Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

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Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
With summer fun now behind us, it’s time to prepare for a long fall and winter. So, if you are 50 or older, consider scheduling vaccinations that can keep you healthy — and even save your life. The aging process weakens our immune systems, putting us at greater risk for several types of disease, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For this reason... [...]
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5 Amazing Employee Perks Starbucks Offers — Even Part-Timers Get These

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5 Amazing Employee Perks Starbucks Offers — Even Part-Timers Get These
When I decided to pursue freelance writing as a career, I knew I needed an additional source of income. Or a winning lottery ticket.  A job seemed like the better bet. I applied to work at Starbucks because I had heard it’s an ideal place for a part-time gig. I could receive many of the same benefits as my friends who had full-time jobs, but I would only be working 25 to 30 hours per week! The Hidden Perks of Working at Starbucks Starbucks is known for treating its partners well. (“Partners” is what Starbucks calls its employees.)  Chances are, you’ve heard the company offers its partners retirement plans and fully covered tuition to Arizona State University’s online program for eligible full- and part-time U.S. partners. But after a few months, I began to realize that most partners at my store weren’t taking advantage of all the benefits Starbucks offered us — myself included. We either didn’t know about the perks or didn’t understand them. I decided to do some research, and it really paid off. Who knew working at Starbucks would help me listen to music for free? Or join a fancy gym for a fraction of the price? If you are a Starbucks partner, here are a few money-savers you may not know you have at your fingertips. 1. Free Spotify Premium My friends and family all know I’m cheap. Well, let’s say “frugal.” That sounds nicer. While planning my wedding, I was determined to find an alternative to paying hundreds of dollars for a DJ. I figured I would just get Spotify Premium so I could play all my music without dealing with ads or the tunes being on shuffle. Then I realized I was too… ahem… frugal, to pay $9.99 per month for Spotify Premium. Thankfully, a co-worker told me Spotify and Starbucks have a deal that gives partners free Spotify Premium. I signed up. (And, in case you were wondering, my wedding reception was the bomb.) 2. Free Coffee and Tea It’s no surprise that another Starbucks benefit is free coffee.  Starbucks partners get a free pound of coffee or box of tea every week. It’s easy to take this perk for granted, but a bag of coffee isn’t cheap. My first few weeks of working, I didn’t take advantage of this benefit. My now-husband also worked at Starbucks, so I didn’t see the need for both of us to get a pound of coffee every week. I mean, I’m a coffee addict, but that’s a lot of coffee! However, to those partners who don’t see the need to use the full amount every week, I fully encourage you to start. Did you know there are countless uses for your free bags of coffee? One of my co-workers volunteered with military personnel and took her free coffee to them every week. My husband gave his groomsmen bags of coffee as thank-you gifts. 3. A Jolt for Your 401(k) Please don’t skip this section because you think planning for retirement is boring and too complicated to understand. I’m amazed by how many employees don’t take advantage of this benefit. Many partners don’t know that Starbucks matches 100% of their 401(k) contributions, typically up to 4 to 6% of the employee’s salary. The company’s Board of Directors decides each November what the following year’s rate will be.  That’s free money that is growing on its own thanks to compound interest. I never missed it because I never touched it, and the government won’t tax me on it until I withdraw it. Set up your 401(k) plan online, and it kicks in after 90 days on the job.  4. Gym Membership Discounts This benefit is bittersweet: Sweet because everyone loves deals. Bitter because you are about to lose your excuse to skip going to the gym. Starbucks has partnerships with gyms that are always trying to attract new customers. For example, Starbucks has partnerships with GlobalFit, Gold’s Gym and Curves.  Discounted gym memberships just for being a Starbucks employee? That’s an advantage I never expected! Now you have a way to burn off all those free pumpkin spice lattes you drink on the job. FROM THE MAKE MONEY FORUM Scholarships 9/9/19 @ 10:09 AM WORK AT HOME 8/30/19 @ 2:14 PM T Job Searching: Grit and Prayer 2/14/19 @ 9:54 AM Plasma donation 9/9/19 @ 12:26 PM M See more in Make Money or ask a money question 5. Starbucks Partner Discounts Emails In case you haven’t noticed, Starbucks provides employees a lot of goodies. They’re hard to keep track of, and new deals are always popping up. Guess what? You don’t have to miss out on any of them. I signed up for weekly emails from Starbucks. Once a week, I received an email about new discounts with companies ranging from AMC Theatres to Dell to Restaurant.com. It was the most foolproof way to make sure I didn’t miss an opportunity to save a little money. As soon as your manager assigns you an ID number, you can sign up for these emails.  Laura Grace Tarpley is a freelance writer who is always looking for ways to save money. 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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Stop Overpaying for These 10 Common Purchases

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Stop Overpaying for These 10 Common Purchases
As a smart shopper, you probably spend a lot of time searching for the best deals. However, some of those great finds aren’t really all that terrific. In fact, a lot of so-called “good deals” can actually be found for free. However, freebies are not the only way to save money. In this report, we look at some free things, but also highlight lower-cost options you might be... [...]
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These Side Hustle Podcasts Will Make Managing or Growing Your Gig Easier

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These Side Hustle Podcasts Will Make Managing or Growing Your Gig Easier
Podcasts are often an overlooked resource for entertainment, education and advice on niche topics — side gigs among them. They’re often hosted by everyday people in the thick of things. Some gain cult followings and build supportive communities before the topic goes mainstream. For anyone considering extra work, such feedback and support are crucial. The right side hustle podcast can be the perfect source of both. Need a Side Hustle Podcast to Stay Motivated? How About 9? Despite how side gigs are portrayed, there’s a lot more to them than downloading an app and making money in your spare time. Reality is more complicated. Your gig should be a purposeful endeavor that doesn’t merely cover bills.  Ideally, your side gig should have an exit plan that helps you meet a financial or professional goal. For those currently in the thick of things, you may find that hustle culture is taking a toll on your health or relationships. It can be a lot to stay on top of. But the good news is that there are a plethora of podcasts to guide you along your journey, from voices big and small.  1. The Accidental Creative Since 2005, author and podcast host Todd Henry has been cranking out episodes that include interviews and tips to spur creativity and productivity. New episodes of The Accidental Creative come daily or twice weekly, depending on your preference.  Daily episodes are three-minute snippets of advice while the twice-weekly episodes run for about 20 minutes and include full-length interviews and strategies. 2. Before Breakfast Host Laura Vanderkam dishes out daily episodes of Before Breakfast, a podcast that focuses on time-management techniques. As a mother of four, author, public speaker and host of two podcasts, Vanderkam knows a thing or two about managing time. Each episode aptly runs about five minutes, and it can be easily baked into your morning routine — ahem — before breakfast. 3. Freelance Creative Exchange Every two weeks, CreativesAtWork releases a new episode of Freelance Creative Exchange, a no-frills, tip-based podcast for freelancers, especially international freelancers.  Each episode, which runs about 30 to 40 minutes, takes a deep dive into a different freelance strategy. While the podcast is produced by a Singapore-based media agency, the content is universally applicable — covering such topics as scaling from a few clients to full-fledged business, pricing your services appropriately, using social media to further your reach and much more. 4. How I Built This Hosted by Guy Raz and provided by NPR, How I Built This is an award-winning podcast that’s built on a simple premise: interview the most successful business owners and entrepreneurs of the day and dive into exactly how they achieved success. Each episode documents the struggles and hurdles of the early stages of starting a business, and highlights how many now-household brands started out as side gigs. New episodes are published every Monday. Hunker down. They’re about an hour long. 5. The Rideshare Guy Harry Campbell is the voice behind The Rideshare Guy. The aerospace engineer turned rideshare-driver-podcaster-blogger started driving for Uber and Lyft in 2014. He created a blog and a podcast to dive into the differences of each ridesharing app. Campbell features a diversity of sources related to ridesharing and the gig economy as a whole. Some drivers, some researchers and even some CEOs. Episodes run between 30 and 45 minutes and are released every other week or so. FROM THE MAKE MONEY FORUM WORK AT HOME 8/30/19 @ 2:14 PM T Laptops 9/5/19 @ 1:32 PM Work from home Southern_MiMi 9/3/19 @ 9:44 AM HOW TO START YOUR OWN ONLINE TUTORING BUSINESS? 9/4/19 @ 10:05 AM See more in Make Money or ask a money question 6. Sidegig Previously, Sidegig was more talk show than podcast. Three seasons featured discussions and lessons-learned from three hosts, Preston Lee, Ian Paget, Ryan Robinson, who all ran businesses in addition to their 9-to-5s (and hosting the podcast).  All these episodes are still available to listen to, but starting Fall 2019, the show is getting a revamp: New host Brian Hull will offer up side gig ideas, advice and tips from guests. New episodes will be released every Friday. 7. Side Hustle Pro Host Nicaila Okame seeks to tell stories that no one else tells. So, in 2016, she started Side Hustle Pro, a podcast that shares the journeys of black women entrepreneurs who have created and grown their side gigs into lasting businesses. New episodes air every Wednesday and typically feature an interview with a successful guest. In 40-ish-minute segments, Side Hustle Pro covers big-picture advice like handling imposter syndrome as well as the minutiae like pricing your freelance services to attract the right clients. 8. Side Hustle School To best-selling author and podcast host Chris Guillebeau, a side hustle is all about creating a new opportunity that works for you, not some other business or side-gig platform. Every day, and sometimes multiple times per day, Guillebeau releases a new episode of Side Hustle School with that credo in mind.  Each episode features a unique side gig from his guest and offers resources on how to create a similar gig or business. Sometimes the episodes are hosted by the hustlers themselves. In June, The Penny Hoarder sat down to interview Chris Guillebeau ahead of his new book, “100 Side Hustles,” which is largely based on his podcast series. 9. The Side Hustle Show Every week, host Nick Loper shares advice on everything side hustle — moneymaking ideas, gig-launching tips, progress-tracking strategies and more. (Loper also brought some of his ideas to The Penny Hoarder as a freelance writer in years past.) The Side Hustle Show is now 350 episodes strong. Most episodes run for 40 minutes, but you can opt for edited versions of the massive archive to hone in on certain topics or to get minute-long sound bites. So before you download an app, before you commit to something you haven’t yet fleshed out and definitely before you spend any money on overhead costs, gain some perspective by filling all that empty air with the soundwaves of people who have gone before you. Adam Hardy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He specializes in ways to make money that don’t involve stuffy corporate offices. 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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$70 Grocery Budget (I’m loving these weekend deals!)

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$70 Grocery Budget (I’m loving these weekend deals!)
Want to see what we bought for this week’s $70 grocery budget? I’m currently challenging myself to stick with a $70 budget for our family of five. This includes almost all of our breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners + most household products (toiletries, laundry soap, etc.). For live updates, be sure to follow my Instagram Stories. See all posts on my $70 Grocery Budget here. I was excited about the weekend deals this week! Since the Labor Day sales went through Monday, we split up our budget so that we got some of them last week and some of them this week. Monday’s Kroger Shopping Trip 5 bags of Tyson Anytizers — $3.99 each with the weekend deals 4 bags of frozen veggies — $1 each Milk — $2.89 Half & Half — $1.99 2 half gallons Almond milk — $1.99 each 3 dozen eggs — marked down to $1.29/dozen 5 boxes of Betty Crocker brownie and cake mix — $0.50 each with weekend deals Total with tax: $42.03 I can’t remember the last time I bought Lunchables, but my kids absolutely love them. So when I saw that they were priced at just $0.99 at Kroger this weekend, I surprised them by getting them some. Needless to say, they were THRILLED! Friday Kroger Shopping Trip 5 boxes Lunchables — $0.99 each with the Friday-Saturday deals 4 lbs. ground beef — marked down to $2.49 each 1 bag of lemons — marked down to $0.99 2 bags of grapes — $0.99/lb. 1 tub lettuce — marked down to $1.79 2 family size boxes of cereal — $1.99 each with the Friday-Saturday deals Total with tax: $27 What We Ate This Past Week Note: When you see the meals below, please remember this: I buy ahead often. Which means that when I find a great deal on something I know we’ll use, I buy as much as I can afford in our budget to have on hand. This means that you aren’t going to see all of the groceries my shopping trip that I used to make all of the meals we ate. Please also remember that I’m putting this out there and it’s not a perfectly balanced menu. This is just really what we ate — and I hope that it encourages you to see the real-ness and lack of perfection here. Breakfasts: Cereal, Toast, Oatmeal, Eggs, Smoothies Lunches: Chicken, Capri Sun, Salad, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, PB & Honey Sandwich, Leftovers, Fruit, Crackers, Snacks: Cookies, Eggs, Popcorn, Ice Cream, Apple Crisp, Fruit, Veggies Dinners: Sunday — Out to eat at Chili’s Monday — Chicken, Roasted Broccoli Tuesday — Chicken/Broccoli/Rice Casserole Wednesday — Breakfast for Dinner: French Toast Thursday — Pizza Friday — Fend for yourself Saturday — Cereal Total spent on groceries: $69.03 Cashback earned this week: 675 points for submitting my receipts to Fetch rewards, $0.50 back from iBotta [...]
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Nurses: Check Out These Student Loan Forgiveness Options Just for You

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Nurses: Check Out These Student Loan Forgiveness Options Just for You
Nursing requires patience. (Get it? Patients? Sorry, couldn’t help myself.) But besides patience, it also requires a lot of money to complete a degree. The average cost of tuition for an 18-month Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) program is about $10,000 to $15,000 nationally. Registered Nurses (RN) who get an associate’s degree typically take two to three years at an average cost of $31,000. Those who get a bachelor of science or beyond can expect to reach six-digit price tags, depending on their school.   The good news is that there are options for student loan forgiveness for nurses. Here’s what you need to know. Student Loan Forgiveness Programs for Nurses Consider this a lesson in supply and demand: The best option for receiving loan forgiveness is to work in an area where there’s a shortage of nurses.  Some programs are relegated to only registered nurses or those with an advanced degree, so know the requirements before you apply. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) administers two loan repayment assistance programs specifically for nurses: the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program and Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program. Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program (NCLRP) The Nurse Corps Loan Repayment Program is designed to help nurses who can commit to two to three years of work where there is a critical shortage of nurses in the U.S. Depending on your level of need and where you work, you can get up to 85% of your U.S. nursing education debt paid by this program. The biggest downside to this loan: The award is taxable; however, federal taxes can be deducted from the amount.  Who’s Eligible for the Loan? You’ll need to be a licensed registered nurse, advanced practice registered nurse or nurse faculty to qualify.  The awards are tier-based, categorized by where there is the greatest shortage of nurses, and preference is given to those in most financial need. For an initial two-year commitment to working in a Critical Shortage Facility or serving as nurse faculty in an eligible school of nursing, you can receive an award of up to 60% of your loan balance.  Depending on availability, you’ll have the option to extend to a third year to receive an additional 25% of your original balance.  Which Loans Are Eligible? All federal loans and private commercial loans that covered tuition and reasonable expenses for your nursing education are eligible, so long as none has been in default. You must be a U.S. resident and have attended an accredited school of nursing in a U.S. state or territory to be eligible for this program.  How to Apply Submit your application through the Bureau of Health Workforce portal.  National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program The NHSC Loan Repayment Program offers two big benefits that the NCLRP doesn’t: The award is not taxable. You’re eligible for the program if you work full time or part time. However, the program’s eligibility requirements are fairly steep and employment is restricted to NHSC-approved service sites. Who’s Eligible for the Loan? For nurses, the program is limited to nurse practitioners, psychiatric nurse specialists and certified nurse mid-wives.  Like the Nurse Corps, this program is tier-based according to areas where there is a shortage of nurses. Working full-time at the highest tier can earn you up to $50,000 for two years of service, while part-timers can receive up to $25,000. You must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. national to be eligible for this program.  Which Loans Are Eligible? Outstanding government (federal, state or local) and private student loans for undergraduate or graduate education are eligible. How to Apply The 2019 deadline has closed, but you can sign up to receive notification when the next application cycle begins.  Alternative Nursing Loan Forgiveness Options Beyond the feds, other loan forgiveness options are available specifically to nurses. But again, these programs have restrictions and often require you to serve where there’s a shortage. State- and School- Forgiveness Programs Almost every state has at least one type of student loan forgiveness program that’s designed for those in public service fields, and most have loan forgiveness options specifically for nurses who are willing to work in underserved areas. How to Apply Check your state’s Department of Health website for eligibility and application requirements. You can also contact your college’s financial aid or alumni office to find out about forgiveness program options in your state and at your school.  FROM THE DEBT FORUM The Snowball Method for Paying Off Debt 1/11/19 @ 12:58 PM Guide to on-line debt consolidation 7/24/19 @ 11:19 PM Debt Reduction Plans? 7/31/19 @ 1:05 PM Student loans!! 8/9/19 @ 1:07 PM J See more in Debt or ask a money question Employer-Driven Loan Forgiveness Programs Some hospitals offer loan forgiveness awards to nurses, but eligibility requirements can include holding an advanced degree, having a specific loan type or working in a specialized department.  For instance, Duke University Health System’s Nursing School Student Loan Forgiveness Program awards full-time registered nurses up to $25,000 if they work in procedural areas. How to Apply In addition to asking the HR department at your hospital, you can check out this directory of hospitals with loan forgiveness programs. Other Loan Forgiveness Programs for Public Service Some of these programs aren’t restricted to nurses, but they are typically reserved for those in some type of service profession (like teachers or firefighters). Perkins Loan Cancellation The Perkins Loan Program ended on Sept. 30, 2017, but nurses and medical technicians with outstanding Perkins loans may still qualify for cancellation.  A visit to your tax accountant is worth the investment if you’re considering loan forgiveness, since your net worth is typically the deciding factor as to whether the forgiven amount is taxable. As a nurse you can qualify for up to 100% for five years of eligible service, depending on the type of loan you have and the date of the loan. How to Apply Contact the school where you obtained the Perkins Loan to learn its specific rules and application process.  Public Service Loan Forgiveness The Public Service Loan Forgiveness has gotten a lot of press lately because many of the early applicants found out they didn’t actually meet the requirements — the acceptance rate is hovering around 1%, according to a recent NPR report. However, we’ve covered which questions you need to ask to make sure you qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. And the good news is that the Public program does not restrict nurses to a specific program or area — you will need to be employed by a government or non-profit organization, though.  The terms “forgiveness” and “cancellation” essentially mean the same thing: You are no longer required to make payments on your loan because of your job.  You’re eligible to qualify for loan forgiveness after 120 payments, and you’ll need verification from your employer for each year of qualification. How to Apply Login to the Federal Student Aid site and use the Public Service Loan Forgiveness tool to determ [...]
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Never Buy These 13 Things at a Thrift Store

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Never Buy These 13 Things at a Thrift Store
One of the best ways to make the most of your money is to head to the thrift store and see what’s available. Last year, I bought a bed frame and cute lampstand for less than $13 total. But just because something is cheap, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to buy it. There are some things you should avoid at thrift stores. I asked a few consumer advocates and frugal experts to... [...]
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These 6 Stores Buy Used Clothes. Here’s How to Get the Best Cash Offer

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These 6 Stores Buy Used Clothes. Here’s How to Get the Best Cash Offer
Do me a favor and take a quick look in your closet. Overflowing, right? Well, there’s a solution to that problem: selling your used clothes.  It’s a win-win, and you don’t have to wait for a spring-cleaning binge to get started. In fact, you should do it seasonally to stay in vogue.  So tear a page from the Marie Kondo playbook and make one big pile of all your clothes. Yes, even your winter gear from the living room closet. Definitely the swimsuit collection. And all the baby shower clothes that you never even used, too. You may surprise yourself with the amount of clothes you have once you get them all in one place. Kondo recommends that as you sift through your stuff, you ask yourself, “Does this item spark joy?” Nope? Then sell it.  Where to Sell Used Clothes Plenty of apps and websites like Poshmark, Threadflip, Etsy and eBay allow you to sell used clothes online. But maybe you don’t have the technical know-how (or the patience) to do it yourself. Don’t fret. There are several other brick-and-mortar places to pawn off your used clothes, shoes, handbags, accessories — even baby clothes, toys and supplies — to get cash in your pocket by the end of the day. Uptown Cheapskate Want to pop some tags? Uptown Cheapskate is your place. It’s located in 21 states and is a cross between a trendy boutique and a thrift store for young adults. You can sell or trade in men’s and women’s clothes at any of its locations. Trade-ins get 25% bonus store credit.  Brands that do well at Uptown Cheapskate include Urban Outfitters, Levi’s and H&M. If you’re unsure if your clothes will fit in style-wise, visit its website for more info on trending brands and styles. Buffalo Exchange Founded back in 1974, Buffalo Exchange has remained family owned as it has expanded to 18 states and the District of Columbia. The company is a firm believer in reusing and recycling clothes to reduce waste and pollution (and save cash). Each store also partners with local charities.  Pro Tip If you don’t live near a Buffalo Exchange, the company also has a sell-by-mail program. Buffalo Exchange accepts a wide array of clothes for both men and women — vintage, athletic wear, plus sizes and more. Contrary to its name, it does not accept bison at this time. Sorry in advance. Clothes Mentor Clothes Mentor is a one-stop shop for fashionable women’s clothing sized 0 to 26 and maternity wear. It’s a hub for those who want designer brands without designer price tags. Clothes that sell well include Armani, Banana Republic, Saks Fifth Avenue, White House Black Market and others. Shoes, accessories, jewelry and handbags are also accepted. Clothes Mentor has 136 stores across 30 states and, at certain locations, offers personal shoppers who tailor outfits to suit your tastes. Plato’s Closet Ah, the ole standby, Plato’s Closet. You may not have known this was a clothing exchange store, but it’s likely that you’ve caught a glimpse of one of its more than 480 locations in North America — probably tucked between your local Chinese buffet and the grocery store. Plato’s is Winmark Corp.’s most successful clothing exchange franchise, and it’s aimed at teens and young adults. Everyday styles from Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle, H&M, Nike and Obey are typically in demand.  FROM THE MAKE MONEY FORUM Extra Income 4/10/19 @ 11:01 AM B This mom needs work! 8/12/19 @ 9:14 AM L Anyone have experience doing an Air B N B? 8/11/19 @ 8:16 AM Passive Income 8/9/19 @ 9:07 AM See more in Make Money or ask a money question Plato’s Closet also buys athletic wear, shoes and accessories.  To see if your wardrobe surplus is a good fit for Plato’s, browse its website for other brands and styles that sell well. Style Encore Another solid option from Winmark Corp. is Style Encore. It’s like Plato’s sibling, only slightly older and more sophisticated. Style Encore accepts women’s clothing from brands like Banana Republic, Calvin Klein, Coach and Kate Spade. Like Clothes Mentor, Style Encore has personal stylists to help you look like a million bucks (without spending a million). It’s Winmark’s newest clothing exchange brand, so locations aren’t as comprehensive as Plato’s. Double-check the store locator to find the closest one to you. Once Upon a Child Last but not least in Winmark’s clothing resale portfolio is Once Upon a Child.  It’s no surprise that child care expenses are a budget buster, but this store can help keep costs down when it comes to baby clothes, supplies and even furniture.  In addition to children’s clothes sized preemie to youth 20, Once Upon a Child will buy used cribs, cradles, strollers, baby electronics, halloween costumes and toys. Even more good news for parents: You won’t have to look very far. Once Upon a Child has more than 380 stores across the U.S. and Canada. Local Consignment Shops If none of the above stores fit the bill, you can always try your nearest consignment shop.  These shops work a little differently than clothing exchanges, because consignment stores may not pay you until your item sells. That means it’s unlikely you’ll walk out with a pocketful of cash. It’s also difficult to predict what brands they will buy, because most local stores don’t have databases and metrics to go off of. Sales are often based on personal taste or season. But hey, anything is better than leaving unused clothes tucked away in the furthest corner of your shelf for years to come.  How to Get the Most Cash From Your Clothes Some things are guesswork when trying to sell your clothes. Stock and styles change, so it’s hard to say for sure which brand or outfit will sell. However, there are a few things you should always take into consideration, no matter the item or the store.  Following these few guidelines will ensure you get the best quote possible. Clean and Fold Your Clothes If it seems like I’m wagging my finger, it’s because I’m wagging my finger. Almost every store listed above recommends washing your clothes before taking them in. Since your payout is based on an associate’s quote after they carefully check each item, you don’t want dirt or food caked to your shirt. It’ll definitely go in the “no” pile. Pro Tip In general, to keep colors bright, you can soak your clothes in salt. Only wash them as needed — inside out and in cool water to avoid fading. Likewise, super wrinkly clothes come across as unwashed, and you don’t want to give that impression. So be sure to fold them neatly before taking them in. Use a Nice Basket or Hamper to Carry Your Clothes Quick! What do you think of when you see trash bags? Trash, right? Not clothes.  Presentation matters. The associates checking your clothes don’t want to sift through trash bags. So after you’ve washed all the clothes you want to sell, fold them and place them in a basket, hamper or box that you can take to the store.  Check for Damage or Pit Stains If you were a shopper, would you buy a shirt that had pit stains or a missing pocket? Didn’t think so. The stores work the same way. They don’t want damaged, stained or heavily faded clothing. Before you take your clothes in, examine [...]
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These Are the 20 Best Hospitals in the U.S.

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These Are the 20 Best Hospitals in the U.S.
When people think of the best medical facility in the U.S. — if not the world — one institution typically comes to mind: the Mayo Clinic. That reputation for excellence is well-deserved, according to U.S. News & World Report’s latest Best Hospitals rankings. The publication says the Rochester, Minnesota-based facility is the best hospital in the nation. It's not the usual... [...]
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Whole Life Insurance 101: A Simple Guide to These Complicated Policies

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Whole Life Insurance 101: A Simple Guide to These Complicated Policies
Life insurance is one of those touchy subjects no one likes to talk about, let alone research or recognize its existence. In a world that’s all about living your best life, life insurance just doesn’t fit.  We’re here to tell you that not only is it OK to talk about life insurance, but finding the right type of policy can provide you with peace of mind. One option to consider is whole life insurance. What Is Whole Life Insurance, and How Does Cash Value Work? So what is whole life insurance? Whole life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance that pays out a benefit to the individual(s) you list as the recipients for your policy when you die.  But part of your policy goes toward a cash value component, which is basically a tax-deferred savings account you can take advantage of later in life. You can use the cash value to: Pay your premiums. Take out loans at lower interest rates than you’d get from a bank. Supplement your income, especially in retirement. Create a new investment portfolio. Whole life insurance is a guaranteed payout that you can’t outlive. Your beneficiaries will receive the payout upon your death unless you fail to make payments or cancel your policy (and pay expensive cancellation costs), or if your cause of death is excluded in your policy.  When you die, your heirs receive the listed death benefit — but not the cash value that rose while you were alive and making payments. Any remaining cash value goes to the insurance company, so it’s a benefit to take advantage of while you’re still alive. Term vs. Whole Life Insurance The biggest difference between term and whole life insurance policies is the amount of time that you are covered. Term life insurance provides coverage for specific amounts of time, usually for set periods of anywhere from five to 30 years. But whole life insurance, as discussed above, is going to pay out eventually when you die as long as your premiums are paid.  When you choose term life insurance, you can get more coverage for lower premiums. Why? Because you’ll likely outlive your term, and the insurance company won’t have to pay out a death benefit. It also has no cash value. Most people choose a set term life insurance, knowing they are paying a low premium purely on a policy that’s solely for financial protection in the case of their untimely death. If you look at it from a purely insurance standpoint, it’s like buying car insurance your whole life but never using it because you were never in a car wreck.  Pro Tip Many term life insurance policies allow you to convert your policy to whole life insurance, but you’ll typically pay a costly fee. Try to do your homework first and stick with the policy you pick.  Your premiums for personal whole life insurance are considered a personal expense, so they aren’t tax-deductible. 5 Types of Whole Life Insurance Policies There are five main types of whole life insurance. Here’s a brief overview: Traditional whole life insurance: Your premiums stay the same as long as you keep making them.  Single premium whole life insurance: One large lump payment you make upfront takes care of this policy.  Limited whole life insurance: You pick a set period, such as 20 years, for this whole life insurance option. You’ll still be insured your whole life, but you’ll only make payments during the set period, which means your payments are higher than they would be for traditional whole life insurance. Modified premium whole life insurance: You pay lower premiums upfront, but they get more expensive as you age.  Survivorship life insurance: These policies allow you to insure two people and are popular among spouses. The catch? It pays out only after both policyholders have died. The benefit? It’s less expensive than paying for two separate whole life insurance policies.  FROM THE INSURANCE FORUM Life Insurance, Disability Insurance, Wills, etc 1/31/19 @ 10:21 PM Stride Health with Etsy 6/10/19 @ 5:18 PM How much car insurance do I need? 4/18/19 @ 3:28 PM Pet Insurance 4/18/19 @ 3:28 PM See more in Insurance or ask a money question What Happens When a Whole Life Insurance Policy Lapses or Is Surrendered?  A whole life insurance policy lapses when the policyholder stops making monthly premium payments on time. The life insurance contract is labeled as no longer active, and the cash value built up on the policy is surrendered. Death benefits will no longer be paid out for these surrendered policies.  Some companies allow policyholders to restart their policies within a certain grace period and get their lapsed payments paid within this time frame. Read the fine print to make sure you understand the rules of your whole life insurance policy lapse clause. Typically, reinstatements cost more than one month’s premium payment.  Whole Life Insurance Pros and Cons When you’re deciding whether a whole life insurance policy works for you, you have to weigh the pros and cons. The hard part? Decide what works best for you in your current financial situation while also weighing what works best in the long term for your beneficiaries. What’s Good About Whole Life Insurance Whole life insurance is appealing for several reasons, including: It’s guaranteed and permanent. That means your beneficiary will receive a payout upon your death, no matter when you die, as long as you’ve made your payments and your cause of death isn’t excluded from the policy. It’s a good option if you have dependents who will need a source of income after you die. The guaranteed payout makes it an appealing option for people with a disabled child, for example. Your payments are usually fixed throughout the life of the policy. There are options to choose limited whole life insurance policies that have a set term limit or policies that change once you turn 65.  You can take advantage of the cash value while you’re still alive. Just keep in mind that the cash value takes a long time to build up, meaning you’ll likely be much older before you can take advantage of this benefit. What’s Bad About Whole Life Insurance Here are a few drawbacks to consider if you’re thinking about whole life insurance: Higher premiums: You pay more for the guaranteed payout and lifelong coverage than you would for a term life policy. The cash value is lost upon your death. While some people make the case that whole life insurance can be used as a long-term personal finance retirement planning tool, the fact that money is lost when you die doesn’t help this argument. You’ll pay large fees to cancel the policy and withdraw the cash value. You’ll also pay income taxes on any earnings on the policy beyond what you paid for your premiums. How to Choose Between Whole Life Insurance vs. Term Insurance We get it. This is a difficult task no matter what. Life insurance company terms and conditions and the products and services they offer are complicated and difficult to digest. But here’s a quick summary of when to consider whole life insurance vs. term insurance. Consider term insurance if: You want to replace your income during a specific amount of time, e.g., while you’re raising children, paying off your mortgage, etc. Need the lowest pre [...]
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These States’ Tax-Free Holidays Mean Big Savings on Back-to-School Shopping

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These States’ Tax-Free Holidays Mean Big Savings on Back-to-School Shopping
Back-to-school shopping may be exciting for the kids who’ll get new gear, but less so for the parents who have to pay for it all. The National Retail Federation estimates the average household with kids in elementary through high school is expected to spend about $697 on new clothes, shoes, electronics and school supplies in 2019.  Some shoppers will be able to find a little financial relief this summer as 16 states hold tax-free holidays during July and August, saving consumers from paying sales tax on certain school-related items. Now, you may not save a ton of money by shopping during tax-free holidays. For example, if you bought $500 worth of clothes, shoes and school supplies during Florida’s tax-free weekend in a county where the sales tax is 6%, you would save only $30. But what parent wouldn’t want to save 30 bucks?   And if you use the tax-free holidays in conjunction with smart comparison shopping and deal-stacking, you’ll save even more on your back-to-school supplies.   Some states’ tax-free holidays are held over a weekend, while others are a week long. Each state has different criteria for what merchandise won’t be taxed, and many states require the purchases to be under a certain price threshold. Tax-Free Weekends: When, Where and What The states that have back-to-school tax-free weekends (or weeks) this year are Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Alabama When: July 19-21 What is tax-free:  Clothing and shoes — $100 or less per item.  Books — $30 or less per item.  School supplies — $50 or less per item. Computers and related equipment — $750 or less per item.  Arkansas When: Aug. 3-4 What is tax-free: Clothing and shoes — less than $100 per item.  Clothing accessories — less than $50 per item. School supplies — no price threshold, but must be on a state-approved list. Connecticut When: Aug. 18-24 What is tax-free:  Clothing and shoes — less than $100 per item. Florida When: Aug. 2-6 What is tax-free:  Computers and certain electronics — $1,000 or less per item.  Clothing, accessories and shoes — $60 or less per item. School supplies — $15 or less per item. Iowa When: Aug. 2-3 What is tax-free:  Clothing and shoes — less than $100 per item. Maryland When: Aug. 11-17 What is tax-free:  Clothing and shoes — $100 or less per item. Bookbags/backpacks — the first $40 is tax-free. Massachusetts When: Aug. 17-18 What is tax-free:  Most consumer products — $2,500 or less per item. Clothing — Massachusetts does not charge any sales tax on clothes under $175 year round. Mississippi When: July 26-27 What is tax-free:  Clothing and shoes — less than $100 per item. Missouri When: Aug. 2-4 What is tax-free: Clothing and shoes — $100 or less per item. School supplies — $50 or less per purchase (exception: graphing calculators must be $150 or less). Computers and related equipment — $1,500 or less per item.  Computer software — $350 or less. FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM Summer Is Here: Is Your Electric Bill Affected by Running the AC? 7/17/19 @ 4:08 PM Do You Ever Pick up A Stray Penny? 2/7/19 @ 5:27 PM Do drive-in movie theaters save you money? 7/1/19 @ 7:38 PM What to buy (and not buy) from Fourth of July Sales 2019 6/27/19 @ 1:00 PM M See more in Save Money or ask a money question New Mexico When: Aug. 2-4 What is tax-free:  Clothing, accessories and shoes — less than $100 per item.  School supplies — less than $30 per item (exceptions: backpacks, maps and globes must be under $100 and calculators must be under $200). Computers — $1,000 or less per item.  Computer hardware — $500 or less per item. Ohio When: Aug. 2-4 What is tax-free:  Clothing and shoes — $75 or less per item. School supplies — $20 or less per item. School instructional materials — $20 or less per item. Oklahoma When: Aug. 2-4 What is tax-free:  Clothing and shoes — less than $100 per item.  South Carolina When: Aug. 2-4 What is tax-free: Clothing, accessories and shoes — no price threshold. School supplies — no price threshold. Computers and related equipment — no price threshold. Bedding, pillows, bath towels, wash cloths and shower curtains — no price threshold. Books and musical instruments — no price threshold (if they are for school assignments). Tennessee When: July 26-28 What is tax-free:  Clothing and shoes — $100 or less per item.  School supplies — $100 or less per item.  Computers — $1,500 or less per item. Texas When: Aug. 9-11 What is tax-free:  Clothing and shoes — less than $100 per item. School supplies — less than $100 per item. Virginia When: Aug. 2-4 What is tax-free:  Clothing and shoes — $100 or less per item. School supplies — $20 or less per item. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Reduce the Pain at the Pump With These 20 Ways to Save Money on Gas

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Reduce the Pain at the Pump With These 20 Ways to Save Money on Gas
Filling up the gas tank can be a thoroughly miserable experience as you watch the counter flip past $40, then $50, and keep on going.  But you can save money on gas based on where you fill up, how you pay, when you visit the gas station, how you drive and even the condition of your car. We’ve compiled 20 smart tips to help you spend less on fuel. You could save hundreds of dollars over the course of a year. How to Save Money on Gas at the Pump The biggest savings will be evident in the price you pay at the gas station. So it’s worth shopping around and employing a bit of strategy before filling up. 1. Use Apps to Find the Cheapest Gas You don’t want to buy gas at one place and then come across a station with cheaper fuel just down the street. Several websites and apps tell you the price of gasoline at the stations in your area. GasBuddy and Waze are two popular options.  Look for the cheapest gas stations along any of the routes you normally drive for work or shopping. Don’t wait until your tank is near empty and be forced to buy gas wherever is closest.  The price of gas can vary significantly across state lines, so if you’re planning a trip, check where prices are lower throughout your route. Avoid getting gas at stations just off a highway exit or in the middle of a major city — stations in those locations tend to charge more than ones a little more out of the way. 2. Skip the Premium Option Higher-octane gas isn’t necessary or beneficial in most cars, so you’re just spending more money when you buy premium. Premium gas can cost about 20 to 40 cents per gallon more than regular-grade fuel. Use regular-grade gasoline unless your car’s manufacturer specifically requires premium. 3. Join a Fuel Rewards Program Many gas station chains and grocery stores across the country offer fuel rewards programs to try to turn you into a loyal customer. Each gas station fuel rewards program and grocery store fuel rewards program has its own set of rules on how much you can save and what you have to spend in order to get the rewards, so read up on the details.  GasBuddy also offers its own fuel savings program called Pay with GasBuddy. Join for free, and you’ll  save 10 cents per gallon on your initial fill-up and 5 cents per gallon on every subsequent fill-up. You can also sign up for paid versions (Pay with GasBuddy Plus is $4.99 a month and Pay with GasBuddy Premium is $6.99 a month) to save 20 cents per gallon. (Note: Exxon Mobil, BJs, Costco, Sam’s Club, H-E-B, select Walmart stations, select Arco stations and some small, local gas stations don’t accept the Pay with GasBuddy card.) 4. Use a Rewards Credit Card When you fuel up, choose a credit card that pays you cash back or one that allows you to earn rewards points when you purchase gas. Just be sure you know what you’re getting into before opening a rewards credit card. Pay the fuel charges off in full each month so you’re not paying interest on your gas purchases. 5. Use Cash Instead of a Card Some gas stations charge a lower price per gallon if you pay with cash rather than a card. It’s their way of avoiding card processing fees. While some stations will let you pay the cash price if you use a debit card, others won’t. Check with the gas station before you swipe your card, or simply use cash when it’s time to fill up. 6. Use Free or Discounted Gift Cards You can earn gift cards or cash from survey sites like Swagbucks or Survey Junkie. You can also purchase discounted gift cards from sites like Raise or Gift Card Granny. 7. Fill Up Early in the Week According to a 2018 GasBuddy gas price analysis, gas prices tend to be the lowest on Mondays. Sundays and Tuesdays are also good days to buy cheap gas. Avoid filling your tank on Thursdays or Fridays when gas prices tend to be the most expensive. How to Save Money on Gas With Better Driving Habits How frequently you drive and how you operate your vehicle both play a role in how much you spend on gas.  8. Share Rides If you live near your co-workers and have similar schedules, take turns driving so you can all drive less each week. Organize a carpool with neighbors or friends to transport your children to school or extracurricular activities, and swap driving duties among the parents. Less time on the road means less gas used and more money saved. 9. Plan Routes Plan your shopping trips and other outings in efficient ways to reduce your drive time. If the grocery store is near your job, do your shopping after work rather than waiting until the weekend. Do your errands all in one day rather than making several trips on different days. Cutting a few miles several times weekly can add up to hundreds of miles saved annually. That could save a fill-up or two. 10. Reduce Your Idle Time Don’t start the car and then leave it running for a long time while you wait for everyone to get in or to fiddle with your navigation. Make sure you’re ready to go before starting your engine. Idling just wastes gas and causes more air pollution. FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM Do You Ever Pick up A Stray Penny? 2/7/19 @ 5:27 PM Do drive-in movie theaters save you money? 7/1/19 @ 7:38 PM What to buy (and not buy) from Fourth of July Sales 2019 6/27/19 @ 1:00 PM M Airfare 6/24/19 @ 5:19 PM See more in Save Money or ask a money question 11. Accelerate Slowly and Coast More Be gradual when you’re speeding up or slowing down. Generally, the faster you accelerate, the more gas you use. Be gentle on that pedal when getting up to highway speed. You’ll also get better mileage by coasting more, so plan ahead for stops and turns. Take your foot off the gas a bit sooner, and slowly glide to a stop. This actually works. 12. Use Cruise Control — Sometimes When it’s hilly you might get better mileage without cruise control, because the system will tend to downshift too much and waste gas. But otherwise, cruise! Staying at a steady speed with cruise control has been shown to save on fuel usage — plus you can make sure you don’t go over the speed limit. 13. Reduce the Use of Your Heater and Air Conditioning Blasting the heat in the winter or the A/C in the summer has an effect on your fuel economy, so keep that in mind. There’s a long-running but still inconclusive debate about whether using air conditioning or rolling down the windows contributes more to increased fuel consumption, since wind resistance from open windows creates drag on your vehicle.  When driving low speeds you may want to cool down by lowering your car windows, but if you’re driving on the highway (or even driving above 30 miles per hour), you might be better off with the air conditioner on and the windows up. 14. Slow Down Following the speed limit or driving just under it can pay off in more ways than you might think. The faster you drive, the more wind resistance you face, which reduces your fuel economy.  How Your Car Affects How Much You Spend on Gas The condition of your car makes a difference in gas consumption. Learn how to keep your ride in money-saving shape. 15. Check Tire Pressure Having underinflated tires can lower your gas mileage and cause you to lose about 2 cents per gallon, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. To find the proper tire [...]
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You’re Probably Storing These 13 Foods Wrong… and It’s Costing You Money

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You’re Probably Storing These 13 Foods Wrong… and It’s Costing You Money
Americans waste a lot of food.  In fact, 31% of retail and consumer food goes uneaten, according to the USDA. That’s almost a third. It’s easy to understand why.  We’ve all been there — you go grocery shopping with great intentions. Then you come home, only to be seduced by the convenience of pizza delivery or takeout Chinese.  But if you store your groceries properly, they’ll last longer — and you’ll have a better opportunity to cook them. Most of what you’re throwing away is probably fresh produce.  Shelved items usually have a pretty decent, well, shelf life. And most of us know how to quickly freeze up the meat from the grocery.  But produce is a fickle mistress. Different items need to be treated in surprisingly different ways for the best results.  How to Store Fruits and Vegetables So They Stay Fresh Through proper food storage you will not only contribute to ending food waste, you will also save a ton of money, too. So here’s how to store your fruits and veggies. 1. Apples Although they look lovely in a basket, apples are actually a great fruit to put in the fridge!  In fact, they only stay fresh a few days on the counter. They’ll do best in the crisping drawer.  Make sure your fridge isn’t cold enough to freeze them! All of their cells will rupture, leaving you with mealy apples — yuck. Also, because apples produce a gas called ethylene as they ripen, never store them with potatoes. The gas is harmless, but it can make your potatoes go soft and sprouty well before their time.  (Your potatoes shouldn’t be in the fridge, anyway! But we’ll get to that.) 2. Avocados This is a fun one, because you have so much control over the ripening process! If your avocados are still hard and green, leave them at room temperature on the counter to ripen.  If you need to speed up the ripening, stick them in a brown paper bag so they’re trapped with their ethylene gas — they’ll be ready for guacamole in no time. But if you’re trying to keep a ripe avocado around longer, the solution is simple: Stick it in the fridge.  The cool atmosphere slows the ripening process, so you can keep your avocado’s freshness level right where you want it for a few extra days. 3. Bananas If you want to keep a whole bunch of bananas fresh for a longer period of time, here’s a secret: Wrap the stems in plastic wrap.  You can either leave them in the bunch and wrap all the stems together, or separate the bananas and wrap them separately — which might make them last a little bit longer. Why does this work?  It’s ethylene gas again — and by wrapping the stems, you trap the gas and keep it from reaching the rest of the banana so you can take your time eating them. You can also peel your bananas and freeze ‘em. I love using frozen bananas as a healthy base for my morning smoothie!  4. Broccoli No matter how many times you’ve seen broccoli tightly wrapped in plastic at your local grocery, it’s not the best way to store it — unless you’re eating it tonight. Raw broccoli requires airflow and moisture to stay fresh.  One ideal way to keep it is something you probably don’t do: Put it stem-side down in a vase with water in the fridge.  By making a broccoli bouquet, you’re providing water and still letting the bushy tops get the oxygen they need. Your head of broccoli might last up to a week this way! If that seems a little intense to you, you can also loosely wrap your broccoli in damp paper towels and refrigerate. It’ll keep this way for up to four days. 5. Berries If you love fresh berries, but hate how quickly they go moldy in your fridge, here’s the secret: Give them a vinegar bath.  Then store them on paper towels to help soak up moisture. White vinegar kills the spores fresh berries accumulate before they arrive in your kitchen, giving you some extra time to snack on them before the fuzzies set in. And if you rinse them well, they won’t taste a hint like vinegar, promises Allrecipes’ Vanessa Greaves. One caveat: This treatment might be a bit much for raspberries, which are quite delicate.  Just rinse before you eat them — and do so quickly (which shouldn’t be hard! Raspberries are so good…) 6. Carrots Slice off the green tops, which draw moisture from the carrots, making them wither more quickly.  Then place them, unpeeled, in a sealed plastic bag in your refrigerator’s crisper drawer for up to two weeks. If you buy pre-trimmed carrots, like baby-cut, here’s a hint: They last longer if you submerge them in water in a tightly-covered container!  Just be sure to change the water frequently. 7. Citrus Fruit Today in “stuff this Florida girl should’ve known:” Citrus fruit should be refrigerated!  Apparently, the vegetable drawer is the best spot — and don’t enclose oranges in airtight bags or containers. 8. Cucumbers These guys shouldn’t be in the fridge, which is definitely news to this salad-eater!  They’ll go soft days in advance if they’re stored below 50 degrees. They’re sensitive to ethylene, so keep them away from other countertop dwellers like bananas and tomatoes. 9. Fresh Herbs Fresh herbs can be one of the biggest problem items when it comes to throwing groceries away. Recipes always call for so little, and they’re sold in such big bunches! Having trashed a phenomenal amount of cilantro and parsley in my time, I won’t even pretend to be an expert on this.  Fortunately, J. Kenji López-Alt over at Serious Eats is.  The short story? Rinse herbs and dry thoroughly in a salad spinner, then transfer to paper towel rolls or stand upright in mason jars of water depending on the herb.  The long version? Click through for the full details. 10. Leafy Greens If you’re trying to get more of these nutrient powerhouses into your diet, good for you! But they can be a little intimidating to clean, prepare and store.  To keep leafy greens like spinach, chard and collard greens fresh longer, wash and dry them well, then wrap them in paper towels.  Keep the bunches whole, unless you plan on using them soon. Then place the paper towel roll into a perforated, unsealed plastic bag.  If you’re dealing with salad greens, dumping washed leaves into a paper towel-lined plastic storage container is your best bet.  11. Onions First things first: Don’t store onions in direct sunlight. Keep your onions in a cool, dark, well-ventilated and dry place.  Some people store them in tied-off pantyhose and hang them on the back of a pantry door. It allows them to breathe, while evaporating any moisture they come in contact with quickly.  Properly stored onions can stay fresh up to six months! 12. Potatoes Potatoes do best in a cool, dark, dry place — but not too cool.  If potatoes are stored under 50 degrees, their starches can convert to sugar, which may sound good, but is actually (really) bad. Potatoes exposed to too much light may sprout. They’re still safe to eat, but you should cut the sprouts off first. P.S. You may notice that potatoes and onions like similar environments, but you’ll want to find two different cool, dark, dry spots in your house. If you store them together, they’ll both go bad more quickly. 13. Tomatoes You’ve probably heard that putting tomatoes in the fridge ruins their flavor.  But if you’ve come into an abundance of tomatoes you can’t quite keep up with, stick the overripe ones in the fridge to keep them from rotting for a few more days. Just bring them back to room temperature before you consume them. Jamie Cattanach (@jamiecattanach) is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder. This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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Don’t Toss Your Receipts. These 8 Apps Will Pay You for Them

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Don’t Toss Your Receipts. These 8 Apps Will Pay You for Them
Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We provide you with accurate, reliable information. Learn more about how we make money and select our advertising partners. We’ve got news: Your grocery receipts are a lot more valuable in your hand than in the trash.  Now, I’ll be honest… I’ve crumpled more receipts than I could ever count. I used to save them all, but the inside of my wallet started looking like something George Constanza would be proud of.  Once it got out of hand (like having years-old receipts…), I resorted to tossing them. Here’s why that was a mistake: Cash-back apps make it extremely easy to earn rewards for making purchases you were already going to make — and all you need is a receipt. 8 Apps That Will Pay You for Your Grocery Receipts  To give you an idea of how cash-back apps can make your life easier and your wallet a bit fuller, we tested a ton of them and narrowed it down to the best, top-rated apps that will pay you for your grocery receipts. Ready?  1. Fetch: Get Rewards for Any Purchase Fetch Rewards is an app for iOS and Android that will reward you for scanning your grocery receipt from any store. All you have to do is shop, snap and go.  Every time you scan a receipt that includes one of more than 250 participating brands, you’ll earn points — without worrying about matching specific product offers. No scanning barcodes; no searching for offers; no grocery store limitations.  Once you collect enough points, cash out for a gift card to retailers including Amazon, Airbnb, Best Buy and more. For example, 10,000 points will get you a $10 Sephora gift card. Or 3,000 points will get you a $3 Panera Bread card. If you’re feeling generous, the app also lets you use your points to make a donation to a charity of your choice.  Oh, and keep in mind you must scan your receipt within 14 days!   Pro Tip Enter the code PENNY to earn a $2 (2,000 points) sign-up bonus! 2. Ibotta: Earn Cash Back for Snapping a Photo (Plus a $20 Bonus!) Ibotta is traditionally known as a cash-back app for groceries — and you can still earn a heap of cash on your next haul — but you can also earn cash back on just about anything you purchase.  Whether you’re catching a Lyft, ordering something on Amazon or buying off-brand items at your favorite grocery store, you can earn cash back on a number of purchases in the store and online. Occasionally, you’ll find freebie offers in the mix, too. All you have to do is take a photo of your receipt or shop through the app.  Bonus: You’ll pocket a $20 sign-up bonus after redeeming your first 10 offers within 14 days. Pro Tip To avoid overspending, make your list first, then see if the app has available offers for what you need. Hit $20, then cash out via PayPal or Venmo, or opt for a gift card to a popular retailer like Amazon, Best Buy, Target or Walmart. 3. Paribus: Find Your Hidden Money  You know those confirmation emails that inundate your inbox after you’ve done some online shopping? Yeah, you might want to stop deleting those. Here’s why: Paribus gets you money back for your online purchases. It’s free to sign up, and once you do, this tool will scan your email for any receipts. If it discovers you’ve purchased something from one of its monitored retailers, it will track the item’s price and help you get a refund when there’s a price drop. Pro Tip If your guaranteed shipment shows up late, Paribus will help you get compensated. Disclosure: Paribus compensates us when you sign up using the links we provide. 4. Drop: Get a $5 Head Start Toward Your Rewards for Shopping The best kind of savings are the kind where you don’t have to switch up your routine. Or even better, when you get rewarded for doing things you were probably going to do on your own… for free. That’s just one thing that makes Drop so appealing.  All you have to do is link your credit and debit cards (no coupon clipping or hoarding receipts!), and shop through the app. When you make a Drop-qualified purchase, you’ll automatically earn points, even if you only hailed an Uber or ordered a pizza. The app also has a “Try Something New” section that showcases new offers for you to try, and you get paid just for testing them out. To qualify, you must be a new customer to the featured offers, and you have to sign-up through the app. Each offer rewards you in points (1,000 points = $1), which you can redeem for gift cards to your favorite retailers, like Amazon, Sephora, Hotels.com and more.  Pro Tip Get started with 5,000 free Drop points by signing up with code TPH through Dec. 31.  5. Receipt Hog: Turn Any Receipt Into Cash  Just take a picture and earn a reward — yup, that’s it.  Receipt Hog accepts receipts for nearly any in-store purchase from groceries, clothes, electronics and even gas. You can earn a variety of rewards: Coins (cash rewards), spins (earn bonus coins or other prizes) and sweepstakes (monthly cash prizes). Once your rewards balance is at least 1,000 coins, or $5, you can redeem your coins for cash or Amazon gift cards. U.S. participants can also redeem their coins for magazine subscriptions. 6. SavingStar: Double Your Rewards at Your Favorite Store You have a go-to. You know the aisles, when the bakery will have fresh bread and when your favorite deals will be available, because it’s your store.  The next time you go shopping, take the SavingStar app with you. It’s basically a perfect match for grocery store loyalists because, depending on where you shop with your store loyalty card, you can connect it to earn automatic rebates. If you frequent BJ’s, Family Dollar, Safeway or Walmart (to name a few), all you have to do is scan your store card to link and activate your rebates. Then you’re done! Saving Star takes care of the rest. Otherwise, just scan receipts to claim your rebates. Once you collect $20, transfer the money to your bank account, or cash out via PayPal. You can also choose to donate your earnings to charity. 7. Checkout 51: Let Your Receipt Get You Cash Back and Weekly Savings  Is your shopping style less about loyalty and more about wherever you can get the best deal? Same. In that case, Checkout 51 is a great cash-back option.  Redeem the app’s cash-back deals for specific products from any retailer (unless the offer specifies otherwise). If you prefer to shop online, Checkout 51 makes it easy to earn there, too. Just claim your offers by snapping a photo of your packing slip. No need to shop through a portal. Checkout 51 updates its offers each Thursday, giving you a week to get your shopping done. Oh, and the app tends to focus on name-brand items, so don’t forget to compare prices. Generic or store brands might be more affordable even without a rebate. Once you have earned at least $20, you can transfer your Checkout 51 rewards to cash in your bank account. 8. BerryCart: Score Cash Back for the Extra You Spent on Clean Eats If organic food is mostly what fills your grocery cart, BerryCart is perfect for you — it’s an app that specializes in finding you the best deals on gluten-free, organic and non-GMO food.  BerryCart works at more than 100,000 stores nationwide, including health-focused stores like Whole Foods, and also at everyday stores like Walmart and Target. As long as you have an itemized receipt that states which products you purchased, BerryCart will accept it. Keep in mind there may be a limited selection of offers, but depending on your shopping habits, the app can still be useful because it features products other apps don’t. Your cash back will be deposited into your account within 24 hours and can be redeemed for gift cards or PayPal cash with a minimum rewards balance of $5. Maximize Your Rewards With These Tips Cash-back apps are pretty simple, for the most part, but there are still some clever ways to make the most of your rewards. Here are a few tips to help you get started: S [...]
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If Your Credit Score Is Under 700, Make These 3 Moves This Week

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If Your Credit Score Is Under 700, Make These 3 Moves This Week
You work hard to be a responsible credit user.  You pay your bills on time; you try to use your credit card only when you have to; and you have a few different credit accounts, all in good standing. You even know what a credit utilization ratio is and why it matters. That’s some next-level credit card management! But no matter what you do, your credit score never budges over 700.  And you are so, so frustrated by the whole dang thing. We don’t blame you. It’s hard to feel like you’re doing everything you’re supposed to, only to have an algorithm spit out a seemingly inexplicable three-digit number that brands you as “lesser than” in the eyes of the world’s financial institutions — especially when that three-digit number controls so much of your life. But don’t give up! These three moves might be the kickstart you need to get your credit score moving in the right direction — and best of all, you can do them right this week. 1. Write a “Goodwill Letter” to Your Creditors If your credit history is generally pretty good, save for a couple of missteps, then a well-executed goodwill letter may be one way to get those slip-ups removed from your report.  You’ll want to cover the following bases when writing your goodwill letter: Explain why and how long you have been a loyal customer of the creditor. Take responsibility for the mistakes that led to the blemishes on your credit history. Describe the steps you are taking to ensure they don’t happen again. Appeal to your audience’s sense of empathy. Show that you want forgiveness but also that you are determined to do better going forward. Show them you deserve this! Keep your letter concise, clear and to the point. Don’t forget to include important information, like your account number and the date and amount of the missed payment you want removed from your credit history. Once you’ve written your goodwill letter, address it using the information on the creditor’s website, cross your fingers for good luck, and drop it in the mailbox.   2. Check Your Credit Report for Errors Credit reporting agencies generally do a pretty thorough job of collecting your credit history, but that doesn’t mean they are infallible. In fact, one out of five credit reports has an error, according to a study by the Federal Trade Commission. And those errors could mean the difference between a credit score in the 600s and one in the 700s. Jamie Cattanach saw this firsthand as a victim of identity theft. She pulled her credit report and saw her score had plummeted to just below 600 after someone opened an AT&T account using her information. She got to work disputing the errors, and after writing just one letter, she was on the road to rebuilding her credit. Within a few years, her credit score was well over 700. To keep a closer eye on your credit, get your credit score and a “credit report card” for free from Credit Sesame. It breaks down exactly what’s on your credit report in layman’s terms, how it affects your score and how to address it. Because it simplifies everything, you should be able to spot any errors. For instance, if you find an “unpaid” credit card that you know you paid, or a bill in collections you know never existed, you can dispute the incorrect information and raise your credit score. The proof is in the numbers: 60% of Credit Sesame members see an increase in their credit score; 50% see at least a 10-point increase, and 20% see at least a 50-point increase after 180 days.* 3. Consolidate Your Debt With a Better Loan So now you’ve appealed to the better angels of your creditor’s nature, and you’ve gone over your credit report with a fine-tooth comb and a magnifying glass in search of errors you can dispute. Now what? Your next step is to take your high-interest debt and consolidate it into a single loan with a lower interest rate. One payment per month is way easier to keep track of than three or four, right? That means fewer chances to be late on a payment, which means fewer opportunities for your credit score to take a hit. And best of all: The lower interest rate means you’ll be spending less money on your debt in the long run. Through Upgrade, you can borrow between $1,000 and $50,000, at interest rates of 7.99% to 35.89%, depending on your credit history. What if you’ve been turned down for a loan? Wouldn’t it be helpful to have access to advice on how to improve your credit to be approved next time? And wouldn’t it be nice to have free credit monitoring thrown into the deal? Those are some of the benefits of going with Upgrade, an online lending platform.  Upgrade will throw in free credit monitoring, alerts and educational features. If your loan application through Upgrade is denied, these credit tools will still guide you to improve your credit to help you get approved in the future. Now you’ve got three tactics you can use to get your credit score right where you want it. Good luck — you’ve got this! This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017. [...]
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These Colleges Will Pay Tuition, but You’ll Work for It

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These Colleges Will Pay Tuition, but You’ll Work for It
When Collis Robinson attended Berea College in Kentucky, he worked typical campus jobs — cleaning restrooms and setting up events. But he also worked jobs students don’t usually do, including comptroller for the campus activities board and, as a senior, student director of the board. “I led 22 people and had a $70,000 budget to manage,”... Anna Helhoski is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: anna@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @AnnaHelhoski. The article These Colleges Will Pay Tuition, but You’ll Work for It originally appeared on NerdWallet. [...]
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Earn Cash Selling Clothes From Your Closet With These 6 Online Resale Shops

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Earn Cash Selling Clothes From Your Closet With These 6 Online Resale Shops
Truth time: My wardrobe embarasses me. It’s not because I dislike the things I wear — it’s because I have so many things I don’t wear. Since cleaning out my closet and attempting a capsule wardrobe experiment a few years ago, I’ve unfortunately regressed to my old ways — and by “old ways,” I mean my closet is overflowing with things I just don’t wear often enough. In fact, I would guess that at this point, about 60% of my wardrobe is simply taking up space. But I’m ready to simplify again, and, in the process, I’m hoping to make a little extra money. So, I’m heading to the internet (because my local consignment shops are — shall we say — choosy) and selling my clothes in an effort to earn back some of the money I’ve carelessly funneled right into my closet (again). 6 Places to Sell Clothes Online These are the sites I’ll use to try and make a few extra bucks as I clear out my wardrobe. 1. Poshmark Poshmark touts itself as a “fun and simple way to buy and sell fashion.” And while “fun” may be an accurate descriptor, “simple” really isn’t — but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You see, Poshmark is more than just an online platform for selling clothes — it’s a “social marketplace.” Rather than being a place where sellers can list an item, hope it sells and move along, Poshmark is powered by buyers and sellers who share fashion ideas and styling tips, browse each others’ “closets” and generally connect over clothing and fashion. What Poshmark isn’t? A set-it-and-forget-it type of site. In order to make sales on Poshmark, you need to upload quality photos, write thorough descriptions, offer style guidance, “attend” buying and selling events within the app, share and promote listings and interact with other users. Pro Tip Some successful Poshmark users recommend investing in nice packaging or thank you cards to keep your ratings up and your listings more visible. Buyers are allowed to negotiate prices, but you can choose to decline or accept an offer. For sales under $15, Poshmark takes a flat commission fee of $2.95. For sales of $15 or more, you’ll keep 80% of the profit. Once a sale is made, Poshmark will provide you with a pre-paid, pre-addressed shipping label. All in all, Poshmark is a good option for anyone who’s willing to do a little (virtual) legwork. 2. thredUP ThredUP is an online consignment and second-hand shop focusing on brand-name clothing for women and children — and it couldn’t be easier to use. If Poshmark is the most involved clothing selling site on the market, thredUP might just be the least. Sure, your return may not be quite as big as if you steamed, photographed and listed each piece individually all while liking, commenting and sharing other people’s items, but for the lazy among us, thredUP couldn’t be more convenient. Debra Wallace, the woman behind the blog Zero, also notes the small return as a con of selling on thredUP. “Used clothing is not worth much,” she writes. “So if you’re looking to make more money, you’ll have to put in more effort” using other sites or brick-and-mortar stores. For anyone who’s still on board, thredUP’s process is pretty simple: Go to the “Clean Out” tab on thredUP’s website and select “Order a Kit.” You can then choose whether you’d like to receive a standard clean out bag or an expedited one. (There’s also an option to just donate a bag of clothing, if you’d prefer to do that.) ThredUP will then send you a bag that you’ll fill with clothes, seal up and return for free with a prepaid shipping label. ThredUP will then sort through your clothes, list the keepers on the site and, depending on which clean out option you chose, either recycle or return the unwanted items to you. Depending on whether your items are highly trendy and in season or have a little more longevity to them, thredUP will determine whether to give you the money up front or when the item sells on consignment. Once your payout becomes available, you have to cash out via PayPal. 3. Swap.com Swap.com is similar to thredUP in a lot of ways, except it also accepts and sells men’s clothes and even kids’ toys and a few household items. To sell your unwanted clothing on Swap.com, you can either request an “inbound box” or simply print a prepaid shipping label to use for sending in your items. Once the company receives your items, it will price them, upload them to the site and send you your payout after your items sell. Similar to thredUP, any items not accepted for resale will either be sent back to you or donated, depending on which option you choose. FROM THE MAKE MONEY FORUM Sell photos 6/24/19 @ 3:40 PM Earning Money 6/24/19 @ 1:18 PM A Make Money Asking Questions On Quora 4/26/19 @ 12:28 AM Employment in the trades 6/20/19 @ 11:41 AM See more in Make Money or ask a money question 4. Instagram If you’re an avid Instagram user, you’ve probably stumbled across more than one person selling their “closet” on the popular app. And while it’s a clunky interface for buying and selling (sales are done through the comments under photos and via direct messages), the return is pretty good because no commissions or fees are shaved off the top. Still, selling your clothing on Instagram will take a bit of legwork on your part. You’ll have to know how to work the system (lucky you, we have some tips right here!), and you’ll have to go through the trouble of steaming (it helps), photographing and listing each piece individually. You’ll also have to be totally in charge of collecting payments and shipping the items. All in all, though, it’s a great option for those who are willing to go the extra mile to make the extra dollar. 5. Tradesy If you want to sell your clothes on a platform that’s just a little bit more seller friendly, (but still not quite as involved as Poshmark) Tradesy is the way to go. Tradesy says it deals primarily in designer and luxury items, but technically you can sell any brand from Xhilaration for Target to Gucci — and any item from purses to wedding gear. To sell on Tradesy, all you have to do is take a few photos of an item (Tradesy will even do a little editing for you to make it look better), add a description and input a price. (Again, Tradesy is pretty helpful and will suggest a selling price if you’re at a loss.) When an item sells, you can use one of Tradesy’s complimentary shipping kits to ship the item at no cost. Tradesy’s flat commission fee is a little steep: The company takes $7.50 of any item sold for under $50. If an item sells for $50 or more, Tradesy takes 19.8%. The process is a little more involved than just loading up a bag and sending it off in the mail, but with a little bit of work, your payout can be pretty good — as long as you’re selling at the right price point. 6. eBay You thought we were going to leave eBay off this list for a second there, didn’t you? But we couldn’t do that! Even though it’s been around for quite some time (and sometimes has a reputation for being unwieldy or a little outdated), eBay is still a valid option when you’re selling clothing — especially when you’re looking to make a few bucks on so [...]
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Looking Forward to Your Next Vacation? Save on Air Travel With These Tips

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Looking Forward to Your Next Vacation? Save on Air Travel With These Tips
If you’ve ever suspected that it’s more expensive to fly on certain days of the week than others, your hunch is right. The cheapest days to fly are… drumroll… Tuesday and Wednesday. Fewer people want to fly on those days because they don’t fit the typical Monday-through-Friday work schedule. So, airlines discount tickets on those days slightly. That’s the short answer. But there’s much more to consider when booking a plane ticket so you’re sure to get the best deal. Cheapest Days to Fly, Explained A 2019 study by the travel site CheapAir.com found what every study before it had: You’ll pay less for airfare if you fly midweek. In some cases, nearly $85 less. That’s compared with the most expensive day of the week, Sunday, with Friday coming in second. Again, most people travel over the weekend when they’re off work and the kids are out of school. If you’re willing to fly on less convenient days, you’ll save a few bucks. And for the record, it doesn’t matter when you actually purchase a ticket. Many travel experts agree there’s no meaningful difference in price based on the day you book. When to Buy: Aim for the Prime Booking Window Another factor that affects whether you get a bargain on airfare or get hosed is how far out you book your ticket. The sweet spot is the prime booking window, and it falls between three weeks and four months before your trip. CheapAir.com says fares in this zone are within 5% of their lowest point, and they tend to stay consistent without spiking. But say you like to plan things way in advance. Booking a ticket more than six months out will cost you — possibly $50 more than in the prime window — but the tradeoff is you’ll have lots of flight options to choose from. On the other hand, there’s rarely any reward for waiting until the last minute. Booking less than two weeks in advance will cost you. There Is a Season So with your sights squarely set on the prime booking window, bear in mind this advice about traveling at different times of the year. Winter If you’ve ever flown home for the holidays, you know this to be true: Winter is the most expensive season to travel. The average price of a domestic ticket during the winter, according to CheapAir.com, is $433. Ouch. The upside? You get to fight your way through extra-crowded airports. Oh, wait… You can ease the sting of popular winter travel a little by booking about 94 days in advance, which is, on average, the best time to buy in winter. Spring Spraaang Break, y’all. Oodles of families and college kids take a vacay when school is out for a week in March and April. Beat them all to better fares by flying midweek. Average best time to buy: 84 days before your trip. Summer Think late in the season. We know, school just got out and you’re ready to escape. But July is the most expensive month of the year to fly, while late August and September harbor some serious deals. Try to book about 99 days out. Fall Airfare in the fall makes us want to frolic in some autumn leaves! Fall is shoulder season — the time between peak and off-peak — for many destinations when fewer people in general are traveling. (Yeah, the term doesn’t really make sense to us either.) There are deals to be had — as long as you avoid Thanksgiving week; 69 days out is the time to book. FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM Save my money! 6/13/19 @ 9:38 AM D SAVING MONEY ON A FIXED INCOME 6/7/19 @ 9:31 AM Always buy used when possible 6/12/19 @ 1:48 PM Over Couponing 4/15/19 @ 12:43 PM B See more in Save Money or ask a money question Destination Matters We don’t just mean that it’s cheaper to fly to Phoenix than Dubai. (Although — pro tip — it is.) CheapAir.com is also here for us on this important question: How far out you should book tickets to different areas of the world? Here’s the breakdown: Canada: 59 days in advance Mexico & Central America: 61 days Caribbean: 76 days South America: 81 days Middle East/Africa: 119 days Asia/Pacific: 90 days Europe: 99 days Finally — and this has less to do with the cheapest days to fly but everything to do with saving money — don’t overlook alternate airports. Smaller carriers serve regional airports and often offer fares that seem like they’re from a bygone era. $55 to Orlando? Hello! Use this handy list of lesser known airports outside big cities and check for cheaper fares before you book. Happy travels! Molly Moorhead is a senior 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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These 8 Strategies Will Help You Pay Down Credit Card Debt When You Retire

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These 8 Strategies Will Help You Pay Down Credit Card Debt When You Retire
Ah, retirement. Lazy days in the hammock, bucket list trips to Europe, leisurely drives in your sports car. Wait, you’ve spent more time jettisoning ideas than planning jet-setting excursions? Despite your best savings efforts — and unexpected expenses — those idyllic retirement plans may have run into the stark reality that you didn’t end up with the nest egg you had planned on. In fact, you’re headed toward your golden years with credit card debt. Employee Benefit Research Institute.  In 1992, 53.8% of families with the head of household ages 55 or older had debt. By 2016, that number had climbed to 68%. Unfortunately, it’s a nationwide trend, as families just reaching retirement or those recently retired are more likely to have debt — and higher levels of it — than past generations, according to a study by the Without your former income, you may be starting to worry about making the growing credit card payments on a fixed income, particularly when the average Social Security monthly benefit is $1,461. Putting a dent — permanently — in credit card debt when you’re retired is possible, and we have seven ways to help pay off your debt so you can enjoy that hammock. 8 Ways to Help Pay Down Credit Card Debt in Retirement Retirement offers unique opportunities and challenges when you’re paying off debt. You may have new sources of income, like Social Security or a pension, and new expenses, like increased healthcare costs or fun stuff like travel. So here are eight post-employment strategies that can help you pay down debt. 1. Make a Budget Tackling credit card payment as you approach retirement starts by re-examining your budget. Making changes to your lifestyle and using your free time to save money is a good place to start, according to Joseph Valenti, senior policy advisor with the AARP Public Policy Institute, in Washington, D.C. “One thing we know from studies of retirement is that people have fewer set costs typically compared to when they were working,” he said. “If they have more time, maybe they will be preparing more meals at home.” If you need help creating your budget, check out our step-by-step guide to budgeting or learn the basics in our Budgeting 101 Academy course. Once you know where you stand financially, you can start looking for ways to cut the credit card balance. 2. Negotiate With Credit Card Companies The best way to know where you stand is to look at the numbers — in this case, the interest rate on your cards. It’s easier to pay down a debt if you’re accumulating less interest on top of the original amount (learn more about compound interest in our Credit Cards 101 Academy course). Asking your credit card company for a new rate is one option, particularly if you’re ready to commit to living credit card-free going forward, Valenti said. “In some cases, even if you close that card, they will let you pay it down for little or no interest over a period of time,” Valenti said. “That’s assuming you don’t need the card again.” Pro Tip When you call the credit card company, the first person you talk to may not be able to help you, even if they think they can. Ask to speak with a manager who handles settlement arrangements. Check out this post for more tips on negotiating credit card debt. And if you’re too overwhelmed to deal with the creditors themselves, consider reaching out to a credit counselor, who can help you organize your accounts and may negotiate a lower interest rate for you. 3. Transfer Your Balance to a New Card Loyalty isn’t necessarily rewarding. If you’ve had the same card for years, transferring your balance to a new card could give you a lower interest rate than you current provider can offer. Reap the most benefits by paying down as much debt as you can during the promotional period. When you’re considering which card to go with, compare this information for all offers: Fees (typically at least $5 to $10 or 3% to 5% of the balance) Interest (look for 0%) Duration of the promotional APR (usually 12 to 18 months) Credit score requirements (generally good or excellent) Credit limits (make sure it’s more than your current balance) Here’s what else to consider before transferring a balance. 4. Cut (Former) Work-Related Expenses Still hanging on to that gym membership, even though you only signed up because it was close to your office? By reviewing your monthly, periodic and annual budgets, you may discover work-related expenses that have become so habitual you’ve forgotten about them, according to Valenti, who gave transportation, clothing and cell phone expenses as examples. Cancel subscriptions to professional associations and other automatic billings associated with work (an ink cartridge subscription, for instance) to avoid unwanted surprises at the end of the month. If you have trouble keeping up with recurring payments, try using a subscription tracking tool. And if you still enjoy hitting the gym, cut costs by asking about senior discounts — AARP has many for its members. 5. Set Up Self-Imposed Limits Before retirement, those little expenses that broke your budget one month may have been easier to cushion with your regular paycheck. And remembering them all may have been a little easier a few years ago. To help you track the expenses and avoid unwanted surprises at the end of the month, Valenti suggested setting up alerts from your bank or credit card provider. “It’s one thing to find out instantly through a text that you’ve reached a limit — even if it’s a self-imposed limit — as opposed to a statement that’s going to shock you at the end of a cycle,” Valenti said. 6. Ask for Professional (Financial) Help If you’re overwhelmed by managing your day-to-day finances or fear forgetting to pay bills and sinking further in debt, consider hiring a daily money manager. In addition to tracking bills, daily money managers can help you with balancing your checkbook, collecting tax documents, dealing with medical bills and even avoiding scams. Pro Tip Your bank must protect two months’ worth of Social Security benefits from a credit card collector’s garnishment. If your account has more than that, the bank can garnish or freeze the extra money. Depending on where you live, a daily money manager may charge $75 to $150 an hour. However, the American Association of Daily Money Managers provides a list of state agencies that provide services to low-income and disabled seniors.   7. Make Extra Money on Your Empty Nest Now that the kids have moved out (hopefully), you’re stuck with that big, empty house. One option for making money is to sell it and downsize to a smaller place, then use the profits to pay off credit card debt. But moving still requires an outlay of cash and can add additional stress as you’re adjusting to retired life. If you’re seeking something a little less drastic, think about new ways to use your house — and its contents — to earn some cash today, advises Moira Somers, a wealth psychologist based in Winnipeg, Canada, and the author of “Advice That Sticks: How to Give Financial Advice That People Will Follow.” “Look at the resources you have and say, ‘Could this turn into money somehow?’” she said. “One of the cool things about this period in our life is that there are sometimes ways we can make extra money that wouldn’t have been possible even 10 years ago — the whole AirBnb thing, for example.” If you’re looking to make some money on your extra bedrooms, check out our post about how to become an Airbnb host. And don’t forget about all those buried treasures in the attic. (Did you know that Urban Outfitters sells five-packs of random VHS tapes for $40? Yeah. That’s a thing.) One of the cool things about this period in our life is that there are sometimes ways we can make extra money that wouldn’t have been possible even 10 years ago. Somers notes ta [...]
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Don’t Want to Owe Taxes After You Die? Avoid These 17 States

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Don’t Want to Owe Taxes After You Die? Avoid These 17 States
Have you gotten to retirement with a fat nest egg? Congratulations! All those years of toil and saving have paid off. If you are exceedingly fortunate and plan to pass on a big inheritance to your children or a charity, you still have one big retirement-planning mission remaining: Protecting your wealth from disappearing into the coffers of state and federal governments. Depending on where you... [...]
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