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
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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
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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
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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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Got 5 Minutes? This Simple Step Can Set You up for a Happy Retirement


Pause your music for a second. When’s the last time you thought about your 401(k)? Been awhile, right?

You know it’s growing, but is it growing fast enough?

While you’re jamming out to your tunes, a company called Blooom could be hard at work optimizing your 401(k).

That’s money music to our ears.

Grow Your 401(k) Faster

Already contributing to your 401(k)? Great. That’s what you should be doing. But do you know what’s happening to your money after you contribute it?

Probably not. That’s where Blooom comes in. It’s an SEC-registered investment advisory firm that can optimize and monitor your 401(k) for you and set you up to retire when you want to.

The money in your 401(k) account is most likely diversified into a mix of stocks and bonds, but it might not be the right mix for you. Depending on your age, your desired retirement age and how much you can afford to contribute, you might need different settings to make your money grow the best way possible.

That’s where Blooom’s robo-adviser can help. Instead of setting your account and forgetting about it, it’s constantly watching to see that it’s optimized to make your money grow and avoid hidden (investment) fees.

Take a Commercial Break to Fix Your 401(k)

It just takes a few minutes to get a free 401(k) analysis that will show you whether your investments are allocated properly and whether you’re losing money paying hidden fees.

This check up will even tell you just how much more money your account could earn by the time you retire. You might be surprised at how much that is.

After that, if you sign up, it’s just $ 10 per month to have Blooom monitor and maximize your 401(k). Bonus: Penny Hoarders get the first month free with the code PNNYHRD.

Carson Kohler discovered that working with Blooom could potentially boost her 401(k) by up to $ 247,367 in additional funds by the time she retires. She plans to retire at 60, too, so that’s pretty sweet.

That’s $ 19 per day of extra earnings versus just 33 cents per day the service would cost her.

What Does a Robo-Adviser Do, Really?

Blooom’s robo-adviser looks at your 401(k) as well as factors including your age, contributions and target retirement age to see whether your account is zooming toward your goals or sputtering along the wrong path.

Here are some major factors it’ll keep an eye out for:

Risk: How aggressive are your investments? Depending on your age and the money in your account, you might want to be more aggressive to make that money grow. On the flip side, for some accounts, getting more conservative can help protect a healthy-looking future.

Fees: Many 401(k) accounts are riddled with hidden fees that bog down your earnings. How can you build your money if someone keeps taking little cuts? Blooom finds and minimizes your fees. It’s like tuning up your car to get better gas mileage.

Diversification: Small cap, mid-cap, stocks versus bonds, commodities, equities… who knows? It’s OK if you’re not a pro at investing. Most of us aren’t. The folks at Blooom are. They can balance out your portfolio and keep your account running smoothly. The tool can even change your investments for you as needed when the market changes.

What’s Your Future Worth?

You love your Netflix. It’s okay to admit it. Most of us do. It’s only $ 10 per month, right?

And, of course, there’s Hulu. Have you seen the latest episode of “The Handmaid’s Tale”?” I-N-T-E-N-S-E! That’s just TV. You get your big-screen fix with a movie per day with Moviepass. And on the way to the theater, you rock out to your favorite jams on Spotify, right?

That’s another $ 10… $ 10… and $ 10.

Think about the future you want once you retire. If you can afford to spend money each month to zombie out in front of the television, you should consider investing in your own future.

Just a few minutes now and a few bucks a month could add years’ worth of additional funds to your retirement kitty.

Okay, you can get back to jamming out to your tunes now.

Tyler Omoth is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder who loves soaking up the sun and finding creative ways to help others. Eddie Money is his mood music for writing Penny Hoarder posts. 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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How to get your legs summer ready in 7 simple steps

Because they are essential to any summer look

OK, so it’s now warm enough for us to forgo tights and opt for shorter hemlines if we so desire, but there’s a big issue that comes with this new freedom. Legs that have seen better days. You see it isn’t just bears and small rodents that go into hibernation over the winter months, so to do regular tans and strict hair-removal regimes. What’s needed is an easy step-by-step of how to get legs summer-ready. Luckily, that’s exactly what we’ve created here for you.

With the help of leg-expert Kate Shapland, creator of Legology – the beauty brand created as a high performance solution to cellulite and heavy legs – we’ve come up with the simple way to ensure that you won’t get caught out on sunny days this summer.

Step 1: Body Scrub

Sanctuary Spa Salt Scrub, £13 Boots

prep legs for summer

 

‘Skin which has been covered for months doesn’t look its best,’ Shapland explains. ‘Legs are usually a bit dry and dull, and even if you’ve religiously exfoliated and moisturised throughout winter, the expanse of bare skin from ankle to knee can demand an extra dollop of confidence to pull off.’ And so the first step is to buff away any dead skin. Not only will this create a clean, smooth surface, it will help boost circulation and get rid of any dullness. Dullness comes because dead skin can’t reflect light, do you want to get rid asap. ‘You need a power buffer – something super-crunchy that will send a rush of nutrient-rich blood to the skin’s surface to give it tone and colour, and plants plenty of suppleness back in there.’ You can beat Sanctuary Spa’s Salt Scrub, but we also love Espa’s Invigorating Salt Scrub, £38. If you don’t think either of these are for you, you could choose the best body scrub for your skin type.

Buy Now

 

Step 2: Dry Body Brush

Mio The Body Brush, £14.5o Cult Beauty

prep legs for summer

 

 

This is one of those things that we, as beauty editors, repeatedly tell people to do because the benefits are phenomenal. But this is also one of those things, that in all honesty not many people can be arsed to do. However, we are going to preach about it again in the hope that this time you will take note and segue it into your routine. In a recent BBC documentary, The Truth About…Looking Good, it was revealed that the best way to treat and get rid of cellulite is dry body brushing. Brushing from the ankles upwards in the direction of the heart in quick, swift motions boosts circulation and helps lymphatic drainage. Trapped fluid emphasizes cellulite and makes legs feel heavy, but by brushing twice a day you decrease fluid retention and toxins are drained away. This Mio Body Brush has additional nodules, which help to massage on a deeper level.

Buy You

 

Step 3: Moisturiser

Kiehl’s Creme de Corps, £18.50 John Lewis

prep legs for summer Kiehls

 

If you want supple and smooth legs, you have to moisturise and you have to do it on the reg. This is not a step you want to skip. Nothing will leave legs in a better condition that super duper hydrated skin. Shapland recommends steering clear of oils, because not only do they sit on top of skin and don’t sink in as well as a moisturiser, but they’re also unflattering. ‘It’s the shine – the only acceptable area for sheen on your legs is a line down the shins because it helps make this area look longer and narrower.  All over shine gives you barrel legs in the same way that gloss volumises a lip.’ Kiehl’s Creme de Corps is a cult classic. It’s been around for years and it just does the job so well. It also sinks in quickly, so you don’t have to wait around for long before putting your clothes on.

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Step 4: Hair Removal

Venus ComfortGlide Spa Breeze Razor, £7.99 Boots

 

prep legs for summer Venus

 

The thing about hair removal is a person typically falls into one of a few camps – laser, epilating, waxing or shaving. Laser can be pricey, epilating could be compared to a Medieval torture technique and waxing is for those with a high pain threshold. Which leaves shaving. Shaving is simple, pain-free and more importantly, purse-friendly. You really can’t go wrong with a Venus razor. They’ve been reliable since we were teenagers and they just keep getting better – this razor has two moisture bars either side of the three blades meaning that whilst you get a closer shave, your skin is treated to a nourishing boost of shea butter. Sometimes the most simple options are the best.

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Step 5: Cellulite Treatment

Remodelage treatment, from £180 at Grace Belgravia

prep legs for summer

 

‘Cellulite is not a life sentence,’ says Martine de Richeville, creator of the body treatment Remodelage, which helps to detox, refine and tone. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a relaxing-you-might-fall-asleep-during massage. It’s not. It’s a deep-tissue technique that incorporates the specially created 8 shaped motion and it pinches. Like a lot. But don’t be put off, because the therapist needs to get down into the lower levels to reach the older fat deposits. By doing this, it allows for better circulation to the area, which in turn reduces excess fat in the tissue. Not only does it tone the silhouette (which is excellent if you suffer from saddlebags at the top of your thighs), but it rather cleverly helps to filter the metabolic waste and flushes out toxins, so your digestion improves too. Shapland completely agrees that massage is vital to getting killer legs, ‘If it’s good, it won’t be comfortable, but your legs will look less puffy & feel lighter; so book a course of sessions.’

Book Now

Step 6: Gym Class

prep legs for summer

Nothing will prep your legs for summer better than exercise. We know, snooze. But Shapland suggests we embrace exercise: ‘Get up and cross the office to speak to someone instead of
emailing them, take the stairs at a run, do a handstand – anything that promotes circulation and maintains flow.’ Whilst a HIIT session or a spin class is a brilliant full body workout, there are now more and more classes that are specifically aimed at toning. From your classic Legs, Bums and Tums class to Barre-style workouts that combine traditional ballet positions with repetitive movements from Pilates, you’ll find something similar in most gyms. Virgin Active just launched a new Barre class that’s said to strengthen, lengthen, tone and tighten. If that isn’t incentive, we don’t know what is. GymBox has a hilarious class called Thunder, which don’t worry, does the opposite to giving you thunder thighs. It’s a class that uses the old 90s Thigh Masters (remember them?!) to work on toning quads and glutes. There’s plenty out there, so there’s really no excuse.

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Step 7: Tan

Legology Sun-Lite Sheer Lingerie for Legs, £38 Space NK

prep legs for summer Legology

‘One of the biggest mistakes women make with their legs through the summer is with self-tan, because inevitably it’s too dark,’ explains Shapland. ‘Too many of us make this mistake at the start of the summer when we’re desperate to improve the look of skin too quickly.’ Even if you have the best fake tan or follow our fake tan tips, it should still be incredibly subtle. Still unsure? ‘You’re aiming for the kind of sun kissed shade skin develops after a long hot weekend, when skin has just ‘turned’, not full on tropical tan.’ For those with pale skin, something like the Legology’s Sheer Lingerie For Legs will work perfectly. Think of it as like the best cc cream – it makes your legs look better, rather than completely changing their colour. If you can’t give up the darker shade, then we recommend leg make-up products like Becca Luminous Body Perfecting Mousse and Vita Liberata tktktktktkt

Buy Now

 

So there you have it. Your complete guide to getting your legs ready for the summer.

What are you waiting for? Begin with step 1.

The post How to get your legs summer ready in 7 simple steps appeared first on Marie Claire.

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Exclusive: Laila Ali Talks “Home Made Simple”, The Ali Legacy, And More

Former professional boxer, Laila Ali has always had the gift of giving within her.

Even as a little girl, growing up alongside her father, legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, she has witnessed charitable deeds day-in and day-out that have instilled a bigger sense of purpose and passion in her now as an adult.

Everything from seeing her father handing out $ 100 bills to homeless people while riding around parts of L.A. in his Rolls-Royce convertible to developing a dedication for the culinary arts, Laila has continuously found ways to improve the lives of others around her. And even with what some may consider as a burden—having an icon as a parent—she has still followed her passion toward many different paths in life…

Read the full, exclusive interview with Ali at Black Enterprise‘s partner site, The Shadow League.

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Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

CHARITY UPDATE :

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

Make Your Own Sunburst Glamour Mirror | Home Made Simple | Oprah Winfrey Network

OWN

SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN:

http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

CHARITY UPDATE :

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

A Surprisingly Chic Use for Puffy Fabric Paint | Home Made Simple | Oprah Winfrey Network

OWN

SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN:

http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

CHARITY UPDATE :

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

BofA market analyst Hartnett pins ‘simple reason’ for market woes on the Fed

Bank of America Merrill Lynch strategist Michael Hartnett sees the Fed as the real source of market volatility.
Economy

ECONOMY NEWS UPDATE:

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

This Leather Catchall Holds All of Your Nightstand Clutter | Home Made Simple | OWN

OWN

SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN:

http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

CHARITY UPDATE :

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

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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Hungry Girl: Add More Fiber to Your Day with This Simple Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

Lisa Lillien is the author of the popular Hungry Girl website and email newsletter, featuring smart, funny advice on guilt-free eating. She is also the author of twelve books, six of which debuted at number one on the New York Times Best Sellers list. Read her PEOPLE.com blog every Monday for slimmed-down celebrity recipes and more.

If you’ve been making boxed macaroni and cheese just because it’s easy, there’s a better way! This simple recipe serves up great flavor, plus a much bigger serving size and extra fiber, thanks to the whole-wheat pasta and broccoli. Hungry Girl for the win.

Easy Mac ‘n Cheese
Serves 4

4½ oz. (about 2 cups) uncooked whole-wheat rotini pasta
24 oz. (about 6 cups) frozen Green Giant Broccoli & Cheese Sauce
3 wedges The Laughing Cow Light Original Swiss cheese
Optional seasonings: salt and black pepper

1. In a large pot, prepare pasta according to package instructions.

2. Meanwhile, place broccoli and sauce in a large microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave for 10 to 12 minutes, or until sauce has melted and broccoli is hot.

3. Add cooked/drained pasta and cheese wedges. Mix thoroughly.

RELATED: Hungry Girl: Replace Your Usual Take-Out with This Healthy Teriyaki Burger Bowl
Active time: 5 minutes

Total time: 25 minutes

Nutritional Information: ¼th of recipe (1 heaping cup): 222 calories, 5.5g total fat (0.5g sat fat), 772mg sodium, 35g carbs, 6g fiber, 6g sugars, 8.5g protein

‘Til next time… Chew the right thing!


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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
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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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This Simple Trick Helped One Man Go From No Credit to a 700 FICO Score


If you look at your dog and he stares back at you probably wondering, “Why do you keep me in this tiny cage of an apartment?”, you might start thinking about buying a house.

But if you have no credit history, it can be hard to do adult things like get a mortgage, negotiate insurance rates or even rent a bigger apartment for Fido. The easiest place to start building good credit is with a credit card. But how do you qualify for a credit card with no credit?

A secured credit card may be the route for you.

What Is a Secured Credit Card?

A secured credit card is a great way to rebuild if you have damaged credit or no credit at all. You put a deposit down as collateral, and the bank gives you a credit card with a limit that’s around the same amount as your deposit. The bank essentially uses your deposit as your line of credit.

So if you put $ 200 down, your credit line on most secured cards will be $ 200. Keep in mind that once you deposit that cash, you generally can’t withdraw it until you cancel the card, so make sure you don’t need that money any time soon.

Unsecured credit cards, on the other hand, only have the cardholder’s promise to repay.

Make a Secured Credit Card Work for You and Your Credit Score

Like unsecured cards, secured credit cards charge interest, so you still need to pay them off on time and in full every month to avoid fees.

To make your secured credit card work in your credit score’s favor, you need to know what a credit score is and follow some simple rules:

  • Pay your bills on time.
  • Keep your credit usage below 30% of your credit limit.
  • Don’t open multiple cards at a time.

How Does a Secured Credit Card Build Your Credit Score?

The issuing bank reports your activity to at least one of the major credit bureaus, so after using and paying your card off for a while, your credit history and score will grow.

That’s what Matthew Ramachandran did when he was 18. He put a $ 400 deposit on a Bank of America secured credit card, which helped him grow his nonexistent credit score to a 700 in eight months. Asked about his tips for using secured credit cards to build credit, Ramachandran said, “I always used less than 30% of my credit limit.”

After hitting that 700 credit score, he canceled the secured card and got approved for an unsecured Chase Visa with travel rewards. Now he now makes business purchases with unsecured cards to get travel rewards. He even stayed at the Ritz-Carlton in Hawaii for five nights with his points.

All thanks to that first secured credit card.

How to Get a Secured Credit Card

You can visit a bank or apply online. If you’re a credit union member, you may want to check there first because they often offer lower interest rates and waive annual fees.

If you have a bankruptcy on your record or a history of missed payments, the bank may not approve you for a secured credit card. If you’re denied, you have a legal right to know why. You can contact the card issuer for that information.

If you find that the card issuer rejected your application due to an error on your credit report, you can — and should — dispute the error with the credit bureaus. Once the issue is resolved, you can contact the card issuer to reapply.

How Much Will a Secured Credit Card Help my Credit Score?

There’s no hard-and-fast rule on how to use a secured credit card to build credit. The key is to keep usage low and pay off your balance in full every month.

Worried you’ll overspend or forget to pay your bill? A new app called Debitize 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.

Card issuers want to keep you as a customer, so they’ll usually offer you an unsecured card if you’ve made about a year’s worth of on-time payments.

Disclosure: A toast to savings! Thanks for allowing us to place affiliate links in this post.

Jen Smith is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder and gives tips for saving money and paying off debt 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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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

CHARITY UPDATE :

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

CHARITY UPDATE :

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

Simple rules for eating when traveling

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There are so many hints and tips you need to be aware of when you travel abroad. You are having a new experience, and it’s important to try to make the most of it. You have to understand that experiencing new countries, and meeting new people can give you a bit of a culture shock. So, how can you get comfortable with a new culture? Well, food is one of the best ways to do this.

Put it like this, everybody needs to eat, no matter who they are. It’s essential to try to have the best experience you can while eating abroad, and this is something to focus on. We know how important it is to eat right while you’re traveling, but it’s also something that’s really easy to overlook as well. Check out our smart advice for how to get the best experience of eating when you travel.

Try local stuff

The most important thing to remember is that you are abroad, so, as they say, when in Rome! This is a unique opportunity to sample some of the local food on offer and try to ensure you have a fresh experience. Live out of your comfort zone, and make sure you sample things you maybe wouldn’t normally try. This is so crucial because it’s an excellent way of increasing your experiences, broadening your palette, and giving you a greater appreciation of food from across the world.

Avoid snacking

It’s so easy to slip into the habit of snacking, especially when you’re traveling because it’s convenient. You feel like you’re always on the move, and being able to snack really helps you grab something quick. But, the problem with this is that a) snacking isn’t exactly healthy, and b) you miss out on the experience. Eating is an important experience, and actually plays a big role in your travel experience, so make sure you try to have full meals every meal time.

Plan before you go

One of the best things we can advise you to do is to plan what you want to do for food before you go traveling. That’s not to say you need to plan out every meal, but it will certainly help if you can book a few places in advance to guarantee a wonderful dining experience. We recommend doing this at least a couple of times to make sure you avoid disappointment.

You don’t always have to eat out

There’s no rule that states you have to eat out all the time when you’re traveling. In fact, if you’re staying somewhere like an Airbnb, you will be well placed to dine in some of the time. This can actually work out much more cost effective, and you will be able to have a more authentic dining experience, just like the locals would be able to.

These are some of the great rules we swear by when it comes to eating while traveling. It’s such an epic experience, and one that we feel should be enjoyed by everyone. By using the ideas and advice above, you will be able to get the full and complete eating experience, even while you’re abroad.

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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5 Simple Ways to Spice Up Your Diabetic Diet

Keeping your blood sugar in check doesn’t have to be bland or boring.

Health – Good Housekeeping

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Here’s How a Simple Formula Can Help You Be a Smarter Clothes Shopper

In my never-ending quest to simplify my life, my closet and (most importantly) my budget, I’ve been spending more money than usual on clothing.

I know that sentence sounds counterintuitive, but I promise you it’s not.

Right now, rather than focusing on amassing an overflowing wardrobe consisting of an inexpensive variety of items (my usual MO ever since throwing in the towel on my capsule wardrobe project a couple of years ago), I’m focusing on making fewer and more intentional, purchases — even if it means I have to spend a little more up front sometimes.

But that’s the whole idea: Rather than shelling out again and again for cheap pieces that will fray, tear, shrink, unravel and fade after a few wears, I’ll pay more for clothes that will last longer, feel better and actually earn a spot in my closet by eventually achieving a low cost per wear.

But What Is Cost Per Wear?

Cost per wear is a general rule that the more uses (or wears) you can get out of an item, the better your investment.

For clothing, that rule translates to the cost per wear.

The cost per wear of an item can be found by doing a little guesstimation and a little (the horror!) math.

To find an item’s cost per wear, you first have to estimate about how many times you’ve worn the item (or, if you’re shopping, how many times you think you will wear the item). Then, you take the original price, divide that by how many times you’ve worn or will wear it and that is your cost per wear.

OK, so the math isn’t that difficult.

As an example, let’s look at my favorite pair of black jeans. I bought them at Gap for $ 18 several years ago. (I scored an awesome sale price — those are usually $ 80 jeans!)

TPH writer Grace Schweizer posing outside

Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder

I guesstimated (conservatively) that I’ve worn those jeans two times per week for the past seven years, meaning I’ve worn them about 728 times. If I divide the price I paid by the number of times I’ve worn them, I get 0.02 — or 2 cents per wear. (And they’re still going strong!)

That might be the best clothing investment I’ve ever made (at least it is if we’re looking strictly at the numbers), but I did get lucky with a low sale price on a quality product. Still, the cost per wear of a full-priced pair would have come out to about 11 cents — still not a bad deal.

What to Consider When It Comes to Cost Per Wear

There are two things you should always consider when factoring out a cost-per-wear.

First, the quality. Will this item last through multiple washes and wears? Will it keep its shape and color? Will the fabric hold up?

Say you’re looking at two black sweaters in a similar style, a high-quality one priced at $ 50 and a low-quality one priced at $ 15.

If you could end up getting 200 wears out of the pricier one but only 20 wears out of the less expensive one before it starts to unravel or shrink, your cost per wear of the more expensive sweater would end up being lower, thereby giving you the better value.

The other thing to consider when working out the cost-per-wear of an item seems like an obvious one, but I’m guilty of skipping over it when I spy a really good sale.

That other factor? Considering whether or not you even like the item.

Avoid the Low Cost-Per-Wear Trap

What you don’t want to do with the cost-per-wear formula is use it to justify buying up all the sale items just because they may ultimately have a low cost per wear (even if you only wear them a few times).

That shirt you found on the sale rack for $ 7.50 might seem like a great buy, but if you get it home only to let it hang in your closet for months on end between wears because you liked the price more than the shirt itself, that sale price is meaningless.

You don’t want to end up forcing yourself to wear something you dislike just because you feel obligated to bring down the cost per wear, and you don’t want to have to stare at a shirt you hate because you let a formula trick you into buying something you wouldn’t have looked twice at had it been full price.

Ultimately, if you don’t like the way an item of clothing looks on your body, you won’t end up getting any use out of it. So if a quality shirt that makes you feel like a hundred bucks is a little more expensive than the one that came from the 75% off rack but sits in your closet because you hate the way it drapes, it might be worth it in the long run to invest in the pricier shirt.

Still, just like with my jeans, you can luck out by scoring a low sale price on a piece of clothing you know you’ll wear for years to come and love the fit of — and that’s the sweetest of victories.

Cost Per Wear Isn’t a Hard and Fast Rule

Either way, achieving a low cost per wear isn’t always the end-all, be-all — it’s more like a handy tool to have around when you’re considering a major purchase (or even just browsing the sale racks).

There will still be times when I buy a dress for an event knowing I’ll only get a few wears out of it — and that’s OK! The idea behind cost per wear is having a tool that will help me stop to think and make sure I’m making the purchase because it’s the right move for me and not because a sale tag caught my attention.

Plus, there’s no real threshold that your clothes’ cost per wear needs to hit. It’s totally up to you what your target cost-per-wear number looks like. The cost-per-wear formula is really just a way to evaluate and retrain your shopping habits as you strike your own balance between quality and quantity.

So, for a girl who used to love loading up on trendy, fast fashion but is trying her best to find that balance, the cost-per-wear formula is a really helpful guideline to know.

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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CHARITY UPDATE :

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

CHARITY UPDATE :

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

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Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

CHARITY UPDATE :

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

Ensemble: Simple White Jeans in Winter

I LOVE white jeans, and enjoy wearing them year round. I wear them in the Winter months with dark neutrals and brights because they provide a yummy bright and crisp change to blue jeans and dark trousers. 

This ensemble was inspired by white jeans outfits I’ve worn recently. The exact items from my wardrobe are shown in this collection.

I remixed three items of outerwear — a navy military coat, an olive anorak, and a citron peacoat — across the outfits depending on my mood. It changed the look of the outfit quite a bit.

Graphic Ink Blue & White Jeans

I combined an ink blue tunic pullover with cropped white straight jeans, navy knee-highs, and navy booties. The combination of high-contrast tunic over cropped jeans did shorten my leg line, but not to the extent that I felt unattractive. I topped things off with ink blue military coat on one occasion, and olive anorak on another. Navy satchel with patterned pom-pom added a playful touch.

Casual Equestrian Plaid

I combined a semi-tucked plaid shirt with cropped white straight jeans, black riding boots, and matching black belt. I wore a long-sleeved Uniqlo Heattech tee under the shirt for insulation. I added pearls to amp up the pretty, and topped things off with olive anorak and burgundy satchel. On another day, I swapped out the tall boots for short burgundy booties, knee-highs, and added a matching burgundy belt. I also chose my citron peacoat for a brighter effect.

You CAN wear your Christmas plaid into the New Year. Why not!

Ensemble: Simple White Jeans in Winter

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Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

CHARITY UPDATE :

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

CHARITY UPDATE :

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

Save 2 full paychecks in 2018 with this simple budgeting trick

If you want to get out of debt, stash away more for retirement or control excessive spending, making a simple tweak to your budget in 2018 could save you thousands of dollars!

I’ve been using this budgeting strategy for more than a decade to painlessly save two full paychecks a year.

RELATED: My 7 best money-saving tips for 2018

Paid biweekly? Here’s how to set up your budget

Here’s an example: Let’s say that after taxes, health insurance and retirement savings are deducted, your employer deposits a check for $ 1,000 into your checking account every two weeks.

Since there are 52 weeks a year, that’s 26 checks. Your annual take-home pay is $ 26,000.

If you’ve always been paid this way, you may not realize that you’re receiving two more paychecks a year than someone who’s paid twice a month.

Twice a month = 12 months x 2 = 24 checks
Every other week = 52 weeks / 2 = 26 checks

If you’re paid every other week, you’ll receive two paychecks a month, except for the two months of the year when you’ll get three paychecks.

March and August are my 3-paycheck months for 2018, but yours may be different depending on your pay calendar.

Treat the third paychecks as ‘bonus’ money

Here’s where the budgeting trick comes in. With the help of an online budgeting tool, I set my projected monthly income based on receiving two paychecks a month and nothing else.

Because those 3-paycheck months only come twice a year, I treat those checks like bonus money!

Maximize your 3-paycheck months

Need some ideas? When I was paying off my $ 86,000 mortgage in two years, I would use those “extra” paychecks to reduce the principal balance.

But you could use that money to reach other financial goals as well:

  • Pay off a debt
  • Contribute to a retirement account
  • Add it to the new car fund
  • Pay an insurance policy (auto, home, life)
  • Grow your emergency fund
  • Erase student loan debt
  • Start a vacation fund
  • Save up for a home renovation

Get a plan together now!

If you decide to use this strategy, the key is to make a plan for your third paychecks well ahead of time so that you spend your money wisely when that direct deposit hits your account.

More Clark.com money-saving tips and tricks:

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This Brother and Sister Lost 140 Pounds by Following 3 Simple Rules

They definitely used sibling rivalry to their advantage.

Health – Good Housekeeping

HEALTH CARE UPDATE:

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

5 Simple Steps for Creating a Life That Sparkles

Better break out your shades, because your future is about to look oh-so bright.

Health – Good Housekeeping

HEALTH CARE UPDATE:

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

CHARITY UPDATE :

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

5 Simple Moves That Combine Pilates and HIIT to Transform Your Entire Body

All you need are shoes and a yoga mat.

Health – Good Housekeeping

HEALTH CARE UPDATE:

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

6 Simple Steps to a More Profitable Estimate

As a home improvement professional, you know that keeping track of your finances is one of the most important parts of owning your own business. When you’re pitching a project to a new or existing lead, it’s crucial to communicate a clear and comprehensive pricing plan that will satisfy your clients while maximizing your own profit. If the financial side of business isn’t your strong suit, don’t worry. Here are 6 simple steps that will give you a more profitable estimate every time.

contractor-finance

Itemize your spending

If you’re looking to decrease your spending across the board, or if you just want a clearer view of where your money goes during a particular build, it is essential to keep track of every last detail of your finances. Setting up a spreadsheet that includes all of your regular costs—including labor, materials, and other incidentals—will help you get a better idea of your financial situation and therefore make more accurate estimates. It’s a good idea to keep a record of your past average spends for these items (for builds of similar types and sizes) so you can more accurately forecast costs with each new building project.

Utilize technology

Whether or not you love technology, most modern businesses use some type of online platform or program to help them get a handle on their finances. You can make this part of your job much easier by putting all of your data into an integrated business program or app designed in order to cut costs, maximize profits, and make accurate estimates. Here are some of the top programs pros like you are using:

  • QuickBooks: perfect for logging and calculating your spending and profit margins
  • Asana: a timekeeping app that tracks work and keeps you in touch with your colleagues
  • Xactimate and ProContractor Estimating (among others): comprehensive, industry-specific programs that help you estimate projects and provide support from start to finish

contractor-budget-list

Keep orders to a minimum

Once you’ve compiled a detailed list of your running costs and average spending (and maybe even enlisted the help of a web-based estimating program), you can more accurately tailor your material orders to cut down on overspending and help minimize waste. While only you know exactly what you need for a particular building project, we recommend only purchasing materials you know you will use. It’s often easier to purchase more materials later on than it is to dispose of excess items after a build is finished. After all, only some companies accept returns, and this often only applies to certain types of materials.

Recycle whenever possible

As accurate as your purchasing may be, there are times when you will have materials to spare after a building project. There are several ways to deal with this excess:

  • Find ways to reuse your excess materials: basic building materials can be used again, as they are common to most building projects
  • Sell back unused items: as explained above, only certain suppliers will accept returns and this will depend on the type and condition of the material
  • Recycle your offcuts and unused materials: you can do this at your local recycling center, or hire an industry-specific professional recycling company to take your unwanted items away (but remember that this will cost you).

Set up a fixed price scheme

If you complete the same types of jobs often, a fixed price scheme will make your estimating much simpler. By striking a deal with suppliers, subcontractors, and even clients, you can maximize both your profits and everyone’s satisfaction. Just make sure to factor in wastage, timescales, and any other incidentals; hidden costs such as unforeseen issues in remodeling projects and the availability of materials can drastically alter the cost of a build. It’s also worth noting that a fixed price scheme may not be the best way to go with bespoke projects and complicated builds, so including a caveat for individual pricing when necessary will help you keep everyone happy.

contractor-website

Stay transparent

One of the best ways to help your business grow is to keep your clients and the professionals you do business with informed about your prices. Posting an updated and accurate pricing structure on your website and across all social media accounts will make everything crystal clear and eliminate any gray areas. Potential leads will especially appreciate your honesty here. After all, most homeowners are looking for companies that either advertise their prices or have clear lines of communication (including web forms, email addresses, Facebook Messenger, to name a few) to quickly answer their pricing questions.

An accurate estimate is a key component of a profitable build. By following these simple steps, you can become better acquainted with your financial situation and make every building project better for your business.

The post 6 Simple Steps to a More Profitable Estimate appeared first on Modernize.

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

CHARITY UPDATE :

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

CHARITY UPDATE :

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

A Built-In Bookshelf Gets a Moroccan Revamp in Minutes | Home Made Simple | Oprah Winfrey Network

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SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN:

http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

CHARITY UPDATE :

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

First Look: A Moroccan Makeover for a Fun Family | Home Made Simple | Oprah Winfrey Network

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SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN:

http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

CHARITY UPDATE :

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

5 Simple Ways to Stay Motivated About Working Out

Feeling guilty about not hitting the gym enough? Don’t — you’re doing things exactly right.

Health – Good Housekeeping

HEALTH CARE UPDATE:

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

DIY Wall Art That Transforms Kids’ Designs into Gallery-Worthy Pieces | Home Made Simple | OWN

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SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN:

http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

CHARITY UPDATE :

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

How to Get Rid of Love Handles in 3 Simple Steps

Banish stubborn belly fat with these tips.

Health – Good Housekeeping

HEALTH CARE UPDATE:

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

The 3 Simple Things This Woman Did to Lose 150 Pounds

You don’t have to follow a crazy diet, just a smart one.

Health – Good Housekeeping

HEALTH CARE UPDATE:

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

The 3 Simple Things This Woman Did to Lose 45 Pounds

Time to ditch those fad diets.

Health – Good Housekeeping

HEALTH CARE UPDATE:

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

A Teacher’s Incredible Patio Makeover in Honor of Her Late Husband | Home Made Simple | OWN

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SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN:

http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

CHARITY UPDATE :

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

This is Why ETFs are a Simple Starting Point for Beginning Investors

In the world of investing, you’ll stumble across a number of seemingly nonsensical acronyms.

You’ve got ROE, ROA, ROIC, PEG, EPS, ETF… WTF?

The bad news is these are only a handful of many you’ll likely encounter.

The good news?

There are plenty of apps on the market these days making investing easy — and don’t require you to be versed in the ABCs of investing lingo.

You’ve likely heard of micro-investing apps, such as Stash.

They’re wonderful tools for those too timid — or who don’t have the funds — to go all Warren Buffett on the stock market. Each app basically holds your hand through the investing process and explains acronyms and concepts in ways that don’t induce panic.

But we do think it’s worth calling out one term in particular because, well, don’t you want to know where you’re investing your money when you use these apps?

You’re putting it into ETFs, or exchange-traded funds.

Where Your Money is Going…

Stash explains the concept fairly clearly: “An exchange-traded fund is a basket of investments bundled into a fund that is traded on an exchange. That fund owns the underlying assets (i.e. stocks and bonds) and usually tracks an index — or group of companies or securities with something in common.”

Paring it down even more, an ETF contains a group of stocks that have something in common.

Let me offer up an example, because examples always help.

Stash breaks ETFs into easy-to-understand names, such as its Clean and Green ETF. Like the name suggests, it contains a grouping of 29 renewable energy companies. (Really, it’s just a less-intimidating, more fun name for the iShares Global Clean Energy ETF.)

You could also choose to invest in a tech-centric ETF, which might include some big names, such as Apple and Amazon. Compare that to buying one share of Amazon, which goes for something like $ 1,000 these days. Sure, your returns might not be as high, but you’re not having to siphon $ 1,000 from your savings.

Another draw to ETFs is they typically have lower fees than traditional index funds. They might also cost shareholders less in taxes, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Stash offers more than 30 ETF options on its app, including more broad funds, such as “Conservative,” “Moderate” and “Aggressive” — depending on how frisky you’re feeling (and your age. Experts suggest being more aggressive if you’re younger, but that’s a different story).

If you’re interested in exploring the world of ETFs, check out a variety of offerings from Stash.

Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s a millennial, which apparently means she’s too nervous to invest.

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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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

CHARITY UPDATE :

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

A Laila Ali Thanksgiving Favorite: Cornbread Dressing | Home Made Simple | Oprah Winfrey Network

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

CHARITY UPDATE :

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

I Finally Found the Perfect Simple Outfit Formula

Meet your go-to look.

Stick to a cool top, then add a simple pair of jeans and heels.

Let your top bring the cool factor to your outfit.

This velvet top is the ultimate winter staple.

Belt a cool colorful top to make a statement.

Play with silhouettes like this one-shoulder top.

This just has cool-girl vibes written all over it.

Puffy sleeves are this seasons biggest trend.  Available in sizes XS to L. 

Perfect paired over leather leggings. Available in sizes 4 to 8. 

Marisa Witkin . Tuck this sweater into light wash vintage denim. Available in sizes XS to L.

This structured top is sure to be your new favorite. Available in sizes 34 to 40.

Flattering and sophisticated. Available in sizes 0 to 12.

Dress this jacket up pairing with statement earrings.  Available in sizes 6 to 8.

Wear yours with fitted black trousers. Available in sizes S to L. 

Rock this blouse on a night out with friends. Available in sizes XS to L. 

Finish the look with a kitten heel.  Available in sizes XS to XL. 

Wear these time and time again. Available in sizes 23 to 32.

Layer a sweater with your pair.  Available in sizes 23 to 31.

Style with ankle boots to show off the frayed hem.  Available in sizes 24 to 30.

Add a turtleneck and simple mules for a completed look. Available in sizes 10 to 22.

These leggings can be dressed up for a night out or down for a day out in the city. Available in sizes XS to L.

Every fashion girl needs a pair of leather pants.  Available in sizes XS to L.

We love the pearl-embellished detail on these jeans.  Available in sizes 14 to 26. Next, find out five fresh outfits to try with loafers this fall.

Celebrity Style and Fashion Trend Coverage | http://www.whowhatwear.com

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This DIY Terrarium Keeps Spring Alive All Winter Long | Home Made Simple | Oprah Winfrey Network

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

CHARITY UPDATE :

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

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SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN:

http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

CHARITY UPDATE :

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

Home Made Simple Returns With Bigger and Better Profects, Recipes and More | Home Made Simple | OWN

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SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN:

http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

CHARITY UPDATE :

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

6 Simple Budget Tips to Follow When You Become Self-Employed

self-employed

Taking the leap and becoming self-employed can be both exciting and scary. After you’ve prepared financially to become self-employed, you’ll need to maintain control over your finances and possibly tweak your spending plan to ensure you’ll have enough to meet your expenses each month.

Here are 6 simple budget tips that will help contribute to your success.

 

1. View It as a Spending Plan

 

The word ‘budget’ can make people feel tense. Budgeting can seem limiting and no fun which is why you don’t have to commit to a strict monthly budget even when you become self-employed and have a fluctuating income.

If it’s easier for you to loosely plan out your spending, you can still stay on track take care of your necessities without running short.

 

2. Estimate Your Monthly Earnings

 

Sometimes counting your chickens before they’ve hatched isn’t always a bad thing. Even though your self-employment income may vary, there’s nothing wrong with estimating your monthly earnings as long as you aren’t spending money before you actually receive it.

Determine how much you need to earn each month and how much work you have lined up. If have contracts established for client work, you can easily estimate how much you will earn each month. That way, you’ll have an idea of how much you can spend and what you may need to do in order to hit your monthly projections.

 

3. Separate Business and Personal Expenses

 

It’s imperative that you keep business and personal expenses separate once you start working for yourself. Determine how much you need to spend on your business each month and deposit the money into a business checking account. Then, keep the rest of your income in your personal bank account.

This will help things run smoother during tax time, and allow you to get a clearer view of how much money you have to use each month.

 

4. Set Aside Enough Money for Taxes

 

Paying taxes will be your sole responsibility when you become self-employed. With that being said, be sure to talk to your accountant or a CPA to determine what your tax rate is and how much you should set aside each month for taxes.

You should also keep a record of what you pay in quarterly taxes and keep track of all your expenses as well.

 

5. Make Savings Contributions a Fixed Expense

 

It’s important to get into the habit of saving a portion of your earnings if you haven’t already. While self-employment provides lots of freedom and opportunity, it also can create many income risks.

If you lose a client or source of income, you want to have enough emergency savings lined up to fall back on. This is why you should choose a fixed amount of money to transfer to your savings account each month.

Include the savings contribution in your monthly spending plan just like you would for your rent or mortgage.

 

6. Create a Bare Bones Budget as a Backup

 

The first few months of self-employment may seem like the scariest as you start to notice that your money is being dragged in all these different places whether it’s business expenses, savings, taxes, etc.

This is why you should develop a bare bones budget early on which lists out just the basic expenses you need to meet to survive. During slower months, you may need to start using your bare bones budget in order to make ends meet.

During profitable months, you should be saving extra if you can but your bare bones budget should always be there to use as a last resort. The basic budget you create will help eliminate financial stress as you work through the feast or famine seasons of self-employment.

 

Summary: Secure Your Financial Situation Step-By-Step

 

All of these money management tips are very important to consider when you become self-employed and they are simple to implement. Don’t let income and budgeting hold you back from launching a more profitable career and running your dream business.

Realize that you can develop better money management habits to eliminate financial stress by implementing each of these tips step-by-step.

 

 

 


Choncé Maddox is a professional writer who recently left her job in the web design industry to produce killer content and manage her own writing business full time. She is passionate about helping entrepreneurs be more productive and create a life they love by doing fulfilling work. On the side, she runs a podcast and blogs about getting out of debt at MyDebtEpiphany.com.

Due is a payments, eCash, online invoicing, time tracking, global payments, and digital wallet solution for freelancers, small business owners, and companies of all sizes.

Money – Black Enterprise

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How to Make Your Own Hanging Dry Rack | Home Made Simple | Oprah Winfrey Network

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Are You Really Listening? 7 Simple Ways to Find out What Your Customers Really Think

customers

From helping you to avoid a crisis and retain customers to predicting your clients’ future needs, listening to your audience is a critical part of growing a successful business brand. Thankfully, you don’t have to spend a gazillion dollars on survey tools and consultants to figure out what your customers think about your products or services.

 

customers (Image: iStock/PeopleImages)

 

Here are few methods to gather feedback from your customers:

  1. Ask your subscribers to take a survey via email (Google Forms has a series of free surveys). Here are a few sample questions:
    1. What social media networks do you regularly use?
    2. Who are your favorite people to follow online?
    3. What websites do you visit for information on ____(for example, career, travel, fashion, or first-time mom)?
    4. When it comes to _____ what’s your biggest challenge.
    5. If you could solve one thing about _______, what would it be?
    6. Which product name or album title is better?
  2. Ask your customers to complete a quick 2-minute survey at the end of call or purchase. As an incentive, you can also enter their name into a contest.
  3. Create a Twitter Poll – A super easy and quick way to gather feedback from people as they scroll down their timeline.
  4. Create an image question and post to Instagram.
  5. Conduct a Q&A via Facebook Live.
  6. Ask an open-ended question on LinkedIn.
  7. Assess your website analytics –  Beyond providing a snapshot of your audience demographics ( e.g., geographic location, gender, age, etc.) you can identify which social media platforms, search engines and guest blogs are driving the most traffic to your website. You can also find out which pages of your site your audience is spending the most time on.

Small Business – Black Enterprise

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Your Cakes Will Be Magical With These Simple Tips for Buttercream Frosting

Cupcakes. Layer cake. Graham crackers. Sugar cookies. All of the above are totally magical, but what’s the common thread? They’re all freaking amazing when they have a perfectly light, fluffy, sugary (but not too sugary) layer of homemade buttercream frosting. It’s almost enough to make you want to skip all the cake and cookie business and just get right to the icing chase. (Almost.) But making your own buttercream isn’t nearly as easy as it sounds. One false move and you end up with a greasy, overly sweet mess.

Unless you have the right pro tips from Allison and Matt Robicelli.

The Robicellis are a husband-and-wife team of cupcake gurus and owners of the famous Robicelli’s Bakery in Brooklyn, New York. They’re also the co-authors of Robicelli’s: A Love Story, with Cupcakes, which, in addition to featuring 50 grown-up recipes for th