It’s Back!! Buy 2, Get 1 Free Books on Amazon {Includes Many of My Favorite Reads!}

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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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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5 Cellphone Plans That Come With Free Streaming TV

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5 Cellphone Plans That Come With Free Streaming TV
This post comes from partner site WhistleOut.com. All major carriers like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile now offer incredibly competitive unlimited data plans. In their effort to win your business, these carriers (and some smaller mobile companies) are now offering streaming service as a free perk for signing up for one of their unlimited plans. So, if you’re in the market for an... [...]
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2 Books I Read Last Week, 1 Book I Didn’t Finish (+ the classic movie we watched)

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2 Books I Read Last Week, 1 Book I Didn’t Finish (+ the classic movie we watched)
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Welcome to my weekly book update post where I share what books I read this past week + my honest thoughts and star ratings of them. A Word on My Star Ratings The star ratings I give the books I read are based on a 5-star rating system. I rarely will ever give a book a 1-star rating (maybe never?), because my philosophy is that if a book is only worthy of one star, I’m more than likely going to quit reading it. 🙂 In the same vein, you’ll also notice that I’ll rarely give a 5-star rating as I reserve those for only my very, very favorite books. Want to see all of the books I’ve read so far this year? Check out my Good Reads page. Here are the two books I finished last week… The Path Between Us: An Enneagram Journey to Healthy Relationships If you enjoy all things Enneagram, I definitely recommend this book. It’s an in-depth at each number on the Enneagram and how that number relates and differs with other numbers. I found it insightful, enlightening, and just downright interesting. And while I’d studied a lot about the Enneagram, I learned quite a few new things — especially when it comes to how to better relate with other numbers, communicate with them, and help them to feel seen and valued. It also definitely, definitely confirmed what I already knew to be true: I’m an Enneagram 8 through and through! Also, it sparked some great conversations between Jesse and me about how we interact, how certain things I do can make him want to shut down (he’s a 5), and how we’ve both grown so much healthier as people in the last 10 years. The only thing I will mention is that if you’re new to the Enneagram, I wouldn’t recommend starting with this book. Instead, I’d start with a book like, The Road Back to You. Verdict: 4 stars Building a Story Brand: Clarify Your Message I’ve been to one of Donald Miller’s Story Brand workshops before and it made an indelible mark on how I approach marketing and communication with customers in our business. This book was a good refresher to listen to. If you are a blogger, a business owner, an online entrepreneur, or have any say in the marketing or oversight of the company you work for, I would highly recommend this book. It will likely challenge the way you think when it comes to marketing and change the way you approach doing business. The best part is that this book gives you a really clear-cut action plan and walks you step-by-step through out to implement it. So you don’t just read about the great ideas; you actually know how to put them into practice in your business! Two things I did want to mention: 1) I think this book would be better to read a physical copy of than to listen to as it’s more hands-on and has projects for each chapter. 2) I was a little turned off by the multiple promotions for Story Brand products and services. I understand that the goal was likely to get people to want to invest into some of the higher priced products that Story Brand offers, but I found it to be a turn-off — and it almost merited me bumping the rating of the book down to 3 stars. Verdict: 4 stars Book I Didn’t Finish The Atomic City Girls — Unfortunately, this book was a big disappointment to me. I had high hopes for it, but within an hour or so of listening, I quickly discovered it seemed more focused on the romantic story and details of that than the actual historical details of Oak Ridge. Yes, there were some historical details, but the book continued to sound more and more like a soap opera or tabloid and started going into details about the character’s loves lives that felt too edgy/raunchy for me… so I ended up quitting it. Does anyone have a book to recommend about Oak Ridge that is interesting but also much more historically rich? Classic Movie We Watched Last Week The kids decided — all on their own — that they want to start watching one old classic movie per week together as a family in 2020. They are helping me choose the list of movies and I’ll be reporting here what we watch each week and their thoughts on it. I plan to do a big classic movie round-up post at the end of the year with their verdict on the best and favorites of the ones we watched. (Thank you for all the great suggestions for must-watch classic movies!) Last week, we watched the 1950’s Disney version of Treasure Island. Both girls had read this book in school, so they found that made the movie more interesting. It was a little slow and long (even though it was only 1 hour and 35 minutes, it felt long), but overall we mostly enjoyed it. I will say it’s probably been one of our least favorite classic movies so far. What did you read this past week? Any books you think I really need to add to my long to-read list?? [...]
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Pulling back the curtain to shine light on ‘scary’ insurance phrases

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Pulling back the curtain to shine light on ‘scary’ insurance phrases
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Here’s What It’s Like When a Hotel Switches Brands

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Here’s What It’s Like When a Hotel Switches Brands
The next time you check into a hotel, look around carefully. It is amazing the number of branded elements that are in guest rooms, public areas and even behind the scenes. But what is truly interesting to understand is the story about how those branding elements arrived there in the first place. When you reserve... Ramsey Qubein is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: travel@nerdwallet.com. The article Here’s What It’s Like When a Hotel Switches Brands originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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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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*HOT* FREE $10 purchase at Chewy after cash back!!

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

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5 Ways to Get a Free Smartphone This Month
This post comes from partner site WhistleOut.com. Get a free phone from your next mobile carrier! Sounds too good to be true, right? But it’s legitimate. One way that major mobile providers like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile woo you to their plans is by offering free or discounted phones to customers who switch to them from another carrier. Sometimes existing customers can qualify... [...]
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3 Books I Read Last Week + 1 Classic Movie Watched Watched

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3 Books I Read Last Week + 1 Classic Movie Watched Watched
Welcome to my weekly book update post where I share what books I read this past week + my honest thoughts and star ratings of them. A Word on My Star Ratings The star ratings I give the books I read are based on a 5-star rating system. I rarely will ever give a book a 1-star rating (maybe never?), because my philosophy is that if a book is only worthy of one star, I’m more than likely going to quit reading it. 🙂 In the same vein, you’ll also notice that I’ll rarely give a 5-star rating as I reserve those for only my very, very favorite books. Want to see all of the books I’ve read so far this year? Check out my Good Reads page. The Year of Less Full disclosure, I’d never heard of this book until I happened to see it on Libby. The subtitle (How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store) intrigued me so I downloaded it. I almost turned it off during the first few chapters, but I’m actually happy I went ahead and finished listening to it. Why? Because the author is so different than me and it was truly insightful to help me understand more what it’s like to be a spender or to have an addiction to shopping/spending. (I could not relate to most of any of her struggles, but it really gave me such a helpful look into what it’s like to feel such a need to shop/spend money.) The book shares a lot of the author’s story and background, so some people might not enjoy the memoir-ish parts of it if you’re just looking for practical advice and encouragement to live with less. However, if you enjoy reading about how someone is seeking to make radical changes in their life and the resulting struggles, temptations, and triumphs, this might be a good read. Verdict: 3 stars Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World This is a much more head-y and data-driven book that I usually enjoy. But I’m glad I listened to it because it made me think deeply about various aspects of my life. There are so many different things I could share from the book, but a few that really stood out to me were: The conversation about how birth order can affect whether you are a rebel or a conformist. The author’s insights on how procrastination can actually be a positive, helpful thing. (Yes, for real!) The section on how it’s important to produce a lot of work if you want to produce a few really great works. And the encouragement to acknowledge cynicism people would feel versus trying to pretend it doesn’t exist (this was in the context of a business pitch, but it could apply in many realms. Verdict: 3 stars Not So Perfect Mom A lot of this book was repeat material I’ve read/heard elsewhere, so I didn’t get many new insights from it. I also felt like it stayed rather surface-y in sections (which surprised me considering the author is a licensed counselor) and bordered on being a little legalistic in others. That said, I did appreciate the author’s insights on how a mother’s love can deeply affect her child in such positive ways. I also gleaned from her encouragement to really invest in your kids when they are little and how that impacts the rest of your child’s life. One of my favorite quotes was: “You cannot have lifelong, heart-connected relationship with someone if they feel like they are a failure when they are with you.” (Such a good reminder and it goes along with something I’ve been trying to practice in my parenting.) Verdict: 2 stars Classic Movie We Watched This Week The kids decided — all on their own — that they want to start watching one old classic movie per week together as a family in 2020. They are helping me choose the list of movies and I’ll be reporting here what we watch each week and their thoughts on it. I plan to do a big classic movie round-up post at the end of the year with their verdict on the best and favorites of the ones we watched. (Thank you for all the great suggestions for must-watch classic movies!) This week, we watched the original That Darn Cat movie. I had never heard of it, but a bunch of you recommended it, so I figured we’d give it a try. Now here’s the full disclosure on it: I fell asleep 20 minutes into the movie. Not because it was boring, but because I was exhausted. However, our kids + the 10-year-old girl we were fostering last week all enjoyed it. And the parts I saw had some genuinely funny moments. I want to watch the newer movie (well, after I go back and actually stay awake through the original one!), but I heard from some people that it wasn’t as good. Have you seen it? Would you recommend it? What did you read this past week? Any books you think I really need to add to my long to-read list?? [...]
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Sign up for the FREE 21 Days of Leggings Challenge!

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Sign up for the FREE 21 Days of Leggings Challenge!
I know, I know. Leggings can be a bit controversial. Some people love them, some people loathe them. Personally, I’m in the loving leggings camp — especially in my pregnancy. Truth be told, I’ve worn almost nothing but leggings and tunic type tops for the last 3 months! (Some of you probably just fell out of your chair in shock that I would be so boring or casual all the time!) I’ve found lots of cute ways to dress them up and dress them down, depending upon the occasion. And I don’t even think most people have noticed that I’ve been living in them for three months. 🙂 If you love leggings, but you’re looking for some cute ways to wear them, you’ll want to sign up for the 21 Days of Leggings Challenge. It’s FREE to join and you’ll get a PDF with lots of stylish ways to put together outfits. I love the Outfit Formulas from Get Your Pretty On. And I especially love that this PDF of Outfit Formulas combines two of my favorite things: leggings and FREE! Go sign up for the FREE 21 Days of Leggings Challenge here. By the way, you don’t have to commit to the 21-day challenge if you sign up (unless you want to, of course). But I promise it will inspire you with some fresh new ideas of ways to wear one of the comfiest types of pants ever created! [...]
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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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Get a FREE Target Baby Registry Gift Bag ($80+ value!)

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Get a FREE Target Baby Registry Gift Bag ($80+ value!)
If you are pregnant or adopting, you can get a FREE Target Baby Registry Gift Bag! I just got mine a few days ago and was so impressed with what was in it! Pregnant and adoptive mamas, don’t miss out on this really fantastic baby freebie! Get a FREE Target Baby Registry Gift Bag — full of coupons, samples, and freebies (an $80 value)! How to Get Your Free Target Baby Registry Gift Bag It’s so easy to get your free gift bag. Just go here and set up a free Target baby registry account. (Psst! You don’t even need to actually add things to your registry to qualify!) After you register, you’ll get a bar code you can print out and take to the customer service desk at your local Target to get your free Target Baby Registry Gift Bag. Note: My sister said you don’t even have to register. She said you can just go up to the customer service counter, tell them you are having a baby, and they’ll give you the gift sack. (If you’ve tried this and it worked for you, let us know!) What is in the Target Baby Registry Gift Bag I’m sure that the gift sacks vary some by store and by year, but here’s what was in my gift bag: Aveeno Baby Lotion sample Johnson’s Bath Wash sample Cocoa Butter Stretch Mark Cream sample Water Wipes Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow Bottle 2 Up & Up diaper samples (size 1) Aquaphor Baby sample Lansinoh Nursing Pad samples + Breastmilk Storage Bag samples Babyganics Lotion sample Avent Bottle Eucerin Eczema Relief sample NUK Pacifier Pampers Swaddler Diaper sample Honest Diaper & Wipe sample pack Also, you’ll get some great baby coupons to use at Target — my coupon book had a coupon for 50% off any drink at Starbucks! If you aren’t pregnant or adopting, but you know someone who is, be sure to share this post with them so they can get their free gift sack! Do you know of any other great baby freebies I should check out/sign up for? Let me know! [...]
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5 Books I Read This Past Week (+ 1 classic movie we watched)

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5 Books I Read This Past Week (+ 1 classic movie we watched)
Welcome to my weekly book update post where I share what books I read this past week + my honest thoughts and star ratings of them. Okay, I’m absolutely giddy to tell you that I finished 15+ books in January. Honestly, I am pretty shocked by this number! I think some of it has to do with setting weekly goals and some of it has to do with prioritizing audiobooks again (and the fact that they no longer make me nauseous now that I’m further along in my pregnancy, reading aloud again, and switching from being on my phone (answering comments/messages) while on the treadmill to reading/praying while on the treadmill. It seems like tiny tweaks and additions have added up to big results. And this is so encouraging to me. No promises that I’ll keep up this pace for the rest of the year! However, considering how full January has been, it seems like it truly might be possible to at least keep reading 2-3 books/week most weeks. We’ll see! If you want to see what I’m currently reading or what I’ve read so far this year, you can check out my GoodReads account. A Word on My Star Ratings The star ratings I give the books I read are based on a 5-star rating system. I rarely will ever give a book a 1-star rating (maybe never?), because my philosophy is that if a book is only worthy of one star, I’m more than likely going to quit reading it. 🙂 In the same vein, you’ll also notice that I’ll rarely give a 5-star rating as I reserve those for only my very, very favorite books. Before and After I was so excited about this book as it’s the real-life stories of the children who survived the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. (If you have read or listened to Before We Were Yours, you’re familiar with that heart-breaking story.) While I think these stories need to be told and while I found some of them fascinating, the book as a whole was a let down when compared to Before We Were Yours. Maybe it’s because I was expecting more cohesiveness in the book as opposed to a lot of individual stories with only what felt like a thin plot string holding them together. If you loved Before We Were Yours, you might enjoy this book for more real-life biography/backstory for the novel. However, if you’re only going to read one of the two books, definitely read Before We Were Yours. I decided to give this book 3 stars because 2 stars felt like I was doing a disservice to the families and children and lives that were wrecked by the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. But for the writing and overall level that the book engaged me, I’d probably only give it two stars. Verdict: 3 stars 100 Ways to Love Your Husband + 100 Ways to Love Your Wife If you are looking for some practical ideas and inspiration for ways to love your spouse, these small books are a great starting place. They are filled with 100 different ideas to speak love to your spouse. Now, I’ll say that not all of these ideas will work for every couple. There are some that would most definitely not really be our “thing” at all. But there were other ideas that I hadn’t thought of before that provided some highly motivating and inspiration sparks of inspiration for ways I can practically show Jesse love. If you need more encouragement, be sure to check out this week’s podcast episode with the authors, Matt and Lisa Jacobson! Verdict: 3 stars Live Love Now I was sent a pre-release copy of this book in order to write an endorsement. Rachel Macy Stafford’s books have deeply impacted me and it was an honor to get to write an endorsement for her. Here was what I wrote: If you are the parent or grandparent of a pre-teen or teen or if you have any interaction at all with teens or tweens, you need to read this book. It is packed with powerful reminders of how our words, actions, attitudes, and availability (or lack thereof), leave indelible marks on the next generation. I was inspired, convicted, and challenged by Rachel’s gentle message of how to guide, encourage, and impact young adults to live with less stress and more joy. And I took away so many practical applications I plan to immediately implement in our home and parenting. Note: I likely would have given this more than 3 stars, but I felt like the writing was a big choppy at times and it sometimes felt more like reading a collection of essays or blog posts. However, the underlying concepts in so many of the chapters were really, really good. Verdict: 3 stars The Whole-Brain Child This was, by far, my favorite book this week. I honestly cannot stop talking about it. Poor Jesse has had to listen to me rave again and again about it all week long! 🙂 This was highly recommended to by one of our kids’ counselors and and one of their therapists in the past few years and I finally read it. It is packed with great suggestions and strategies for helping our kids process the world, relate better with others, and feel more loved and secure. It is not written from a Christian perspective, but I found the sections on brain science to be fascinating and really enlightening. If you are a parent or work with kids in any capacity, I highly recommend this book to help you better love, understand, teach, and nurture the kids in your life. Note: I would have given it 5 stars, but I disagreed with some of the points (and felt a few were not entirely Biblical) so I only gave it a 4-star rating. Verdict: 4 stars Classic Movie We Watched This Week The kids decided — all on their own — that they want to start watching one old classic movie per week together as a family in 2020. They are helping me choose the list of movies and I’ll be reporting here what we watch each week and their thoughts on it. I plan to do a big classic movie round-up post at the end of the year with their verdict on the best and favorites of the ones we watched. (Thank you for all the great suggestions for must-watch classic movies!) This week, we watched the original Cheaper by the Dozen movie. I had seen it once before but it’s been a long time! While it’s a little slow moving and ends on a sad note, it has some genuinely funny moments throughout it. By the way, the movie is loosely based upon the real-life story as told in the book by the same name. I read it years and years ago and remember liking it. Have you read it before? I was wondering if it would be worth reading to the kids or not? I can’t remember it well enough now! What did you read this past week? Any books you think I really need to add to my long to-read list?? [...]
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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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My 5 Goals for This Week (and why I’m not setting very many goals)

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My 5 Goals for This Week (and why I’m not setting very many goals)
(By the way, I did, indeed, move the rug from in front of the toilet to in front of the sink. I thought that the hundreds of you who wrote in grossed out by this would be happy to hear that!) Last week was a really productive and great week. And I’m continuing to be so happy with my choice to set weekly goals instead of yearly goals in 2020. It seems like it’s keeping me a lot more accountable and making me more motivated! Here’s an update on how I did on my goals for last week… 2020: Week 4 — Goals Personal Goals 1. Get in 54,000 steps total. (I use the FitBit Ulta HR to track my steps every day.)  2. Finish reading 100 Ways to Love Your Husband, 100 Ways to Love Your Wife,The Whole-Brain Child, and Live Love Now. Finish listening to Before and After. 3. Get up at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. 4. Go to bed by 10 p.m. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. 5. Drink a gallon of water every day. (I almost hit this goal, but fell short a few days.) Home/Family Goals 6. Get new shower curtain, rug, and towels for upstairs bathroom. 7. Read 40 pages of Carry a Big Stick aloud as a family. 8. Get a crib and bedding. (I’m chipping away at my To Do Before Baby Comes list a little bit per week.) Work/Blog Goals 9. Finish chapter 2 and write chapter 3 of my manuscript. Word of the Year Goals 10. Pop popcorn and watch another classic movie as a family. 11. Take Kathrynne out on a date for her birthday. 12. Light candle and write notes to our Compassion children. I’m only setting 5 goals this week. We are doing respite care for another foster family this week so we’re hosting a sweet 10-year-old girl all week long, we have activities/commitments every night, Kathrynne turns 15, and I’m launching another 4-week Blog Coaching Group.  So I decided I’d be very realistic in my goal-setting for this week and not try to bite off more than I could chew! That’s the beauty of taking things week by week, isn’t it? 2020: Week 5 — Goals Personal Goals 1. Get in 54,000 steps total. (I use the FitBit Ulta HR to track my steps every day.)  2. Finish reading The Path Between Us and Not So Perfect Mom. Finish listening to Originals: How Non-Conformist Move the World. Home/Family Goals 3. Read 40 pages of Carry a Big Stick aloud as a family. Work/Blog Goals 4. Edit introduction through chapter 3 of my manuscript. Word of the Year Goals 5. Pop popcorn and watch another classic movie as a family. What are YOUR goals for this week? How did you do on last week’s goals? Tell us in the comments! [...]
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A Peek Into Our Week: Pregnancy update (week 26), bathroom redo, books, & romance

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A Peek Into Our Week: Pregnancy update (week 26), bathroom redo, books, & romance
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. 26 weeks!! This past week FLEW by and I can’t believe it’s time for another pregnancy picture and update. Highlights I’m continuing to feel so well overall. Yes, there are the normal uncomfortable parts and the fact that I have to lay down and rest/nap and move more slowly than my usual pace, but I cannot believe how well I’m doing compared to previous pregnancies! It just goes to show that prioritizing healthy food, sleep, hydration, and exercise really can make a difference! (It may also help that every day has a lot going on so I not have a lot of time to sit around and think about how I feel!) Notable My belly is definitely popping out more and the baby is kicking a lot stronger and harder these days! It’s still so surreal for me… but feeling the elbows and knees protruding out make it more and more real. Cravings My diet is pretty limited these days in order to avoid heartburn triggers, but some of my standby’s right now are cereal/milk, apples with peanut butter, and a big salad with chicken and hard boiled eggs. This basically makes up most of my eating right now — and I’m grateful that it tastes good, is nourishing, and doesn’t make me sick. Every day that I’m not experiencing extreme acid reflux like I did in my previous pregnancies is a gift. Weight gain: 18 pounds Check out my honest reviews on the 5 Books I Read This Past Week (+ 1 Classic Movie We Watched). Did you see how we spruced up our upstairs bathroom on a budget? See the before and after pictures here. The podcast episode this week on 10 Ways to Keep the Romance Alive was one of our most-downloaded episodes in a long time. Have you listened to it yet? [...]
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FREE Month of Disney Plus after cash back! {HOT}

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

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National Park Free Days: When to Plan Your Next Trip in 2020
If you’re already looking ahead to road trips or family vacations this year, here’s one way to do it on the cheap. While most of the 417 national parks in the U.S. are free to use anytime, 125 of them charge an entrance fee.  To encourage travelers and campers to visit new places, the National Park Service will waive these fees for five days in 2020: Jan. 20: Martin Luther King Jr. Day April 18: The first day of National Park Week August 25: National Park Service Birthday Sept. 26: National Public Lands Day Nov. 11: Veterans Day Some of the nation’s most popular parks are among those that normally charge a fee, making fee-free days an opportunity to see places like the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Death Valley and Crater Lake. Not the outdoorsy type? Even some national historic sites, like Vanderbilt Mansion in New York, are included. If you’re interested, you can find all participating parks by state or search through the full list of national parks, including those that are free anytime, to find one near you (or your next destination). Note: You may still encounter fees for things like camping, parking, reservations or concessions. The fees waived on fee-free days include entrance fees, commercial tour fees and transportation entrance fees. If you plan on camping, here are a few tips for camping on a budget. More Ways to Use National Parks for Free If you can’t make it to a national park on one of the fee-free days, you may be able to get free or discounted entrance to national parks year-round some other way. The National Parks Service offers an $80 annual pass that covers entrance to national parks, lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and other sites. Military members can get the annual pass for free. Through the national Every Kid in the Park program, fourth-graders can get a free annual pass for their families. Educators can also get involved through this program, obtaining free passes to take students on a national park field trip. Seniors age 62 and older can buy a lifetime pass for $80 or an annual pass for $20. Senior passes require proper documentation and may be purchased in person at a federal recreation site, online or through the mail. People with disabilities can get a free pass in person, or through the mail or online with a $10 processing fee. Both the senior pass and the access pass offer a 50% discount on some amenities like camping, swimming, boat launching and specialized interpretive services. Volunteer with participating federal agencies for at least 250 hours, and you’ll receive a free volunteer pass that is valid for 12 months. If you want to learn while you travel, you can apply for an Artist-in-Residence program with the National Park Service and stay at a participating park for free while you work on your next project. However you do it, consider including national parks or historic sites in your 2018 travel plans. For families — and curious travelers of all ages — it’s a fun, educational and affordable way to spend a vacation. With more than 400 to choose from, there’s probably one not far from you! 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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4 Books I Read This Past Week (+ the classic movie we watched)

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4 Books I Read This Past Week (+ the classic movie we watched)
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Welcome to my weekly book update post where I share what books I read this past week + my honest thoughts and star ratings of them. In 2020, I decided not to put together a list of all the books I plan to read like I did the past few years. In the spirit of keeping my goals smaller and in bite-sized chunks, I decided to just pick the next few books I’m planning to read instead of trying to sort of plan out the whole year! And then I’m planning to do a book update post every week or every other week here with reviews and thoughts on the books I finished. It’s very possible that some weeks I won’t finish any books, so I’m giving myself permission to skip a week here and there if I don’t have anything to report! 🙂 Full disclosure, I did pick out a bunch of books I really would love to read this year and put them on three of the shelves in our library. And I plan to mostly pick the books I’m reading next from those shelves. I also picked out about 25 books on parenting that I plan to read while I’m writing my book. (My manuscript is due in July 2020 and I am hopeful that I’ll be able to read one parenting book per week. I’ve been reading 1-2 chapters every morning on the treadmill while I’m walking and, at that rate, it’s pretty easy to get through a book per week. We’ll see if I can keep it up!) If you want to see what I’m currently reading or what I’ve read so far this year, you can check out my GoodReads account. A Word on My Star Ratings The star ratings I give the books I read are based on a 5-star rating system. I rarely will ever give a book a 1-star rating (maybe never?), because my philosophy is that if a book is only worthy of one star, I’m more than likely going to quit reading it. 🙂 In the same vein, you’ll also notice that I’ll rarely give a 5-star rating as I reserve those for only my very, very favorite books. Here are the books I finished last week: 1. An Invisible Thread This book was recommended to me twice in the same week by people I respect, so I figured I should get a copy and read it! An Invisible Thread is the story of a seeming chance meeting between an 11-year-old pan handler and a busy executive and how it changed both of their lives. This book is written from the perspective of the busy executive, Laura Schroff, and her thoughts on how this young boy impacted her life in ways she couldn’t have dreamed. I thought it did a good job of fleshing out some of the very real problems and struggles with children born into poverty. I think so many of us live very sheltered and safe lives that it’s hard to imagine what it would be like to grow up and never know where you’ll be living, to have to figure out how to fend for yourself from a young age, to always be hungry, and how hard it would be to break the cycles of poverty and drug addiction when that’s all you know. On the flip side, I cringed at some of the decisions Laura made and how hurt this young boy — often with her being completely oblivious. It made me examine my own life and thought processes over things and decisions, especially in light of fostering. One of the parts of the book that I didn’t expect was that it wasn’t wrapped up in a neat bow and it didn’t have a perfect Hallmark movie ending. But I appreciated that it was real and gritty and the author was honest about her struggles. That said, I felt like the author shared a lot more about her background and life than maybe was necessary and sometimes it felt more like her memoir than the story that is promised in the subtitle. In some ways, it felt like she was trying to fill a word count for her manuscript. And yet, some of her story was very interesting and insightful. Verdict: 3 stars 2. The Rock, The Road, and the Rabbi I had seen this book advertised or mentioned so many different places, but I had no idea what it was about. I was looking for some new books to listen to on my Libby audiobook app and it was available to borrow from the library, so I started listening to it. Honestly, it seemed a little dry in the beginning and the introduction was kind of long and drawn out. But I’m glad I kept listening, because I learned so much and it opened so many passages in Scripture in a new light. Kathie Lee Gifford shares her journey of traveling to Israel and learning under a Messianic Rabbi. He helped her write many parts of the book and, as someone who has read the Bible from cover to cover many times in my life, I couldn’t believe how much I learned. I think that it helped that I visited Israel a few years ago and had gone to many of the places mentioned in the book so I could picture them in my mind as I was listening. And it made me anxious to go back again!! If you haven’t been to Israel, I think you’ll still find this book insightful, it just might not come alive as much if you can’t picture the sites and places in your mind. (However, this book might make you really want to visit there!) Verdict: 4 stars 3. Parenting: 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family I can’t tell you how many times people have recommended this book to me! Since I’m working on a book on the topic of parenting right now, I figured I should really read it. It was interesting to me how much of the book mirrored some of the lessons and journey God has had me on as a parent in the last 3 years. Much of it was refresher type of encouragement, but it was so good to read. I appreciated the author’s strong emphasis on the Gospel as that is often missing in parenting books. It’s so easy to focus on prescriptive parenting tactics instead of getting to the heart — pointing our kids to Jesus. In addition, I loved the underlying message that we won’t doing this parenting thing perfectly and that’s the point. If we were perfect parents, we wouldn’t need Jesus! While I didn’t agree with every tiny little thing in the book and I truly was irritated by the layout of the book, I am very glad I read this and think it’s a worthwhile read for every Christian parent! (A note on the layout: I think it needed more spacing and better breaking up of paragraphs, maybe some callout quotes, and possibly a different font? Yes, I’m weird in that book layouts can really make or break my reading experience. I’ve even been known to not read a book just because I felt like the layout was so poorly done!) Verdict: 4 stars 4. A Single Shard We’ve had this book on our shelf for a few years and I finally picked it up to read aloud to the kids. It’s the fictional account of a master potter, a homeless boy, big dreams, dashed hopes (literally), and how perseverance pays off. Truth be told, I really enjoyed the story and found it pretty engaging (even though I had mostly guessed what the ending was going to be!),  but the kids didn’t enjoy it. They said it was hard to follow and not super engaging. I think some of the was likely due to the fact that we’ve gotten way out of the habit of reading aloud (should I confess that it’s been almost two years — I think! — since we’ve read a book other than a devotional or the Bible out loud together??) and it’s going to take some time to get back into it. I also think that they’ve changed so much in the few years since we stopped reading aloud, that it’s going to take some trial and error to figure out what kinds of books will engage them now that they are older. Regardless of it not being a big hit, I’m going to celebrate that we read it, finished it, and learned some things about potters and ancient pottery and 12th century Korea. That’s a win, right?? 🙂 Verdict: 3 stars Classic Movie We Wa [...]
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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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Ethereum Strikes Back

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Ethereum Strikes Back
Decentralized finance (DeFi) has literally exploded this year. 2020 is set to be even bigger. DeFi offers a unique way to earn interest on digital assets without a middleman taking a cut. Decentralized finance is evolving and Ethereum based DeFi is at the forefront. While several other smart contract platforms have been taking pot shots at Ethereum’s lead, none of Ethereum’s would be killers have been able to gain significant traction this year. When we look at the Ethereum ecosystem, 2019 was a year of continued growth and innovation.  Looking at the numbers: 80m+: Total Ethereum accounts 4 million: New active Ethereum addresses 4.7 million: Ether issued his year from block rewards. 8,516: Live Ethereum nodes 520: New decentralized applications in 2019 If you’ve have followed Ethereum’s narrative in 2019, you have likely noticed the growth of the Decentralized Finance ecosystem. DeFi brought in hundreds of millions of dollars in value into the Ethereum ecosystem. The first killer app for Ethereum was ICOs and raising money for cryptocurrency projects. The ICO was a revolutionary shift in fund raising, which drove a massive bull market. The ICO craze in 2017 raised billions of dollars, peaking in January 2018, and launched the programmable money race and the crypto app ecosystem, we have today. DeFi is Ethereum’s second killer app. In 2019, the DeFi was the most impactful trend in the crypto ecosystem. I expect that will continue to be the story in 2020, as DeFi could be worth $5 billion this year. The traditional banking system on the verge of collapse, interest rates are negative and people that save are penalized for putting money aside. The story use to be that when you would give your money to the bank, to keep it safe, the bank would lend it to others and charge them interest on the money they borrowed and in turn the bank would pay you interest for using your money, minus the cost of running the bank account. Well, DeFi lets people earn interest again, this time from their crypto assets. DeFi is an umbrella concept describing financial services built on top of public blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum. DeFi runs on trustless protocols, without the need for financial intermediaries. It lets individuals and businesses borrow, lend, trade, invest, exchange, hedge, and store crypto assets. DeFi includes things like Maker which is both a stablecoin and a collateralized lending system. Today, just about all DeFi projects are built on Ethereum, making it the gold standard for dApps. DeFi accounts for a substantial share of Ethereum’s ecosystem, with applications like: Lending: Dharma Lever, Compound, Celsius Network. Margin Trading: dYdX, Nuo Derivatives: dYdX, MARKET Protocol Tokenization: Abacus, Centrifuge, Harbor Insurance: CDx Prediction markets: Augur   Today most of these projects aren’t making money. For example MetaMask processes thousands of transactions every day, but doesn’t have a way to monetize. The way to measure DeFi’s growth is by the Ether (ETH) that’s locked in smart contracts. Currently it’s worth over $680 million (around 2.5 million ETH), with MakerDAO dominating across the major apps. This year several contenders have tried to unthrone Ethereum, like Waves, Cardano, EOS and Tron, but Ethereum’s, network effects and abundance of developers (Ethereum has 4x more developers than any other crypto ecosystem), make it very difficult for other smart contract platforms to sway away DeFi apps. What about Bitcoin, can DeFi be replicated on Bitcoin? DApps are possible on Bitcoin, but coding them is much more complicated, than on Ethereum. So far, Bitcoin’s most successful DeFi application is the Lightning Network. In 2019, the Lightning Network had impressive growth, with more than 6,000 active users and $6.2 million locked in the network. Other Bitcoin dApps are decentralized exchanges like Bisq or Sparkswap. Ethereum is growing and getting stronger. Network activity is up, development is on track, and DeFi is hitting record figures. The only thing not so positive, is Ethereum’s  price. You would expect the price to follow suit as DeFi has been growing and it probably will in 2020. With Ethereum becoming a programmable store of value, it’s well on track to find the niche that will fuel the next bull run. Because the last bull run was based on ICO speculation, some had written off Ethereum based finance. DeFi could provide a tangible value and an opportunity to build financial infrastructure that is open to everybody, and starts to change how we interact with markets. This is nothing to take lightly and I am excited to watch this growth and the applications that will develop in the coming months and years. Image Source Subscribe by email to join the other Fintech leaders who read our research daily to stay ahead of the curve. Check out our advisory services (how we pay for this free original research) The post Ethereum Strikes Back appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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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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3 FREE Things You Can Do This Weekend to Change Your Year

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3 FREE Things You Can Do This Weekend to Change Your Year
Want to set yourself up for success in 2020? Here are three things you can do this weekend to have a happier, healthier, and more joy-filled new year! Best of all, these are all free! It’s the first weekend of 2020! And it’s the perfect time to be intentional and strategic to set yourself up for success and peace this year! I’ve got three suggestions of things to do this weekend to help you have a better year… 1. Do a Budget Audit The new year is a great time to sit down with your budget and really analyze every penny you spend. If you are married and share the budget with someone else, be sure to do this as a joint audit! (Here’s a post on How to Have a Budget Meeting.) As you go through each budget category, ask yourself: Do we need to spend this? Is this budget category still serving us well? Is there a way we could decrease this expense category? Do we need to tweak this category at all? Jesse and I use the YNAB software to track our personal and business expenses. We love it and highly recommend it. It especially makes it easy to see all your expenses and income at a glance so you can easily do a budget audit together. Note: If you don’t have a zero-based budget in place, this weekend is the perfect weekend to set one up! I highly recommend reading The Total Money Makeover to help with this (your library should have it!). But for this weekend, you can start with this article on How to Make a Zero-Based Budget. 2. Declutter Your Space What areas of your home are particularly cluttered or disorganized right now? This weekend would be a great time to spend some clearing out the clutter and making more breathing room in your home. (Need some motivation on what you should declutter? Check out my post on 5 Questions to Ask Yourself About Clutter.) We’ve been working hard at decluttering our home from top to bottom this past week. We’ve been amazed at how much happier and simpler our life feels now that our closet and storage room and library are pared down and much more organized (pictures coming tomorrow to share the progress we’ve made this week! By the way, I highly recommend that you go ahead and get rid of what you declutter. Go drop it off at a donation center this weekend. No need to lug it around in the back of your car for weeks. Or worse, to have it sit by your back door for the next two months! While you’re decluttering your home, think of other areas you might need to declutter: Can you delete some emails from your inbox? Should you unsubscribe from email lists that are no longer serving you? What about Instagram accounts or Facebook Groups that aren’t bringing joy and life to your life? 3. Downsize Your Commitments Don’t just do a budget audit or declutter your home, if you want to have a great year, it’s time to take a hard look at your calendar and commitments and see if any of them need to be pared down, too. Look at your calendar for January. Does it feel overwhelming or doable? Does it feel life-giving or life-draining? Now take a hard look at the rest of the year and see how it feels. Are there weekly commitments you have that are sucking the life out of you? Are you doing anything just because you feel you have to or because you feel obligated to do so? Could you cut back, tweak, delegate, ask for some help, lower some expectations, or just say no to something (or many somethings) for 2020? There’s no point in running yourself ragged and not having any time to breathe and love the life and people right in front of you! There you have it. Three FREE things you can do this weekend to set yourself up for success this year! I challenge you to pick one (or ALL!) of these things and commit to making it happen this weekend. If you plan to do so, leave a comment below and let me know. Not only will it provide a little extra accountability for you, but I’d love to cheer you on in your endeavors! photo credit; credit; photo credit [...]
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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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*HOT* Get $10 worth of e.l.f. beauty products for FREE after rebate!

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

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Sign up for my free 5 Days to a Better Morning Challenge!
The year is almost coming to a close! If you want some help keeping tracking of your new goals for 2020, be sure to sign up for this challenge! We’re just a couple weeks away from 2020! Can you believe it? If you’re looking forward to 2020 and thinking about your intentions and goals, be sure to sign up for this completely FREE 5 Days to a Better Morning Challenge. I designed this to give you a sort of shot in the arm to help you thrive in 2020! When you sign up for this challenge, I’ll send you a short email every morning with a short motivational message and video from me plus a simple, practical strategy for you to implement immediately. Plus, you’ll also get access to an exclusive Facebook Group (this is optional; I know not everyone is on Facebook!) so you can engage with others who are going through this mini course and we can all keep each other accountable to follow through with our daily projects. >>Yes, I’m in! I want to take the 5 Days to a Better Morning Challenge.<< I can’t wait to cheer you on in this process! Here’s to an amazing new year! [...]
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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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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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Crystal’s 10 Favorite Black Friday Deals

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

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

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Stay In Other People’s Awesome Homes for Free With House-Sitting Gigs
Imagine sipping your morning coffee on a beautiful balcony looking out over the ocean. Later, you water the plants and clean up a bit before taking a dip in the pool. Oh, and you’re getting paid for taking care of this house!  It sounds too good to be true. Can you really find house-sitting jobs that pay? Yes and no. Yes, caretaking gigs that pay a salary or stipend in addition to providing you a place to stay do exist. But no, there aren’t many that fit the description above.  Most house-sitting opportunities fall into one of two categories: standard house-sitting gigs, or more demanding caretaking jobs. If you’re curious about getting free accommodation in interesting places (and maybe earning a little cash as well), here’s how to get started. Basic House-Sitting Jobs Many websites list house-sitting gigs, and a quick glance at the listings tells you right away that not many people are offering to pay their house sitters much — if anything. Normally, you get a nice place to stay, rent free. This might not sound like much of a money-making opportunity, but it depends on how you look at it. If your current lease is ending and you’ll get free rent somewhere for three months before moving into your next $1,000-per-month apartment, you’re $3,000 better off, right? Here are some of the online platforms where you can find the opportunities, along with their subscription rates: House Sitters America ($30 per year) Mind My House ($20 per year) Housecarers.com ($50 per year or free limited membership) Luxury House Sitting ($25 per year) Nomador ($89 per year or limited free membership) Some people make a lifestyle of house-sitting. Canadian couple Dalene & Peter Heck sold everything in 2009 to travel the world, staying in other people’s homes. Among other stays, they cared for homes in Honduras, France, Greenland, Tanzania and Namibia. After eight years of traveling, the couple settled back in Canada.  Sometimes you can get paid for basic house sitting. As House Sitters America explains: “The bottom line is it’s all negotiable between you and the homeowners. In most cases it’s just a straight swap; the house sitter cares for the house and pets in exchange for free accommodation… However there may be times when a homeowner will offer some money for the house sitting job.” The site offers examples of times a homeowner might pay you, including: When the house is in an undesirable location. For short sits (such as a few days). When there are many pets to care for. “Of course, there are also many professional house and pet sitters who actually do this for a living, and they will charge a fee for their services,” the site adds. How do these professionals get paid? Usually they offer a bit more than simply staying in the house and making sure no one breaks in.  Caretaking Jobs In general, you’ll get a stipend or salary if you’re doing more than just watching a home. In these cases, you’re more of a caretaker than a house-sitter. One of the best sources for these types of jobs is The Caretaker Gazette, which has been around for more than 35 years. They have the usual listings of free places to stay, but they also host advertisements from people who are willing to pay you. In their archives (which you can see for free) I found the following three examples in one issue: 1. In a small town in Alaska, someone was hiring a caretaker to manage a small store and two apartments and do monthly home heating oil deliveries. Pay: A small apartment with all bills covered, TV, Wi-Fi, salary (unspecified) and bonuses. 2. Near Colorado Springs, Colorado, an ad requested a couple or single person to care for a ranch with five horses. Pay: Salary (unspecified) and a furnished apartment. 3. An ad from Nassau, in the Bahamas, wanted a “house couple” to keep house, plan events, run errands and much more. Pay: A place to stay and “$100,000 to $120,000 per year.”  Clearly these are jobs, not just house-sitting, but they suggest the variety offerings found in the Caretaker Gazette. Of the 100 or so postings in that one issue of their newsletter, there were opportunities all over the U.S. as well as in a dozen other countries, including Peru, Australia and Iceland. Are You Qualified to House-Sit?  A good house-sitter is responsible, reliable and adaptable. If you’re looking to get more than just free accommodation, it helps to also have some mechanical skills. For example, more than one caretaking gig I found in my research required someone with basic plumbing skills, like being able to fix a leaking sink drain. You’ll have competition, by the way, even for the basic house-sitting jobs. At the moment Mind My House shows 302 active house-sitting assignments, but more than 4,300 “sitter available” listings.  In other words, clients get to be choosy, so experience is a plus. To build some, you might start by house-sitting for family and friends. Be sure to get glowing testimonials from them to add to your resume. 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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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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Are You Getting the Best Deal on Amazon? Here’s an Automatic Way to Check

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Are You Getting the Best Deal on Amazon? Here’s an Automatic Way to Check
If you shop on Amazon — and who doesn’t? — we’ve found an incredibly easy way you can automatically save yourself money. It’s called Wikibuy, and it’s available as a browser extension or as an app. Once you click a button to install it, it instantly becomes your own personal heat-seeking missile for savings. That’s why 3.9 million shoppers are using it, and that’s why it’s highly rated in the Chrome Web Store. What is Wikibuy? We Use it to Find The Best Deals When you shop around on Amazon, Wikibuy pops up and becomes an automatic price-comparison tool. If you’re checking out a product like, say, a wireless speaker, Wikibuy searches thousands of other sellers, including Walmart and eBay, looking for a better price. It takes into account shipping, sales tax and availability, including size and color. It also tries coupon codes. If you like what you see, click the “Continue to Wikibuy” button that shows up automatically on Amazon, and place your order. Wikibuy even predicts when your order will be delivered. It Works Even if You’re Not Shopping on Amazon Let’s say you’re not shopping on Amazon. Instead you’re shopping online on a different site, like Best Buy or Target. When it’s time to check out, Wikibuy automatically searches online for any coupons or promo codes or discounts that it can apply to your order. It compiles data it collects from its millions of Wikibuy users. If a promo code worked for another Wikibuy user who bought a product before you, Wikibuy copies that code to save you money. Honestly, This is One of The Easiest Ways to Save If you’re not accustomed to browser plug-ins, then don’t let the term scare you away. It’s easy to download the thing, and it just automatically runs on top of your browser when you’re shopping. Simple. Wikibuy is available on the browsers Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Firefox. It’s also available as an iPhone app. Wikibuy gets good reviews from users, mainly because it’s free, simple and automatic. The browser extension has a 5-star rating from 3.9 million users in the Google Play store. One final thing: You can also earn Wikibuy credits while you shop. You use those credits for gift cards. That’s just one more feature. Wikibuy’s main draw is the automatic savings. After a simple free install, see how it works for you. Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He’s turning into an Amazon guy. Wikibuy compensates us when you install Wikibuy using the links we provided. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Two insurance innovations roads to be taken- it’s not all tech

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Two insurance innovations roads to be taken- it’s not all tech
image The Innovation road diverged in an InsurTech wood, And while I wanted to travel both And be one searcher, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it was lost in unknown techo growth;   Then took the other, as just as fair, And an improving process that […] The post Two insurance innovations roads to be taken- it’s not all tech appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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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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JCPenney: Buy One, Get One Free Nike Shoes!

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JCPenney: Buy One, Get One Free Nike Shoes!
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Right now, you can score Buy One, Get One Free Nike Shoes at JCPenney! For a limited time, JCPenney has Nike shoes on sale Buy One, Get One Free! No promo code needed. Please note that this excludes sale and clearance shoes. Check out these deal ideas… Buy one pair of Nike Air Max Oketo Mens Running Shoes – $75 Buy one pair of Nike Run Swift Womens Running Shoes – $70 Total after Buy One Get One Free = $75 $37.50 each after sale Buy one pair of Nike Downshifter 9 Womens Running Shoes – $60 Buy one pair of Nike Flex Essential Womens Training Shoes – $60 Total after Buy One Get One Free = $60 $30 each after sale Buy one pair of Nike Zoom Rival Fly Womens Lace-up Running Shoes – $90 Buy one pair of Nike Zoom Winflo 6 Womens Running Shoes – $90 Total after Buy One, Get One Free = $90 $45 each after sale Choose free in-store pickup to avoid shipping costs. Thanks, Hip2Save! [...]
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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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Here’s a Legitimate Way to Get up to $5K in Free Cash When You Buy a House

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Here’s a Legitimate Way to Get up to $5K in Free Cash When You Buy a House
Are you thinking of buying a home? Maybe it’s time to stop renting and start owning — or you’re ready to trade in your current home for a bigger, better one in another location. If you’re ready to pursue the American dream of homeownership, there’s one important and surprising step you might want to take first — something you may not have thought of. You can actually get cash back on your home purchase — as much as $5,000. Unbelievable, huh? Normally when you think “cash back,” you think about getting a little bit of money back on your debit-card purchases or for certain items at the grocery store. Let’s think bigger — a lot bigger. We’ve found a rewards site called Cash Direct Club, and it’ll pay you some serious cash for major purchases. How to Get Paid Within 30 Days of Closing At first glance, Cash Direct Club appears to be similar to other cash-back sites. Namely, it allows you to get paid when you shop at more than 200 major online retailers. Look closer, though, and you’ll see a big difference. You can earn up to $5,000 if you buy a home through one of 20,000 top real estate agents across the U.S. in the club’s network. Trust us: It’s important to have a real estate agent you’re comfortable with, and that’s why this company has gone to great lengths to build a huge network of agents. It earns a commission for referring you — and shares it with you. “When you purchase a home, we then pass along part of those earnings to you as cash back,” the company says. “It’s that simple!” Here’s how to earn that $5,000 rebate when you buy a home: Fill out a quick and simple form on Cash Direct Club’s website.  Get matched with a real estate agent in your area.  Buy a house, and get paid within 30 days of closing. You’ll Find More Ways to Get Paid, Too If you want to buy a home, this looks like the best deal for you. Beyond that, you can keep earning by shopping (and saving) with Cash Direct Club. You’ll immediately earn $3 when you install its web browser button and another $3 if you download the app. You can also shop online directly through Cash Direct Club’s website, by clicking on the retailers listed there. And you’ll get a $20 bonus when you make your first purchase. Here’s what else it offers: Earn up to double cash back at many retailers when you spend at least $125 on a single purchase. Earn $100 cash back if you get a personal loan through the site. (Its partner lender offers loans of $1,000 to $50,000 for terms of three or five years.) Earn up to $10 when you refer a friend — $5 when they make their first purchase, and another $5 when they make a purchase of over $125. Now get house-hunting! Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He likes cash just as much as you do. 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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Senior Citizens Can Go to College for Free or Cheap in All 50 States

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

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My Favorite Thing About Fall — Clothes! #WearBlairWell
This is a sponsored post on behalf of Blair.  All opinions are my own. I don’t know about you, but I am thrilled fall is finally here!  No more scorching summer days, we are back to our routine, and the colors are gorgeous. But that is not all I love about fall. I love the ... Read More about My Favorite Thing About Fall — Clothes! #WearBlairWell The post My Favorite Thing About Fall — Clothes! #WearBlairWell appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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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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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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It’s Nearing the End of the Year. How Is Your Status Stacking Up?

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It’s Nearing the End of the Year. How Is Your Status Stacking Up?
If you’re a frequent traveler, it used to be an easy decision to go for status in an airline’s loyalty program. Status benefits were generous and not easily obtained by anyone who didn’t fly a lot. Domestic upgrades were more frequent because airlines had very high (and infrequently purchased) first class fares — and you... Caroline Lupini is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: travel@nerdwallet.com. The article It’s Nearing the End of the Year. How Is Your Status Stacking Up? originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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7 Debit Cards That’ll Give You Cash Back (and More!) for Swiping

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

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Free Bic Pens at Target, plus more!
Headed to Target this week? Pick up some free Bic Pens! You can score some great deals on Bic Pens and Pencils at Target! Here’s how: Buy 1 BIC Xtra Life Stic Pens 10 ct – as low as $0.99 Use $1/1 Bic Manufacturer’s Coupon Target Circle offer Free after coupon Buy 1 Bic Mechanical Pencil Packs – as low as $2.29 Use $2/1 Bic Pencils Manufacturer’s Coupon Target Circle offer $0.29 after coupon Thanks, Kosher On A Budget! [...]
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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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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