Make Your Money Work for You: The Ultimate Guide to Setting Financial Goals

Make Your Money Work for You: The Ultimate Guide to Setting Financial Goals

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Make Your Money Work for You: The Ultimate Guide to Setting Financial Goals
Saving money is all well and good in theory. It’s pretty hard to argue having more cash in your pocket could ever be a bad thing. But what are you saving for? After all, money is just a tool. If you don’t have solid financial goals, all those hoarded pennies might end up floating in limbo when they could be put to good use. Figuring out where your money should go might seem daunting, but it’s actually a lot of fun. You get to analyze your own priorities and decide exactly what you think you should do with your hard-earned cash. Talk about adulting, right? But to make the most of your money, follow a few best practices while setting your goals. After all, even if something seems like exactly what you want right now, it might not be in future-you’s best interest. And you’re playing the long game… that’s why they’re called goals! What to Do Before You Start Writing Your Financial Goals To keep yourself from deciding your financial goals are “buy the coolest toys and cars, get deeply into debt and watch my credit score plummet” — all super easy to do — we’ve compiled this guide. It’ll help you set goals and create smart priorities for your money. That way, however you decide to spend your truly discretionary income, you won’t leave the 10-years-from-now version of you in the lurch. First Things First: How Much Money Do You Have? You can’t decide on your short- or long-term financial goals if you don’t know how much money you have or where it’s going. And if you’re operating without a budget, it can be easy to run out of money well before you run out of expenses — even if you know exactly how much is in your paycheck. So sit down and take a good, hard look at all of your financial info. A ton of great digital apps can help you do this — here are our favorite budgeting apps — but it can be as simple as a spreadsheet or even a good, old-fashioned piece of paper. It just takes two steps: Figure out how much money you have. It might be in checking or savings accounts, including long-term accounts like IRAs. Or, it might be wrapped up in investments or physical assets, like your paid-off car. Assess any debts you have. Do you keep a revolving credit card balance? Do you pay a mortgage each month? Are your student loans still hanging around? Take the full amount of money you owe and subtract it from the total amount you have, which you discovered in step one. The difference between the two is your net worth. That’s the total amount of money you have to your name. If it seems like a lot, cool. Hang tight and don’t let it burn a hole in your pocket. We’re not done yet. If it seems like… not a lot, well, you’re about to fix that. Keep reading. Create a Budget Once you’ve learned your net worth, you need to start thinking about a working budget. This will essentially be a document with your total monthly income at the top and a list of all the expenses you need to pay for every month. And I do mean all of the expenses — that $4.99 recurring monthly payment for your student-discounted Spotify account definitely counts. Your expenses probably include rent, electricity, cable or internet, a cell phone plan, various insurance policies, groceries, gas and transportation; and other looser categories like charitable giving, entertainment and travel. Pro Tip Print out the last two or three months of statements from your credit and debit cards and categorize every expense. You can often find ways to save by discovering patterns in your spending habits. It’ll depend on your individual case — for instance, I totally have “wine” as a budget line item. See? It’s all about priorities. Start by listing how much you actually spent in each category last month. Subtract your total expenses from your total income. The difference should be equal to the amount of money left sitting in your bank account at month’s end. It’s also the money you can use toward your long-term financial goals. Want the number to be bigger? Go back through your budget and figure out where you can afford to make cuts. Maybe you can ditch the cable bill and decide between Netflix or Hulu, or replace one takeout lunch with a packed version. You don’t need to abandon the idea of having a life (and enjoying it), but there are ways to make budgetary adjustments that work for you. Set the numbers you’re willing to spend in each category, and stick to them. Congratulations. You’re in control of your money. Now you can figure out exactly what you want to do with it. How to Set Your Financial Goals Before you run off to the cool-expensive-stuff store, hold on a second. Your financial goals should be (mostly) in this order: Build an emergency fund. Pay down debt. Plan for retirement. Set short-term and long-term financial goals. We say “mostly” because it’s ultimately up to you to decide in which order you want to accomplish them. Many experts suggest making sure you have an emergency fund in place before aggressively going after your debt. But if you’re hemorrhaging money on sky-high interest charges, you might not have much expendable cash to put toward savings. That means you’ll pay the interest for a lot longer — and pay a lot more of it — if you wait to pay it down until you have a solid emergency fund saved up. 1. Build an Emergency Fund Finding money to sock away each month can be tough, but just starting with $10 or $25 of each paycheck can help. You can make the process a lot easier by automating your savings. Or you can have money from each paycheck automatically sent to a separate account you won’t touch. You also get to decide the size of your emergency fund, but a good rule of thumb is to accumulate three to six times the total of your monthly living expenses. Good thing your budget’s already set up so you know exactly what that number is, right? You might try to get away with a smaller emergency fund — even $1,000 is a better cushion than nothing. But if you lose your job, you still need to be able to eat and make rent. 2. Pay Down Debt Now, let’s move on to repaying debt. Why’s it so important, anyway? Because you’re hemorrhaging money on interest charges you could be applying toward your goals instead. So even though becoming debt-free seems like a big expense and sacrifice right now, you’re doing yourself a huge financial favor in the long run. There’s lots of great information out there about how to pay off debt, but it’s really a pretty simple operation: You need to put every single penny you can spare toward your debts until they disappear. One method is known as the debt avalanche method, which involves paying off debt with the highest interest rates first, thereby reducing the overall amount you’ll shell out for interest. For example, if you have a $1,500 revolving balance on a credit card with a 20% APR, it gets priority over your $14,000, 5%-interest car loan — even though the second number is so much bigger. Pro Tip If you’re motivated by quick wins, the debt snowball method may be a good fit for you. It involves paying off one loan balance at a time, starting with the smallest balance first. Make a list of your debts and (ideally) don’t spend any of your spare money on anything but paying them off until the number after every account reads “$0.” Trust me, the day when you become debt-free will be well worth the effort. As a bonus, if your credit score could be better, repaying revolving debt will also help you repair it — just in case some of your goals (like buying a home) depend upon your credit report not sucking. 3. Plan for Retirement All right, you’re all set in case of an emergency and you’re living debt-free. Congratulations! We’re almost done with the hard part, I promise. But there’s one more very important long-term financial goal you most definitely want to keep in mind: retirement. Did you know almost half of Americans have absolutely nothing saved so they can one day clock out for the very last time? And the trouble isn’t brand-new: We’ve been bad enough at saving for retirement over the past few decades that 20% of today’s seniors can’t afford to retire. If you ever want to stop working, you need to save up the money you’ll use for your living expenses. And you need to start now, while compound interest is still on your side. The younger you are, the more time you have to watch those pennies grow, but don’t fret if you got a late start — here’s how to save for retirement in your 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s. If your job offers a 401(k) plan, take advantage of it — especially if your employer will match your contributions! Trust me, the sting of losing a percentage of your paycheck will hurt way less than having to work into your golden years. Ideally, you’ll want to find other ways to save for retirement, too. Look into individual retirement arrangements (IRAs) and figure out how much you need to contribute to meet your retirement goals. Future you will thank you. Heartily. From a hammock. 4. Set Short-Term and Long-Term Financial Goals (the Fun Part!) Is everything in order? Amazing! You’re in awesome financial shape — and you’ve made it to the fun part of this post. Consider the funds you have left — and those you’ll continue to earn — after taking care of all the financial goals above. Now think: What do you want to do with your money? What experiences or things can your money buy to significantly increase your quality of life and happiness? You might plan to travel more, take time off work to spend with family or drive the hottest new Porsche. Maybe you want to have a six-course meal at the finest restaurant in the world or work your way through an extensive list of exotic and expensive wines. (OK, I’ll stop projecting.) No matter your goals, it’s helpful to categorize them by how long they’ll take to save for. Make a list of the goals you want to achieve with your money and which category they fall into. Then you can figure out how to prioritize your savings for each objective. For example, some of my goals have included: Short-term financial goal: Save spending money for a trip overseas. Medium-term financial goal: Pay off my car within a year, or sell it — and its onerous loan — and buy an older car I can own free and clear. Long-term financial goal: Buy a house I can use as a home base and increase my income by renting it out while I travel. This will probably take me through the rest of my 20s. By writing down my short- and long-term financial goals and approximately how long I expect it will take to achieve each, I can figure out what to research and how aggressively I need to plan for each goal. It also offers me the opportunity to see what I prioritize — and to revise those priorities if I see fit. I’m happy to see my goals revolve around gaining new experiences and increasing my financial freedom, rather than buying fancy-but-expendable new stuff. You get to figure out what makes you happy to spend your money on… which is figuring out what kind of person you want to be. Told you this was gonna be fun. Jamie Cattanach (@jamiecattanach) has written for VinePair, SELF, Ms. Magazine, Roads & Kingdoms, The Write Life, Barclaycard’s Travel Blog, Santander Bank’s Prosper and Thrive and other outlets. Her writing focuses on food, wine, travel and frugality. 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 10 Golden Rules of Retiring Rich

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The 10 Golden Rules of Retiring Rich
Think retiring rich is out of reach for most people? With a little planning and self-discipline, you can be rich before you know it. Follow these golden rules and watch your nest egg grow: The formula for retiring rich starts with putting money in the bank. Social Security benefits alone won’t be enough to live the good life during your golden years. Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson... [...]
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How to Request Missing Radisson Rewards

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How to Request Missing Radisson Rewards
Radisson Rewards can deliver a lot of value for those looking to score free nights, especially for travelers to destinations outside the United States. With over 1,100 properties worldwide, Radisson Rewards is one of the best rewards programs for earning free nights. Free night redemptions start as low as 9,000 points per night for a... Ramsey Qubein is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: travel@nerdwallet.com. The article How to Request Missing Radisson Rewards originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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This Week’s Goals (+ an update on Flu B)

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This Week’s Goals (+ an update on Flu B)
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Whew! So last week was nothing like what I had anticipated going into it. I had looked at the calendar and had seen that we actually had three free evenings — which was a big deal as we rarely have more than two free evenings per week. So I had expected it would probably be a little bit quieter and slower-paced week. Little did I know that all three kids would come down with Flu B and we would be completely quarantined, cancel everything, have no one come over, and stay home from for an entire week (Tuesday through Monday)!! I cannot recall any time in recent history that this has ever happened and it was so weird to just have all of us home all day every single day with no one even coming over to our house! (Other than two trips to the doctor and Jesse running out to the store a few times.) The kids’ attitudes through all of this were so incredible. They felt awful and usually had high fevers (102-104), but they were still their funny, witty selves. Since I couldn’t be around them, we Face-timed or texted and they were constantly making me laugh with their comebacks and the funny memes they sent. While I never got full-blown Flu B, I did feel yucky for at least 5 days, so I took it very, very easy, rested a lot, and generally just focused on staying healthy. I did work on my book some, get caught up on email, read some, walk on the treadmill, and watch quite a few shows. But that was about it! I’m so grateful that I am feeling so much more energetic and back to normal today and that we have two kids who are doing a lot better and one who is doing somewhat better. I’m hoping (maybe) everyone will be completely healthy by Thursday. We’ll see! Here’s an update on my goals for last week + this week’s goals: Last Week’s Goals: 2020 — Week 6 Personal Goals 1. Get in 54,000 steps total. (I use the FitBit Ulta HR to track my steps every day.) (As mentioned above, since I wasn’t feeling that great much of this past week, I spent a lot of time resting! I did walk on the treadmill 6 days, but that was the extent of most of my walking!) 2. Finish reading Counterfeit Gods. Listen to Eat That Frog! and Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids. 3. Go to bed by 10:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Home/Family Goals 4. Read 30 more pages of Carry a Big Stick aloud as a family. 5. Research strollers, baby carriers, and car seats. Decide what we’re going to purchase. 6. Complete 4-hour Foster Care Training. (We had to cancel this because the kids all had the flu and I wasn’t feeling that great.) Work/Blog Goals 7. Finish editing chapters 1-3 and finish the rough draft of chapter 4 of my manuscript. Word of the Year Goals 8. Pop popcorn and watch another classic movie as a family. 9. Go to a movie with Jesse. (Since the kids were sick and I wasn’t feeling well, we didn’t get out to go to a movie, but we did catch up on multiple episodes of This is Us together.) This Week’s Goals: 2020– Week 7 Personal Goals 1. Get in 54,000 steps total. (I use the FitBit Ulta HR to track my steps every day.)  2. Read Raising Worry-Free Girls, I Choose Brave, and Get Your Life Back. Listen to Things You Save in a Fire. 3. Go to bed by 10:30 p.m. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Home/Family Goals 4. Read 30 more pages of Carry a Big Stick aloud as a family. 5. Clean and disinfect the house from flu germs (as soon as the kids are fever-free!). Work/Blog Goals 6. Finish the rough draft of chapter 5 of my manuscript. Word of the Year Goals 7. Pop popcorn and watch another classic movie as a family. 8. Go out to dinner with Jesse. (If everyone is well!) 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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Life update: Pregnancy (week 29) + our brand-new hedgehog!

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Life update: Pregnancy (week 29) + our brand-new hedgehog!
29 weeks!! And what a week it’s been! Highlights Well, this week has definitely been different than what I anticipated! Silas woke up with a high fever on Tuesday morning and all three kids ended up coming down with Flu B over the next two days. So we’ve been quarantined at home all week and Jesse has been playing round-the-clock nurse to all three kids. He’s been a saint and it’s been so hard for me to not be able to help do much to take care of the kids (it’s dangerous for a pregnant woman to get the flu). The kids have never all been this sick at the same time, but they’ve been such troopers. Jesse has them on this regimen of elderberry, vitamins, homeopathics, and baking soda baths + lots of fluids/rest + Tylenol/Motrin every time their fever spikes. They’ve all had such good attitudes despite being miserable. We’re so hopeful that they only have a few more days of fevers before this runs its course. So none of that was about highlights or pregnancy, but it’s where we are at this week. That said, the highlight has been that I only got a touch of a fever and between rest, fluids, and elderberry, I seem to be dodging the flu bullet so far. And also, I am SO grateful that Jesse has stayed well! Notable The baby has had the hiccups multiple times this week. I kept waiting for it to happen because I remember all my other babies often having them! Also, the movements are getting more pronounced and it seems like there’s constantly some baby body part poking out underneath my skin. It has made it that much more real and helped me connect with this child even moreso. Cravings Um, should I admit that almost all I’ve been craving is cheeseburgers?? I have no idea where *that* came from, but Jesse ran to Burger King last night because the cravings were getting pretty ridiculous and for some reason I really wanted a Burger King cheeseburger. Here’s the crazy thing: I don’t even know if I’ve ever had one before. I can’t even remember ever going to BK in the last decade, but man, the cheeseburgers (yes, I ate two!) tasted SO good!! Weight gain: 21 pounds Meet the newest member of the Paine family – Theodore Quiller. (AKA Theo.) We’ve taken at least 90 videos/pictures of him since we got him and he’s so active that he was basically a blur in most of them. So this was the best we got! We already love him so much and are excited to have another hedgehog again! (Theo’s middle name is in honor of Quill, our first hedgehog who died in December from Wobbly Hedgehog Disease.) [...]
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The Digital Wallets of the Future: Money and Identity

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The Digital Wallets of the Future: Money and Identity
Cryptocurrency wallets have been closely linked to other transactional services. A digital wallet refers to an electronic device or online service that allows someone to make electronic transactions. Usually they are bundled with other services, like exchanges (Coinbase, Binance), physical devices (Trezor, Ledger), or other services (Casa). What if cryptocurrency wallets weren’t just about storing digital assets, but were about identity, serving as a single passport to both the physical and digital world? Ilias Louis Hatzis is the Founder at Mercato Blockchain Corporation AG and a weekly columnist at DailyFintech.com. In the cryptocurrency world, wallets act as a gateway to access a service. A crypto wallet, unlike a physical wallet, a custodial or exchange wallet, or bank account, doesn’t control currency. It moves money between two parties, similar to services like Paypal.   Cryptocurrency wallets let people connect to services to buy and sell cryptocurrencies. They also act a way to store the user’s cryptographic private key, needed to perform these transactions. In essence, your cryptocurrency wallet holds the private keys to your assets sitting on a blockchain and lets you transact by “signing” orders. Crypto wallets have become very popular in recent years. Over 36 million crypto wallets have been created since 2012.   Also a study from Juniper Research found that the number of people using digital wallets will increase from 2.3 billion to nearly 4 billion, or 50% of the world’s population, by 2024. This in turn will push wallet transaction values up by more than 80% to more than $9 trillion per annum. Usually, when users signup to use a cryptocurrency wallet, they validate their identities, before being able to transact. If you live in the US, you were most likely asked to provide your social security number and license or equivalent if you’re outside the US. Depending on other factors, the cryptocurrency wallet provider may have also ask for more information in alignment with KYC regulation. The world’s economy is built by institutions that collect our data, such as banks, telecoms, insurance companies, brokers, drug companies, governments, online services and others. Every year, hackers steal billions of dollars worth of data. Our data, not just the data we give voluntarily but also data collected as we interact with the services we use, is harvested and processed by few huge centralized companies and organizations. Our data is trapped inside accounts on services and apps. Companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon Microsoft,, LinkedIn, Experian, and Visa, all exist collect and monetize our data. The need to decentralized our data is an absolute necessity. As we move from accounts to wallets, we will be able to manage our data, just like we manage Bitcoin, Ethereum and other digital assets, being able to switch between vendors easily and freely. Wallets will evolve beyond the simple function of buying and selling digital assets. Our wallets will become our primary identity authentication platform, that will contain everything we carry in our physical wallets and more. A wallet in the physical world contains multiple pieces of your identity. Imagine your passport, drivers license, medical card, and other types of IDs being replaced by a single digital wallet on your phone. A driver’s license can is used to prove your ability to drive, to buy alcoholic drinks or accessing identity-specific services like opening a new bank account. Most of us have debit cards that allow us to access funds from our bank accounts and use them wherever we want to buy things, with our pin that validates our identity to merchants. Our wallets will be able to store everything related to our identities along with cryptocurrencies and tokenized assets (stocks, bonds, etc). Since crypto wallets already validate our identity, they could act as a third party references of our identity for others. One of the biggest pain points is that every we sign up for a service we need to verify our identities, uploading passports or other documents. It’s not far-fetched to think that companies might be willing to accept a trusted wallet verification, instead of conducting their own independent checks. The internet was not built to transfer value. It was built to transfer information which didn’t need as much security, as value does. Today, blockchain technology allows us to store and keep our data and assets in our own secure wallets, with absolute control over how and when they’re used. Being in full control of your own identity and assets in a decentralized way makes a lot of sense. The future wallet will be an interface to protocols and services, and will represent our professional financial status, and personal identity. Wallets will change from something we use sometimes, when we want to buy and sell things, to something we use all the time. Our digital wallets will become the single most important place, where we store everything, from our money, to our identity. 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 The Digital Wallets of the Future: Money and Identity appeared first on Daily Fintech. [...]
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What to Know Before Laying Down Money for a Mattress

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What to Know Before Laying Down Money for a Mattress
Here comes Presidents Day, a time to celebrate Lincoln and Roosevelt — and blowout mattress sales. These holiday-weekend bargains can be a smart opportunity to shop for a mattress if you need a new one. But choosing the right bed in your budget can be tricky if you go into the decision cold. Do this... Laura McMullen is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: lmcmullen@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @lauraemcmullen. The article What to Know Before Laying Down Money for a Mattress originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make

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7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make
Spending money on expensive things you don’t need is a surefire way to deplete your bank account and lower your net worth. Many big-ticket purchases are made on impulse or otherwise represent poor judgment. If you truly can afford to buy a costly status symbol, go right ahead. However, if you want to get the most out of your money, there are many expensive items that you can and should live... [...]
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Jean Luc Bertrand: “ONEtoONE increased the size of the deals I am able to advise”

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Jean Luc Bertrand: “ONEtoONE increased the size of the deals I am able to advise”
The post Jean Luc Bertrand: “ONEtoONE increased the size of the deals I am able to advise” appeared first on ONEtoONE Corporate Finance. [...]
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Security Token news for Week ending 14 February 2020

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Security Token news for Week ending 14 February 2020
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Why the Ducks Unlimited Card Is 2020’s Best Gas Card

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Why the Ducks Unlimited Card Is 2020’s Best Gas Card
Maybe you think NerdWallet’s choice of the Ducks Unlimited Rewards Platinum Edition® Visa® Card as our award winner for 2020’s best gas credit card was for the birds. Allow us to explain ourselves. With no memorable catchphrases, no Super Bowl ads or celebrity spokespeople and no big-name financial institution behind it (it’s issued by First Bankcard, a... Robin Saks Frankel is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: rfrankel@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @robinsaks. The article Why the Ducks Unlimited Card Is 2020’s Best Gas Card originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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What To Do With Your Tax Refund? Make These 4 Smart Moves

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What To Do With Your Tax Refund? Make These 4 Smart Moves
Two thousand eight hundred dollars. That’s the average income tax refund these days. How would $2,800 feel in your pocket? You’re probably getting a tax refund in the next couple of months, because nearly 80% of U.S. tax filers will. The question is, what are you going to do with your financial windfall? It’s so tempting to spend, isn’t it? After all, life is short! Live it up! OR you could resist the urge to splurge. Instead, do something smart and strategic that’ll benefit you over the long term — even make you some extra money. Here are four suggestions: 1. Start an Emergency Fund Do you have an emergency savings? When your tire blows out on the highway, you fracture your ankle on vacation, or you get laid off, having an emergency fund can save you from sinking into debt. And funneling your refund directly into a savings account will help you avoid the temptation to spend it. Did you know you can have the IRS direct-deposit your tax refund in up to three different accounts? If you don’t have a designated emergency savings account yet, consider the Aspiration Spend & Save account. With the Aspiration Spend account, you can earn up to 5% cash back on your debit card purchases. With the Aspiration Save account (where you’ll funnel your tax refund), you can earn up to 11 times the average interest on your savings balance. (The FDIC reports that the average account earns just .09%.) It takes five minutes to sign up for the account. Then, use IRS Form 8888 to designate which accounts you want to send your refund to. 2. Pay Down High-Interest Debt  Credit cards can be dangerous, especially if you miss a payment or two and face high interest rates. So many of us are being eaten alive by credit card interest rates north of 20%.  If you’re paying that much in interest every month, it becomes difficult to pay off the actual money you owe, and you just start treading water financially. So use your income tax refund to pay down your highest-interest debt. You’ll be using the debt avalanche method, where you organize your payments by prioritizing debts with the highest interest rates first. This will save you money in interest over the long term. 3. Boost Your Retirement Savings Your retirement savings could always use a little love, and the miracle of compound interest will help your savings grow and accumulate over the years. Unfortunately, you can’t have your tax refund deposited directly into your 401(k) account, assuming you have one. But you can have the IRS deposit the money into an IRA instead. That’s an individual retirement account, which you can set up and put money into without going through an employer. There are tax advantages, too. Similar to a 401(k), you won’t pay taxes on any money you contribute to a traditional IRA. You can have the IRS direct-deposit your tax refund directly into your IRA. That way it’s out of sight, out of mind, and you won’t spend it on something you’ll regret later. 4. Get a Month Ahead on Rent (or Your Mortgage)  The rent is too high! It’s no secret that housing in the U.S. is becoming less and less affordable. Low-income folks are the worst off here, but middle-income families are also getting squeezed. If you’re like many of us, your selfish need to sleep indoors is eating up a big chunk of your income. With a tax refund, you can do more than keep up. You can get ahead. Use your refund to make an extra month’s rent or mortgage payment (or at least stash it for that purpose).  It’s a simple way to keep your peace of mind in case times get tough again. 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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FINRA Issues Investor Alert Regarding Required Minimum Distributions

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FINRA Issues Investor Alert Regarding Required Minimum Distributions
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issued an Investor Alert regarding a new law raising the age for required minimum distributions (RMDs). A RMD is the amount an individual must take out of their traditional retirement savings plan to avoid tax penalties, once such an individual has reached the mandatory age for making withdrawals. The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act of 2019 raises the mandatory age an individual must begin taking RMDs from 70 ½ years old to 72, unless such individual turned 70 ½ years old in 2019. The Investor Alert is available here. [...]
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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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Online Freelance Summit Offers 36 Hours of Advice Feb. 21-22

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Online Freelance Summit Offers 36 Hours of Advice Feb. 21-22
Good advice is hard to come by.  But for self-employed workers or anyone looking to join their ranks, we found 32 straight hours of good advice in an online summit aimed at helping independent contractors navigate the budding freelance and gig economies. The Independent Contractors & Freelancers Online Summit runs Feb. 21 and 22, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m each day. The two-day summit concludes National Entrepreneurship Week, a congressionally chartered initiative to spur entrepreneurial education. The event is free and does not require full attendance to participate. Anyone who is “interested in working for themselves should attend, as well as self-employed professionals who want to expand their business,” said event host, speaker and author Angela Heath, aka the Gig Income Guru. “Understanding business practices and advanced strategies to create a profitable business is the major hurdle that the summit will address.” To register, visit the landing page and enter your name and email address. Shortly after registration, you will receive an email confirmation with details about the summit, including access to the list of webcasts over both days. Including Heath, 14 speakers are slated to present. Among them are a mix of entrepreneurs, career coaches, journalists and authors who will guide you through the process of finding a profitable gig, fresh clients and long-term success. Day one focuses on client-wrangling strategies with presentations on: Finding profitable side hustles Navigating the gig marketplace Leveraging the power of LinkedIn, and more Day two dissects freelance-business best practices such as: Understanding financial statements Promoting your freelance business Automating the grunt work Notable speakers include Elaine Pofeldt, journalist and author of The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business. She will present trends from self-employed millionaires. Leading personal finance writer and founding editor of SideHusl Kathy Kristof joins Pofeldt to speak on which side gigs are worth your time – and which aren’t. Heath will cover how to find clients using various gig marketplaces, while speakers Muhammad Faheem and William Craig exemplify the opportunity such gig marketplaces provide – when used intentionally. Both Faheem and Craig leveraged their success on Upwork and Fiverr to springboard their own freelance businesses. FROM THE MAKE MONEY FORUM Financial Fitness February: Day 7 (Big WIN) 2/8/20 @ 12:37 AM Make money from home 2/2/20 @ 12:47 AM Extra money on the side 1/27/20 @ 1:48 PM S See more in Make Money or ask a money question There’s little disputing that the freelance economy is booming. Citing a U.S. Census report, Heath said that solo contract workers now represent three-fourths of American businesses – yet they are often left out of conversations on entrepreneurship. “Most programs totally ignore that one-person businesses are important for the American economy,” Heath said. A recent study by Freelancers Union and Upwork bolsters her case. In 2019, the freelance economy raked in nearly $1 trillion. The report also found that 35% of all U.S. workers, aka 57 million people, freelanced last year.  To join their ranks and to cash in on a skyrocketing industry, be sure to mark your calendars for Feb. 21 and 22. While the live event is free, archived recordings won’t be. 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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From chicken drumsticks to paper towels or even a trampoline, you can find just about anything at warehouse clubs like Sam’s. But what if you don’t have any use for a 10-lb bag of sugar or 32 rolls of paper towels? If you drive a lot, a Sam’s Club membership may make sense just based ... Read More about The post appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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How to Keep Your Spirits Up in the Long Game of Saving

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How to Keep Your Spirits Up in the Long Game of Saving
Dreaming of a savings goal is almost always fun — a sunny vacation, the perfect home, a dazzling holiday gift. But think about how long it can take to get there, and all that fun might fade away. Even if you’re doing the right things, such as cutting your expenses or taking a part-time job... Margarette Burnette is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: mburnette@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @Margarette. The article How to Keep Your Spirits Up in the Long Game of Saving originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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15 Purchases That Make Life Easier After 50

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15 Purchases That Make Life Easier After 50
Life gets better as we get older. It may sound trite, but it’s true. As the pressures and insecurities of youth fade, we can finally relax, comfortable in our own skin, and enjoy the simple pleasures and joys of daily life. But it’s silly to deny that as we move into the “back nine” of our lives, we might slow down a bit. Perhaps it’s not quite as easy to open that... [...]
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Getting Your Child Involved in Saving for College

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Getting Your Child Involved in Saving for College
As a parent, you look forward to every milestone in your child’s life. It starts with the first smile. Then there is the first step, the first day of school, and riding a bike. Before you know it, your child is in high school and rapidly preparing for life’s next big step. College. While college ... Read More about Getting Your Child Involved in Saving for College The post Getting Your Child Involved in Saving for College appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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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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Own Your Solo Act with These Financial Tips for Singles

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

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

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Do Warehouse Clubs Really Save You Money?
Warehouse clubs have been around for decades, offering members a way to save money on everything from bulk toilet paper and ground beef to big-screen TVs and tires (in the same shopping trip). But even with their cult followings, it can be hard to justify paying a membership fee just to be able to shop ... Read More about Do Warehouse Clubs Really Save You Money? The post Do Warehouse Clubs Really Save You Money? appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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SEC Proposes Amendments to Financial Disclosure in Regulation S-K and Issues New Guidance

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

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How to Get Financial Hardship Help to Avoid Going Into Debt
During a crisis, every decision can feel overwhelming. If you’re facing a sudden hardship — like a divorce, injury or job loss — even asking for financial help can feel like another burden. But the decisions you make during a traumatic event could leave you dealing with long-term financial consequences. That’s what happened to Kelly White, a social worker from New Hampshire and a TPH Community member, who separated from her now ex-husband in 2009.  The couple decided to delay filing for divorce when she found out she had cancer and needed to stay on his insurance. But after she was unable to continue working and the bills started piling up, she said they chose to declare bankruptcy.  “I was exhausted — my body was tired, my brain was tired, my heart was tired,” White said. “At that point, even my few thousand dollars in credit card debt seemed overwhelming.”  That decision ended up affecting her credit — including her ability to rent an apartment — long after the divorce papers were signed. “Were I to do it again, I’d do it differently,” she said. If you’re experiencing a financial hardship and aren’t sure how you’re going to cover your bills, we have ways to avoid debt, even during the tough times. How to Avoid Debt During a Hardship Whether it’s a job loss, divorce, medical emergency or other crisis, hardships can happen unexpectedly and can result in serious financial consequences.  Here are some ways to help you weather rough waters while keeping your financial boat afloat. 1. Budget for a Reduced Income If you were getting by on two incomes, the sudden loss of one of them — whether it’s due to a layoff, an injury or separation — could cause real anxiety when it comes to figuring out how to cover your bills. It’s not the time to panic. It is the time to budget. Quickly assess where you are financially by writing down your current income and expenses on one page. Need some help getting started? Follow these five steps to manage your money on a reduced income. 2. Enroll in a Credit Card Hardship Program Credit card companies don’t typically advertise that you can adjust your payment schedule or even stop paying your bill if you’re experiencing temporary but serious financial issues. A credit card hardship program is basically just a payment plan for your credit card — albeit one that’s probably more forgiving than your current payment schedule.  Programs vary by lender, so it’s important that you call yours to ask about the terms and explain why you need temporary relief. It might not be the most pleasant call, but it’s better than emerging from a crisis only to find a mountain of credit card debt on the other side. FROM THE DEBT FORUM The Snowball Method for Paying Off Debt 1/11/19 @ 7:58 AM I have $30k in credit card debt, and I'm unemployed. 1/3/20 @ 9:29 AM J Car loans 2/5/20 @ 10:08 AM Emergency debt 1/30/20 @ 10:14 AM See more in Debt or ask a money question 3. Ask for Help With the Rent or Utility Bills An unexpected medical bill or home repair can be a burden to pay on its own, and the consequences can radiate into other parts of your financial life. If you’re unable to pay a bill due to unforeseen circumstances — a medical emergency, death in the family or loss of a job — an organization called Modest Needs may be able to help. This non-profit provides small grants to deserving individuals who would otherwise be capable of paying their expenses and aren’t eligible for other kinds of social assistance. To learn about how to apply and find out which expenses are covered, check out how Modest Needs can help you pay your bills. 4. Find a Side Gig to Cover Expenses If the hardship is directly related to your income — like you just got fired — you could be scrambling to come up with enough money just to keep the lights on and food on the table. If you’re looking for another job right away, we have plenty of tips for conducting a job search. It never hurts to know what’s out there. Work-from-home job opportunities abound. Find yours in our portal, updated every weekday. But if you need to find something in the immediate future, a side hustle could provide a quick way to make money — and could be a way for you to explore a new career.  And if you’re too overwhelmed to start thinking about how to get cash rolling in, we found plenty of easy ways to make extra money. 5. Negotiate Medical Bills An emergency medical situation can be overwhelming, confusing and exhausting — not to mention financially draining.  As hard as it may be to believe, healthcare institutions aren’t out to intimidate you and take all your money — at least, not in the beginning. And almost all of them will accept less than the full amount owed — but you have to ask. Follow these step-by-step strategies when you can’t afford your medical bills. 6. Set Up a Plan for Your Student Loans A crisis is not the time to stick your head in the sand, particularly when it comes to student loans. Unlike credit card debt or medical debt, debt from federal student loans can follow you until death. And if you default on a student loan — that happens after you’ve missed payments for 270 days (or about nine months) — the government can collect on the debt by garnishing your wages or income tax return refunds.  But if you lose a source of income suddenly and you’re facing payments on your federal student loans, you can ask for a break. Pro Tip If it’s all too much, student loan forgiveness or discharge are options for wiping out your debt. But they’re not quick fixes: These programs typically take years and have specific qualifications. That break can come in the form of an income-driven repayment plan that reduces your student loan payments. And if the situation is more dire, you can consider requesting a deferment or forbearance.  None of these options will wipe out your student loan debt and can pile on additional interest, but they can give you the necessary breathing room after a tragedy to gather yourself financially and get back on track.  And surviving a hardship with less debt will make the next crisis that much easier to weather. Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a staff writer/editor at The Penny Hoarder. Read her bio and other work here, then catch her on Twitter @TiffanyWendeln. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Life Update: Pregnancy update (28 weeks) + Camp No Boys Allowed

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Life Update: Pregnancy update (28 weeks) + Camp No Boys Allowed
28 weeks! Third trimester, baby!!!! Highlights This week I felt quite a bit better than last week — and I had a good week last week so that was unexpected to have an even better week this week!! Last week, mentioned having a lot of pelvic pressure. To my big surprise, the pressure was almost non-existent this week — I think maybe the baby moved up some + I sat on the exercise ball a lot and went to the chiropractor?? I still can’t believe I’m 28 weeks pregnant and feeling as great as I am! Notable I had my last monthly appointment with my OB. Now, I’m moving to every 2 weeks until I get to 36 weeks and then it will be every week until the baby arrives!! My appointment went great and I’m measuring right on track. The weeks are still going by quickly and I’m so grateful! Some days, I do miss the pregnancies when my kids were little and I could spend a lot more time resting because our life was much quieter. But most days, I’m so grateful to be in this season with multiple activities every day and people coming in and out of our house + full-time work I love so much, so many opportunities to pour into people, hang out with friends, & be involved in our church. Cravings My appetite has picked up even more again — it feels like baby is going through a growth spurt! Since all of the third trimester is a growth spurt, this might be par for the course for the next number of weeks… until I completely run out of room for my stomach. Weight gain: 20 lbs. Kaitlynn and I spent Friday night through Sunday afternoon at our church’s girls’ youth group camp called Camp No Boys Allowed. (I co-lead one of the 8th grade girls’ groups.) We spent the weekend laughing, having deep conversations, listening to messages, more late-night talking, eating too much junk food, a Silent Disco Night, a Musical competition, and lots of games. I came home tired, but so, so happy I get the honor of helping to lead and pour into these girls. I love them and their hearts and their personalities so much! They performed a song from The Sound of Music for the competition. Aren’t they beautiful??! Their hearts are even more beautiful! [...]
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Taking a Disney Trip? Here Are Two Key Budget Hacks

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Taking a Disney Trip? Here Are Two Key Budget Hacks
Between the ages of 7 and 21, I visited the happiest places on Earth — Disneyland and Disneyworld — a total of five times. My first four times, my mom paid for my trips/tickets. For my fifth visit, I was actually paid (in per diem) to go to Disneyworld by my college to compete in ... Read More about Taking a Disney Trip? Here Are Two Key Budget Hacks The post Taking a Disney Trip? Here Are Two Key Budget Hacks appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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Blunt Truths About Medical Expenses, Marijuana and Your Tax Return

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Blunt Truths About Medical Expenses, Marijuana and Your Tax Return
If costly medical or dental bills have you feeling sick, there’s a potential tax-time antidote: the medical expense deduction. This can help many taxpayers cut their tax bills — if they know how it works. Two tax pros explain how to diagnose your medical bills and make your tax situation a little healthier. Some things... Tina Orem is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: torem@nerdwallet.com. The article Blunt Truths About Medical Expenses, Marijuana and Your Tax Return originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Afternoon Deals: Saturday, February 8

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Afternoon Deals: Saturday, February 8
Every morning and afternoon we publish a list of the latest and best deals from our partner, DealNews. To learn more about the discounts and details, click on any of the deals for more information. To have this list, along with our latest news and stories, delivered daily to your inbox, sign up for our free newsletter. For links to deals as they’re published, follow @mtndeals on Twitter. [...]
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SEC Designates Decision Deadline for Proposed Off-Floor Position Transfer Rule Changes

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SEC Designates Decision Deadline for Proposed Off-Floor Position Transfer Rule Changes
On January 21, the Securities and Exchange Commission published in the Federal Register a release (Release) regarding Cboe Exchange, Inc. rule changes. The Release indicates that SEC must approve or disapprove Cboe rule changes regarding off-floor position transfers (Proposed Rule) by March 19. The SEC moved the original January 19 deadline to March 19 in order to further consider, among other items, issues raised during the comment period and related SEC proceedings (Proceedings). (For additional information regarding the Proceedings, please refer to the November 1, 2019 edition of Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest.) The Release is available here. [...]
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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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Two Projects You Can DIY (and 1 You Should Almost Never)

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Two Projects You Can DIY (and 1 You Should Almost Never)
You might not think you’re handy, but there’s plenty you are capable of doing. Anyone who can manage more than one schedule and figure out how to put booties on a fussy baby can do just about anything. While there’s something to be said for the sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing a home ... Read More about Two Projects You Can DIY (and 1 You Should Almost Never) The post Two Projects You Can DIY (and 1 You Should Almost Never) appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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How Much Should I Spend on Rent?

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How Much Should I Spend on Rent?
Before you start scanning Craigslist and Zillow for rental options, determine how much you can truly afford. Here are a few ways to figure that out. The 30% rule One popular rule of thumb is to spend around 30% of your gross income on rent. So if you earn $2,800 per month before taxes, you... Kelsey Sheehy is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: ksheehy@nerdwallet.com. The article How Much Should I Spend on Rent? originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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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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My 6 Goals For This Week

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

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Afternoon Deals: Sunday, February 2
Every morning and afternoon we publish a list of the latest and best deals from our partner, DealNews. To learn more about the discounts and details, click on any of the deals for more information. To have this list, along with our latest news and stories, delivered daily to your inbox, sign up for our free newsletter. For links to deals as they’re published, follow @mtndeals on Twitter. [...]
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SEC Division of Corporation Finance Issues C&DIs on Omission of Third Year From MD&A

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SEC Division of Corporation Finance Issues C&DIs on Omission of Third Year From MD&A
As previously discussed in the April 12, 2019 edition of Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest, the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted final rules on March 20, 2019, that allow registrants to omit a discussion and analysis of the earliest of the three years of required financial statements from the Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (MD&A) section of their annual reports. Omitting that section from the annual reports filing with the SEC is permissible so long as the discussion of such year is already included in an earlier SEC filing and the registrant includes a statement identifying the location of such discussion in the prior filing. On January 24, the staff of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance (the Staff) issued three Compliance and Disclosure Interpretations (C&DIs) to address questions related to the final rule. C&DI 110.02. The Staff clarified that a statement in a registrant’s filing identifying the location of where the omitted information can be found in a prior filing, in reliance on the rule amendment, does not have the effect of incorporating such prior disclosure by reference, unless the registrant’s current filing expressly provides that the information is incorporated by reference. C&DI 110.04. The Staff further clarifies, that, when a company updates an effective registration statement by filing a Form 10-K in which the discussion of the earliest of the three years is omitted and there is a statement identifying the location of the discussion in a prior filing, the prior discussion would not be incorporated into the updated registration statement, unless the registrant’s current Form 10-K filing expressly provides that the information with respect to such omitted year is specifically incorporated by reference. C&DI 110.03. This provides that a registrant may not omit a discussion of the earliest of the three years of financial statements in a filing, in reliance on the rule amendment, if the registrant believes that such discussion would otherwise be required in order to understand the registrant’s financial condition, changes in financial condition and results of operations. In such case, the registrant must either expressly incorporate the discussion by reference from a previous filing or include the discussion in the current filing. The new C&DIs are available here. [...]
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Pregnancy update (week 27) + some posts you might have missed

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Pregnancy update (week 27) + some posts you might have missed
27 weeks! And I feel like I’m carrying really low — can you tell that here? (Aside from the pelvic pressure, I’m not complaining one bit because it means that I actually still have some space underneath my lungs!) Highlights This past week was a super full week. In addition to the usual routine of working full-time and writing my book, we had activities every night but one night, Kathrynne celebrated her 15th birthday, and we did respite care for a sweet 10-year-old girl all week whose foster mom was out of town. So I think the highlight for me was just making it through with a smile still on my face. I worked hard to prioritize rest and down time, because I need 2-4 times the amount of downtime that I usually do right now or I just end up completely exhausted. Notable I started drinking Red Raspberry Leaf tea this week, we got a crib from friends, got our pack-n-play/bassinet in the mail, and got a box of diapers. It’s really starting to get real!! My chiropractor has been such a Godsend as I’ve been having back and shoulder pain (to be expected as my belly grows larger!) and she’s helping me with different things to minimize it. This is my first pregnancy to regularly go to a chiropractor and I’m a huge fan! Cravings I’ve been eating a lot of cereal with whole milk. In fact, I usually have two bowls every morning. It hits the spot and it doesn’t give me heartburn! Weight gain: 19 pounds Random question: Do you think the 3rd trimester starts at week 27 or week 28? I feel like the internet and baby sites/trackers are very conflicted on this! Did you see what I got in my FREE Target Baby Gift Registry Bag? In case you missed it, I did an in-depth post on the 5 books I finished last week + my honest reviews. This past week, we posted what has quickly become one of our most popular podcast episodes to date. Have you listened to Secrets to a Happier Marriage yet? Just a quick reminder — registration for my 4-Week Blog Coaching Group closes on Tuesday morning. If you are a beginning or intermediate blogger who wants to take your blog to the next level, don’t miss this. [...]
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Brigette’s $87 Grocery Shopping Trip and Weekly Menu Plan for 6

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Brigette’s $87 Grocery Shopping Trip and Weekly Menu Plan for 6
My older sister, Brigette, shares her shopping trips and menu plans every week! You can go HERE to see all of her weekly menu plans and you can go HERE to read all about her family! Aldi 1 5-lb roll 73/27 Ground Beef – $9.95 1 pkg Turkey Bacon – $1.89 1 pkg Uncured Turkey Franks – $2.09 1 2-lb bag Shredded Cheddar Cheese – $5.19 1 16-oz pkg Deli Meat – $2.85 1 8-oz pkg Deli Sliced Cheese – $1.33 1 pkg American Cheese – $1.45 1 pkg String Cheese – $1.99 3 large cans Diced Organic Tomatoes – $4.77 2 cans Green Beans – $0.76 1 can Garbanzo Beans – $0.48 1 can Tomato Paste – $0.29 1 can Baking Powder – $0.99 1 Garlic Powder – $0.69 2 cans Chili Beans – $0.96 1 24-oz jar Pasta Sauce – $0.85 1 16-oz carton Heavy Whipping Cream – $1.55 1 gallon 1% Milk – $0.97 1/2 gallon Orange Juice- $1.64 1-lb box Butter Quarters – $2.61 1 large jar Unsweetened Applesauce – $1.95 1 Cauliflower – $2.19 1 bag Mini Sweet Peppers – $2.79 1 2-lb bag Yellow Onions – $1.16 1 pkg Zucchini – $1.17 1 pkg Romaine Hearts – $2.39 2 pkgs Fresh Broccoli Crowns – $2.38 1 3-lb bag Mandarin Oranges – $2.29 1 large tub Organic Spring Mix – $3.69 1 16-oz bag Mini Cucumbers – $2.19 1 bag Baby Carrots – $0.69 1 3-lb bag Pink Lady Apples – $3.69 1 bunch Bananas – $0.91 1 pkg Grape Tomatoes – $1.29 2 cartons Blueberries – $2.96 1 large canister Quick Oats – $2.36 1 box Raisin Bran – $1.59 1 Family-Size box Honey Nut Oats – $2.45 1 bag Pretzels – $0.82 1 bag Gluten-Free Pretzels – $1.85 1 loaf Sandwich Bread – $0.67 1 pkg Plain Rice Cakes – $1.45 2 dozen Eggs – $1.76 Grocery Total for the Week: $87.99 Weekly Menu Plan Breakfasts Lazy Monkey Bread (Birthday Breakfast Request from my 9-yr old – I completely forgot to buy the canned biscuits for this recipe! I’ll either be making a quick trip back to the store, or experimenting with homemade biscuit dough.) Everyone is responsible for making/cleaning up their own breakfasts. Choices include: Oatmeal, Cereal, Smoothies, Fried/Scrambled/Boiled Eggs, Veggie Omelets, Fruit, Toast Lunches Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Blueberries, Carrots (Birthday Lunch Request) Rice Cakes with Peanut Butter, Cheese Sticks, Oranges, Cucumbers x 2 Deli Meat/Cheese Sandwiches, Apples, Mini Peppers Leftovers x 3 Dinners Pakistani Kima over Rice (recipe from “More With Less” Cookbook), Make-Ahead Butterhorns, Cauliflower, Ice Cream Cake (Birthday Dinner Request) Pancakes, Turkey Bacon, Scrambled Eggs, Blueberries Meatloaf, Baked Potatoes, Broccoli Chili with Shredded Cheese, Corn Muffins Hot Dogs on Homemade Buns, Baked French Fries, Broccoli Date Night (kids eat leftovers at home) Taco Salad, Mexican Rice, Roasted Zucchini [...]
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How I Make a Roll of Paper Towels Last a Year

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How I Make a Roll of Paper Towels Last a Year
It takes me forever to use up a roll of paper towels, it seems. It’s not that I’m particularly neat. It’s that I see no reason to use paper towels when I have plenty of rags. Sure, paper towels are convenient. But they’re expensive too. Why use and toss wads of paper when I can use a piece of cloth, launder it and use it again? And if you’re just draining salad greens... [...]
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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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Make Money During the Super Bowl With These 8 Ideas

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Make Money During the Super Bowl With These 8 Ideas
When I was a kid, I was a big reader. Sorry — I meant to say “nerd.” I was a huge nerd and didn’t care about sports. Still, I watched the Green Bay Packers play every Sunday, because that’s what we did in my house. I just usually had a book open at the same time. Because of that ritual, the sound of a football game on TV is cathartic for me. I’d rather turn on the NFL Network than listen to a white noise app when I want to get work done. That’s why I’ll still tune into Super Bowl LIV. I enjoy the connection to the rest of the nation — while knocking out a blog post and making headway through a novel. If you’re in the same boat, use the day to make some extra money. Just make sure you take a break and tune in for the Halftime Show, so you know what everyone’s talking about on Facebook on Monday. While your family or roommates gather ‘round the TV this weekend, try some of these ways to make extra money. 8 Ways to Make Money During the Super Bowl 1. Drive With Lyft If you haven’t already signed up as a driver with Lyft, now’s a good time to do it. As a driver with Lyft, you can help Super Bowl party goers in your city safely get where they’re going and where they’re coming from. No driving drunk or walking in the cold! Plus, the higher demand before and after the game could mean a busy night and big bucks for you. You keep a portion of everything you earn as a driver, plus 100% of your tips. High Lyft traffic means peak hours, which might mean more money for you. Here’s a link to apply to drive with Lyft. 2. List Your Place or Spare Room Look. We get it. Your home is your sanctuary. Your place to be alone. Some days, you don’t even want to have your own family over — let alone people you don’t know. So, the idea of listing your place on Airbnb is daunting for a lot of folks. Use Airbnb’s price calculator to see how much money you could make in your area. Tonya Peters’ husband, Miles Rugh, was one of those skeptics. She wanted to list their Virginia Village basement apartment in Denver, Colorado, on Airbnb, but he wasn’t keen on welcoming strangers into their place. Finally, though, he agreed to give it a try. Now, three years later, the couple has hosted too many guests to count. And the extra income has been great for them. They plan to use it for some home renovations they’ve been wanting. “He’s definitely changed his tune,” says Peters, now an Airbnb Superhost. “And he loves having the extra income.” (Hosting laws vary from city to city. Please understand the rules and regulations applicable to your city and listing.) 3. Take Stock Photos People dressed in their favorite team’s jersey and faces painted in celebration make for great photographs. Take advantage of the crowds of fans in your town to get some candid shots you can sell to stock photo sites. You don’t even have to give up your own fun to fill your stock photo arsenal. You can sell your smartphone photos via Foap, so don’t worry about keeping track of expensive equipment all afternoon. (Just keep your phone out of the toilet.) Note: Building owners or managers reserve the right to ask you not to take photos on their property. Otherwise, snap away, and make sure you understand whether your intended use of the photograph will require a model or property release. 4. Babysit Want to hang out with the nerdy kids like me, who don’t want to pay attention to the game? Offer to take them off their parents’ hands for the day. Make game day easier for family and friends by offering to watch the little ones while they go out. You’ll get to make $20 to $40 and skip the loud parties. Check out a site like Care.com to make yourself easy to find ahead of game day, and check out other tips on how to become a babysitter 5. Take Care of Pets Pick up pet-sitting or dog-walking work to relieve football fans from the need to look after pets during time-outs. If you can’t find pet-sitting gigs in your network, hop on DogVacay to connect with pet owners in your area. 6. Get Ahead on Freelance Work Holidays — even faux holidays — are great for side hustlers. Unless you want to chat with your clients about football, your inbox and social media will probably be quiet on Super Bowl Sunday. Take advantage of the radio silence to get some work done. If you’re a freelance writer, check out these tips on how to land your first bylines. And sign up for this free seven-day mini-course from ProofreadAnywhere.com to learn how to become a professional proofreader. Or, pick a passion project off the back burner. Work on a novel. Put the finishing touches on a painting. Format an ebook. If you’re just kicking off your side hustle in 2020, read our guide to getting started as a freelancer. 7. Get the Best Gigs If you haven’t, create an account with TaskRabbit. Here’s the strategy for earning money: Find gigs you can complete quickly that pay well for the amount of time you put in. With a lot of Taskers likely taking the day off, Super Bowl Sunday could be a great opportunity to get some of the best gigs. FROM THE MAKE MONEY FORUM Looking For Part-Time Job 1/30/20 @ 2:16 PM Q Extra money on the side 1/27/20 @ 1:48 PM S Gig Work Taking Property Photos in the US 1/17/20 @ 1:42 PM I have a question about those cash game apps from Google Play store? 1/14/20 @ 8:16 PM See more in Make Money or ask a money question 8. Get Paid $1,200/Year for Your Screen Time We’ve all been there. Netflix drones in the background as you scroll Instagram. What are you even doing?  But there’s a website that will pay you for all that screen time.  Yep. Swagbucks will pay you in free gift cards for taking surveys and other activities right on your phone.  We know what you’re thinking: You’ll probably just earn a few pennies for your troubles. But we talked to one Swagbucks user in Pennsylvania, 52-year-old Carolinda Hendrickson, who earned $1,200 in a year. And it’s no huge time commitment. Hendrickson takes her surveys in the morning before her full-time job. Even better? You’ll even earn a $5 bonus when you sign up and earn 2,500 points within your first 60 days. Dana Sitar (dana@thepennyhoarder.com) is a former branded content editor at The Penny Hoarder. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Security Token news for Week ending 31 January 2020

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Security Token news for Week ending 31 January 2020
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Your Complete Guide to Earning IHG Rewards Points

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Your Complete Guide to Earning IHG Rewards Points
Although Hilton and Marriott may have stolen the limelight over the last couple of years, IHG Rewards Club still offers incredible value for rewards travelers. With over 5,000 hotels worldwide, IHG Rewards Club provides plenty of opportunities for earning and redeeming points. Of course, before you start using points for free nights, you’ll have to... Rand Shoaf is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: travel@nerdwallet.com. The article Your Complete Guide to Earning IHG Rewards Points originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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2 Simple Dinners a Family Can Cook Together

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2 Simple Dinners a Family Can Cook Together
Dinner can be a breeze when the entire family is involved. But creating a dinner that doesn’t have a surplus of steps or is, well, boring, can make it hard to decide what to make. If you want to create a family environment where there’s plenty of helping hands in the kitchen, we’ve got you ... Read More about 2 Simple Dinners a Family Can Cook Together The post 2 Simple Dinners a Family Can Cook Together appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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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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ESG and Sustainable Investments: House of Lords EU Committee Queries Taxonomy Regulation With HMT

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ESG and Sustainable Investments: House of Lords EU Committee Queries Taxonomy Regulation With HMT
On January 16, the House of Lords European Union Committee published a letter from the Chair, Lord Kinnoull, to John Glen, Economic Secretary to Her Majesty’s Treasury (the Letter). The Letter concerns the recently published Taxonomy Regulation (for more information please see the January 10 edition of Corporate & Financial Weekly Digest). In the Letter, Lord Kinnoull raises a number of questions regarding the Taxonomy Regulation. While some questions are procedural, most of the questions concern the interaction between the new regulation and Brexit. One of Lord Kinnoull’s questions is whether, post-Brexit, the UK Government will seek to align legislation produced in response to their Green Finance Strategy (available here) with the EU legislation produced in response to European Commission’s (the Commission) Sustainable Finance Action Plan. The Taxonomy Regulation is one such piece of legislation. Lord Kinnoull also observes that the Taxonomy Regulation represents a compromise between EU Member States regarding nuclear energy. Some Member States were in favor of designating nuclear energy as an “environmentally sustainable economic activity,” but other countries did not support this view. Instead, nuclear energy is not mentioned in the Taxonomy Regulation but is expected to be designated a “transition activity” (i.e., an activity which supports the transition to a climate-neutral economy). In the Letter, Lord Kinnoull notes, “the importance the [UK] Government attaches to the nuclear energy industry,” and queries whether the UK Government intends to follow the EU’s lead in this regard. Finally, Lord Kinnoull turns to the Platform on Sustainable Finance. This group — to be chaired by the Commission and include scientists, policy-makers and private-sector stakeholders — will advise and assist the Commission in developing the delegated acts required by the Taxonomy Regulation. Lord Kinnoull queries whether the “proposed composition of the Platform . . . will allow the UK to maintain influence over the formulation” of the delegated acts following Brexit. The Letter is available here. [...]
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When a traditional risk fix isn’t the fix, and sometimes a fix needs to be found for a risk

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When a traditional risk fix isn’t the fix, and sometimes a fix needs to be found for a risk
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Independent Contractor Taxes: A Painless Beginner’s Guide

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

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Secrets to a Happier Marriage
Last week, Jesse and I shared some of our favorite tips and tricks for keeping the spark alive in your marriage on the podcast. We didn’t want to stop there, though. This week, we invited Matt and Lisa Jacobson to come share their perspective and secrets on how to keep your marriage alive and thriving. Matt and Lisa have been married 27 years, have eight children, and are speakers, podcasters, and authors who are passionate about the topic of marriage. In this episode, they share their personal anecdotes, practical ideas, and hard won advice on how to have a truly happy marriage — even during the unexpected and really difficult seasons of life. A few topics we discuss: how their marriage grew stronger as a result of having a child who was born with brain damage and wasn’t expected to live their secrets to making dates happen (it might surprise you)! what a wife should do if she’s feeling frustrated or disappointed by her husband their best advice for young couples how to stop just surviving marriage and actually begin to thrive! And so much more! In This Episode:  [01:40] Matt and Lisa introduce themselves and share a bit about their businesses and books. [03:43] They have 8 children between the ages of 26 and 12 and have still managed to thrive.  [06:35] Has the topic of marriage always been a passionate subject for Matt and Lisa?  [08:20] How can you create and build a great marriage?  [09:30] Listen as Lisa relates a small moment she and Matt shared that inspired one of their books. [11:57] What can newlyweds do to set themselves up for a long and prosperous relationship?  [14:37] Your wife should feel cherished.  [16:22] What you need to do to make a great date happen. [17:31] Ladies, you don’t have to wait for your husband to pursue you! [19:38] Your man isn’t made of Teflon. Things stick. Listen as Lisa and Matt share tips and tricks for being mindful of your words.  [24:32] What can you do today to make your marriage better? Small, practical things you can do to bolster your relationship. Links and Resources: Faithful Man Club 31 Women Faithful Life Podcast 100 Ways to Love Your Husband 100 Ways to Love Your Wife 100 Words of Affirmation Your Husband Needs to Hear 100 Words of Affirmation Your Wife Needs to Hear CrystalPaine.com YourBloggingMentor.com My 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 here. 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. [...]
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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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Most Workers Don’t Know This Retirement Tax Credit Exists

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Most Workers Don’t Know This Retirement Tax Credit Exists
Tax season is now underway. But as in years past, millions of taxpayers are probably still missing out on the chance to slash their tax bill by as much as $4,000 simply because they overlook a little-known federal tax credit. It’s called the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit, aka the Saver’s Credit. If you’re eligible for it, this credit is worth as much as 10% to 50% [...]
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4 Ways to Spot a Work-From-Home Job Scam

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4 Ways to Spot a Work-From-Home Job Scam
Work-from-home jobs are becoming more common — who doesn’t want to help out with the family finances while being there for your little ones while wearing yoga pants with a messy bun all day? That unfortunately also means that there are scams popping up all over the internet offering work-from-home jobs that might not be ... Read More about 4 Ways to Spot a Work-From-Home Job Scam The post 4 Ways to Spot a Work-From-Home Job Scam appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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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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Worried About the New FICO Score? Here’s What to Know — and Do

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Worried About the New FICO Score? Here’s What to Know — and Do
FICO announced a new “suite” of credit scores this week, leading to alarming headlines warning that 40 million people could see their scores drop by at least 20 points. That’s scary if you think you’ll be among them. But lost in the worry about FICO 10 is the fact that another 40 million will see... Bev O'Shea is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: boshea@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @BeverlyOShea. The article Worried About the New FICO Score? Here’s What to Know — and Do originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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6 Situations Where a Budget Can Reduce Financial Stress

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6 Situations Where a Budget Can Reduce Financial Stress
Some of the best things in life are… expensive. Milestones like going off to college, buying a house or starting a family can drain your bank account — which can lead to some major financial stress. Advance planning, however, can combat some of that anxiety. Budgeting can help you prepare for the big — and little — things life throws your way. After all, a budget is just a plan for your money. Here are six situations where budgeting now can reduce financial stress for you later. 1. Going Away to College Repeat after me: Student loans are not free money. It’s easy to use your refund check to fund all the hidden costs of college, like extracurriculars and decorating your dorm. But you’ll be kicking yourself when you’re struggling to pay back those student loans 10 years later. Take a step toward adulting and make a budget in college that’ll give you a realistic view of whether you can afford that spring break trip or if you would be better off picking up extra shifts at your part-time job.  2. Moving Into Your First Apartment Moving into a new place takes a lot of upfront cash. There are application fees, security deposits and first and last months’ rent to fork over before you can get a set of keys — and then you’ve got to pay the movers. This guide on saving up for your first apartment lays out what you need to consider before moving out on your own. It’ll help you decide what you really can afford. Pro Tip Having a roommate can help lower your living expenses, but here’s how you should screen potential roommates before signing a lease together. 3. Buying a House Buying a house is not something you just do on a whim. It’s an entire process, part of which involves saving up a large sum of money. Give yourself time to save for a house, setting aside room in your budget to add to your down payment fund each month. And don’t just focus on the money needed to get you in your home. There are a bunch of ongoing homeowner expenses to consider, like maintenance and HOA fees. FROM THE BUDGETING FORUM A reminder NOT to spend. 1/6/20 @ 7:55 PM Changing my eating habits is changing my finances 1/8/20 @ 9:56 AM Pennyhoarders: Do you return Christmas gifts to the store...regift...or make use of it? 12/30/19 @ 11:28 AM M Just sharing some numbers from my 2019 budget 12/27/19 @ 1:58 PM See more in Budgeting or ask a money question 4. Having Kids Oh baby, kids can be expensive. And while it feels awkward putting a price tag on your plans for a family, it’s wise to go into parenthood knowing you have the adequate financial resources. Our guide to budgeting for a baby runs down the many costs you can expect in the first year — from a crib to child care.  As your baby grows up, your expenses will change. You’ll need to adjust your budget to keep up. Turn to these tips to help you save on children’s expenses, especially if you’ve got multiple kids. Pro Tip Help your children avoid taking on mountains of student loan debt by saving for your kids’ college education. 5. Career Changes Having a budget can help you through the ebbs and flows of your professional life.  If you’re dealing with a period of reduced income (like if you lose your job or take time off from the workforce), you’ve got to determine how much money you need to cover the basics. Look to see what unnecessary spending you can cut out of your budget. Conversely, if you get a raise or a new job with a better salary, budgeting that extra money instead of mindlessly blowing it will set you up for a better financial future. 6. Retirement No one wants to get to retirement age only to realize they don’t have enough money saved up to sustain them in their golden years. That’s why it’s crucial to add retirement contributions to your budget now so you’re not worrying about your savings (or lack thereof) when it really matters. Reduce financial stress by getting an early start on retirement planning, so you have more time to let compound interest work to your best advantage. But if you missed your chance at adding to a 401(k) plan in your 20s, don’t fret. This advice about how to save for retirement at every age will get you closer to saying goodbye to your working days with confidence that your money will last. Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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We Spent $71.30 on Groceries This Week (+ our dinner menu)

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We Spent $71.30 on Groceries This Week (+ our dinner menu)
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. Last week, I only spent $60 on groceries, so I went a little bit over this week. Here’s what we bought… Kroger Shopping Trip #1 2 bags of apples —  marked down to $0.99 each 5 bags of Chicken Breasts — $4.99 per bag with Kroger digital coupon Total with tax = $28.61 Kroger Shopping Trip #2 4 tubs of lettuce — marked down to $0.99 each 3 bags of apples — marked down to $0.99 each Promised Land Chocolate Milk — marked down to $0.99 Rice Bitz cereal — marked down to $0.79 Cage-Free eggs — marked down to $1.39 Milk — $2.89 Total with tax: $13.80 Kroger Shopping Trip #3 2 Tyson Anytizer Chicken — $3.99 each with Kroger weekend digital coupon 3 dozen eggs — marked down to $0.39 each Strawberries — $1.67 Carrots — $0.99 1 bag avocados — marked down to $0.99 Milk — $2.89 Cage-free eggs — marked down to $1.29 Tortillas — $1.50 2 Private Selection Chips — $0.99 each with Kroger weekend digital coupon Refried beans — marked down to $0.49 4 jars Pace salsa — $0.99 each when Kroger weekend digital coupon Refried beans — $0.79 Total with tax: $28.89 Dinners This Past Week Frozen Pizza, Popcorn Slow Cooker Sausage & Sauerkraut Soup, Biscuits, and Apples Sausage & Sauerkraut Soup, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins, and Apples Roasted Potatoes, Roast in the Crockpot, Instant Pot Apples, Roasted Broccoli Italian Chicken, Salad Leftovers Dinner Out By the way, what are your best tips for keeping lettuce fresh? I don’t want all the lettuce I bought to go to waste before we can use it, but it will probably take us at least 5-7 more days to eat through all that. Any great suggestions? [...]
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CFTC to Hold an Open Commission Meeting on January 30

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CFTC to Hold an Open Commission Meeting on January 30
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) will hold an open meeting on January 30, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET, to discuss a proposed rule regarding position limits for derivatives. The meeting will resume at 1:30 p.m. to consider another proposed rule on amendments to codify current no-action relief regarding swap execution facility (SEF) and real-time reporting requirements. The meeting is open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis, as well as via live webcast and conference call. More information, including viewing and listening instructions, is available here. [...]
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Afternoon Deals: Saturday, January 25

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Afternoon Deals: Saturday, January 25
Every morning and afternoon we publish a list of the latest and best deals from our partner, DealNews. To learn more about the discounts and details, click on any of the deals for more information. To have this list, along with our latest news and stories, delivered daily to your inbox, sign up for our free newsletter. For links to deals as they’re published, follow @mtndeals on Twitter. [...]
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Alliant Cashback Caps Rewards at 2.5%, Drops First-Year Bonus

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Alliant Cashback Caps Rewards at 2.5%, Drops First-Year Bonus
The Alliant Cashback Visa® Signature Credit Card has put the kibosh on its eye-popping introductory rewards rate and is imposing a limit on its formerly unlimited cash back. This week, the issuer made some adjustments to the card that could leave its biggest spenders disgruntled: The first-year bonus is gone. Previously the card offered unlimited... Robin Saks Frankel is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: rfrankel@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @robinsaks. The article Alliant Cashback Caps Rewards at 2.5%, Drops First-Year Bonus originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Should your kids get an allowance?

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Should your kids get an allowance?
It is a question that many parents ask themselves – should I give my kids an allowance? If you struggle to get a simple answer to this question you aren’t alone. And, if you do an online search for this topic you will find all sorts of advice and ideas. An allowance will be your ... Read More about Should your kids get an allowance? The post Should your kids get an allowance? appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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FREE Month of Disney Plus after cash back! {HOT}

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

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

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5 Pretty Easy Ways to Save Money on a Vacation
Do you have high hopes that there will be traveling your family’s future, but not quite sure how you can afford it? You’re not alone. While Americans will spend an average of 10% of their household income on vacationing this year, a full 74% take on debt for their trips. Each of these tips offers ... Read More about 5 Pretty Easy Ways to Save Money on a Vacation The post 5 Pretty Easy Ways to Save Money on a Vacation appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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15 Cars That the Most Owners Drive for 15 Years or More

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15 Cars That the Most Owners Drive for 15 Years or More
If you are looking for a car — and hoping it will last for a decade and a half — we’ve got one bit of advice for you: Buy Japanese. That was the takeaway of iSeeCars’ latest annual ranking of cars that people keep the longest. The car search engine found that all 15 vehicles that original owners were most likely to keep for 15 years or more were from Japanese manufacturers. [...]
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Breaking Up With Our Phones

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Breaking Up With Our Phones
About a week and a half ago, Jesse dropped his phone in the lake while duck hunting. To our surprise, instead of this being something that was a sort of frustrating expense and inconvenience, it turned into an unexpected blessing. On this week’s episode of the podcast, Jesse and I talk candidly about how addicting the phone can become, changes we’ve implemented to spend less time on our phones, and what has been working for us (as well as some things we are trying!) We also share some of how we are approaching phones with our kids, the dangers parents need to be aware of, and what we’re learning as we’re navigating having a teen and pre-teens in the age of so much connectivity and technology. What has helped you to be wise and intentional with your phone usage? I’d love to hear your suggestions and insights! In This Episode:  [01:34] Why elderberry syrup is saving my life these days. [04:37] Jesse’s phone took a swim, listen to hear how it was a blessing in disguise.  [13:53] How we turned the loss of the phone into a finances discussion with our kids. [16:20] Why phones have become an unhealthy addiction and how to break up with them. [19:12] How parents need to be aware of the dangers that are out there when it comes to our phones. [24:42] What kind of example are we setting for our kids with our phone usage?  Links and Resources: Four Mothers Elderberry Syrup CrystalPaine.com MoneySavingMom.com YourBloggingMentor.com My 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 here. 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. photo credit [...]
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8 Moves to Consider for IRAs, 401(k)s Under New Secure Act

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8 Moves to Consider for IRAs, 401(k)s Under New Secure Act
There’s a new law in town, and it wants to help you improve your retirement savings outlook. The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act, known as the Secure Act, has many moving parts. Some of its provisions are aimed at individual savers; others are focused on employers. Big picture, the act brings major... Andrea Coombes is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: acoombes@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @andreacoombes. The article 8 Moves to Consider for IRAs, 401(k)s Under New Secure Act originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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My Goals for This Week

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My Goals for This Week
This year, I’m doing weekly goals in 2020 instead of yearly goals. And I’m thrilled to report that it’s going so well! In fact, even though we had activities almost every evening last week and a very full week, I got so much done — and had breathing room and rest time, too! Here’s an update on how I did on my goals last week… Last Week’s Goals Update Personal Goals 1. Get in 52,000 steps total. (I use the FitBit Ulta HR to track my steps every day.)  2. Finish reading Romancing Your Child’s Heart and Awful Beautiful Life and listening to the Killing Patton audiobook.  3. Get up at 5:30 a.m. every week day. Home/Family Goals 4. Decluttering: Garage freezer, bathroom closet, attic area, laundry room, car. 5. Start a new read aloud book together as a family. 6. Inventory what baby clothes we need to buy and purchase these. Work/Blog Goals 7. Finish the introduction and write chapter 1 of my manuscript. 8. Write an in-depth honest review of Butcher Box. (You can read my Completely Honest Review of Butcher Box here.) 9. Run our $4 course sale. Word of the Year Goals 10. Pop popcorn and watch another classic movie as a family. (We watched 7 Brides for 7 Brothers. I’ll share our thoughts on it on my book update post on Wednesday.) 11. Go out to dinner with Jesse for our anniversary. 12. Make tea, light a candle, and write a card to Jesse.  I cleaned out the sock basket when I worked on the laundry room. Can you believe that in this overflowing basket of mismatched socks that had come through the laundry in the last 6-8 months there was not one single match?? This Week’s Goals This week, I’m setting more personal goals because, as I wrote in my pregnancy update, I’m wanting to really prioritize earlier bedtimes and more hydration. If you’re wondering why I have such a long list of books to read, that’s because 4 of the books are ones I’m reading in preparation for a podcast interview and another one is a book I’m reading in order to do an endorsement for a friend. So it looks like a lot, but 4 of them are super short and I’m over halfway through two of the books on my list. It’s not as impressive as it might look! 🙂 2020: Week 3 — Goals Personal Goals 1. Get in 53,000 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, 100 Words of Affirmation Your Wife Needs to Hear, 100 Words of Affirmation Your Husband Needs to Hear, Live Love Now, and No Better Mom for the Job. Finish listening to Killing the Rising Sun. 3. Get up at 5:30 a.m. every week day. 4. Go to bed by 10 p.m. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. 5. Drink a gallon of water every day. Home/Family Goals 6. Decluttering: Boxes of mementos, under bathroom sinks, and kitchen cupboards. 7. Finish reading Great Escapes of World War II aloud as a family. 8. Buy hats and coming home outfit for baby. (I’m chipping away at my To Do Before Baby Comes list a little bit per week.) Work/Blog Goals 9. Write chapter 2 of my manuscript. Word of the Year Goals 10. Pop popcorn and watch another classic movie as a family. 11. Go to a movie with Jesse. 12. Go out to dinner with friends. 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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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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Converse Chuck Taylor All Star High Tops & Low Tops only $25 shipped (Reg. $55!)

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Converse Chuck Taylor All Star High Tops & Low Tops only $25 shipped (Reg. $55!)
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. Love Converse? You can score them for just $25 shipped right now! Through January 15th, Converse is offering Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Seasonal Colors High Tops or Low Tops for only $25 when you use the promo code JAN25 at checkout! Even better, get free shipping when you create a Converse.com account (free to join). Here are some deal ideas: Chuck Taylor Unisex All Star Seasonal Colors as low as $39.97 (regularly $55) Use promo code JAN25 Shipping is free for Converse account members $25 shipped after code Chuck Taylor Unisex All Star Seasonal Color High Tops as low as $44.97 (regularly $55) Use promo code JAN25 Shipping is free for Converse account members $25 shipped after code Chuck Taylor Infant and Toddler Seasonal Color Easy-On Chuck Taylor All Star Low Tops as low as $29.97 (regularly $35) Use promo code JAN25 Shipping is free for Converse account members $25 shipped after code Valid through January 15, 2020. Thanks, Hip2Save! [...]
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Afternoon Deals: Sunday, January 12

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Afternoon Deals: Sunday, January 12
Every morning and afternoon we publish a list of the latest and best deals from our partner, DealNews. To learn more about the discounts and details, click on any of the deals for more information. To have this list, along with our latest news and stories, delivered daily to your inbox, sign up for our free newsletter. For links to deals as they’re published, follow @mtndeals on Twitter. [...]
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Want to save money and eat healthier?

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Want to save money and eat healthier?
Do you have a New Year’s goal to eat more at home and save money on groceries? Sign up for the Eat At Home Challenge below! Have you signed up for my FREE Eat at Home Challenge? When you sign up, I’ll send you: A one-week grocery list and menu plan 5 days of simple crockpot recipes and videos of me making them My best tips for saving time on menu-planning and grocery shopping How I eat healthier without spending a lot of prep time to do so Our simple system for dealing with picky eaters Are you interested? Sign up for the Eat at Home Challenge here. [...]
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Brigette’s $88 Grocery Shopping Trip and Weekly Menu Plan for 6

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Brigette’s $88 Grocery Shopping Trip and Weekly Menu Plan for 6
Aldi 1 bag Frozen Blueberries – $1.85 2 bags Frozen Mixed Vegetables – $1.14 1 2-lb bag Pazazz Apples – $2.49 1 2-lb bag Honey Crisp Apples – $2.49 1 16-oz bag Mini Cucumbers – $2.09 1 bag Baby Carrots – $0.89 1 large bag Organic Kale – $2.89 1 pkg Romaine Hearts – $2.39 1 Cauliflower – $2.29 1 Pineapple – $1.19 2 Avocados – $0.98 1 bag Mini Sweet Peppers – $2.39 1 bag Dried Cranberries – $1.19 1 tub Grape Tomatoes – $1.39 2 bags Red Grapes ($1.29/lb) – $4.97 1 large tub Organic Spring Mix – $3.49 1 pkg Turkey Bacon – $1.89 1 8-oz pkg Deli Sliced Cheese – $1.79 1 Goat Cheese Log – $1.55 1 pkg String Cheese – $1.99 1 16-oz carton Egg Whites – $1.69 5 dozen Eggs – $4.95 1 16-oz pkg Deli Sliced Meat – $2.85 1 jar Extra Virgin Organic Olive Oil – $3.59 1 24-oz jar Pasta Sauce – $0.85 2 cans Tomato Sauce – $0.38 1 box Honey Crunch Oats – $1.29 1 box Cinnamon Crunch Squares – $1.32 1 box Crispy Oats – $1.15 2 boxes Macaroni and Cheese – $0.66 1 gallon Whole Milk – $1.99 1 gallon 1% Milk – $1.99 2 64-oz cartons Orange Juice – $3.28 1 64-oz carton Unsweetened Almond Milk – $1.65 1 16-oz carton Heavy Whipping Cream – $0.99 1 32-oz carton Half and Half – $1.55 1 pkg Butter Quarters – $2.49 1 24-oz carton Cottage Cheese – $1.59 1 can Parmesan Cheese – $2.29 2 large cans Organic Diced Tomatoes – $3.18 1 large canister Old Fashioned Oats – $2.29 1 pkg Sliced Pepperoni – $2.19 1 bag Gluten Free Pretzels – $1.85 1 loaf Sandwich Bread – $0.67 Grocery Total for the Week: $88.07 Weekly Menu Plan We have SO MUCH food in our pantry and freezer right now – 7 deer from my husband’s hunting season efforts, plus all kinds of foodie christmas gifts and leftovers. We will be working on eating it up over the next few weeks especially (although the venison will take the whole year ;)). Also, I got an Instant Pot for Christmas! So feel free to hit me up with your favorite recipes. Breakfasts Everyone is responsible for making/cleaning up their own breakfasts. Choices include: Oatmeal, Toast, Fried/Scrambled/Boiled Eggs, Veggie Omelets, Cereal, Fruit, Cottage Cheese, Smoothies Lunches Deli Meat/Cheese Sandwiches, Apples, Cucumbers x 2 Pretzels and Peanut Butter, Cheese Sticks, Grapes Baked Potatoes with Shredded Cheese/Cottage Cheese, Grapes Mini Peppers Leftovers x 3 Dinners Pancakes, Eggs, Turkey Bacon, Roasted Parmesan Broccoli (breakfast for dinner) Instant Pot Pot Roast with Potatoes and Carrots (I’ll use a Venison Roast and my variation of this), Tossed Salad Homemade Pepperoni Pizza, Steamed Mixed Vegetables, Kale Craisin Salad Taco Salad (using ground venison), Spanish Rice, Oranges Chili with Shredded Cheese, Homemade Cornbread, Raw Carrots/Ranch Dip Date Night Out (Kids eat Mac and Cheese at home) Leftovers [...]
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Reasons to sell a business

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Reasons to sell a business
The post Reasons to sell a business appeared first on ONEtoONE Corporate Finance. [...]
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Is This the Only Stain Remover Worth Buying?

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Is This the Only Stain Remover Worth Buying?
Good old laundry detergent is just as effective at removing spots as fancy stain removers — with one exception, according to Consumer Reports. The publication recently put several stain removers to the test and found that just one — OxiClean MaxForce — removed stains better than a typical liquid detergent. CR praises OxiClean MaxForce for its ability to remove stains &#8220. [...]
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How to Use Priceline to Save on Travel

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How to Use Priceline to Save on Travel
I don’t know about you, but one of my most exciting resolutions for this year is to travel more. In order to make this a reality, though, I need to be able to save money wherever I can on the trips that I plan for my family. One of the biggest tools in my money-saving ... Read More about How to Use Priceline to Save on Travel The post How to Use Priceline to Save on Travel appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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Save an Extra $500 a Month? What That Looks Like In 30 Years

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

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Here’s What Bad Financial Advice Costs You
Good financial advice leaves you better off. Bad advice does the opposite, and may even enrich someone else at your expense. Here are some areas where you need to be particularly careful to seek out good advice, since bad advice can be so costly. Investing Most financial advisors aren’t required to put your best interests... Liz Weston is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: lweston@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @lizweston. The article Here’s What Bad Financial Advice Costs You originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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4 Expiring Tax Breaks Extended Through 2020

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4 Expiring Tax Breaks Extended Through 2020
Federal budget legislation enacted in late December did a lot more than fund the government for another year. As we’ve recently reported, this bill package included provisions that tweak everything from retirement accounts to cable TV bills, for example. It also extends several tax breaks for individuals that had expired already or were about to expire, making them available for your tax... [...]
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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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Fintech Must Meet Cleantech. Fast.

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Fintech Must Meet Cleantech. Fast.
[...]
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SEC Proposes New Rules to Implement Resource Extraction Disclosure Rules

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SEC Proposes New Rules to Implement Resource Extraction Disclosure Rules
On December 18, the Securities and Exchange Commission voted to propose new rules to require resource extraction issuers to disclose payments made to foreign governments or the US government for the commercial development of oil, natural gas or minerals, as required by Section 13(q) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the Exchange Act). These disclosure rules are mandated by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and follow the SEC’s 2012 rules, which were vacated by the US District Court for the District of Columbia, and 2016 rules, which were disapproved in part by a joint resolution of Congress pursuant to the Congressional Review Act on the grounds that the compliance burden on issuers was viewed as too significant. The new proposed rules, applicable to domestic and foreign issuers that engage in the commercial development of oil, natural gas or minerals and that are required to file annual reports with the SEC under the Exchange Act, would require annual disclosure on Form SD of applicable payments made to foreign governments or the US government. The new proposed rules differ from the 2016 rules in that they, among other things, allow for aggregation of payments by applicable jurisdiction, raise the thresholds for excluded de minimis payments and include an exemption from disclosure where such disclosure would conflict with applicable foreign law or pre-existing contract terms. Issuers with a fiscal year ending on or before June 30 would be required to submit the Form SD no later than March 31 in the calendar year following its most recent fiscal year, while issuers with a fiscal year ending after June 30 would be required to submit the Form SD no later than March 31 in the second calendar year following its most recent fiscal year. The new proposed rules also exempt smaller reporting companies and emerging growth companies from the disclosure requirements. In addition, the new proposed rules provide that required disclosure be treated as “furnished” and not “filed” for purposes of liability under Section 18 of the Exchange Act and provide that a newly public company would not be required to furnish the resource extraction disclosure until its Form SD for the first fiscal year following the fiscal year in which its initial public offering is completed. The full text of the SEC’s proposing release is available here. [...]
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How to Redeem the Welcome Bonus from the Alaska Airlines Visa

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How to Redeem the Welcome Bonus from the Alaska Airlines Visa
After you receive your Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card welcome bonus, the fun begins. Here’s this card’s current offering: Get 40,000 bonus miles and Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™ from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) with this offer. To qualify, make purchases of $2,000 or more within the first 90 days... Ben Nickel-D’Andrea is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: travel@nerdwallet.com. The article How to Redeem the Welcome Bonus from the Alaska Airlines Visa originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Why a Family Should Make Major Financial Decisions Together

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Why a Family Should Make Major Financial Decisions Together
Whether or not you have the option to stay at home with your children or choose to work full or part-time, making major financial decisions with your partner or spouse can make a huge difference in your self-esteem and deepen your trust in each other. Having an equal voice in the big decisions, backed by ... Read More about Why a Family Should Make Major Financial Decisions Together The post Why a Family Should Make Major Financial Decisions Together appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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Our Journey to Becoming Foster Parents

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Our Journey to Becoming Foster Parents
Our Journey to Becoming Foster Parents “What’s your plan for foster care? How many kids are you planning to accept at a time? What ages of kids are you planning to foster? Are you hoping to adopt from the foster care system?” These questions and many more have been asked by very well-meaning, caring people over the last few months as we’ve shared the news that we were becoming foster parents. If you know me, you know I’m a planner. I’m a to do list queen. I love having order and organization in our lives. I’m a big proponent of setting goals. And yet, when it comes to foster care, I don’t have a pre-determined plan or fill-in-the-blank answers. In fact, my answer to pretty much every question is, “I don’t know. We’re open to how God leads.” That might seem vague or even like a cop out. But it’s the truest answer I have to give right now. Why We Said Yes to Foster Parenting You see, we aren’t saying yes to foster care because it fits into a grand plan we’ve written out for the next 10 years of our life. In all honesty, saying yes to foster care feels pretty crazy with our current workload and responsibilities and season of life. And yet, to the deepest part of our core, we know this is God’s call on our life and we know that He has a plan for our future that is greater and bigger and crazier than what we could dream up. So we’ve jumped off the cliff of our comfort and plunging into the unknown in full confidence that God’s got this. He knows what the future holds and He’s the One Who holds the future — and we can trust Him to carry us, even on the really hard days. In this week’s episode of the podcast, Jesse and I share in-depth how we ended up on this journey (it wasn’t one we ever anticipated being on!), why we made the decision to pursue getting licensed, what the licensing process was like, and what we’ve learned along the way. We also answer some of your most often-asked questions regarding foster care. In This Episode:  [01:23] My exercise ball and cleaning out our closets have been saving our lives. We share why. [06:38] I just finished reading Parenting and wanted to share a few of my favorite quotes. [10:56] Jesse is reading Hunter Killer. [12:40] The unexpected path that led us to become foster parents.  [19:37] We talk about what the classes and certification were like.  [26:00] After finishing all the classes, we moved on to the home study. [29:18] What the best step to start with to look into fostering? [32:21] Why we decided to actively involve our kids in the decision-making process. [34:51] What are some of the best ways others can come alongside and help foster families?  Links and Resources: My Exercise Ball Parenting by Paul David Tripp Hunter Killer by Kevin Maurer and Kevin McCurley CrystalPaine.com MoneySavingMom.com YourBloggingMentor.com My 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 here. 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. [...]
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3 Costly Social Security Mistakes That Women Make

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3 Costly Social Security Mistakes That Women Make
Retirement planning is an important part of long-term financial wellness. For women, the process can be especially fraught. In general, women tend to make less money and live longer than men. This combination can lead to lower Social Security benefits and other issues. Let’s take a look at some of the costliest Social Security mistakes that women might make. Deciding to take Social Security... [...]
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My Goals For This Week (+ details on my baby to do list)

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My Goals For This Week (+ details on my baby to do list)
This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here. As I told you last week, I’m doing weekly goals in 2020 instead of yearly goals. We’re only a week into the new year, but I can already tell you that I am loving this approach and couldn’t believe how much I got done last week. (Okay, it probably helped that the kids were out of school, we had very few extra commitments, and it was an overall quiet week. We’ll see how it goes this week when we’re back to our usual schedule and pace and we have commitments and plans every evening!)  Before I share this week’s goals, here’s an update on how I did on last week’s goals… Last Week’s Goals (progress update) Personal Goals 1. Get in 50,000 steps total. 2. Finish reading Parenting and An Invisible Thread. 3. Get up at 5:30 a.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. (I hit this goal every day but Monday.) Home/Family Goals 4. Declutter the entire house. (See the pictures of our progress here. (Note: We did all the big projects this week, but I came up with a list of little areas I want to declutter and I’m planning to tackle one small project every week day fo r the next few weeks.) 5. Finish reading aloud A Single Shard together. 6. Start a new family devotional book together. (We decided to go with The Ology since we already had it and had been wanting to go through it.) Work/Blog Goals 7. Spend 12 hours on my manuscript outline. (My outline is done — yay!! This next week I get to start writing!) 8. Open up the blogging Mastermind to new members. 9. Get everything ready for our big $4 course sale next week. Word of the Year Goals 10. Pop popcorn and watch a movie as a family. (We watched Swiss Family Robinson and the kids really enjoyed it!) 11. Take Kaitlynn out shopping. (See details on our shopping trip here.) 12. Make tea, light a candle, and write thank you notes. I was SO excited to see all those things crossed off the list! YAY!!! A Word About My Baby To Do List You’ll start to notice baby items on my goals list each week. A few weeks ago, I sat down and made out a list of everything I needed to do/buy/get before the baby is born (I’m due April 30). I divided this list up into weekly tasks so that I could slowly chip away at it instead of waiting until the last few weeks and feeling overwhelmed by everything I needed to do. This makes the countdown more exciting and it also is in line with my word for the year — because it’s going to let me savor this special time even more instead of feeling sort of rushed with to-do’s. 2020: Week 2 — Goals Personal Goals 1. Get in 52,000 steps total. (I use the FitBit Ulta HR to track my steps every day.) 2. Finish reading Romancing Your Child’s Heart and Awful Beautiful Life and listening to the Killing Patton audiobook. 3. Get up at 5:30 a.m. every week day. Home/Family Goals 4. Decluttering: Garage freezer, bathroom closet, attic area, laundry room, car. 5. Start a new read aloud book together as a family. (Any great suggestions??) 6. Inventory what baby clothes we need to buy and purchase these. Work/Blog Goals 7. Finish the introduction and write chapter 1 of my manuscript. 8. Write an in-depth honest review of Butcher Box. 9. Run our $4 course sale. Word of the Year Goals 10. Pop popcorn and watch another classic movie as a family. 11. Go out to dinner with Jesse for our anniversary. 12. Make tea, light a candle, and write a card to Jesse. What are YOUR goals for this week? How did you do on last week’s goals? Tell us in the comments! [...]
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You May Have to Give More Personal Data to Get a Personal Loan

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You May Have to Give More Personal Data to Get a Personal Loan
Would you feel comfortable disclosing your bank account information on a personal loan application? What about your work history? Your college major? That’s what it could take to borrow money from some loan companies that consider alternative data — which can be anything that isn’t in your credit report — when deciding whether to approve... Annie Millerbernd is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: amillerbernd@nerdwallet.com. The article You May Have to Give More Personal Data to Get a Personal Loan originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Getting Ready for The Holidays In Style #WearBlairWell

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Getting Ready for The Holidays In Style #WearBlairWell
This is a sponsored post on behalf of Blair.com. All opinions are my own. Ready or not, the holidays are coming!  It is just about time for Thanksgiving. And then, before you know it, Christmas will be knocking on your door. When it comes to planning and organizing, it is something I enjoy.  But, I ... Read More about Getting Ready for The Holidays In Style #WearBlairWell The post Getting Ready for The Holidays In Style #WearBlairWell appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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Life Update: Pregnancy (week 23), Goal-Setting, Decluttering, Birthday Parties, and a fun girls’ night

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Life Update: Pregnancy (week 23), Goal-Setting, Decluttering, Birthday Parties, and a fun girls’ night
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. 23 weeks!! And I officially “popped” this week. I kept waiting for it to happen and this week it totally did. In fact, Jesse walked in while I was walking on the treadmill and took one look at me and said, “Whoa!” when he saw my belly. And then he realized that he had said it out loud… and I started dying laughing, because it’s exactly what I feel every time I look down or look in the mirror. Highlights We cleaned out our master bedroom closet to make space for the baby’s things (we’re planning to have the baby sleep in our room for the first months, possibly longer). It’s getting real now that we have baby blankets and baby things sitting in our closet! Notable This was a rough week. I struggled with a lot more nausea and had a lot more fatigue than usual. In fact, at least half of the day most days, I could only manage to be up for 5-15 minutes at a time and then needed to lie down. I think I maybe overdid it the last few weeks (+ I was sick) and we were traveling and I think my body just got completely worn down. I tried to take it really, really easy the past few days and I’m feeling a lot more energetic. I’m so grateful! It was a good reminder to me that this is a season to make sure to really pace myself and take time to rest. Cravings Very little this week, since I was nauseous most of the time. But I’m so grateful that the nausea isn’t anywhere what it was like in my first trimester. Also, I keep thinking about so many people who feel sick all the time and it’s not for a good cause nor does it have an end in sight. Weight gain: 15 lbs. This Week at Our House We drove back from Kansas last weekend (it’s about an 11 to 12-hour drive). Silas asked if he could wear his jammies on the drive… he is such a PJ-lover and I wonder if he’ll ever grow out of loving wearing PJs as often as possible! 🙂 On the drive home, I worked on planning for 2020, including planning out my Weekly Goals for this past week. (Did you see my post on why I’m not setting yearly goals and am setting weekly goals instead?) Last week, I asked for ideas on Instagram to help with my lingering hacking cough that was keeping me up at night. I got so many great ideas! As a result, I started taking elderberry syrup (thank you, Four Mothers Elderberry!) and putting Vick’s on my feet with socks every night and it’s really made a difference. I’m still not 100%, but I’m so much better than I was last week! You all are the best! One of our biggest projects for the week was decluttering all the majorly-neglected spots in our home. (You can see all of the before and after pictures here.) We had multiple birthday parties to attend this past week (I guess it’s a popular week for birthdays??). I loved the way my friend, Fran, chose to celebrate her birthday — with a TAK PAK Party. We all brought specific items and then packed backpacks with these items for teen girls who are entering foster care. (Read more about TAK PAKS here.) From My Heart… “I’m at my wit’s end! I can’t seem to connect with my daughter at all! It’s like she just doesn’t want to have a relationship with me!” A distraught mom confided this to me recently. My heart went out to her and I asked some more questions about the situation. Two things I asked were, “What does your daughter like? What is she interested in and passionate about?” After the mom listed off some things, I said, “What would it look like for you to step into her world and be interested in those things with her?” The mom abruptly responded, “Oh! I couldn’t do that! That’s just not me!” Here’s the thing I’ve learned from doing it all wrong: We can’t expect our kids to love all the same things we love and get excited about all the same things we get excited about. I used to get frustrated because my kids were so different than me. But then, I began seeing that their wildly different interests were an opportunity for me to learn and grow and expand my world. My kids have taught me so much about so many subjects that I used to have zero clue about. They have helped me develop new interests and new skills. And they’ve stretched and pushed me outside my comfort zone. And it has made my world so much richer and interesting! Want to Deepen a Relationship? For instance, Kaitlynn absolutely adores Bath & Body Works, so she’s teaching me all about how to get the best deal there. I’ve learned all about their scents and sales and money back guarantee. And she and I went one night this past week with her well-researched list and gift card and $10/$40 coupon and she floored me by getting two bags full of stuff for only $10.80 out of pocket — and saving $98!!! As I watched her strategically shop last night, I thought: 1) She needs to start her own blog (but she’s not interested in blogging, and that’s okay!) and 2) I would have missed this had I not been willing to get out of my little, “I don’t like to shop or go to the mall” mentality and jumped in and embraced something my daughter loves. Want to deepen a relationship with someone? Care about what they care about. Be interested in what they are interested in. And let them open up a whole new world of ideas and insights and inspiration to you! [...]
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Afternoon Deals: Saturday, January 4

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Afternoon Deals: Saturday, January 4
Every morning and afternoon we publish a list of the latest and best deals from our partner, DealNews. To learn more about the discounts and details, click on any of the deals for more information. To have this list, along with our latest news and stories, delivered daily to your inbox, sign up for our free newsletter. For links to deals as they’re published, follow @mtndeals on Twitter. [...]
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How to Optimize Chase Freedom, Discover it for Q1 2020

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How to Optimize Chase Freedom, Discover it for Q1 2020
It’s a new quarter, a new year and a new decade. That means it’s also time for new 5% bonus categories for the Chase Freedom® and select Discover cards including the Discover it® Cash Back and Discover it® Student Cash Back. From Jan. 1 through March 31, 2020, you’ll earn 5% cash back on up... Sara Rathner is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: srathner@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @sarakrathner. The article How to Optimize Chase Freedom, Discover it for Q1 2020 originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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9 Ways to Recover from Overspending During the Holidays

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9 Ways to Recover from Overspending During the Holidays
The packages have been opened. The kids are loving their new toys.  You are enjoying your coffee one morning and reading your mail when you see them… THE BILLS! Yikes! It seems you went a little over your budget. It was fun and the joy you brought to your kids’ faces was worth it. However, ... Read More about 9 Ways to Recover from Overspending During the Holidays The post 9 Ways to Recover from Overspending During the Holidays appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom. [...]
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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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‘America’s Got Talent’ Auditions Are Coming to These 4 Cities

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‘America’s Got Talent’ Auditions Are Coming to These 4 Cities
Ready to propel yourself from relative obscurity to a stage in front of millions of viewers? Here’s your chance to shine on NBC’s hit TV show “America’s Got Talent.” The audition crew is on the road to find the diamonds in the rough for season 15. Open-call auditions will be held in four more cities in January and February. America’s Got Talent Season 15 Audition Dates and Locations Auditions have already taken place in San Diego; Louisville, Kentucky; New York; Dallas; and Miami. But there are other opportunities to prove yourself. Las Vegas, Nevada: Jan. 7, 2020 Morongo Casino in Cabazon, California: Jan. 18, 2020 Detroit, Michigan: Jan. 21, 2020 Los Angeles, California: Febr. 1, 2020 If you don’t live near any of these cities, don’t worry. You can submit a video audition instead. How to Apply to ‘America’s Got Talent’ There are a few steps involved before you can show the world what they’ve been missing. Even if you have signed up and auditioned with the show before, you will need to do so again for the latest season.  Eligibility Requirements Nothing is worse than being discounted on a technicality. Make sure you’re eligible to participate before you sign up. The good news is that we’ve read the fine print, so you don’t have to.  The big takeaways: You must be a United States citizen, legal permanent resident or hold a current employment authorization card at the time of the audition. Minors may audition, but they must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Also, you can’t be currently running for public office… thankfully. We don’t need politics interrupting our time with Simon Cowell, right? You must agree not to run for public office until a year afterward, too. Sorry in advance if you were looking to “America’s Got Talent” to jump-start your campaign. Audition Registration Process If you fit the bill so far, you’ll need to head over to the ”America’s Got Talent” audition website to create a “performer profile” for season 15. For applicants interested in auditioning in person, you will need to register for the nearest city and fill out some paperwork on the type of performance you’re planning. Solo fire juggler? K-pop dance group? Or maybe you yodel while shepherding of a flock of corgis? Whatever your act entails, you’ll need to bring the appropriate paperwork with you, along with a valid ID. FROM THE MAKE MONEY FORUM 2020 Financial Goals 12/31/19 @ 1:31 AM Selling My Things 1/2/20 @ 8:12 AM Work from Home Opportunities 12/29/19 @ 11:13 PM buying "boxes" from AmazonI 12/30/19 @ 9:26 AM See more in Make Money or ask a money question Tips to Nail Your Audition The “America’s Got Talent” website has some general guidelines to make sure your act is worthy of public berating by Simon Cowell. Here’s some advice to set you apart: Singers, be ready to belt your heart out. There are no mics in the audition rooms. Make sure your act is fit to perform at a theatre in front of thousands of people. For dancers, one or two full songs are best for performances. It’s difficult to secure rights to medleys for broadcast. Bring any relevant equipment with you, and have your music files downloaded. Don’t stream your music. Be fearless and original, and make sure to dress to impress. And a personal tip, if you want to shake it up: Consider the winners of recent seasons — a music-themed magician, a ventriloquist and a ukulele-playing singer-songwriter for seasons 13, 12 and 11, respectively. Maybe your talents are more fit for other shows? Here’s how to apply to nine of the most popular game shows that are open to applicants.  Good luck, Penny Hoarders! Adam Hardy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He lives off a diet of stale puns and iced coffee. Read his ​full bio 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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Thank You

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Thank You
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5 Things You Should Never Do If You Want to Save Money on Groceries

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5 Things You Should Never Do If You Want to Save Money on Groceries
Are you trying to save more money on groceries and stick to a grocery budget? NEVER do these five things! Psst! Looking for more ways to cut your grocery bill? Check out my FREE cheat sheet on how to cut your grocery bill by $50 this week! Guest post from Katrina of Frugal Fun Mom If you’re a busy mom, I’m sure the last thing you want to do is go to the grocery store — let alone go to the grocery store with cranky kids and still try to find ways to save money on your groceries. I get it. I feel the same way! While I do enjoy saving money on groceries, the actual process can be daunting — especially when time is limited and you have kids who would rather be doing anything but grocery shopping. If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to saving money on groceries, my advice is to never do these 5 things… 1. Never Use Grocery Delivery or Pick Up Services I can hear the gasp – yes, I said it. You should never use grocery delivery or pick up services. What?! Yes, never… at least not if your goal is to save money on groceries! While these services are super convenient, they come at a cost and some of these costs are hidden. While a lot of grocery or delivery services are free, most are only free if you buy a certain quantity of items – which can mean you overspend just to make sure you don’t have to pay delivery fees. Also, most of these services do not allow you to use coupons. I think we can all agree that coupons are like free money, so you always want the option to use them when you shop. Yes, you can choose to buy only those items which are on sale, but you still can’t use coupons – your free money – to buy those items. If I haven’t convinced you already, the main reason I don’t use grocery delivery or pick up services is that I miss out on all the hidden deals inside the store. I’m talking about the deals you find in the clearance bins, discount section, or the manager’s specials aisle. Plus, when you find a great deal in clearance and can use a coupon on top of the deal, you have just scored yourself an even better deal that you never would’ve found using grocery delivery or pick up services. 2. Never Go to the Grocery Store Without a List Make sure you always go to the grocery store with a list of stuff you need – don’t go into the store blind! If you do, you will overspend and most likely buy things you don’t need. Make a list of the things you need and try your best not to deter from your list while shopping. 3. Never Go to the Grocery Store Without Looking Over the Weekly Ad Always look at the weekly ad before you head to the grocery store! Make sure you know what is on sale, and what is not. If you have multiple grocery stores in your area, compare prices and deals by looking at the weekly ads. If you don’t have a newspaper subscription and don’t receive the ads, you can always find the weekly ads online or by downloading the grocery store app to your smartphone. 4. Never Go to the Grocery Store Without Your Coupons This one should be a no-brainer, but just in case your forgot – make sure to always take your coupons with you when you go shopping. You never know when you will come across an unexpected or unplanned deal at the store. Especially when you’re digging through the clearance or mark down bins. I like to take my big coupon binder that holds all my coupons, as well as my mini organizer, with me every time I shop. I put specific coupons in my mini organizer that I know I will use at the grocery store based off their weekly ad. Then, when I bring my big coupon binder along with all my other coupons, I make sure to get maximum savings at the store when I find that unexpected deal because I have all my coupons with me. 5. Never Go to the Grocery Store Without a Budget My final tip is to never go to the grocery store without a budget. Why, you might ask? Again, because you will overspend. Even if you do find a good deal on an item, it’s not a good deal if you don’t have the money to buy it. Make sure to have a grocery budget and stick to it. If you have extra money after you buy all the things you need, then go ahead and buy those unexpected deals you find in the clearance bin that you can add to your home stockpile – but don’t overspend! If you can stick to these 5 guidelines, I guarantee you will save money on groceries. Remember that saving money on groceries is not always easy, otherwise everyone would be doing it. It takes a little work, but saving money for your household is so worth it! You can do it momma! Katrina Rauch is a full-time blogger and a mom of three. Her blog, Frugal Fun Mom, is dedicated to helping moms discover practical ways to save money, find encouragement for everyday mom chaos, and be inspired with frugal fun ideas to enjoy their kids. Looking for more grocery savings tips? If you’re looking for more ways to cut your grocery bill, be sure to sign up for my FREE cheat sheet on 10 Easy Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill by $50! Plus, check out the links below for more grocery saving tips: 25 Ways to Save Money on Groceries How to Save Money on Groceries When You Only Eat Whole Foods 18 Creative Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill How to Save Money on Groceries When You Only Eat Whole Foods 10 Simple Ways to Cut Your Grocery Bill How I Cut $80 Off Our Weekly Grocery Bill 4 Reasons Why You Can’t Save Money on Groceries 5 Tips to Save Time and Money on Groceries How I Save on Groceries With a Houseful of Teenage Boys [...]
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Best Travel Credit Cards to Pay Cell Phone Bills

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Best Travel Credit Cards to Pay Cell Phone Bills
Cell phones have transitioned from a luxury to a necessity in today’s busy world. We spend a lot of money to have our cell phones by our side: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average person spends $1,188 per year on their cell phone bill. And the bill is much higher for a... Lee Huffman is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: travel@nerdwallet.com. The article Best Travel Credit Cards to Pay Cell Phone Bills originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Get interactive 2020 Organizing and Goals Diaries for just $9 total!!

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

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This Money-Saving Challenge Starts With Just a Single Penny