Do It for Mother Earth: How Working From Home Can Help You Help the Planet

Need another reason to work from home?

Do it for the planet.

According to a study published by FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics, 10 million cars — or approximately the entire New York State workforce — would leave the road each year if every U.S. worker who could and wanted to telecommute actually did.

“There is no single solution that offers as large of a potential environmental impact and reduction in greenhouse gases than having people work at home,” says Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics. “It is the biggest part of our burden on the planet.”

Pro Tip

By becoming even a half-time remote worker, you’ll gain back an average of 11 days a year that would have otherwise been spent commuting.

By cutting their commutes, the current U.S. work-from-from population keeps the equivalent of 600,000 cars off the road each year.

How much could dropping your commute do to save our planet?

Figure Out How Much Pollution Your Commute Contributes

Your actual contributions can vary based on a number of factors, including your commute time and driving conditions, but you can get a general idea of your personal output with this tool from the Environmental Protection Agency, which calculates your vehicle’s average mileage and CO2 output.

To figure out how much CO2 your commute produces annually:

  • Determine the number of miles you travel to and from work each day. For example, let’s say you drive 20 miles each way to work for a total of 40 miles.
  • Multiply that number by the number of days you drive to the office for the total number of miles you drive each year. Let’s assume you head to the office five days a week and get two weeks off for vacation: 40 x 250 = 10,000 miles
  • Multiply that number by your car’s CO2 output for your total. If your car produces 261 grams (or 0.575407 pounds) of CO2 per mile, then your commute results in 10,000 x .575407 = 5,754 pounds, or 2.877 tons of carbon annually.

Earth Day Tips to Help Remote Workers

Even if working from home isn’t always an option, every day you cut your commute can help, according to Brie Reynolds, senior career specialist at Flexjobs.

“When you’re able to work from home even one day a week, you’re reducing your commute by 20%,” Reynolds says. “Sometimes people think it’s all or nothing, but it can be some kind of compromise.”

Pay Attention to the Thermostat

In addition to cutting the commute, remote work can help reduce the environmental cost associated with working in office buildings, according to Reynolds.

“Energy consumption goes down across the board when you’re able to stop using office space,” she says. “When people work from home, they have more control over their environment — I know a lot of remote workers who pay very close attention to their thermostats.”

By opting to dress in layers or use fans around the house, you can control the comfort level of your space without wasting resources on heating and cooling, Reynolds notes.

Bonus: You can retire that office sweater you wore in your aggressively air-conditioned cubicle.

Pro Tip

Energy consumption goes down across the board when you’re able to stop using office space.

Choose Essential Office Equipment

In addition to the building, an office’s high-volume equipment often requires additional energy to operate and cool, according to Reynolds. Most remote workers can get by on a less equipment, which saves energy and money.

“If you are largely in a role that doesn’t require a lot of extra office equipment, you can get by on pretty much a laptop,” Reynolds says, adding that less equipment also means less of it ending up in landfills.

Reduce Use of Office Supplies

When you use your own office supplies, your cost-cutting tactics can also help the earth. Think: How many sticky notes do you use in the office vs. when you work from home?

“When you’re at home and you are the one responsible, you’re a little more hesitant to print something you don’t really have to,” Reynolds says. “Individual choice and individual consumption is a key piece of the environmental benefits of remote work.”

That’s a win for your employer, you and the environment.

Happy Earth Day!

Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a staff writer for 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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Viewpoints: Lessons On Compulsory Vaccinations And New York’s Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Community; Social Media Isn’t Doing Enough To Help Spread Truth About Measles

Opinion writers weigh in on the current measles outbreaks and the importance of vaccines.
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These 11 Tips Will Help You Get Financing to Start a Small Business

For entrepreneurs, obtaining the right amount of funding can mean the difference between success and failure when launching a small business.

But for newbies, knowing how and where to find working capital can be an intimidating process. So, where do you start? There are several ways entrepreneurs can obtain money to fund the launch, expansion of day-to-day operations and cash flow of their small businesses.

Each method comes with its own pros and cons based on several factors, including the age of the business and the financial history of the borrower.

11 Ways to Obtain Small Business Funding

Below is a list of 11 ways entrepreneurs can obtain small-business financing. This ranking is based on ease of access, as some options might not be available to business owners with no prior experience or to people launching startups.

1. Bootstrapping

A woman counts money

With bootstrapping, entrepreneurs launch their businesses using as little external capital, such as loans, as possible. The funds come from either personal finances, such as selling assets, using savings or credit cards or from using revenue from the business once it gets going.

This is a very lean method of running a business, as entrepreneurs find the least expensive way to make a viable product or service. If you do choose to empty your savings or use credit cards to fund your business, be careful because there is no guarantee the business will pan out.

Nikki Larchar and her business partner, Tina Todd, bootstrapped their company by pooling their finances and launching the human resources consulting firm SimplyHR about 2 1/2 years ago. She believes bootstrapping her business instead of getting a loan is a significant reason why she was able to turn a profit within a year after launching.

“For us, it’s been monumental being able to grow the business how we want to grow it and not have a looming loan over our head,” she says.

Pro: Avoids starting your business in debt.
Con: Not an option if you don’t have assets to sell or personal savings to use.

2. Crowdfunding Platforms

Due to the rise in popularity of sites such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter, crowdfunding sites have become a more mainstream way to gain capital for a business, service or product.

Here’s how it works: Entrepreneurs and small business owners create a 30-day fundraising campaign seeking investors in the company or project instead of going to a bank for money.

Usually, business owners reward individual investors with some kind of gift, product discount or, sometimes, equity in the company.

Last year, Larchar used Kickstarter to raise $ 10,200 to fund a comic book that human resources departments could use to teach employees about sexual harassment policies. They met their goal and launched in January 2019.

“[W]e were able to fully jump into the project a lot quicker than we would have otherwise,” she says.

Pro: Can generate buzz for your business while raising funds.
Con: No guarantee of hitting your desired funding goal.   

3. Product Pre-Sales

An easy way to acquire funds if you’re operating a small business selling products is to hold a pre-sale in which customers pay for goods up-front. The business owner can use the money raised to fund the manufacturing of the initial batch of products.

“Product pre-sales is such a great strategy because you’ve just proven the customers want your product,” says Kedma Ough, the statewide innovation director for America’s Small Business Development Centers in Oregon.

Pro: Can help alleviate some of the upfront costs of making the products.
Con: Not a viable option for service-based businesses.

4. Friends and Family

Friends and family may be a potential source for financial capital for your small business, but be warned: If the business doesn’t make it or falls on hard times, it might destroy the personal relationship.

Ough says she’s witnessed many cases where family members stopped speaking to each other because they went into business and things went south. “It doesn’t mean it can’t work, but I’ve seen enough in my lifetime [that] it’ll break your heart,” she says.

Pro: Easily accessible.
Con: May ruin relationships if the business fails.

5. Partners

Two businessmen hold a meeting.

Taking on a business partner can be a way to secure funding in exchange for equity in your company. Depending on the arrangement, the partner might be an employee, someone not involved with day-to-day operations or just an investor.

If you are considering taking on a partner, write down every detail of the business partnership, preferably with the help of a lawyer. Define clear expectations and boundaries of what each partner can expect while running the business and worst-case scenarios of how the business would dissolve in the case of a partner dying or wanting to be bought out of the business.

“Make sure all that is dialed in before you go into partnership,” Ough says.
Pro: Can offer funding and business support without family connections.
Con: All partners need to have defined roles and expectations to avoid conflicts.

6. Small Business Grants

Small business grants come from a variety of sources, including government agencies, nonprofit and for-profit companies. Government agency grants tend to have the most narrow eligibility requirements, as they often focus on businesses in the science, technology or energy industries that will bring direct growth to the community.

Grants from nonprofits may focus on specific types of business owners, such as women, minorities or veterans. Grants from for-profit companies often have the widest eligibility requirements and may be given out based on merit or by completing an application.

Your local Chamber of Commerce may have information on small business grants available in your area. The only catch is everyone wants free money, so these grants can be hard to come by.

“[Government grants are] definitely not something that most small businesses are able to get funding through,” says Priyanka Prakash, a senior staff writer at Fundera. “But if you think you meet the requirements, definitely spend time putting the application materials together because if you win, you get free money and it’s an amazing way to start out.”

Pro: Who doesn’t love free money?
Con: Highly competitive.

7. Angel Investors

Just as the name suggests, the idea of having a wealthy investor come in and fund a startup can sound like the answer to an entrepreneur’s prayers. Angel investors can be affluent people or groups looking to fund startups.

P. Simon Mahler, a small business mentor with Score, a non-profit that advises small businesses, says people can search for angel investors by industry and by location — one such way is by browsing Angel Capital Association’s national directory of angel investors and firms.

Once you find a potential investor, it’s a long, thorough interview process with the entrepreneur and that person’s entire business team to make sure the business is viable.

“They’re very conservative, very selective as to who and why they invest in certain businesses,” Mahler says. “They want the sure thing.”

Pro: Having a benefactor can alleviate funding headaches.
Con: Can be a slow, difficult process to get the money.

8. Venture Capital

Similar to angel investors, venture capital firms also provide funding to small businesses and startups early on in development. The difference is the speed with which they operate and what they ask for in return. But that speed comes at a price.

Mahler says venture capital firms are very niche in what they invest in and are aggressive once they decide to invest. For example, angels may offer advice with their funding, while venture capitalists may ask for equity in your company and request specific changes in your business model.

“You’re giving away a lot to get a lot,” he says. “That’s what a lot of people struggle with is that it sounds good to have VC [venture capital] money, but you’re giving away a huge chunk of the ownership stake in your business.”

If you think your business may be of interest to such firms, start by asking your network for personal recommendations. You can also opt to make a profile for your business on AngelList — a national platform for job seekers, angel investors, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists alike.

Pro: May be quicker than using an angel investor to obtain large amounts of money.
Con: May have to give up a big piece of ownership stake to get the funds.

9. Online Alternative Lenders

Online alternative lenders have become a popular business financing option versus getting capital from traditional bank loans. Online alternative lending companies, such as Kabbage, OnDeck or BlueVine, are a convenient and fast way to get funds. There is no need to go to a bank to apply as everything is done online and funds can be deposited in a couple of business days.

Just like loans, online alternative lenders also offer business lines of credit, where instead of providing one lump sum of money up-front, you can use as much or as little as you need within your limit.

But the downside to using one of these lenders is that doing so can be an expensive way to borrow money. Prakash says the interest rate of a bank loan may be 7%-8% while these online lenders may charge up to 60%-70% in interests.

“It’s definitely a trade-off between how quickly or badly you need the capital versus how much you’re willing to pay for it,” she says.

Pros: Easy application process, faster way to get funds.
Con: High-interest rates.

10. SBA Loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration has a program to help business people get financing after they demonstrate success for a few years. SBA loans come with a guarantee that the loan will be repaid to the lender. If the business fails to pay back the loan, the government will pay the lender, which could be, for example, a traditional bank.

“It’s a way to take some of the risk off the lender, and it encourages banks to lend to more small businesses,” Prakash says.

The only catch is these loans are rather difficult to obtain for startups. “If your business is a couple of years old and generating good revenue and is close to a profit, then it’s a much more viable option for a small business loan,” she says. You can go to SBA.gov to find out if you qualify for an SBA loan.

Pro: Takes the pressure off the small business if the loan can’t be repaid.
Con: Not easy to get for startups.

11. Banks

Buildings with bank names are pictured

For entrepreneurs with not much experience under their belts, the most obvious place to obtain a business loan might not be the place to go.

Traditional banks want to make sure they’ll get their money back, so they’ll only work with what they’d consider a sure thing. This means unless you’ve been in business for a few years or have a track record of successfully starting small businesses, banks may not consider you for a loan.

Pro: Lower interest rates than online lenders.
Con: May not lend to newer businesses or startups.

What if You Have Bad Credit?

For people with a not-so-stellar credit score, there is still hope for launching a small business.

Funding options such as bootstrapping, loans from family and friends, crowdfunding and online alternative lenders might be the route you have to take because bank and SBA loans could be off the table initially.

You may have to pay more now, which is the case when using an alternative online lender with a high interest rate, but more affordable options may become available in the future.

Matt Reinstetle is a former staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Adam Hardy contributed to this post.

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

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15 Websites to Help You Sell Stuff Online, Plus Tips on How to Do It

Selling your stuff online is a great way to make a quick $ 20 to tide you over until your next paycheck. It’s also a low-cost way to start a small business venture that brings in thousands of dollars in passive income.

And everything in between.

No matter your needs, we’ve got the right e-commerce websites for you. But first, you need to do some preparation to make sure your for-sale listing will be successful.

How to Sell Stuff Online

While you can find a website that will allow you to create a for-sale listing for just about anything, that doesn’t mean anyone will actually buy.

Think about it from the perspective of the buyers: What will they need to make the decision to purchase your item?

Here are a few easy steps to make your listing pop.

Take Good Photos

A man poses for a picture in a portable sauna

It doesn’t matter what you’re selling: People will want to see it. A well-lit photo (or five) is one of the easiest ways to set yourself apart. Good photos make your listing appear much more legitimate and trustworthy, too.

“It’s all about perception,” Etsy shop owner Lena Gosik-Wolf told The Penny Hoarder. “It’s about how people are seeing you because they can’t have that in-person experience.”

Include Useful Keywords

If you’re trying to sell a Samsung 32-inch flat screen LED TV, you will want to include those details. Don’t just say “TV for sale” and call it a day. Not only is a well written description going to help the buyer make a decision once they find your listing, but item descriptions also help them get to your listing in the first place.

Many e-commerce sites have algorithms that work like Google. So if someone is searching for a “Samsung LED,” your listing will have a much better choice of appearing in the results.

Study Successful Listings

A woman poses with a laptop while her husband prints t-shirts

See what top sellers are doing with their listings, especially ones in similar categories to what you plan to sell. And take note.

Each website works a little differently. A good listing on one site may not be a good listing on another, so be sure to tailor your listing to each site if you plan on selling your items in multiple places.  

When Coryn Enfinger co-founded her screenprinting business, Dark Cycle Clothing, she leaned on all of these tips to help ensure success. She researched for weeks on how to create the perfect listing to showcase their clothes, which her husband Adam designs and prints. She found that high-quality photos are essential for online sales.

When Dark Cycle Clothing’s online store launched, buyers came flooding in. And what started as a hobby flourished into a $ 350,000-a-year screen printing business. Since then, Dark Cycle Clothing has ranked as a top-five seller of handmade clothes on Etsy and sells in stores and markets around the country.

“People don’t realize how much work it takes,” Enfinger said. “They just see the product, and they see it selling.”

15 Websites to Sell Stuff Online

After you’ve practiced a bit with how to make a killer for-sale listing, it’s time to find your item a good home.

And depending on what you’re selling, you’ll want to choose the appropriate website. Some giant websites will accept listings for most products, and some niche websites accept only certain categories of items. In most cases, the more specific you get, the better.

Where to Sell Almost Everything Online

Depending on how you use the largest e-commerce websites, they can be a help or a hindrance.

A big website equals more users equals more profit, right? Not quite. In our guide to online marketplaces, Kaitlyn Blount writes that giant e-commerce sites might lead to a “small fish, monstrous pond scenario.”

If you’re a budding business, some sites will handle shipping for you. But if you’re a one-time seller, you may not think the associated fees and hassle of registering are worth just one listing. It’s likely that you’re somewhere in the middle.

Here are a few websites that need no introduction.

1. Amazon

Amazon is a far cry from its book-peddling past. According to an NPR study, 44% of online shoppers now start their search on Amazon.

To cash in on that action and make money as an Amazon seller, you must register for an Individual Seller Plan or a Professional Seller Plan.

  • Individual seller accounts are free. They have a selling limit of 40 items per month, and Amazon deducts a 99 cent fee per sale. That means no up-front costs to list your item.
  • Professional sellers must pay a $ 39.99 monthly subscription fee. Professional accounts have no selling limit and are exempt from the 99 cent fee.

Both types of accounts are subject to additional selling fees, which range from 3% to 45% of the sale price depending on the category of the item.

If you don’t feel like packaging, shipping or storing the items, Amazon also offers Fulfillment by Amazon, which handles all of that for you, plus customer service and returns — for additional costs, of course. Fees range by weight: $ 2.41 for items 10 ounces and lighter up to $ 137.32 for oversized items.

Schuyler Richardson took his online selling to the next level by creating an Amazon private label business, which includes buying generic products for cheap, rebranding and packaging them, then selling them on Amazon for a profit.

With this technique, Richardson is able to bring in between $ 1,000 and $ 2,000 of passive income each month.

“It’s important to understand this isn’t a get-rich-quick strategy,” Richardson writes in our step-by-step guide to creating a private label business. “It takes diligence, patience and a willingness to see an idea through from start to finish.”

2. EBay

Since 1995, eBay has earned a reputation as a one-stop shop for curated goods, collectibles, unique flea-market finds and more.

“You can seriously sell anything on eBay if you know the market,” Michelle Henry told The Penny Hoarder.

Henry is an eBay shopkeeper who flips items she finds at her local thrift shop and makes a few hundred dollars a week on the site. And she isn’t the only one.

Rob Stephenson, who calls himself the Flea Market Flipper, makes upwards of $ 80,000 a year selling his flea-market finds online, usually on eBay. And it only takes him around 15 to 20 hours a week.

To join their ranks, sign up for an eBay Stores account. These accounts are for more serious sellers who foresee making in excess of 50 sales a month.

There are several tiers available — starter, basic, premium, anchor and enterprise ― with subscription fees that range from as little as $ 4.95 a month all the way up to $ 2,999.95. Each tier comes with a slew of benefits and discounts, which are listed under eBay’s subscription and fees section.

If you would just like to pawn off items from your attic, you can create a free account and list up to 50 items a month.

What’s unique about eBay is the option to create an auction listing, where buyers bid on your item, or a fixed-price listing, where the seller specifies the exact price. Whenever the item sells, eBay charges the seller a final-value fee, which is a percentage of the selling price. This percentage varies between 2% and 12% depending on the category of the item.

Shipping is on you, though.

3. Etsy

An Etsy page showing t-shirts for sale are displayed

Etsy has carved out a niche for handmade and artistic goods. While the site accepts listings from a wide range of product categories, the items should cater to its craft-loving and thrifty user base.

For sellers, it’s not just about the listing, either. It takes a little love to cultivate an Etsy shop that will resonate with buyers.

“People pick up on that kind of thing,” Gosik-Wolfe told The Penny Hoarder. “They can tell if you don’t care about your shop.”

She said it’s all about your brand, backstory and making a connection with customers.

“If people are really interested in your story, they’ll be more likely to look at all your items.” Gosik-Wolfe said. “Even if they’re not a buyer right away, they’re going to look through things and say ‘I connect to this,’ and they might just [come back] later when they do need something.”

Creating an online Etsy shop may take five minutes, but you’ll want to spend much more time customizing your page. (Or, if you don’t want to do all the page designing yourself, Etsy offers a customization tool called Pattern. This tool is an additional $ 15 a month.)

Once your shop is set up, your sales are subject to several types of fees:

  • Listing fee: For each listing on Etsy’s website or the mobile app, you’ll be charged 20 cents. For multiple quantities of the same item, a 20 cent fee will be charged per sale.
  • Transaction fee: Etsy charges 5% of the listing price per sale, plus any additional costs for shipping or gift wrapping.

Where to Sell Your Stuff Online Locally

If you’d rather not ship your item across the nation, you can opt to sell it locally. There are several sites where you can create a listing to advertise your product and then conduct the sale in person once you’ve found a buyer.

It’s important to stay safe when selling in person. Trust your gut, always meet in a well-lit public place and never give strangers your address.

Other than your neighborhood Starbucks, several police departments have designated trading spaces that are always available and have 24/7 surveillance. Find the closest one to you on SafeTrade.

4. Craigslist

Want to feel old? Of course not. But here it is anyway: Craigslist has been around for more than 20 years.

The aptly named advertising website was founded by Craig Newmark in 1996, and it started as his email list of interesting events in the San Francisco area. Over the years, it has grown to be synonymous with classified ads (sorry, newspapers) and boasts more than a billion monthly online visitors.

You can list anything from a used toaster to a high-end job to a 10-bedroom mansion.

For job, retail and service listings, there’s a fee. But if you have items you want to sell, it’s free. So list away.

While the site operates in more than 70 countries, it’s best used locally. In fact, to avoid scams, the site recommends people list locally and meet face to face. To encourage this, the website actually reads your IP address and automatically funnels you to the local version of the site.

So let’s say you want to sell an antique armoire.

To create a listing, no registration is required. The site will prompt you to answer a few questions about what type of item you’re selling and will ask you to specify your county. After that, describe the armoire in detail (condition, price, dimensions, color, etc.), post a few photos and leave your contact information if you don’t want to correspond through anonymous emails.

Then the replies will start rolling in. Be prepared to haggle.

5. Facebook Marketplace

What doesn’t Facebook do these days?

In 2016, the social media giant launched an on-site feature called Marketplace. It works a lot like other local-listing websites, except there’s the added benefit of looking through the profile of the buyer or seller — a relief for online shoppers, surely.

Anyone can browse the marketplace anonymously, but to bid on or create a listing, you will need to sign in to your Facebook profile, which of course, is free. (You’re probably already logged in if you’re reading this.)

Sellers can create a free listing for homes, vehicles or items. The only stipulation is that all listings must comply with Facebook’s commerce policies and any local laws.

Facebook forbids creating listings about:

  • Animals.
  • Weapons or ammunition.
  • Irrelevant content, i.e. posting news, memes or humor that “has no intention to buy or sell products or services.”

The marketplace also aggregates relevant buying and selling groups in your area. Posting in these groups is a good way to advertise your item to a specific audience.

Pro tip: Big-town universities usually have very active marketplace groups due to the constant flux of students.

Facebook has a direct-payment system built into Messenger, which is also free to use. But payment does not have to be completed using this feature.

6. Nextdoor

Nextdoor is a relatively new, private social media platform with an interesting twist. It’s not for individuals, but neighborhoods.

To join Nextdoor, you’ll need to verify your street address and use your real, full name. This is one exception to the “never give strangers your address” rule. Because they shouldn’t be strangers. They’re your neighbors.

After your account is verified (either by phone call or postcard), you can join your neighbors on a private board not indexed by search engines and not available to people who have an address outside your area.

During registration, you’ll be prompted to join groups based on popular trending topics in your area, such as local sports teams, schools and much more.

Once your profile is complete, you can post free listings in the “For Sale & Free” section and filter items by more than a dozen categories.

All items that are shown on the website are by other Nextdoor users in your designated “neighborhood.”

The reason neighborhood is in quotation marks is because the areas are not geographically accurate neighborhoods per se. They are formed by founding members — people who first signed up in your community. Founding members define the limits of your online neighborhood and must recruit at least 10 addresses within that area to sign up on Nextdoor to establish the neighborhood.

Nextdoor staff can, at any time, change the neighborhood parameters, say, if someone combined two full cities into one neighborhood or intentionally left out certain areas based on income or race.

And while these members may indeed be your neighbors, it’s still a good idea to adhere to the safety best practices mentioned above when selling in person.

7. OfferUp

OfferUp is a mobile-based secondhand marketplace that launched in 2011. It’s focused on local sales, but there is a feature to search for items nationwide, too.

It’s one of the only online marketplaces that requires sellers to upload photos of the item via its mobile app. The app has built-in messaging and payment systems, though they aren’t mandatory for buyers. For sellers, the app is required because of the mandatory photo feature.

Creating an account is as fast as downloading the app or logging in with Facebook or Gmail if you don’t intend to sell.

OfferUp has an extensive list of prohibited items, including alcohol, guns, animals and vitamins. The site also has in-depth guides on the best practices for posting and marketing your item, which include using multiple photos, categorizing your item correctly and writing a good product description.

Creating listings and selling items in person are free.

However, there are a few paid features on OfferUp.

  • National listings: Most items are automatically listed for sale in your local area. For a fee (9.9% of the selling price), you can have the item listed nationally and shipped to the buyer.
  • Promoted listings: a feature that keeps your post within the top 50 search results for a specific category. Promotion fees run between $ 3.99 and $ 19.99 for three days to 14 days of promotion, respectively.
  • Bumping: This feature refreshes your item as if it were a new post, listing it higher in search results. Bumps cost between $ 1.99 and $ 3.99 per item.
  • Paying through OfferUp: Transactions are typically cash-based, but for national sales or situations where you don’t want to use cash, the website offers transactions through Stripe, which charges separate processing fees.

All paid features are optional. So to keep costs down, keep it local and use cash.

8. Letgo

Capitalizing on the minimalist movement, Letgo wants you to find a home for your gently used tchotchkes or space-takers that don’t spark joy. A quick listing could turn your old wooden-trunk-turned-coffee-table into someone else’s new wooden-trunk-turned-coffee-table.

Now your living room looks larger and you have $ 30 you can invest on a little self-care. Or your third round of Uber Eats this week. Whichever.

Letgo is free to buy and sell, and the only fees are for sellers who want to promote their listings. (Promotions start at $ 1.99, and a “Super Boost” subscription is available to Android users for $ 29.99 a month.)

The app-based marketplace caters to both one-time sellers and veteran peddlers alike. It takes less than a minute to create a listing, which is possible on both the Letgo website and the app. Your selling radius is automatically picked up by your phone’s location information or your IP address.

Upload a few photos, write a good description, list your price and post it for people in your area to see.

After you’ve made a few sales, like several other marketplace sites, your profile will accrue ratings from buyers. High ratings are a good way to set yourself apart if you plan to use the app frequently.

While listings are aggregated based on your ZIP code, it is possible to tap into other areas by entering a different ZIP code. However, there is no option to filter items nationally.

Letgo is a locals-only club.

Where to Sell Games and Electronics Online

While every website or app above accepts listings for electronics, it’s a good idea to list them on marketplaces that specialize in these types of products.

For example, someone on Facebook may indeed want a laptop, but your gaming laptop has 16GB of RAM, a terabyte of disk space and you just upgraded the graphics card. The Facebook buyer may only be looking for a computer that can run word processing programs. And a (lowball) offer is probably going to reflect that.

To get what it’s worth, you’ll want to list it on a marketplace where buyers will appreciate the specs of your gaming rig.

9. Decluttr

You know that collection of DVDs that you try to push to the furthest corners of your mind (and the farthest crannies of your closet) but inevitably rears its head every time you have to move? Yeah, that one.

Well, there’s a way to get paid for all those dusty discs, fast. And the best part is that you don’t have to find individual buyers. Decluttr will buy them from you and do the reselling for you.

Decluttr accepts much more than those DVDs that you’d rather forget about, too. It also buys:

  • Video games, Blu-ray Discs and music.
  • Cell phones, tablets and consoles.
  • Smart watches and laptops.
  • Even textbooks and Legos.

At this point, you’ve probably written more product descriptions than you’ve bargained for. Thankfully, no photos or listings are required to sell on Decluttr.

To get a cash quote for tech such as phones, devices and consoles, enter the model of the item you want to sell into the website or app search field and select what condition it’s in (good, poor or faulty). A cash quote will appear immediately.

For CDs, Blu-rays or other discs, scan the barcode with your smartphone for an instant quote.

In The Penny Hoarder guide to selling on Decluttr, Matt Wiley scored more than 50 bucks for some old movies and a few PS3 games. He got paid the day after his order was accepted via direct deposit, meaning no dealing with cash or checks or multiple buyers who want only two DVDs in the bundle.

Compared to other marketplaces, Decluttr’s shipping policy also stands out. The company handles shipping costs and sends you the shipping labels via email. All you have to do is pack the items in a box, tack on the label and mail it off. (For free boxes, Wiley recommends asking your local supermarket. Cost-saving and environmentally friendly!)

10. Gameflip

Selling video games and related content is one of the best ways to make money as a gamer.

At Gameflip, you can sell video games, gift cards, rare in-game items and movies all in one place.

Lifelong gamer and video game content creator Frederick Aldeco, aka DaddyGamer Fred, used Gameflip to sell almost all of his games (except the handheld Switch and PS Vita) to help fund his move from the U.S. to Switzerland.

But Gameflip is not just a marketplace for items and products. Gamers and designers can also sell services on the website, such as tutoring sessions; or graphic designs, such as logos and artwork.

To become a Gameflip seller, you must either register a credit or debit card (no prepaid cards allowed) or submit your ID for verification. You can choose to sign up using an email address, Facebook or Gmail account.

For each item sold, Gameflip charges a processing fee of 8% of the sale price, plus an additional 2% digital-item fee (if applicable). Frequent sellers can join the Gameflip Club to reduce or eliminate selling fees. Memberships cost between $ 1 a month and $ 15 a month.

All income from your sales is stored on your Gameflip profile and can be withdrawn through PayPal.

But perhaps the biggest payment of all is being able to say, “See, Mom, it does pay to play video games.”

11. Gazelle

Are you one to buy the latest model iPhone or Samsung as soon as it hits the market? Then get paid for your old model by selling it to Gazelle. No sifting through bids or haggling with buyers.

Gazelle will buy your used tech, primarily smartphones but also:

  • Tablets.
  • MP3 players.
  • Laptops and desktops.
  • Various Apple products.

To see if your product is eligible, find the make and model on the website, then answer a couple of questions about the specs and condition to get a quote.

Make sure your exact model is listed, otherwise the company won’t purchase it.

After you accept a quote, Gazelle will send you packing and shipping labels for free (for orders over $ 30). Load up your tech and ship it back for confirmation. Gazelle will pay only after it has received your shipment and checked the item.

For example, if you listed an item in “flawless” condition and the company finds scratches or dings, it will adjust the offer. You’ll have five days to accept the new offer before Gazelle will return it to you.

You can choose one of several payment options. Gazelle pays via Amazon gift cards, Paypal transfers or checks.

If you need cash fast, you can also deposit your tech at the nearest EcoATM kiosk and get paid immediately. The website notes that kiosk payments are typically lower than quotes made on the website.

Where to Sell Your Clothes Online

Of all the things we have too much of, it’s probably clothes. And we probably don’t realize it. We’ll tuck a bag or two in the hallway closet, put our unused sweaters under the bed and line our doors with hanging shoe racks.

But if we were to gather that garb into one pile, it would be enormous. Seeing it all in one place puts things into perspective.

Donating is a great start to chipping away at that fabric mountain on your living room floor. But if you want a little cash for your clothes, you have plenty of sites to choose from.

12. Poshmark

Dubbing itself a “social marketplace for fashion,” Poshmark is a platform for stylish men, women and kids’ clothes that is a little more involved that most buy-and-sell websites.

It’s not a list-it-and-leave-it kind of place, but the extra work that goes into creating a pleasing profile really pays off.

When fashion blogger Alison Gary decided to rent out her house and travel the country in an RV with her husband, she realized her wardrobe was weighing her down.

So she took a bunch of high-quality photos of her outfits, made them into a collage and posted them on Poshmark. Within a few months, her excess clothes earned her more than $ 1,000.

Gary laid out her best practices in The Penny Hoarder’s guide to selling on Poshmark. To name a few:

  • List multiple pictures.
  • Haggle for the best price, but know when to say no.
  • Give fashion advice along with your clothing. (Hello, upsell!)

To become a seller, you first must download the Poshmark app. Then you can create your own listing using Gary’s advice. For each sale, Poshmark takes a commission.

For sales $ 15 and under, there’s a flat $ 2.95 fee. For everything over $ 15, the commission jumps to 20% of the sale price.

The good news is Poshmark handles shipping for free. It will send you a pre-labeled package for you to load your clothes into and send to the buyer.

13. Swap.com

Admit it. There’s a bag of clothes in the back of your car that you’ve been meaning to take to one of the many used clothes stores, but you never got around to it. If that’s the case, Swap.com was meant for you.

It works similarly to clothing-exchange stores, where your clothes are appraised and you’re given an offer based on in-vogue fashion or seasonal trends. Except with Swap.com, it’s all done online and through the mail.

To start selling to Swap.com, it will take a little work. First, you will need to register an account and complete a “premier seller application.” You’ll provide:

  • How much you want to charge for each item.
  • What brands you plan to sell.
  • How frequently you plan to sell to Swap.com this year.
  • Your phone number.

If your application is accepted, you’ll be prompted to send in a test box, which must meet certain acceptance criteria for men, women and children’s clothing. After your box passes, then you’ll be invited to sell to Swap.com whenever you like.

For items with a list price of $ 8 and under, you will earn 15% in cash, plus 20% in Swap.com credit. All items over $ 8 will earn you 70% of the list price, plus 20% in Swap.com credit.

If some of your items are rejected, Swap.com charges $ 11.90 to ship the items back to you. Oversized boxes incur extra fees.

So make sure to follow the acceptance criteria to a T. Don’t include dirty, damaged or faded clothes because you might end up with more fees than earnings.

14. ThredUP

For the clothes that might have gone in the donation pile, ThredUP may be just as good a home, partly because the company will take those donations off your hands. For free.

This women-and-children-centric secondhand retailer makes closet cleaning easy. Select a “clean out kit;” there’s one for donations and or one for items you want to sell. If you select standard shipping, the kits are free. Expedited shipping costs $ 16.

If you’re donating, stuff your kit full, mail it out and call it a day.

If you want your items to sell, you may need to be a little more choosy. Be sure to include brands that sell well, such as Athleta, Kate Spade, Lululemon and Patagonia.

Accepted clothes will earn you between 5% and 80% of the listing price.

Listing Price Percentage of Earnings
Less than $ 15 5%
$ 15 to $ 19.99 10%
$ 20 to $ 34.99 15%
$ 35 to $ 49.99 25%
$ 50 to $ 74.99 50%
$ 100 to $ 199.99 60%
$ 200 to $ 299.99 70%
$ 300+ 80%

When loading up your kit, make sure you’re ready to part ways with whatever you send in. You will get a modest payout for the items that ThredUP accepts. The rejected clothes will be recycled.

15. Tradesy

Tradesy runs like most other marketplaces on this list, except it’s tailored toward high-end women’s fashion from designer brands like Balmain, Chanel, Gucci and Louis Vuitton.

Besides clothes, Tradesy also accepts accessories, purses, shoes and all things wedding-related (invitations, veils, decorations and more).

To create a listing, you know the drill: photos, description, price. If you need a little help setting it up, Tradesy will pitch in with automatic photo editing and pricing suggestions.

Where Tradesy distinguishes itself is in its shipping policy. Before you publish your listing on the site, you can choose from three shipping methods:

  • Tradesy-supplied shipping. Choose from an assortment of bags and packages that best fit your item. Prepaid labels included.
  • Printed, prepaid shipping label. A flat $ 10.50 shipping price, which the buyer pays at checkout.
  • Ship it yourself. The best option to keep your listing price down, but more work for you.

All shipping costs are added to your listing price. Your selection will increase the price for the buyer (and ultimately for you too, because seller fees are based on the total item cost, including shipping.)

Earnings accrue on your Tradesy account. For each sale, Tradesy takes a commision based on the listed price of the item. For all sales under $ 50, the fee is a flat $ 7.50. Listings above $ 50 incur a 19.8% fee.

Your earnings will be stored on your account for 21 days. You can use those funds to shop on Tradesy or withdraw them into a checking account, a debit card or a PayPal account.

Each withdrawal incurs a 2.9% cash transfer fee.

Adam Hardy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He specializes in unique ways to make money and work-from-home jobs. Read his full bio here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.

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

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These 7 Tips Will Help You Avoid Burning Out When You Have a Side Gig

When Ericka Eller, a certified health coach and nutritionist, works with clients facing stress from overloaded work schedules, she shares her personal experience of burning out.

Eller hit the wall in 2016. Back then, she was obtaining her health coach certification while juggling the responsibilities of a full-time job as a business development manager at a nutritional supplement company with being a mom.

“All of those things were great, but I was going full speed ahead with everything, always feeling like I wasn’t doing enough,” she says.

Eventually, all the responsibilities and travel from work, getting her business off the ground and not sleeping and eating well compounded to the point that she says she developed health problems. This led her to change the way she juggles jobs and her personal life.

Eller and other people running side hustles along with full-time jobs often feel overwhelmed. Luckily, there are ways they can avoid burnout.

Focus on Three Goals Per Week

After working a full day at your 9-to-5, coming home to start focusing on what needs to be done for your side hustle can feel like an insurmountable chore.

Eller’s clients often come to her burdened with never-ending to-do lists. They usually don’t know what to tackle first to meet the obligations of their day job, side gig and life outside work.

To shorten the list, Eller tells people to write down their three top goals for the week and then write down three tasks each day that will lead to achieving them.

“That way, they are moving forward in their three top goals, but it’s not overwhelming,” she says. “Three [goals] feels a lot better than 20.”

Block Out Your Schedule

One of the keys to success when working a full-time job with one or more side hustles is managing time wisely.

For Hope Bolinger, time management is a necessity to prevent fatigue as she juggles her work as a literary agent, editor and writer of her first novel. To keep all her deadlines in check, she maps out her week by blocking out time for each project.

Each day, Bolinger estimates how many hours she expects to work on an assignment and then budgets more time than it may take. For example, if she thinks a task will take three hours to complete, she blocks out four hours. That way she’ll still be on track if tasks take longer than planned or something unexpected pops up.

Don’t forget to budget break times. Bolinger says she includes a 15- to 20-minute break every four hours. “If you’re working longer than four-hour stretches, the screen is going to start getting blurry, and you’re not going to be as effective as you want to be,” she says.  

Bolinger uses a computer spreadsheet to keep track of her hourly schedule, but paper planners and journals work, too.

Tackle the Least Enjoyable Projects in Bits

One of the added benefits of blocking out your daily schedule is that you can split up your time working on different projects the way you see fit, Bolinger says. For example, if you’re not particularly thrilled to work on a tasks related to your side hustle, you can sprinkle in half-hour blocks of something you enjoy to break up the monotony.

But sometimes, you aren’t able to break up those less enjoyable tasks. In that case, work on the least exciting stuff first instead of putting it off until the end. “When you get to the projects you’re very excited to work on, it’s kind of a little treat for yourself,” Bolinger says.

Learn to Say ‘No’

An easy way to accelerate side-hustle burnout is not knowing your limits. One of the ways Chantay Bridges keeps up all her jobs as a Realtor, talent coordinator and event manager is knowing when to say no.

When she manages events such as weddings, clients will often ask her to provide additional chairs, tables and dishes or devote more time than what was agreed upon. She reminds her clients to stick to the contract because those extra requests add up and can make the difference between needing to hire more people and not.

If you’re prone to taking on too many tasks, it’s up to you to change your behavior to avoid burning out.

“If you don’t change your behavior and change the way you operate, then you’re teaching people to treat you that way,” she says.

Make Sleep a Priority

Sleep was always the first thing Eller sacrificed when managing an overloaded schedule. She says almost every woman she works with as a client either can’t get to sleep or chooses not to because she feels it’s unproductive.

But sleep is important because it can recharge your body and mind. That’s why Eller encourages people to get eight to nine hours of sleep per night.

To get the most out of your sleep, create a bedtime routine. It can consist of any number of things, such as disconnecting from electronic screens, dimming lights or turning on an essential-oil diffuser an hour before bed, Eller suggests.

Also, your bedroom should be a calming, inviting place that’s free of distractions. Having baskets of unfolded laundry on the floor or hanging tomorrow’s clothes from a treadmill in the corner of the room can make some people feel overwhelmed. So put your clothes in your closet or move them out of sight and out of mind.

Find Some Hobbies Outside of Work

Another way to recharge and refocus is by having something unrelated to workto look forward to. Bolinger is involved with community theater, sings in a choral group and plays tennis.

After playing tennis or coming home from the theater, Bolinger feels more creative. “I usually tend to be most productive when I’m returning home from one of those things versus going at a project for more than five hours.”

If community theater isn’t your jam, exercise is an excellent way to release some endorphins. She says to look for anything you enjoy doing outside the office or house that can be a change of pace.

Treat Yo’ Self

It’s easy to forget to celebrate your accomplishments, Bolinger says. So when you scratch an important or difficult task off your to-do list for your side hustle, take a moment to “treat yo’ self.”

“I’m a chocoholic, so you can take a wild guess at what my little prize is if I hit a goal,” Bolinger says, adding that dark chocolate truffles are her go-to reward.

If eating chocolate doesn’t get you excited, maybe a night of Netflix binge-watching will. Whatever you choose, note that it doesn’t have to be something that costs a lot of money, Bollinger says. Just make it something that you look forward to.

Matt Reinstetle is a former 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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A new world was found in our solar system, and you can help name it

name a planet

Being allowed to officially name a planetary body is a privilege that few are ever granted. Typically, new planets, moons, and other large objects found in space are named by the person or group that discovered them, but many of them are never formally named at all, sitting with their scientifically-designated label for years.

The minor planet 2007 OR10 is one such world and, although it was originally discovered in July 2007, it never received an official name. Now its discoverers want suggestions on what its name should be, and you can help.

Continue reading…

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A new world was found in our solar system, and you can help name it originally appeared on BGR.com on Sat, 13 Apr 2019 at 09:01:39 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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Do You Have A High School Student? Here’s A Program That Can Help Change Their Life.

Disney Dreamers

Source: Disney Dreamers Academy / Courtesy of Disney

When invited to cover the Disney Dreamers Academy hosted by Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine, I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect. I haven’t been to Disney since I was in high school and I didn’t think I would get caught up in all the “magic.” Boy, was I wrong. The weekend ended up being inspiring, enthralling, and yes, magical.

First off: Disney holds nothing back in helping the high performing kids in attendance dream even bigger. The program is hosted over a weekend, with kids arriving on Friday and leaving on Sunday. The weekend is jam-packed with events, but the best part is that their all in the interest and the betterment of children. Each year, Disney and Essence chooses 100 kids to come for the inspiring weekend. The kids are allowed to bring one parent or chaperone for the event (yes, all of their amenities are covered as well).

Upon arrival, I dropped my things off and immediately rushed to a luncheon followed by a press conference where Tracey Powell, Vice President, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and DDA Executive Champion gave opening remarks along with Michelle Ebanks, CEO of Essence Communications who explained what would occur over the weekend. Disney Dreamer Alumni also spoke to get current Dreamers excited for the weekend.

Disney is all about the magic and even if you think you’re not going to feel it, they will make sure you do! There is a daily parade at the Magic Kingdom and Disney organized to let the Dreamers’ lead it. Very cool and exciting for the kids. Afterward, the kids have an option to go to a Deep Dive. Deep Dives happen throughout the weekend with the kids being able to explore area of interests and connect with experts and leaders in that field.

Disney Dreamers

Source: Disney Dreamers Academy / Courtesy of Disney

In addition to Deep Dives, the weekend also consists of a lot of motivational speaking. Princeton Parker, Mikki Taylor, Lisa Nichols, Yolanda Adams and more poured words of strength, encouragement and love into the students. I surveyed the room and you could just see the kids sitting straighter, off their phones, and minds turning. The greatest part is that a lot of these speakers are returning speakers. Mikki Taylor helped found the program and Lisa Nichols also spoke to the students last year.

Of course, kids don’t just want to hear from adults, so the Dreamers’ Academy also brought in Black-ish stars Marcus Scribner and Miles Brown to talk about how they deal with balancing their dreams, enjoying being kids throughout the fame, and more.

In an interview with Steve Harvey. We discussed how the program had evolved. He reflected on past years and how he had met so many parents that had “poured everything into their children and forgotten about their own dreams.” Harvey admitted to being a “big dreamer” and still dreaming at 62, so he found it important to also make sure that parents were still doing the same. There were organized “Parent Tracks” to allow parents time to reflect, learn, and grow. The whole event felt like a family reunion. There was a family dinner and on Sunday, the commencement felt more like a Sunday church service.

Disney Dreamers

Source: Disney Dreamers Academy / Courtesy of Disney

Yes, throughout the busy weekend there is still time to enjoy Disney and all the parks. It’s a lot of work and character building, but also an equal amount of magic and play. The event is diverse, with kids of all races and a range of high school ages in attendance. This is like a hyped up summer camp and after speaking to Dreamer Alumni, they still keep in touch with people from their cohort.

If your kid or a high schooler you know is looking for an opportunity to ensure their future is bright, encourage them to apply to Disney Dreamers Academy. I wasn’t even a part of the program and left incredibly inspired by the students!

 

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These 7 Steps Will Help You Negotiate Your Salary to Get What You’re Worth

After all the hard work you’ve put into designing your resume, crafting your cover letter and acing your job interview, you might be tempted to cash in on the first job offer a company gives you.

Most people do. Who could blame you?

But putting in a little extra time to negotiate a higher salary might be the easiest and quickest way to earn more money at your new job. Plus, hiring managers are often ready to negotiate. Are you?

What Are Salary Negotiations, and Why Are They Important?

Salary negotiations are one of the last steps in the hunt for a new job. They aren’t exactly synonymous with asking for a raise, though the two share a lot of similarities.

The key distinction is that negotiations for a higher salary happen sometime after your interview and before you sign the employment contract — not during a performance review for a current job.

Salary negotiations are crucial for a few key reasons. They show the company that you’re confident in your skills, that you’ve done your homework and that you’re not going to dart off to another better-paying position as soon as it’s available (because you’ll have the better-paying position).

Negotiations are also a time for you to think about your financial needs and to use the tight labor market to your advantage to score a higher starting salary.

“Unemployment rates are at all-time lows, and there’s a continued demand for skilled talent,” said Luke Stratmann, Baltimore Metro Market Manager of Robert Half, a 70-year-old S&P 500 career-consulting and staffing firm. “Professionals have the upper hand.”

The moment you say yes to a job, your sway over your benefits package and starting salary drops. If you don’t negotiate, you’ll have to wait six to 12 months to ask for a raise — money you could have been pocketing all along.

“Most employers expect — and even welcome — some back-and-forth on employment offers,” Stratmann said.

According to a 2019 survey by Robert Half, 70% of hiring managers are prepared for salary or benefit negotiations. The same survey shows that, within the last year, 45% of job seekers accepted the employer’s first offer without a peep.

Don’t be those people. It’s free money. Peep away.

How to Negotiate Salary

A woman shakes hands with a nan in an office setting.

Job interviews are nerve-racking as it is. When you add in salary negotiations, it’s enough to send most people into full-on panic mode.

Those anxieties could be enough to keep you from getting what you’re truly worth. Don’t let them.

Our step-by-step guide will help allay those initial fears and get you into the right frame of mind to not only ask for what you’re worth — but to emerge from those salary negotiations with a better offer.

Step 1: Research Salaries for Your Role

One of the best ways to calm yourself and to approach a salary negotiation with a level head is to do your homework about the company and your role. Don’t stress over manipulation tactics and strategies.

“If we go into a negotiation worrying about [that]… then we miss out on the most important feature of negotiation,” said Lisa Gates, cofounder of She Negotiates. “It’s a conversation. A human conversation.”

Gates, a leadership and negotiation coach for businesswomen and one of LinkedIn’s top 10 voices in the workplace, advises a good place to start is by searching what others in your position are earning. That could be by asking your colleagues (no, it’s not illegal, she said) or by looking up salary information on websites like Dice, Robert Half and Payscale.

With these tools you can establish what the national median income is for your position, what your local economy is paying and what your potential employer typically pays other people with the same title.

Consider where you’re located and where the company is located. For instance, if you are working in Nebraska, the local median income for copywriters is much lower than copywriter salaries in New York. But if you’re relocating to New York for the job, definitely use that salary range in negotiations. In that case, your salary history from Nebraska is irrelevant.

Likewise, this range is useful for establishing a fair salary for work-from-home jobs. Again, if you are a copywriter in Nebraska who is applying for a remote position in New York, you can negotiate a salary that’s in line with what New Yorkers earn, or at least you will have wiggle room to tap into national rates.

“Your salary should not be calibrated by your ZIP code,” Gates said. “It’s about the benefit you deliver to the company.”

Step 2: Know Your Work’s Worth

Once you’ve established a healthy salary range based on your research, you then have to plot yourself somewhere on that line.

“If you are a median performer… shoot for the median,” said Gates. “But chances are you’re amazing at what you do, and you want to shoot for a salary between median and high.”

When asking for above-average salaries, it needs to be a matter of showing rather than telling. If you believe you deserve the top of that range, then you’re going to need to fall back on something more substantial than “I believe I’m worth $ 70,000.” Because the obvious follow-up question to that statement is “Why?”

To be able to answer that question confidently and convincingly, “you need to make a list of all your contributions and accomplishments — and quantify them,” said Gates. “For example, if you are a customer service manager and you revamped your new-hire onboarding, what impact did that effort have on the bottom line?”

In terms of negotiation, your argument will be much stronger when it’s based on research and numbers rather than emotion. If you really do need that extra $ 5,000 for child care costs or relocation costs or rent, that’s OK to mention. Just don’t let that be your whole argument.

“Employers aren’t likely to respond well if job seekers are being unreasonable or pulling numbers out of thin air,” Stratmann said.

So show them exactly why you’re worth that extra five grand.

Step 3: Respond to the Initial Offer — Politely

This stage is ripe for fumbling.

You just got the job offer (congratulations!) and your emotions are running high — good or bad. It could be that the company offered you exactly what you wanted and you’re ecstatic. Or it could’ve lowballed you by about $ 10,000.

In either situation, it’s easy to respond on impulse. Check yourself first.

Take a deep breath and do not give your decision immediately, even if it’s a great offer. Likewise, it may not be the best time to negotiate especially if you’re a bit offended at that lowball.

“Responding graciously is the most important action to take when you first receive an offer,” said Loren Margolis, CEO and founder of Training & Leadership Success. “I recommend you state that you are grateful and excited, and then take a pause.”

Margolis is a career-training expert and a member of Forbes’ Coaching Council who’s worked with several Fortune 500 companies. She said that even if you know your answer or are ready to negotiate immediately, it’s good to ask for some time to think over the offer.

“If you negotiate on the spot, you run the risk of being influenced by emotion,” she said. “And you want to be logical and clear-headed when you talk money.”

The amount of time to ask the employer to think over the job offer could be anywhere from 24 hours to a week. Between 24 and 48 hours is typical, but employers may be in a pinch to fill the job quickly.

“You can also directly ask when the hiring manager would like to hear back,” Stratmann said.

That way you won’t be caught in a guessing game and will have a clear amount of time to review your salary research and prepare.

Step 4: Plan Your Counteroffer

A man wearing a tie examines papers.

At this point, you’ve done quite a bit of legwork on salary research. Now you need to pore over the details of your offer and establish what are known as a reservation point, a target salary and an anchor salary.

In salary negotiations, it’s important to stay within a realistic range that’s based on your research. And think back to your application. Did it ask, “What are your salary requirements?” If so, how did you respond?

If you answered “$ 40,000 to $ 50,000,” you have to work within that range.

For example, let’s say your initial job offer includes: $ 40,000 starting salary, health insurance, a 401(k) plan and three weeks of paid time off. If you’re an early-career professional, this offer might sound pretty good, and it is technically within your range. Negotiate anyway.

“Always negotiate, if for no other reason than to demonstrate that you are capable of having a problem-solving conversation,” Gates advised. “That’s what a negotiation is.”

The only exception is if the company made a “firm” offer or has a “non-negotiable” salary policy, Stratmann said. If that’s the case, “you probably don’t want to push your luck.”

But those cases are rare, so unless it’s expressly stated, get to planning your counteroffer.

First, do the numbers.

  • Set a reservation point above the amount they initially offered, perhaps at $ 42,500. This number is the minimum salary you will accept.
  • Your target salary, aka the amount you foresee agreeing on after negotiations, will be higher than your reservation amount — somewhere around $ 45,000.
  • Your anchor salary will be much higher. It’s the number you use to start the conversation and could be as high as $ 50,000.

It’s very possible the company won’t meet your target salary even after negotiations. But don’t fret.

“When evaluating offers, don’t just look at salary,” Stratmann said. “Benefits, cost of living, career path, commute, corporate culture and other factors should be taken into account.”

So negotiate elements of your benefits package, too. Do they have wiggle room on vacation time? What about a work-from-home policy? Learning stipends? Loan forgiveness?

Or, as Margolis put it, “Determine what perks would add some sparkle to your life.”

The important part in a counteroffer is to remain flexible and open-minded.

Step 5: Practice the Negotiation Conversation

You’ve come a long way. But now you have all of these numbers and nuggets of advice floating around in your head. Can you recall them on a moment’s notice while under pressure and probably sweating profusely?

Didn’t think so.

The conversation itself could happen in person or over the phone. But it does need to be a conversation. No email negotiations, Stratmann said.

“Email is great when corresponding about scheduling and general questions,” he said. “But most of the time, negotiating over the phone or in person is your best bet so you can get a better read on tone and responses.”

And if the conversation does happen to take place in person, you’ll have to take into consideration much more than your tone. According to research from Robert Half, hiring managers pay keen attention to several nonverbal cues, the most important being:

  • Eye contact.
  • Posture.
  • Handshake.
  • Hand gestures.
  • Facial expressions.
  • Fidgeting and nervous movements.

This is why feedback is crucial. For the most part, you won’t be able to address any of those cues without someone else’s help.

“Practice negotiating with someone you trust. And ask them to make it difficult for you,” Margolis said.  “Have them counter your assertions and challenge you so you can practice professionally pushing back.”

Margolis also recommended writing out the perks that mean the most to you in the negotiation. Then, write down three things that distinguish yourself from the other applicants — they could highlight your experience, skills or ways you will add unique value to the company.

Forcing yourself to write it out makes your argument more cohesive.

Similarly, Gates recommended crafting an opening statement that lays out exactly what you want. She’s created a specific formula to guide the conversation that should include:

  • Your strengths.
  • Quantified results of those strengths.
  • How you plan to produce those results in the future.
  • An anchor number to start off negotiations.

Then round off your opening statement with a question that sparks discussion. She recommended something along the lines of, ”How can you help me make this so?”

Following this formula, your opening statement could look like:

“I’m a creative and witty copywriter who has produced several award-winning advertisements for past clients, which raised their ad revenue by 20% in one quarter. I believe with the new resources and larger team in my new role here, I will deliver even better results. These achievements warrant a salary of $ 50,000. How can we come together on this?”

Your statement will obviously look different. Use language that’s natural to you and change it around as much as you like. Be sure to include your anchor salary and an open-ended question that invites the employer to speak.

When you’re practicing with a friend, try changing the question, especially if the response isn’t what you were expecting. Because you want to start a discussion, avoid yes-or-no questions in particular.

Practice as much as you can and ask for feedback along the way. When all is said and done, thank your practice partner profusely. Drinks are on you.

Step 6: Negotiate a Higher Salary

After all that preparation, it’s not so scary anymore, is it?

Give yourself a pep talk, take a deep breath, and go get yourself a higher salary.

If you’re conducting the salary talks in person, remember to mind your body language. And if they offer you a beverage, take it. Having something to sip on will help smooth over those awkward pauses and can buy you some time to think of a response if you’re stumped.

If you’re talking over the phone, throw all that advice about body language out the window. That’s not important here. You’ll be able to have your notes in front of you, too.

Remember that your tone is what’s important on the phone. Speak clearly and slowly, and you’ll have a better offer in no time.

Step 7: Get It in Writing

You don’t want all that effort to go to waste.

After you rock your salary negotiation and come out with your target salary (or higher), be sure to ask for it in writing.

Sometimes hiring processes are long and involve plenty of people at the company. Things get forgotten or lost in translation. Perhaps the negotiation was handled by a separate person in the HR department. Maybe that separate person only had your initial salary offer on file and not the renegotiated amount. Or there could be something more nefarious in the works. Let’s hope that’s not the case.

“Ask for them to at least send it in an email to ensure that you and the hiring company are both on the same page,” Margolis said.

And when you finally sign your name on the contract, ensure it reflects what was sent in the email.

Now all that’s left is to bask in the success of the single highest-earning conversation you’ve likely ever had.

Adam Hardy is a staff writer on the Make Money team at The Penny Hoarder, where he writes about career advice, legit work-from-home job opportunities and unique moneymaking techniques. Read his full bio here , or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.

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

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Countries that help working class students get into university have happier citizens

A study has shown that ‘inclusive’ educational policies that help working class students access higher education, such as delaying streaming children according to their ability until they are older, lowering the cost of private education, and increasing the intake of universities so that more students can attend all act to reduce the ‘happiness gap’ between the rich and poor.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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Here’s How a ‘Money Buddy’ Can Help You Reach Your Financial Goals

The temptation of chocolate cake is real, but having a pal to cheer you on makes resistance and sticking to your weight-loss goal easier.

The same goes for your financial plans, which is why we love the idea of a “money buddy.”

That’s the person you can share financial goals with, like paying off credit card debt or saving for a house. You can check in together regularly and encourage each other along the way.

Such accountability can actually improve your performance, according to a study published in the Society of Behavioral Medicine. It found that participants who paired up with a virtual partner biked an average of nearly 87% longer than those who rode solo.

And regardless of your goal, simply having someone acknowledge your progress offers psychological benefits, according to Holly Donaldson, founder of Holly Donaldson Financial Planning in St. Petersburg, Florida.

“The gym is a good analogy for it,” she said. “If you have somebody at the gym who counts for you, like your pushups… you’re more likely to do two or three more.

“It reinforces that positive behavior.”

But having a partner also makes it all right to falter without giving up on the bigger goal.

“You have to have someone who’s going to be encouraging even if you don’t make a goal in a specific time frame,” Donaldson said. “You want someone that’s going to say, ‘It’s OK, you’re human.’”

So if you broke your no-spend promise with an afternoon latte, a money buddy is there to encourage you not to throw away your budget — you’ll just start that no-spend plan again tomorrow.

Even if you’ve created a system on your own, regularly checking in with your money buddy allows you to celebrate the wins and recover from the defeats a little more easily. For example, these two friends held each other accountable to pay off a combined $ 70,000 in debt.

Not sure where to find a money buddy who understands the ups and downs of your particular goals?

Whether it’s paying off credit card debt, improving your credit score or saving for retirement, you’ll find the support you need to reach your financial goals by joining our Penny Hoarder Community.

In the Community, you can pair up with another member, share goals with each other and then check in on each other’s progress. You’ll be able to boost each other up on the tough days and celebrate your victories together as a team.

It’s part of our goal to make this the year of Less Money Stress for everyone.

If you haven’t already joined our Community, be sure to check it out. You don’t need to go it alone. And you don’t need to give up chocolate cake.

Tiffany Wendeln Connors 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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Pat Cleveland’s Friends Help Raise Funds for Her Colon Cancer Treatment

STRENGTH IN NUMBERS: Friends and relatives of the irrepressible model Pat Cleveland are rallying around her to help finance her treatment for colon cancer.
In less than 24 hours, 121 people had contributed nearly $ 44,000 toward the $ 150,000 GoFundMe initiative as of early this afternoon. Cleveland’s husband, Paul van Ravenstein, said Monday, “The community is so supportive. It is just amazing to see everybody reach out.”
After having some strange digestive issues over the last few months, Cleveland sought medical advice in New York. Cleveland helped to break racial barriers on the runways in the Sixties and Seventies. Unlike many of her peers, Cleveland continued to model through the years. Once fashion week got underway in February, she was busy in New York, and then off to Europe for the Laura Biagiotti and Missoni shows in Milan, followed by Tommy Hilfiger’s Zendaya show in Paris, her husband said. Earlier this month Cleveland made an appearance at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ opening for its Thierry Mugler exhibition.
About 10 days ago in Paris for her daughter Anna’s birthday and a hair show for L’Orèal, Cleveland sought medical attention due to increased discomfort, her husband said. When the consulting physician checked back with

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This $22 LED tracing pad will help you draw (and trace) like a pro

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It takes time to put in the hours needed to master a craft. Not all of us can be Bob Ross — in fact, this video is proof.

If you’re just getting started on your journey to being an artist, all this can be discouraging. But the age-old adage holds true here: small steps lead to big things over the long term. Aspiring artists have to start somewhere, and this LED Adjustable Tracing Pad that’s on sale provides an easy way to do just that.

It’s a brilliant, no-brainer of a tool, really: A clear acrylic surface with a light shining behind it. You slip your reference image underneath, and affix your drawing paper on top. Flip on the light and select one of three brightness settings, and you can quickly get started tracing drawings at the illumination level of your choice. This makes it an easy way to block out distractions and get in the artistic zone. Read more…

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April Fools hoax stories could offer clues to help identify ‘fake news’

Academic experts in natural language processing who are interested in deception have compared the language used within written April Fools hoaxes and fake news stories. They have discovered that there are similarities in the written structure of humorous April Fools hoaxes — the spoof articles published by media outlets every April 1 — and malicious fake news stories.
Literacy News — ScienceDaily

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Why Telling the NCAA to Pay Players Is the Wrong Way to Help College Athletes

The annual March Madness heist is under way. Let’s take a peek behind the curtain: while the cameras show supremely gifted college athletes delivering drama and thrills on the court, the NCAA has licensed every television broadcast to hoard a bonanza for people who never touch the ball.

Well-meaning voices call for the NCAA to pay players, but this demand is misguided. No college should be required to pay athletes, and no pay structure needs to be planned. The central question is whether college athletes should have the bargaining rights that other Americans take for granted. On this point, the NCAA is deaf to persuasion. It will hang on to its windfall tenaciously.

The NCAA system is not a creation of law. It’s a private compact of colleges and their athletic conferences, designed to impose a compensation ceiling on athletes by fiat and to demonize anyone who pays or receives a nickel above essentially the cost of college attendance.

Basic reform is simple: just recognize the right of each athlete to bargain for the value of his or her work. This is not a radical notion. Roughly 14 million of 20 million U.S. undergraduates have jobs outside the classroom, and no one thinks to regulate or confiscate those earnings. Only the players in commercialized college sports are victimized as cash cows, to the tune of several billion dollars per year.

A fair, free-market college sports industry would evolve on its own once athletes have their rights restored. Some revenue would be diverted to those players as the essential core talent, which is only fair. What’s amazing is how long we’ve allowed them to be robbed.

Such a system would favor the same 60 to 100 schools that are dominant already. The major conferences may adopt differing, nonmonopoly standards for their athletic budgets, but the vast majority of athletes would not be affected. A volleyball player at a small college could seek compensation like anyone else, but negligible revenue would make such a request moot. Most college sports could remain amateur in the only true sense of the word, being pursued for love of the game and voluntarily divorced from commerce.

But while the solution may be simple, it won’t be easy. The NCAA constitution blocks athletes from membership while professing devotion to their welfare, and NCAA officials resist the danger of granting college athletes even “limited” rights. Under pressure, they have stuck to the claim of exclusive authority. Small benefits called reform, such as a “full scholarship package” — which includes free tuition and a stipend — shrewdly fall short of rights or independent representation for the athletes.

External forces will be needed to compel significant change, and there is precedent on several fronts. In 1978, spurred by Cold War competition over Olympic medals, Congress passed the Amateur Sports Act to empower active athletes by requiring they have at least 20% representation on each governing committee for U.S. Olympic teams. This small but revolutionary step soon dissolved draconian “amateur” rules that had enriched the AAU, then the NCAA’s biggest rival. Defying hysterical predictions, the compensation since negotiated by Olympic athletes has hardly destroyed worldwide audiences for the Games. A similar law requiring representation for college athletes could be effective, and deserves consideration, but Congress has shown no interest in bucking the college sports establishment.

The courts are another venue for justice. Several times they have struck down the NCAA system as an illegal restraint of trade. Until 1984, the NCAA asserted a sole power to license each college football broadcast. That power vanished overnight when the Supreme Court upheld a demand from the major football colleges, led by Georgia and Oklahoma, to schedule their own unlimited broadcasts. In the late 1990s, when an NCAA rule restricted certain new assistant coaches to a $ 16,000 annual salary, some 2,000 assistants banded to file an antitrust grievance that won them the freedom to bargain, plus a $ 54.5 million settlement. NCAA colleges promptly found ways to pay assistant coaches many times the old limit.

Judges have acknowledged the same legal reasoning in recent cases brought by current and former college athletes. U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken recently ruled the NCAA compact a violation of antitrust law because it captures “extraordinary revenues” for member schools by confining players to compensation “not commensurate with the value that they create.” This is a restrained understatement, and courts have not yet granted athletes anything like the direct relief awarded to big football schools and the assistant coaches.

So far, the judiciary seems unwilling to confront the NCAA’s self-serving bromide that economic rights for college athletes would diminish their educational experience. In truth, compensation would give players an incentive to stay in school — and standing to bargain for better academic life. Beyond that, it remains up to the colleges whether they treat prime athletes as legitimate students.

Universities should be a forum for clarity about whether commercialized sports can coexist with academic integrity, but such debate rarely takes place at the institutions born for fearless thought. My alma mater, the University of North Carolina, temporarily canceled a pioneering course on NCAA history as too controversial. Sadly, most professors never examine the conflicted juggernaut right there on campus.

The burden of change may thus fall on athletes. Some have already begun raising their voices. A recent strike by the football team saw the University of Missouri’s president resign quickly, and the University of Maryland dismissed its football coach after players spoke out against him following a teammate’s death in practice. Even symbolic gestures in defiance of NCAA rules, such as wearing an armband or a small patch discreetly labeled something like “RFA” (Rights for Athletes), or selling autographs for charity at a public ceremony, could provoke spasms of attention that sports broadcasts zealously avoid. Truly concerted action could topple the NCAA.

I am cheering for UNC in March Madness as always, and I don’t expect to hear a word about equity for the players. Armchair experts and well-paid commentators will continue to obsess about bracketology, upsets, momentum and a key player’s sore ankle. This is natural, because sports are a designated world where fans escape to cheer and boo as they please. Intrusions from real life can break the spell, provoking resentful cries for pampered athletes to shut up and play.

Sports-think gives fans a presumptive stake to say how college sports should be run, oblivious that the whole NCAA production rests on players who have no voice at all. Athletes become urgently important for moments on the screen, but we force their fundamental rights to fit our entertainment and convenience. Surely this perspective is backward. College athletes are young adults who love a sport they have played all their lives. Some don’t realize how badly they have been used until they are leaving school, which helps perpetuate the exploitation.

Sparks of courage are needed. Fans, being also citizens, should engage the larger arena of fairness. Nonfans should stop wishing for commercial sports to vanish, as though Plato might rescue the academy, and address sports corruption and dishonesty at the heart of our vital universities. My hope for March Madness, now and in the future, is some small sign of agitation over basic rights. Regardless, I’ll chant, “Go Heels!” for Carolina and keep pushing for those armbands.

Sports – TIME

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Silicon Valley techies are turning to a cheap diabetes drug to help them live longer

Doctors feel that taking metformin is mostly safe, but cautioned about the lack of clinical studies.
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Dax Shepard On Celebrating 14 Years Of Sobriety With A Little Help From Wife Kristen Bell | PeopleTV

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Alibaba’s Adhesive Buttons Help the Visually Impaired Interact With Smartphones

A design team led by DAMO Academy, the $ 15 billion research initiative formed by China’s premier e-commerce site, Alibaba, is working to make smartphones more accessible to the blind and visually impaired.

There are more than 1.4 billion smartphones in China, more than anywhere else in the world. China also has the highest population of visually impaired people, according to the latest data available from the World Health Organization.

“For people like us [the visually unimpaired], we have so many technologies, tools, and apps that make us better, happier,” said Chen Zhao, the research lead for the DAMO Academy’s natural human computer interaction lab, speaking at Fortune’s Brainstorm Design conference in Singapore earlier this month. “We’re spoiled by technology, but there are so many people that are left out.”

Zhao’s lab designs systems for interacting with technology using the five basic human senses: touch, sight, hearing, even taste and smell. At the Fortune conference, Zhao demonstrated the haptic solution her team has created to help visually impaired people interact with smartphone apps.

The solution is a combination of software, called Smart Touch, and hardware, called Braille Buttons. The six buttons adhere to the lower flanks of a phone’s screen, with three buttons aligned vertically on each side.

The buttons on the left always provide the same function: global navigation for the device. The top button prompts the software to read-out the screen’s current visual output; the middle button tells the voice to stop. The buttons on the right side, meanwhile, are dynamic, offering different functionality depending upon the app in use.

Zhao demonstrated the auto-read function to the audience at Brainstorm Design. At the touch of a button, a robotic Chinese voice emerged from Zhao’s phone, speaking almost too quickly to follow. “When I first heard that voice, I thought it was a mistake and told the team to fix it,” Zhao said, noting the speed. “But the real voice is three times faster than this.”

Why so speedy? Zhao said her research team found that many people with visual impairments process speech much faster than people with no sight difficulties. As a designer, that discovery reminded Zhao how important it is to work with clients to develop a solution together–rather than parachuting in and expecting to have the answer.

For more coverage of Fortune’s Brainstorm Design conference, click here.

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Help, Whitney Wants to Wear a Pair of Literal Children’s Shoes

French brand Veja has long been making the holy grails of ethically-sourced, cool-looking footwear. (Just ask Megan Markle.) In a sustainable fashion marketplace littered with boho sandals and other festival-appropriate garb, Veja’s sneakers speak to a different aesthetic — one more likely to be …

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‘Draft Beto’ grassroots group in California got early start that could help 2020 candidate

Even before former Rep. Beto O'Rourke announced his formal 2020 presidential run Thursday, he enjoyed political support in California, where a draft movement has included supporters throughout the state.
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Pioneering artist rediscovered with help from granddaughter she never met

Virginia Bayer never met her grandmother, Marguerita Mergentime, but she knew she was some kind of artist. Growing up on the Upper West Side, Bayer ate off boldly patterned place mats her grandmother designed, and heard that she’d even contributed to Radio City Music Hall’s decor. But it wasn’t until Bayer’s mother died, about 11…
Living | New York Post

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Diets Can Do More Than Help You Lose Weight – They Could Also Save The Planet

Fad diets have long been brushed off as selfishsuperficial quests to lose weight.

But if you study the actual content of popular diet books, you will discover that most tell a different story. Many inspire dieters to improve the health of their bodies, society and the planet.

It’s a topic I explore in my research, as well as my 2018 book, “Diet and the Disease of Civilization.” More than than merely guides for getting thin, diet books tell rich stories that urge people to change their lives to save the world.

Grand ambitions

Diets inspire change not because one is more effective than another, but because they tell stories worth believing in.

Peel away the nutrition advice and you’ll find that, while most popular diets ennoble seemingly selfish goals, they also insist that individual health is inextricably linked to the larger environment.

A quick review of diet books reveals their grand aspirations. Think of the Paleo diet. Hundreds of Paleo diets describe peaceful prehistoric communities rich with singing, dancing and storytelling. Today, leaders promise that “eating Paleo can save the world.”

Promoters of detox diets make similar claims. Detoxers believe that environmental pollution and toxins cause stress, obesity and other modern ills.

detox book from 1984 argued that humans cannot “dissociate our fate from the fate of the earth” and insisted that “what we have learned about freeing our bodies from harmful substances must also apply to cleaning up the world.”

Today’s diets go a step further, intimating that if you’re not “eating clean” you could be eating “dirty” foods full of pesticides, toxins and carcinogens. One diet book explains that clean foods are “not only good for one’s health, but equally important for the environment.” “The Kind Diet,” a popular vegan book written by actor and animal rights activist Alicia Silverstone and Victoria Pearson, is subtitled “A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight and Saving the Planet.”

Diet consequences

Arguably, today’s food world could use some saving.

The health consequences of how Americans eat have long been cataloged. For example, 2 in 3 Americans are overweight or obese, costing the U.S. economy an estimated US$ 190 billion a year.

But the environmental consequences of these food choices are just as stark. Agriculture is responsible for about one-tenth of greenhouse gas emissions. Farming consumes more than two-thirds of the planet’s fresh water.

And it’s specific dietary choices that are driving these environmental pressures. Animal products, for example, provide just 18 percent of the typical American’s calories yet take up 83 percent of all farmland. Just cutting down on beef would be more effective at reducing your carbon footprint than giving up your car.

The government’s role

This is where the government could learn from popular diet plans and promote sustainable diets for public health and the environment.

In its dietary guidelines, the U.S. Department of Agriculture encourages Americans consume a healthy diet that focuses on foods high in nutrients and low in sugars and saturated fats. But despite the recommendation of an advisory committee, it does not include language about food system sustainability or how such diets have a well-established link to human health.

The government is also discouraging other steps toward an environmentally friendly diet. Consider the new technologies of culturing meat from living animal cells – a technology that could cut out 14.5 percent of Americans’ anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, the government is bending to industry concerns and enforcing needlessly strict definitions of meat, preventing soy- and lab-based products using the label.

History shows that today’s Department of Agriculture is missing a valuable opportunity. During World War I, the American government used diets to do more than improve individuals’ health. As the head of the Food Administration, Herbert Hoover urged Americans to stop wasting food so the U.S. could use it to prevent starvation in Europe. His efforts are now credited with saving the lives of about 7 million Belgians and 2 million French people.

Popular diets also picked up the humanitarian cause. One 1918 diet included a program dubbed “Watch Your Weight Anti-Kaiser.”

Today’s food authorities could do the same: urge Americans to eat better because the food system is actually a web. Our food choices have a profound impact on our health and the planet.

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Say What Now? Developer Creates MAGA App to Help Trump Supporters Find Safe Spaces Where Liberals Won’t Make Fun of Them

If you’re looking to harass a Trump supporter, look no further than a newly-created app 63rd Safe.

Technically, the app was designed to help the pro-MAGA find ‘safe’ spaces in public where they can go without the fear of being ridiculed by liberals — but you could most definitely use it for the opposite.

via Raw Story:

As the Daily Beast reported over the weekend, the new mobile app 63red Safe was designed to help Trump supporters find “MAGA-friendly restaurants” whose owners will not let antifa activists harass them for wearing pro-Trump clothing.

“63red Safe works like a conservative Yelp,” the publication reported. “Instead of reviewing the lighting and ambience, though, the site’s users rate restaurants and other businesses on a series of four questions, including whether the restaurant’s owners make political social-media posts and whether they allow customers to carry weapons.”

Appearing on Fox News, app creator Scott Wallace explained what could get a restaurant or other business branded as “unsafe” for fans of President Donald Trump.

“Users can review the restaurants and businesses, it’s just four quick questions, yes-or-no questions,” he said. “No. 1, does this location serve all customers regardless of political beliefs? Will they protect their customers if they’re under attack by others in the restaurant? There’s the open carry question, and does the location have a political presence in their social media?”

What a joke.

The post Say What Now? Developer Creates MAGA App to Help Trump Supporters Find Safe Spaces Where Liberals Won’t Make Fun of Them appeared first on lovebscott – celebrity news.

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10 Questions to Help You Decide Whether to Rent or Buy a House

Buying a house has long been the American Dream—a dream preceded by years of working saving, and renting. But if you make that transition from renter to buyer prematurely, you could end up having trouble making ends meet once you finally have that house. Even worse, you could face foreclosure. If you’re currently renting but considering making the leap to homeownership, the following questions will help you determine whether you’re ready to buy a house. If you answer “no” to any of the following questions, renting may be your best bet—at least for a little while longer.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert

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Singing for science: How the arts can help students who struggle most

Incorporating the arts — rapping, dancing, drawing — into science lessons can help low-achieving students retain more knowledge and possibly help students of all ability levels be more creative in their learning, finds a new study.
K-12 Education News — ScienceDaily

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Ben Stiller and Bill Hader Help Spoof the Michael Cohen Hearing on Saturday Night Live

Ben Stiller and Bill Hader returned to Saturday Night Live this weekend to make fun of Michael Cohen’s Feb. 27 sworn testimony before Congress about President Donald Trump’s conduct.

Actor and comedian Stiller reprised the part of Cohen, the President’s former personal lawyer who is slated to be sent to prison for lying to the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“Thank you for inviting me here today to correct the record under oath. Of course, the first time I testified was also under oath,” said Stiller-as-Cohen. “This time, I like really mean it.”

Stiller went on to take questions from SNL cast members playing various members of Congress.

Among these was former-cast member Hader as Rep. Jim Jordan, the ranking GOP member on the House Oversight Committee.

“Mr. Chairman, you’re right that I’m angry,” Hader said. “I’m angry that I have to sit here through this two-bit dirtbag flea circus! I’m so angry that I couldn’t even wear a jacket today!”

Kenan Thompson, playing House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, offered Cohen one last chance to speak.

“Yes, your honor,” Stiller said. “Maybe I’m not a good person. Maybe I’m a liar. Maybe I’m a fool. Maybe I’ve ruined hundreds of people’s lives.”

“I’m sorry, is there a ‘but’ coming?” Thompson interjected.

“No there isn’t, thank you,” Stiller said.


Entertainment – TIME

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Opinion: Jordyn Woods was smart to handle her Kardashian drama with the help of another famous family

Opinion: Jordyn Woods was smart to handle her Kardashian drama with the help of another famous family


Opinion: Jordyn Woods was smart to handle her Kardashian drama with the help of another famous family

Author Michael Arceneaux discusses Jordyn Woods appearance on Red Table Talk  following the Tristan Thompson cheating allegations, and exactly how Woods beat the Kardashians at their own game.

Jordyn Woods was savvy as hell to enlist the help of Jada Pinkett Smith, essentially her play auntie, to deal with the controversy around her alleged some-sort-of-romantic-relationship with Tristan Thompson, the basketball player more known for cheating on Khloe Kardashian even after impregnating her. Whenever someone falls out of good graces with the Kardashians, select media outlets curiously start reporting all sorts of bad information about that person. Next, their lil’ friends who desperately cling to the celebrity-adjacent status they’ve netted from their Kardashian affiliation proceed to publicly pounce on that person. The end result is that ex-friend becoming something of a pariah.

See the fate of select former employees, Blac Chyna, and the artist formerly known as Kris Humphries, among others. The same thing was beginning to happen to Jordyn Woods. She not only had to move out of her BFF Kylie Jenner’s home, but she was officially on “Don’t bring her ass over to my house” status with the entire family. And naturally, the stories started pouring out of E! and Page Six, followed by keyboard thugging from the oh-so-happy-to-be-here friends of the Kardashians—roles now filled by Malika Haqq and Larsa Pippen. Why are those women in their 30s and 40s arguing with a barely twenty-something?

In any event, that sort of plan could work on Tokyo Toni’s daughter. But as they’re surely learning now, it won’t work on someone considered an extended family member of the Smith family.

Woods appeared on Jada’s Facebook series, Red Table Talk, on March 1st to share her side of the story. And if Woods wasn’t already very much aware of how the Kardashian family plays it, Will Smith certainly was. Will knows Woods through her late father who worked as a sound engineer on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and he has only made one previous appearance on Red Table Talk. Knowing that he isn’t a regular guest, I laughed like hell when he FaceTimed into the show and dispelled the following advice to Woods:

“Take your medicine and tell your truth,” Will said. “This is a part of what growing up is…this world is not gonna break you. We won’t allow it.”

That is a very slick, Hollywood professional way of saying, “I’m not about to let that family play you.”

Smith did say something curious, though. When he said, “I watched you become a woman and I saw that one day we’d be here,” I interpreted that as, “I warned you about them.” After Will finished, it got even better because Jada did not let her off the hook.

“There’s a family that feels betrayed by you,” Jada explained. She made Jordyn recount exactly what happened and acknowledge how it impacted peoples’ lives, and then pushed her to offer real contrition. I am so into Jada Pinkett Smith interview style, which is a mixture of concerned auntie and 1980s Barbara Walters or Oprah Winfrey.

And while some complained about it online, Jada was right to note that, as a Black woman, Jordyn Woods will experience far more harassment online no matter what. Not only is that unfair, it is hypocritical. Jordyn Woods was wrong, but it’s not like select Kardashian sisters haven’t been accused of similar behavior in their romantic lives.

Jordyn still might have been acting like the villain of many an R&B ballad, but her Red Table Talk chat was the best confessional performance I’ve seen since me right before a mass in 1998. Still, Khloé Kardashian remains unimpressed.

Khloé, I understand that you’re hurting and you have every right to be, but uh, have you met you? You’re celebrating Tristan for addressing the situation privately when your family has sold its privacy for a decades-long reality show? Keeping Up With The Kardashians is probably already rushing an episode tied around this drama, but you know, sure, okay.

With all due respect, Tristan Thompson has been a thot so no one can break up a home where a man already has his penis out the door the majority of the time. Khloé’s mission to malign Jordyn backfired, and I won’t link to any of the tweets mocking Khloé for her statement, but ouch. She is getting dragged up and down Cardi B’s internet, bless her heart. I hope Kris Jenner takes Khloé’s phone away, and I hope that family leaves Jordyn Woods alone.

I don’t condone what Woods did, but as she explains it, her behavior wasn’t actually as bad as first reported. She deserved to have her say and protect her image from being permanently tainted. Not only did she get to have her say with an A-list family who commands attention, she did so on a platform with s a much wider reach than the reality show that launched the Kardashians into fame. Jordyn Woods’ episode of Red Table Talk netted more than 6 million views in three hours.

In pursuit of overcoming her thot tale, she beat them at their own game with slicked back hair, subtle makeup, and some A-list friends. My hero.

Michael Arceneaux is the New York Times bestselling author of the recently released book I Can’t Date Jesus from Atria Books/Simon & Schuster. His work has appeared in the New York TimesWashington PostRolling StoneEssenceThe GuardianMic, and more. Follow him on Twitter.

The post Opinion: Jordyn Woods was smart to handle her Kardashian drama with the help of another famous family appeared first on HelloGiggles.

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New Bill Could Help Black Banks Raise Capital, Cut Costs, and Attract Black Investors

A new bill could help black banks raise more capital and boost small business lending in the African American community.

U.S. Representative Bobby Rush, D-Illinois, has introduced the Rescue Act for Black and Community Banks. The bill–initiated in January 2019–aims to, along with other measures, bring regulatory relief for black banks from Congress, boost wealth-building for black consumers and businesses, and help save black banks from failing.

The number of black banks in America totaled 22 in 2017, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data shows. That number is down an eye-popping 42 percent from 38 in 2012. The most recent number reveals there were only 23 black banks as of the third quarter of 2018.

Ryan Johnson, communications director for Congressman Rush, and William Michael Cunningham, an economist and banking expert who worked with Rush’s office on the bill, shared with BLACK ENTERPRISE some key points of what the legislation would do.

black banks

Rep. Bobby Rush

Johnson says Rush believes black-owned community banks play a vital role in communities because they reinvest in the people that live, work, and worship with one another.

“These financial institutions stimulate economic development and spur innovation amongst our entrepreneurs, augmenting the economic wealth African-Americans so desperately need. For black, minority, and rural communities to thrive, a new focus must be placed on the financial institutions serving them,” Johnson said.

The communications expert added that the bill establishes within the Treasury Department’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, an office to be known as the “Office of Black and Community Banks.” It authorizes the comptroller to provide them with the regulatory flexibility to encourage affordable small dollar lending.

He says the bill further establishes the “Minority Bank Deposit Program” to expand the use of minority banks, women’s banks, and low-income credit unions and requires federal agencies to develop plans to use these institutions, to the extent possible, for their banking needs.

The bill also could help African American banks boost black entrepreneurship where they operate and become stronger financial services providers.

“The push to solve the economic crisis in the black community will require fighting on several fronts: education, health, fighting discrimination, and the creation of wealth building opportunities,”  Johnson said. “The goal of this bill is not to make black banks compete with other banks, but to increase access to capital and credit for the black community. By doing that, this legislation will significantly increase entrepreneurial activity in the black community by supporting the development of many community financed small black businesses.”

Interestingly, Cunningham maintains the bill is an extension of the Black Lives Matter and Bank Black Movements. He said the bill seeks to partially or completely exempt black banks and community banks from a majority of federal banking regulations, helping level the playing field with larger white-owned banks. He noted regulatory relief for black banks would be done to the extent the comptroller determines appropriate without endangering the safety and soundness of the overall banking system.

Plus, he said the legislation requires a study on the use of New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) by black and community banks. The program could potentially bring new investment into black banks through tax credits. Cunningham said it would allow individual and corporate investors to receive a credit that reduces federal income tax owed. Investors make debt and equity investments in specialized financial intermediaries, including some black banks, called Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Community Development Entities (CDEs).

According to Cunningham, for every $ 1 million invested, an investor gets a tax credit of 39 % or $ 390,000 over 7 years, in addition to keeping any returns generated by the original investment.

The tax credits, which are scarce and limited in amount, are distributed by the U.S. Treasury. He added black banks, CDFIs and CDEs have not been able to get these tax credits from Treasury, claiming they have gone instead mainly to white nonprofits and firms like Goldman Sachs.

Simultaneously, Cunningham says the bill could make black banks much more profitable by reducing compliance and operating costs as well as removing unneeded regulations.

He estimates that each black bank could increase in market value by 25% if the bill passes in its current form.

The post New Bill Could Help Black Banks Raise Capital, Cut Costs, and Attract Black Investors appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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These 17 Tips Will Help Turn Your Job Interview Into a Job Offer

The job hunt can be a long and arduous process.

Sometimes it takes hundreds of applications before you hear back from any employers. And when you do, your work isn’t over. That was stage one. Now, you have to prepare for the (sometimes) dreaded job interview.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. We’re here to help. With the right preparation, you can turn that interview anxiety into excitement.

17 Essential Job Interview Tips

We’ve compiled the top tips from industry experts. We’ll walk you through exactly what to do before, during and after the interview. It doesn’t matter if this is your first job interview or your 40th, following these steps help you leave a positive impression on your soon-to-be employer.

What to Do Before an Interview

Businessman Reading Resume On Office Desk

Great, your interview is set for Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. Congratulations!

Use the time before then wisely. Unfortunately, you can’t just cruise in and claim your job. You’ll have to do some legwork to distinguish yourself from other applicants. Here’s what you need to do before your big day.

1. Research the Company

Having a solid understanding of the company is crucial. You don’t want to be caught fumbling basic information during the job interview.

You should spend some time on the company’s website to acquaint yourself with its mission statement, top clients, leadership and history.

Adequate preparation can help you feel better, too, according to Michelle Armer, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder.

“To help curb pre-interview jitters, interviewees should give themselves time in advance to prepare and build their confidence,” she says.

And if you’re still feeling anxious, Armer recommends giving yourself a pep talk, rehearsing your answers and listening to energetic music to keep your spirits high.

2. Reach Out to Alumni

To form a well-rounded opinion about an organization, it’s important to hear what its employees are saying. Yes, the company website is a good start, but that’s only one perspective.

Vipula Gandhi, managing partner at Gallup, says feedback from alumni is crucial to understanding a company’s culture before an interview. (Gandhi says her tips are based on more than a decade of experience interviewing candidates and not on Gallup’s research.)

One way to get unfiltered employee opinion is by checking the company’s Glassdoor reviews. Glassdoor is a job-search engine that aggregates anonymous employee opinions and rates companies from one to five stars based on the employees’ ratings. But don’t stop there.

Gandhi recommended using LinkedIn to get in direct contact with current and former employees. That way, you’ll have a clear understanding of the employee experience.

3. Clean Up Your Social Media

What you put on your LinkedIn profile is obviously fair game for HR.

But what about your Facebook and Instagram? Well, if you didn’t submit the social media accounts voluntarily, that could be a legal gray area. But some employers and recruiting agencies use them anyway to screen applicants.

Ben Brooks, CEO of Pilot, a career-coaching startup, says to make sure there aren’t any embarrassing photos of you that are publicly searchable.

“What does your social media say about you?” Brooks asks. “If someone looked at your profile for 10 seconds, what’s the interpretation? What are the three words they’re gonna say?”

Hopefully: You are hired.

4. Conduct a Dry Run and Mock Interview

Doing a complete dry run will make everything easier when the day of the interview comes.

And by dry run I mean driving to the site of the interview to figure out logistics like parking and traffic (or testing your webcam if it’s a virtual job interview) and enlisting a friend to do a mock interview with you.

Dana Sitar, an editor at The Penny Hoarder, compiled a list of the 20 most common interview questions, from the infamous “What are your weaknesses?” to softballs like “What are your hobbies?”

Having articulate responses to common questions will allow you to focus on being in the moment instead of feeling put on the spot.

5. Prepare Your Documents

Depending on your industry and the instructions of the application, documents you may need to prepare could include your resume, portfolio samples or any pre-tests the company may have assigned you.

Regardless of industry, you should bring a few extra resumes with you, just in case. You never know if all the people included in the interview had time to review your application thoroughly. Even if they did, having extra resumes on hand helps you look prepared.

It’s best to have these documents printed out and ready to go the night before. If you don’t have a printer or are having technical problems, stores like UPS, Office Depot and FedEx will allow you to print copies cheaply. There’s always your trusty local library, too.

6. Plan What to Wear

How you look in the interview is almost as important as your qualifications. Planning an outfit can be a delicate balancing act and yet another source of stress for some people.

You want to look sharp — but not pretentious or underdressed.

Richard South, corporate partnership program manager at Georgia Tech, coaches thousands of university students on best interview practices. He says to consider industry trends when choosing your outfit.

Interviewing at a business firm?

“Put on a suit,” South advises, noting that suits may be overkill for other industries.

Computer science or advertising fields might be more casual. The important part is not to guess.

Ideally, you’ve already reached out to alumni and talked about company culture. Asking them about attire is a great way to ensure your outfit is appropriate.

Once you’ve decided what to wear, set it out before you go to bed — pressed and wrinkle-free. It will save you the hassle in the morning.

7. Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Research? Check. Documents? Check. Outfit? Check.

Ticking all those boxes the night before will ease your mind and help you sleep. Try to get at least seven to nine hours of shut-eye to be on your A-game the next day.

And make sure that time frame is actual sleep time, not just time you spend lying in bed. It’s likely that you’ll be a little nervous, so give yourself an extra hour to fall asleep.

What to Do During an Interview

Close up of shaking hands after successful agreement.

Now is the time all that preparation and good sleep pays off. Try to stay mindful and relaxed. Don’t worry about rehearsing your answers. You’ve done that already. Be in the moment and you’ll come across more genuine and likeable.

8. Arrive Early — and Alone

General rule of thumb: 10 minutes early is considered on time, and on time is considered late.

Ten minutes is the sweet spot because you want to be early but not so early that they’re not yet expecting you.

And please, don’t bring your parent.

In a somewhat recent phenomenon, helicopter parents have started intervening in their kids’ job hunt.  

A recent survey from Robert Half showed that 69% of hiring managers either would not recommend or are annoyed at parental involvement during job interviews — from explicative phone calls that urge companies to hire their kid, to baked goods used to coax hiring managers.

9. Treat All Staff Respectfully

It doesn’t matter if you took the wrong exit off the interstate and then spilled coffee on your freshly pressed oxford that morning.

Do not get snarky or rude with anyone in or around the company — whether that’s the security guard in the lobby or someone you passed in the street.

For all you know, that could be Jen in accounting.

She doesn’t realize your stomach has possible second-degree burns; she just knows that you bumped into her and scoffed on your way into the office.

And guess who she’s going to tell after you leave? Your hiring manager.

10. Turn Your Job Experience into a Story

When the interviewer asks something along the lines of “So, tell me about yourself,” that’s your time to shine.

Nailing an interview isn’t about regurgitating your resume.

“It’s all about the stories and narrative you have,” Brooks says.

This is also a good opportunity to incorporate experience that wasn’t directly relevant to the job application but could pertain to your soft skills or personality.

Maybe you did an au pair program or studied abroad during college. If so, talk about your international experience.

Dr. Christine Farrugia was the deputy head of research for the Institute of International Education, where she led a study that examined the employability of alumni who studied abroad. She’s now the director of research initiatives at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies.

According to Farrugia, the key is having an anecdote ready.

“The person interviewing you may not ask about it directly,” she says.

11. Ask the Right Questions

Interviews are two-way conversations, says Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at Spins, a retail-industry consulting firm.

“You also want to learn from the company if it will be a good fit for you,” she says. “Come prepared with questions that help you determine if you will get all that you need to be successful, not just a paycheck.”

This guide walks you through exactly what questions to ask during a job interview and why they’re useful.

Pro-tip: Ask, “Beyond the core job duties, what are the things you really want to accomplish and achieve with this role?”

Questions like that will not only impress the hiring manager, but will also give you a better understanding of how you’ll have an impact at the company.

There are plenty of areas to avoid asking about, too — like vacation time or basic information about the company.

“How smart your question is would define how the interviewer sees you,” Gandhi says.

12. Mind Your Body Language

Hiring managers pay keen attention to body language.

According to research from Robert Half, unspoken signals, such as eye contact, facial expressions, posture, handshake and fidgeting play an extremely important role into how you’re perceived during an interview.

Many of these cues aren’t intentional. They’re physical responses to how you’re feeling. So internally obsessing about your posture and facial expressions isn’t going to help much, either.

The point is, you should feel confident and relaxed — and those things stem from adequate preparation.

13. Vet Your Potential Manager

When you go into your interview, treat it like a date.

See if you are clicking with your manager. Think to yourself, “If I get this job, I’m going to spend much of my waking life with this person.”

Are they funny? Laid back? Knowledgeable? It’s crucial to understand what makes a good manager because a bad one can ruin a great job, and vice versa.

So don’t let the deciding factor be the salary or the prestige of the company.

“It’s all about the manager,” Gandhi says.

14. Don’t Speak Negatively About Past Employers

Inevitably, you will get a question along the lines of, “Why did you leave your past job?”

Your mind might flash back to all the times you were wronged, and you might be tempted to air some of those grievances. Just don’t.

It comes across as unprofessional. And the new company might think that if they hire you, it will someday be in one of your negative stories.

Instead, focus on talking about the challenges and opportunities of a new job — not the time your old boss took credit for the data you pulled at 2 a.m. to make deadline.

What to Do After an Interview

Graphic designer in the office

Before you bust out of the office to celebrate for a job well done, there are a few other things you should do to increase your chances of getting hired.

15. Ask to Tour the Office

Touring the office works in your favor for a couple of reasons.

First, it increases face time with your hiring manager and allows for some less formal banter as you make your rounds and introduce yourself to potential colleagues.

Beyond that, it allows you to see what’s really happening on the ground floor. As you walk through different pods or workspaces, take note of the office morale. Does everyone look stressed or excited?

If it’s around lunchtime, see if a lot of employees are eating at their desks. That could be a sign of being overworked.

If they say no to the tour, it’s not a deal-breaker. It’s possible that there isn’t enough time built into the interview to accommodate an office tour, but it never hurts to ask.

16. Establish Next Steps

Before you say your goodbyes, make sure to have a clear time frame of when you will hear back.

Nothing can be more frustrating than completing an interview and then feeling everything goes silent,” Haefner says.  “Ask the company where they are in the recruiting process… and who is best for you to follow up with for status updates.”

Asking about this outright saves you some guesswork, and you won’t be left pacing back and forth in your living room thinking, “It’s been one day. Why haven’t I heard anything? Shouldn’t they have sent an email? I’m going to call them. They probably hired someone else!”

When in reality, they likely have internal processes that you’re unaware of.

17. Send a Thank-You Note

Thank-you notes are a surefire way to distinguish yourself from other candidates. Hiring managers love them, and applicants often forget to send them.

In our Jobs Hunting 101 ecourse, we recommend sending them regardless of how the interview goes.

An email should suffice. Try to send it out within 24 hours of your interview, and make sure to separately thank everyone who interviewed you.

In your messages you should include:

  • A recap of the value you bring to the role.
  • Any small clarifications or points you didn’t mention during the interview.
  • Sincere gratitude and enthusiasm.

Avoid the temptation to copy and paste the same scripted message to everyone. That could backfire. Where possible, personalize it as best you can. Give it a little flair.

And if you really want brownie points, don’t send an email. Send a handwritten thank-you note.

Adam Hardy is a staff writer on the Make Money team at The Penny Hoarder. He lives off a diet of stale puns and iced coffee. Read his full bio here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.

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

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The best diaries and planners to help you organise your life

Whether you want page space or head space

best diaries

The best diaries are the ones that organise your life for you, right? Whether you want one that leaves enough space for you to note down your meetings and what you’re supposed to have prepared, or something for intention setting that’s also stuffed with inspirational quotes, there are so many out there for you to choose from.

These days, diaries and planners are more than your average pocket book with tiny lines. There are the best diaries for yogis, there are planners for foodies, and there are even doubled-up diaries for those with really hectic lives.

If you’re the kind of person who settles for a regular notebook, graffitied with doodles and half-written messages that you’ll never remember to read, then it’s time to shake things up.

Yes, you’re meant to buy diaries at the start of the year, but we’ve all been busy breaking our New Year’s resolutions. Sure, you’ve missed out on a month of writing out your plans, but it’s time to finally get your shit together.

So where can you find the best diaries?

Best diaries

kikki.K

best diaries

A5 Bonded Leather Daily Diary Dusk Blue, now £13.50

Who can resist the cute pages of a kikki.K? This diary has daily and monthly layouts so that you can keep all aspects of your life organised, from remembering brunch plans to keeping track of work deadlines.

Noble Macmillan London

best diaries

2019 Mezzo Diary Lemon, £59

The soft bound Mezzo diary includes a ‘to-do’ list on every right page, so no more cramming your life into a tiny daily box. The cover can also be monogrammed with your name or initials in the gift giver’s handwriting. Fancy.

Dailygreatness

best diaries

Yoga Yearly, £39.95

Whether you’re a beginner or a fully-fledged yogi, this day-to-a-view diary will help you to develop your own daily routine, and offers space for ‘gratitude, inspired action, self-inquiry and inspiration’. It also encourages mindful living,

Papier

best diaries

Flamingos, £21.99

If you want a diary on your own terms, this blank option is perfect. There are no fixed dates, so you can start it whenever you like, and it includes weekly and monthly views as well as pages for extra notes, goals and ‘to-do’s.

Busy B

best diaries

Busy Life Diary, £10.99

Hectic lives call for double diaries, and thankfully these exist. If your diaries are usually awash with scribbles because there isn’t enough room for everything, this is the solution. A diary with two copies of each week and month so that you can keep your work and social lives separate, but in the same place.

Zelo Journal

best diaries

Zelo Journal, £31.99

With a promise to help you ‘clear you mind and achieve your goals’, it offers a new spin on traditional diaries. Not satisfied with offering space purely for day-to-day planning, this diary has been created to help you list your goals, improve productivity and focus on the things you’re passionate about.

The post The best diaries and planners to help you organise your life appeared first on Marie Claire.

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Fashion House Prada Brings in Ava DuVernay to Help with PR Damage Control

After facing recent backlash over selling monkey-faced keychains that many saw as a emulating historically racist blackface, Prada is attempting to do public relations damage control by aligning itself with one of Hollywood’s most powerful black women, Ava Duvernay.

In a press release, Prada Group announced that DuVernay “will co-chair the Prada Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council (“the Council”) to elevate voices of color within the company and the fashion industry at-large.”

The company also announced that artist and activist, Theaster Gates, will also serves on the council.

“Prada is committed to cultivating, recruiting, and retaining diverse talent to contribute to all departments of the company,” said Miuccia Prada, CEO and lead creative director at Prada in the press release.

“In addition to amplifying voices of color within the industry, we will help ensure that the fashion world is reflective of the world in which we live, and we are thrilled to be working with long-time collaborators, Ava DuVernay and Theaster Gates, on this important initiative. We look forward to working with the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council to help us grow not only as a company but also as individuals.”

Prada is one of the fashion brands that have come under fire for what critics say are racially-insensitive and sometimes outright racist imagery associated with their fashion collections. Fashion house Gucci ignited a firestorm recently by selling a black balaclava sweater that many say bears the racist emblem of the black Sambo caricature.

And Burberry recently apologized after a model walked the runway wearing a hoodie featuring a noose during its London Fashion Week show.

“My work amplifies the voices that have been absent from broad cultural conversations, and I am happy to partner with Prada to advise on processes that will make the company and industry more reflective of the world today,” said Theaster Gates via the press release.

 

 

The post Fashion House Prada Brings in Ava DuVernay to Help with PR Damage Control appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Kaiser Permanente to Help Colorado Schools Build Resilience After Traumatic Events

DENVER — Every day, teachers interact with children who experience traumatic life events ranging from abuse and neglect to a natural disaster or the death of someone close. The effects of others’ trauma can negatively impact work and home life. To help improve the well-being of Colorado teachers, Kaiser Permanente is launching a locally-developed mental health and wellness program — the Resilience in School Environments Understanding and Practice (RISE UP) — in schools across the state.

RISE UP is a complementary learning session for school staff, administrators, and teachers, designed to foster resilience and support school staff as they work with traumatized students. The program helps school staff members develop systems to take care of themselves and support their own wellness.

“Kaiser Permanente has long recognized the need to care for the mental and physical health of students, staff, and teachers in the communities we serve,” said Curtis Robbins, Kaiser Permanente lead for community health, and RISE UP program architect. “Through RISE UP, we’re providing staff and teachers with the resources they need to foster a positive school climate that embraces trauma-sensitive interactions to make for better and safer learning environments for all students.”

RISE UP is a 2-hour session facilitated by Kaiser Permanente that uses theatre and interactive learning to engage participants in discovery and practical application. It is designed to provide a safe place to practice, question, discover, and learn through discussion, peer interaction, and self-reflection.

RISE UP participants are encouraged to reflect on the importance of building stronger relationships with all students — particularly those who’ve experienced trauma — while learning resiliency and other skills that can be used in student interactions. Staff and teachers are asked to draw on real-life situations to adapt their resiliency techniques to better meet the needs of their students.

“By using these real-life examples, we hope to help teachers and staff see what they did right and where they can improve not just for the sake of their students, but for themselves and their colleagues, too,” said Robbins.

The program, which is blossoming out of an initial pilot phase from 2018, has seen impressive results with educators and administrators. A survey was given to teachers and school staff at the 4 participating school districts during the pilot phase. Highlights from the survey include:

  • 84 percent of participants reported that they learned how to develop stronger relationship with students
  • 84 percent of participants reported feeling confident in their ability to develop stronger relationships with students who have experienced trauma
  • 78 percent of participants indicated they felt more connected to their colleagues after the session

The positive impact RISE UP is having in local Colorado schools is one reason Kaiser Permanente is expanding the program nationally throughout 2019. Kaiser Permanente RISE UP workshops will also be offered in Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, Georgia, Northern California, Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. RISE UP is part of Kaiser Permanente’s national Thriving Schools work, which promotes the health of young people by helping them establish lifelong patterns of healthy behavior.

The following Colorado schools will participate in the RISE UP project in the early 2019 school year:

  • Prospect Ridge Academy, Broomfield, Colorado
  • Upper Blue Elementary/Breckenridge Elementary, Breckenridge, Colorado
  • Silverthorne Elementary, Silverthorne, Colorado

 

###

About Kaiser Permanente Colorado

Kaiser Permanente Colorado is the state’s largest nonprofit health plan, working to improve the lives and health of all Coloradans for 49 years. We are comprised of the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado and the Colorado Permanente Medical Group — one of the state’s largest medical groups with more than 1,200 physicians. We provide comprehensive care for our 650,000 Kaiser Permanente Colorado members through 31 medical offices across the state — from Pueblo to Greeley and in Summit and Eagle counties. We are also committed to our social mission and in 2017, proudly directed more than $ 122 million to community benefit programs to improve the health of all Coloradans. For more Kaiser Permanente news, visit kp.org/share or follow us @kpcolorado or like us facebook.com/kpcolorado.

 

 

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Scouted: QuickBooks Is Essential for Any Small Business Owner, and This $19 Master Class Can Help Get the Most Out of It

Quickbooks has quickly become one of the most popular programs to keep small businesses’ expenses and budgets in check, but it can get pretty overwhelming pretty quickly. This 7-hour class can help you and your business find your footing during this tax season and for the rest of 2019.

Using Quickbook’s data, business owners can easily create reports, summaries, and analyses to keep track of customer data, vendor information, and employee progress. This class can help make all of that data more easily digestible and can even help you make sense of the financial reports and bank statements that are logged in Quickbook’s program. It’ll even help you unlock some of the newest powerful features in the 2019 version of the software.

You’ll be able to create and access important information easily, which will make the process of understanding your business’s profits, tracking loans, and staying ahead of the curve for tax season a piece of cake. Let this course untangle that web of spreadsheets for you.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Here’s why medical chatbots could help doctors but won’t replace them

Could Sutter Health's new symptom tracker diagnose my bout of food poisoning? I put it to the test.
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Richmond Governor Scandal May Help Bid To Rename Street For Arthur Ashe

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A movement to rename a Richmond, Virginia, thoroughfare for groundbreaking black tennis player Arthur Ashe Jr. is cresting just as the state finds itself in turmoil over a blackface scandal involving the governor and attorney general.

The man behind the street renaming says the confluence of the two unrelated developments involving race and history could become an opportunity to start a conversation about race at a pivotal time.

“If we can rename the Boulevard after him, it would be a huge cultural step forward. This is where we can start with reconciliation and we can start talking about the issues,” says Ashe’s nephew, David Harris Jr.

“It would be an opportunity for the City Council to be leaders on this. We know what’s going on down the street at the state Capitol. This would be a way for the City Council to say, ‘We want to show you the way.’”

Ashe’s once-segregated hometown boasts an athletic center named after him, and a bronze sculpture of Ashe sits among Richmond’s many Confederate statues. But a proposal to rename a historic street for Ashe has been defeated twice since his death in 1993.

A third proposal comes before the City Council for a vote Monday amid the blackface scandal .

Leaders throughout Virginia’s political structure have called on Gov. Ralph Northam to resign after a racist photo on his 1984 medical school yearbook page surfaced recently.

Northam apologized, initially saying he appeared in a photo showing one man in blackface and another wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe. Northam did not say which costume he wore. The next day he said he no longer believed he was in the photo but acknowledged wearing blackface the same year to look like Michael Jackson in a dance contest.

Days after Northam’s admission, Attorney General Mark Herring was forced to acknowledge that he, too, wore blackface in the 1980s while trying to look like a rapper at a college party.

Meanwhile, for all of Richmond’s hometown pride in Ashe, repeated attempts to rename a city street after him have failed. Harris initially resurrected the idea of renaming the street after his uncle last year.

Called simply “Boulevard,” it’s a busy 2.4-mile (3.9-kilometer) stretch dotted with restaurants, museums and stately homes. Modeled after grand European boulevards in the late 19th century, Boulevard was designated as a state and national historic landmark in 1986.

At one end sits Byrd Park, with tennis courts where Ashe was denied access during his childhood because of segregation. The athletic center named for Ashe is also on Boulevard.

City Council member Kim Gray, whose district covers a portion of Boulevard, has sponsored the Ashe renaming ordinance.

Some residents and business owners say they don’t want to change the historic name. Others cite the inconvenience and expense of officially changing their address, including getting new letterhead and signs.

Harris and Gray say they understand those concerns but also believe racism may underlie some of the opposition.

“I find it hard to believe that people get that angry over stationery,” said Gray, who said she’s received racist emails over the proposal.

Longtime residents insist they have nothing but admiration for Ashe but believe there are better ways to honor him than legally changing the name of their street. A group called the Boulevard Coalition wants the Richmond History and Culture Commission to hold citywide community discussions about how to honor Ashe and then make a recommendation to the City Council.

The controversy comes at a time when Richmond, a one-time capital of the Confederacy, has been grappling with calls to remove Confederate statues. Richmond’s Monument Avenue features statues of five Confederate figures, including Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. Ashe’s statue was erected among those rebel icons in 1996, but only after rancorous debate.

Harris said renaming Boulevard after Ashe would give Richmond a chance to shed its past image and show it has become a progressive city.

“We’ve celebrated things that have been associated with slavery for years. Well, let’s celebrate equality, inclusion and diversity, as opposed to the slave picture we’ve had in Civil War history,” Harris said.

Ashe was the first black player selected to the U.S. Davis Cup team and the only black man to ever win the singles title at the U.S. Open, Wimbledon and the Australian Open. He was also well-known for promoting education and civil rights, opposing apartheid in South Africa and raising awareness about AIDS, the disease that eventually killed him.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney urged the City Council last month to approve the change, calling Ashe “one of Richmond’s true champions.”

A 2004 city ordinance says street names indicated on city maps for 50 years or longer should only be changed under “exceptional circumstances.” Gray and Harris say they believe naming Boulevard after Ashe is one of those circumstances.

But City Council member Parker Agelesto, whose district covers part of the street, said his constituents favor an “honorary renaming” that keeps Boulevard as the street’s official name.

“Nobody wants this to be controversial, and Arthur Ashe is not a controversial figure,” Agelesto said. “The question is: How do you make it successful for all parties involved?”

PHOTO: AP


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Dear Penny: I Want to Help My Elderly Parents by Buying Their House

This sounds like a super generous move. After so many years of turning to your parents for care and advice, this is, for many, the dream: to be able to return the favor. But caring for your parents in this way can have a lot of complications.

I called in help from two experts: financial adviser Stephanie McCullough, and financial adviser Andy Wang, who also hosts the “Inspired Money” podcast.

First: Can you afford to take on another mortgage in addition to your own? It’s worth spending the money to discuss the long-term impact of this move with a tax professional and an attorney, Wang advised.

McCullough took her warning even further. “If I were your financial planner, I’d be advising you to look out for yourself and your husband,” she wrote in an email.

Consider your upcoming retirement. What will happen when the paychecks stop and you have to start living on your savings? Look carefully at your cash flow and imagine what would happen if you or your husband lost your job, or became disabled prior to your target retirement date, she recommended.

Two technical matters Wang said to check on before moving forward: whether the loan is assumable, meaning you could take over mortgage payments by assuming the loan; and whether the loan has a “due on sale” clause that would require the loan balance to be paid upon transfer of property. The former might provide an alternative option for you, while the latter could lead you to pause on your plan to buy.

If there’s a reason you want to own the house beyond your parents’ tenure there — maybe it’s been in your family for some time — you’ll need to plan for that future, McCullough said. Unless you plan to eventually live there yourself, keep in mind that managing a rental from far away can be stressful.

Wang brought up one more “what-if”: the possibility that your parents could outlive you. “You’d also need contingency plans in case something were to happen to you to ensure your parents may continue to reside there,” Wang said.

What’s your real motivation here: to keep the house in your family, or provide financial stability for your parents? If it’s the latter, it may be worth thinking about alternative options to support them while ensuring your own long-term financial security.

Have a tricky money question? Write to Dear Penny and you might see your question answered in an upcoming column.

Lisa Rowan is senior writer at The Penny Hoarder, and the voice behind Dear Penny.

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 Empowering Women and Girls Can Help Stop Global Warming

Many of you may already be familiar with Project Drawdown, the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warning. Project Drawdown (PD) presents the 100 most substantive solutions based on meticulous research by the leading scientists and policymakers around the world.

PD director Paul Hawken says that the genesis for the project was curiosity. Nearly 20 years ago, he began asking experts in climate change and environmental fields a simple question: Do we know what we need to do in order to arrest and reverse global warming? The result is a best-selling book that lays out the solutions that, if implemented in the next 30 years, would get us to reversal—the “drawdown,” the point at which greenhouse gases in the atmosphere peak and begin to decline.

What’s exciting and hopeful about these ideas is that they are realistic and economically viable. Many are already being enacted by communities around the world. Some may also surprise you—because they address what we might call the intersectionality of climate change.

This past November, TEDWomen asked author Katharine Wilkinson to talk about some of these ideas. She shared three key ways that empowering women and girls can help stop global warming.

I asked Katharine to answer some follow-up questions about her talk, the human rights implications of climate change and how she stays positive in the face of current political backlash. She reminds us that these solutions present a win-win for society and the environment, working towards a more livable and more just planet.

Several years ago at TEDWomen, Mary Robinson talked about the human rights implications of climate change. As you mentioned, the awareness that climate change tends to impact those who are the most vulnerable—women, children and the poor—is growing. And in your talk, I loved how you connected climate change to issues that many may not see as related, such as child marriage, sex trafficking and the under-education of girls around the world. Can you talk a little more about the societal impacts of climate change on women and girls in affected areas? 

Climate change is a justice issue. Mary Robinson articulates that fundamental truth so poignantly. While the impacts of climate change touch everyone, research shows they hit women and girls hardest. That disproportionate effect is due to existing vulnerabilities, especially under conditions of poverty, and to the roles women and girls play in many societies, such as collecting water and fuel or growing food. As just one example, Otto Simonsson’s short film “One Every Second” illuminates the link between climate-related displacement and sexual exploitation in Bangladesh. In very real ways, climate change is violence against women and girls; it thwarts their rights and opportunities. The flip side is that we can advance justice through our responses to global warming. As Mary Robinson has become fond of saying more recently, “climate change is a manmade problem with feminist solutions.”

Your project, Drawdown, highlights the 80 most substantive, existing solutions to address climate change. In your talk, you focus on three areas in which gender equity and halting global warming are linked: agriculture, education and family planning. What was surprising to me in reading Drawdown was how high up the list these issues are in terms of their potential impact. Educating girls is number six and family planning is number seven. Why are these so vital compared to other solutions like electricity generation and land use?

It’s one of the most powerful insights from our work—that securing the rights of women and girls can have a positive impact on the atmosphere, comparable to that of wind turbines and solar panels and forests. In large part, that’s due to the ripple effects of gender equity on the growth our human family. When girls and women have access to high-quality education and reproductive healthcare, they have more agency and make different choices for their lives. Those choices often include having fewer children.

Both education and family planning are basic human rights, not yet reality for too many. Securing them could mean a global population of 9.7 billion people at midcentury, as opposed to 1 billion people more if we fail to address what girls and women say they want, need and lack.

Want, need and lack bears repeating. This is very different than the tired, repressive trope of “population control” foisted on women. It is choice, not control, that may avoid more than 100 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide over the next three decades. For context: Humanity emitted just over 37 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2018.

A big story in the news this week is the Science journal report that oceans are heating up 40 percent faster that scientists estimated they would. Does that affect your rankings in terms of ocean health and solution priorities?

That story was this week’s biggest earth heartbreak for me. (The biggest pure heartbreak was Mary Oliver’s passing. I first encountered her poetry at 16, and it has shaped my life in profound ways for two decades since.) We think about global warming, but oceans are really ground zero. They store more than 90 percent of the excess heat trapped by our emissions-clogged atmosphere. That has huge implications for ice melt, sea level rise, extreme weather and the die-off of coral reefs. That oceans are heating even faster than we thought reinforces what the earth has been telling us: Nothing less than bold, society-wide transformation is needed. We are facing an emergency of unprecedented scale and severity.

Ocean solutions are a critical emerging focus of our work at Project Drawdown. We’ve just launched an effort to analyze the best marine technologies and practices available. For example, kelp sequesters carbon faster than any plant on land and can be grown at massive scale. Oysters filter excess nitrogen and can be farmed sustainably. We wrote about some of these solutions in the book Drawdown, but now we’ll be able to put numbers to their potential impact. And we’ll amplify that potential, with the aim of accelerating investment and action to implement them.

How do you remain positive in the face of such challenges? 

I think about this question a lot, and I’m still very much figuring it out. Parker Palmer uses a term: “the work before the work” of social change. There’s inner work we have to do, to do good work in the world. I find that it’s easy to become so focused on the need “out there,” that I overlook the needs “in here”—and the way they’re intertwined.

What helps me is time in circle and in community with kindred souls: Time in the mountains and with dogs and horses, to get grounded in the present; time learning from elders like Parker Palmer, like Mary Oliver, like Sherri Mitchell.

Sherri’s recent book Sacred Instructions: Indigenous Wisdom for Living Spirit-Based Change is vital wisdom for humanity at a crossroads—”sacred instructions” to “heal one another and reclaim our place within creation.” If we want to shape a life-giving future, we have to cultivate that which gives us life here, now. And I remind myself, as I said in the talk, that it’s ultimately a magnificent thing to be alive in a moment that matters so much.

Can you recommend programs or charities working to improve the lives of women and girls that we should know about and support?

There are many! I really admire the work of Blue VenturesCAREMarie Stopes International, Planned Parenthood, Root CapitalSolar SisterWECANwPOWER Hub… this list could get long. (AUTHOR’S NOTE: I would add Barefoot CollegeAcumen Fund fellowsV-Day and UN Women to that list…) 

The “mothers of invention” featured on the podcast by that name, hosted by Mary Robinson and Maeve Higgins, are incredible climate leaders—from food to plastic, litigation to divestment. Many of them are associated with nonprofits or initiatives you can support.

It’s estimated that just 0.2 percent of philanthropic funds go specifically toward women and the environment. Let’s see if we can’t nudge that number upward.

Originally published on Pat Mitchell’s blog. Republished with author permission.

Pat Mitchell is known for her leadership in the media industry as a CEO, producer and curator. She partners with the TED organization to co-curate and host an annual global TEDWomen conference and is the chair of theWomen’s Media Center and Sundance Institute boards, a founding board member of V-Day, a member of the board of the Acumen Fund and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. The first woman president and CEO of PBS, she most recently served as president and CEO of the Paley Center for Media; she is now a senior adviser to the organization. She is also the former president of CNN Productions, where she executive produced hundreds of hours of documentaries and specials, which received 35 Emmy Awards and five Peabody Awards. She was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame in 2009.

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4 Ways to Help Loved Ones Dealing with Financial Hardships

After experiencing the longest government shutdown in history, many federal workers and contractors who experienced financial hardships are still trying to recover.

The government shutdown tested people’s financial preparedness, and many unfortunately failed. Also, with another possible shutdown looming, many people are frightened that this will catapult them into homelessness.

Approximately 1 in 3 Americans do not have emergency savings to cover a $ 500 emergency, according to personal finance website Bankrate. This statistic became a heartbreaking reality when real life financial hardship stories recently surfaced due to the federal furlough.

Unexpected emergencies like medical bills, the death of a family member, job termination, or an unwarranted furlough, are common causes of most financial traumas. The reasons people do not set aside money for these unexpected emergencies range from unlivable wages, sluggish salary raises with rapid inflation, unfair wage gaps, or even poor financial habits.

When a loved one is dealing with a temporary financial hardships, there are ways to provide assistance or relief.

4 Ways to Help Loved Ones Dealing with Financial Hardships

 

Lend money

If you have the financial ability to lend money to a loved one and are confident you will be repaid, offer a short-term loan. Treat the loved one with compassion, but explain the offer is a loan and is expected to be paid back.

Write up and sign an agreement between you (lender) and the loved one (borrower) to clarify the financial transaction as a loan.

Debt.org shares that a loan agreement between loved ones should include:

  • The names of the parties involved
  • The date of the loan agreement
  • The amount borrowed (principal)
  • Interest rate (if applicable)
  • Repayment terms (monthly payments over a specific period or a lump sum on a certain date)

In the event of nonpayment, the loan agreement should also include:

  • Modification of loan terms
  • Taking ownership of collateral
  • Possible legal action

Hard feelings and arguments between relatives and friends occur when money is lent in good faith but not repaid. So, take the advice I give to my clients who consider lending a loved one cash …

“If you can’t afford to give the money, don’t lend it.”

 

Give money

Instead of lending the money, give the loved one the amount of cash you can afford as a gift.  By giving money as a gift you release the possible future tension in the event the loved one does not pay you back. Consider it as a few early birthday or Christmas gifts.

When giving money, do it privately, discreetly, and without pity. Many loved ones suffer in silence, financially, because they do not want their business shared.

Assure the loved one that you will not share the monetary gift to anyone. Respecting the loved one’s need for privacy is important, especially if they are a very private or prideful person.

 

Pay a bill directly

Consider paying a specific bill or expense directly if you prefer not to give a loved one cash, or they do not want to accept your loan or monetary gift.

Paying a utility, car payment or insurance, or even a rent or mortgage payment, will release a significant financial burden.

Some companies, like PECO, formally Philadelphia Electric Company, allow people to help out and pay a bill on behalf of their customers.

 

Provide a service

Perhaps you may be unable to give a loved one money.

An act of service will go a long way when it comes to helping a loved one experiencing financial hardship. Sometimes, taking time to do something for someone is more helpful than giving money.

Some amazing acts of service can include:

Care for the kids

Offer to babysit or care for their elderly family member who requires special attention. This will free up some time for the loved one to work another job, or get some much-needed rest.

Cook a few meals

You may be aware of a loved one who is struggling to feed their family. Cook and deliver meals for a few days to offset their grocery bill, and relieve the burden of cooking.

Chauffeur for a day

If a loved one does not have transportation, be their chauffeur for one or a few days. Driving them to appointments, run errands, or their job will be much appreciated.

Clean up the house

Clutter can sometimes cause just as much stress as the financial trauma. Offer to clean a loved one’s kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, or the entire home to eliminate that responsibility from their list. Often a clean environment can calm our consciousness to better deal with difficult situations.

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Can beer help a mom breastfeed?

Some believe that drinking beer (stout, in particular) helps moms who are having trouble breastfeeding. There’s some science behind it.
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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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Don’t Be Ashamed of Your Money. These 13 Tools Are Here to Help

No one likes being judged. Especially when it comes to personal finance.

I’m keenly aware of my budgetary state, so having someone totally judge me for it — and not offer constructive advice — is the worst.

Yes, I understand I need to stash more into my emergency savings. And I know I shouldn’t have spent $ 5 on that latte. And investing… that makes me nervous.

But just help me; don’t chastise me.

That’s why I’ve rounded up some personal finance advisers — and some money management apps  — that’ll help you get your money in order.

And they’ll do it without a single shred of judgment.

And, perhaps even better, without an ounce of conversation.

1. Earn a 100x the Normal Interest Rate

Operating everything out of one checking account can make your finances muddy and contribute undue stress to your money management — and make you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing.

To simplify, open a second account for a dedicated purpose. One of our favorites is the Aspiration Account — there are no monthly fees, and you’ll earn up to 100 times the interest rate of other banks.

This online-only account comes with a debit card and free ATMs, so you can easily access your money when you need it.

After you open your Aspiration Account, use it to split your income:

  • Automatically deposit a portion of your income into your existing bank account, and use that to cover basic expenses like rent and bills.
  • Deposit what’s left into your Aspiration Account to use for fun stuff, like eating out, shopping or going on vacation.

2. Take a Deep Breath and Check Your Credit Score

A chalkboard with the number '610' written on it.

Your credit score is important. The better your score, the better deal you’ll get on a mortgage, car loan or credit card. We’re talking big money here.

Even if you’re not buying a house anytime soon, a lousy credit score means you’ll get hit with a high security deposit whenever you rent a car or move into a new apartment.

But did you know your credit score could be inaccurate? One out of five credit reports have an error, according to a study by the Federal Trade Commission.

To keep a closer eye on your credit, get your credit score and a “credit report card” for free from Credit Sesame. It breaks down exactly what’s on your credit report in layman’s terms, how it affects your score and how to address it.

Because it simplifies everything, you should be able to spot any errors. For instance, if you find an “unpaid” credit card that you know you paid, or a bill in collections you know never existed, you can dispute the incorrect information and raise your credit score.

James Cooper, a motivational speaker, raised his credit score 277 points using Credit Sesame. Now he talks to high school students about the importance of having good credit and uses what he’s learned through Credit Sesame as a blueprint for his lessons.

“We want to touch the Z Generation,” Cooper says “We’re not in the business of fixing credit. We want to get to you before you have to fix your credit.”

3. Play Scratch-offs to Your Heart’s Content (It’s Free!)

man and woman scratching lotto tickets and drinking wine

There’s something so satisfying about those gas station scratch-off tickets, but it’s better to avoid them because, well, that’s not Penny Hoarding.

Instead, try scratching for free using an app called Lucktastic. Each day, it releases a new assortment of digital scratch-off tickets. Lucktastic says instant wins range from $ 1 to $ 10,000. You can also earn tokens that you can exchange for free gift cards to retailers including Amazon, Walmart, Kohl’s, Sephora and more.

The app is supported by advertising, which allows it to keep the payouts high and the games free. For more info, check out our full review.

4. Use This to Bust Your Debt

Shot of a young couple going through paperwork together on the sofa at home

Once you fall behind, you may find yourself getting crushed by credit card interest rates north of 20%. You’ll never catch up that way. You’re spending so much on interest, you’ll never pay off your balances.

If you’re financially treading water like this, it might be worth consolidating and refinancing your debt.

By refinancing an existing loan, you’re taking out a totally new loan, which comes with new terms and (ideally) a lower interest rate. By consolidating your existing loans, you lump all your debt into one big payment, so you’re only making one payment and dealing with one interest rate per month.

Make sense but don’t know where to start? Credible is an online marketplace that offers consumers personalized loan offers. It’s best for borrowers who have good credit scores (think: around 640 or higher), and it lets you quickly compare rates without visiting a bunch of sites.

Rates start at 5.99%, and you can check yours by entering a loan amount here ($ 500 to $ 40,000) and comparing your personalized options in under 90 seconds.

5. Stop Deleting Your Emails

It turns out deleting your emails could be costing you money. Intrigued?

One of our secret weapons is called 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 for any receipts. If it discovers you’ve purchased something from one of its monitored retailers, it will track the item’s price and help you get a refund when there’s a price drop.

Plus, if your guaranteed shipment shows up late, Paribus will help you get compensated.

Disclosure: Paribus compensates us when you sign up using the links we provide.

6. Share What’s in Your Fridge

A young woman standing in front of an open refrigerator holds a bowl of salad in one hand and a plate of fried chicken in the other.

Remember the Nielsen company? The one that’s always tracked TV ratings? Well, now it wants to know what’s in your fridge.

Once you sign up to be on the Nielsen Consumer Panel, you can either use your smartphone, or the company will send you a free barcode scanner. Every time you go shopping, you simply scan the UPC codes on the back of each product and send your data to Nielsen.

Nielsen will reward you with gift points, which you can redeem for free electronics, jewelry, household items or even toys for the kids.

The longer you stay on the panel, the more opportunity you have to earn points toward prizes. You’ll also receive entries for the panel’s many sweepstakes. Prizes include vacations and brand new vehicles.

7. Stop Overpaying for Monthly Bills

A man and woman sit on a bedroom floor together. A laptop sits on her lap, while he lays on a pillow holding up paperwork.

On the phone with your cell phone or internet provider, trying to haggle a lower monthly bill?

Go ahead and hang up. (We know you’re probably listening to crappy music while sitting on hold, anyway.)

Download TrueBill, an app that’ll negotiate your bills, cancel unwanted subscriptions and refund your bank fees.

After downloading the app, create an account and link your bank account and/or credit cards. Turn on the bill negotiation and outage protection features. Boom. TrueBill is already searching for potential refunds — it might get you a refund even when you didn’t know an outage occurred.

On average, Truebill customers get $ 12 in credits off their cable bills each month.

The app will also remind you of all those sneaky subscriptions you’ve signed up for through the years, so you can cancel what you don’t use and reclaim your monthly budget.

Signing up and using the service is free, though there are some paid premium services that are totally optional — but could totally be worth it.

8. Earn Money Every Time You Swipe Your Credit Card

If you’re not using a rewards credit card for everyday purchases, you’re missing out on free money.

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.

9. Save Money Mindlessly

String tired around finge

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.

Additionally, savers will receive a 1% bonus every three months.

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

If you need that money sooner than expected, you’ll always have access to it within one business day.

Digit is free to use for the first 30 days, then it’s $ 2.99 per month afterward.

10. Earn Cash Back for That 3rd Bottle of Wine (and for the Shoes You Ordered After Drinking It)

Little boy saving coin in a money jar

Look, it’s been a long week, and you just want to unwind with a glass of wine. Or three. We can’t promise the clerk won’t give you some side eye after your third such shopping trip — but you can have the last laugh.

Two of our favorite apps will actually get you cash back when you buy booze — and other stuff you might need on a week like this…

  • Ibotta will pay you cash for taking pictures of your grocery store receipts. Before heading to the store, search for items on your shopping list within the Ibotta app. When you get home, snap a photo of your receipt and scan the items’ barcodes. It’s free to download, and you’ll get a $ 10 sign-up bonus after uploading your first receipt.
  • Ebates is a cash-back site that rewards you nearly every time you buy something online. For example, Ebates gives you 10% cash-back on online purchases at Walmart. Plus, you’ll get a free $ 10 gift card to Walmart for giving the site a try.

11. Play the Slots — and Bank $ 5 for Your Savings Account

woman using phone

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 coins, so you can start playing while you wait for payday. 

12. Invest Like a Woman

Businesswomen looking at fabric samples on presentation board.

Traditional investing companies have never really considered the fact that women statistically get paid less, yet live longer. That’s why Sallie Krawcheck, a former Wall Street CEO and an adamant proponent of women’s financial power, founded Ellevest.

It’s an investing platform designed for women, by women and in support of other women. It uses a unique algorithm designed to help you better plan for the future.

Once you sign up for free, Ellevest will issue you a free personalized investment plan. Plus, if you sign up before Dec. 31 through The Penny Hoarder, you’ll get a $ 25 bonus in your Ellevest account.*

Ellevest’s “digital” plan is designed to be accessible. There’s no minimum balance, and you’ll pay an annual fee of 0.25% of your assets under management to Ellevest. For context, that’s $ 25 on a $ 10,000 account.

It’ll make you feel good about your future — and not so judged.

13. Manage Your Credit Card Payments in One Place

women hands getting cash in a bank teller

Carrying more than one credit card balance can feel a bit like herding cats. Just when you think you have one under control, you realize you’ve let a different one slip away.

High interest rates and late fees can make it feel like you’ll never get those bills under control.

That’s where Tally comes in. It’s a simple app that lets you store and manage your credit card payments in one place, optimizing the amounts and times.

Simply download the app, scan in your credit cards, and if you qualify (with a minimum credit score of around 675), Tally will give you a line of credit with an interest rate between 7.9% and 19.9%* and use the lower interest rate to make managing your payments easy.

No more missed payments. Lower interest rates. All in one place. And don’t worry, Tally uses bank-level security, so your information is safe.

Tally is currently available in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

*Your APR (which is the same as your interest rate) will depend on your credit history and varies with the market based on Prime Rate. Accurate as of July 2018.

*The Ellevest The Penny Hoarder promotional offer is valid from July 25, 2018 to December 31, 2018 for the first 1,000 new clients of Ellevest who enter through this designated landing page. Clients who enroll and fund their non-retirement account will receive $ 25 added to their highest priority goal in their Ellevest account. Clients who enroll and fund their retirement account will receive a $ 25 Amazon gift card which can be redeemed by visiting www.amazon.com. Please review Amazon.com Gift Card Terms and Conditions prior to redemption. Ellevest is not responsible for lost Amazon Gift Cards. Ellevest’s processing time for depositing $ 25 into a client’s Ellevest account or delivery of a $ 25 Amazon gift card may be up to 60 days.

**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.

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s a big fan of gentle reminders.

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

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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People Share Why They Don’t Use Financial Advisers; Some Alternative Ways to Get Financial Help

Many people just do not want to meet with a financial adviser despite the fact that using one may provide numerous financial advantages. Financial advisers provide objectivity of financial situations and give advice to help establish a more secure financial position.

A few personal finance professionals, authors, teachers and bloggers, from the Elevate Community, dedicated to uplifting people of color financially, shared their perspectives:

“Just Not Ready”

Just like weight loss, financial wellness is one of the top three new year resolutions and personal goals. Most people generally know what to do to improve their financial situation, but some are just not ready to do it.

“We like comfort!” says Andre Albritton of The Millennials Next Door. “A financial adviser will give recommendations outside of our comfort zone which can be a frightening experience.”

Money mantras like “save more and spend less” and “pay yourself first” have been stated by every financial expert. The reality is if a person is not mentally ready, they will not execute any plan.

Cost

On television, rich and famous people seem to be the only ones talking about meeting with financial advisers. This creates the perception that it takes thousands or millions of dollars to work with a financial adviser. The consumers living paycheck to paycheck with minimal or no assets (like a home, investments, etc.) may presume it is too expensive to meet with a financial adviser.

Many middle-class Americans are working hard to pay their bills and make ends meet. Paying to meet with a financial adviser may seem premature or unrealistic.

Denial

“People put off seeing a financial adviser for the same reason they avoid going to the doctor or dentist” shares Alfred Edmond Jr., BLACK ENTERPRISE Your Money Your Life Podcast host and co-author of Loving in the Grownzone. “They don’t want to deal with the choices, remedies, or lifestyle changes that will likely be necessary to improve their condition.”

People that practice avoidance in the hope that the problems will go away, or correct itself will deny the problem, and chose not to deal with the financial situation. Unfortunately, avoiding the dis-ease in the bank account will leave a person vulnerable to more financial hardships.

“People are embarrassed about their current (financial) situation and believe their choices got them in that predicament” explains Atiya Brown of Live Financially Savvy Podcast. “Since they don’t know the extent, they may tend to ignore and avoid.”

Pride

Almost 10 years ago, my pride almost put me in the poor house. I remember being ashamed to admit my major money mistakes and felt like a failure. I locked myself in a self-inflicted private prison of shame.

People suffer in silence because of their pride and the shame they feel because of making money mistakes. Making the decision to let go of the shame and ask for guidance will help to release the guilt.

Product Pushers

Julien Saunders of rich & REGULAR states, “Some financial advisers have a tendency to be pushy. Although well-intended, some (financial advisers) can make a person feel pressured. Consumers must fully understand the implications, alternatives, or cost to them as the investor.”

Some financial advisers are perceived as product pushers. Product pushing financial professionals turn off and scare away many consumers. Even though consumers know that financial advisers sell products, they do not want to feel pressured into purchasing products they don’t understand.

Stranger Danger

People do business with people they like, know, and trust. Sharing secret financial skeletons with  someone you don’t know can be extremely uncomfortable. It is even more frightening to give control of your money and assets to that stranger.

Patrina K. Dixon of It’$ My Money says, “Some people have trust issues. Therefore, if they do not trust the financial advisor, they will not be safe to share relevant information the adviser may need to assist the client.

 

Some Alternative Options to Using Financial Advisers 

Many are not ready for the financial commitment to meet or work with a financial adviser. Here are some alternative options and resources to help you “start where you are.”

Financial Blogs and Podcasts

Financial blogs are an excellent resource for free money tips and strategies. Here are a few blogs and podcasts to check out.

Tanya Rapley’s My Fab Finance Blog teaches millennial women of color how to regain control of their finances, overcome financial challenges, and pay off debt.

Talaat and Tai McNeely host the His And Her Money Podcast. Their podcast and blog aim to help married couples reach their financial goals together.

Marsha Barnes’ The Finance Bar Blog connects individuals to their financial wellness. She offers one-on-one coaching and an app that shows where your money is going.

Online Financial Tribes

John Hope Bryant, the founder of Operation Hope stated, “If you hang around nine broke people, you will be the tenth.” Connecting with people who have similar financial goals or have achieved the success desired is essential to financial success. Here are a few online financial tribes to check out.

The Live Richer Academy founded by Tiffany Aliche, who is known as The Budgetnista, is a membership-based online platform that offers courses designed to help participants take their finances to the next level.

Founded by Sandy Smith, of Yes I Am Cheap blog, Hustle Crew is a private Facebook group community that provides resources on entrepreneurship and starting a side hustle.

Financial Coaches

Financial coaches educate clients on the basics of money and credit management. They help their clients establish financial goals and create a customized plan to reach those goals. Financial coaches act as accountability partners to encourage and challenge their clients to success.

Financial coaching services range free through a non-profit programs to a few hundred dollars per hour to work with popular financial coaches privately.


Black Enterprise Contributors Network 

The post People Share Why They Don’t Use Financial Advisers; Some Alternative Ways to Get Financial Help appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Money | Black Enterprise

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Natty Light is giving away another $1,000,000 to help grads pay off their loans

The cheap beer brand of choice for college students across the country has promised to give away $ 10,000,000 over 10 years to help pay off student debt.
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Democrats Say Possible Howard Schultz Presidential Bid Could Help Trump Win Second Term

A number of top Democrats say President Donald Trump could win a second term if former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz runs for president.

Schultz said he is considering a bid for the 2020 presidential election as an independent during an interview that airs during this Sunday’s 60 minutes.

Democrat Juli?n Castro, who was the Obama administration’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development and recently announced his own bid for the race, spoke out against a possible Schultz run during an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper.

“I have a concern that if he did run, that essentially, it would provide Donald Trump with his best hope of getting re-elected,” Castro said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday.

Schultz, a Democrat himself, sees his possible run as a way to break from party-oriented politics, according to The Atlantic. He has already spent the past year hiring consultants, The Atlantic reports.

“We’re living at a most-fragile time,” Schultz told CBS’s Scott Pelley. “Not only the fact that this president is not qualified to be the president, but the fact that both parties are consistently not doing what’s necessary on behalf of the American people and are engaged, every single day, in revenge politics.”

Although 57% of American voters now disapprove of Trump’s job, Castro added that the President’s support is about 42% no matter which Democrat ultimately runs against him. If an independent party were to appeal to enough undecided voters, Trump could win the 2020 race.

Other Democrats that have spoken out against the prospect include former Obama senior adviser David Axelrod, Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii, and even the Democratic Party of Washington State, the HuffPost reports.

“I would suggest to Mr. Schultz to truly think about the negative impact that that might make,” Castro said.

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CEOs step up help for government workers, raise pressure on Washington to end impasse

Companies are stepping up their relief efforts for the 800,000 federal workers who have just marked a second missed paycheck as Washington's shutdown stalemate drags on.
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7 Ways to Help Your Kids Unplug This Winter

With darkness falling early and cold weather often limiting regular outdoor activities, your kids are apt to spend more time in front of screens during winter, using phones, computers, TVs, and other electronics and filling their hours with games and social media.

While media and digital devices are an integral part of our lives today, research has shown that face-to-face time with parents, family, and friends is even more important in promoting your child’s healthy development. By thinking creatively and being proactive, you can ensure that your kids enjoy a wintertime filled with fun, unplugged activities, and family connections.

Make a plan
Start by talking with your kids and creating a media use plan that you can all agree upon, then stick to it. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers a useful template, including a digital time calculator.

Much like the way you plan your child’s nutritional diet — ensuring lots of healthy fruits, vegetables, proteins, and grains and limiting extra sugar — you should be intentional about your kids’ daily “activity diet.” Prioritize those activities that are important for healthy development: 8 to 10 hours of sleep a day and one hour of daily exercise, plus family time, outdoor play, reading, and hobbies. Then create space in the daily schedule for the “dessert” of screen time and be consistent in enforcing daily limits.

Get outside together
A nightly walk can be a fun and easy way to get outside and get exercise. To keep the kids engaged, create a scavenger hunt-type list and bring flashlights. One night you could focus on spotting (and hearing) different types of animals. Another night could be devoted to scents (fireplace smoke, pine, etc.) or sounds (barking dogs, a siren, branches creaking). On weekends, head to your nearest park for a nature walk. Buy a bird book and encourage your kids to keep a list of the feathered friends they spot. End each walk by enjoying a warm mug of hot cocoa together.

Get your game on
Winter is the perfect time to break out the board games that have been gathering dust in the closet. For preschoolers, board games are a fun way to learn to follow rules, focus, and take turns. For older kids, these games offer a chance for healthy competition and face-to-face interaction. Old-fashioned favorites like Monopoly and Risk can be strung out over several nights or long afternoons. Or keep things interesting by having a running tournament (chess, checkers, backgammon), with results posted nightly. Share the fun by inviting other families over for Game Night and ask them to bring their favorite game to share.

Set up a creative corner
Tap into your kids’ inner artist by creating a space for them to draw, color, paint, sculpt, or construct every day. Just as schools have begun recognizing the value of providing a “maker space,” you can help your children unleash their creativity by setting aside time and providing the resources they need to create and build.

Encourage your bookworms
Cold weather offers a cozy time to curl up with a good book. The most important thing you can do to encourage your kids to love reading is to read aloud to them, notes the American Academy of Pediatrics — even after they know how to read for themselves.

Plan a weekly trip to the library and encourage your kids to use the hour you spend there choosing reading material from a wide variety of genres: poetry, nursery rhymes, fairy tales, science fiction. Whether they are 4 or 14, help them find some non-fiction books or magazines that speak to their passions — baseball, dinosaurs, bugs, or the American West. Find a book series that appeals to the whole family and carve out time each night for a family read-aloud hour, with family members assigned different characters to read.

Tap into the power of play
For kids of all ages, unstructured play is serious business — helping them build thriving brains, bodies, and social bonds. In fact, many pediatricians have begun to write a “prescription for play” for kids of all ages. The key is to create an opportunity for your children to take the lead and follow their own curiosity.

The tools you provide don’t have to be flashy or fancy.By simply equipping them with boxes, blankets, and chairs, kids can spend hours building a fort in the family room. Or put together a basket of “grown-up” clothes or inexpensive props or costumes from the local secondhand store and encourage your children and their friends to put together a production to perform for the family.

Keep an eye on the weather forecast: Whenever the temperatures permit, make plans to meet up with other families at the local playground or ball field and let the kids run wild together. Unstructured play, inside or outside, has the added benefit of being a stress-buster. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics: Kids who engage in play build safe and nurturing relationships that protect against stress and help build social-emotional resilience.

Safeguard screen time
When your kids do spend time enjoying the treat of screen time, there are steps you can take to ensure their safety and prevent negative outcomes. Co-viewing or co-playing a video game with your children is one way to stay engaged and give you a better idea of how your kids are spending their time. And younger kids learn better from media when they share the experience with an adult, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Stay plugged in to who your child is playing with online, as well as the software, apps, and websites they are visiting. Make sure TVs and mobile devices are turned off at least an hour before bedtime, since the blue light can interfere with sleep. Recharging devices overnight in the kitchen or living room will ensure kids aren’t tempted to wake up and use their devices during the night.

Above all, be a good digital device role model and limit your own use so that you can be fully engaged during meal times, car trips, vacations — any time you spend with your kids.

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How movies and Martin Luther King Jr. help my son understand his Blackness

How movies and Martin Luther King Jr. help my son understand his Blackness


How movies and Martin Luther King Jr. help my son understand his Blackness

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, an HG contributor writes about her son, his school project on Dr. King, and the realities of raising a Black child.

My 13-year-old son has been diligently working on a project for National History Day. According to the National History Day website, more than half a million middle and high school students around the world conduct historical research on a topic of their choice. The theme for this year’s project is “Triumph and Tragedy in History.” Students are encouraged to use various forms of media to research and present their final project. The two historical figures that my son is interested in exploring are Muhammad Ali and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and as he began diving deeper into his research, it opened a greater conversation for us about what he watches on screen, how he views himself as a Black teen, and how he thinks the world sees him.

We watched hours of archival footage of Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammad Ali, and the terrible atrocities they experienced as Black men in America. My son had a hard time watching Black people get attacked by white police officers, arrested for boldly expressing themselves, or lynched for drinking from the wrong water fountain.

During a break from research, we went to the movies to see The Hate U Give. Based on Angie Thomas’s YA novel of the same name, the movie is about a 16-year-old girl who witnesses the death of her childhood friend at the hands of a cop during a routine traffic stop. Attending the movie with my son on the heels of watching documentaries about the civil rights movement was a profound, unforgettable experience. He was engaged from the moment the film began with the main characters dad giving his children the “talk” about what to do when they get pulled over by a police officer. It is a talk that every Black parent has been forced to have with their children for decades. It is hard. It is painful. It is necessary.

Martin Luther King Jr. being shoved back by Mississippi police during march
Underwood Archives/Getty Images

The scene when a young man is murdered by a cop in front of his best friend is gut-wrenching. We knew he was going to get shot. We knew who was going to shoot him. But seeing it unfold stung. The media images we’d been watching from another era played out on the modern-day big screen, just as they still play out in the news and on our social media timelines today.

Sixty-some years later, images of Black people dying at the hands of racist police officers are eerily similar to the murders in the Deep South that Martin Luther King preached about.


That movie highlighted so many injustices that Black parents deal with daily. History has documented the tears of Black mothers and fathers burying their children due to racism. For generations, the message has stayed clear: Black skin is considered a threat; white skin is not. Martin Luther King’s dream that all children will one day be judged by the content of their character and not their skin color is a dream that has yet to be realized.

And raising a Black child to have confidence and pride in his heritage continues to be an uphill battle.

Everything in our society tells my son that he will one day be feared—maybe even hated—because of his melanin. As his mother, I am tired of painful conversations, but I will keep having them. I am too terrified to send my child into a world that may never see his heart or his humanity, and I understand the potential deadly consequences of that reality.

But our children are more than hashtags, and we need them to know that. Media like The Hate U Give is important because it reminds us of the power of community and illuminates the injustice wreaked by a broken criminal justice system. Still, I want more movies like Black Panther that show positive and powerful images of Blackness. Imagery and representation matter, and my son is not a threat. He is a compassionate, humble, silly, messy teenager—when will the images he sees on screen reflect that reality? Hopefully, it won’t take another sixty years.

Martin Luther King Jr. and his children
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

A few nights ago, I watched my son working on his history project. He was studious, deliberate, and focused. I couldn’t help but think that this too is a part of Dr. King’s dream. That a young Black male in middle America can know his worth, strive for excellence, and create opportunities for himself in the face of adversity.

As I walked to the kitchen, my favorite history progeny took his headphones off for a moment, and called out to me.

“Hey mom, it would be lit if Martin Luther King Jr. could see all the history projects about his life.”

I smiled inside; indeed, it would.

The post How movies and Martin Luther King Jr. help my son understand his Blackness appeared first on HelloGiggles.

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SAP Unveils Blockchain Project To Help Eliminate Counterfeit Drugs

erman software giant SAP SE announced the launch of its blockchain-based supply chain tracking system that helps eliminate counterfeit drugs along the pharmaceutical supply chain. In a statement, the company noted that its blockchain-based solution helps customers comply with the U.S. Drug Supply Chain Security Act or DSCSA.
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CFDA Introduces Sustainability Initiatives to Help Guide Designers Looking for Cleaner Ways to Work

With “where to begin” being a common conundrum for many brands considering sustainability, the CFDA has launched its Sustainability Initiatives to help designers do their part to clean up the fashion industry.
In line with the United Nations’ call for the fashion industry to act on its global mandate on sustainability, the CFDA has rolled out a four-part strategy. Many designers’ questions may be answered by referencing the first edition of the CFDA Guide to Sustainable Strategies, the Sustainable Strategies Toolkit, the CFDA Materials Index or the CFDA Sustainability Directory.
While Eileen Fisher, Stella McCartney and other designers have been committed to trying to clean up the industry’s excessive waste for a while, many less established brands are examining sustainability for the first time. The United Nations Alliance on Sustainable Fashion will stage its launch event March 14, during a media event of the 4th U.N. Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya. Just as consumers have learned about the environmental farm-to-table choices, sustainability supporters are hopeful that greater awareness about the need for sustainable fashion will lead to changing the consumption and production habits.
Konstantin Grcic recently joined forces with the Aeance to create a sustainable capsule collection. Stella McCartney has been leading the

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Can Music Help You Heal?

Can music be a part of your healing? It’s not just possible, it’s actually being used to help patients of various kinds. Deforia Lane has used music as part of healing therapy for patients suffering from various illnesses including cancer. Here is more information about how music can heal.

WHAT EXACTLY IS MUSIC THERAPY?
Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.

Music therapy interventions can be designed to:

  • Promote Wellness
  • Manage Stress
  • Alleviate Pain
  • Express Feelings
  • Enhance Memory
  • Improve Communication
  • Promote Physical Rehabilitation

{Music therapy is a 75 year-old profession formally established in 1950. (Nat. Assoc. for Music Therapy). Physicians noted that shell-shocked soldiers in the VA hospitals were more compliant & less combative when music was a part of their daily protocol.

The medical model values data and research and Michigan State was the first university to establish a fully accredited degree in music therapy.  Now there are 8000 music therapists and 70 colleges & universities that offer a bachelors, masters or a Ph.D in music therapy.

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH PRACTICING THIS TYPE OF TREATMENT?
After completing a degree in vocal performance (opera) from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, I married, became a mother and when our first son was 5 I returned to complete a masters in music.  “Intro to Music Therapy’ was an elective which took me by storm and my life has never been the same.

It was the perfect merger of my love for music and my need to nurture and connect with people beyond the stage.  I was hired immediately as a music therapist at a developmental center for children with disabilities and was amazed at how music could address the needs of children with autism, cognitive delays, enhance their communication and increase their socialization skills.  Seven years later, I was invited to start a music therapy program at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center and that held my heart and soul for 34 years.

HOW CAN MUSIC THERAPY ADDRESS THE NEEDS OF CANCER PATIENTS?
Research has demonstrated music’s significant influence on the brain – it affects both hemispheres. Through MRI’s and PET scans, and modern technology we are able to better understand how to use music to impact physical, emotional, psychological and social well being.

We use it to decrease pain perception, reduce anxiety and depression, increase muscle strength/endurance and improve neurologic function.  Using combinations of guided imagery, instrumental music 60 – 80 bpm, & breathing techniques oncology patients’ pain can be significantly reduced.

AFTER MUSIC THERAPY, WHAT CHANGES HAVE YOU SEEN IN PATIENTS?

Mr. Mercer, dignified elderly deacon at his church had a stroke which left him unable to speak.  He tried but his words were not intelligible.  I chose one of his favorite songs – “This Little Light of Mine.”  It was important he be familiar with words and rhythm.  I took his hand and kept time on it by tapping with my hand and began to sing, articulating each word and making continuous eye contact. By the end of the first line he was mouthing the words in time to the music and by the end of the fourth line he filled in the missing word  – “shine”.  By the end of the song he completely sang the entire last line  – the first time he or his wife heard him speak with clarity.

With other patients whose speech has been affected by stroke, depending on what part of the brain is affected, we use a technique called Melodic Intonation Therapy.  This uses the rhythm and melody of music to enable a person to learn to speak again.  It’s transforming and gives hope to regaining a sense of normalcy.

WHY IS MUSIC THERAPY BENEFICIAL FOR PATIENTS TO USE?

Music is a part of our lives from first cry to last breath. We are born having heard for months the sound of our mother’s heartbeat, the sounds of her voice, perhaps he singing or her music, feeling the movement of her walking, dancing.

Music is a part of birthdays, graduations, church services, school dances, ceremonies and brings with it a range of emotions which are imprinted on our mind and heart.  We can use those inherent music experiences to  stimulate the brain to reconnect us with hope, physical and emotional strength.

 IS MUSIC THERAPY THE SAME FOR ALL PATIENTS?

Not at all. Because the experience of music is different for each of us it is best to customize its use to the needs of each patient.  That may change as their illness improves or as their disease progresses.

WHAT HAPPENS DURING A TYPICAL MUSIC SESSION?

Each session is based upon the specific patient goal, i.e., to decrease pain, improve the quality of their gait, to encourage movement & range of motion, etc. So I may use a wind instrument, recorder, to increase deep or steady breathing and improve oxygenation. Or a parent whose prognosis is poor may want to write a song for their children or spouse, so I facilitate that process by taking their words and setting them to the genre of music they choose.  Co-treating with physical therapists I can play music of the patient’s preference that supports the force and range of their muscle movement and range of motion.  Sessions vary widely.

 IS MUSIC THERAPY COVERED BY MEDICAL INSURANCE? IF NOT, WHAT IS THE COST RANGE?

In outpatient psychiatric settings it is normally covered and in some inpatient medical settings as well but it is it is handled differently by each insurance company.  For the best information on that because it can differ from state to state our American Music Therapy Association is an excellent resource.  www.musictherapy.org or 301 589-3300.

CAN HEALTHY INDIVIDUALS BENEFIT FROM MUSIC THERAPY?
Absolutely. To reduce stress, choose music to calm your mind and body, perhaps to prepare you for sleeping or before a challenging conversation.  To energize you when you’re feeling unmotivated – I listen to gospel music or Motown to clean my house;  as background to start a conversation with your children;  and nothing energizes me more to work out and exercise than music.  You walk farther and longer when you use your favorite songs.

HOW MANY SESSIONS SHOULD ONE PARTICIPATE IN?

Depending on the desired outcome it may be one session or I know some who have been in music therapy for months and years.

HOW HAS BEING A BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR, IMPACTED YOUR WORK WITH ORGANIZATIONS SUCH AS SUSAN G. KOMEN AND THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY?

I identify with the fear, challenge, uncertainty, need for support and hope that a cancer diagnosis brings. I’ve been diagnosed twice within 10 months and I sought help to deal with it in support groups sponsored by the American Cancer Society. Once I began my position as Director of Art & Music Therapy at University Hospitals, I realized the importance of research to find the best treatment and applied and was the recipient of grants from local foundations and national organizations such as Susan G. Komen. I’ve been invited me to share the work of music therapy all over the world for which I am most grateful.

TELL US ABOUT THE PLAY SING SISTAH, SING.
There is great disparity regarding cancer in the AA community.  We contract cancer in greater numbers than our white counterparts and we die from it more frequently.  That is unacceptable to me and I wanted to do something about it. I asked two female friends of mine who look like me and had experienced cancer if they would be share their stories in the form and to sing the songs that encouraged them through their cancer journey.

They both had voices of gold!!  They agreed and together we weaved information into a 20-minute skit about breast self examine, prevention, what treatment entailed and we tried to dispel some of the myths that are so common in our communities (don’t let them cut you open, because the cancer will spread; you can’t get breast cancer once you’re an old lady past menopause; if you have it don’t worry your daughter by telling her – she won’t get it because you have it).

The audience naturally gravitated to the songs (gospel/inspirational) we sang – powerful.  Our dialogue was authentic and transparent, we even offered to show them our scars.  They seemed to identify with us, were easily engaged in dialogue, signed up for free mammograms. We performed this in inner-city high rises, churches and community centers for over 3,000 women.

HOW CAN SOMEONE FIND YOU TO GET MORE INFORMATION?

A: American Music Therapy Association

8455 Colesville Road Suite 1000

Silver Spring, MD 20901

216 301 589-3300; Fax: 301-589-5175

www.musictherapy.org

Deforia Lane answers ‘Text Tom’ questions on the next page.

 

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Caring for preterm babies in single family rooms may help prevent sepsis and improve exclusive breastfeeding

Caring for preterm babies in single family rooms appears to reduce the incidence of sepsis and improve exclusive breastfeeding rates compared with traditional open ward neonatal units, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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Facebook, Twitter Turn to Right-Leaning Groups to Help Referee Political Speech

Advisers on touchy issues include Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council, Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform and, on the left, the Southern Poverty Law Center. Their involvement behind the scenes, designed to tamp down a furor over social media’s policing of content, has instead kicked up a new range of disputes.
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Want to Start a Side Hustle? These 10 Tips Will Help Set You Up for Success

Side hustles can be a great way to supplement your income or satisfy your entrepreneurial spirit. Who knows — having one might someday lead to a more fulfilling job opportunity.

Experienced side hustlers will tell you there’s a lot you can do in the beginning to build a solid foundation for your gig. So if you’re thinking about taking on a new venture, here are 10 tips on how to start a side hustle that will help you avoid future headaches.

Find Out How Much Side Hustle Time You Have Available

McKinzie Bean, creator of the

When juggling a day job and starting a side hustle, time is precious. McKinzie Bean is the operator of Moms Make Cents, a website aimed at helping moms build their own businesses.

She advises people to document their normal routines for one week before starting their side gig so they can see how much time during the evenings and weekends they spend doing things like cooking dinner, watching Netflix, doing chores, etc. Bean recommends using time tracking smartphone apps like Toggl when offline and Google Chrome extensions to monitor time spent on the internet.

You can see how much time you really have for a side hustle once you cut unproductive activities from your schedule.

“In your first year, you do have to dedicate a lot of time to your side hustle,” Bean says. “Just see which pieces you’re willing to give up because it is going to take some sacrifice to get to that point where your business is growing.”

Research if the Side Gig Is Worth Doing

Now that you know how much free time you have available, consider whether it’s feasible to add a side gig on top of a regular job.

Alex Tran is a full-time digital marketing strategist who operates five separate side hustles, including teaching yoga and reviewing activewear.  She recommends searching Google and YouTube to see if there’s a need for your side hustle and to determine how time-consuming it can be. During your research, see if other people are doing something similar and ask if they are willing to offer their advice.

“Say, ‘Hey, I work full time right now, but is it possible that I could just do this maybe six hours a week?’” she advises. If they respond, they may tell you how much of a financial and time commitment it will be to get your business off the ground.

Find Out Whether You Need to Inform Your Current Employer

One thing to consider before starting a side hustle is determining whether the gig will interfere with your day job. Every company is different, and some may have strict guidelines on what employees can do outside of work, Bean warns.

Do yourself a favor and dust off the employee handbook to see if there are any rules against side jobs. The last thing you need is to lose your primary source of income because you forgot to tell your boss about your budding side gig.

Set Some Office Hours

When Bean and her husband started working on their website 2 1/2 years ago, they set a schedule to keep them on track during the evenings. For example, she’d work for an hour on the site after her husband got home, then he’d take over after dinner. She says having a schedule in place was critical for them.

Also included in their schedule was at least one social or family activity per week to avoid burnout. “There was always one piece in the week that we could look forward to,” Bean says. “A few hours where we could recharge and be rejuvenated.”

Open Separate Business Accounts

Trish McDermott poses with baby gear in front of the trunk of her car

It’s never too early to start thinking about tax season. Trish McDermott is a longtime side hustler and co-founder of BabyQuip, a baby gear rental service for traveling parents. She tells people to open a bank account and credit card dedicated solely for their business.

Doing this provides you with a true-to-life snapshot of the financial results of your side hustle. “That snapshot is really difficult to see if you’re commingling your personal transactions with your side hustle,” she says.

By having all your side hustle income and expenses in one place, you can see trends and other relevant information to improve your business. Plus, she says, your accountant will appreciate it when it’s tax time.

Develop an Organization System for Your Paperwork

Instead of throwing all your receipts into a shoebox, consider setting up a digital filing system. “As a side hustler, you have to maximize your time,” Bean says.

Most of her receipts and invoices are sent via email because she runs an online business. To save time, Bean uses free basic automation software, such as If This Then That (IFTTT), to automatically save her receipts into a Google Drive folder.

For physical receipts, she takes photo backups using the smartphone app CamScanner. That way everything is saved on her phone or computer, ready to go for tax season.

Design Templates to Work Smarter

Tran encourages people to set up a task workflow in the early days of their side gig. For example, if your side business is in copywriting or involves creating a lot of documents, she encourages people to design templates.

“Have a system down so you can streamline it when you start to scale your business.” These templates can have the basic format laid out so all you need to do is change out the unique details. That way, you’re not starting from scratch on every project.  

Find Industry-Specific Groups

McDermott says there are many industry-specific groups and communities available on social media for side hustlers. In these LinkedIn and Facebook groups, you can learn from other professionals working in your field as they share advice. McDermott recently discovered a Facebook group for freelance social media managers and was blown away by the information and resources they were sharing among themselves.

“Those kind of connections nowadays are so easy to find, and so fruitful,” she says.

Create a Productive Home Environment

Your home office needs to have minimal distractions. Two ways to ensure this include following a set work schedule and having everything you need in the office, McDermott says.

By following the same work schedule, your family, neighbors and others know not to bother you during designated times. Plus, if you have everything you need at your disposal, you don’t need to leave the room.

“Having the tools you need to do your work available in the space you’re doing it prevents you from wandering around the house and deciding that you should start the dishwasher,” she says.

Don’t Wait for Perfection — Just Go For It!

Whether it’s posting on social media, launching a website or starting a company, McDermott encourages aspiring side hustlers and entrepreneurs not to get paralyzed by perfection, which can get in the way of execution. Her outlook is to do it the best you can and fix what doesn’t work as you progress.

“There’s no company on the face of the planet that has gotten it all right all the time,” she says.

In her opinion, the rewards are more significant for entrepreneurs who take risks and are willing to bring their energy and passion to whatever they do.

“You just can’t wait around to be perfect,” she says. “Someone else will take the idea and run [with it]. Just go!”

Matt Reinstetle is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He covers side hustles and the gig economy. If you have a side gig story idea, message him on Twitter @MattReinstetle.

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 Company Will Help You Finance up to $100K for Your Next DIY Project

DIY projects are a fabulous way to save money. After all, why pay outlandish prices to hire a carpenter or handyman if you can just do it yourself?

Still, even DIY projects cost a little money. You’ll need tools and paint and supplies. Also, you’ll need extra supplies for when you inevitably make a mistake. (Whoops! It’s OK; that’s all part of the process.)

Even if you’re not paying through the nose for professional help, DIY projects typically involve purchasing things like paint, paintbrushes, wood, laminate flooring, sealant, ceramic tile or whatever.

A trip to Lowe’s or Home Depot or Ikea can quickly run into the hundreds or thousands of dollars.

What’s a good way to come up with that money?

Go to Vegas and gamble up a storm? No.

Sell lots and lots of plasma? No.

Try taking out a personal loan. These days, it’s quicker and easier than ever.

A good resource is Fiona, a search engine for financial services, which can help match you with the right personal loan to meet your needs.

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

Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He likes to do home projects himself, but he’s not necessarily opposed to hiring a contractor either.

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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Kendall Jenner to Share Personal ‘Raw Story’ to Help People, Kris Announces

Kendall Jenner is hoping to connect with people and help them by sharing a very personal story about herself … but it’s a mystery what that is for now. Kris Jenner announced Saturday her “brave and vulnerable” daughter will be revealing the story…

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How Taking out a Loan Could Actually Help You Get out of Debt This Year

If you popped the cork to ring in 2019 but still have some nagging debt hanging around, chances are you made a mental note of it in your New Year’s resolutions. This is the Year of the Pig on the Chinese zodiac calendar, and that stands for “luck, overall good fortune, wealth, honesty, general prosperity.” Sounds good, right?

Now is the time to make a plan to wipe out your debt before the next trip around the sun. If you are carrying balances on several credit cards, you are likely paying interest up to or even over 20%. Ouch.

Other types of debt, like medical bills, payday loans or anything else may also come with high interest and annoying collection calls.

When you try to pay down multiple bills that are charging interest, your payments can get spread too thin and you may not really be making much progress.

It’s time to consolidate and conquer.

A good resource is Fiona, a search engine for financial services, which can help match you with the right personal loan to meet your needs.

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

Yes, the terms are 24 to 84 months, but with only one payment and a much lower interest rate, you might be able to make better payments and much faster progress towards paying that debt down.

Get free of bad debt and ready to make the Year of the Pig your best year yet. By the time the ball drops to welcome in 2020, you’ll really be bringing home the bacon.

Tyler Omoth is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder who loves soaking up the sun and finding creative ways to help others. He likes bad puns and won’t apologize for it. He also likes bacon. 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.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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Can a video game-based ‘digital medicine’ help children with autism and co-occurring ADHD?

Researchers evaluated a digital medicine tool designed as an investigational treatment for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and co-occurring attention/deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Child Development News — ScienceDaily

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6 tools to help grow your website’s traffic, all currently on sale

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Not to be dramatic or anything, but with 57% of this year’s holiday spending expected to be done online, your business (literally) can’t afford to have a “meh” web presence right now.

Take full advantage of this year’s holiday shopping season by growing your site’s traffic with the help of these online tools and services, all of which are on sale for a limited time. You can even take an extra 15% off your purchase if you enter the code MERRY15 at checkout. 

1. Simvoly Site Builder

Build the website of your dreams without writing a single line of code — for real! — with Simvoly, a site-building platform that helps you construct user-friendly sales funnels, websites, and stores in mere minutes. Use its drag and drop builder to create unlimited pop-ups and streamlined pages that load quickly (and on any device), then break down your numbers right on your site with its built-in analytics tool. Read more…

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Nurse Alice: When Your Help isn’t Wanted with Suicide Prevention

Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels is reportedly sending Pete Davidson to “get help” after the comedian posted a now-deleted suicidal message online, hours before the show aired on NBC recently. And from the sounds of it, Davidson is going along with recommendations.

i really don’t want to be on this earth anymore. i’m doing my best to stay here for you but I actually don’t know how much longer I can last, read the actor’s cryptic Instagram post.

Davidson was confirmed to be fine Saturday by the New York Police Department, which visited NBC Studios to check up on him following the alarming post. He briefly appeared on SNL when he introduced musical guests Miley Cyrus, Mark Ronson, and Sean Ono Lennon.

His friend, rapper Machine Gun Kelly, rushed to New York City to support and be by Davidson’s side. Kelly wasn’t the only one who rushed to Davidson’s side over the weekend, however. A source told Us Weekly on Monday that pop star Ariana Grande, the comic’s ex-fiancée, showed up to NBC Studios, too, but Davidson refused to see her. Sources also say he even changed his phone number after the break up to further distance himself from Grande.

Earlier this month, Davidson stated on Instagram that he’d been bullied for months both before and after his split from Grande in October. He said he’d spoken about his borderline personality disorder and about “being suicidal publicly only in the hopes that it will bring awareness and help kids like myself who don’t want to be on this earth.”


Rejected Help

We can only imagine that Grande was hyper-concerned by Davidson’s concerning tweets, especially since her other ex-boyfriend, rapper Mac Miller, died earlier this year. But what do you do when your help is rejected?

It is possible that you can say all the right things and your friend will still be upset with you. Each person is an individual with unique thoughts and feelings, and being angry and upset is the nature of depression. Sometimes people will lash out at those trying to help them because they are hurting and don’t know where to direct those bad feelings. Whoever is nearby becomes a convenient target and, as a result, they may direct anger toward you and reject your assistance. And something else that you have to consider is: Could you have in any way contributed to their unhappy feelings? If so, this may be another reason why they are not receptive to your offers of help.

If this happens, try not to take it personally. Stay calm and continue to do what you can to love and support your friend in whatever way they will allow. According to board-certified psychiatrist Dr. Nicole Washington, “If you do find yourself on the receiving end of an angry reaction, just give that person space. This is not the time to argue, reason, or explain why you did what you did. Maybe once everyone involved has cooled down, a discussion can be held where you both get to express your views of what happened.”

Washington goes on to say that if this is able to occur, take this time to talk through what is helpful for them and what is not so that you know how to better respond to them in the future during these times.

The priority is that the distressed person gets the help they need, even if it isn’t from you. So don’t get salty and turn a blind eye if this happens; rather, continue to be supportive. These can be awkward, complex, and even challenging situations, but focus on the individual’s safety. If the person is in immediate danger – don’t leave them alone, call 911 and get help. Make sure to be on the lookout for warning signs of suicide and know when to seek help from others, even in cases when your help is rejected.

The post Nurse Alice: When Your Help isn’t Wanted with Suicide Prevention appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Orlando Brown Seeks Help From Dr. Phil With Snake-Eye Contacts

Orlando Brown is seeking help from Dr. Phil and wearing snake-eye contacts to his session.

Brown, the ex-Disney star (“That’s So Raven”) has been spiraling out of control allegedly due to drugs and who knows what else including mental issues. It seems his situation has become so dire that he’s at the point where he’s looking for a savior in the doctor.

The meet-up with Dr. Phil is set for Friday. Reportedly it’s an intervention-type setting that was put together by one of Brown’s friends. Speaking of mental issued, the friend says the ex-actor is suffering from a mental disorder and on top of that, has burned so many bridges … he’s run out of people and places to go for help.

“I called in because Orlando he has mental problems,” the 31-year-old’s friend told the television host in the clip. “He’s burnt so many bridges no one wants to deal with him. If you can’t help him, he does not have a chance.”

Here’s more from TMZ:

The clip’s pretty shocking — both because of what the friend says about the “That’s So Raven” star … and the look in Orlando’s eye(s) when he sits face-to-face with Dr. Phil.

We broke the story … several of Brown’s friends staged an intervention for him in October to encourage him to enter a rehab facility. It worked — but only temporarily — and it’s clear people are still very concerned about him.

As we reported … Orlando’s been in and out of handcuffs several times in 2018, including after he was busted breaking into a restaurant in September.

Oh yeah, let’s not forget about the insane time he was busted by bounty hunters back in April. He was arrested in his underwear!

And there’s this:

“Out of nowhere he’ll say, ‘Michael Jackson’s my father. I own Neverland,’” his friend told Dr. Phil.

The full interview airs today, Friday (12/21/18). Check your local listings for “Dr. Phil” air time(s).

[ione_media_gallery id=”613519″ overlay=”true”]

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These 6 Tips Can Help You Move From From Part-Time to Full-Time Employee

Wishing for more from your part-time or seasonal gig?

For workers who’d prefer to be full-time, the difference goes beyond a bigger paycheck.

Depending on the company, full-time employment can mean a benefits package that includes health insurance and paid time off along with the stability of a reliable schedule.

As of November 2018, more than 4.8 million part-time workers in the U.S. said they’d rather be working full time, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s 2.9% of the labor force.

Although that group was nearly twice as large (9,233,000) in March 2010, the most recent figure is still larger than the pre-recession lows of 3,900,000 back in March 2006.

And that number doesn’t count “voluntary” part-time workers, which includes those who might otherwise want to be full time but have to cut back on work hours due to rising child care expenses or family caregiving costs.

But making the leap to full-time employee demands more than wishing. Read on for tips to turn your part-time gig into a more, ahem, full-filling career.

Going From Part-Time to Full-Time Work

 Emily Kapit poses for a portrait

Before rushing into your boss’s office to demand an increase in hours, consider what your goals are, advises career strategist Emily Kapit with ReFreshYourStep.com.

“Are you looking for a 40-hour-per-week job? Are you looking for simply more hours?” she asks. “Or are you looking for the full shebang, including benefits and everything?”

Preparation is essential, since asking for full-time status should be no different than negotiating a job offer or salary increase, Kapit says.

Here are six tips to arm you for the ask.

Know What Is the Difference Between Part Time and Full Time

Researching your company’s policies should be your first step, since the definition of part time and full time can vary by employer.

Although the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics identifies part-time employees as individuals working one to 34 hours per week, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the federal wage and hour law, doesn’t define full- or part-time employment.

That means one company’s full-time employee could work 40 hours, while another might consider anyone working more than 32 hours full time. And benefits associated with those classifications can vary, too.

Consult your human resources department, hiring manager or employee manual to help you understand your organization’s policy.

List Your Accomplishments

Now is not the time to be humble.

If you’re going to make the case to your boss that the company needs you more, you’ll need to present measurable accomplishments from your part-time tenure, according to Kapit.

“What have you done that has made a difference, that has been impactful, that would not have happened without you?” Kapit asks.

To simplify the process for identifying your achievements, she suggests answering three questions: What did you do? How did you do it? What was the outcome?

This method also applies to seasonal workers even if you’ve only been at the job for a few weeks.

“You have less time to prove yourself,” Kapit says. “But it’s also the nature of the job to have done a lot in a short amount of time.”

Make Your Boss’s Job Easier

Building a good relationship with your boss can help solidify your place on the team. One good way to do that is by volunteering to take on tasks that make your supervisor’s job easier, Kapit advises.

“If your manager knows they can depend on you and that you are being proactive and have foresight into what’s happening, that’s how you build a really strong relationship,” she says.

By changing your mindset so you no longer view the job as temporary, you’ll demonstrate why you deserve to be there full time, according to Scott Waletzke, head of enterprise recruitment strategy at Adecco Staffing USA.

“Set yourself apart and be that individual who is going to have that positive outlook or that positive attitude every single day when you come into work,” he says. “View that job as just an extended interview.”

Network With Those Who’ve Made the Leap

If you haven’t already, introduce yourself to other employees who have successfully made the leap from part time to full time, Kapit advises.

“Ask them for their insight, ask them for their support — especially if they had to have that same conversation with the same [supervisor],” she says.

Networking is a great way to garner support, but Kapit cautions that it only works as part of a bigger strategy.

“If you have built all the great relationships but have really not done anything, that’s really not going to be helpful,” she says. “The main game plan is do a great job because it’s all going to boil down to: How have you been impactful?”

Prepare to Negotiate

So when’s the best time to talk to your boss about your desire for full-time employment?

“There’s no time like the present,” Waletzke says. “No one’s going to know what you want out of that job unless you tell them what you’re looking for.”

And by going in prepared with your list of needs and accomplishments, you’ll be ready to confidently approach the negotiation as a discussion rather than a plea, Kapit says.

“That question, ‘What can we do?’ is very strategic,” she says. “It’s opening it up as a true dialogue between two people, as opposed to ‘I want this’ or ‘I’ll defer to you.’”

And don’t forget to think outside the box — or your current job at the company.

“If it’s not in your current role, perhaps there is another full-time position available in another department,” Kapit says. “This is particularly true for seasonal employees looking to make a post-holiday leap.”

Always Be Looking

Even armed with a list of accomplishments and an armada of advocates, your boss might say no to your request to become a full-time employee.

“Unfortunately, as an employee, you don’t necessarily always see behind the scenes,” says Waletzke, who notes there are any number of reasons a boss may decline, including budgetary reasons or hiring criteria restrictions.

If you’re a seasonal or temporary worker, Waletzke strongly recommends finishing the assignment, since your manager might provide a reference — or possibly a job in the future.

“Definitely stick it out and stay for the long haul, because you might even pick up some skills along the way,” he says.

By developing a professional, well-researched approach, you’re creating a guide for your ongoing career journey, Kapit stresses.

“Know that’s it’s not personal, and it’s just a matter of continuing your job search,” says Kapit. She adds that until you find a job that offers you the hours and pay you want, “You should always be looking.”

Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Data journalist Alex Mahadevan contributed to this article.

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

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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I tried the keto diet that’s sweeping Silicon Valley with help from a gadget that tracks progress

Ketogenic diets are all the rage, so I decided to give it a try. Here's what it was like to stick to a low carb, high fat diet.
Health and Science

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More help wanted? Some Trump advisers question Mulvaney’s fitness for job

The White House still has a help wanted sign, Democrats wait for Beto O’Rourke’s 2020 decision, President Trump’s immigration policies will soon be under a microscope, and the House GOP shields Trump from an awkward decision. It’s all on Inside Politics.


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Big Booby Benevolence: Woman Launches $100K Bra GoFundme To Help Other Women In Need

Stephanie Nelson AKA Persephanii

Source: Stephanie Nelson / Instagram

With a bust size of 34S, Stephanie Nelson knows a little bit about the struggles of finding a bra that fits and supports her situation properly. Ms. Nelson has launched a $ 100,000 GoFundMe effort to support other women in the journey of locating bras that both look and feel good in an overall bid to promote breast health.

Some readers might remember Nelson as one of our Baes and Baddies entries under the name persephanii, and as we noted then, her curvaceous frame is without a doubt a head-turner. However, she’s noticed the plight of women of her busty ilk in noting that many of them are wearing ill-fitting bras and how that could be contributing to their back pain and the like.

From GoFundMe:

I am a size 34S and I have no pain associated with my back and shoulders from having large breasts! It was not always like that. I wore poor suppprting bras thatugged on my back and shoulders to the point of me considering having a breast reduction.

Breast health is extremely important. Finding the right size is even more important. Many women walk around with pain in their back, shoulder and chest because they cannot find the right size. As a breast healthy woman I fear there could be a correlation to breast diseases and wearing poor supporting bras. I would like to raise money to not only purchase new bras for myself but also do give aways and events and help other women with large breasts find bras that fit well, improve their posture and help get rid of pain.

With all of that being said. BRA’S are expensive. Please donate if you’d love to see a reduction in pain and more confident breast healthy women near you!

Nelson kept it a stack in saying she wants to cop new wears for herself, but the larger goal of helping others is really the best part in all of this. Salute to her.

If folks would like to support Stephanie Nelson’s bra fund, click here.

Instagram Photo

Photo: Instagram

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Winter Is Here — and This App Will Help You Make Money Shoveling Snow

I wish I could start this article with, “We’ve all had to do it…”

But, fortunately, I’m a Floridian, and I’ve never had to shovel snow. From what I’ve heard, some people find it a real pain — a job happily pawned off to any willing being.

On the other hand, what if you’re that willing being? You might be able to make some good money from a hearty dusting.

Even 50 Cent has shoveled snow.

I’m going out to shovel snow and see if I can make me a few extra dollars today. I’m charging more if they want to take pictures

— 50cent (@50cent) December 27, 2010

And so has Daniel Miller, CEO of an app called Shovler.

It’s kind of like Uber — but for snow shoveling — and since its release in December 2016, more than 15,000 people have registered to become snow shovelers, according to Miller.

How Did the Shovler App Get Started?

Miller shoveled snow as a teenager and always thought it was the perfect gig: People are appreciative, you get a good workout in and it’s actually kind of fun.

Plus: The pay ain’t too shabby.

Miller came up with the idea for Shovler in the winter of 2015 when his parents were hanging out in Florida and wanted a clear driveway upon returning home to New Jersey. A full-on plow service wasn’t necessary, and, other than that, they had a hard time finding someone.

“It just dawned on me that there are lots of people in similar situations, especially the elderly, that just want to hire a snow shoveler on demand for the days they need one or want to take a break from shoveling themselves,” Miller writes in an email.

He’d always seen those apps about solving what he calls “minor problems” — like delivering food a few blocks away. “But nobody has fixed this major logistical nightmare that people have every year,” he says.

For him, the app seemed obvious. Why hadn’t it been invented years ago?

How Much Money Can You Make Shoveling Snow?

Enter: Shovler.

The app went live for iOS and Android at the beginning of December 2016, and approximately 15,000 snow shovelers have registered with it across the U.S. and parts of Canada, according to Miller.

Those who are in need of shoveling services enter their requests into the app. The registered shovelers get pinged when a job’s available nearby.

Pay is calculated by an algorithm that takes the depth of snow and the size of the property, as well as other factors, into consideration. In general, though, typical rates range from:

  • $ 20 to $ 35 for a car parked on a city street
  • $ 30 to $ 75 for up to a two-car driveway that fits three cars in length, an average walkway and an average sidewalk in front of a house
  • 50 cents to $ 2 per square feet for a city sidewalk or small parking lots (for businesses)

The Shovler app takes 20% of each job (though there are promo codes out there for 10% off), and the human shoveler gets the rest.

Miller says shovelers have made up to $ 200 per gig and says the app also hosts customers who tip generously, some tacking on a 50% tip.

“Shovelers love the app because they get paid by the job, not the hour,” Miller says. “That really gives them the ability to earn $ 50 in an hour if they are quick.”

Shovelers get paid after the user rates the job or within 24 hours — whichever is faster.

How You Can Sign Up For Shovler

The app is available across the U.S. and in parts of Canada, but its most popular cities are Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and New York.

Signing up is easy — and a lot easier than awkwardly knocking on your neighbors’ doors or giving them a ring. Plus, the app is currently running a promotion for new shovelers – if you sign up by December 21, you’ll be reimbursed up to $ 30 for snow shoveling tools or receive a $ 10 credit if you already have your own tools.

So why not make some money off the most recent dumping of the devil’s dandruff?

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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Same Job for Many Years? These 5 Tips Will Help You Reinvent Yourself

After 10 years in human resources at a nonprofit, Laura Niebauer Palmer figured she wouldn’t have any problem finding a new HR job when she and her husband moved from Chicago to Austin, Texas.

Then she started reading the job postings — which asked for advanced training and experience with programs she didn’t use — and realized her old skills weren’t marketable for a new position.

“My heart sank,” the 38-year-old says. “I was like, “What am I going to do? How am I going to bridge this gap?’”

So how is it that 10 years of experience could become a detriment rather than a strength for a job candidate?

Many longtime workers are falling behind on the skills required in rapidly changing industries, according to Alvin Nesbot, the New York City market manager for Manpower.

“People who are just joining the job market — maybe within the past three to five years or so — are making moves a lot faster than people who have been working for 10-plus years,” Nesbot says. “There are those people who have worked a lot longer who have stayed in a lull and gotten stagnant.”

And it’s not just another co-worker who’ll offer the skills you’re lacking — at least, not a human one. It’s estimated that half of the work activities companies pay people to do could be automated by 2055, according to a study by the McKinsey Global Institute.

If you’re worried your field is going the way of the dinosaur, here are some alternative jobs for dying industries. But what if you like your industry and just want to change jobs? Read on for strategies for making a change after years in the same gig.

How to Make a Career Change

Laura Niebauer works on her laptop while holding her infant son at home.

If you’re a bit unsure about what’s happening outside your cubicle walls, here are five strategies for avoiding — or escaping — a dead-end job.

1. Network for a Job

Leaving your comfort zone to network may seem intimidating, but it’s a great way to find out what is going on in your industry. It’s part of the reason it’s so important to maintain networking relationships even after you have found a job.

Being around your peers is not only helpful for finding contacts for the next job but also for discovering what credentials and terminology are becoming more prominent within your field, according to Palmer.

“You have like-minded people to bounce ideas off,” he says. “Also, it’s very eye-opening when you’re around a bunch of people and they’re having conversations about topics you don’t really know about or are using acronyms that you’re like, ‘Wait, what does that mean?’”

And if the thought of a networking event makes you break out in hives, try one-on-one networking with former colleagues, Palmer suggests.

“What I would have done differently is definitely caught up with people who had left the company,” he says. She adds that by asking about the transition to new roles, you’ll get a better idea of what technology and skills are in demand outside your office.

2. Update Your Resume

If your resume touts WordPerfect expertise and includes your AOL address, it’s probably time for a resume makeover. (Also, stop wearing that sundress over a T-shirt.)

Reading your resume with a critical eye is essential for identifying skills or programs that are no longer relevant for your position, according to Nesbot.

“What you were doing seven to 10 years ago is not going to be relevant or as important as what is going on today,” Nesbot says. “Are there things making [your resume] look dated?”

If it’s been a couple of presidential administrations since you last updated your resume, you may want to start fresh. (Here’s a guide to writing a professional-looking resume.)

But starting over doesn’t mean you have to forget your past experiences. Instead, take some time to compile a comprehensive list of training and accomplishments, Nesbot suggests.

“Sometimes we don’t look at our resumes in a while, and we realize there are things we’ve been doing that we haven’t highlighted,” Nesbot says. “Include any certifications or training that you’ve done to help set you apart from any other candidate.”

Once you have your list, compare it to current job postings and craft your resume so it includes recent credentials and popular terms within your industry.

“Make sure you have buzz words that are going to stand out to whoever is reading your resume,” Nesbot says.

3. Find a Mentor

Palmer holds her son in his nursery.

Once she got to Austin, Palmer ended up at a staffing agency looking for work. The agency placed her in a temporary three-month position to fill in for a woman on maternity leave.

Palmer used those months to take advantage of the in-house training department to connect with someone who could provide long-term career advice.

“The biggest part that helped me develop was the mentorship that I had with my boss,” she says. “I learned so much from her; my confidence rose 100%.

You can’t replicate that with a course.”

At the end of her temporary gig, the company offered Palmer a full-time position in the HR department.

4. Volunteer for Experience

Rather than repeating past mistakes, Palmer says, she took the opportunity at her new job to question what she really wanted in the next five or 10 years — and it turns out, it wasn’t HR.

After spending some time figuring out what she really wanted to do, Palmer decided than rather than pouring money into additional education, she’d offer to work for free in exchange for the experience she was lacking.

“I volunteered at two organizations, and one of them specifically was something that I wouldn’t have been able to land a job at because I had no experience,” Palmer says. “But when you say, ‘Hey, I can volunteer for this,’ then they’re like, ‘Great, we have somebody who has a lot of time and is really excited about this. We’ll put some training into them.’”

Thanks to that experience, Palmer was able to snag a part-time job at a small company, which allows her to spend time with her infant son as well as write articles sharing her expertise — including some for The Penny Hoarder.

5. Apply for Jobs Before You Need One

Even if you’re happy in your job right now, it doesn’t hurt to start investigating what’s out there.

After all, the best way to discover if you’re growing or stagnating in your career is to find out if someone will hire you — and there’s always a chance you’ll find your dream job in the process, Palmer points out.

Look at the jobs right now and actually apply to them and go through interviewing,” Palmer says. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that to see where your skills are — if they’re lining up with what is currently needed in the market.

“But you also might land a job that you didn’t even know you wanted.”

Why You’re Not Job Hunting

Laura Neibauer plays with her infant son in his nursery in Austin, TX.

Reevaluating your skills every few years takes some work, but the rewards are a more fulfilling career with greater chances for growth. Admittedly, that can be hard to do when you’re happy — or at least satisfied — with your current position.

Your salary and benefits might tempt you to stay put, but you’ll suffer in the long run if you’re too scared to change, according to Palmer. She notes part of the reason she stayed at her first job for so long was the generous paid time off and health care coverage.

“It’s hard because you’re trying to balance furthering yourself but also realizing if you further yourself, you’re taking a risk,” Palmer says. “ But if you’re looking to grow in your career… you need to challenge yourself.”

Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a staff writer with The Penny Hoarder. She likes all kinds of change, but pennies are her favorite.

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

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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This 30-Day Challenge Will Help Any Married Couple Conquer Their Money Woes

Congratulations! You’ve said your vows. You’ve thrown that bouquet (who knew Grandma could jump like that?). You’re even rocking a nice tan from your honeymoon.

Now married life really begins. Like it or not, your finances are a major factor in your marriage. According to Dave Ramsey, 86% of couples who got married in the last five years started out in debt.

It’s OK. Take a deep breath. We’ve put together a one-month challenge for married couples to get your finances in shape for your happily ever after.

Do you accept the challenge? If so, say, “I do” (again).

Day 1: Check Your Credit Scores

Your credit score is important, now more than ever. The better your score, the better deal you’ll get on a mortgage, rental deposit, car loan or credit card. If either you or your spouse has a less-than-ideal credit score, it’s time to start working on it.

To keep a closer eye on your credit, get your credit score and a “credit report card” for free from Credit Sesame. It breaks down exactly what’s on your credit report in layman’s terms, how it affects your score and how to address it.

Signing up for Credit Sesame will only take you a couple of minutes each, and it’ll even help you tackle any issues you see.

Day 2: Tackle Your Credit Card Debt

Sometimes “for better or for worse” includes taking on your spouse’s credit card or other high-interest debt. Don’t let it get you down. Instead, take those balances down in a smart way.

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

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

Day 3: Get Paid to Get Fit

Your honeymoon was full of buffets, decadent desserts and pina coladas. Totally worth it. Now it’s time to make up for those fun times.

There’s a cool company, HealthyWage, that will literally pay you for losing weight.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Read our full HealthyWage review, and sign up.
  2. Define a goal weight and the amount of time you’ll give yourself to achieve it.
  3. Place a bet on yourself ranging from $ 20 to $ 500 a month.

Depending on how much you have to lose, how long you give yourself to do it and how much money you put on the table, you could win up to $ 10,000!

Wondering if it can really work? We talked to one woman, Teresa Suarez, who lost 68 pounds — and made over $ 2,400.

The couple that gets fit together stays together, right?

Day 4: Budget Your Wedded Bliss

A budget is not fun, but you’ll be surprised at how freeing it can really be, especially for a married couple. You’ll know your limits and take the mystery out of your monthly spending.

The Empower app is a powerful budgeting tool that can help you figure out how you’re spending your money and develop a budgeting plan to keep you on track.

Link the app to your bank accounts, and it will track your spending. It will also categorize your spending so you can see exactly where you are overdoing it.

That’s right: It will show you just how many times you went out for dinner because it was your turn to do the dishes.

Day 5: Start Adulting With a Life Insurance Policy

When you’re married, you have someone else who counts on you. If you have a family, the last thing you want is to leave them without any financial support once you’re gone.

Getting a life insurance policy is a smart move — and it’s not as hard as it used to be.

Ethos, for example, can get you term life insurance in less than 10 minutes — with no medical exam — for coverage up to $ 1 million. Ethos offers a digital application, and customer service is available if you have questions.

It partners with a major life insurance carrier to quickly offer policies as low as $ 6 a month.

You don’t really want to think about “‘til death do us part,” but it’s a conversation you need to have. You’ve got this!

Days 6 and 7: It’s the Weekend! Find Free Stuff in Your City

What? You thought we’d make you work every day? Good marriages need room for quality time to have fun together, too, right? Just don’t spend a lot of money doing it.

From museums to community movie nights, there’s most likely a rich menu of 100% free things to do wherever you are!

Check your local newspaper or city website, and see what you can get into — without paying a dime.

Day 8: Find out If You’re a Power Couple

How do you compare to your peers? Are you the neighborhood’s power couple, or are you barely keeping up with the Joneses? It’s time to find out.

Status Money is an app that allows you to anonymously compare your financial situation with your peers without asking those awkward, prying questions. Link an account to tap into this database and you’ll be able to compare your income, debt, interest rates, credit score, spending… you name it.

By seeing how others are doing, you can see what you need to work on — or where you can sit back a little and just breathe easy.

Day 9: Wash Your Car, and Clean up Your Car Insurance Bill

You each have a vehicle. One took you on your first date. The other was topped with streamers and balloons on your wedding day. Now it’s time to give them both a good wash — and then clean up your insurance bills.

Yes. There’s no getting around car insurance, unfortunately. But one way you could save money is by shopping around and comparing rates at least once a year. So, just like you compare the prices of flights, shoes and laptops before purchasing, why not compare car insurance?

The Zebra, an online car insurance search engine that offers “insurance in black and white,” compares your options from 204 providers in less than 60 seconds.

Day 10: Make a Shopping List — and Get Paid

You probably shopped online before you were married. You won’t likely stop now, right? But now it’s even more important to save money where you can.

One of our favorite ways to save is with Ebates, a cash-back site that rewards you nearly every time you buy something online. For example, Ebates gives you 10% cash-back on online purchases at Walmart.

Plus, you’ll get a free $ 10 gift card to Walmart for giving the site a try.

Day 11: Stock the Fridge and Pantry With Savings

They say that 90% of marriage is asking “What should we have for dinner?” That number may actually be a bit low.

One of the best ways to avoid this trap is to get ahead of it. If you plan your meals for the week and shop accordingly, you’ll be all set. You know what makes your meals taste even better than butter or salt? Savings.

Believe it or not, Ibotta will pay you cash for taking pictures of your grocery store receipts.

Before heading to the store, search for items on your shopping list within the Ibotta app. When you get home, snap a photo of your receipt and scan the items’ barcodes, and earn cash back.

Ibotta is free to download. Plus, you’ll get a $ 10 sign-up bonus after uploading your first receipt.

Pre-planned dinner plus a pay day? That’s romance, right there!

Day 12: Put the Gold in Your ‘Golden Years’

When you said “I do,” you made a promise to make a future together. That future will look a lot better if you plan for your retirement right now.

If you’re like most people, you have no idea whether your 401(k) is on pace for retirement or just sputtering along.

Chances are, your 401(k) could be doing a lot better. Take control with help from Blooom, an SEC-registered investment advisory firm that can optimize and monitor your 401(k) for you and keep it speeding toward retirement.

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 investment fees. It’ll even tell you just how much more money your account could earn by the time you want to retire.

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.

Think of Blooom like a mechanic constantly fine-tuning your car’s engine so it gives you the best possible performance and gas mileage. Except it’s your 401(k) — and your future.

Days 13 and 14: It’s The Weekend! Relax, and Grab a Glass of Wine

You’ve made great strides! Hey, marriage isn’t all work. Give yourself a break today. You’ve earned it.

Tonight, kick back, relax and enjoy each other’s company with a glass of wine. Of course, you don’t want to go overboard and spend a bundle on that bottle. Find a great bottle of wine for under $ 20, and toast to your financial progress.  

Day 15: Clear Your Clutter

Wow. Now that there are two of you, all of your stuff really adds up, doesn’t it? It’s not just the things you have two of, like ironing boards and disco balls; it’s clothes, shoes and furniture.

Set up shop, and make some extra money from the stuff you don’t need (and probably don’t have room for anymore).

You can sell virtually anything on Letgo. This intuitive app lets you snap a photo and upload your item in less than 30 seconds. It removes a lot of the hassle of selling things online, and it’s 100% free to use.

Marriage tip: Only sell your stuff. Posting your spouse’s items is a one-way ticket to the dog house.

Day 16: Feel the Thrill With a Free Lottery

There’s something so satisfying about those gas station scratch-off tickets, but it’s better to avoid them because, well, that’s not Penny Hoarding.

Instead, try scratching for free using an app called Lucktastic. Each day, it releases a new assortment of digital scratch-off tickets. Lucktastic says instant wins range from $ 1 to $ 10,000. You can also earn tokens that you can exchange for free gift cards to retailers, including Amazon, Walmart, Kohl’s, Sephora and more.

You can even compete with your spouse. Who can win more tonight?

Day 17: Relax, and Watch a Good Show

OK, you’re ready for a little snuggle time. That’s fair.

Tonight, pop some popcorn, pour a cool beverage and plop down on that loveseat. But instead of watching a movie, earn some money by watching movie previews or other short videos.

InboxDollars lets you actually get paid to watch TV online. The site hosts a ton of stuff to watch, including cooking, entertainment, news and health shows. The shows are sponsored by brands that need to get them in front of as many eyeballs as possible.

Every time you watch one, InboxDollars will credit your account with a little bit of cash.

Day 18: Get Money for Past Purchases

What couple couldn’t use a little extra money? Here’s an easy way to see whether you could get money back on purchases you’ve already made.

One of our secret weapons is called 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 for any receipts. If it discovers you’ve purchased something from one of its monitored retailers, it will track the item’s price and help you get a refund when there’s a price drop.

Plus, if your guaranteed shipment shows up late, Paribus will help you get compensated.

Day 19: Protect Your Nest Without Robbing Your Nest Egg

If you own a car, you know that you need to protect it (and yourself) with insurance. But did you really check out your options? You could be paying too much for your coverage. Shopping around for insurance can be time consuming, though.

Fortunately, a service called Gabi will do it for you, and you don’t even have to fill out any forms. Simply link your insurance account and provide your driver’s license number, and Gabi will go to work.

Once you link your insurance account to Gabi, it will:

  • Scan your existing insurance plan.
  • Analyze what coverage you have.
  • Compare the major insurers’ rates for that same coverage.
  • Help you switch on the spot if it finds you a better rate.

Gabi says it finds an average savings of $ 720 per year for its customers.

It is a true apples-to-apples comparison at the same coverage levels and deductibles you currently have. Once you sign up, you never have to shop again. Gabi’s software has your policy on file and keeps on monitoring for savings as your life changes.

Day 20 and 21: It’s the Weekend! Enjoy Free Stuff at Your Gym or Apartment Complex

If you have a gym membership or a fitness lounge at your apartment complex, you might be missing out on lots of luxurious freebies.

Think tanning beds, massage chairs or complimentary personal training sessions.

Get down there, and treat yourself!

Day 22: Take the First Baby Steps to Investing

Marriage makes you think about the future. A lot. A big part of preparing for your financial future is investing. Now that you’ve invested in that ring, it’s time to go further.

Consider starting an investment account through Acorns.

You can start small and stack up change over time with its “round-up” feature. That means if you spend $ 10.23 at the grocery store, 77 cents gets dropped into your Acorns account.

Then, the app does the whole investing thing for you.

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!

At that rate, you could set aside $ 1,000 in about two and a half years — without trying.

The app is $ 1 a month for balances under $ 1 million, and you’ll get a $ 5 bonus when you sign up.

Day 23: Optimize Your Credit Card Rewards

So you want a credit card, but there are too many to choose from. What to do?

Should you leaf through your junk mail and just accept one of those credit card offers that show up in your mailbox? That would be quick and easy, right?

No, no, a thousand times no! Don’t do that. That’s a good way to end up unhappily shackled to a credit card that’s all wrong for you.

At least one in five cardholders are carrying around a credit card whose fees and rewards don’t match their actual spending habits, according to a 2016 study from J.D. Power.

To help you avoid becoming a statistic, here’s our guide to everything you need to know about credit cards — including how to pick the one that’s right for you.

Day 24: Focus on Some Extra Cash

You and your spouse take the most awesome pics, right? If you have a smartphone and a photographic eye, making money might have just gotten a lot easier.

An app called Foap lets you turn your smartphone photos into cash.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Download the free app and create an account.
  2. Take a quality photo and upload it to Foap’s marketplace.
  3. Someone buys the license to your photo for $ 10. You make $ 5.

If your photo sells 20 times, you make $ 5 each time and end up with $ 100 in your pocket — all for about five minutes of work and probably a nice stroll in the park with your spouse. Pretty cool, right?

Day 25: Put Your Bills on a Diet

Good news: As a married couple, you’ll share bills. Bad news: They’re still bills.

The price of internet — and cable, if you’re still into that kind of thing — certainly isn’t decreasing. If anything, prices are steadily climbing.

And if you’ve had to chat with a representative from your internet/cable company recently, you know how long you can sit on hold.

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

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

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

Also, if you have any outages, Trim believes you deserve a credit, and it’ll handle that for you. Trim takes 25% of the savings tab, and you get the rest.

26: Go Window Shopping, and Earn Gift Cards

No extreme physical activity or pulled muscles required for this money-making trick that’s fun for couples. All you need to do is download the Shopkick app.

Once you sign up, the app pays you in “kicks” for walking into certain stores (including Walmart, Target, TJMaxx and more). You can redeem them for gift cards to a number of retailers, including Amazon, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, Sephora and Best Buy.

It pays you even more kicks for photos of receipts that include qualifying items you purchased in-store with a connected credit or debit card. You can also earn kicks for online purchases. You don’t have to do anything; your linked cards will automatically apply your kicks.

But don’t make the mistake of buying things you don’t need just for kicks, you know better than that.

Once you’ve earned your gift cards, you can enjoy them with a little quality time together.

Day 27 and 28: It’s the Weekend! Go to a Park

When’s the last time you went to the public park in your area?

You might be able to walk nature trails, goof around on a swing set, or just sit and watch the leaves fall. Take the time to simply be together and enjoy nature. It’s relaxing and relationship-building.

Day 29: Plan for a Bad Day. Seriously.

Few things stress marital bonds like sudden financial drama. A car breaks down. Someone breaks a toe, and medical bills pile up. The roof starts to leak.

The simplest way to avoid letting life’s little mishaps turn into financial disasters is to start an emergency fund. It’s simply a bank account with enough money to get you through a minor emergency or surprise bill.

But if you’re going to save, you might as well make some interest on that money, right?

An iOS app called Varo Money combines traditional banking tools with modern technology to help its customers become financially healthy.

Here’s the best part: Pair your Bank Account with a Varo Savings Account where you’ll earn 1.75% annual percentage yield. That’s nearly 30 times — repeat, 30 times — the average savings account, based on a 0.06% average reported by CNN Money.

Day 30: Play the Slots — and Earn More Interest Than at Your Bank

It’s Day 30!! Go ahead; relax, and play some games. But you’re not done helping your finances just yet.

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.

Once you link your bank account, you’ll earn 300 coins, so you can start playing while you wait for payday. If you sign up before Nov. 30, 2018 and enter the code PENNY5, you’ll also get a bonus $ 5 in your account!

You Did It!

See, that wasn’t so bad, was it? When you start thinking long-term, you need to think about your finances. When you bring someone else into the picture, it becomes even more important.

Tackling a few of these items can help set you up for a much better financial future. That’s worth a month’s work, right?

Now… let’s talk about having kids.

Tyler Omoth is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder who loves soaking up the sun and finding creative ways to help others. 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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5 adult summer camps that will help you feel like a kid again

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 Most people are certainly fine with aging and the idea that whether we like it or not, we are getting old, or older. However, others simply refuse to accept the fact that those good ol’ days when they were young and careless are nothing but a distant memory. As we get older, especially when we start having our own kids, there’s a growing need and wish to stick to our younger-self version as tight as possible. Perhaps we want to feel and seem young in our kids’ eyes, or maybe we just want to go back to those kid-free days and the only way to do so is to live vicariously through our own flesh and blood. Nothing screams childhood more than summer camp, but as we get older, let’s just say that our summer plans are becoming more and more, well, lame.

Good thing adult summer camps have become more and more common. Anyone who used to go to those kinds of camps as a kid knows there’s nothing more fun than doing all these fun activities and not having one care in the world. Grown-up summer camps have become a trend in recent years and they include all the perks of a summer camp, only with a few mature twists like yoga classes, happy hours and the most important thing, there’s no curfew. We’ve rounded up five camps that will help you relive those childhood memories. It’s time to unleash your inner kid and head to an adult summer camp this summer.

Camp No Counselors

Just as the name suggests, this all-inclusive site that already has more than 15 locations around the world, is everything you can expect from an adult summer camp, and more. Once you arrive, you will get your room key where you get to sleep on bunk beds as well as your t-shirt. All of your favorite childhood games will be accompanied with a beer in one hand and a cocktail in the other. Water games, talent shows and themed night parties are all part of the itinerary, oh and the open-bar of course.

Camp Bonfire

It’s time to make new friends and there’s no better place to do so than at Camp Bonfire. Sure, the name might sound a bit cheesy, but trust us, there’s nothing cheesy about the place. It’s all about the idea of making new connections while sitting by the fire and watching the lake with a beer in your hand. Settled in the Poconos Mountains, Camp Bonfire will allow you to be on your own schedule where you can mix and match the times of the activities.

Camp Grounded

In the technological world we live in, there’s no doubt that we all need a break from our phones and laptops from time to time just to relax in the most natural way possible. During your four-day stay, you get to choose from 25 different sessions. It’s a real digital-detox in every sense of the word. No screens, no technology, no talking about what you do for a living and no agenda really. It’s an opportunity for you to unplug, literally, connect with yourself again and experience the real camp life, like they used in the old days.

Soul Camp

Speaking of unplugging and relaxing, Soul Camp is the place for you low-key adventurers. If you can’t enjoy even five minutes of quiet time or a long and relaxing bath, then this place is probably not for you. But if you need have some soul searching to do and love to listen to inspirational talkers and meditate, then you need to book your spot at Soul Camp asap. Making dream catchers and doing yoga for instance, is part of the curriculum.

Camp Throwback

Not sure if this camp was founded before or after the famous social media hashtag was alive, but the only difference between this camp and the one you remember from when you were a kid is the booze factor. Settled in Ohio, this adult camp includes all the classics. From bonfires and sticky marshmallows to team effort activities. Do you feel like a kiddo yet?

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‘Teach Flu A Lesson’ Strives to Help Kids Stay Healthy This Season

No one wants to be sick, especially during the holidays, which is why it is especially important school-aged children get the annual flu vaccine this fall.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu is the leading cause of illness, and last year’s flu season was the deadliest in more than a decade. Young children are especially at risk. The flu spreads quickly in tight quarters such as elementary school classrooms, and children’s developing immune systems may be more susceptible to colds and flu. Children who live in low-income communities may be at even greater risk because their access to health care and preventive vaccines is often limited.

Thanks to the voluntary Teach Flu a Lesson program, thousands of underserved students throughout Southern California can receive increased protection against the influenza virus this season at no charge. The innova