What ‘So Money’ Host Farnoosh Torabi Wants You to Know About Credit Scores


Do you know your credit score?

Better question: Are you sick of hearing us tell you over and over how important it is to check your credit report and know your credit score?

It may seem like we’re beating a dead horse, but the truth is, you can’t ball on a 450 credit score, and we’re committed to putting more money in your pocket so that you can be the baller you’re meant to be.

A survey released by the Consumer Federation of America and VantageScore suggests the advice is working. The percentage of respondents who said they’ve obtained their credit scores in the past year rose from 49% in 2014 to 57% in 2018.

Credit expert Farnoosh Torabi, who hosts the “So Money” podcast, says she isn’t surprised.

“There’s been momentum building ever since the recession,” she told The Penny Hoarder.

News coverage of rising interest rates impacts lending, which trickles down into people’s credit lives and wallets.

Another aspect fueling the rise is easy access to credit scores.

“I’ve been covering personal finance for all of my career, and back in the late ’90s and early 2000s, there was no go-to place to get your credit score as a consumer,” Torabi said. “But now, there are more ways to access it.”

Great, You Know Your Credit Score. Now What?

Knowing your credit score is nice and all, but it means very little if you don’t do anything about it.

But you all are doing something about it.

The number of people who’ve checked their credit score has increased, and so has the number of people taking steps to increase their scores, according to year-over-year findings from Chase Slate’s 2017 credit outlook survey.

These steps include paying off debt, keeping credit usage low and making an effort to pay down credit statements in full.

We can all agree it’s easier to take the initial steps to improve your finances when you know what’s going on and exactly what you need to do.

A Lot of People Are Still Confused About Credit

The Consumer Federation study showed large majorities could correctly identify three key factors used to calculate credit scores:

  • Missed payments, 86%
  • High credit card balances, 81%
  • Personal bankruptcy, 79%

But significant minorities incorrectly thought that age (41%) and marital status (38%) are used in this calculation.

“Some people think the older they are, the better their credit score will be,” Torabi said. “I think they confuse that with the length of their credit history.”

A lot of people also incorrectly believed tax liens (64%), medical collection accounts less than 6 months old (62%) and civil judgments (63%) are used to compute credit scores.

Most people knew steps to take to improve your credit score, but little more than half (56%) knew all of them.

Here’s Why Credit Scores Are So Important

“Largely we think of credit scores and their ties to qualifying for homes, loans and credit cards, but there’s other stuff, too,” Torabi said. “I think if [people] knew the extent to which [their] credit score actually makes an impact, it would make people more interested to see what their credit score is, and learn how to improve it.”

When you sign up for cable plans or insurance, providers will often do a credit check to make sure you’re paying your other bills on time. And if you’re renting, landlords and property managers will also run a credit check and review your credit score.

But the biggest reason to know your score has nothing to do with what you want to do in the future. It’s all about what you’ve done — or rather, haven’t done — in the past.

Credit reporting mistakes and identity theft are common occurrences, and they’re not going away anytime soon.

So even if you’re not planning on buying a house, financing a car, or opening a credit card in the near future, it’s still super important to know your credit score and monitor your credit report.

At The Penny Hoarder, we publish no shortage of articles telling you why you should check your credit score, how to improve your credit score and how amazing life has gotten since so-and-so raised their credit score.

Maintaining healthy credit is just like maintaining a healthy body.

“If you’re trying to stay healthy in your physical life, you should get on that scale and face that number, as hard as it can be,” Torabi said. “Numbers don’t lie. [Your credit score] will give you the honest truth, and from there, you can improve.”

Jen Smith is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She gives money saving and debt payoff tips on Instagram at @savingwithspunk.

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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This Simple 7-Day Plan Will Help You Conquer Your Money This Week


One week. Just seven days. When you think about it, it’s amazing what you can accomplish over the course of one week when you dig in your heels and go for it.

You’ve devoted that much time to the gym and the salad bar so you could fit into that outfit before next weekend’s wedding, right?

Now it’s time to give the same attention to your finances. I know it’s not fun, but you’re adulting now, right? Here’s the good news: By tackling just one thing each day for one week, you can boost your financial life now and for years down the road.

Let’s take it one day at a time.

Sunday: Make Money While You Watch TV

Young woman relaxing in the living room, drinking wine and watching tv
freemixer/Getty Images

Rise and shine! It’s time to get your seven day financial fix up moving!

Start out your week by earning a little extra money without turning off the TV or even taking your feet off the coffee table. Luckily, you can do all of this on your computer or phone.

Surveys aren’t the quickest way to make money, but they’re a great way to cash in on your down time. Fill them out while you’re watching TV, riding the bus or waiting in line.

One survey site we love is called InboxDollars. It offers several short daily surveys you can take. If you take all of them each day, you could earn an extra $ 730 a year — not too bad.

Monday: Get Your Bills in Sync

phone and money on desk
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

OK, you’ve recovered from the weekend. Let’s not hit snooze on our financial game plan. It’s Monday, and it’s time to get to work. There’s no time to get a case of the Mondays.

Think about all your bills. Rent, utilities, your cell phone. Ugh.

Keeping up with all these bills is tough. It’d be nice to just sync them all and receive automatic reminders for them each month, right?

Rather than manually penciling bills into your calendar, download Prism. The app lets you connect all your accounts — and even pay all your bills — in one spot. Once you’re connected, it’ll automatically sync your bill info and set up reminders for you.

Turn on notifications to get payday reminders and notices when your water bill is due, for example. This will help you plan your month and avoid any late fees. And because you’re making these payments on time, it could even boost your credit score.

The app is free for consumers. (Prism makes its money from the bill provider.)

Download the app, and effortlessly keep close tabs on all your bills from here on out.

Tuesday: Put This App to Work on Your Savings

woman holding phone outside
Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

Did you know that Tuesday is the most productive day of the week, according to one survey reported by Business News Daily? It’s time to bear down and take a hard look at your finances and what’s lacking.

Saving money is tough. So what if you could do it in a way where you wouldn’t even notice?

Digit makes that possible.

This innovative app automates saving for you. Simply link it to your checking account, and its algorithms will determine small (and safe!) amounts of money to withdraw into a separate, FDIC-insured savings account.

Bonus: Penny Hoarders will get an extra $ 5 just for signing up!

Using this set-it-and-forget-it strategy, Matt Wiley saved $ 4,300 without noticing — read his Digit review.

Digit is free to use for the first 100 days, then it’s $ 2.99 per month afterward.

Wednesday: Get Over the Hump With This Free Check up

mature woman relaxing in hammock
PamelaJoeMcFarlane/Getty Images

Happy Hump Day! Just four days in, and you’ve already made great strides toward a better financial life.

If you’re saving for your retirement with a 401(k), awesome.

But when’s the last time you truly checked in on your account, adjusted your allocations, addressed any fees and all that other fun stuff?

Try using a robo-adviser to make sure your 401(k) is on track with your retirement goals. Blooom is an SEC-registered investment advisory firm that’ll optimize and monitor your 401(k) for you.

Your initial account check up is free, and you can do it online in less than five minutes. This will help you get to know your account a little more intimately. Find out whether you’re paying too much in investment fees, have the appropriate amount of money invested in stocks versus bonds, that kind of stuff.

If you’re satisfied with the outcome of your initial check up, great! If not, you can enroll in Blooom for $ 10 a month. (Penny Hoarders get one month free.) It’ll automatically adjust your 401(k) to best fit your needs all the way up to retirement.

Thursday: Crush Your Debt

Stack of multicolored credit cards
Kwun Kau Tam/Getty Images

Did you know Thursday is named in honor of the Norse god Thor? It’s only appropriate, because now it’s time to hammer away at your debt. See what I did there? Thursday, Thor, hammer?

Have you ever considered consolidating your debt? It could substantially lower payments you’re already making and help you save more money each month.

A lot of us are being crushed by credit card interest rates north of 20%. If you’re in that boat, consolidation and refinancing might be worth a look.

A good resource is online lending platform Upstart, which can help you find a loan without relying on only your conventional credit score.

Unlike traditional underwriting models that use only the common FICO scoring model, Upstart’s technology looks at factors like your education and employment history to determine your creditworthiness.

It can help you borrow up to $ 50,000, potentially with better terms (e.g. lower interest or lower monthly payments) than traditional lenders. If managing many different bills and credit lines is a hassle, you can also use an Upstart loan to streamline all of your loans into one.

Friday: Sit Back, Relax — and Get a Free $ 5

man checking phone on couch with dog
Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

Yes! Stay with me. You’re doing great. Today’s tip lets you take a load off.

If you’re like most of us and wish your money would just take care of itself, consider starting an investment account through Acorns.

Acorns is an app that automatically rounds up your credit or debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and invests the spare change.

That means if you spend $ 10.23 at the grocery store, 77 cents gets dropped into your Acorns account. Once you hit $ 5, Acorns will automatically invest it.

The idea is you won’t miss the digital pocket change, and the automatic savings stack up faster than you’d think. For example, we reviewed how Penny Hoarder Dana Sitar was able to save at a rate of $ 420 a year!

Acorns will give Penny Hoarders a $ 5 bonus for signing up, and average interest earning is around 7%.

Passive income!

Saturday: Play the Slots — and Boost Your Savings

two friends looking at phone
Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

You made it! It’s Saturday, and it’s day seven of your seven day financial fix up. You’ve done amazing things! Time for a little fun.

Are you more of the “sit at home and play video games” type of person but you’re making yourself read this because you’re determined to get this adulting thing down?

The folks who created Long Game have you covered with a game that’s fun and helps you achieve your financial goals.  

As you save and accomplish missions you’ll earn coins to play mini games for cash prizes! We’re talking the classics, like slot machines, scratch-offs and spin-to-win wheels.

Penny Hoarder Carson Kohler uses Long Game to save money. Every two weeks, it sneaks $ 5 out of her bank account and rewards her with coins.

In two months, she’s saved $ 35.70, just by playing games on her phone. Plus, her winnings amount to a gain of about 2% — way higher than interest on any other savings account she has.

Once you link your bank account, you’ll earn 300 points, so you can start playing while you wait for payday.

Tyler Omoth is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder who loves soaking up the sun and finding creative ways to help others. He’s declared that Mondays are the new Saturday. Catch him on Twitter at @Tyomoth.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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The Money Behind LeBron James’ Lakers Move

After years of fumbling around with the rebuilding of a franchise in Northeast Ohio, it is now official. LeBron James will be heading to Los Angeles this summer in a four year, $ 154 million-contract, declining to exercise his $ 35.6 million player option with the Clevland Cavaliers.

There were indeed legitimate championship contending teams interested in James’ signature. The Philadelphia 76ers needed a superstar who has been there, done that. The Houston Rockets would have immediately become favorites had James joined forces with Chris Paul and James Harden. There were even talks that he could land in Toronto. But the four-time MVP and two-time Olympic gold medalist, at 33 years old, wasn’t going to make this decision lightly. Unlike “The Decision,” it was never going to be purely on a team’s basketball acumen or history.

WHERE THE KING GOES, THE MONEY FOLLOWS

Everywhere he goes, James, along with his billion-dollar body, carries an economic windfall that is parallel to no other athlete. Shortly after James announced his return to Cleveland in 2014, Cavaliers’ ticket sales spiked by more than 100 times, jumping from $ 25 to a staggering $ 386. Season tickets sold out within hours, and according to a Cleveland.com report, his return to Ohio resulted in a nine-figure economic boost for downtown Cleveland.

In the wake of his announcement, Lakers season tickets, which were selling for $ 3,499 each, skyrocketed to $ 5,800 just 20 minutes after the announcement. One person, according to ESPN W paid $ 188,781, including fees for four season tickets on StubHub. The seats, which are 16 rows up, one section off the center, are for regular-season games and do not include the playoffs. The Lakers preseason tickets, now on sale, have doubled in price to $ 550 plus fees.

LEBRON JAMES’ BIG ECONOMIC IMPACT:

A 2017 study published by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) quantified the effects that the 33-year-old forward had in Cleveland with the Cavaliers and his brief stint in Miami when he played for the Heat from 2011 to 2014.

By playing in both cities, the data showed that James’ presence had a huge impact on their local economies by boosting restaurant revenues, ticket sales, and job creation. The number of eateries and bars within the mile of the stadium where he played at the time increased by 13%, with employment within those establishments increasing by 23.5%. While, on the other hand, those numbers dropped when James was not on either team.

Earlier in the year, BLACK ENTERPRISE took a look at the cities that would benefit the most if King James joined their NBA team through a study conducted by FormSwift. Had James joined the Knicks, he would have an estimated $ 1.7 billion economic impact on the city, bringing the state $ 1.2 million in tax revenue and over 12,000 new jobs over a five-year period. In comparison, if the NBA star signed with the Brooklyn Nets, the state’s economy would receive about $ 441 million, 3,334 jobs, and $ 32 million in state tax revenue. Had he moved to Washington, D.C., he would bring the nation’s capital over $ 66 million in state tax revenue, 3,200 jobs, and more than $ 444 million in total local economic impact in five years.

According to the report, his presence in Los Angeles will have a $ 396 million economic impact on the city. In addition, the city will gain about 3,000 jobs and $ 29 million in state tax revenue.

BUILDING A BILLION-DOLLAR BRAND

James could have stayed home and signed an even bigger deal worth around $ 205 million with the Cavaliers but his move to Los Angeles opens up business opportunities that “could propel him to even bigger global superstar status if he can return the purple-and-gold to NBA title contention.”

“It’s my biggest milestone. Obviously. I want to maximize my business,” said James. “And if I happen to get it, if I happen to be a billion-dollar athlete, ho. Hip hip hooray! Oh, my God, I’m gonna be excited,” James said in a GQ cover story four years ago. His new deal with the Lakers, according to Forbes, brings him closer to becoming a billion-dollar athlete.

As of two years ago, James’ net worth, according to Forbes, was $ 275 million, but “James has banked another $ 170 million, including endorsements, since then, and the stock market continues to move higher.” In total, he has made an estimated $ 765 million, including off-court earnings, since he entered the NBA in 2003. At 33, his endorsements are the best in the NBA at more than $ 50 million annually through deals with Nike, Coca-Cola, Beats, Kia, Intel, and Blaze Pizza per Forbes. He is also an investor and franchisee in Blaze. Stephen Curry is the only hoops star within $ 20 million of James off the court, and James’ total earnings are likely to approach $ 400 million during his four years in L.A., according to the article.

The post The Money Behind LeBron James’ Lakers Move appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Money Mondays: The Ripple Effects Of Trade Tensions

What’s the latest on trade?

We have certainly discussed trade regularly on Money Monday in recent months, but in the last few weeks are beginning to see the effects of trade tensions resulting from some of President Trump’s protectionist policies. On Friday, General Motors warned that the next round of tariffs the White House is contemplating – on foreign cars and car parts, among other things – would kill jobs, lower wages and cause the company to investment less in new factories and other items. GM is not alone among companies that would get hurt, and consumers will be impacted as well. Today, I want to talk about what that looks like, and what we can expect from here based on what we have seen thus far.

Remind us what policies you are talking about?

You may recall that during the 2016 campaign, the President regularly brought up the trade deficit and what he called unfair trade. Once elected, he withdrew from a large free trade agreement with Latin American and Asian countries, and in August of 2017, he launched investigations to determine whether imports from China and other countries could be a threat to national security. Following this, President Trump announced tariffs on imported solar panels and washing machines in January, import tariffs of 25% on steel imports and 10% on aluminum imports in March, and other more specific measures since then. China, the European Union, Canada, Mexico and others have retaliated with their own targeted tariffs on US goods. All of these moves have been rippling through the global economy and affecting consumers and businesses alike.

What effects are we seeing for businesses?

I mentioned General Motors. Another great example of a business being impacted by trade tensions is Harley Davidson. In response the President’s steel and aluminum tariffs, the European Union raised tariffs on a number of American products. One of those products was American motorcycles, which saw import duties rise from 6% to 31% of their value. That comes out to about $ 2,200 in fees for each motorcycle the company sells in Europe. The company has said it will eat those costs to protect their sales volume and brand, costing them up to $ 100 million a year, and it will start building more of its bikes oversea, rather than expanding in the US, and it could see job losses in the long term. These challenges are not unique to Harley Davidson. From nail companies to pork farmers, these trade battles are hurting many American businesses. In addition to tariffs, higher prices on goods like steel means that companies that use these goods have higher production costs.

Are they helping any American businesses?

Some businesses are benefiting, including steel and aluminum producers. Prices for different types of steel and aluminum began to climb almost immediately after President Trump imposed tariffs on the metals, posting the biggest three-month price increase that has been recorded in years. However, it is worth keeping in mind that more lose than gain. As of mid-2017, there were 29,288 steel-consuming firms, employing over 900,000 workers who face higher prices versus just 916 steel-producing firms with 80,000 employees who benefit from those higher prices and reduced competition.

How are consumers being affected?

Americans are starting to see the ripple effects of the trade battles in the form of price increases. Take washing machines; President Trump raised tariffs on imported washing machines to 20% in January. In the months that have followed, prices shot up. The Labor Department’s consumer-price Index, which gauges inflation, found the price of washing machines rose by about 17% over the past three months. Due to higher steel and aluminum prices, we have seen prices rise for everything that requires these materials, from cans of soup to automobiles. General Motors noted new tariffs could drive vehicle prices up by thousands of dollars, and that the models that would see the biggest price increase would be the ones bought by consumers who can least afford one. At the end of the day, tariffs cost all Americans money.

What can we expect going forward?

If trade relations continue to deteriorate, businesses and consumers are likely to suffer, and economic growth is likely to slow. Free flow of goods and capital is important for businesses to grow, and for American consumers to have access to low cost goods. In the extreme, we could see a recession. Let’s hope that cooler heads prevail on the trade front.

Mellody is President of Ariel Investments, a Chicago-based money management firm that serves individual investors and retirement plans through its no-load mutual funds and separate accounts.  Additionally, she is a regular financial contributor and analyst for CBS News and CBS.com.

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Lee Daniels Vows To Pay Damon Dash Back His Money

The Woodsman New York City Premiere - Outside Arrivals

Source: Jim Spellman / Getty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Days after a video surfaced of Damon Dash running up on Lee Daniels at a Diana Ross concert demanding he get his money back, Daniels has vowed publicly to repay the millions he owes him.

The Empire creator sat down with TMZ on Friday to admit his wrongdoings and promise to pay the former Roc-A-Fella mogul his coins for investing in a few of his earlier films.

“When nobody in Hollywood was giving me money, after my Academy award, unprecedented with Halle Berry, nobody was giving me money,” he says in the brief clip.

“Damon’s crazy ass was crazy enough to give me money for The Woodsman and for Shadowboxer. The investment for Shadowboxer didn’t pay off.”

He added: “I am in the position now to get it to him, so I’m going to get it to him because I think that’s the right thing to do.”

“It sadly took that wake-up call during Diana’s “Reach Out And Touch Somebody’s Hand” for me to realize that and for me to sit with myself.”

Take a look:

Instagram Photo

Apparently, Dame saw the sit-down and wrote on Instagram that he accepts the Oscar-nominated director’s apology.

“We’re good bro,” he wrote in the caption. “Appreciate the honesty…time to move forward let’s forget the bubble gum shit and get the money.”

As we previously reported, Daniels reportedly promised Dash stake as the EP on the Richard Pryor biopic in addition to five percent of Daniels’ back end profits. The biopic never happened, leading to Dash suing Daniels for his contribution. Dame also sued Daniels in 2004 after the mogul says he loaned the director $ 2 million for the film The Woodsman, none of which Daniels has paid back.

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11 Careless Ways You Waste Money Every Day (and How to Stop)


Who doesn’t waste money? We all pay too much at times because we want something right now.

And on occasion, if we’re being honest with ourselves, we buy things we don’t really need.

Sometimes, though, we aren’t completely aware of all the ways we’re throwing away money.

Here are some common ways people waste money, and what you can do instead.

1. Paying Full Price for Groceries

Patrick Mooney shops around his local grocery store in Cleveland Ohio., April 9th, 2018.
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

Did you know you can get cash back just for taking a picture of your receipt? Here’s how it works:

  1. Sign up for Ibotta here. (You just need a name and email address to start.)
  2. Browse through the cash-back offers in your area and take note the next time you go to the grocery store (the offers change every week). Some cash-back deals we’ve seen include:
  • 25 cents back on strawberries
  • 50 cents back on frozen fruit snacks
  • $ 1 back on a box of tea
  • $ 5 back on a case of Shiner Bock beer

Notice a lot of those aren’t tied to a brand — just shop for the staples on your list and earn cash back! Once you’ve reached at least $ 20 in earnings, you can request payment via Paypal or Venmo.

Right now, Ibotta is giving new users a $ 10 sign-up bonus.

2. Paying Banking Fees

People walk passed an ATM
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

Traditional banks are notorious for hitting you up with fees whenever possible. In fact, two of the five most hated companies in America last year were well-known banks: Wells Fargo and Bank of America.

Thankfully, some smart companies are starting to offer solutions — online bank accounts designed in direct response to every complaint we’ve ever had about our traditional banks.

Samuel Demeny, who recently switched an online bank account with Chime, cited fees as a big reason he left Wells Fargo. He was paying $ 25 a year just to keep his checking account active and would’ve had to pay another $ 45 a year to add a savings account.

Chime charges no monthly fees, no overdraft fees and no foreign transaction fees.

With Chime, ATMs are fee-free at MoneyPass locations. For Demeny, on the rare occasions when there’s no fee-free ATM nearby, the app finds him businesses where he can get cash back at checkout.

3. Paying Credit Card Interest

Shopper takes the credit card out of wallet
RobertoDavid/Getty Images

Paying interest on consumer purchases is a bad — and expensive — habit. Every dollar of interest is a dollar less for retirement, traveling, education or for enjoying an extra meal out now and then.

How much money are you wasting on credit card interest?

In 2017, the average U.S. household with revolving credit card debt carried a balance of more than $ 6,000, according to a NerdWallet analysis. Assuming an interest rate of 14.87% — the current average — they’re paying about $ 900 per year just in interest charges.

Make a plan to pay down your credit card debt as quickly as you can, and then start a policy of paying in full every month.

4. Leaving Electronics Plugged in

Light Switches turned off and on
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

Leaving lights on when you’re not in a room is an obvious waste of money.

But in addition to turning off your lights, you might want to unplug some devices. That’s because many of them use power even when they’re switched to “off.”

Calculate what these energy vampires cost you with online tools, such as this one from Duke Energy. For instance, leaving your digital cable box on (even when the TV is off) eats $ 23 in electricity each year.

It all adds up, so you might want to turn off that idling computer and leave the printer unplugged until you actually need it.

5. Overpaying for Pretty Much Everything

Derek Mateo handles cash
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

You can always get a better deal, but who can keep track of everything? A personal finance assistant would be helpful here.

Meet Charlie. He’s a money-saving penguin. He lives in your SMS text messages or Facebook Messenger (your choice, but Facebook Messenger is way more fun). He offers help with a little bit of everything, including:

  • Finding you free money by making sure you’re getting the best deals around (ahem, overpaying $ 24 a month on that cell phone bill?).
  • Helping you avoid unnecessary extra charges by reminding you when you have a bill due.

Getting acquainted with Charlie is easy. When you click “get started” on its homepage, you can opt into chatting via text or Facebook Messenger, and follow his prompts. You’ll connect your bank account or credit card (or both) so he can get to work.

6. Overpaying for Cell Phone Service

man using cell phone
Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

You’re probably paying too much to use your cell phone, because there’s little incentive for the major wireless carriers to slash prices. Many customers won’t switch to a discount provider due to fears of lousy reception and poor customer service.

But upstart companies are offering us better options for low-priced, high-quality cell phone service.

If you’re sick of of paying your cell phone carrier hundreds of dollars each month, look beyond the so-called Big Four and into the discount carrier Twigby.

That’s what Zak Wilson did. He’d been paying Verizon Wireless about $ 180 a month for two lines. So he tried Twigby. For both phones, he’s now paying $ 60 a month.

Plus, new customers get 25% off the first 6 months of service.

7. Overpaying for Home Insurance

houses in palmetto fl
Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

If you own a home, you probably have homeowners insurance. But have you shopped around for a better deal recently? Bet you haven’t.

If you live in Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C., we recommend the online insurance company Lemonade, where homeowners insurance starts at $ 25 a month.

Instead of profiting extra when it doesn’t have to pay out claims, the company keeps a set 20% of your premium for itself, and 80% goes into a pool for paying claims and charity.

That means Lemonade isn’t going to be super stingy about granting customers the claims they deserve — ’cause the money isn’t going into its pockets.

You can do it all online:

  1. Click “Check Our Prices.”
  2. Get to know Maya, Lemonade’s chatbot. She’ll ask you a few questions.
  3. Once you complete the application, you’ll receive a quote within a minute or two.

8. Spending Too Much on Student Loan Repayments

Cash exchanged at the St. Petersburg Market
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

Consider refinancing your student loans so you can pay them off faster and save money in the long run.

An easy way to do this is with LendKey, a service that allows you to quickly browse low-interest loans from credit unions and community banks. Compared to the big national bank chains, smaller community banks often offer more borrower-friendly loan terms — namely, lower interest rates and more flexibility.

LendKey’s simple, straightforward online platform can help you find and apply for the right loan without visiting a dozen bank branches.

And if you’ve been turned down by other lenders, don’t fret. LendKey has more lenient credit score minimums and income requirements for applicants. When you’re approved for a loan, you’ll get a $ 100 bonus after the loan is disbursed.

9. Buying Premium Gasoline

Young woman refueling car at the gas station.
EXTREME-PHOTOGRAPHER/Getty Images

“Unless your engine is knocking, buying higher octane gasoline is a waste of money,” says the Federal Trade Commission.

It says cars designed to use regular-octane fuel (which is most of them) get no advantage at all from premium gas. Unless your owner’s manual recommends a higher-octane gasoline, you’re throwing your money away buying anything other than regular.

If you use 800 gallons annually and pay 22 cents more per gallon for premium, you’re wasting $ 176 each year. Buy regular gas (and find the cheapest stations while you’re at it).

10. Ordering Appetizers

appetizers and drinks on wooden table
Lucas Ranzuglia/Getty Images

The average restaurant meal has more than 1,200 calories — over half of what you need in a day, reports Time magazine.

Then there are the drinks most people order along with their meals… So you probably don’t need the added calories or cost of appetizers.

Alternately, if it’s the appetizers you really want, order your favorites, and skip the dinner menu altogether. That can cut your costs and calories.

11. Subscribing to Premium Cable

woman relaxing on sofa watching tv
franckreporter/Getty Images

More and more TV viewers are bidding farewell to cable because it costs so much. Nearly half of cable or satellite users are planning to or are open to getting rid of the service, according to a TiVo report. About 80% of those who have cut the cord did so because of the price.

Cord-cutters are switching to online streaming services to save money, the report found. Over 54% had Netflix, 27% used Amazon Prime and just under 12% used Hulu.

Each streaming service has its own pros and cons, and if you’re wondering which would be best for you, we’ve got you covered in this comparison of Hulu, Netflix and Prime Video. You can compare costs, the type of content, the number of available titles and more.

Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He tries — tries — not to waste 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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Here’s one easy way to save big money on your cable bill

While it’s true that more and more people are opting for streaming TV these days, one question money expert Clark Howard still gets a lot is, “How can I keep cable but save money?”

Here’s how to save money on your cable bill

An easy way to keep your cable but save on your monthly bill is to eliminate your modem fee. Many cable companies charge a monthly fee for using the cable modem that allows you to connect to the internet and watch television. Take a gander at your cable bill and see if you can find this fee or “surcharge.”

Most cable companies charge between $ 6 to $ 10 per month for a cable modem. That means you’re paying up to $ 120 a year — and that fee never goes away. It’s just a perennial charge that the companies collect as long as you’re a customer.

So not only are you paying for the actual content you’re consuming, but the cable company is basically charging you a rental fee for that rectangular box. The great thing is, you can buy one yourself and cut out the middleman altogether.

For example, a Netgear N450 WiFi Docsis 3.0 Cable Modem Router gives you internet access and the capability to get all the channels you subscribe to. It currently costs $ 69.86 on Amazon.

That means for a one-time charge, you can save as much as $ 50 in the first 12 months and be done with that fee forever.

Before you buy, make sure that the modem you choose works with your cable provider. The Netgear modem’s product description says it’s “compatible with Xfinity from Comcast, Spectrum, Cox, & more.”

Photo credit: Amazon.com

No matter which cable modem you choose, make sure it has Wi-Fi. Otherwise, you’ll have to buy a separate router.

More Clark.com stories you may like: 

For all the latest deals on electronics and more, check out our sister site, ClarkDeals.com!

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Will I save money by buying an all-in-one car seat?

by

Joyce Slaton

posted in Products

Blame the Graco 4Ever: though all-in-one car seats have been on the market for years, the 4Ever was the all-in-one breakthrough. It won 2018’s Best Convertible Car Seat award in the 2018 Mom’s Picks, and it’s one of the most popular car seats out there.

Parents love the idea of buying one seat that takes their child safely from infancy through the booster seat years. But they also tend to think that buying just one seat will save money too. And that’s not necessarily true.

Graco 4Ever, $ 299.99
Graco Size4Me 65, $ 122.09
Graco Highback TurboBooster, $ 59.66

So you see that you actually pay more than $ 100 more for the 4Ever. It may be worth it to you — and the 4Ever is sometimes available on sale for as little as $ 220 — but know that you’re not automatically saving money by buying one seat.

The same is true of some other all-in-one seats — but not all.

The Evenflo SafeMax Platinum All-in-One pictured above goes for $ 279.99 (though it can frequently be found on sale for less). But if you wanted to go the non all-in-one route, the Evenflo SureRide DLX is a bargain fave for $ 89.99, and the Evenflo Amp is a popular highbacked booster for $ 32.99.

The total? $ 122.98, or $ 157.01 less than the SafeMax alone.

The Evenflo Amp
However, all-in-one seats aren’t always more expensive than buying a convertible and then a booster seat. Safety 1st’s Grow and Go is a well-reviewed bargain all-in-one seat that retails for $ 199, though we found it for $ 189.99, and it can be had for as little as $ 129 or even less on sale (here it is for $ 127.99, for instance.)

Safety 1st Grow-and-Go
Meanwhile, Safety 1st’s popular bargain seat the Guide 65 goes for $ 80.84, while the brand’s most popular booster, the Safety 1st Store ‘n Go is $ 58.06. The grand total? $ 138.90, or a little more than $ 10 more than the on-sale Grow and Go.

Comparison shopping is such a drag. But so is wasting money. Careful shoppers: good luck out there.

BabyCenter Blog

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Scandinavian top blogger Helena-Reet: Vanity gives money for the clever and tooks it away from the vain

OHMYGOSSIP – NordenBladet & OHMYGOSSIP-sites developer Helena-Reet Ennet is the blogger who is weekly in Finnish and Swedish news, who has more social media followers than no other girl or company in Scandinavia and who “tells the ugly truth” directly to your face. Metropoli.net talked with her about vanity.

– Vanity blinds people! People want to be “VIP” and “ESPECIAL”, but the truth is that VIP and special are only those who control their own lives. The old school well known “Snob-effect”* is the key how people get rich. It is not a secret, that if you want to make money – “approve a fool” and “pressure their vanity”! Sounds very cruel, but this is how it works. Vanity is the main thing which gives money for the clever and takes it away from the vain and foolish. And this works, always and in all life situations. Trust me!

– Don’t let others think/decide what is cool, original or nice. Make your own decisions! Yeah, I have said it thousand times, but I’ll tell it again. You do not need to waste a single penny to designer clothes/bags/widgets, especially for those you actually do not like but your “cool rich” friend has. Start decide yourself what is cool. If you truly think you like it, buy it, but if your idol has it and you do not like it, leave it.

– Just an example… you have a fat ass (like I do), believe me, it does not matter if you wear Armani, YSL, Gucci jeans or no-name trousers… your butt looks the same – fat – the “names” do not make your ass look better! Better try to find trousers what fit you well, no matter what their price/name is. Choose what is good for you and what you like! Show some personality!

– Imagine that there are things and no prices — what would you choose then? What would you choose if you do not know anything about the brands and names? It is difficult, I know.  People are very much affected what VIP’s or very rich think and wear –  that is “used to be” generally cool. Make your own decisions! Use your own head, otherwise you are a cheap and easy channel for business-branches, who uses you. I promise you, once you’ll find this confidence in you, your life is a thousand times more happy and successful!

_______________________________________
*In microeconomics, the snob effect is a phenomenon referring to the situation where the demand for a certain good by individuals of a higher income level is inversely related to the demand for the good by individuals of a lower income level. The “snob effect” contrasts most other microeconomic models, in that the demand curve can have a positive slope, rather than the typical negatively sloped demand curve of normal goods.

This situation is derived by the desire to own unusual, expensive or unique goods. These goods usually have a high economic value, but low practical value. The less of an item available, the higher its snob value. Examples of such items with general snob value are rare works of art, designer clothing, and sports cars.

In all these cases, one can debate whether they meet the snob value criterion, which in itself may vary from person to person. A person may reasonably claim to purchase a designer garment because of a certain threading technique, longevity, and fabric. While this is true in some cases, the desired effect can often be achieved by purchasing a less-expensive version from a reputable brand. Often these high-end items end up as closeout items in discount stores or online retailers where they may be offered at deep discounts from original price, bringing into question the true value of the product. Ultimately, wealthy consumers can be lured by superficial factors such as rarity, celebrity representation and brand prestige.

Collectors within a specific field can suffer from snob effect, searching for the rarest and often most expensive collectibles. Such examples are classic automobiles, stamps and coins.

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How to make easy money on your work commute with Wrapify

Our radio producer Joel has turned his commute into cash with the Wrapify app! Wrapify is a company that pays you to wrap your car in advertising for their clients.

Make money while you drive with Wrapify

The Wrapify app matches you to ad campaigns based on your driving patterns. Joel explained the steps:

Watch the video

  1. Download the Wrapify app and set up your account
  2. Wrapify will track your driving for a period of time
  3. They will let you know if you are eligible for a campaign — it may take a few weeks for them to determine your campaign
  4. They’ll set you up with an appointment to get the ad placed on your car — you’ll have to leave it at a body shop for a day while it’s applied
  5. You pick up your car and drive your normal routes — you can track how much cash you’re making in the app

It may be slightly inconvenient to leave your car all day to get wrapped, but Wrapify will reimburse you for a Lyft or Uber to and back from the facility.

Another thing you’ll want to keep in mind: You’ll have to be connected to your car via Bluetooth for them to track your driving. If you don’t have this capability, you may not be eligible.

If you try this, let us know how it works out for you!

More Clark.com stories you may like: 
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Here’s How Much Money World Cup 2018 Players Make

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar… you may know the names of soccer’s biggest stars, but do you know how much they’re getting paid to play in the 2018 World Cup?

As is typical with FIFA, the answer is complicated.

The international football federation is set to award $ 400 million total to the 32 teams competing for glory at the World Cup over the next month in Russia, according to the Associated Press. By the end of the tournament on July 15, one champion will take home a whopping prize of $ 38 million. The second and third-place teams will receive still-impressive checks for $ 28 million and $ 24 million, respectively.

Non-Equal Pay

Those are impressive figures, but the players aren’t necessarily splitting the prize pots evenly. As USA Today reported back in 2014, awards are given to winning teams’ national federations, which are then allowed to decide how to pay athletes at their discretion. That means the payoff for playing in the World Cup varies by country.

The German Football Association, for example, said in December that each of its players will get a bonus of €350,000, or about $ 400,000, if they win this summer’s World Cup. The sums are staggered depending on how far the team makes it in the competition. If they get to the semi-finals, each player will pocket €125,000 ($ 145,000); if they only survive to the quarter finals, each player will get €75,000 ($ 87,000). There is no bonus for only making it past the first round.

The breakdown is different in Brazil, where each person will get €800,000, or roughly $ 930,000, if they emerge victorious from the World Cup, according to Reuters.

Spain’s players are in the best position. If their team wins the title, each athlete will get €825,000 — the equivalent of more than $ 950,000.

You can definitely consider the bonuses a score: These payments come on top of the players’ regular-season professional salaries, which in Ronaldo’s case exceeds $ 60 million a year, according to Forbes. Each team also gets $ 1.5 million before the World Cup so they can prepare for the contest.

Pay Problems

But the money can cause drama. In 2014, disagreements over pay posed problems for a handful of African countries. Cameroon’s team initially refused to board their flight to the World Cup four years ago because players believed their £61,000 bonuses were too low. The Nigerian squad boycotted a training session because they were afraid they wouldn’t get paid. Ghana threatened to skip a game unless they got paid ahead of time in cash — a stunt that forced the government to put $ 3 million on a plane to Brazil.

This time around, neither Ghana nor Cameroon are in the World Cup. But FIFA did give Nigeria and four other nations $ 2 million advances so they could get any money disputes out of the way before the competition actually began.

Winning the World Cup isn’t all about money. German Football Association President Reinhard Grindel told reporters last year that though the financial bonuses were admittedly attractive, “the sporting challenge is the main focus and not the economic aspect.”

Then again, try telling that to Sepp Blatter, the former FIFA president who was accused of skirting the law after he gave himself a $ 12 million bonus for the 2014 World Cup.

Sports – TIME

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Money Mondays: Get Out Of Debt Now

CONSUMER DEBT IS ON YOUR MIND. WHY?

While we have been paying a lot of attention to the good economic news in recent months – low unemployment, the continued bull market, lower taxes – we have also seen consumer debt growing at a rapid clip. According to a recent report by Lending Tree, the total tab for consumer debt in the US is on track to reach a record $ 4 trillion by the end of this year.

The report, which analyzed data from the Federal Reserve on non-mortgage debts found that Americans owe more than 26 percent of their annual income to this debt, up from 22 percent in 2010 and higher than the levels we saw during the mid-2000s when credit was easily available. This rise in borrowing could put some American families on the path to financial trouble.

WHY IS DEBT SUCH A BAD THING?

Debt in and of itself is not a bad thing. Debt can be a tool that we use to accomplish goals buying a house. There are two important distinctions to make. First, the type of debt matters. Money owed on a mortgage is much better than money owed on a high interest credit card. Second, the ratio of debt or credit to income is key. Non-mortgage debt that exceeds 20% of your take-home pay is generally a cause for concern.

 WHAT TYPES OF CONSUMER DEBT ARE YOU MOST CONCERNED ABOUT AT THE MOMENT?

Auto lending trends show signs of future trouble, Tom. First, car buyers are borrowing larger amounts of money for longer periods. Last month the average monthly car payment hit a record high and the average length of an auto loan stretched to 69 months – nearly six years! This is one of the drivers of a higher ratio of non-mortgage debt to income levels the LendingTree report found.

On top of this, the subprime auto loans continue to be a problem for many Americans. While we have seen a reduction in lending to subprime borrowers, defaults on subprime auto loans at the highest rate since 1996, even exceeding that during the financial crisis according to a Bloomberg report. The delinquency rate for subprime auto loans more than 60 days past due reached 5.8%, according to Fitch’s data for March, its most recent data available.

Credit card debt is also something we need to watch. As lenders have made access to credit easier as the economy has recovered, we have seen credit card debt grow. The year-over-year loan growth rate for credit cards in Q1 of 2018 reached 6.7 percent, higher than the 5.3 percent for auto loans and 3.6 percent for residential mortgages.

Along with the rise in credit card debt, we have seen the number of late payments rise in the past few years. Because interest rates are on the rise, that means that borrowing will cost you more money and if you fall behind on your payments it will be harder to get caught up.

These two types of debt could cause consumers real pain if current trends continue.

WHAT STEPS SHOULD WE TAKE TO AVOID GETTING IN HOT WATER?

The easiest way to avoid problematic debt is to create a budget and stick with it. The most important part is to know where each dollar goes, because then you can prioritize spending and manage your expenses. If you already have debt that you want to tackle, start by taking a comprehensive look at all of your finances, and tally up your debts.

Next, rank them in order from the highest interest rate to the lowest. Once you have done that, put the most toward your highest interest-rate debt, since that debt is costing you the most in interest. If you are having trouble finding extra money to pay down your debt, turn to your budget. Look for areas to cut back. If you take a short-term drop in your wants – that new car or the latest iPhone – it will pay off financially.

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This Discount Attractions Pass Could Save You Money on Your Next Vacation


Everybody loves a good travel deal.

Some bargains are obvious, like comparing airline ticket prices to see which is lowest.

Other deals take a little investigating to figure out whether they’re a bargain.

Discount travel package company CityPASS bundles admission fees to several popular tourist attractions in a city for a single, lower price.

The passes are currently available in 13 North American cities:

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Boston, Massachusetts  
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Houston, Texas
  • New York, New York
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • San Francisco, California
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Southern California
  • Tampa, Florida
  • Toronto, Canada

Travelers purchase a CityPASS filled with admission vouchers to each attraction. Simply show the pass at the attraction’s entrance for admittance.

CityPASSes are valid for nine consecutive days (14 days in California) beginning with the first day of use and don’t expire for at least one year from the date of purchase.

But are CityPASSes a bargain, or is it cheaper to buy tickets to attractions individually?

We crunched some numbers to find out.

Note: All prices are current as of April 2018 but are subject to change.

What You Get With a CityPASS

Empire State Building is pictured against a pretty sky.
The New York City CityPASS will get you into the Empire State building and several other destinations. ventdusud/Getty Images

Each destination’s booklet contains admission tickets to some of the most popular tourist attractions in the area. In some cities, you can choose one attraction over another to suit your taste.               

For instance, the New York City CityPASS includes tickets to:

  • The Empire State Building
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • The American Museum of Natural History

You can also choose tickets for:

  • The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island or Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises
  • The 9/11 Memorial & Museum or the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
  • The Top of the Rock Observation Deck or the Guggenheim Museum

No matter which combination of admission tickets you choose, at the end of your trip you’ll have visited six popular New York City attractions for a single price.

Does CityPASS Save You Money?

To decide whether a CityPASS is a good value, you need to compare it to the cost of buying individual attraction tickets.

Here are comparisons for three CityPASS destinations, rounded to the nearest dollar.

Chicago

Adler Planetarium is one of seven attractions available on The Chicago CityPASS. benkrut/Getty Images

A Chicago CityPASS includes admission to five of these seven attractions:

  • Shedd Aquarium Priority Entry (Including 4D Experience): $ 45 (adults) and $ 35 (children)
  • Skydeck Chicago Fast Pass: $ 49 (ages 3+)
  • The Field Museum All-Access Entry: $ 38 (adults) and $ 27 (children)
  • Museum of Science and Industry: $ 20 (adults) and $ 11 (children) when purchased online
    • Or 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck Express Entry: $ 44 (adult & child)
  • Adler Planetarium Anytime All Access Pass:  $ 35 (adults) and $ 30 (children)
    • Art Institute of Chicago Fast Pass $ 35 (adults) and $ 29 (ages 14-17). (Younger Children Are Free.)

Total ticket price for admission to Shedd Aquarium, Skydeck Chicago, The Field Museum,       Museum of Science and Industry and Adler Planetarium:

  • Adult: $ 187
  • Child: $ 152

Total ticket price for admission to Shedd Aquarium, Skydeck Chicago, The Field Museum,         360 CHICAGO Observation Deck and Art Institute of Chicago:

  • Adult: $ 211
  • Child: $ 184

Total price of a Chicago CityPASS:

  • Adult: $ 106
  • Child (3-11): $ 89

Southern California

The Southern California CityPASS includes admission to Disneyland. FrozenShutter/Getty Images

A Southern California CityPASS includes admission to these three attractions:

  • Disneyland & Disney California Adventure 3-day park hopper with Magic Morning: $ 330 (adults) and $ 314 (children)
  • SeaWorld San Diego: $ 70 (3+)
  • LEGOLAND California: Starts at $ 95 (adults) and $ 89 (children) when purchased online

Total ticket price for admission to Disneyland & Disney California Adventure, SeaWorld San Diego and LEGOLAND California:

  • Adult: $ 495
  • Child: $ 473

Total price of a Southern California CityPASS:

  • Adult: $ 367
  • Child (3-9): $ 337

Tampa

A woman explores the Florida Aquarium
Tampa CityPASS holders can visit the Florida Aquarium and four additional attractions. Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

A Tampa CityPASS includes admission to five of these six attractions:

  • Busch Gardens: $ 90 (ages 3 and older)
  • Florida Aquarium: $ 29 (adults) and $ 24 (children)
  • ZooTampa at Lowry Park: $ 35 (adults) and $ 26 (children)
  • Clearwater Marine Aquarium: $ 23 (adults) and $ 18 (children)
  • Museum of Science and Industry: $ 13 (adults) and $ 8 (children) OR
    • Chihuly Collection: $ 20 (adults) and $ 13 (children)

Total ticket price for admission to Busch Gardens, Florida Aquarium, ZooTampa at Lowry Park, Clearwater Aquarium and Museum of Science and Industry:

  • Adult: $ 190
  • Child: $ 166

Total ticket price for admission to Busch Gardens, Florida Aquarium, ZooTampa at Lowry Park, Clearwater Aquarium and Chihuly Collection:

  • Adult: $ 197
  • Child: $ 171

Total price of a Tampa CityPASS:

  • Adult: $ 107
  • Child (3-9): $ 97

The Pros and Cons of CityPASS

In every instance, CityPASS provided a better value than purchasing each ticket individually.

However, there are other things to consider about CityPASSes than just whether they cost less than buying individual attraction tickets. Here are some pros and cons to keep in mind.

Pros:

There are definitely some upsides to buying a CityPASS.

  • Fixed costs help you stay within your budget.
  • A CityPASS allows you to skip the lines at many attractions.
  • Planning is easier because you already know what you’ll see and do on your trip.
  • A CityPASS is good for several days, giving you the freedom to change plans on the fly.
  • There’s only one ticket booklet to keep track of instead of several loose individual tickets.

Cons:

But there are also some downsides to buying a CityPASS.

  • Once you buy a CityPASS, you’ll waste money if you don’t visit the attractions as planned.
  • You may miss opportunities to spend time at other tourist draws, including free attractions like beaches or parks.
  • You may rush from attraction to attraction to get the most value for your money.
  • CityPASSes are nontransferable, so you lose your money if your travel plans change.
  • Prearranged commitments to certain attractions may take the spontaneity and fun out of travel.

CityPASSes can be a great deal for travelers who know exactly what they want to do on their trip, but others may find that type of commitment stifling.

Whether CityPASS is a good value on your next trip depends on your destination and how many attractions you want to visit. To find out if it’s right for you, roll up your sleeves, pull out a calculator and get ready to do some math if you choose one of the locations where we haven’t crunched the numbers.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She enjoys telling readers about affordable ways to travel, so look her up on Twitter (@lisah) if you’ve got a tip to share.

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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Knowing This Secret About the ACT and SAT Can Save You Money and Stress


If you’ve taken the SAT or ACT before, you know the insta-anxiety induced by the essay portion that comes at the end of the test — and if you haven’t, you’re probably not looking forward to it.

But there’s good news for anyone who’s absolutely dreading test day for that very reason: It will probably be fine if you don’t even sign up for the essay portion, (which will save you money, too).

The Essay Portion of the SAT Doesn’t Really Matter

It’s true.

Most colleges and universities don’t care about your score on the essay portion of the SAT and ACT — or whether you’ve even taken that part of the test at all.

Last week, Yale University notified counselors who work with high school students that it will no longer require applicants to have completed the SAT or ACT essay sections.

Yale is the most recent university to make this decision.

Cornell and Columbia universities and the University of Pennsylvania also have said they will no longer rely on the essay portion of these standardized tests, either.

A few months ago, Harvard University announced the same decision, saying that while writing is still an incredibly important skill when it comes to considerations for college admissions, the SAT essay is a poor representation of an applicant’s mastery of the craft. The school will instead turn to an applicant’s admissions essay.

But it’s not just the Ivy Leaguers who don’t want to bother with your SAT or ACT essay score. The University of San Diego recently announced the same, and schools including the University of Florida and the University of Tennessee consider the essay portion of these tests optional.

The Princeton Review, which offers test prep, admissions advice and tutoring services, notes that “While over 70 percent of students taking the SAT and more than 50 percent taking the ACT opt in to the essay, not even 2 percent of colleges require an essay score.”

Save Money, Skip the Essay Portion of the SAT and ACT

The Princeton Review in June 2018 identified just 25 institutions that require scores from the essay portion of the SAT or ACT.

If your school of choice isn’t on that list, you’re probably safe to skip it.

And while you didn’t think the news could get any better than getting out of a 45- to 50-minute stretch of writing an essay by hand, the bonus is that you’ll actually save money, too.

For the 2018-2019 year, the fee to take the SAT with the essay portion is $ 64.50. The fee to take the SAT without the essay portion is $ 47.50.

The fee to take the ACT with the essay writing portion is $ 62.50, while the fee to take the ACT without the essay writing portion is $ 46.00. (If you’ve already signed up to take the ACT with the essay portion, you may be able to get a refund with a written request.)

Unfortunately, if your school of choice is on the list of schools that still require and care about a standardized test essay score, you’ll still want to sign up to take the essay portion of those tests.

Grace Schweizer is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Penny Hoarder

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7 Money Tips to Slay Your Dream Summer Vacation

Summer is right around the corner, making this a prime time for travel adventures. According to WalletHub, 49% of Americans say they need a vacation more this year than last year, and 56% actually plan on acting on the urge. Whether it’s a simple state-to-state road trip or an international voyage, taking the time to get a bit of relax-relate-release from all the pressures of life is essential for one’s mental health and can strengthen family and friendship bonds.

Anyone who travels knows navigating the trip financially can be a bit challenging without proper research and planning. WalletHub reveals telling facts about this year’s travelers and a few insights into how to circumvent the worries and get to the fun.

7 Money Tips to Slay Your Dream Summer Vacation

  • Americans spend more than $ 245 billion on international travel each year. According to WalletHub, several banks and card issuers offer incentives including travel rewards or cut foreign transaction fees altogether. Some also offer services like insurance for lost luggage, free overnight replacement cards, and courtesy worldwide acceptance. (Check out this list on the most popular credit cards on the market that are travel-friendly for international treks.)

 

  • 47% percent of travelers worry about money, yet 35% of people think travel is worth getting into debt forExperts say planning makes perfect. Instead of going into debt, try creating a savings plan that you work throughout the year and make realistic goals for a vacation budget. Get realistic about what type of trip you can afford and try cost-saving sites like Groupon.

 

  • Search out cards that offer points for the essential purchases you make daily and you might have enough for that 2019 trek through Europe without spending a dime.

 

  • 40% of travelers have used credit card rewards to pay for at least part of a vacation. 

 

  • 50% of travelers worry about a weather issue, 45% about travel delays, 38% about theft and 33% about illness but the good news is that 70% of card issuers offer financial assistance for travel emergencies. Contact your bank or card issuer to find out your options before your trip or check out this list.

 

  • 40% of Americans think about post-vacation credit card bills while on vacay. Why struggle with future worries instead of enjoying the moment? Setting up automatic withdrawals and sticking to a true budget will help with the issue of being overwhelmed when it’s time to return to business as usual. Experts also recommend paying some bills before you leave so that you can put your mind at ease when it’s time to face upcoming ones.

The post 7 Money Tips to Slay Your Dream Summer Vacation appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Money | Black Enterprise

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17 self-care tips for moms who have no freaking time or money

by

Maggie Downs

posted in Life

Self care is the buzzword du jour, I guess.

After I gave birth, everybody talked about it, including the doctor, my friends, my mom’s group, and a random person in the drugstore aisle. And while they meant well, I always wondered how?

How can you possibly care for yourself when time is in short supply, money is tight, and all your energy is given to the tiny human who depends on it?

Selfie of mom with sleeping baby

I do think it’s true that moms – and new moms especially – require a solid dose of self-care as a necessary part of caring for others.

But putting on the oxygen mask first before you care for others feels counterintuitive as a new mom. Moms routinely eat cold food as they feed their own children first, abstain from sleep to tend to another, and do without the resources they need in order to provide for the babies. It doesn’t surprise me that women report higher rates of extreme stress than men.

Whenever my well-intentioned acquaintances offered suggestions of self-care, like, “You should treat yourself to a pedicure!” I couldn’t help but laugh like a maniac. Yeah, I know my needs should come first, but who will take the baby? How will I pay for it? Is it worth the guilt I’ll feel for spending resources like time, energy, and cash on myself?

 

Woman swinging and sun shining by her crotch

There has to be a better way to self-care.

After 2.5 years of mothering, I think I’ve finally realized I needed to change my own definition of what it means to treat myself. Self-care doesn’t have to be a costly day at the spa. It doesn’t have to involve spending money. And it doesn’t always mean spending a large chunk of time away from the family.

It’s anything that returns your focus to you. It’s making room for at least one happiness in a day of chaos and poopy diapers. It’s recognizing that you and your health needs are essential.

And then it’s integrating this into your daily routine.

As the writer and activist Audre Lorde said, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation.”

Here are some suggestions for doing just that:

• Cross something off your to-do list.

• Play your favorite song and have a five-minute dance party with your child.

• Unplug from electronics for an amount of time, whether it’s a half-hour or an afternoon. Put the phone on vibrate. Don’t answer email. Turn off the news.

• Plan some healthy snacks ahead of time. Cut up veggies or fruit, make bean dip, freeze homemade juice popsicles, have a smoothie ready to go.

• Light a candle.

• Put flowers on the table.

• If your child is doing something crafty, join in. It’s fun to draw, scribble, paint, or get your hands in clay.

Paint palette with dirty brushes

• Cuddle an animal.

• Look at beautiful things, whether that means window shopping or an art museum.

• Use your old coffee grounds to make a bath scrub that feels decadent but costs almost nothing.

• Get some fresh air. (During my son’s naps, I often brought the baby monitor outside while I sat on the front steps. Just having a few minutes of air and sunshine made my entire day better.)

• Take a walk.

• Do something nice for someone else.

• Play on the playground. (My non-scientific opinion: Swings are the best.)

• Drink an extra glass of water.

• Stretch. Find some good videos on YouTube.

• Go to bed early.

How do you care for yourself?

Images by Maggie Downs, and Unsplash and iStock

This post was originally published in March, 2017.

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14 Flexible Side Gigs to Help You Make More Money in the Windy City


So you live in one of the largest cities in the country… the Windy City.

The good news is it’s not New York City or Los Angeles. The bad news is it’s still expensive.

The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Chicago is $ 1,590, according to Zillow data. And the average income of those who rent these one-bedrooms is about $ 33,452 a year. Factor in utilities and that means 62% of your income is going toward housing, according to a Penny Hoarder analysis of Census microdata.

Then consider food, another necessity. You’re spending an extra two pennies for every dollar you’d spend in other U.S. cities, according to regional price data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Those pennies add up!

How to Make Extra Money in Chicago

If you need a little income boost, don’t be down. There are tons of flexible side jobs available in Chicago.

1. Play Professional Line Sitter

people standing in line
TommL/Getty Images

You’ve got the big tourist attractions: the Willis Tower Skydeck and 360 Chicago. Then there are the lines that form for novelty foods, including Garrett Popcorn Shops and the Nutella Cafe.

You’ll also find lines outside The Chicago Theatre and Second City — even outside the museums.

This is your money-making opportunity, Chicago locals. Step up your game and become a professional line sitter.

Back in 2016 we interviewed Robert Samuel, a professional line sitter who says he charges $ 25 for the first hour in line and $ 10 for each subsequent hour. He’s even started a New York City-based business with line sitters who’ve stood in line for “Hamilton” tickets, cronuts and the latest iPhone releases.

If you’re not sure where to start in Chicago, Samuel recommends offering your services on Craigslist or TaskRabbit.

2. List Your Extra Room for Rent (Especially During Lollapalooza)

airbnb listing in chicago
Photo courtesy of Airbnb

Have a spare room? Might as well try to earn some money by listing it on Airbnb.

If you’re a good host with a desirable space, you could add hundreds, even thousands, of dollars to your savings account with Airbnb.

And there’s no reason you can’t be creative. We found someone listing a train car over in Plano, Illinois!

A few simple steps can make the difference between a great experience and a less-than-satisfactory one.

Here are some tips:

  • Make your space available during high-demand times in your area. Think: concerts, festivals (ahem, Lolla), conventions and sporting events. Chicago has plenty of those!
  • Be a good host, and stock your place with the toiletries you’d expect at a hotel — toilet paper, soap and towels.
  • Be personable. A lot of travelers turn to Airbnb for the personal touch they won’t find at commercial properties.

Here’s the link to sign up as an Airbnb host.

(Hosting laws vary from city to city. Please understand the rules and regulations applicable to your city and listing.)

3. Find a Part-Time Work-From-Home Job

hands typing on a laptop
Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

If you already have a full-time job, finding something on the side that’s relatively flexible can be challenging — especially if you don’t want to go into an office.

A part-time work-from-home job could be the perfect solution.

Start by searching ZipRecruiter. When you click here to search, ZipRecruiter sends you to a list of geo-tailored, work-from-home job openings. (Because, yes, even some work-from-home jobs have location restrictions.)

Peruse the work-from-home opportunities available in Chicago.

4. Drive Tourists to the Nearest Giordano’s

Alexa Vincent navigates her mobile apps, including
Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

If you’re looking for a way to earn extra money while choosing  your own schedule, driving with Lyft could be the perfect solution.

When you sign up to become a Lyft driver, you’ll get to drive (and make money) whenever you want.

To be eligible, you’ll need to be at least 21 years old with a year of driving experience, pass a background check, and own a car made in 2007 or later.

Check out how former Chicago news anchor Anthony Ponce quit his job to drive with Lyft (and started a podcast).

5. Rent out Your Car When You Take the “L” to Work

Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

Want to make money with your car, but not keen on playing taxi? Let folks rent your car when you’re not using it.

OK, that sounds a little scary, but it doesn’t have to be.

With the Getaround app, you can safely rent out your car to people in your community and neighborhood. The company insures your car for each trip, offers 24/7 roadside assistance and screens drivers for a safe driving record.

Getaround says users can make up to $ 10,000 a year. That’ll probably cover your car payments!

Learn more about Getaround — so you can “Getaround” having to work overtime each week.

6. Get Paid to Drink Beer

Neil Callaghan, an advanced level cicerone, currently working at Cigar City Brewing
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

Chicago: We see you with all your breweries.

If you enjoy hoppin’ around town and trying out what’s on tap, consider becoming a “Secret Hopper.” It’s like secret shopping — but for breweries.

The company is looking for detail-oriented beer-drinkers to hop around to different breweries and objectively rate and review their experiences. Penny Hoarder writer Tyler Omoth gave the gig a try. He spent $ 16 on his visit to a local brewery. Secret Hopper paid him $ 20 via PayPal within a few days.

So, no, you’re not going to get rich, but you will get free beer, and that makes us hoppy.

All you have to do is sign up, then Secret Hopper contacts you when you’re needed.

7. Set Your Own Hours When You Start Your Own Business

Amanda Meisner runs errands in downtown Chicago
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

Have you ever considered starting your own business? You could just set your own hours — and not answer to anyone else.

If you’re not sure where to start, we found an online course that’ll guide you through the process.

If you’re interested in becoming a work-from-home bookkeeper, try Bookkeeper Business Launch — no CPA required. You just need some decent computer skills and a passion for helping business owners.

Daniel Honan took the course, and within 10 weeks he’d launched his bookkeeping business for painters. The opportunity has allowed him to work from home and spend more time with his wife — without compromising his income.

If you’re interested, check out the free starter course.

8. Dig up Designer Shopping Bags and Sell Them

Photo of a young woman shopping in the city while checking her mobile phone and smiling.
Csondy/Getty Images

OK, this isn’t going to be the cleanest suggestion on our list, but we couldn’t not include it with The Magnificent Mile running through the heart of Chicago — you know, the strip that contains all those designer chains.

So when a visitor has just spent their entire savings on a new designer purse, for example, it’s your opportunity to profit. Before they leave town, they probably toss the shopping bag or box it came in, right?

Well, in 2016, the New York Post reported that a black Chanel box (yes — empty and dug up from a dumpster) could sell for $ 40. A store’s signature purse dust cover could reap $ 150 or more.

Crazy, right? Well, it’ll take a little digging… in the trash.

9. Grab a Gig at Wrigley Field

Wrigley Field on Fathers Day
jleathers/Getty Images

If you’re looking for hourly gigs, sign up for Shiftgig. Headquartered in Chicago, the platform connects workers to gigs in a number of industries, including food service, hospitality, retail and customer service.

“We are always working with some of the biggest venues in town,” Mike Flickinger, the general manager of Shiftgig’s Chicago office, said in a 2016 interview. “We have had a significant presence working with partners at major sporting events, like the White Sox, Cubs and Bears stadiums.”

Interested? Read about one Penny Hoarder’s experience using the platform.

10. Do the Cupid Shuffle

Photo of a lovely couple during the dinner party with friends, in an outdoors bistro
AleksandarNakic/Getty Images

When you think of a matchmaker, you might think of a cartoon cupid character or even some type of genie in a bottle. The notion seems unreal — that someone could actually set you up with your soulmate. And, no, we’re not talking about Tinder.

Tawkify employs a team of matchmakers across the U.S. (Chicago makes the list!) to match hopeless romantics — and it’s always looking for new members to join.

You don’t necessarily need a background in matchmaking. Team members have included lawyers, life coaches, entrepreneurs, teachers and even writers. Some matchmakers have made up to $ 50,000 a year working part time.

11. Break out the Snow Shovel

Snow storm and snow shovel in suburban Chicago, Illinois
tacojim/Getty Images

We can’t complete this list without mentioning the obvious.

So it’s winter. It’s snowing, and you’re stuck inside. But you can make some extra money by downloading an app called Shovler.

It works like Uber but, um, for shoveling snow. Basically, folks who are in need of a shoveling will post a request. Whenever you have free time to work, just accept a job.

Daniel Miller, the app’s CEO, told The Penny Hoarder via email that Chicago is one of it’s biggest markets.

He also shared with us that shovelers have made up to $ 200 a gig. Really, it depends on the size of the property and the intensity of the storm.

“We also have generous tippers, some tipping as much as 50% of the job value,” Miller says.

Not snow bad, right?

12. Deliver Chicago Hot Dogs

Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

Ahhh, the sweet smell of takeout stinking up your car.

OK, it might not be the most appealing thing in the world — you might want to crack a few windows, depending on the type of cuisine you’re delivering — but Uber Eats offers flexible food-delivery opportunities.

Drivers are paid a pick-up fee, for the distance traveled and a drop-off fee. Uber takes a service fee. Delivery partners can cash out up to five times a day with instant pay.

Requirements may vary by location. Here are the basics…

  • Be at least 19 years old if delivering by car.
  • Deliver via car (must be a 1997 or newer with at least two doors), bike, scooter or foot depending on your area.
  • Pass a background check.
  • Have a valid driver’s license and insurance (if you deliver by car or scooter).

13. Sell Your iPhone Photos

woman taking photographs with her mobile phone in the hall of the Union train station in Chicago, Illinois.
Boogich/Getty Images

Chicago is a captivating city, so we don’t blame you if you’re constantly snapping photos around town — even as a local.

No longer is this pointless, though. (Or just for Instagram.) You can sell your iPhone photos through an app called Foap.

It’s super easy to use: Download the app, and upload your photos. When someone wants to purchase your photo, you’ll get 50% of the profit. (Foap gets the other 50%.)

Say someone buys one of your photos for $ 10. You pocket $ 5. If the photo sells 20 times, for example, you could end up with $ 100.

It only takes about five minutes to upload a photo. If you want all the details, we’ve put together a Foap rundown.

14. Beef up Your Acting Skills

Hospital Doctor With Digital Tablet Talks To Male Patient
monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images

If you have experience in acting, sign up to play a standardized patient.

The University of Illinois College of Medicine is typically looking for standardized patients, or SPs. These are actors who play the role of a patient or family member so medical students can practice their bedside manner.

The University of Chicago outlines everything you need to know on its application page.

Other facilities hire SPs in Chicago periodically, too. For example, at the time we wrote this article the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners had open part-time SP positions. The site said pay starts at $ 18 an hour. For more information, check out its employment page.

You can always search SP positions on Indeed, too.

Heck, playing an SP might be your big break. Next thing you know, you’re featured on “Chicago Med” or “Chicago P.D.”

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She visited Chicago last year and could totally see herself living there — at least until the first snowstorm of the season. Then she’d move back to Florida.

Penny Hoarder data journalist Alex Mahadevan contributed to this article.

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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A pair of mysterious pop-up super PACs, one with Republican roots and another tied to Democrats, spent more than $ 3 million in hopes of swaying West Virginia’s GOP Senate primary while keeping their donor lists hidden from voters until after the election.


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Turning 21? Here’s How to Manage Your Money Like a Real Adult


Turning 21 is a pretty big milestone.

Aside from the ability to legally drink alcohol and all the responsibility that comes with that, your 21st birthday serves as the final stepping stone into adulthood and all the responsibilities that come with that.

I mean, sure, for some people, 21 is liberating — the beginning of the rest of their lives.

But for others, 21 simply means financial independence.

And while it’s all rosé-colored glasses for the first few months, you quickly realize just how much a good bottle of your favorite Cab Sav costs and that things like, oh, y’know, cooling and heating your living space to temperatures that don’t make you want to tear your skin off or burrow into the earth, respectively, means dropping the big bucks.

Yeah, there’s a reason that internet joke about dads and thermostats makes the rounds, and I’m betting you can finally relate.

Add in student loan payments that are about to kick in, heading into your first adult job and your parents letting you know you’re on your own for car insurance, and it’s enough to make your head spin more than it did the night you went out to celebrate your first night as a legal consumer of alcohol.

Yikes.

If you’re freshly 21 — or getting close to it — we’ve got some tips and tricks for making, saving and managing your money so you don’t end up blowing this whole adulthood thing on your first try.

Financial Tips and Tricks Every 21-Year-Old Should Know

Whether you’re worried about budgets, bills or booze money, here are some things a 21-year-old should know about managing money.

1. Make a Little Wiggle Room in Your Bar Budget

hand holding glass of beer on table
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

Look, I understand. You’re finally legal. You’re ready to hit the very bars that have been turning you away for years. (Just remember to drink like a responsible adult!)

But if you’re not careful, it’s easy to blow your entire beer budget in one weekend — after which you’ll be stuck drinking $ 3 wine at home by yourself while your coworkers hit up happy hour.

Luckily, there’s a way to earn cash back on alcohol.

Yeah, seriously.

Ibotta is an easy-to-use cash-back app that’s partnered with more than 50 retailers offering deals on many of your favorite brands.

The app features both liquor store deals and cash back on drinks from any restaurant or bar.

We’ve seen deals like $ 5 back on 750-milliliter or 1-liter bottles of Absolut vodka, $ 3 back on any pitcher or bucket of Budweiser or Bud Light and $ 3 back on any mixed drink or cocktail featuring 1800 Tequila.

Those are some pretty sweet deals.

2. Know Your Credit Score

credit score on chalkboard
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

If you’re just starting out in the adult world, you’ll quickly learn your credit score is the key that opens nearly every door. (Sometimes frustrating, but true.)

Want to rent an apartment? They’re going to check your credit.

Ready to buy a car? Credit check.

Need to refinance your student loan? They’ll be checking. That. Credit.

The first step to having a good (or great!) credit score is knowing what you’re dealing with.

Your credit report will give you this information.

You can get your credit score and “credit report card” for free from Credit Sesame. The website breaks down exactly what’s on your credit report in layman’s terms, how it affects your score and how you might address it.

Jerry Morgan was able to increase his credit score 120 points after signing up with Credit Sesame, thanks to the platform’s suggestions and resources.

He’s also learned a lot about what elements go into a credit score and how to keep his score as high and healthy as possible.

If there’s one thing you learned at college, it’s to never pass up free stuff, right?

3. Cut Your Debt Interest Rates

Credit card being cut with scissors
Elenathewise/Getty Images

Like so many other young people these days, if you grew up in a home where debt wasn’t discussed, you probably weren’t aware of just how easily you could get sucked into the quicksand pit of credit card debt.

And you probably didn’t understand the impact it would have on your young life, either.

If you’re sitting on an account showing a few too many zeros (and not the positive kind), but find yourself unable to dig yourself out because of sky-high interest rates, it might be time to look into refinancing or consolidating your credit card debt.

A good resource is consumer financial technology platform Even Financial, which can help match you with the right refinancing loan to meet your needs.

Even searches the top online lenders to match you with a personalized loan offer in less than 60 seconds. Its platform can help you borrow up to $ 100,000 (no collateral needed) with fixed rates starting at 4.99% and terms from 24 to 84 months.

All it takes is three easy steps to know what kind of loan you qualify for.

4. Wow Your Friends by Becoming a Real Estate Investor

house for sale in st. petersburg
Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

Listen, it’s not every day a 21-year-old can say they invest in real estate.

But this one isn’t just for the street cred — it’s also a smart way to dip your toes into the world of real estate investing without handing over thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) of dollars.

Twenty-one-year-old Katie Smith, who recently graduated from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., had some money sitting in a regular, low-interest savings account.

She knew her money could be making more money and liked the idea of investing in real estate, she didn’t really have “buy a house” kind of money.

Then she heard about Fundrise.

You can start investing in real estate with a minimum investment of just $ 500, and Fundrise does all the heavy lifting for you.

Through the Fundrise Starter Portfolio, your money will be split into two portfolios that support private real estate around the United States.

This isn’t an obscure investment, though. You can see exactly which properties are included in your portfolios.

“I can go into my Fundrise account and see what I actually own,” Smith says. “I own a piece of an apartment complex in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Property on the West Coast. Bits and pi

5. Set Your 401(k) — and Yourself — up for Success

Kelsey Buxton walks through the downtown area of St Petersburg
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

If you’re just getting started with a real adult job (or will be soon), you’ve probably been hearing a lot of talk about 401(k)s.

If you have a 401(k), you’re on the right track.

Now, though, you need to make sure it’s doing the absolute most to get you ready for retirement.

We know: Understanding, managing and optimizing your 401(k) account takes up more time and brain-power than most of us are willing to commit.

When Kelsey Buxton opened her 401(k) account in November 2016, she had big plans to get the most out of it with some smart investing.

“But that’s a full-time job,” she says. “That’s what a financial adviser is for.”

Luckily, she found a robo-adviser for that. Blooom, an SEC-registered investment advisory firm, will optimize and monitor your 401(k) for you.

It gives you an initial 401(k) checkup for free, and you’ll get to know your account a little more intimately. Find out whether you’re paying too many hidden fees, have the appropriate amount invested in stocks versus bonds, that kind of fun stuff.

After that, the tool is $ 10 a month to use to continue to monitor your retirement account. Let Blooom know your target retirement age, and it can help you get there by investing more and less aggressively.

6. Save for a Rainy Day

Rainy Day Outdoor silhouette
Xesai/Getty Images

Remember all that adult responsibility we were talking about earlier? Yeah, that comes with a lot of surprise expenses.

From emergency vet visits or medical bills to pricy repairs when your car starts making that thudding noise one random morning, unplanned expenses crop up everywhere.

The adult thing to do? Save up an emergency fund to fall back on.

If you’ve tried (and failed) in the past to beef up your savings account, you’re probably wondering how this time will be any different.

Not to worry: Chime has your back.

Chime is an online-only bank account that offers some unique features other banks haven’t caught on to yet.

Along with not charging overdraft fees, monthly maintenance fees, foreign transaction fees or minimum balance fees, Chime gives you access to thousands of fee-free MoneyPass ATMs around the country and even has a “Pay Friends” feature, so you don’t have to mess with cash, math or other apps to split the bar tab.

But that’s not even the best part.

Chime also has this awesome feature called “the round-up tool,” which will round up your transactions to the nearest dollar and dump the change into savings.

Recently, Samuel Demeny switched from Wells Fargo to Chime to get away from those unnecessary fees and restrictive daily spending limits.

After opening his account, Demeny decided to try out Chime’s automatic savings tools. Within nine months, he managed to save up $ 800 — money that will help him with last-minute moving expenses when he and his boyfriend make the move from Texas to the Pacific Northwest.

7. Start Investing Like an Adult

Derek Mateo handles cash in Orlando Florida
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

As you venture further into adulthood, you’ll hear more and more people at more and more social functions talking about things like investing.

If you want to get ahead of the financial game (the small-talk-at-adult-dinner-parties potential is an added perk), try investing with Stash.

Stash lets you start investing with as little as $ 5 and for just a $ 1 monthly fee for balances under $ 5,000.

The app curates investments from professional fund managers and investors and lets you choose where to put your money — but it leaves the complicated investment terms out of it.

You just choose from a set of simple portfolios reflecting your beliefs, interests and goals.

Plus, right now, The Penny Hoarder is teaming up with Stash to fund your first investment — so you’ll get a $ 5 bonus to get started!

8. Stay on Top of Your Student Loans

Graduating class
LawrenceSawyer/Getty Images

If you recently graduated or will soon be graduating from college, you probably have student loans looming ominously on the horizon.

The best thing you could possibly do for yourself? Learn everything you can about paying them off, and make a plan to stay on top of them when repayment time hits you like a ton of bricks.

First, you’ll need to know your loans inside and out.

Then, set your student loan repayment journey up for success: Know what you owe, understand what “deferment” means, figure out how to lower your interest rate and learn how to make a little extra money so you can pay down your loans quicker.

And when you hit that point that we all hit — that “will this be the rest of my life?!” point — here’s a little inspiration that just might get you through it.

9. Let This Financial Assistant Negotiate Your Bills Down

man sitting at a desk by a window at home, paying bills.
kali9/Getty Images

Somebody’s gotta keep the Wi-Fi on.

I mean, how else would you Tweet your very valid opinions on the latest episode of “Drag Race” or post that fire selfie on Instagram? (You’ve got your priorities; no shame in that game.)

While you’ve probably heard you can call your cable company to negotiate your cable and internet prices down, if you’ve actually tried it, you know how long you can sit on hold.

That’s why it’s time to call in a robot. The personal finance bot Trim will negotiate your cable or internet bills down for you.

It works with Comcast, Time Warner, Charter and other major providers.

You can sign up simply with Facebook or your email address. Then, upload a PDF of your most recent bill, and Trim’s magic gets to work. If at first it doesn’t succeed, it’ll keep negotiating until it can save you some money.

Trim takes 25% of the savings tab, and you get the rest.

A robot that will work to save you money? That’s some of that “living in 3018” business.

10. Learn How to Budget

Margo Macys is the trusty mascot of a home office in Tampa Florida
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

A 21-year-old needs a budget — no ifs, ands or buts about it.

If you’re making money, paying bills and still hoping to have a little spending money to live that (sort of) carefree lifestyle of the young and untethered (you’ve got big plans to travel, right?!), you need to be allocating every dollar to, well, something.

Yeah, now that you’re 21, it’s time to create a budget for yourself.

It’s not as easy as just spitting out some guesstimates of what you spend (or want to be able to spend) on the daily, but it also doesn’t have to be a totally intimidating process. We’ve got some tips that will help you create a budget that works for you — meaning you’ll still be able to funnel some money into your travel fund.

The most basic budgeting rule is the 50/20/30 rule. It’s not a science, but it’s a great starting point that will help you understand how much of your paycheck you should allocate to different areas of your life.

Once you’ve got the basics down, follow these seven steps to creating a budget that fits into your life — not one you have to fit your life into.

eces of apartment complexes in Texas and Denver, a construction loan, a mixed-use property.”

11. See Whether You’re Paying Too Much for Car Insurance

General View of the city of Chicago
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

For most people, car insurance rates will begin to drop dramatically once you hit 25. But even at 21, you might be overpaying for car insurance and not even know it.

While there’s no way to completely avoid paying for car insurance if you own a car, one way you could save money is by shopping around and comparing rates at least once a year.

If you’re a smart shopper, you already compare prices, right? So just like you compare the prices of flights, shoes and laptops before purchasing, why not compare car insurance?

The Zebra, an online car insurance search engine that offers “insurance in black and white,” compares your options from 204 providers in just a few minutes.

Artie Januario was paying $ 95 a month for car insurance, and because one of his best friends was his insurance agent, Januario didn’t question it. (Question everything, guys.)

After a cross-country move from Boston to Austin, Texas, he decided to try out The Zebra’s services. Within half an hour of starting his search, Januario had new insurance, and his monthly payment was just $ 65 — a pretty big deal, because car insurance rates in Texas are generally higher than those in Massachusetts, where he’d been living before.

A Real Adult With Real Adult Finances

Yeah, that’s you — the real adult.

And whether your plans involve grad school, a life of travel and adventure, or getting a jumpstart on your career goals, you’ll need to keep a close eye on your finances to ensure they’re going to get you where you want to go.

In the meantime, though, feel free to pop a few bottles to celebrate the last birthday people will actually get excited about.  

Grace Schweizer is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Real Money and Real Opportunity: The Impact of the Cryptocurrency Gender Gap

If you have been treating Bitcoin, cryptocurrency and block chain as background noise, it may be time to pay attention. This new form of financing is changing the way everyone lives, works, plays and donates—and a gender gap has already formed in who is benefitting from its rise.

2015’s Coinbase study showed that 90 percent of investors in Cryptocurrency were men. Forbes reported, for the first time ever, the richest people in cryptocurrency in February—a list that included 20 men and no women with at least $ 350 million in net worth. Coin Dance, which tracked Bitcoin Community Engagement by Gender, reported that engagement was 95 percent male as of this month. The upcoming BlockShow Europe 2018 in Berlin later this month, which boasts more than 3,000 participants, has 73 experts listed as speaking online; only 13 are women.

Still, notable innovative women are thriving in the cryptocurrency space. Tina Hui, CEO and founder at Follow The Coin and Brit Morin, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur in block chain, recently hosted a cryptocurrency event for 500 women attendees and live-streamed to another 16,000. A group in New York City called Women in Blockchain boasts more than 1,900 members. Coinreveiws listed 24 women in blockchain/crypto to follow in 2018. A 2017 survey by Myetherwaller showed that women make up 16 percent of traders on their site.

Women’s participation appears to be growing, but still a long way off from parity—and as possibilities in this realm grow, that means they’re missing out on myriad economic opportunities. The block chain backbone is changing the way we use global currency.

A new movie, “Lamborghini,” starring Antonio Banderas as car designer Ferruccio Lamborghini and Alec Baldwin as rival Enzo Ferrari for the first time will be financed by crypto currency. It will be co-produced through a blockchain based social entertainment platform that rewards viewers.

Two recent philanthropic gifts generated by cryptocurrency wealth also manifested into real cash. The Pineapple Fund, which plans to donate $ 86 million worth of Bitcoin, was launched by an anonymous donor who claims to be one of the 250 largest holders of the currency worldwide; a $ 1 million dollar gift was made to BitGive Foundation, which accepts donations in Bitcoin and uses block chain technology to trace transactions on a public platform in real time to show donors how funds are spent and ensure they reach their final destination. And the Chronicle of Philanthropy recently reported that a sole donor—Ripple, a cryptocurrency company—had fulfilled over 35,000 requests on DonorsChose, totaling $ 29 million in the cryptocurrency XRP, from teachers who needed money to cover expenses for their classrooms, marking the largest gift in the 18-year history of the platform with an impact that will be felt at one in six public schools nationwide.

Currency is the first application at the start of the economic transformation to disrupt how we use and manage ownership of assets, identity and much more—and gender diversity in cryptocurrency could result in more overall investments in causes affecting women and girls.

A more equitable cryptocurrency space and gender parity in block chain can drive solutions to  benefit women as part of the greatest wealth generator in the next decade. You can bet on it.

Cynthia Yung is Executive Director of The Boone Family Foundation and a Public Voices Fellow through The OpEd Project.

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The post Real Money and Real Opportunity: The Impact of the Cryptocurrency Gender Gap appeared first on Ms. Magazine Blog.

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6 Smart Ways Bookworks Can Pocket Extra Money (for More Books)


I’ve always loved books, even if I wasn’t the strongest reader.

I’d thumb through the Scholastic Book Club flyers and circle my most desired choices: “Britney Spears: The Story of Britney Spears” and the latest Magic Treehouse book. I’d buy big reference books from Sam’s Club because they were pretty, and I liked the weight of the pages.

This obsession became more intense after I was fitted with my first pair of glasses — and learned to actually read. I started making pricy trips to Barnes and Noble. I stockpiled books and magazines. I made long reading lists — lists I’ve not been able to conquer to this day.

My obsession continued in life, as I majored in English and became a full-time writer.

But this isn’t the only way I could have made — and can still make — money from my love for books and words.

6 Ways to Make Money From Your Love of Books

If you’re drowning in books, that totally makes my heart happy. It can make your bank account pretty darn happy, too.

Here are six ways you can get paid to read books:

1. Give Your Books a New Life

monels/Getty Images
monels/Getty Images

I have a closet full of stuff I just can’t part with. Luckily, this is my childhood room at my parents house and not in my 500-square-foot apartment. But I can tell you my mom would be very happy if I cleared these out.

Sites like Amazon and Letgo make selling your used books super simple.

Go ahead and let the internet know you’re a pack-rat book-lover and start watching those crusty pages regain life.

2. Hunt for Other People’s Used Books

encrier/Getty Images
encrier/Getty Images

This sounds weird, right? But The Penny Hoarder’s founder and CEO Kyle Taylor wrote about making money as a “used book hunter.”

Basically, his first step was to clean out the books in his house, then get a feel for the books’ going rates. Try using a site like Biblio to figure out a book’s value.

Once you get the hang of it, hit up garage sales, used book stores, flea markets — you name it. Find books on the cheap. Use your phone to look up what these books go for online. If the resale value is good, buy it.

Finding these gems is a thrill.

3. Become a Virtual English Teacher

SamuelBrownNG/Getty Images
SamuelBrownNG/Getty Images

If a classroom full of squealing kids isn’t your scene… we get it. You can still work as a teacher. Better yet: You work as a teacher, set your own hours and work from home.

Angela Brumbaugh is a QKids teacher. She teaches 36 half-hour sessions a week and makes up to $ 20 an hour.

“The students are hard-working, curious and light up the classroom with their smiles,” she says. “Class time actually goes by fast, and the only con I can see is sometimes I wish I had more time to spend with them!”

QKids is an online-learning platform that’s been around since 2015. It’s focused on teaching English as a second language to students between ages 5 and 12. Right now, it’s hiring.

Here are the basic qualifications:

  • You must be a native English speaker based in the U.S. or Canada.
  • You should have a bachelor’s degree or be currently enrolled in a university program.
  • You need to be available to teach a minimum of six hours a week. That’s 12 half-hour classes.
  • You must consider yourself digitally literate, have an outgoing personality and show passion in the classroom.
  • Prior teaching experience is preferred, but not required.

4. Publish Your Own Book

lechatnoir/GettyImages
lechatnoir/GettyImages

I’m not brave enough to do this yet, but it’s certainly on my bucket list: Write a book.

However, one of our contributors, Steve Gillman, took the leap. He wrote a book about ultralight backpacking. It only took him a few days (holy cow), and he had it published on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform.

Over time, Gillman’s banked up to $ 350 a month from the ebook in a very passive manner with no promotion. He outlined how to get started self-publishing on Kindle.

5. Get Paid to Catch Mistakes

lechatnoir/GettyImages
lechatnoir/GettyImages

Meet Caitlin Pyle, the “proofreading powerhouse” behind Proofread Anywhere, a blog she started in 2014. Pyle’s been proofreading transcripts for years, and she wanted other people to get in on the action.

She offers a free introductory workshop to help you get started. She estimates you can make about 35 cents per proofread page. If you can get through about 50 pages an hour, you can bank $ 17.50 an hour.

6. Share Your Opinions on the Books You’ve Read

Have you ever tried online book reviewing? Basically, you read a book, then you’ll get paid to write a review.

We rounded up some websites and publishers that’ll pay you to read and review books.

Bonus: Reading list dried up? Dive into our favorite books about investing.

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She was never a strong reader… until she was fitted with her first pair of glasses in second grade.

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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Money Mondays: Get Ahead Of The Game By Saving For College Early

YOU JOIN US TODAY TO DISCUSS A SURVEY ABOUT COLLEGE SAVINGS. WHAT DOES IT TELL US?

According to Sallie Mae’s 2018 report, How America Saves for College, parents are making progress when it comes to saving for their children’s college education. The report was based on a survey of more than 2,000 parents of children under 18 and found that the average amount saved is $ 18,135. That is 10% more than the $ 16,380 average in 2016 and is the highest level of savings the survey has found since 2013.

THIS IS GREAT NEWS! WHAT ELSE DID THE SURVEY FIND?

There were two additional positive findings in the survey. First, parents are getting more realistic about paying for college. Specifically, many parents are coming to believe that the cost of college shouldn’t fall only on them, especially as the costs rise. Respondents said they expect to cover about one-third of the total cost of their child’s college costs.

Additionally, close to 60 percent of parents said they expected their child to pay for part of their education, up from around 50 percent in 2016. As parents become more realistic about the costs of college and what they can contribute, I believe we can expect to see more of them planning and focusing on other resources, so that is good news.

On top of this, there was another excellent finding in the survey: Parents are shying away from mortgaging their future to pay for their child’s education. Just 10% of parents said they plan to tap their retirement savings for their child’s education, down from 20 percent in 2016. Let’s hope this the start of a trend, Tom. As I have said many times, there are loans for college, but not for retirement.

WERE THERE ANY AREAS OF CONCERN?

Absolutely. First, the cost of college continues to move higher. According to the College Board, the average private nonprofit college charged $ 46,950 for tuition, fees and room and board in the 2017-2018 academic year, it is expected to continue to climb. This means that even as parents are saving more, they are not necessarily making a dent in the overall shortfall.

On top of that, just 39% of respondents reported that they were planning and saving for their child’s college expenses while, 17% said they were saving but not planning, and 44% said they were not saving at all.

Finally, and of particular importance for our community, there continues to be a significant gap between Black and Hispanic parents and white parents when it comes to college savings. The survey found the average college savings for Black respondents was $ 10,702 this year, compared to $ 23,460 for white families. This is another way the persistent wealth gap between Black and white Americans impacts our children’s future.

IF WE ARE ALREADY SAVING FOR COLLEGE, OR WE WANT TO START, WHAT DO YOU RECOMMEND?

 The most important thing to do is keep saving, or if you haven’t already, to start saving. Once you do, then you want to concentrate on growing that money. The two most common vehicles to do this are 529 plans and Coverdell Education Savings Accounts. 529 plans are offered in various states and can be used for undergraduate or graduate studies.

In these plans, you’re typically given a menu of investment options to choose from. Keep in mind, 529 plans do come with some restrictions. Funds can be withdrawn tax-free only for qualified education expenses such as tuition, books, and room and board.

Coverdell Education Savings Accounts also allow your investments to grow tax-free, as long as they are used for qualified education expenses. But, money from Coverdell accounts can also be used for K-12 expenses, and you can choose your own investment options.

Coverdell accounts are limited to a maximum of $ 2,000 per year, while 529 plans generally have higher contribution limits. Remember, if funds from 529 plans or Coverdell accounts are not used for qualified education expenses, there can be both taxes and penalties.

Remember, you want to be clear on the goals and objectives for these accounts. Consult your financial advisor to determine which type of account makes the most sense for your situation.

Mellody Hobson is President of Ariel Investments, a Chicago-based money management firm that serves individual investors and retirement plans through its no-load mutual funds and separate accounts. Additionally, she is a regular financial contributor and analyst for CBS News.

 

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These 7 iPhone Apps Can Help You Take Control of Your Money


Sometimes we wonder how people managed their money way back when…

You had to put pen to paper to draw up a budget? You had to actually walk into a bank to get a loan? Or read a newspaper to keep tabs on your stocks?

And you couldn’t automatically save money; you had to intentionally deposit $ 50 into your savings each week?

Count us out.

OK, we’re being a bit flippant here, but in reality iPhones and their apps have made managing money incredibly simple.

“People are finding that the apps take away the pain and mystique of dealing with our finances and replace it with processes that are as easy as buying a shirt online or swiping right on Bumble,” Fast Future Publishing founder and CEO Rohit Talwar writes in an email.

The Best iPhone Apps for Money Management

If personal finances intimidate you, we get it. But financial apps can really help make managing money simple.

Talwar says these tools are breaking down the barriers of complicated financial jargon and are making it easier than ever for folks to make smart financial moves.

So, iPhone users, open the App Store and start downloading these recommended apps.

1. Credit Sesame: Keep an Eye on Your Credit Score

Jerry and Vivienne Morgan spend the morning showing off their beautiful home in New Port Richey.
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

It’s easy to push your credit score to the back of your mind.

After all, how do you even check it? What’s it really matter? But then you go to take out a mortgage, buy a car or apply for a rewards credit card… shoot.

Take care of your financial health by keeping tabs on your credit score. One of our favorite free credit-monitoring tools is Credit Sesame.

You can sign up online or through its app, and you’ll gain access to your credit score as well as your credit report card. It’ll also offer tips on how to increase your score for when it matters.

Take Jerry Morgan, for example. He and his family have had a difficult 10 years financially.

When Morgan signed up for Credit Sesame back in September 2017, his score was at about 500. In six months, he was able to increase his score 120 points — thanks, in part, to the platform’s recommendations.

Keep your credit score in your back pocket by downloading the Credit Sesame app.

2. WinWin: Save Money

Picture this: It’s payday, and you immediately head to the bank to cash your check and move $ 50 of it over to a separate savings account.

Yeah, right.

OK, if you have a lot of willpower, maybe this was the case, but saving money proves difficult. So why not turn it into a bit of a game? Try using an app called WinWin.

First, download the app, and WinWin will walk you through how it all works. Here’s the gist: You’ll automate your savings, plus play games for chances to win more money to boost your savings.

You can earn instant prizes by playing the daily games (think: classics like pinball and breakout). The more often you play, the more chances you have to win daily prizes — which include free plays (i.e. another chance to win) and cash prizes between 10 cents and $ 5 that go into your WinWin savings account.

So you’re saving money — and playing for a chance to win even more. Fun, right?

The app is free to download and costs $ 2 a month after that.

3. Acorns: Invest in Stocks

Alex Orfinger sitting at his home in Ormond Beach, Fla. using various phone apps.
Aileen Perilla/The Penny Hoarder

Honestly, old-school investing just conjures images of Wall Street trading room chaos, so we’ll stop while we’re ahead.

Investing isn’t nearly as intimidating nowadays with microinvesting apps. Yes — these apps allow you to invest in smaller groupings of stocks, called exchange-traded funds.

Acorns is a stellar example. Download the app, and turn on the round-up mode. Each time you make a purchase with a connected debt or credit card, it’ll round your total up to the nearest dollar. Once your round-ups hit $ 5, Acorns will invest the spare change for you.

Jeremy Kolodziej, for example, uses the app as a way to help him save. In less than two years, he’s managed to save $ 2,087 — without thinking.

“So many people use plastic and debit cards,” he explains. “Not a lot of people carry cash, where you can have a coin jar at home. It’s a virtual coin jar. You don’t even think about it.”

The app is free to download, then you’ll pay $ 1 a month for balances under $ 1 million. If you sign up through The Penny Hoarder, you’ll bank a $ 5 bonus to give you a boost.

4. Varo Money: Put Your Savings to Work

Varo Money has combined traditional banking tools with modern technology to help its customers become financially healthy. Its big selling points include:

  • All-in-one: In addition to a  bank account, you can open a Varo Savings Account, earning 1.25% Annual Percentage Yield — nearly 20 times the average savings account.
  • No fees: With Varo, as long as you use one of its 55,000 ATMs across the world, you’ll never pay fees. Additionally, you’ll pay no monthly service fees, no minimum balance fees, no foreign transaction fees and no cash replacement fees. You’ll just pay out-of-network ATM fees and cash deposit fees if you deposit cash in-store through Green Dot.
  • Early access to your paycheck: Get paid up to two days before your check is typically posted when you set up direct deposit with Varo.
  • Varo Forecast: Varo keeps tabs on how much you spend across all your accounts so you can better analyze and project your cash flow. It also allows you to set spending caps.

To sign up for Varo, you’ll have to download its free iOS app.

5. Stash: Invest in Real Estate

Homes sit next to the Gulf of Mexico at Pass-a-Grille on Monday April 2, 2018.
Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

We’re familiar with the old-school way of investing in real estate — buy a house, apartment, duplex, warehouse, land, whatever it is. But that calls for a big chunk of change and commitment.

If you don’t have that kind of time or money, you may want to look into real estate investment trusts (REITs). These are funds pooled together from thousands of investors to invest in one property, like a mutual fund.

There are several ways you can invest in REITs, but perhaps the easiest is through an app called Stash. You might have heard of it. It helps folks invest and save small amounts of change. It also helps us invest small amounts into real estate.

If you don’t already use Stash, sign up here.

When you invest your first $ 5, you’ll get another $ 5 bonus to invest — on us. Now, you’ll have access to all of Stash’s tools, including its real estate investments. The app costs $ 1 a month.

If you already have Stash, great. Go ahead and explore the REIT feature through your existing account.

Just a friendly reminder: As with any investing, there’s risk, though investing in REITs is less risky than investing in an entire shopping mall on your own.

6. Chime: Bank From Anywhere

Alexa Vincent navigates her mobile apps, including Lyft, Uber, and Uber Eats in St. Petersburg, Fla.,
Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

We try to avoid using “literally” around here, but you can literally do anything through an app these days — including all of your banking. I mean, can you imagine having to set foot into a bank?!

Chime is a great example of an online-only bank. It offers some unique features that many traditional banks haven’t caught on to yet.

For example, you can do just about everything from its app, which boasts more than 2,000 five-star reviews in the iTunes store. You’ll be able to:

  • Open a checking account — which Chime calls a “spending” account. While you’re at it, set up direct deposit. Then, Chime will allow you to get paid up to two days early — as soon as your paycheck is posted. No delay.
  • Enroll in Chime’s automated Saving account, where you can automatically squirrel money into a separate, hands-off account.
  • Avoid bank fees. We’re talkin’ no overdraft fees, monthly maintenance fees, foreign transaction fees or minimum balance fees.

Last year, we chatted with Samuel Demeny, who opened a spending and savings account with Chime. He switched so he could avoid Well Fargo’s daily spending limits. He’s also been able to save about $ 800 in nine months with the automatic savings option.

Demeny also loves that he gets his paycheck two days early, which he says helps him budget before the weekend rolls around.

Start managing all your money from your phone by opening a free account with Chime.

7. Google Sheets: Create a Budget

Financial Planning Accounting Report Spreadsheet Concept
Rawpixel/Getty Images

We’re going to be totally honest on this one. We haven’t quite found a budgeting app we’re in love with yet. (Seriously, email us any suggestions. We’re all ears!)

That’s why we’ve largely stuck with the old-school spreadsheet. Gasp. We know, but once you get it set up in Google Drive, download the Google Sheets app (or the less popular Numbers) to keep it mobile.

Start off easy by using it to simply track your income and expenses. Break down your expenses by categories that are most relevant to you: groceries, restaurants, utilities, rent, transportation… It’s all totally customizable. Sum up the categories for a total. Then, subtract your income from your expenses. Bam.

Set a personal goal for how much you want to see leftover each month. You’ll have to play with these a bit, but that’s the joy of the spreadsheet: You can adjust it whenever you want.

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She wants to know: Which iPhone apps do you use to manager your money? Shoot her an email, and let her know!

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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7 Money Lessons from the Bible

The Bible is not only a source of inspiration, comfort, and a guide for living, but also a guide for how you should manage your money. Take a look at these money lessons from the bible.

7 Money Lessons from the Bible

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?”  —Luke 14:28

Lesson: Keep track of your money and think before you spend. Check out these money-saving apps that can make your financial goals a bit more doable.

money lessons from the bible

(iStock/Liderina)

 

 

“A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children.”  —Proverbs 13:22

Lesson: Leave wealth for the next generation. There are many resources for African Americans on building generational wealth. Rodney Sampson, founder of Opportunity Hub (OHUB), just announced at this year’s SXSW event, a number of programs he and others are launching to help the community build multigenerational wealth. Also, here is great information on how some are using life insurance to build generational wealth. Find other great wealth-building information here

(iStock/kali9)

 

 

“Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.”  —Proverbs 13:11

Lesson: Be honest in your financial dealings and always watch out for ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes. Here’s how not to lose money and fall victim to network marketing and pyramid schemes; multilevel marketing pitches; and scams that target those with home-based businesses.

money lessons from the bible

(iStock/RapidEye)

 

 

“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers, they succeed.”  —Proverbs 15:22

Lesson: Don’t be afraid or ashamed to seek financial advice. Seek out a money coach, read up on great money tips, and learn about good personal finance habits from a number of experts.

money lessons from the bible

(iStock/Steve Debenport)

 

 

“A man lacking judgement strikes hands in pledge and puts up security for his neighbor.”  —Proverbs 17:18

Lesson: Use caution when lending money, especially when official documentation is involved like co-signing a loan for someone. For example, here’s why you should never lend out your credit card. And these reasons will make you think twice before co-signing that loan.

money lessons from the bible

(iStock/fizkes)

 

“Give everyone what you owe him. If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”  —Romans 13:7 

Lesson: Stay on top of your debt, taxes, credit cards, loans (especially student loans)—fit payments into your monthly budget. Get some great tips from those who are ‘young, single, and free of debt’, and even greater advice on eliminating debt without going crazy.

money lessons from the bible

(iStock/:Rawpixel)

 

 

“To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.”  —Matthew 25:14-30

Lesson: It takes money to make money; invest, but invest wisely. Take advantage of that 401(k) at work, or, at minimum, make a commitment to put a specific amount of money away from every paycheck—even if it’s just $ 20.

money lessons from the bible

(iStock/AndreyPopov)

—Lisa Fraser, Samara Lynn, and Sequoia Blodgett also contributed to this article. 

 

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in December 2010. 

The post 7 Money Lessons from the Bible appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Clark Howard’s guide to saving money on your wedding

When money expert Clark Howard’s daughter was planning her wedding for May 2018, she and her fiancé used a lot of different money-saving strategies to hold down the cost while still putting on a lovely event.

The great news is that you can use those same strategies to plan your own fabulous wedding without going deep into debt.

RELATED: Clark Howard — How my daughter saved a ton of money on her wedding

Follow Clark’s advice to get married cheap and happy!

Wedding planning season is here, and couples are racing to plan the perfect nuptials in time for a late-spring or summer wedding date.

The average wedding today costs $ 33,391, according to the latest numbers. So before you get too deep into planning, you need to sit down and come up with a budget for your wedding. It can be $ 100 or it can be $ 30,000 or more.

The idea that weddings have to be frightfully expensive to be any good is an odd and amazing thing. I think about my in-laws who were married some 50 years ago and it cost them $ 25. Inflation adjusted, that would be like a $ 100 wedding today. — Clark Howard

Ultimately, it’s your budget that will determine whether your wedding is a courthouse ceremony or more like a coronation. It’s whatever makes sense in your life — or in your parents’ lives.

Such was the case with Clark when he gave his daughter a flat amount of money and told her whatever she didn’t spend, she and her husband could keep for the down payment on their first home.

As part of creating your budget, write down all the elements of a wedding you want — flowers, DJ, wedding favors, etc. —  and then start prioritizing them. That way you get a feel for what’s indispensable and what you can maybe do without.

“Just don’t do what I did to save money on the vehicle we drove off in [after getting married],” Clark warns of his marriage to wife Lane.

“My mother-in-law will probably never forgive me for renting a subcompact purple Mitsubishi that was $ 16 a day. I also remember the wedding photographer was so angry at me for ruining his exit shot. He wanted me to leave in his car, which was a Cadillac convertible. I said, ‘Nobody’s going to believe that it was really me leaving in a Cadillac convertible!’”

Without further ado, here are some ways you can keep it both cheap and classy…

The first rule of a cheap wedding is…Never say the word “wedding”

When you call around to vendors, don’t tell anybody you’re getting quotes for a wedding. Call it a ‘party’ because you’ll likely get a lower quote.

Don’t buy a million bridal magazines

Leading up to the big day, women love to thumb through wedding magazines. But the cost of those polished glossy magazines can really add up! Browse Pinterest for wedding ideas for free or just look at those magazines the library.

Besides, you won’t want a pile of those magazine hanging around after the big day anyway.

Be flexible on the venue

You can save the cost of a catering hall by holding the reception at your home or someone else’s home. Sometimes people who met at college will hold the reception on campus. Or, check to see if you can rent a museum or other public facility for your wedding.

Clark’s daughter and her fiancé looked at a lot of venues and found an event space in a public park. They got married outside and, luckily, had great weather.

You can save a lot if you hold the reception at a place that will let you bring in your own caterer and alcohol. In that case, consider buying the alcohol yourself at a discount store and bringing it to the reception.

Be flexible with your wedding date

Many event spaces have different charges on different days of week. Saturday and Sunday are typically high-priced days to get married. If you want to go really budget, consider a Tuesday or Thursday. If that’s too extreme, then maybe Friday is the right compromise between scheduling and pricing.

“I have nephew who got married on Monday because their venue in California was cheaper on that day,” Clark says. “When have you ever heard of somebody getting married on a Monday?!?”

Another way to flex to save money is to plan your wedding for a time of year that’s not traditionally associated with weddings. That could mean considering a January wedding instead of a June one.

Work with a canceled-wedding broker

It’s always a great idea to see what services you can pick up on the cheap. For instance, when engaged people break up and don’t make it to the altar, what happens to those non-refundable services they booked?

If they’re smart, they’ll sometimes sell the services they’ve paid for to a canceled-wedding broker. That helps recoup at least some of the cost.

But here’s the neat thing: Their loss can be your gain!

A site like CanceledWeddings.com buys broken contracts and offers them at a discount. This recent snapshot of their Twitter feed shows venues you could pick up on the cheap in Pennsylvania, Washington D.C. and California for summer and fall 2018 weddings:

canceled weddings

Consider your guest list carefully

You may have to make tough choices with your guest list based on your budget.

Since most catering facilities will charge you by the person, deciding how many people to invite will have a greater impact on the cost of the wedding than almost anything else.

Make your own invitations

Look for fonts that appeal to you online and use them to create your own invitations with a laser printer. Pinterest is perfect for this purpose.

Or, as an alternative, use online discount sites that can also make your Save the Date cards and invitations. This works especially well if you have a discount code that can bring the price down further.

Live band or DJ?

A DJ will be much cheaper than a live band. Ask about cash discounts or pay-in-advance discounts. It never hurts to negotiate, either. Just be sure to get the final agreement in writing.

If you want at least some live music on your big day, consider hiring a piano major from a nearby college or music school to play at the cocktail reception. Maybe you’ll luck out and even find a student jazz ensemble that will perform for much less than a professional band!

Opt for beer and wine — but not liquor

It’s much cheaper to serve just beer, wine and maybe one signature cocktail at your reception than to have an open bar serving liquor.

You could also consider offering a cash bar, or serving no alcohol at all.

Create your own décor

Joel, one of the producers on The Clark Howard Show, got married back in 2011. He and his bride Emily staged a very inexpensive wedding, working within the $ 12,000 budget from her parents.

Emily had fun creating the décor for the wedding. She crafted flowers out of paper instead of dedicating money to a huge flower budget.

(If you do opt for real flowers, ask the florist if you can buy the vessels in which to display them yourself. That could be a savings of $ 20 or $ 30 per vase or bowl right there if you find ones you like at a discount store.)

Joel says Emily liked the creativity behind the whole process and the saving money part just kind of fell in line with that. For their rehearsal dinner, they opted for catered BBQ and kept prices down that way.

Again, Pinterest is an amazing place to get ideas for DIY wedding projects. We’ve got a list of some of the many wedding items you can create and personalize on Pinterest here.

Sheet cake from a supermarket is a money-saver

A sheet cake rather than a multi-tiered cake will net you a big savings. Top off those savings by buying the sheet cake at Costco, Target or another grocery store bakery.

Clark’s daughter had a regular white icing cake from the Publix supermarket bakery. She bought four different sizes of round cakes and stacked them to dramatic effect to make one giant cake. The price tag? Under $ 40!

Don’t financially strap your bridesmaids

For the bridesmaids, try telling them a color (like navy or black) and encouraging them to wear an existing dress, rather than having them buy a one-time use only dress.

About the dress…

Buying a wedding dress off the rack is a great way to save money on this centerpiece of any bride’s wedding. H&M has wedding dresses for just a couple hundred bucks or less online. J. Crew and Ann Taylor sell wedding dresses, too.

Sample dresses at bridal stores are often discounted. You also shouldn’t rule out buying a dress secondhand or using a hand-me-down, particularly if you’re into either vintage styles or family heirlooms.

Renting a dress is another great option because then you don’t have to worry about storing or preserving the dress after your wedding. The reality is most people can’t tell if your dress is designer or from a chain. So, if you aren’t attached to a specific dress or designer, try a rental site like BorrowingMagnolia.com.

If designer is the way you want to go and you want to own, you can buy a name dress on deep discount from NearlyNewlywed.com.

Final thought

Does a glitzy wedding make the marriage? Not by a long shot.

In fact, recent research into the correlation between what you spend on a wedding and how long your marriage lasts shows the exact opposite.

If you insist on spending more than $ 20,000, you’re statistically going to get divorced at a rate that’s roughly 1.6 times higher than couples who spend between $ 5,000 and $ 10,000.

Want to have the longest-lasting and happiest marriage of all? The study shows you’ll have a lower-that-average rate of divorce if you spend $ 1,000 or less on your wedding.

Ultimately, the lavishness of the ceremony means nothing. It’s about who you’re marrying.

“If you’re a Bridezilla, I would encourage you to take a chill pill,” Clark says. “Remember that your vows and having a great life with your spouse are the most important things. A wedding can be very tasteful and it does not have to blow the budget.”

clark.com

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6 ways to save money on your Memorial Day roadtrip

As millions of Americans prepare to hit the road for Memorial Day weekend, some extra savings could make the trip even sweeter. As you fill up your tank with fuel and grab your map (yes, you should still have a map), you’re going to want to make your trip as cost-effective as possible.

AAA says more than 42 million Americans will kick off the summer travel season by getting away for Memorial Day. The projection constitutes a 5% increase over last year and the most in a dozen years.

Before you go to the ATM and drain your bank account for travel expenses, there are several ways to trim your budget.

Here are 6 ways to save money while road-tripping

If you plan on hitting the road for the holiday, here are some tips on saving money along the way:

  • Rent a vehicle: You may be tempted to drive your vehicle on the long journey, but money expert Clark Howard says you’ll end up saving more money in the long haul if you rent a car.  “If you shop and find a good deal on a rental car, you put those trip miles and the depreciation that goes with it on that rental car instead of your own,” he says.
  • Pack a lunch: If you’re going for the long haul on a one-day trip (no more than 10 hours on the road, OK?) it’s a good idea to pack a few snacks. Nothing too complicated and messy (no barbecue ribs and no ginormous tacos that spill into your lap), so as not to distract your driving. This will not only save you and your family some pretty nice cash, it will also save you time.
  • Download some restaurant apps: If you choose not to pack your own food, you likely will opt to pull over and grab a burger or something similar from a fast-food chain. There’s nothing wrong with that – but why not save money doing it? The BK mobile app has several coupons, including a buy-one-Whopper-get-one-free deal. The McDonald’s app has weekly deals, including a free McCafe with purchase.
  • Bring a cooler: Nothing wastes time more than having to pull off the interstate and venture into some strange little town for a $ 2.99 Dasani. Bringing chilled water is a great idea, especially if there happens to be a traffic jam and you find yourself stuck in the middle of nowhere for an hour.
  • Skip lodging: If your trip is not too long, generally about 500 miles or eight hours, you can save a bunch of money by not having to secure lodging. No way do we recommend driving more than eight hours safely. Better yet, got family along the way? Pay an overnight visit and catch up.
  • Don’t speed: The #1 way to save money on a road trip is to obey the traffic laws. Nothing stinks more than being pulled over and hearing those eight frightening words: “Do you know how fast you were going?” Trust us: The money you save on that ticket could be the difference between the cost of driving vs. flying.

AAA Senior Vice President Bill Sutherland says although gasoline prices are rising, it will do little to sway driver behavior this holiday.

“The highest gas prices since 2014 won’t keep travelers home this Memorial Day weekend,” Sutherland was quoted as saying. “A strong economy and growing consumer confidence are giving Americans all the motivation they need to kick off what we expect to be a busy summer travel season with a Memorial Day getaway.”

RELATED5 ways to save money on gas

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What My Mother Taught Me About Gender and Money

I was recently reminded of a conversation I had a few days ago. I was with an amazing group of about eight women, including news legend Carol Jenkins, host of CUNY TV’s Black America. The conversation was “light”– gender stereotypes and the ways in which they have affected our lives. About halfway into it, we began to speak about our mothers.

My mom grew up on a farm in a small town in North Carolina near New Bern. Her family grew and sold tobacco, cotton, and lumber. They were poor, and all of the family members, including the seven children, worked on the farm.

I shared with the group how my maternal grandmother (unfortunately, we never met), insisted that the girls get a college education. The boys stayed home and worked the farm to help support their sisters.

Jenkins, whose family also grew up poor in the South, shared that she had the same experience. The group then discussed how this was a relatively common practice in black southern families “back in the day.” The reasoning, at least from my Mom’s family’s perspective, was that black women are going to be faced with so many challenges and disadvantages that being educated was crucial to their survival.

Our mothers and grandmothers “got it.” They knew that the world is not designed for women, particularly their daughters, to create lives in which they could thrive. They knew that the key to standing up to these challenges was education.

Even with education, however, the scales are greatly weighted against black women. A survey by The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation found that black women have a harder time getting loans and paying bills than other groups.

This is not ‘breaking news.’ We all know that black women are on the losing side of socioeconomics. They are at the bottom of the pay gap, making 64 cents for every dollar that white men make, and 70% of black women are trying to raise children on their own.

It’s more important than ever to empower ourselves with knowledge, and be the financial role model our children need us to be as we honor our own mothers.

Ask yourself:

  • What are the five most important things I want my child to learn about money?
  • What would I want my child to do differently when it comes to money?
  • What changes do I have to make in order to be the financial role model my child needs me to be?

Write down your answers and share your thoughts and feelings with your children, as one day they will be reflecting on the financial lessons you taught them.

Editor’s Note: This article originally published in May 2016

The post What My Mother Taught Me About Gender and Money appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Money | Black Enterprise

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The best sunscreens for your money

Consumer Reports is out with its latest rank of sunscreens, and it turns out you don’t have to pay big bucks to protect your skin from harsh UV rays.

Here’s what so funny: Two of the highest rated sunscreens that got ‘best buy’ recommendations turned out to be the cheapest ones the magazine tested!

RELATED: Clark’s road trip hack — Why renting a car could be smarter than driving your own

Great sunscreen protection doesn’t have to break the bank

Want the best sunscreen for your money? Check out these options…

Lotions

Equate Ultra Protection Sunscreen SPF 50

This Walmart store brand lotion is a ‘best buy’ recommendation from Consumer Reports with a score of 92 out of 100.

It costs only 47 cents an ounce — the cheapest unit price of any lotion tested!

Active ingredients include Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (13%), Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene (7%) and Oxybenzone (4%).

Scoring slightly higher in the lotion category was this Walmart favorite:

Equate Sport Lotion SPF 50

walmart sport lotion sunscreen

Walmart’s Sport Lotion sunscreen got a nearly perfect score at 99 out of 100 on the magazine’s tally. The cost was 63 cents per ounce, and it was a ‘best buy.’

This bottle has a slightly different formulation than its cheaper counterpart, with less Octocrylene (5%) and more Oxybenzone (6%) while all the other ingredients hold steady in the same quantities.

Coppertone Water Babies SPF 50

Not a fan of Walmart? Coppertone Water Babies scored a 95 out of 100, at a cost of $ 1.13 an ounce.

Yet we should note that the Coppertone has the exact same active ingredient composition — in the exact same ratios — as the Equate Ultra Protection Sunscreen SPF 50!

Why would you pay more than twice as much for the name brand when you can get the same formulation in a store brand?

Meanwhile, at the other extreme…

If you balked at the higher price of the Coppertone offering we just mentioned, it’s nothing compared to La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios 60 Melt-in Sunscreen Milk. We’re talking $ 7.20 per ounce on this one!!

In its defense, La Roche-Posay was the only brand to score a perfect 100 on the Consumer Reports test. But who can stomach that price?

Moreover, the La Roche-Posay had an active ingredient composition remarkably similar to the cheaper competition: Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (10.72%), Octisalate (3.21%), Octocrylene (6%) and Oxybenzone (3.86%).

Again, why pay way more for basically the same stuff?!?

Sprays

Trader Joe’s Spray SPF 50+

When it comes to sprays, this Trader Joe’s offering scored a perfect 100 on the Consumer Reports annual tally!

At $ 1 an ounce, it might be worth a look. Active ingredients include Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (15%), Octisalate (5%) and Oxybenzone (6%).

Yet there was a cheaper recommended option you may want to consider…

Equate Sport Continuous Spray SPF 30

At 83 cents an ounce, this Walmart store brand scored an 83.

Active ingredients include Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (10%), Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene (2%) and Oxybenzone (4%).

Conclusion

Clearly, it’s possible to get all the protection from the sun’s harmful rays you need and not break the bank.

Just be sure that whatever sunscreen you get says ‘broad spectrum’ on the label for maximum protection. That will ensure that it protects against both ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet A (UVA) rays.

Consumer Reports says UVB is the biggest culprit when it comes to sunburn and it also plays a role in skin cancer. UVA, meanwhile, is responsible for tanning and aging skin, in addition to contributing to skin cancer.

You also want to see the words ‘SPF 30’ (or higher) and ‘water resistance’ on the label of whatever you sunscreen you get. These are all federally regulated terms with specific meanings.

Some terms that aren’t regulated and are therefore practically meaningless — because the definition can change from manufacturer to manufacturer — include ‘Sport,’ ‘Dermatologist Recommended,’ ‘Natural,’ Mineral Based’ and ‘Reef Safe.’

That last descriptor made the news recently when Hawaii announced it would ban the sale of sunscreens with oxybenzone and octinoxate beginning in 2021. Both are chemical sunscreen ingredients believed to threaten coral reefs.

If you want an ecologically safe alternative that’s cheap too, Consumer Reports says you might consider clothing that’s UPF-rated for ultraviolet protection; sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide; or maybe even a chemical-based sunscreen that doesn’t contain oxybenzone.

RELATED: The #1 rule of cheap travel

clark.com

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5 Pieces of Money Advice for Young Adults About to Face the Real World

Spring is in sight, and right about now, you’ll see that anxious look on the faces of college seniors and other young adults about to face the real world for the first time. Even if they’re fortunate enough to have a job lined up, they are far from secure financially, and often have no idea how to handle their finances.

If this is you or someone you know, adopting these financial habits now will take the stress out of newly independent adulthood and pay off big in the long run.

 

5 Pieces of Money Advice for Young Adults

 

1. Create a Spending Plan: A.K.A. Your Budget

 

It doesn’t have to be complicated–it’s just about listing and keeping track of all your expenses and income on a weekly or monthly basis. It may not be pretty, but it’s better than the stress of not knowing your financial status. Also, there are plenty of great budgeting tools that are easy to learn and use. A budget is key to gaining control of your spending, and a sense of control as you face the real world on your own for the first time will really reduce your anxiety.

 

2. Follow the First Rule of Personal Finance: Pay Yourself First

 

Begin building up your emergency savings right away, even if it’s only 20 or 30 dollars a month. Save at least 10% of every dollar you get from any source. This money should go into a fund for emergencies–i.e. job loss–only, and should be separate from all other savings and other accounts you have. Click here for dos and don’ts of creating and maintaining your emergency fund.

The earlier you get into the habit of paying yourself first, the easier it becomes, and the more secure you’ll be in the long run. Build these savings into your budget. It’s only smart to face the real world with a financial cushion, should you have to deal with an unexpected setback.

 3. Attack Your Student Loans–or, at Least, Don’t Ignore Them

 

If you have student loans, explore your repayment options, and exercise them, if you have to buy yourself time or reduce your payments. Whatever you do, don’t just ignore them. Not only are they not going to go away, they will just become bigger, thanks to interest and penalties, and even more intimidating over time. Besides, ignore them for too long, and your lenders may just take action and garnish payments from your paycheck, anyway.

Staying on top of your student loans is also important for another reason: protecting your credit, which can impact everything from employment consideration, to renting an apartment. It is much tougher to face the real world with poor credit.

 

4. Pay Your Bills–and Don’t Abuse Credit

 

Yes, paying your bills when they are due matters, as much as it matters to you that you actually get paid on pay day. In addition to avoiding late fees and other penalties you can’t really afford, 35% of your credit score is based on your payment history. (Click here to learn the other components of your credit score.)

Also, don’t abuse credit by using it to pay for things you don’t have the cash for. Keep credit card balances to no more than about 30% of the credit you have access to. That means if you have a credit card limit of $ 1,000, do your best to limit your balance owed to under $ 350.

 

5. Don’t Pass Up Job Benefits

 

If and when you get a job, don’t skip the employee benefits, including health insurance and making contributions toward a retirement savings account. Sure, your take home pay will be smaller, but the benefits are more valuable over time–especially if you get sick or injured.

 

The Bottom Line on Money Advice for Young Adults

 

The longer you put these off, the more costly it will be to you over time, and the more you will regret it. Bite the bullet and adopt good money habits early. You’ll get used to doing it sooner, and they’ll pay off in the long run. Best of all, you’ll be able to face the real world with optimism, not fear.

Editor’s Note: This article originally published February, 2017

 

 

 

The post 5 Pieces of Money Advice for Young Adults About to Face the Real World appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Money | Black Enterprise

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Money Mondays: Unemployment Drops Below 4%

TODAY WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE APRIL JOBS REPORT. WHAT DID WE LEARN ON FRIDAY?

The economy continues to be strong, and companies are continuing to hire workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic report last week, the economy added 164,000 new jobs last month, and the unemployment rate dropped to 3.9%, the lowest rate we have seen in 18 years. This is great news, but there were some mixed signals in the report on Friday, which I also want to highlight.

LET’S START WITH THE GOOD NEWS FROM THE REPORT; UNEMPLOYMENT IS THE LOWEST IT HAS BEEN IN NEARLY TWO DECADES. WHAT IS DRIVING THIS?

Put simply, companies are confident about the economy and their future, and as a result they are hiring. Whether you look at the white collar professional services sector, the healthcare sector or the construction industry, job growth has been the name of the game in recent years. In fact, April was the 91st straight month the US economy added jobs.

And economists expect it to continue. A Wall Street Journal article noted that we are likely to see the unemployment rate continue to trend downward in the months ahead. Currently the Fed is forecasting a 3.6% rate next year as the labor market continues to tighten.

YOU NOTED THERE WERE SOME MIXED SIGNALS. WHAT WERE THEY?

While we certainly cannot complain about a positive jobs report, there are some signals that the pace of job growth is slowing. April’s 164,000 jobs number was well below the 191,000 the economy averaged over the past year. This could be due to a couple of factors. First, companies are simply struggling to find workers. It could also be a result of employers seeing more uncertainty in the future, as concerns of trade tensions with China, rising operating costs and interest rates are considered. Indeed, hiring in the manufacturing sector has slowed since President Trump has ramped up his rhetoric concerning trade.

Beyond the pace of hiring, we are still not seeing wages grow as fast as expected. Last month, wage rose 2.6% from a year earlier, extending a stretch of sluggish growth that many had hoped would come to an end as the labor market tightened. The last time unemployment was this low, it forced employers to raise wages as they worked to attract and retain worker, and wage growth was 4.4% year over year. We have not really seen that recently, and that continues to be a point of concern.

WHAT IS BEHIND THIS SLOW WAGE GROWTH, MELLODY?

That is a great question, SKIP, and there are a number of things people have attributed it to. One of the prime culprits is the labor force participation rate. In 2000, the labor force participation rate was just over 67%. It has been falling ever since, most sharply in the wake of the Great Recession. Many of those people who had stopped looking for work for several years are now returning to the work force, sometimes for lower wages due to the large unemployment span, which may be keeping wage growth low. Economists have also pointed to the decline of union and the rise of the gig economy as factors. And finally, some companies have become accustomed to giving smaller raises in recent year.

WE HAVE SEEN A LOT OF TALK FROM SOME FIGURES ABOUT THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE FOR MINORITIES. WHAT DID THIS REPORT TELL US?

While the President and others have definitely touted the unemployment rate for Black workers – currently at 6.6% in April, the lowest level on record – it is still considerably higher than other cohorts. Last month, it was nearly double the unemployment rate for whites – 3.6% – and higher than the 4.8% among Hispanics. So clearly there is still room for improvement.


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Mellody Hobson is President of Ariel Investments, a Chicago-based money management firm that serves individual investors and retirement plans through its no-load mutual funds and separate accounts. Additionally, she is a regular financial contributor and analyst for CBS News.

Life & Style – Black America Web

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Manage Your Money, You Must: 10 Money Lessons We Learned from ‘Star Wars’


The Force will be with us – always.

Because “Star Wars” has embedded itself so deeply into our cultural DNA, it continues to shape the way we think about life.

Over eight movies and counting, “Star Wars” has taught us about overcoming obstacles, about dealing with family drama, about friendship, about patience, about beating the odds – and even about money.

Because this is The Penny Hoarder, we’re especially interested in the part about money.

Even though the epic saga of Luke Skywalker & Co. played out a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, the financial wisdom we gleaned from it applies to the here and now.

Now, prepare to make the jump into hyperspace! Here’s what we’ve learned:

1. Always Pay Your Debts – Or Else

Bingo. This is always the first one everyone thinks of.

Han Solo owes money to the giant slug-like crime boss, Jabba the Hutt. When he doesn’t pay up, Jabba sends bounty hunter Boba Fett after him — basically a debt collector with blaster pistols and green Mandalorian armor.

Instead of declaring Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Han ends up frozen in carbonite. Then Princess Leia, Luke, Lando and the iconic droids have to infiltrate Jabba’s lair to save him in a sequel.

Just like with Solo, the longer you don’t pay off your debts, the bigger the problem gets. The interest piles up.

Your first step should be to figure out what you’re dealing with. Map out exactly what kind of debt you have. For example, which companies do you owe money to? Are any of your debts in collections? What are your minimum monthly payments on each credit card or loan?

An easy way to start doing this is to sign up with a free service like Credit Sesame. This tool shows your balance on any unpaid bills, credit cards or loans. It also offers tips on reducing your debt and raising your credit score.

2. Used Vehicles Offer the Best Value

The Millennium Falcon takes its share of verbal abuse in multiple “Star Wars” films.

“You came in that thing? You’re braver than I thought,” Princess Leia says upon first seeing the starship. And in “The Force Awakens,” Rey calls the ship “garbage.”

But the Millennium Falcon gets the job done. (Did we mention that it made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs?) Turns out you don’t always need a shiny new vehicle.

Used cars are often a better deal than new ones. Consumer Reports recommends buying a car that’s two or three years old. For tips on buying a used car, go here or here or here.

You’ll need to take care of your ride, though. (The Falcon’s hyperdrive keeps breaking down despite Chewbacca’s best efforts in “The Empire Strikes Back.”)

According to a recent AAA survey, 1 in 3 U.S. drivers can’t pay for an unexpected auto repair. Consider creating an emergency fund with a high-yield bank account.

3. Negotiate the Best Deal You Can

Early in “A New Hope,” Luke and Uncle Owen are bargaining with some creepy little jawas over the price of some used droids.

When an R2 unit they’d just bought immediately breaks down, Uncle Owen aggressively questions the quality of what the jawas are selling: “Hey, what are you trying to push on us?”

The result: Luke’s family gets the best droid ever, R2-D2.

Negotiating isn’t just for markets and cars, any variable expense can be negotiated to a lower price — you just have to know what to look for.

4. “Do or Do Not. There is No Try.”

Yoda’s admonition to Luke in “The Empire Strikes Back” is probably the biggest zen moment in any of these movies.

As always, Yoda is right on target. You’re either going to do it, or you’re not. Don’t just try.

If you’re going to make financial changes, commit to them and be consistent. Don’t just try once or twice and then forget about it. Sticking to it is the key to success.

For instance, saving money is hard. Consider trying an auto-savings app like Acorns.

Once you connect it to a debit or credit card, it rounds your purchases up to the nearest dollar and funnels your digital change into a savings or investment account.

Because the money comes out in increments of less than $ 1, you’re less likely to feel an impact in your bank account.

5. Don’t Let the Little Details Blow Up On You

The Empire spared no expense on the Death Star, don’t you think?

You’ve got to figure that moon-sized battle stations capable of blowing up planets don’t come cheap (especially two of them).

But they overlooked that pesky little design flaw that allowed the Rebel Alliance to destroy the whole thing. Whoops!

Don’t neglect the details like that, because they’ll burn you. Don’t skimp on maintenance and repairs for big-ticket items like your home and car. If you blow that stuff off, you’ll just end up paying more in the end.

Another lesson from the Death Star: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. The Empire sure had a lot riding on its supercool Death Star, didn’t it?

Don’t depend on just one thing. Diversify your investments. Here’s how one woman used an app to make sure her 401(k) was in balance.

6. Get Rid of Your Old Stuff

The “Star Wars” universe looks different than Star Trek and other sci-fi settings. “Star Wars” has that “lived-in” look – there’s junk everywhere. You know, just like your house.

And in the “Star Wars” movies, people make money selling that junk – just like you should.

In “The Force Awakens,” Rey is a scavenger on the planet Jakku, feeding herself by salvaging parts from ships.

On Luke’s home planet of Tatooine, those jawas we mentioned earlier appear to be scavengers, too.

In “The Phantom Menace” — hey, here’s our first and only mention of the prequels! — Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi meet young Anakin Skywalker in a junk shop where he fixes things.

Meanwhile, here on our planet, a number of apps are making it easier than ever to sell your old stuff online.

To free up space and earn some extra cash, use apps to sells your stuff. Listing the right stuff in the right marketplaces means you’re more likely to sell it for the right price.

7. Beware of Scams. Know What Things Are Worth.

Toward the beginning of “The Force Awakens,” a hungry Rey nearly pawns the droid BB-8 in exchange for 60 portions of inflatable food. She’s sorely tempted, but senses something is wrong and backs off.

That’s the surest way to spot a scam: If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Whether you’re selling a droid or shopping for shoes online, you’ve got to watch out for rip-offs. Here’s how to protect yourself from imposter scams, credit repair scams, identity theft, senior scams and online mobile shopping scams.

As long as identity theft remains a huge problem you need to keep an eye on your credit and transactions.

8. Embrace the Gig Economy

When Luke and Obi-Wan need transportation to Alderaan, they basically catch an Uber. A space Uber. They pay for the Millennium Falcon to take them there.

Here on Earth, you can make like Han and Chewie in your Honda or Chevy by driving with Uber or Lyft and make extra money each week on your own schedule.

There are other entry-level ways to make money nowadays that you can do on your own time – and from your phone – thanks to the growing gig economy.

Craigslist is an easy place to sell your services under the “Gigs” section. Pay and tasks will vary, of course. And if you don’t trust Craigslist, check out TaskRabbit or Fiverr – to name just a few.

9. If the Deal Turns to the Dark Side, Cut Your Losses

Here at The Penny Hoarder, we’re always looking for good deals.

We’re always asking, Is this a good deal or not a good deal? And when we hear the words “deal” and “”Star Wars”,” we can’t help but think of Lando Calrissian in “The Empire Strikes Back.”

Lando … Lando did not get a good deal.

When Han, Leia and Chewie first turn up in Cloud City, Lando tells them, “I’ve just made a deal that’ll keep the Empire out of here forever.”

Of course, the deal involves betraying his friends. Later, Darth Vader menacingly informs Lando, “I am altering the deal. Pray I don’t alter it any further.”

Still later, when Vader threatens Lando further and mistreats his friends, Lando fumes, “This deal is getting worse all the time!”

That’s when he switches sides.

If you make a deal and the reality doesn’t match what you were promised, be prepared to walk away. Cut your losses and move on.

10. Sand People Always Walk in Single File to Hide Their Numbers

You see, from this we can learn that … no, no, wait. That’s not a good example at all. We learn no financial truths from that.

We’ve got nothing for you here.

Let’s try this instead. One of the most important lessons we learned from “Star Wars” is:

10. Make Sure You Have a Long-Term Plan

The heroes and villains of the Star Wars” universe are seriously into some long-term planning.

Emperor Palpatine’s master plan takes several movies to unfold. After he reveals himself to be Darth Sidious and strikes, Yoda and Obi-Wan lay low for a couple of decades after the prequels, waiting for their chance to return the favor.

Of course, when we first meet Obi-Wan and Yoda, they’re chilling in a cave and a swamp, respectively. Apparently the Jedi Council didn’t have much of a 401(k) match.

The sooner you start saving, investing and paying down your debt, the better off you’ll be.

A confession here: We can’t come up with any financial lessons from “Rogue One.” All we remember right now are the cool space battles.

All told, that’s everything that “Star Wars” has taught us about money over eight movies and counting. Take it as you will.

Do, or do not.

There is no try.

Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. His “Star Wars”-loving co-workers helped out with this post.

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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Stephen Colbert Goes After the Stormy Daniels Hush Money: ‘I Had Sex With Donald Trump’

CBS

Wednesday night on Sean Hannity’s Trump Pravda program, Rudy Giuliani—a man who knows a thing or two about scandalous affairs—put his foot directly into his mouth.

When asked about Trump attorney/fixer Michael Cohen’s $ 130,000 hush money payment in the final weeks of the presidential election to porn star Stormy Daniels, who’s alleged that she had an affair with Trump mere months after first lady Melania gave birth to their son Barron, Giuliani said, “… they funneled it through a law firm… and then the president repaid it.” (Don’t forget, both Cohen and Trump had repeatedly denied that the president knew about the payoff and had reimbursed Cohen, with Trump even denying it on tape to a group of press onboard Air Force one.)

Enter Stephen Colbert.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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8 ways to save money at andThat! stores

You’re probably familiar with all the usual chain dollar store suspects — Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Family Dollar, 99-Cents Only.

But did you know there’s a new retailer that can qualify as a secret fifth dollar store chain — and that it masquerades as a home decor emporium?!

That’s the big secret about andThat! stores, a corporate cousin to the better-know likes of Bed, Bath & Beyond, Cost Plus World Market, buybuy BABY and others.

Here’s what Clark.com found when we visited one andThat! location…

RELATED: Cost Plus World Market: 8 ways to save money

How to save money at andThat! stores

With only a handful of locations in five states, andThat! isn’t a well-known name. But it is worth a look if you have one near you  and you like home decor stores that offer more than just the standard home decor — like alcohol, dry food and even pet food.

1. Know how to shop andThat! as a dollar store alternative

Dollar stores have way more inventory priced at a buck than andThat! stores do. But there were some major finds with the $ 1 price point jumping out at us when we walked the aisles.

$  1 aluminum bakeware

Among the more unique items we saw were packs of monogrammed facial tissue and vintage sodas for just $ 1.

$  1 vintage sodas

monogrammed facial tissue

And if the inner rebel in you doesn’t want to pay outrageous prices for candy at the movie theater, andThat! has a big selection of those giant boxes priced just right!

$  1 theater candy

2. Look for the 90% off rack

Rather than centralizing its clearance stuff, andThat! has it located at several different points throughout the store.

Right when we entered, we saw an area with a variety of items priced at 90% off the original price.

90% off clearance

That steep clearance price meant some items like this book we priced as low as 48 cents. That beats the pants off Dollar Tree’s $ 1 books!

cheap book

3. Shop the seasonal clearance section

andThat! was unloading its Easter gear for 75% off the original price at the location we visited.

Monogrammed Easter egg dying kits, anyone?

75% off seasonal clearance

4. Stop and shop the foyer

When you’re coming in from the parking lot, you go through the first set of automatic doors. But before you even cross the threshold of the store proper, there’s a foyer with a ton of promotionally priced merchandise.

This area is so thick with deals, you could practically trip over them!

And there’s that $ 1 price point again, this time on 14-ounce bottles of fancy boutique-style hand soap in the photo below.

$  1 soap at kennesaw andthat store

5. Don’t forget to check outside for bargains, too

andThat! lines up a lot of furniture and other deals along the store’s exterior. We found 98-cent windshield washer fluid and plant stands on sale, among other things.

That stands were marked down from $ 5.49 to prices starting at just $ 2.28.

windshield washer fluid plant stands

6. Some people come just for the coffee

andthat coffee

The coffee sales, that is.

One associate told Clark.com that some shoppers come just to load up on coffee like the Victor Allen’s 42-count single serve brew cups when they’re on sale for $ 9.99 each.

In fact, we saw one woman pile five boxes in her hands, all the way up to her chin, as she walked to checkout. The woman told us by pairing the sale price with a $ 10 coupon, she’s able to pay only $ 40 for all five boxes.

You can get the same coupon, too. Just text DEALS to 47283 for your $ 10 off a purchase of $ 50 coupon.

So how good of a deal is that price on coffee? Well, Amazon offers the same product in the same size at a much-higher price of $ 21 per box.

That’s a big savings!

7. Look for handwritten furniture markdowns

Some sets are marked down in red and they’re priced to move. This four-piece set was discounted by 20% off the original sale price.

furniture markdown 2

Meanwhile, if you like scratch-and-dent furniture, there’s no official ‘sold as is’ furniture section like there is at the store’s corporate cousin, World Market.

But after speaking with the andThat! manager, we learned that any scuffs or marks on the furniture could get you an additional discount at management’s discretion.

Hey, it never hurts to ask.

8. Check out the free phone charging

So this one’s not necessarily a way to save money, but it is a nicety for shoppers.

andThat! makes a free phone charging kiosk available for customers near the front of the store.

free phone charger

There are eight slots for phone charging. Your mobile phone number becomes your secure code to lock yours up and let it get some juice while you’re shopping.

free phone charger2

clark.com

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Comcast’s wireless service is such a good deal it’s losing the company money

Xfinity Mobile unlimited plans

Comcast recently started offering its own wireless service under the brand of Xfinity Mobile. The actual mobile service is provided by Verizon, and the plans are surprisingly cheap and flexible. We’ve said before that Xfinity Wireless is a good deal for Comcast subscribers, and as it turns out, it’s such a good deal that Comcast is losing money.

In its latest earnings report, Comcast posted a $ 189 million loss for Xfinity Mobile, despite adding 196,000 new subscribers in the quarter. Analysts expected the loss — they actually expect Comcast to burn through $ 1.2 billion in the first 18 months — but this loss exceeded expectations.

Continue reading…

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Comcast’s wireless service is such a good deal it’s losing the company money originally appeared on BGR.com on Sun, 29 Apr 2018 at 15:18:02 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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Money Smart Week Helps Keep You in the Black

During Money Smart Week, April 21–April 28, more than 1,000 libraries across the country will host educational events that focus on financial issues such as the following:

  • first-time home buying
  • home renovation loans
  • personal spending plan (otherwise known as a budget!)
  • the property tax appeal process
  • financial aid packages and how to evaluate them
  • the right Medicare plan
  • the basics of wills and trusts
  • options for tax-free savings
  • charitable tax strategies, and more

“During Money Smart Week, libraries in rural, suburban, and urban communities are helping people examine their personal finances, whether that involves estate planning or budgeting for groceries,” says Felton Thomas Jr., executive director and CEO of the Cleveland Public Library.

“Libraries will use fliers and books and displays, and provide programming that will help their specific community, by connecting patrons with experts and advisers,” he continued.

Library patrons—and you don’t need a library card unless you’re checking out materials—will meet with money experts, not librarians.

Partnering with the Federal Reserve Bank in Cleveland and the Veterans Administration, the Cleveland Public Library has designed its Money Smart Week to work with veterans.

“It will be like a fair,” says Thomas, who is also a past president of the Public Library Association. “We want to get them signed up for their VA benefits. There will be different educational institutions, reps from the VA, and OhioMeansJobs [an employment initiative in Ohio].”

In Chicago, the public library is focusing on those in the sharing economy, such as Uber, Lyft, or Airbnb, who are now figuring out tax questions.

“IRS Taxpayer Advocates will be on hand to help patrons in the sharing economy,” Thomas said. “Other libraries are focusing specifically on children 5–8 years of age learning money management.”

In Pickerington, Ohio, a library will have a grocery store providing tips on how to manage the food budget.

“Every library is doing what it thinks is important for their community,” Thomas says, noting that no one socioeconomic group is targeted. “Everyone can learn to budget their funds better.”

“Money Smart Week shines a light on what libraries do,” says Thomas. “Libraries do this kind of programming all the time.”

To learn about activities at your local library, visit the Money Smart Week website.

The post Money Smart Week Helps Keep You in the Black appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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You Could Save Money by Ditching These Disposables and Buying Reusables


Saving the planet doesn’t always come cheap.

Many of the disposable products we often use and love are easy to access at low prices, making them preferred over their reusable counterparts.

But the convenience of disposable products often comes at a steep cost to the environment. Plastic bags and straws pollute the ocean and end up being ingested by sea animals. Disposable diapers take hundreds of years to decompose in landfills.

Buying reusable products may cost more up front, but you may be surprised to find out how soon they end up paying for themselves since you can use them again and again instead of buying more of the disposable versions.

We took five household products and compared the costs of the reusable versions to the disposable versions. The prices were sourced from Amazon on April 6, 2018.

Straws

A reusable straw costing $ 1.19 each is equal to the cost of about 30 disposable straws at 4 cents each. After 30 uses, the reusable straw has essentially paid for itself.

Water Bottles

One reusable water bottle costing $ 13.88 is equal to the cost of about 63 single-use water bottles at 22 cents each. After 63 uses, the reusable water bottle has essentially paid for itself.

Diapers

One cloth diaper costing $ 4.50 is equal to the cost of about 16 disposable diapers at 28 cents each. The cloth diaper has essentially paid for itself after 16 diaper changes.

Sandwich Bags

One reusable sandwich bag at $ 5.75 each is equal to the cost of about 192 plastic sandwich bags at 3 cents each. After 192 uses, the reusable sandwich bag has essentially paid for itself.

Paper Towels

One cloth kitchen towel costing $ 1.33 is only slightly more than the cost of one roll of paper towels at a cost of $ 1.10 per roll.

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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The Money Behind Coachella and Beyoncé’s Epic Performance

Despite being notorious for attracting the most reprehensibly privileged, culture-appropriating people on the planet, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival rakes in big bucks each year. Every April, thousands of music lovers convene in Indio, California, for the two-weekend concert that features an array of artists, from superstars like The Weekend to up-and-coming indie artists.

#Beychella

A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on


This year, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter became the first African American woman to headline the mega-fest. On Saturday, Queen Bey delivered a dynamic, unapologetically black performance that paid tribute to HBCUs, Malcolm X, Nina Simone, and African queen Nefertiti. It was marked by a live marching band, an army of 100 dancers, costume changes, and cameos from Destiny Child, Jay-Z, and Solange. It was epic and it likely cost hundreds of thousands of dollars—if not a million—to produce.

Following the performance, which has been dubbed “Beychella,” the Grammy Award-winner announced that she will donate $ 100,000 to four different HBCUs. As part of her BeyGOOD initiative, one student Tuskegee University, Bethune-Cookman University, Xavier University of Louisiana and Wilberforce University will receive $ 25,000 each for the 2018-2019 academic year.

Money Moves

Just days before hitting the stage at Coachella, Belcalis “Cardi B” Almanzar revealed that she will earn $ 70,000 for each of her two performances. However, because she planned on spending around $ 300,000 of her own money on her stage set, she’ll actually take a financial hit. She explained during a recent appearance on SiriusXM’s Hip Hop Nation that the festival was booked in 2017 when she wasn’t quite as popular, which, therefore may have compromised her star power to negotiate higher pay.

“We booked Coachella like six or seven months ago,” she said on April 10. “So, I’m getting paid for Coachella like 70 [thousand] a day. I’ve been booked for this. Then it’s like, I have to invest so much money on my stage set—my own money that I have to go to Wells Fargo and write a check. It’s crazy. Almost $ 300,000.”



 

This left us wondering if Cardi B received $ 140,000 then how much did Beyoncé earn minus the overhead for her over-the-top production costs?  According to Quora, the amount that artists are paid to perform at music festivals depends on their popularity, the festival’s budget, and how many slots are open in the lineup.

The price for an artist or a band also fluctuates depending on how successful they were the year before. “You can imagine that a band that releases an album right before a festival lineup is arranged will probably earn more than if they didn’t put out an album for a whole year,” writes Quora. It continues:

“Another simple way to evaluate how much bands might be getting paid at a festival is by looking at the lineup post. The bigger the font the bigger the cash! Bands at the bottom of the lineup in the tiniest font sometimes might not even get paid much if they get paid at all because the organizers of the festivals are really doing these bands a favor. Not only are they getting a ton of exposure by being on a lineup with other high profile names, they’re also going to get a huge audience at the festival.”

Last year, it was reported that Beyoncé received $ 1 million just for initially signing on to perform at Coachella in 2017 even without performing thanks to an insurance policy that is commonly signed by entertainers. Because she was pregnant with twins, she ended up canceling. According to a policy obtained by TMZ, the insurance covers an artist’s fee for “incapacity,” which typically includes complications from a high-risk pregnancy.

The Business of Coachella

The festival is run by billionaire Republican donor Philip Anschutz, the founder of the festival’s parent company Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG). AEG and AEG Live operate Goldenvoice, the company that launched Coachella in 1999. Despite the controversy surrounding Anschutz and his conservative views, the festival’s popularity and profit have soared over the last decade, making it the most profitable festival in the U.S. Back in 2007 it generated $ 16 million when it was still a one-weekend show. Five years later, the festival earned $ 47.3 million in 2012 after moving the celebration to two weekends.

In 2015, Coachella made just over $ 84 million in ticket sales and became the highest-grossing music festival in the world that year. That does not include the revenue it generated from merchandise and food and beverage sales. It topped $ 100 million in earnings in 2016 and then again in 2017 when it profited a record-breaking $ 114 million.

The festival will likely earn big bucks once again this year since its pricey tickets—which ranged from $ 429 for general admission to nearly $ 1,000 for VIP passes—sold out within a few hours after they went on sale on Jan. 5, 2018.

The post The Money Behind Coachella and Beyoncé’s Epic Performance appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Facebook COO: Privacy would cost money

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8 Simple Money Moves to Make Today if You Live in Pennsylvania


We’re pretty sweet on Pennsylvania.

First of all, the state is home to Hershey, the Chocolate Capital of the U.S. So naturally, we’re big fans.

Literal sweetness aside, Pennsylvania also has a pretty sweet track record of historical firsts. The state housed the first presidential mansion. Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag here (supposedly). And the first daily newspaper was published in your bounds.

You, Pennsylvanians should swell with pride. (I, after all, live in the state represented by Florida Man.)

We think that pride should extend to all areas of your life  — including your finances.

If you live in Pennsylvania and are looking to get your finances on track, breathe a deep sigh of relief, then start with these simple financial tips.

1. Get Your Debt Under Wraps

A woman smiles as she checks out her credit score.
Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

If you have lingering debt, you’ll want to hash out a plan to pay it off, which, we’ve found, you could do in as little as 13 minutes.

One simple step worth considering? Refinance or consolidate your credit card debt. This can make your debt easier to manage and slash your interest — meaning more of your monthly payments will actually go toward the principal (the meat of what you’re trying to pay off).

You can get a free quote online (no, it won’t affect your credit score) through Even Financial.

Even searches top online lenders to match you with the best personalized loan for your situation. It can help you borrow up to $ 100,000 (no collateral needed) with fixed rates starting at 4.99% and terms from 24 to 84 months.

2. Take a Good Look at Your Financial Health

This app kind of rules them all: MoneyLion is an all-in-one app for managing your personal finances.

Basically, it offers the financial services you’d typically get from three or four different banks or providers, and they’re all bundled into one place.

MoneyLion connects with all of your bank, credit card, student loan and other financial accounts. Based on your income and spending patterns, it offers personalized advice to help you save money, reduce your debt and improve your credit.

One of our favorite things about this app is the rewards feature.

Targeted at the financial middle class, MoneyLion offers rewards to help you develop healthy financial habits. The rewards program gives you points for taking actions like:

  • Connecting a bank account.
  • Signing up for credit monitoring.
  • Paying your bills on time.
  • Keeping your credit utilization low.

The points can be redeemed for gift cards to retailers like Amazon, Apple and Walmart. It’s like giving American Express-style rewards to customers who might not have a points-earning credit card.

3. Comparison Shop for All Kinds of Insurance

A man becomes excited while checking out Young Alfred.
Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

Buying insurance is confusing and time consuming. All those options. All that jargon. All that fine print. It’s like you need a magic decoder ring to find the right insurance policy.

Looking for some advice? Ask Young Alfred.

Billed as “your new, hip family butler,” Young Alfred is actually an online insurance agency that does your comparison shopping for you.

It specializes in homeowners, auto and renters insurance. Here’s how it works:

  1. You fill out an online form that asks you a number of questions about what you need. This takes five minutes, tops.
  2. Young Alfred uses its proprietary software to process your application. It compares policies from more than a dozen insurance carriers.
  3. Based on your profile, it suggests ways you should consider modifying your insurance coverage.
  4. Based on your needs, it recommends three insurance policies that’ll give you the most bang for your buck. It shows you a side-by-side comparison of the three policies’ prices and coverage in an easy-to-understand format.

You can get a new insurance policy right from the website.

Young Alfred is currently doing business in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and some parts of New York, and it plans to expand into other states.

4. Prevent Future Credit Card Debt

Once you get your debt under control, make sure you aren’t racking up your spending again. To help keep you accountable, try using a new app called Debitize, which basically turns your credit card into a debit card, for free. With it, you can connect any credit card to a checking account.

Whenever you swipe your credit card, Debitize pulls the same amount of cash from your bank account. It stores the cash for you until it’s time to pay your credit card bill. Then it pays that bill for you a week before the due date.

It’s the best of both worlds: You can build credit and get those sweet credit card perks, and also prevent yourself from running up unmanageable debt.

5. Cut Your Monthly Bills Down

Money that's been shredded is photographed.
Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

Once you’ve started keeping better tabs on your bills, you’ll be able to see exactly how much you’re paying where.

At first, it might feel intimidating, but we’ve got a few simple tricks to help you negotiate these monthly bills.

  • For your internet and cable bill, use Trim, an automated bot that’ll negotiate your rates on your behalf. It’ll also keep an eye on any outages, like that big Comcast outage that happened. Trim will help you get reimbursed for any lost time.
  • For your monstrous cell phone bill, try switching to a discount prepaid phone carrier like US Mobile, where the average user’s monthly phone bill is $ 15. This can save folks on average more than $ 680 a year. Want to see if the switch could be worth it? Run a hypothetical.

 

  • For your monthly mortgage payments, look into refinancing for better interest rates. To save yourself time and money, consider Lenda*, a rapidly growing online mortgage broker. Lenda is using cutting-edge technology to streamline this whole process. You do everything online. By automating and digitizing its processes, the company says it saves homebuyers an average of $ 409 per month in loan repayments.

 

*Lenda Disclosure: This content is provided by Lenda, an advertiser. The Penny Hoarder does not provide home mortgage loans or mortgage recommendations. Lenda is the mortgage originator. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Finance Lender Law License No. 60DBO68584. Lenda loans are originated by Lenda, Inc, NMLS #991398. Terms and Conditions apply; see https://www.lenda.com/terms_of_use for details. Mortgages are not available in all states. See the Lenda eligibility list. https://www.lenda.com/licensing. Lenda, Inc, 44 Tehama Street, San Francisco, CA 94123.

Want to learn about more ways you can cut those seemingly unavoidable monthly bills? We’ve got some ideas over here.

6. Automate Your Savings

Not to be a total pessimist here, but many of us aren’t the savviest of savers. We’re almost convinced this is just part of the human condition — that maybe we’re born with it.

We’ve got good news, though. Some simple tricks can help you gradually build a stash of cash.

That’s where micro-savings apps come into the picture — like Stash.

With its Smart-Save feature, Stash users can automatically tuck money into an emergency fund (or a vacation reserve) without thinking.

Let us walk you through how it works:

 

  1. Sign up for Stash in about two minutes, tops. Plus, you’ll get a $ 5 bonus just for opening your account!
  2. Connect your checking account to the app.
  3. Smart-Save does the rest, analyzing your available funds, spending and income to calculate exactly how much you can afford to save.
  4. Watch the automated savings build.

If you’re tight on money one week, you can easily turn off the automated feature. Or if you need to tap into your savings, you can withdraw at any time.

Plus, it’s nice knowing Stash will never cause you to spin into overdraft. If your balance is low, Smart-Save won’t initiate a transfer.

Sneak a peek at Stash’s Smart-Save feature — then try to say that five times fast…

Please note, the Smart-Save feature is not a savings account offered by a bank. Smart-Save is a feature that may be turned on and connected to the checking account that is linked to your Stash Invest account.

7. Make Your Money Work For You

A home in St. Petersburg, Florida is photographed.
Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

Once you’ve got your debt under control and a savings started, consider setting a passive income stream.

You might have to put in some time and money upfront, but then you’ll be able to reap the benefits. One way to tap into passive income is to invest in real estate.

While this might not traditionally be the most reasonable investment for most of us, we found some simple ways to invest with as little as $ 500.

Through the Fundrise Starter Portfolio, your money will be split into two portfolios that support private real estate around the United States.

This isn’t an obscure investment, though. You can see exactly which properties are included in your portfolios — like a set of townhomes in Snoqualmie, Washington, or an apartment building in Charlotte, North Carolina.

You can earn money through quarterly dividend payments and potential appreciation in the value of your shares, just like a stock. Cash flow typically comes from interest payments and property income (e.g. rent).

(But remember: Investments come with risk. While Fundrise has paid distributions every quarter since at least Q2 2016, dividend and principal payments are never guaranteed.)

You’ll pay a 0.85% annual asset management fee and a 0.15% annual investment advisory fee.

Interested? Get started with Fundrise here.

If you want to learn more, brush up with our beginner’s guide to passive income.

8. Get on the Fast Track to Retirement

Got a 401(k)? You’re on the right track.

Now you just need to make sure it’s doing what you need it to. However, tapping into that account and deciphering the information — or lack thereof — can be hard.

There’s a robo-advisor for that. Blooom, an SEC-registered investment advisory firm, will optimize and monitor your 401(k) for you.

It gives you an initial 401(k) checkup for free, and you’ll get to know your account a little more intimately. Find out if you’re paying too many hidden fees, have the appropriate amount invested in stocks versus bonds, that kind of fun stuff.

After that, the tool is $ 10 a month to use to continue to monitor your retirement account. Let Blooom know your target retirement age, and it can help you get there by investing more and less aggressively.

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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3 Negotiation and Money Moves Success Stories For Women

Salary negotiation is a partial solution to the gender pay gap, yet many women struggle with making the ask for more money, flexibility, or opportunity. We caught up with a few corporate professionals and women entrepreneurs for their best negotiation tips.

Nathalie Cazeau, Recruiter, Capstone Hill Search Limited

Women have so much to offer, yet we always find ourselves hesitant to talk about our worth and values when it comes to negotiating, which hurts us in the long run. When offered a salary, don’t be afraid to present a counteroffer, especially if the one offered is not between 15% to 20% above your current salary. Have a range in mind, but always seek a salary offer at the top of the range. For instance, if you’re seeking a salary of $ 75,000, don’t propose a range of $ 70,000- $ 75,000, because the employer will most likely lowball you.

Jennifer (Young) McNeil, Project Manager, PulseLearning Global

While I was interviewing and hiring as a project manager at Computer Sciences Corp. and C2 Technologies, I was always disappointed when a woman would accept the first offer I made. In my experience, men never accepted the first offer. I always had at least another $ 2,000 a year or so I could offer a candidate, without even going back to my boss for approval. Or I could agree to a one-time hiring bonus. Or maybe your clincher is an additional vacation. Don’t be afraid to ask. No one withdraws an offer because you asked for more!

You will never catch up if you don’t start on even footing. Ask for a raise when you’ve earned it. Twice I was given pseudo-promotions—the kind with more responsibility, but no job title or salary increase. The first one, I refused to take until I got the title. If I were moving from being the programmer to the supervisor, I would have the supervisor title or no deal. Responsibilities without authority never work well. The second time, after proving I could do the job, I asked for the raise I’d earned.

Vallicia Lowe, Business Technology Delivery Manager at Accenture

As a consultant, I work with clients in different locations. Last year I had the opportunity to work on my first project away from home. I have a 3-year-old daughter, so I couldn’t see myself being away from her for so long. Since every client must sit down with the consultant prior to the start of the project, I decided to do an early breakfast meeting. Initially, we discussed our experiences and some of her daily concerns in her role, basically what keeps her up at night. I asked what their immediate needs were and long-term plans for their future development. I made it very clear how I could help, my only concern was being away from home. I asked would it be possible for the company to provide corporate housing rather than a hotel. The client understood and I was able to live with my daughter in a beautiful luxury apartment around the corner from the office. It was the most liberating feeling in the world to stand up for myself and be able to effectively communicate my ability to meet my clients’ short-term and long-term needs.

I start the negotiation highlighting how I can support the business or organization and the added value I can provide outside of the scope of the role. Also highlighting how most businesses pay two people for the level of service you’re able to provide is helpful. If you can clearly relay a story on how you’ve accomplished this in the past, I believe it truly helps the client understand the value you add.

I’ve learned to have to faith in the biblical saying, “You have not because you ask not.” Meaning, if you don’t ask you’ll never know what you could’ve received.

Stay tuned for our women entrepreneurs. 

The post 3 Negotiation and Money Moves Success Stories For Women appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Maybe Amazon isn’t the best company to be teaching teens about money management

Amazon Checking Account

On top of looking to sell you everything available on this planet, and then some – as long as your product doesn’t compete with theirs – Amazon is reportedly looking to become your banker too. The company is currently looking at ways to offer customers Amazon checking accounts, with teens being the primary target.

Amazon isn’t only looking to get a hold of the younger audience, and turn teens into Amazon customers and, in time, lock them into the Amazon shopping experience. But also to make a buck in the process. And it looks like teens are open to doing their banking with Amazon, even if that involves a monthly fee.

Continue reading…

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Maybe Amazon isn’t the best company to be teaching teens about money management originally appeared on BGR.com on Thu, 29 Mar 2018 at 23:34:39 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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Trump’s three-front legal war turns on sex, money and Russia

A barrage of revelations and court gambits over the last 48 hours has left President Donald Trump and his shrinking legal team fighting an escalating battle on multiple fronts — involving an explosive triumvirate of sex, Russia and money.


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Millennial Moves: Luvvie Ajayi shares some of her money lessons

If you’re serious about managing your money and taking actionable steps to reaching your financial goals, it might help to get some insight from Luvvie Ajayi. The New York Times best-selling author, advocate, blogger, TED speaker, award-winning writer, and now, podcaster, chatted finances on the “MAKERS Money” series last week, hosted by Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and co-Founder of Ellevest, the digital investment and planning company geared toward women.

Ajayi captured the attention of many after the instant success of her 2016 best-selling book, I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual, a series of her thoughtful and witty essays that dished up some much-needed social commentary and called out bad behavior in our current culture. Her straightforward and sassy voice attracted Oprah Winfrey, who selected her as part of the inaugural SuperSoul 100 list, and Shonda Rhimes, who in 2017 acquired the rights to Ajayi’s book in an effort to develop her first comedy series for cable TV.

Ajayi’s inspirational TED Talk on how to get comfortable with being uncomfortable has over 1 million views and counting. And recently, she also made headlines for co-creating blackwomeninpolitics.com, an online database of all the black women running for office in 2018.

 

With such an extensive list of accomplishments and a message that attracts the masses, we figured the BE audience would be interested in hearing what she has to say about managing finances. The women behind MAKERS were interested too.

“The future of women’s leadership is alive and well and there was no better way for us to showcase that leadership than to have a stand out like Luvvie Ajayi on the “MAKERS Money” series, said Nancy Armstrong,  executive producer of the “MAKERS Money” series and executive producer at MAKERS, the media platform that showcases the stories of trailblazing women. The series, created and produced by MAKERS and Yahoo Finance in partnership with Ellevest, features weekly advice for women from top female financial experts.

When given the opportunity to catch up with Ajayi in light of the “MAKERS Money” episode, which you can find here, we couldn’t say no. The influencer and thought-leader shared some of her personal experiences with money and why it’s important to gain and improve money management skills.

How important are money and financial health to you? Why?

Financial health is important because when you have a strong financial platform, that’s one less thing to worry about, especially when you’re running your own business.

You said the stupidest thing you did with your money was to keep it in a savings account. How so? And how did you change that?

We’ve been told too many times to put our money in a savings account, we say that’s all we need to do. But there the money is rarely growing, there’s a less than 1% growth. In that sense, it’s like you’re losing money and it’s not doing anything, it’s just stagnant and losing value. When I started making money I realized I could be doing more with it. When you’re investing your money, you can easily get a 4% return.

What would you say to the woman who is considering investing her money but is afraid to?
I would say get a financial adviser, you don’t have to jump into the well by yourself. If you’re not an expert at something you’re bound to feel less confident at doing it, so you want to get more educated and know what you’re putting your money into, know what it means to invest. A financial adviser will walk you through it easily.

You said the smartest thing you did with your money was to buy your own home. Why was that the smartest thing you did, and why is that so important to you?

It’s one of the biggest kinds of investments and it’s a commitment. I think it’s a goal people should strive for but I don’t necessarily think that not owning a home makes you a bad financial planner; it’s different for everybody.

As you were in your journey from being laid off to becoming the successful, influential person you are today, were there any money habits that you adhered to? How did you address the financial uncertainty that comes with transitions like that?

I tried to live below my means at that time. I tried to save for a time, putting some money away, and that’s the habit you need.

Who would you say is your best financial adviser?

There is not just one person, I did a lot of studying, read a lot of books, read a lot of websites. But it would probably be my mom—she’s always lived below her means too, so I probably got some of that from her. she was never wasteful.

Self-care and finances, do you see a correlation between the two? How can we use our finances and the habits we develop around our money as a form of self-care? 

[The money-saving habits] provide something less for you to worry about. You’ll have disposable income, you can then go get massages or facials on a regular basis. Everything is tied to money, especially self-care. And when you have disposable income, you have more room to do the things that might increase your value of life.

Why do you think that women should have conversations about money & finances?

I’m glad to have had the opportunity to talk about finances on MAKERS. A lot of times men are told how to grow and spend their money, and women are often left out of that conversation.

 

The post Millennial Moves: Luvvie Ajayi shares some of her money lessons appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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21 Simple Ways for Women to Make Extra Money in Their Free Time


Despite what my alumni association and dozens of credit card offers — so cordially addressed to “Mr. Kohler” — would have you believe, I, Carson Kohler, am in fact a woman.

And I’m a woman who likes to make money.

Sure, I have a full-time job with a solid salary and benefits. But I can always use extra cash to help out with rent, groceries and unnecessary splurges.

In my search for income, I found a ton of ways women can make money (without necessarily welcoming unknown humans into your car), including starting a work-from-home business, investing in real estate online and even becoming a mermaid.

21 Ways for Women to Make Money

In the words of Shania Twain: “Let’s go, girls.”

1. Start a Work-From-Home Business

Woman sitting on couch with laptop
Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

Working from home is the dream, right?

But sometimes you don’t want to slip into any ol‘ customer service gig. Try striking up your own home-based business. You’ll truly get to set your own hours and determine your week’s workload.

If you’re not sure where to start, this free online course from Proofread Anywhere will lay it all out for you.

Joanna Kelley, a mom of three, discovered Proofread Anywhere and decided to give the free seven-day introductory course a try. Now, she works five to 20 hours a week and makes up to $ 1,200 a month in her own time.

Curious about that free course? Get started with Proofread Anywhere here.

2. Invest in Real Estate (Online)

Want to try real-estate investing — without playing landlord? We found a company that helps you do just that.

Oh, and you don’t have to have hundreds of thousands of dollars, either. You can get started with a minimum investment of just $ 500. A company called Fundrise does all the heavy lifting for you.

Through the Fundrise Starter Portfolio, your money will be split into two portfolios that support private real estate around the United States.

This isn’t an obscure investment, though. You can see exactly which properties are included in your portfolios — like a set of townhomes in Snoqualmie, Washington, or an apartment building in Charlotte, North Carolina.

You can earn money through interest payments and property income (e.g. rent). You’ll get paid via quarterly distributions, plus extra periodic distributions if properties are sold.

(But remember: Investments come with risk. While Fundrise has paid distributions every quarter since at least Q2 2016, your payment is never guaranteed.)

You’ll pay a 0.85% annual asset management fee and a 0.15% annual investment advisory fee.

Interested? Get started with Fundrise here.

3. Stock up Your Coins

Picture of coins in a jar
Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

Acorns is a simple savings and investment app that rounds your credit or debit card purchases up to the nearest dollar and invests the digital change.

You can connect the app to your credit or debit card and let it automatically round up all your transactions, or manually round up only the ones you choose.

Contributor CJ Reid does the latter, accepting roundups of less than $ 0.50, such as her $ 3.60 cup of coffee.

“Rounding up 40 cents here and 25 cents there moves me swiftly enough to $ 5 so that I can begin investing without putting myself into the red,” she says.

Once your round ups reach $ 5, that amount will be transferred from your bank to your Acorns account, and invested into your chosen portfolio.

“Acorns makes it easy to invest by removing the responsibility of choosing individual investments or worrying about trades,” Reid explains. “You don’t need any previous investment knowledge or history.”

And once you get the process automated, Acorns investments make your digital change work for you.

“With a conservative portfolio,” Reid says, “I turned $ 15 into $ 19 within a few weeks.”

Bonus: Right now, Acorns will give you $ 10 after you sign up and make your first investment.

4. Earn Cash Back on Your Purchases Automatically

The Drop app wants to… drop some cash in your wallet.

Link your credit and debit cards, and you’ll earn points whenever you make a qualifying purchase.

This can happen when you’re grocery shopping, hailing an Uber or even ordering a pizza. The points will add up, and you can exchange them for gift cards to popular retailers like Amazon and Starbucks.

You can sign up and download the app here.

5. Teach English Online

Young woman sitting at her desktop computer
AleksandarNakic/Getty Images

Always dreamt of moving abroad to teach English as a second language, but have commitments stateside? Thanks to the internet, you can still share your knowledge with students in China.

VIPKID is hiring part-time ESL teachers to work at least 7.5 hours per week, mostly on weekday mornings and weekend evenings. You’ll need a bachelor’s degree, plus experience working with kids ages 5 to 12.

The base pay is between $ 7 and $ 9 per half-hour session, and with bonuses, the company states you can earn up to $ 22 an hour.

6. Swim out Your Lifelong Dream as a Professional Mermaid

A mermaid performs at Weeki Wachee
Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

Y’all. Childhood dreams do come true.

Various parks, aquariums and bars/lounges around the U.S. employ women to perform as mermaids.

We spent a day with professional mermaids at Weeki Wachee State Park in Florida to find out what it’s like living under the sea. We even visited a mermaid-hiring event.

The only catch? You’ve got to be a strong swimmer. You’ve also got to be willing to make at most $ 12 an hour as a Florida state worker.

But, hey, for some, living out a lifelong dream is worth it.

(Note: The park also employs princes.)

7. Serve as a Mock Juror

Like every other person these days, I’ve become obsessed with true-crime podcasts. “My Favorite Murder,” anyone?

If you want an insider look at what happens when a case hits the courtroom, you can serve as an online mock juror. As a mock juror, you’ll help lawyers prepare for real cases. You can earn $ 10 to $ 60 for about an hour of your time.

From your computer, you’ll review evidence including documents, videos and photos.

8. Get Paid to Get Fit

Women exercising
Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

Listen. Losing weight and getting fit is easier said than done. (I’ve been saying this for years now, and I haven’t gotten it done…)

But will a little bit of money motivate you?

It’s motivating Marcie Hagner, who has placed a bet on her weight-loss goals through HealthyWage. If she can lose the 50 pounds she bet she could, she’ll pocket $ 862.

Read more about how she’s finding motivation to lose weight through HealthyWage.

9. Consider a Different Kind of Ride Sharing

Detail of woman holding a cell phone

We constantly hear about ride-sharing services, but to be honest, I wouldn’t feel super safe driving into an unfamiliar part of town and picking up an unfamiliar person.

If you do, that’s great. If not, there are some solid alternatives out there, including a ride-sharing service for kids called HopSkipDrive. The idea sparked when three moms, who struggled to juggle full-time jobs with shuffling their kids around town, put their heads together.

You can earn money through the app as a CareDriver, contractors who are thoroughly vetted and pick up kids from school, soccer practice, a ballet rehearsal… you name it. HopSkipDrive says drivers make up to $ 30 an hour.

The service is only available in California right now, but keep an eye out for news of expansion.

10. Earn Cash Back for Online Purchases

If you do a chunk of your shopping online, you could be missing out on some extra money.

Sign up for Paribus, a tool that gets you money back for your online purchases.

It’s free to sign up, and once you do, it will scan your email archives for any receipts. If it discovers you’ve purchased something from one of its participating retailers, it will track the item’s price and issue you a refund anytime there’s a price drop.

You don’t have to do anything.

Plus, if something shows up late, Paribus will help you get money back for what you paid for shipping — up to a full refund.

11. Swipe for Cash Back on Everything

Woman paying with a credit card
Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

If you’re looking for a passive way to earn some money throughout the year, a cash-back credit card is perhaps one of the easiest methods.

You just have to be sure you don’t get too carried away with those purchases — and that the card is paid off at the end of each billing period.

Here’s an option we like: It’s the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. Its claim to fame? You’ll earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all your purchases. Plus, if you spend $ 500 in your first three months of opening the card (hi, groceries), you’ll pocket a $ 150 bonus.

There’s no annual fee, and the cash-back rewards don’t expire. We checked Credible’s annual rewards calculator, and it estimates $ 417 in annual rewards based on our spending habits.* (You can enter your unique spending habits and see what you’d earn, too.)

Get signed up — and 0% intro APR for 15 months — here.

12. Deliver Takeout

Girl eats pizza
Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

Sweet, sweet takeout. Sure, you love it. You probably spend too much money on it. Don’t we all? Earn some of those expenses back by delivering orders to others through Uber Eats.

For Uber Eats, requirements vary by location but tend to require you to:

  • Be at least 19 years old if delivering by car.
  • Deliver via car (must be a 1997 or newer with at least two doors), bike, scooter or foot depending on your area.
  • Pass a background check.
  • Have a valid driver’s license and insurance (if you deliver by car or scooter).

For all the information you need, head over to the Uber Eats sign-up page.

13. Rent out Your Old Baby Gear

Mother walks twin boys
Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

Are you a mom?

You’ve probably got a lot of baby gear. Think: a crib, a car seat, a playset. Don’t let them collect dust when your kid starts growing out of all that stuff. You can rent out those old baby necessities to traveling parents. Because it costs how much to check a stroller on a plane?!

Check out this peer-to-peer rental site called goBaby. There, parents who are traveling can hit you up for that stroller or car seat so they don’t have to travel with the cumbersome gear.

And you can make some money. Sounds like a win-win.

14. Share Your Unique Experiences

As a freelance blogger, you can work as much or little as you want, so this makes a nice side gig.

Here are some of our favorite resources for freelancers. These include everything from how to make up to six figures to how to keep track of your income.

15. Rent out Your Car

Woman gets in her car
Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

If you own a reliable vehicle, but leave it sitting in your driveway all the time, you could turn it into an income stream by renting it out!

Through Turo, you can rent your car to a community of approved drivers.

Here’s how it works:

  • Create a calendar to let travelers know when your car is available.
  • You’ll get notified when someone requests your car. Just coordinate a meeting place, or deliver the car right to the traveler at the airport or other location.
  • Get paid!

Turo will dynamically set your car’s rental price based on market value, location, time of year and other data. For a car with a market value of $ 10,000, Turo suggests you could earn about $ 1,800 a year renting it just five days a month.

You’ll earn 65% to 85% of the trip price, depending on the vehicle protection package you choose. If you provide your own commercial rental insurance, you’ll earn 90%.

Sign up here to get started.

16. Make Money via Amazon

Sure, you might spend a lot of money on Amazon, but you can also make a lot of money on the platform, too.

Consider: Selling products, becoming a work-from-home customer service agent or delivering packages through Amazon Flex. The options are endless… well, until you hit 11 because we rounded up 11 ways to make money on Amazon.

17. Cash in on Minimalism

Female clothes on clothing rack.
I_rinka/Getty Images

Living that #Minimalist lifestyle is all the rage right now, so why not use this mentality to your advantage?

Start taking a good hard look at your belongings. What do you actually need? What can you make money from?

  • Clothes: If you have clothes you haven’t worn in the last year, why do you hang onto them? Try selling them to folks in your area through an online marketplace like Letgo. It takes about five minutes to create your account and list an item, and it’s free.
  • Technology: About your overcrowded entertainment center, likely full of outdated music and movies… Consider selling these items to Decluttr. It’ll buy your old CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, video games and even cell phones and tablets. Shipping is free, and Decluttr pays you within 24 hours of retrieval.
  • Books: Bookshelf collecting dust? We love books as much as the next person, but see whether your treasures are worth anything by simply searching their ISBNs at Bookscouter. The platform searches dozens of buyback sites to see where you could get the most money.
  • Gift cards: While you’re digging out those stiff winter coats, check the pockets. You might come across a gift card or two in there. If you do, sell it for rent money through a gift-card exchange site like Raise.

Ready, set, purge.

18. Sell Your Doodles

If you have a knack for designing and drawing, you can submit your creations to become rubber stamps through an online retailer like Azeeda, formerly Stamp-Press.

As a stamp designer for Azeeda, you’ll submit your designs and, if accepted, you’ll get paid on commission.

Learn more about submitting your designs for stamps, stencils and gift tags.

19. Strike a Prose

Woman walks down road
Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

I cannot tell a lie: I’ve spent way too long in way too many greeting card aisles.

If you’re struggling to pick out the perfect prose, why not just get paid to write some new cards of your own?

We rounded up eight greeting card companies that will accept your submissions.

20. Get Paid to Enjoy Spa Treatments

Spa day, anyone? Sign me up. Get paid for it? Heck yeah!

Wondering how? Two words: Mystery shopping.

Mystery shopping is the act of posing as a customer but secretly reviewing services and products — and getting paid to do so. You can get paid to go mystery shopping for just about anything, including spa treatments.

Penny Hoarder contributor Steve Gillman put together a list of mystery shopper jobs, and, yes, one includes going to the spa.

You’re welcome.

21. Fill This out While You Watch TV

Young woman sitting on the bed holding baby and remote controler
South_agency/Getty Images

Surveys aren’t our favorite way to make money, but if you’re just vegging out on the couch, why not click a couple buttons and earn a few bucks?

Here are some of the best paid survey sites we’ve found:

You might recognize the Ipsos Panel name because it’s the same company that does most of the political polling during elections. It also has a survey app called i-Say that pays you for your opinions.

Some of the top-end surveys can pay up to $ 95, but those are rare and can take a while to complete. Most surveys pay a buck or two and only take 10 to 15 minutes.

Also, i-Say rewards you with points you can redeem for cash via PayPal or gift cards to Amazon, iTunes and others. (For example, you can redeem 1,000 points for a $ 10 PayPal deposit).

Opinion Outpost offers surveys from all kinds of businesses and organizations. Most of them take around 10 minutes to complete and will earn you points you can redeem for free gift cards to places like Amazon and iTunes.

What sets it apart from other survey sites is it gives away $ 40,000 every year. It has a quarterly drawing for a $ 10,000 cash prize — and for every survey you complete, you’ll get one entry into the sweepstakes!

OK Now Ladies…

Yeaaahhhh?

Whether you’re looking for ways to make rent, start investing or even just treat yourself to a vacation, it’s time to make some money.

See you at the next mermaid tryouts.

*Annual Rewards amounts will change based on the amounts you enter. The monthly spending category names and definitions may vary among issuers, and categories may not align one-to-one.

The information for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card has been collected independently by The Penny Hoarder. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. The Penny Hoarder is a partner of Credible.

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s humming along to Shania Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like a Woman.”

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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Weinstein Owes Money to Malia Obama, David Bowie and Thousands More

Bryan Bedder

David Bowie, Malia Obama, and Robert De Niro are among the thousands of creditors who are owed money by The Weinstein Company, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this week following the Harvey Weinstein sex scandal. However, it has been revealed harassment victims may get nothing from the troubled corporation.

An exhaustive 394-page list of creditors has been published as part of the company’s filings.

The list includes dozens of A-list stars such as Pierce Brosnan, Jennifer Lawrence, Seth Rogen, and Heidi Klum.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Money Mondays: How Social Media Affects Your Spending

You are here this morning to talk about a very interesting factor affecting the financial behavior of many Americans. What is it?

 We all have heard that phrase keeping up with the Jones’, but not many of us give much thought to how this phenomenon has changed in our era of ubiquitous technology and connection. As it turns out, the answer – specifically for millennials – is a lot. A new survey from Allianz Life has found the tendency for social media users to broadcast a very curated view of their life has financial ripple effects for many Americans.

What did the survey find?

 The survey found that FOMO (fear of missing out) drives many Americans to make poor financial decisions, and the most susceptible Americans are millennials. The report states that social media “has become the millennials’ financial Achilles’ heel.” Of the millennials survey respondents, 55% reported experiencing a fear of missing out, and 57% spent money they hadn’t planned to because of what they saw on their social media feeds.

Nearly 9 in 10 (88%) said they believe social media causes people to compare their wealth/lifestyle with others. But it is not just the younger generation. Seven in ten (71%) of Gen Xers and just over half of Baby Boomers (54%) responded the same way. And 61% of millennial respondents reported feel inadequate about their own life and what they have because of social media, with half of millennials claiming to have spent more money going out than they do on rent or mortgage.

 Is this yet another sign of millennials being fiscally irresponsible?

 You know, Tom, the funny thing is millennials do not really deserve this reputation. Witnessing their parents deal with financial hardship during the Great Recession had a profound impact on this generation, and they have taken lessons from those experiences to improve their own financial habits.

In fact, the survey found that 77% feel financially confident (compared to only 64% of Gen Xers) and 48% of those with a 401(k) contribute 10% or more on a monthly basis – the highest percentage of any other generation.

On top of this, 41% of Millennials reported they set aside a portion of their monthly earnings for savings, and 58% believe saving for retirement is a basic necessity. Finally, they are very likely to seek out help. Forty percent of millennials said they have a financial professional and work closely with them, compared to just 25% of Gen Xers.

What lessons should we take away from these findings?

All of us need to be aware of the pressures that we are exposed to when on social media. I think we are often very away of the barrage of ads we see on various platforms, but we do not necessarily think about what we see from those we are connecting with. If you are a millennial, I urge you to embrace the stock market. The survey found that nearly 6 in 10 Millennials remain skeptical of the stock market. Investing in the stock market is the best way to grow wealth for retirement.

If you are a Gen Xer or a Baby Boomer, this survey tells you there are a number of places to step up your game. Whether it is setting aside money for savings, or contributing more to your retirement, if you are in these generations, you must take these lessons to heart. Having a safety net and building your nest egg are even more important when you are making the most money and getting closer to retirement.

Mellody Hobson is President of Ariel Investments, a Chicago-based money management firm that serves individual investors and retirement plans through its no-load mutual funds and separate accounts. Additionally, she is a regular financial contributor and analyst for CBS News.

 

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UMBC’s Historic March Madness Upset Made a Bunch of Other Universities a Ton of Money

UMBC made more than history in the NCAA Tournament.

By becoming the first No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1, the Retrievers made about $ 1.7 million for the America East Conference. Loyola-Chicago’s buzzer-beating run to the Sweet 16 will be worth double that to the Missouri Valley Conference. Nevada’s consecutive comebacks were also worth about $ 3.4 million for the Mountain West. The MVC and Mountain West will pocket at least as much from NCAA Tournament units as the Pac-12, which had three teams in the field, all bounced after one game each.

Units are what the NCAA calls its revenue distributions from the basketball performance fund, which rewards teams for tournament performance. The NCAA Tournament generates more than $ 700 million in revenue for the association and its schools, the vast majority from its media rights deal with CBS and Turner.

Units for this year’s tournament are worth approximately $ 273,000, according to the NCAA, but their value ends up being greater than that.

The units are paid out annually each of the next six years, increasing in value each year by about 2-3 percent. The payout system means that one upset by UMBC should be worth more than $ 1.7 million. Units are earned every game a team appears in, with the exception of the first game played by an automatic qualifier and the NCAA championship game.

The money goes to the conferences, unless the school is an independent in basketball. The NCAA encourages equal distribution by conferences among its members, but it is not required. Most do.

The Missouri Valley has in the past received multiple bids, but only champion Loyola-Chicago got in as an automatic qualifier this year. The MVC distributes the units revenue equally among 10 members — though the NCAA Tournament participants receive an additional half-share to cover travel expenses, MVC spokesman Ryan Davis said Sunday.

The Atlantic Coast Conference has been rolling in units in recent years, with a total of 64 from 2015-17, worth more than $ 100 million . This season, the ACC got nine teams into the field, more than any other conference, and placed four teams in Sweet 16. Two of them — Duke and Syracuse — play in the regional semifinals, limiting the conference’s earning potential.

The Big 12 also placed four teams in the round of 16. The Southeastern Conference and Big Ten each have two.

For the ACC — and other Power Five conferences — NCAA units account for less than 10 percent of conference revenue. The ACC reported $ 373.4 million in revenue for fiscal year 2016 — most of which comes from a television rights deals with ESPN — and paid out about $ 25 million to each of its members.

For low-major Division I schools such as UMBC and the eight other members of the America East, those units are real money.

UMBC’s athletic budget for 2017 was $ 9.3 million. NCAA records from 2010-15 show the America East earned a total of eight units and $ 2,086,514 in basketball revenue.

Over that same period of time, the Missouri Valley earned 21 units and $ 5,477,099. The Mountain West earned 33 and $ 8,606,870.

All that money helps explain why the American Athletic Conference lured tournament-regular Wichita State from the MVC last year, despite the Shockers not having a football team, and why the Mountain West is trying to strike a similar deal to pull Gonzaga out of the West Coast Conference.

The Shockers went out in the first round, upset by Marshall, Conference USA’s only tournament team. But Gonzaga is back in the Sweet 16 after padding the WCC coffers with a Final Four appearance last year.

Sports – TIME

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This New Hamilton-Dear Evan Hansen Mashup Is Raising Money for the March for Our Lives Movement

Lin-Manuel Miranda and Ben Platt joined musical forces to help raise money for the upcoming March for Our Lives organized by the student survivors of last month’s Parkland high school shooting.

The Broadway duo released a song titled “Found/Tonight,” which combines Hamilton’s “Story of Tonight” and Dear Evan Hansen‘s “You Will Be Found.” The track is inspired by the movement started by Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students in the aftermath of the shooting that left 17 dead in February. A portion of the proceeds will go to the upcoming March for Our Lives rally, a nationwide protest on March 24 initiated by Parkland shooting survivors that calls for gun control.

“These students are paving the way for future generations and it’s so inspiring to see young people standing up for what is probably the most important cause right now in this country, and demanding action,” Platt said in a statement.

The song instantly shot up to the top of the iTunes’s Top Songs by Monday morning, where it is available to purchase for $ 1.29. The Hamilton-Dear Evan Hansen mashup is also available for free on streaming platforms like Spotify. A representative from Atlantic Records did not immediately respond to a request from TIME inquiring how much money the song had raised for the March for Our Lives initiative thus far.

The song is part of Miranda’s monthly “Hamildrops” releases and was produced by Alex Lacamoire, who served as the musical supervisor on both Tony Award-winning musicals.

While from fundamentally different shows set hundreds of years apart, the two songs grapple with adolescence and community. Hamilton‘s “Story of Tonight” depicts the burgeoning revolutionaries on the cusp of fighting for America’s independence reflecting on impact and legacy. “You Will Be Found,” written by Dear Evan Hansen‘s Justin Paul and Benj Pasek, follows a teenager — originally played by Platt — struggling with social anxiety and using a newfound platform to tell others they are not alone.

Cameron Kasky, one of the Stoneman Douglas students leading the charge on gun control, tweeted that the two musical theater stars “did something amazing.” “I also cried,” he added.

The collaboration also appears to have also struck a chord with musical theater fans. Indeed, Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen won numerous Tony Awards in 2016 and 2017, respectively, and continue to be some of the hottest Broadway tickets since. Miranda and Platt have since left their shows for other projects.

Since Hamilton catapulted Miranda’s fame, the performer and songwriter has come to use his platform to spread awareness and raise funds for different causes. After the devastating Hurricane Maria ripped through Puerto Rico and the Caribbean over the summer, Miranda recorded a new single — “Almost Like Praying” — with a number of high-profile collaborators to raise funds for disaster relief. That song was inspired by West Side Story‘s “Maria,” and includes the names of all 78 towns in Puerto Rico.

“There’s no shortage of challenges, and there’s no shortage of ways to do good, and this is just one of them,” Miranda told TIME in October.


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6 Better Bets for Your Money Than Gambling on March Madness


It’s March Madness time, and everyone is filling out their brackets. From office pools to family competitions, we all love to put a little dough on the tourney and prove we have the skills to pick the winners.

Except, we never seem to do that. The odds of selecting a perfect bracket are 1 in 9.2 quintillion, according to Forbes’ calculations. The odds of becoming president of the United States sit at 1 in 10 million. Take a look in the mirror and mull that over.

While you probably don’t need a perfect bracket to win your office pool, all it takes is one upset (can you say Iona over Duke?) to destroy your chances early on.

6 Things to Spend Your Money on Instead of March Madness

The average wager on a tourney bracket is $ 29, according to ESPN. Rather than toss that money into a bracket pool someone who doesn’t even watch hoops is going to win, consider these options that are much more likely to make your money grow.

1. Open a New Bank Account

Wish you could get a two-day head start on your bracket? Just think what you could do with that extra time to study the matchups. Honestly, probably not that much. But, if you could actually get your paycheck two days early, that would really be something. Hold on to your hightops, you actually can.

Chime is an online-only bank account that offers some unique features other banks haven’t caught on to yet.

Consider:

  • Chime doesn’t charge overdraft fees, monthly maintenance fees, foreign transaction fees or minimum balance fees.
  • Chime customers have access to thousands of fee-free MoneyPass ATMs around the country.
  • When you set your payroll up for direct deposit to your Chime spending account, your paycheck will post two days before payday, giving you more time to plan, save and pay the bills.
  • You can open an easy-to-access, connected savings account. It allows you to automate your savings with features like the round-up tool, which will round up your transactions to the nearest dollar and dump the change into savings.
  • Its mobile app boasts more than 2,000 five-star reviews, making managing money super accessible via iPhone or Android.
  • It has a “Pay Friends” feature, so you don’t have to mess with cash, math or other apps to split the bill.

Plus, it takes about five minutes to sign up. The bank verifies your personal information, takes note that you’re at least 18 or older, then you’re good to go. No opening deposit required.

Note that the biggest complaint is a lack of mobile check deposit, but Chime assures its customers the feature is coming soon.

For an account that’ll help you strike up savings — and that’ll pay you two days early — check out Chime.

2. Invest with Stash

Think $ 29 isn’t enough to invest? Do you also think free-throws don’t matter because they’re just one point? Come on, you know better than that.

It’s no brilliant secret that investing can be a smart way to grow your money.
Sometimes, though, it feels restricted to a few wealthy elite.
But Stash is different. This app lets you start investing with as little as $ 5 and for just a $ 1 monthly fee for balances under $ 5,000. (The first month is fee-free.)
Stash curates investments from professional fund managers and investors and lets you choose where to put your money. But it leaves the complicated investment terms out of it. You just choose from a set of simple portfolios reflecting your beliefs, interests and goals.
Bonus: Right now, The Penny Hoarder is teaming up with Stash to fund your first investment — so you’ll get a $ 5 bonus to get started!

3. Optimize Your 401(k) With Blooom

Sure, winning your office pool would be sweet. You’d get some cash (that you’d probably blow on a great night out. That’s cool.), and you’d have bragging rights for the next year. But what about those years down the line? Maybe you could use that $ 29 to build something lasting. Not just a one-year winner, but a dynasty!

Got a 401(k)? You’re on the right track.

Now, you just need to make sure it’s doing what you need it to. However, tapping into that account and deciphering the information — or lack thereof — can be hard.

There’s a robo-advisor for that. Blooom, an SEC-registered investment advisory firm, will optimize and monitor your 401(k) for you.

It gives you an initial 401(k) checkup for free, and you’ll get to know your account a little more intimately. Find out if you’re paying too many hidden fees, have the appropriate amount invested in stocks versus bonds, that kind of fun stuff.

After that, the tool is $ 10 a month to use to continue to monitor your retirement account. Let Blooom know your target retirement age, and it can help you get there by investing more and less aggressively.

It’s like having a personal trainer for your 401(k) to turn it into an elite performer.

4. Make a Difference Through Impact Investing

What if you could use your $ 29 to help create affordable housing, sustainable agriculture or even renewable energy? Oh yeah, you’ll also earn a return on investment while doing all of that.

Sound too good to be true? It’s not. It’s called impact investing.

Impact investing is a way of investing your money only in companies that strive to create positive change. But you’re not donating your money, you’re investing it to see a profitable return.

Even a few years ago, this was a concept only for those who could fork over tens of thousands of dollars. But with today’s technology, you can be part of the fun for as little as $ 20 with Calvert Impact Capital.

Investment gains with the warm fuzzies of helping make the world a better place? That feels as good as swishing a three-pointer at the buzzer for the win.

5. Earn Rewards When You Spend Your $ 29

What’s better than a chance to win money? A sure thing. No matter how strongly you feel that your bracket rocks and that Villanova is a lock to cut down the nets, it’s not a sure thing. Sorry.

Put your $ 29 where you know it can pay off.

Here’s an option we like: It’s the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. Its claim to fame? You’ll earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all your purchases. Plus, if you spend $ 500 in your first three months of opening the card (hi, groceries), you’ll pocket a $ 150 bonus.

There’s no annual fee, and the cash back rewards don’t expire. We checked Credible’s annual rewards calculator, and it estimates $ 417 in annual rewards based on our spending habits.* (You can enter your unique spending habits and see what you’d earn, too.)

Get signed up — and 0% intro APR for 15 months — here.

How’s that for a sure thing?

6. Buy a Thoughtful Gift for the Hipster in Your Life

Wait, is this really a better option than wagering your money on a bracket? Come on.

We all have a hipster or two in our lives, and let’s face it, they are great to have around. They know the coolest little places to grab a bite or a drink. They’re like that “hustle” guy who sits toward the end of the bench. Everybody needs one.

And boy, do they know how to save money. From used furniture to so-called vintage clothing, hipsters are masters at living on the cheap while living large.

If you have a hipster in your life, it pays to keep them happy. Why not spend a little to give them a cool gift that they’ll enjoy?

The next time you need a coffee table, they may just find an upcycled gem for next to nothing. It will pay off. Trust me.

Spend Responsibly

As we get set to tip off this year’s tourney, feel free to enjoy it. Just think carefully about wagering your money.

True Penny Hoarders don’t risk their money on the fadeaway jumper of a sophomore in college when they can put that money to work. Use your $ 29 wisely and wager something better, like the best parking spot at the office.

Now that’s a slam dunk.

*Annual Rewards amounts will change based on the amounts you enter. The monthly spending category names and definitions may vary among issuers, and categories may not align one-to-one.

The information for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card has been collected independently by The Penny Hoarder. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. The Penny Hoarder is a partner of Credible.

Tyler Omoth is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder who loves soaking up the sun and finding creative ways to help others. He’s secretly hoping for Iona to win it all. Catch him on Twitter at @Tyomoth.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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The 1 Book You Should Read About Money, According to NFL Star and Entrepreneur Richard Sherman

Over the last several years, NFL star Richard Sherman has been rather forward-thinking about his finances. He became an early adopter of cryptocurrency when he started accepting Bitcoin on his website for merchandise, and he recently told MONEY that he saves 60% of every paycheck he gets.

So where did this inspiration come from? Sherman says the book Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki changed his outlook on money.

“It was the book that opened my eyes to the way money really works,” he told MONEY. “It blew me away.”

Sherman says he first read the book about 10 years ago, when he was a student at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, where he played football on a scholarship. He grew up in Compton, California, and says getting to Stanford was a bit of a culture shock; he didn’t have the financial resources many other students had.

“As a kid, it was so ridiculous how I saw money, how my parents saw money, how my family saw money,” he says. “My parents were $ 40,000 in debt their entire lives. They went bankrupt twice. It was crazy. They’d get their taxes back and spend it all on gifts, things they wanted, trying to pay the cars off. Getting into more debt. But [the book] changed my perspective.”

Released in 1997, Rich Dad Poor Dad was a massive bestseller, selling tens of millions of copies worldwide in the last two decades. One of its main arguments is that the public school system does nothing to teach kids about money and finances, and instead, street smarts is more of an asset for wealth building. Some, like Sherman, praise it. Some are critical of its premise and the advice within, arguing that Kiyosaki is just another salesman trying to make a quick buck.

Regardless, it seems to have worked for Sherman, who is the highest paid cornerback in the NFL — his most recent contract has him earning a guaranteed $ 40 million over 4 years.

“When I was growing up, nobody gave me the book on how to invest in stocks, how to invest in real estate,” he says. “I was naive to everything. I think nowadays, players are more informed because it’s so much more accessible.”

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7 Creative (and Legal) Ways to Make Money From Music Festivals


The clouds are clearing. The temperatures are warming.

That means it’s time for crop tops and cutoff shorts — err, I mean music festival season.

Austin, Texas, always sees big crowds for South by Southwest in March, then Austin City Limits in October. Chicago’s got Lollapalooza in April and Pitchfork in July. Then you’ve got the staples like Coachella and Bonnaroo. And don’t forget about the tours that stop by mid- to small-sized towns. We betcha there’s something coming to your town this year.

(Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Fyre Festival will recover from its incident in 2017…)

But you won’t catch me at any music festivals this year. Or ever, really. I’m not a huge fan of getting thrown into a pit with sweaty bodies, eardrum-bursting music and, um… wafting aromas.

Cut the bright lights. Turn the music down.

I’m being a bit of a curmudgeon here, but music festivals just aren’t my thing. What is my thing, though, is making money.

How to Make Money at Music Festivals (Without a Ticket)

Sure, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to make money inside these festivals. But if that’s not your scene, here are tons of ways to make money without dropping hundreds of dollars for a ticket.

1. Rent Your Extra Room to Out-of-Towners

Have a spare room? Might as well use Airbnb to make some money by renting it out.

If you’re a good host with a desirable space, you could add hundreds — even thousands — of dollars to your savings account with Airbnb.

And there’s no reason you can’t be creative. We found a guy who earns $ 1,380 a month renting out a backyard tent on Airbnb.

A few simple steps can make the difference between a great experience and a less-than-satisfactory one.

Here are some tips:

  • Make your space available during high-demand times in your area.
  • Be a good host, and stock your place with the toiletries you’d expect at a hotel — toilet paper, soap and towels.
  • Be personable. A lot of travelers turn to Airbnb for the personal touch they won’t find at commercial properties.

Here’s the link to sign up as an Airbnb host.

(Hosting laws vary from city to city. Please understand the rules and regulations applicable to your city and listing.)

2. Rent out Your RV or Camper

Happy woman texting in front of the campervan
Martin Dimitrov/Getty Images

How many people do you know who bought an RV for one awesome camping trip or (ahem) music festival… only to look back a few years later and realize they don’t use it as much as they thought they would?

If you’re in that boat (er, camper), you can turn your unused RV into cash.

You can rent your RV to other travelers through RVshare, a peer-to-peer rental marketplace.

How much you’ll earn per day will vary based on your location and the type of vehicle you have. We ran a quick hypothetical and found that Class A models made in the past 15 years range from $ 185  to $ 375 a night here in St. Petersburg, Florida!

That’s a smart way to make your pricy RV pay for itself — or to bank some cash for your next big road trip.

To see how much you could earn renting out your RV, enter the specs here.

3. Shuttle Festival-Goers Around Town

Need a fun, flexible way to earn money while also meeting lots of new people?

Try driving with Lyft.

Demand for ride-sharing has been growing like crazy, and it shows no signs of slowing down. To be eligible, you’ll need to be at least 21 years old with a year of driving experience, pass a background check and own a car made in 2007 or later.

We talked to Paul Pruce, who’s been driving full-time with Lyft for over a year. He earns $ 750 a week as a driver.

Best of all, he does it on his own time. You can work days, nights or weekends — it’s up to you!

4. Cure the Munchies

Group of friends eating pizza on the roof.
filadendron/Getty Images

Ahhh, the sweet smell of takeout stinking up your car.

OK, it might not be the most appealing thing in the world — you might want to crack a few windows, depending on the type of cuisine you’re delivering — but Uber Eats offers flexible food-delivery opportunities.

Here are more details:

  • Uber Eats is all over the U.S. — and the world, really.
  • Drivers are paid a pick-up fee, for the distance traveled and a drop-off fee. Uber takes a service fee. Delivery partners can cash out up to five times a day with instant pay.
  • Schedule is flexible.
  • Requirements may vary by location: You must…
    • Be at least 19 years old if delivering by car.
    • Deliver via car (must be a 1997 or newer with at least two doors), bike, scooter or foot depending on your area.
    • Pass a background check.
    • Have a valid driver’s license and insurance (if you deliver by car or scooter).

For all the information you need, head over to the Uber Eats sign-up page.

5. Rent out Your Parking Space

Event parking is never cheap — or even all that close to the venue. If you live nearby, list your parking space or driveway.

Renting out your parking space is an easy way to make a little extra money in a day’s time, and no maintenance is required.

You can list your space through a number of websites. Check out our guide to renting your parking spot.

6. Offer Your Pet Sitting or Babysitting Services

oung man with a guitar lying on the floor with his cat
annebaek/Getty Images

Music festival attendees aren’t always livin’ young, wild and free. Sometimes they’re adults who have responsibilities and who are responsible but might just want a day or weekend to unwind.

That’s where you can help. Offer your pet-sitting or babysitting services. List your availability through a platform like Care.com. There, you can connect with potential clients and help adults get some much-needed time to relax.

7. Work the Festival (If You Dare)

If you’re not allergic to patchouli oil, see if the music festival nearby is hiring. You might be able to make some quick money by working at a concession stand, directing traffic or working security.

Chances are you can search the music festival and it’ll have a jobs page for you to peruse.

Forget the Tunes: Watch That Cash Flow

All right, grumps (read: me).

Before you grab your ear plugs and hibernate all weekend (or week) while those youngins take over your town, set up a way to make money from the situation.

And in the meantime, let’s just observe a moment of silence for Fyre Festival.

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She prefers sitting inside, sipping some sweet lemonade and reading a book with her cat by her side.

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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Russia’s internet trolls interfered with elections for the money

One tried his hand at stand-up comedy. Another wrote a psychological dissertation about loneliness among the elderly. A third, from eastern Siberia, studied economics and wildlife management and was known to his work colleagues by the unlikely nickname of “Jay Z.” These are among the 13 Russians indicted by a United States grand jury in…
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#MeToo won’t change Hollywood — but money will

Will he or won’t he? Oscar watchers are wondering whether professional toady Ryan Seacrest will host the annual red-carpet pageantry for E! tonight after his former stylist accused him of sexual misconduct. Seacrest claims innocence and his employers at E!, NBC and ABC are all backing him, but the Hollywood community — always concerned with…
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For Americans, understanding money eases old age anxiety

A new household economics study suggests that financially literate people are more capable of accumulating wealth and worrying less about life in old age.
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Mary J. Blige Says She Made No Money From Oscar-Nominated Performance in ‘Mudbound’

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Source: FREDERIC J. BROWN / Getty

Just because Mary J. Blige has two Oscar nominations doesn’t mean that translates into coins. She claims that despite her history-making role in Dee Rees’ “Mudbound,” she didn’t coup a dime.

In court documents related to Mary’s upcoming divorce trial to ex-husband and manager Kendu Isaacs, she states her expenses overcame her salary.

According to The Blast, papers stated Mary stressed “that it’s been necessary to seek out new projects to earn income, however, the roles in TV and film have not been lucrative.” They are instead a means to support her brand and image.

The “No More Drama” singer also stated that her main source of income is touring, but because she is a “legacy artist,” she doesn’t have the opportunity to go on tour frequently. Even worse: Mary doesn’t even own her catalogue of music and owes $ 25 million in advances she took.

This doesn’t even account for all the money she has to pay Kendu each month for spousal support and the debt they accrued together that Mary has to pay off on her own.

We are praying that Mary will finally get her finances together because this is too much.

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Tired of Wasting Money on Cheap Clothes? How to Dress Better for Less


“I, Grace, do solemnly swear to be a beginner, to make mistakes, and to have a wonderful time doing it.”

A chorus of voices rises up from the women gathered around the work table, joining mine and timidly inserting their own names before tittering through the rest of the repeat-after-me-style pledge.

At the front of the room, Bonnie Lewis stands up from the small stool on which she has managed to gracefully perch the entirety of her lean but not lanky six-foot frame. She surveys the group in front of her, eyes shining with the type of excitement brought on after three uninterrupted hours of sharing her greatest passion.

Six participants are in today’s class. Each of us eager to get started, all a little nervous we won’t be able to best the machines in front of us.

woman teaching sewing class
Students at Common Sewing assemble their shirts. Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

The studio we’re sitting in is the stuff of Instagram vignette dreams, with large windows, high ceilings and original doors that don’t sit quite right on their hinges. But shareability — people’s desire to post, tag and share with friends — is important to what Lewis is trying to achieve.

In the center of the room, four desks are pushed together to form one large workspace. In front of each participant is a sewing machine covered by a handmade canvas carrying case Lewis refers to as “the bento,” a sort of toolbox of her own creation.

The machines are nothing elaborate — a basic model, the Janome 2212. But that’s the idea; a simple machine (along with a lighthearted promise to be willing to make mistakes) helps eliminate some of the intimidation.

Besides, it’s not about besting the machines, Lewis assures us. It’s about learning them top to bottom, inside and out, so you’re never left crying in frustration when your thread jams up at 3 a.m., right in the middle of the last hem of the final curtain panel.

If we’re going to make sewing and wearing as common as cooking and eating, she tells us, we’re going to have to remove the fear.

Something in Common

woman portrait
Bonnie Lewis, owner of Common Sewing, wants to make sewing a part of everyday life again. Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

Lewis is the owner, operator, head instructor and lead designer at Common Sewing, located on a quiet side street just outside downtown Orlando, Florida.

The workshop is located at the top of a narrow set of stairs on the second level of Factur, a shared “makerspace” that also houses a glassblowing workshop and a podcast studio, among others.

Originally, Lewis had wanted to call the business Grandma’s Hands, an homage to the woman who taught her everything she knows. But her friends convinced her that if her goal was to revive the dying art form and make it normal and maybe even hip, the “grandma” association wouldn’t do her any favors.

She admits they might have been right, and explains she doesn’t want her students to associate sewing entirely with a bygone era — that it’s not just an outdated hobby or a skill cultivated by sheer necessity in a time before department stores.

Instead, she explains, her goal is to make sewing common again — to make it a regular part of everyday life.

Lewis’ mission is simple: “To bring sewing back into our lifestyle in a way that’s relevant, sustainable and easy.”

And that’s what she works to do because her end goal is even larger.

You see, if she can equip people with the knowledge and skills to sew their own clothing, she can begin to empower a generation to step away from the relentlessness of the fast fashion industry.

The Trouble With Fast Fashion

cloths hanging
The pieces above were constructed by students of the class. Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

Fast fashion is the term used to describe the way clothing companies take designs from the runways to mass production to store shelves and closets within a matter of weeks.

The clothes are produced without much attention to quality and sold at a low price, creating a cycle of clothes that are overbought, underworn and thrown away too often. Think: Forever21, H&M or Gap.

These stores focus on volume — on getting out as much merchandise as possible as quickly as possible — because a small markup on a shirt can mean a huge profit when millions of units sell.

It’s a practice that encourages reckless spending and overconsumption.

Rather than focusing on two seasons, as was the case in the fashion industry of 50 years ago, fast fashion demands fresh options year-round on an almost weekly basis.

The trouble with this 52-season structure is in order to keep prices low while continually putting new products on the shelves, stores have had to outsource manufacturing to companies in low-wage countries like China and Bangladesh.

These companies use slapdash manufacturing techniques to construct garments from cheap, often synthetic textiles, resulting in clothing that falls apart and loses its shape after just a few washes and wears.

And, once it starts to fall apart, it goes straight into a landfill.

In 2012, 84% of unwanted clothing and textiles in the United States went either into a landfill or an incinerator, according to an Environmental Protection Agency report.

And while good intentions usually direct the bulk of our castoffs to second-hand stores first, only about 10%-20% of the clothing donated to thrift stores is accepted as resellable merchandise. The rest is either trashed or sold to private recycling companies that work to reuse or recycle the textiles into things like rags and insulation for houses.

However, these will also eventually end up in a landfill somewhere — it’s just a matter of time.

Ultimately, the U.S. trashes as many as 14 million tons of textile waste every year. And because most of these textiles are synthetic, they will take hundreds of years to biodegrade.

Something From Nothing

woman sewing
Annette Denning is in the beginning stages of constructing her shirt. Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

Growing up in the 1980s, Lewis would spend the first two weeks of every summer at her grandmother’s house in Vero Beach, Florida.

Each day, they’d sit down together at the sewing machine and Lewis would learn a little more about how to create art from a bolt of fabric and a spool of thread.

Lewis didn’t know it at the time, but she would spend the bulk of her career honing and relying on the skills she was learning on these warm Florida afternoons.

After completing a degree in comparative literature, Lewis decided to take a year to think about her next steps. She moved to Austin, Texas, where she found herself caught up in the burgeoning music scene.

While waiting tables to pay the bills, she was spending every spare minute sewing — mostly for friends — until an independent filmmaker saw her work and began commissioning pieces.

From there, her story consists of one part luck to every three parts hard work.

Her hairstylist at the time offered her six months of rent-free studio space to launch a sewing business, and she began making custom stage costumes for artists all over the city.

After creating pants for every rocker and crooner in Austin, though, she decided it was time for another challenge.

She hunted down an agent, withstood a trial by fire working on the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, and passed with flying colors, thanks to prior experience sewing with transparent vinyl fabric. (Stage costumes: not just for country music stars.)

After that, she made the move New York City and spent the next 15 years as a traveling tailor with Ralph Lauren, working on fashion photoshoots to ensure models looked perfectly fitted in their garments.

But during her travels, after the 100th person came up to her and, with a mix of fear and awe in their voice, told her that they could never sew “like that,” she realized something.

She saw a knowledge gap in our culture that would only continue to grow, and decided what people needed was a straightforward, fear-free place to learn the skill that was already becoming something of a relic.

Lewis saw the need to make sewing a normal and attainable part of everyday life again.

And thus, Common Sewing — a place where she would teach people to sew so they could return to the slower, more sustainable practice of making their own clothing — was born.

The Slow Fashion Movement

Pinning is an essential step in the construction of clothing. Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

“Slow fashion” suggests the literal antithesis to the fast fashion concept, although the movement is more about quality than time.

The primary focus of the slow fashion movement is sustainability — creating, designing and purchasing clothing based on longevity and quality — but it doesn’t hurt that making and repurposing also save money in the long run.

The term was coined in 2007 by Kate Fletcher, who called out our harmful reliance on the fast fashion industry.

“Fast is not free,” she writes in an article on The Ecologist. “Short lead times and cheap clothes are only made possible by exploitation of labor and natural resources.”

Fletcher points out that spending a little more on a garment that takes time and effort to produce can create a “richer interaction” that will travel up the supply chain, allowing companies to build “mutually beneficial relationships.”

Fletcher compares the slow fashion movement to the slow food movement, which seeks to bring awareness and responsibility to what we eat and where we source it.

The connection between fashion and food is a comparison Lewis also drew, urging people to return sewing to its prior status as a common household skill.

“We all eat, and we all wear clothes,” Lewis emphasized again and again. “So why isn’t sewing as common as cooking?”

Lewis left her tailoring work with Ralph Lauren behind in New York.

To most, the notion of leaving an exciting, jet-setting job in the fashion industry seems absurd. And after hearing about the years of hard work it took her to reach the height of her career, it’s easy to question the decision.

But Lewis had a plan.

In order to bring sewing to the masses — and with it, the slow fashion movement — Lewis opened her workshop.

How to Participate in the Slow Fashion Movement

woman modeling a shirt
Annette Denning models her newly constructed shirt. Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

The slow fashion movement is all about knowledge and know-how.

Do your research and know where your clothing comes from. Understand the process and supply chain utilized by your favorite brands — and find new favorites if you need to.

Buy from brands that use sustainable, ethical and lasting practices and materials, and be mindful of how and how often you recycle clothing.

Spend a little extra money up front for fewer, quality pieces you actually enjoy seeing on your body — items you’ll wear more than three times before chucking them in the donation pile.

The longevity of these pieces — especially if you learn how to care for them properly — will lead to big savings in the long run.

“Invest a little bit more money in buying exactly what you want so you know you will cherish it and wear it into the ground,” Lewis encourages. “Seek until you find the very best version of what you’re looking for, and then save up and invest in it.”

Still, Lewis always comes back to encouraging people to learn how to sew. Providing them with the ability to participate in the slow fashion movement in the most elemental way allows them to make, mend and remake garments and textiles over and over again.

Need a new shirt to wear to work? Find a fabric you love and start stitching.

Have a set of curtains wearing thin? Sew them into dish towels.

Want a new throw pillow to jazz up your couch? Create one out of an old button-down.

When you’ve honed your skills to the point you can source your own fabric, draw your own patterns and create your own clothing from scratch, then you can remove yourself from the fast fashion frenzy almost entirely.

One of Lewis’ students, after discovering a passion for sewing over the course of several class sessions, decided to challenge herself to not purchase any ready-made clothing for an entire year.

Now, when she sees a pair of pants at the store, she brainstorms how to make them fit better and last longer — and gets to work. Then, when she wears them, she gets to share her new passion with anyone who asks, “Where did you get those pants?!”

And that’s exactly what Lewis hopes will come of her work at Common Sewing.

“It’s about building a community,” she explains.

“I’m not interested in just creating a buzz — I want to create a movement.”

Grace Schweizer is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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10 Cheap Items Worth Their Money

Buying expensive items won’t always get you quality. Of course, some expensive items are definitely worth their money. In today’s guide we will share with you ourtop 10 low-budget finds that are simply awesome!

1. Saint Hilaire Blanquette De Limoux – $ 12-$ 15

I know it is a mouthful but bear with me. Remember when we shot the video on Is it worth it, Dom Perignon champagne? In the comments, a viewer shared with us his favorite budget alternative which is the Saint Hilaire Blanquette De Limoux from France and so I tried it and it’s a really amazing sparkling wine that tastes pretty much like a champagne but it only costs $ 12-$ 15.

Now you might wonder, isn’t it just a cheap knockoff? Now, usually you will argue against knockoffs and fakes; actually, Benedictine monks in the abbey of Saint Hilaire invented this sparkling wine over 450 years ago which was a hundred years earlier than champagne. Obviously, even though they were first, champagne did a much better marketing and today, it is much more well known and much more expensive but that is good for you because you can get a quality sparkling wine at a fraction of the cost.

Of all the sparkling wines I have tasted, the Saint Hilaire Blanquette De Limoux is really a great price to value ratio and best of all, it all comes in vintages which means in specific years so you get a top-notch quality but different every time.

2. Bar Soap – $ 2-$ 25

Most people use shower gels today which is also cheap, it is basically just soap with water and so the cost per use is much higher with bar soap. A regular bar of soap will cost you anywhere between $ 2-$ 3 and maybe $ 20-$ 25 but even the lower priced models are oftentimes very good in quality, they have good fats like cocoa butter and shea butter and so I suggest you take a look at ingredients first.

You can find bigger bars or smaller bars; one soap that I have been using over and over again is the l’occitane verbena soap, it comes in a 3 1/2 or 100-gram piece and it cost about $ 14 in the US. It smells of lemongrass, it is very nice for your skin and I personally love it. Usually, a bar lasts our entire family for half a year.

3. Pilot Metropolitan Fountain Pen – $ 15

It costs about $ 15 and if you remember, we recently did a video on IS IT WORTH IT? The Montblanc fountain pen. Now Montblanc is very well-known and you can easily spend over a thousand dollars. A lot of people complains that “Well, that’s crazy!” So with the Pilot Metropolitan, you get a quality made in Japan pen that is very balanced, with a nice ink flow and a nice nib in its price range, and it won’t break the bank and anyone can afford it.

You can also personalize it in many different colors including very popular black and silver colors, it also comes in two nib sizes; M for medium and F for fine and while M is the standard nib size in the fountain pen world, F is really fine in this case, even the fine in other brands I think and if you’re used to writing with a rollerball or a ballpoint pen that will be a good transitional pen for you.

4. Kai N5210 – $ 13

In my experience, a good pair of scissors is highly underrated. Personally, I get lots of packages when I design things, I have to cut fabrics and leather and so a good pair of scissors is always on my desk. In the past, I would use those scotch titanium blades which you can get in three packs for five or six dollars at Costco and they did the job, but once I had the Kai N5210, it was all different.

They really cut consistently better with less effort and they really just stay sharp for a long time. I’ve had it for over a year, I cut a lot with it, and it’s still great. It’s so good you can even cut the chicken bones with it and any other kind of meat in the kitchen which is really not something you can usually do with a pair of scissors.

5. Shoelaces – $ 12

They’re very inexpensive but it can really change the entire look of your shoe. As you know, buying new shoes, especially quality shoes, is very expensive, so if a new pair of shoes is not on a table for you right now, consider shoelaces.

You can get them in 15 or 20 different colors we have boot laces as well as shoelaces that are round and flat in quality waxed cotton and as you can see, on the same shoe, you create an entirely different look. Best of all, the look is versatile even if you have just one or two pairs of quality shoes and maybe four or even ten shoelaces, you can immediately create 10 or 20 different looks.

6. Rada Knife – $ 13

It’s a serrated knife and I bought it three years ago at an antique show in Brimfield. At first, it seemed too cheap, it was a new knife for just five dollars, made in the USA, and I figured how good can it really be? Because I was used to Japanese knives and German Wusthof knives, after using it for a little bit, turns out it’s a really excellent knife.

Originally, it’s called a tomato knife and you can slice Tomatoes excellently with it, but it also works for steak, it has a flexible blade and because of that, you can cut melons, anything with a curve, any kinds of vegetables, apples, fruits, it’s just a wonderful all-purpose knife and I strongly suggest getting it.

7. Tailor’s Ham – $ 12

It costs about twelve bucks and it’s a little pillow filled with sawdust. It’s much stiffer than a regular pillow that you may have on your couch, on your bed, and it’s used to iron trousers or jackets, especially all the round parts which wouldn’t quite work on a flat iron table.

By the way, if you’re into ironing and you want quality creases in your shirt on your pants or anywhere else, I suggest getting a clapper because it really helps to get perfect results. It’s a simple piece of oak wood that has no sap and no rough edges and if you buy it online, it cost about $ 25 but you can easily make it yourself.

8. Nivea Sensitive Shave Balm – $ 5 – $ 8

As you might know, I’m really into shaving and we created an in-depth shaving guide. I tested over 300 products and one item that I come back to over and over again is the Nivea sensitive shaving balm, it costs between 5 and 8 bucks, it’s widely available in drugstores all over the world, as well as online. Works for all skin types, it smells good, it leaves a smooth result, and I’ve been using it for so long that I can safely say it doesn’t harm your skin or is aggressive in any way.

9. Red Boat Fish Sauce – $ 12

People who like Thai food or Vietnamese food are very much familiar with fish sauce but it can also be used in any kind of other cuisines such as American, French, or European cuisine. It has this characteristic umami flavor which you can also find in meat, tomatoes, mushrooms, etc. It’s that fifth sense of taste that we, in the Western world, are not so familiar with but it’s very prevalent in places like Japan.

Whenever they serve dishes to people that contain fish sauce ,they’re always like “mmm this is so good.” “wow how did you get this flavor?” and they can never tell it’s fish sauce but they always really like it a lot because it’s flavorful, strong, but not fishy at all. You don’t have to overdo it, a spot or two is enough to really boost the flavor of the dishes you create.

Another thing I also use a lot is Better than Bouillon. Basically, it’s reduced broth or stock that you can keep in your fridge. It’s very easy to use and you can concentrate the broth in the way you would like, so you can have a very strong flavor or light flavor.

It comes in many different varieties such as chicken, beef, vegetable, mushroom, or fish, and so you can create nice bouillabaisse for example, or other fish stews very easily without having to cook out any bones.

10. Gentleman’s Gazette eBooks – FREE

Right now, we’re giving away three of them FOR FREE. I mean, what’s better than free right? So it’s over 200 pages of in-depth content about classic men’s style such as black tie guides, white tie guides, or how to wear and combine shoes with socks and pants.

Head over to our shop now, add it to your cart and of course, if you want to buy something else we’re honored, but you don’t have to. Simply download them, enjoy them, and tell us what you think, maybe even leave a review, really appreciate it, thank you.

Feel free to share your highly recommended cheap but awesome finds below!


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Why Playing Hard to Get Online Can Save You Some Heartache (And Money)


Just when you thought dating couldn’t be any more annoying.

Online dating scammers have taken nearly $ 1 billion from unsuspecting lonely hearts in the last three years, and they’re coming for more, according to the Better Business Bureau.

Reports to the FBI about online-dating scams have tripled in the last five years.

You can probably delete that half-true comment about guacamole now.

I know what you’re thinking; online dating is expensive enough, and now we have to worry about being scammed?

Don’t move to a convent just yet. There are ways to spot a romance scam and even get your money back if it happens to you.

How to Spot Online-Dating Scams

You’re first red flag is if they can’t meet you in person.

If someone says they’re abroad and can’t meet, you should tread carefully. If they continually make excuses about why they can’t meet, it’s best to move on.

Scammers will use excuses like memberships that are about to end to get your phone number or email address so they can communicate free from scam monitors. While even the best dating sites can miss scammers, they still have systems in place to block suspicious behavior, so don’t be fooled.

That’s how one woman lost over $ 50,000 in an online-dating scam. The 2.5-month relationship included over 10,000 text messages, 400 phone calls and zero first dates.

Do a Google image search for their profile pictures to see if they’ve been used anywhere else. Scammers will post well-groomed pictures with nice things in nice places. It makes you think they’re wealthy, so when they ask you for money, you trust they’ll pay you back.

If their speech reads like a bad Google translate, then it probably is a bad Google translate. And a sudden emergency is always a telltale sign of a scammer. Even if they don’t ask for money, scammers have guilted victims into giving to not-so-worthy causes.

What to Do If You’ve Been Scammed

First, don’t be embarrassed.

In 2017, there were 28,000 complaints filed to the Federal Trade Commission regarding online-dating scams.

If you’ve given your banking information to anyone you believe may be a scammer, call your credit card company or bank and file a fraud victim statement with the three credit bureaus.

If you received any attachments from the scammer, update your computer’s anti-malware software and do a virus scan.

Money-transferring services are making every effort to protect victims of fraud. The BBB recommends reporting scams from as far back as 2004 to the FTC.

If you sent money through Western Union, you don’t even need the receipt. Just the date, amount and where it was sent will suffice. You may not get all your money back, but it’s definitely worth the effort.

Jen Smith is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder and gives money saving and debt-payoff tips on Instagram at @savingwithspunk.

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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Cris Carter thinks Pittsburgh RB Le’Veon Bell should value being a Steeler for life over money

In a conversation with Doug Gottlieb and former NFL head coach Eric Mangini, Cris Carter pinpoints the struggle for the Pittsburgh Steelers to fairly compensate the power trio of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, running back Le'Veon Bell and wide receiver Antonio Brown. Do you agree with Doug?

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