need to know to make your place stand out from others, with some added insight from Giammatteo. Answer Some Quick Questions About Your Space/Amenities To set up your listing, you’ll start by answering some basic questions, such as how many guests your space can accommodate and what amenities are included. It’s fine if you don’t have an entire house or apartment available for guests. You can rent out one floor or even just a room. Giammatteo has made her downstairs area available as a guest suite, which gives people the feeling of having a one-bedroom apartment to themselves. Set the Scene with Photos Put yourself in your guests’ shoes. What would you want to see in the photos of an Airbnb listing? The platform offers some basic photo tips, which include utilizing natural light, avoiding flash and shooting in landscape mode from the corners of rooms, so you add perspective. Of course, you’ll want to include pictures of the bedrooms, kitchen and backyard. But Giammatteo knows from experience that guests also like photos of items that may seem like small details but can actually be game changers. “Guests typically want to know about such amenities as washer/dryer, ironing board, Wi-Fi, parking,” she says. Think about the details that make your home inviting. Maybe you own a nice ironing board guests can use, or you boast both a drip coffee maker and a Keurig. Capture those amenities. People might not take the time to read about them, so providing pictures could capture guests’ attention. Write a Description Now that you’ve provided stellar images for potential guests, it’s time to describe your place. You’ll want to highlight what makes it unique. Do a little market research by browsing Superhosts’ listings in your area to see how they describe their places. (They’re Superhosts for a reason, right? Their descriptions draw guests to their homes!) Giammatteo’s main advice? “Never be too wordy.” She has a point — this is the internet, after all. People like to skim. In fact, in Giammatteo’s listing, her description is a mere two sentences. She explains how guests can relax and rejuvenate in various parts of the spacious suite. She’s obviously pinpointed her audience: people who want to take it easy on vacation. Another big tip? “Be as honest as possible about the glories, and limitations, of your space,” Giammatteo says. “Don’t oversell, and don’t omit.” If the master bedroom has a window with a great view of the Space Needle, let potential guests know. On the other hand, if sound carries throughout the house, give readers a heads up. You don’t want a negative experience to surprise them, resulting in a bad review. Giammatteo’s home was built in 1948, so there are lots of squeaks and creaks. She lets guests know ahead of time that they will hear her when she walks around upstairs. Name Your Listing “Like choosing a color for your new car, naming your space is a tortuous journey,” Giammatteo says. She’s right — naming your Airbnb listing might seem like a shallow detail. But it matters. When guests scroll through places to stay on Airbnb, the first details they see are the pictures and name of your property. The title should provide an accurate description of the space, catch people’s eye and draw them in. Giammatteo recommends combining information about both your listing’s location and atmosphere. Her accommodation is listed as “Secluded Spa Retreat with Woodland Garden Deck in Queen Anne.” “Our space was designed to be a sanctuary, really — to envelop guests in the comfort of high-quality materials, plentiful lighting and a spa/luxury bathroom,” says Giammatteo. Think about what type of traveller would enjoy your home. (You might better pick up on this once you have your first few guests.) Is it set in a quiet part of town where people won’t be disturbed? Is it in the middle of everything, perfect for thrill-seekers? Giammatteo also made sure to include Queen Anne in the name, because the neighborhood is walking distance from downtown and a prime spot for festivals and trendy shops. Think about what your home’s location offers guests. Is it close to a lot of high-end restaurants? Does it provide a view of Mount Rainier? Is it near a Light Link Rail stop or the Seattle Art Museum? Let your guests know. Set House Rules Airbnb has a set list of rules you can opt into if you’d like them included in your listing. A few of these include: suitable for pets, no smoking allowed, and no events or parties allowed. You also have the option to write in additional rules. Giammatteo sets pretty standard rules for her guests, such as banning smoking and requiring people clean up after their pets. Like many Seattleites, she takes recycling seriously, so she requires guests to read and follow her recycling instructions. Set Up Your Calendar You’ll arrange a calendar of when guests can stay at your listing. This step is important, because Airbnb will charge you a fee if you cancel after guests have booked time at your home. Here are some questions you’ll answer: How often do you want to have guests? How much notice do you need before a guest arrives? How far in advance can guests book? What time can guests check in? How long can guests stay? You can change your calendar settings down the road, so you aren’t married to the dates and times you set now. Price Your Space Airbnb has a Smart Pricing tool. If you choose to use this, Airbnb will automatically adjust your pricing based on demand. For example, if the system notices that a lot of music lovers are booking Seattle spots for Bumbershoot or tourists are flocking to town in August in attempts to avoid the rain, it will likely increase the price of your listing at these times. You can set a price minimum and maximum so your h [...]
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Here’s How a Health Savings Account Can Help You Save on Health Care Costs

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Here’s How a Health Savings Account Can Help You Save on Health Care Costs
When signing up for health insurance through your job, you may have been given the option of opening an HSA, or health savings account.  An HSA isn’t like a regular savings account. For one thing, there are a bunch of rules around how you can contribute and spend the money. But it can be a very useful and convenient way to set aside money for medical expenses while potentially saving you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in the long run. Here, we’ll explain how HSAs work and how they can benefit you. What Is an HSA?  The first thing you should know about an HSA is that you need to have an HDHP in order to qualify for one.  An HDHP stands for a high deductible health plan. With high-deductible plans, you generally pay less in premiums but have to meet a high annual deductible before your plan pays.  A deductible is the money you pay out-of-pocket before your insurance kicks in and starts providing certain benefits. Your premium is the monthly fee you pay to get health coverage. You can’t open a health savings account with just any health plan with a high deductible. According to the IRS, the deductible has to be no less than $1,350 for an individual or $2,700 for a family to qualify as a high deductible health plan in 2019. Those deductibles can go as high as $13,500 for a family. In addition, you can’t be enrolled in Medicare, have other health coverage or be claimed as a dependent on someone else’s tax return in order to be eligible to open an HSA. But if you do meet all those criteria, you’re in. So what’s the big deal about having an HSA anyway? The Benefits of an HSA A health savings account allows you to save money for various medical expenses without being taxed on that money. Any savings you don’t spend in a current year rolls over to the following year, and the money in your HSA stays with you even if you switch insurance plans, change jobs or retire. If you have this benefit through your job, your employer can direct a portion of your paycheck to your health savings account before taxes are taken out. If you make contributions to your HSA with income that’s already been taxed, you can deduct that money when filing your income taxes. “The advantage of contributing through payroll is you save not just federal and state income taxes but you also save on FICA taxes,” said Paul Fronstin, director of the health research and education program at the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Acronym alert: FICA stands for the Federal Insurance Contribution Act. Your FICA taxes are what you pay to fund Medicaid and Social Security. You also aren’t taxed when you spend HSA dollars, provided you’re spending the money on qualified medical expenses. The IRS has an entire list of qualified expenses, which includes things like: Deductibles Copayments Prescriptions Dental care Eye glasses Chiropractic care Breastfeeding supplies  You’ll usually receive a debit card or checks to spend your HSA money, but in some cases, you’ll have to pay out of pocket and get reimbursed later. When you spend money from your HSA, make sure to save receipts, your explanation of benefits forms or other types of documentation.  “You don’t have to send any documentation to your HSA provider,” Fronstin said. “The IRS requires that you have documentation, and if you get audited, you’re going to need that documentation.” Another benefit of having a health savings account is that you don’t have to pay taxes for any earnings from your account. “If you open an HSA, the money goes into a bank, and it earns interest like a bank account,” Fronstin said. “The interest rates are not high, but once you have a certain amount of money in your account… your HSA provider will likely permit you to invest that money in mutual funds.” Besides all those tax benefits, another upside of an HSA is that your employer — and other individuals — are allowed to contribute to your account. Can you say free money? The IRS does cap how much can be contributed to an HSA in a given year, though. In 2019, you can contribute up to $3,500 for individuals or $7,000 for families. If you’re 55 or older, you can contribute an additional $1,000. FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM Best ways to save money in shopping 7/23/19 @ 1:09 PM Free Food Giveaways - Do you participate 7/20/19 @ 12:07 PM Traveling 1/26/19 @ 9:01 PM S Summer Is Here: Is Your Electric Bill Affected by Running the AC? 7/17/19 @ 4:08 PM See more in Save Money or ask a money question The Challenges With HSAs One thing to keep in mind when you have an HSA is that you may be charged a fee to maintain your account. Also, if you use the money for something that’s not a qualified expense and you’re younger than 65, you’ll be taxed on it plus you’ll be hit with a 20% penalty.  After you reach age 65, you can use your HSA savings for nonmedical expenses without incurring a penalty, but you’ll still be taxed for it. Other challenges exist — not with having a health savings plan directly, but with having a high deductible health plan. Deciding which health insurance is right for you and your family is a personal decision, Fronstin said, and opting into a high deductible health plan won’t be the right choice for everyone.  Some people aren’t able to pay for health costs out of pocket before meeting their deductible and having insurance benefits kick in — resulting in people forgoing medical care to save money. High deductible health plans have also been criticized as being more for young, healthy people who don’t need much medical care. Standard preventive care, like getting your annual checkup, is generally covered under a high deductible health plan without having to reach your deductible. But patients who have ongoing medical needs could end up spending a lot of money before getting any benefit from their insurance. However, recent changes made by the federal government expanded the list of what’s considered preventive care and now includes 14 treatments, medications or devices for people with ongoing conditions like diabetes and heart disease. “These plans became a little more friendlier for people with chronic conditions,” Fronstin said. Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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These States’ Tax-Free Holidays Mean Big Savings on Back-to-School Shopping

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These States’ Tax-Free Holidays Mean Big Savings on Back-to-School Shopping
Back-to-school shopping may be exciting for the kids who’ll get new gear, but less so for the parents who have to pay for it all. The National Retail Federation estimates the average household with kids in elementary through high school is expected to spend about $697 on new clothes, shoes, electronics and school supplies in 2019.  Some shoppers will be able to find a little financial relief this summer as 16 states hold tax-free holidays during July and August, saving consumers from paying sales tax on certain school-related items. Now, you may not save a ton of money by shopping during tax-free holidays. For example, if you bought $500 worth of clothes, shoes and school supplies during Florida’s tax-free weekend in a county where the sales tax is 6%, you would save only $30. But what parent wouldn’t want to save 30 bucks?   And if you use the tax-free holidays in conjunction with smart comparison shopping and deal-stacking, you’ll save even more on your back-to-school supplies.   Some states’ tax-free holidays are held over a weekend, while others are a week long. Each state has different criteria for what merchandise won’t be taxed, and many states require the purchases to be under a certain price threshold. Tax-Free Weekends: When, Where and What The states that have back-to-school tax-free weekends (or weeks) this year are Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Alabama When: July 19-21 What is tax-free:  Clothing and shoes — $100 or less per item.  Books — $30 or less per item.  School supplies — $50 or less per item. Computers and related equipment — $750 or less per item.  Arkansas When: Aug. 3-4 What is tax-free: Clothing and shoes — less than $100 per item.  Clothing accessories — less than $50 per item. School supplies — no price threshold, but must be on a state-approved list. Connecticut When: Aug. 18-24 What is tax-free:  Clothing and shoes — less than $100 per item. Florida When: Aug. 2-6 What is tax-free:  Computers and certain electronics — $1,000 or less per item.  Clothing, accessories and shoes — $60 or less per item. School supplies — $15 or less per item. Iowa When: Aug. 2-3 What is tax-free:  Clothing and shoes — less than $100 per item. Maryland When: Aug. 11-17 What is tax-free:  Clothing and shoes — $100 or less per item. Bookbags/backpacks — the first $40 is tax-free. Massachusetts When: Aug. 17-18 What is tax-free:  Most consumer products — $2,500 or less per item. Clothing — Massachusetts does not charge any sales tax on clothes under $175 year round. Mississippi When: July 26-27 What is tax-free:  Clothing and shoes — less than $100 per item. Missouri When: Aug. 2-4 What is tax-free: Clothing and shoes — $100 or less per item. School supplies — $50 or less per purchase (exception: graphing calculators must be $150 or less). Computers and related equipment — $1,500 or less per item.  Computer software — $350 or less. FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM Summer Is Here: Is Your Electric Bill Affected by Running the AC? 7/17/19 @ 4:08 PM Do You Ever Pick up A Stray Penny? 2/7/19 @ 5:27 PM Do drive-in movie theaters save you money? 7/1/19 @ 7:38 PM What to buy (and not buy) from Fourth of July Sales 2019 6/27/19 @ 1:00 PM M See more in Save Money or ask a money question New Mexico When: Aug. 2-4 What is tax-free:  Clothing, accessories and shoes — less than $100 per item.  School supplies — less than $30 per item (exceptions: backpacks, maps and globes must be under $100 and calculators must be under $200). Computers — $1,000 or less per item.  Computer hardware — $500 or less per item. Ohio When: Aug. 2-4 What is tax-free:  Clothing and shoes — $75 or less per item. School supplies — $20 or less per item. School instructional materials — $20 or less per item. Oklahoma When: Aug. 2-4 What is tax-free:  Clothing and shoes — less than $100 per item.  South Carolina When: Aug. 2-4 What is tax-free: Clothing, accessories and shoes — no price threshold. School supplies — no price threshold. Computers and related equipment — no price threshold. Bedding, pillows, bath towels, wash cloths and shower curtains — no price threshold. Books and musical instruments — no price threshold (if they are for school assignments). Tennessee When: July 26-28 What is tax-free:  Clothing and shoes — $100 or less per item.  School supplies — $100 or less per item.  Computers — $1,500 or less per item. Texas When: Aug. 9-11 What is tax-free:  Clothing and shoes — less than $100 per item. School supplies — less than $100 per item. Virginia When: Aug. 2-4 What is tax-free:  Clothing and shoes — $100 or less per item. School supplies — $20 or less per item. 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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Live in San Diego? You Could Make Money With This Side Gig All Year Long

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Live in San Diego? You Could Make Money With This Side Gig All Year Long
So you live in San Diego, the land of beaches, beautiful weather and a bunch of tourist attractions. Have you thought about becoming an Airbnb host? In a region that’s so expensive to live in, home sharing can be a great way to supplement your income. Thousands of Airbnb hosts list places in and around San Diego, according to data from the home sharing platform. “There’s so much to do here — the beaches, the harbor, all the microbreweries. Within one hour from here, you could be in the mountains or the desert,” says JoAnn Jaffe, a 60-year-old Airbnb Superhost. “It’s just a great place to be. There’s always something going on here.” Between the beaches, attractions like SeaWorld San Diego, and annual events like San Diego Beer Week, there’s a demand for space year-round. If you’re curious to see how much money you could make by listing your San Diego space, use the Airbnb calculator: Then, follow our step-by-step guide to set up a listing in the San Diego area. How to Create the Best Airbnb Listing in San Diego Before becoming an Airbnb host, you’ll want to check your local laws and prepare your space for guests. (We’ll get into that later.) Creating a listing itself is simple, but you’ll want to put some thought into it, so your space stands out from all the others. We’ll walk you through the process, plus share some pro tips from Jaffe, a yoga instructor and nonprofit organizer who lists a three-room suite in her historic home near the San Diego Convention Center. She’s been hosting since 2014. Answer Some Quick Questions About Your Space/Amenities In this first part of setting up your listing, you’ll answer some basic questions about your space, which could be anything — an apartment, an extra bedroom or house, a campsite, yurt or even an RV, depending on your local laws. Basic questions in this section include the number of guests your space can accommodate and the included amenities. If you don’t have an entire place, list your spare room. Set the Scene With Photos With Airbnb listings, photos are everything. “Have a good photographer,” stresses Jaffe, whose listing highlights the beauty of her restored historic Victorian home and its remodeled kitchen. The platform offers some basic photo tips, which include utilizing natural light, avoiding flash, and shooting in landscape mode from the corners of rooms, so you add perspective. Think about what makes your space and your location appealing, and illustrate those elements through photos. You might also include photos of the surrounding neighborhood and nearby tourist attractions. If you’re near the beach or the San Diego Zoo or the Gaslamp Quarter, include a picture of that!  Write a Description Once you hook people with your photos, continue to lead them through your listing with the description. Here, you’ll be able to highlight what makes your space unique — in Jaffe’s case, it’s the historic nature of her home and the availability of a three-room suite.  If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at other Airbnb listings in your area to see what other hosts highlight. In San Diego, hosts’ listings often make a point of noting exactly where in San Diego they’re located. So you’ll see titles like “Small Room Gaslamp/SeaWorld” or “RV near Mission Bay.”  After you host several guests, you’ll get to know your audience, so you can lean into that.  Name Your Listing This might seem like a small task, but naming your listing is just as important as nailing your photos. Airbnb urges hosts to create a title that highlights what’s unique about the space. Jaffe’s listing is named “San Diego Historic Victorian Private 3-Room Suite,” which highlights the most appealing things about her property. A three-room suite isn’t always easy to find on Airbnb, and the historic nature of her home appeals to certain travelers. Set House Rules Airbnb has a set list of rules you can opt into if you’d like them included in your listing. A few of these include: suitable for pets, smoking not allowed and whether events or parties are allowed. You also have the option to write in additional rules. Jaffe, for example, prefers to be present when her guests first arrive. “I’ve chosen not to have anyone come here when I’m not here to greet them,” she says.  Set up Your Calendar Taking time to set up your calendar is important, because if you cancel on your guests, Airbnb will charge you a penalty fee. A few questions you’ll answer include: How often do you want to have guests? How much notice do you need before a guest arrives? When can guests check in? How far in advance can guests book? How long can guests stay? You’ll be able to adjust these settings as you go, so you can find out what works best for you. Price Your Space Airbnb has a Smart Pricing tool, which you can opt into to automatically adjust the price of your listing according to demand. For example, when the demand spikes during San Diego Beer Week every November, Airbnb will likely increase the price of your listing automatically. You can set price minimums and maximums, so your listing won’t dip below a certain amount or spike to something unrealistic. Although Airbnb will suggest these amounts when you’re signing up, Jaffe urges new hosts to do their own research. Here are a few tips to help you determine these numbers: Consider your expenses, i.e. utilities, cleaning and any maintenance requirements. Be realistic. Search other Airbnb listings in your area and price just below those. When you’re starting out, you’ll want to price your place lower, so you can get guests in and accumulate reviews, which will help increase bookings in the long run. Note Your Local Laws You’re almost done setting up your listing! Now Airbnb will remind you to familiarize yourself with your local laws. San Diego officials have long debated restricting short-term rentals in the city, but there currently are no clear restrictive rules. In the city of San Diego, you have to get a Transient Occupancy Registration Certificate, which you can do online. You also have to pay a 10.5% tax on your rental income, which Airbnb collects and remits on behalf of hosts. Also Consider… In addition to hosting laws, you’ll also want to check with your homeowners association or landlord to make sure short-term rentals are permitted. Also note that short-term rentals could invalidate some homeowner’s insurance, so check these policies with your provider. Airbnb also includes liability insurance for up to $1 million, but Jaffe suggests setting aside some money for damages.  As you start booking guests, you’ll also want to keep tabs on expenses and revenue for tax purposes. She also reminds hosts to take advantage of tax deductions. Because she has guests staying in her space, she can deduct many charges as business expenses, including utilities, furniture, home improvement, even electronics — basically anything guests will also benefit from or use. Listen to Feedback from Your Guests If there’s anything about your guests’ experience you need to improve, they’ll let you know. All you have to do is listen. “Guests would tell me things, and I would accommodate them,” Jaffe says. “Someone would say, ‘You need a hook for the towels right by the bath,’ or ‘You don’t have enough wine glasses.’ So I went out and bought wine glasses.”  “I didn’t take the comments personally. I used them to inform how I was going to be a good host.” Ready to Give This Whole Hosting Thing a Try? How are you feeling? Like we said, listing your place on Airbnb is simple — but it does require some creativity and strategy. The good news is you can adjust or change your information and settings at any time, so you’re not locked into anything permanently. Jaffe’s favorite part of hosting has been all the interesting people she’s met. “Everyone who comes here has been genu [...]
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