Here’s what a luxury NYC real estate agent thinks about Amazon HQ2

Ryan Serhant, real estate agent and managing director at NestSeekers International, started his career in Long Island City. He is well known as one of the real estate agents on Bravo's "Million Dollar Listings New York." Watch what he has to say about the Amazon HQ2 situation and how his clients are being affected.
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The First ‘Frozen II’ Teaser Has Us Ready for Fall; Here’s Everything We Know

The First 'Frozen II' Teaser Has Us Ready for Fall; Here's Everything We Know

Six years after everything changed for Disney and for families all around the world, the phenomenon of Frozen is back. One of the most anticipated sequels ever, Frozen II finally arrives in theaters this fall. Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Sven and Olaf are ready to return to the big screen for another feature-length adventure. What's in store for the gang from Arendelle? We only have a short while to find out.

For now, we've got our first look at the Frozen…

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Here’s Your 2019 Oscars Ballot, Plus: Where To Watch Every Best Picture Nominee

Here's Your 2019 Oscars Ballot, Plus: Where To Watch Every Best Picture Nominee

As Oscar night approaches, we at Fandango want you to be able to enjoy this year's Academy Awards to the fullest. Hosting an Oscars party? Want a way to keep track of all your predictions? We've created this handy Oscars ballot that you can print out and use at home when the show airs live on ABC this February 24. 

Check it out below, and click on the image to enlarge and print.

 

If you still need to play catch-up when it comes to watching this year's Best…

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Edgy Octavia Spencer Stars in ‘Ma’; Here’s Everything We Know

Edgy Octavia Spencer Stars in 'Ma'; Here's Everything We Know

Octavia Spencer, who won an Academy Award for her performance in acclaimed social drama The Help, has teamed again with that film's director. Ma, however, is most definitely not a social drama.

Instead, Ma looks to be a positively chilling psychological thriller. Read onward to learn all we know.

Who stars?

Octavia Spencer stars as Sue Ann, better known as Ma. When she is introduced, she appears to be a mysterious character, possibly in a supporting role. Very quickly, however,…

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Danny Boyle’s ‘Yesterday’ Gets First Trailer; Here’s Everything We Know

Danny Boyle's 'Yesterday' Gets First Trailer; Here's Everything We Know

Danny Boyle's music-themed comedy has nabbed a title, Yesterday. Its rather startling premise has also come into focus with the release of its first trailer. Read onward for all we know about the movie.

What's the story?

After an automobile accident during a "mysterious global blackout," a struggling musician discovers that he is the only person on the planet who remembers The Beatles. His "original" songs then cause a worldwide sensation, straining his…

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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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‘Wicked’ Sets 2021 Release Date; Here’s Everything We Know

‘Wicked’ Sets 2021 Release Date; Here’s Everything We Know

Somewhere, over the next few years, a movie of Wicked will finally be made. Universal Pictures has long held the rights for an adaptation of the hit Broadway show, which itself is based on the popular novel of the same name that revises the story and characters from The Wizard of Oz. The studio has set a few different release dates throughout this decade, but now the screen version is aiming for a late 2021 opening.

That gives Universal a couple years to still finalize the details and get…

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Kourtney Kardashian – Here’s What The KUWK Star Wants To Teach People Through Her Co-Parenting With Scott Disick

It is a well-known fact to Keeping Up with the Kardashians fans that Kourtney Kardashian and her ex, Scott Disick are better co-parents to their three kids than most! That being said, the reality TV star got candid about their co-parenting relationship and revealed why it’s important for it to work, aside from the sake of their young ones.

Kourt and Scott have been through a lot in their nine-years-long relationship before putting an end to it, but nowadays, they seem to be in a great place!

As fans know, the exes often go on vacations together with the children, and some of those have even included the man’s current girlfriend, Sofia Richie, which only proves how healthy their co-parenting is!

While stopping by the Today Show on Thursday, Kourtney got candid about her and Scott’s relationship and what message she’s trying to send through it.

‘I feel like I can show a message, too, of like parents can get along and work together and travel together. And I think it’s a good message to show other people. I am not doing it for that reason, but I think the positive things that we are doing is nice too,’ the mother of three shared.

The Kardashian was a guest during the third hour of the show to also promote her cosmetics reform.

This comes nearly a year after Kourtney met up with congressional leaders and discussed updating the cosmetics legislation so the products generally used would no longer contain dangerous chemicals.

She has now teamed up with the Environmental Working Group to reach that goal.

‘I shouldn’t have to be standing in the bathroom scanning to know what products I am using are safe or not safe. Especially products for my kids,’ the star argued.

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New ‘Captain Marvel’ Teaser Goes Higher, Further, Faster; Here’s Everything We Know So Far

New 'Captain Marvel' Teaser Goes Higher, Further, Faster; Here's Everything We Know So Far

Captain Marvel, the 21st entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, will mark the mega-franchise's first movie focused on a single female superhero, and the first to be co-directed by a female filmmaker and scored by a female composer. The highly anticipated film, which will take place more than 10 years before the MCU began, has been in development since 2013 and finally flies into theaters in early 2019. 

A new teaser trailer TV spot arrived during Super Bowl LIII with a…

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New ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Teaser Lines Up the Leftovers; Here’s Everything We Know

New ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Teaser Lines Up the Leftovers; Here’s Everything We Know

Ever since the devastating ending of Avengers: Infinity War, moviegoers have been dying to see what happens next and find out just what's become of not only half of Earth's Mightiest Heroes, but the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe. The fourth crossover tentpole of the franchise, Avengers: Endgame, will see theatrical release just under a year later, hopefully with all our questions answered. 

The first trailer for Endgame has now arrived to give fans hope that the surviving…

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‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’ Teases Four Terrifying Creatures; Here’s Everything We Know So Far

‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’ Teases Four Terrifying Creatures; Here's Everything We Know So Far

If you’re a child of the ‘80s or ‘90s, you’re familiar with Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. The series of children’s books, written by Alvin Schwartz and initially illustrated by Stephen Gammell, were staples of every boy and girl’s book shelf and provided so many of them with so many nightmares. Now there’s a movie adaptation of some of the bone-chilling tales found in the pages of that iconic collection.

Our first look at the movie came in the…

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Here’s How a Lot of New Orleans Saints Fans Trolled the Super Bowl

After the New England Patriots defeated the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 in Super Bowl 53, some New Orleans Saints fans —and even a few players — couldn’t resist mocking the low-scoring game.

Ahead of Sunday night’s matchup, many Saints supporters still had a bad taste in their mouths from a controversial pass interference no-call late in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship that they saw as the cause of their team’s loss. So it’s no surprise that NOLA had a few things to say about the lowest-scoring Super Bowl ever.

In addition to New Orleans newspaper The Times-Picayune trolling the game on both its front page and sports page lead, Saints wide receivers Michael Thomas and Tedd Ginn Jr. took to Twitter to rip into the Rams’ performance.

“Super Bowl? What Super Bowl?” the front-page headline read followed by the sports lead, “What do the Rams and the Saints have in common? Neither scored a touchdown in Super Bowl LIII.”

“Y’all better score more then 3 points in that new stadium,” Thomas tweeted, with Ginn Jr. adding, “Don’t cry now LA.”

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TREND REPORT: Here’s The New Way To Incorporate Snakeskin Style Into Your Wardrobe

Fenty Beauty By Rihanna Anniversary Event

Source: Caroline McCredie / Getty

We can all agree that animal print is now interchangeable as a neutral. What used to be a print reserved for your outlandish Auntie or fashion-forward friend, is now an everyday print that is incorporated into one’s closet. While leopard and cheetah print might be the most common, and introductory print, snakeskin proved to be the new darling on the Spring and Fall 2018 runways. The animal print, particularly, the snakeskin trend is not going anywhere. We saw it on covers, with Rihanna wearing a multi-colored snakeskin Gucci coat for Vogue Arabia November 2018 issue. For 2019, we’re still seeing snakeskin going strong, stylishly. Click through our gallery to see the trend on the runway and your favorite celebs for some serious style inspiration on how to wear it. Don’t miss out on the new way python is trending and how to incorporate it into your 2019 style.

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Here’s a Simple Trick to Snag 1% Cash Back on Anything (Without a Credit Card)

Remember that sweet surround sound system you bought a year ago? “Game of Thrones” never sounded so cool!

You even used your special credit card so you could earn some cash back on that baby. Well, that was the idea, anyway. Six months later, when you still had a balance on that card, you realized you paid a lot more in interest than what you earned in cash back.

The score? Credit card company: 1. You: 0

Believe it or not, you don’t have to use a credit card to enjoy the benefits of cash back. You can earn 1% cash back just for making your everyday debit card purchases — if you have an Empower banking account

You Can Get Cash Back — Without the Risk

You love cash back. Who doesn’t?

The problem is, your credit card offers you a small percentage of cash back, but it charges you an astronomical interest rate.

Why not just get cash back without the risk of paying crazy interest rates?

Here’s the trick: Don’t get a cash-back credit card — get a cash-back debit card with Empower.

When you open an Empower checking account, you can start earning cash 1% back on your everyday purchases with your debit card up to the first $ 1,000 spent each month. Refer your friends to this awesomeness, and you could boost that number up to 2%.

Your morning coffee stop? Cash back.

Lunch? Yep, cash back.

That weekly trip to stock up on groceries? You guessed it. Cash back.

Stop risking your money with credit cards just to get cash back. With Empower, you can get the rewards you love without risking big interest charges. Plus, there are no ATM fees, annual fees or overdraft fees.

Handle all of your finances right from your phone with Empower. Pay nothing and earn cash back just for using your debit card.

The score? Credit card company: 0. You: 1%.

Winner winner.

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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Bruegger’s Will Give You 3 Free Bagels on Jan. 31! Here’s How to Get Them

Many food chains give you birthday freebies. But what about when it’s their birthday? Why not celebrate that too?

Bruegger’s Bagels turns 36 this year. Instead of celebrating with cake and ice cream, the breakfast and coffee stop is doing what comes naturally: giving out free bagels.

Want to carb up for free?

How to Get Free Bruegger’s Bagels

First, sign up for the eClub to receive emails from Bruegger’s. You’ll get an email with the option to either show a mobile coupon for your three free bagels or print your coupon.

Then, visit your favorite of the more than 200 Bruegger’s locations on Jan. 31 between opening, which varies by store, and 11 a.m.

P.S. Signing up for Bruegger’s eClub will get a freebie on your birthday too. There’s really no downside.

Lisa Rowan is a senior writer and on-air journalist at The Penny Hoarder. She loves bagels, but not as much as she likes pizza. Editorial assistant Jessica Gray 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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The worst-performing Dow stock this year is about to report earnings. Here’s what to expect

Ari Wald of Oppenheimer and Gina Sanchez of Chantico Global discuss Pfizer shares before the company's earnings are released with CNBC's Mike Santoli.
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What does a national emergency mean? Here’s what happens if Donald Trump declares one

What does a national emergency mean? Here’s what happens if Donald Trump declares one


What does a national emergency mean? Here’s what happens if Donald Trump declares one

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on January 8th. On Friday, January 25th, President Donald Trump said he would agree to temporarily reopen the government but, if Congress continued to reject his plans for a border wall, he may declare a “national emergency.”

President Donald Trump is caught between a wall and a hard place. With a $ 5.7 billion price tag, his proposed southern border wall has divided Congress and sent the nation into its 18th day of a government shutdown—stranding some 800,000 federal employees without pay. On Tuesday night Trump is scheduled to address the nation, interrupting prime-time on broadcast networks for the first time in his presidency.

While a senior White House official told The Washington Post that the president plans to use the airtime to garner support for the wall, it remains unclear whether he might make a more drastic proclamation instead—declaring a “national emergency” and freeing himself to implement more than 100 powers. By invoking such an emergency Trump could potentially begin building his wall and, in a rhetorical dodge, then announce his demands had been met and that he would agree to end the shutdown. But he may also enrage Democrats and provoke a legal battle. Here is what a national emergency really means.

donald trump
Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

What qualifies as a “national emergency”?

In short, it depends. According to a report put together by the Brennan Center for Justice, both the president and Congress can declare a national emergency whenever they see fit. Despite the severe-sounding label, no broadly agreed-upon “emergency” is actually required. That means that while the underlying data doesn’t support parts of the Trump administration’s argument about the dangers at the souther border — for example, the number of illegal immigrants has decreased over the last two decades and, according to the State Department’s Bureau of Counterterrorism, there is “no credible information that any member of a terrorist group has traveled through Mexico to gain access to the United States”—the president nonetheless can rule it an emergency, The New York Times explains. 

Under the National Emergencies Act, passed in 1976, Congress has the power to end a state of emergency declared by a president. But it has not done so in 40 years, according to the Brennan Center’s report. It seems especially unlikely that Congress would terminate the potential border-related national emergency, given its current makeup, as doing so would require a joint resolution and a signature from the president.

What can a president do with emergency powers?

Build a wall—maybe. Generally, emergency powers can help a president act in dire situations when executive branch’s standard capabilities are too limited. The thinking is that the president is ultimately tasked with safeguarding a nation’s safety and prosperity and, in a crisis, should be empowered to move swiftly as needed.

The Brennan Center identified 136 additional statutory powers that a president may use in the case of a national emergency, two of which may apply to the border wall. The first permits the president to use funding already allocated to military construction to begin “military construction projects not otherwise authorized by law.” The second statute allows the president to take away troops and other resources from Department of Army civil works projects and apply them to “authorized civil works, military construction and civil defense projects that are essential to the national defense.”

government shutdown
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Is that legal?

While both of these statutes provide some legal cover if the president declares a state of emergency to fund the border wall, they each raise important questions. For example, does the wall qualify as “military construction”—a necessary component to the first statute? Or, as the second requires, has Congress already “authorized” a wall? Should the wall’s construction via an emergency be challenged in court, the Supreme Court would likely have to weigh in.

Do presidents regularly declare national emergencies?

Yes. Since the National Emergencies Act became law, presidents have declared at least 58 states of emergency, excluding weather-related events, USA Today reported. In 2009, President Barack Obama declared a national emergency amid the outbreak of H1N1, better known as swine flu and allowed the waiving of some rules such as privacy laws.

What now?

Wait until Trump’s speech at 9 p.m. ET, with a Democratic rebuttal to follow and the networks vowing to provide extensive fact-checking, given the president’s history of untruths and distortions.

This article originally appeared on People.com

The post What does a national emergency mean? Here’s what happens if Donald Trump declares one appeared first on HelloGiggles.

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These 6 Stores Buy Used Clothes. Here’s How to Get the Best Cash Offer

Do me a favor and take a quick look in your closet. Overflowing, right?

Well, there’s a solution to that problem: selling your used clothes.

It’s a win-win, and you don’t have to wait for a spring-cleaning binge to get started. In fact, you should do it seasonally to stay in vogue.

So tear a page from the Marie Kondo playbook and make one big pile of all your clothes. Yes, even your winter gear from the living room closet. Definitely the swimsuit collection in the basement. And all the baby shower clothes that you never even used, too.

You may surprise yourself with the amount of clothes you have once you get them all in one place. Kondo recommends that as you sift through your stuff, you ask yourself, “Does this item spark joy?”

Nope? Then sell it.

Where to Sell Used Clothes

Plenty of apps and websites like Poshmark, Threadflip, Etsy and eBay allow you to sell your clothes online. But maybe you don’t have the technical know-how (or the patience) to do it yourself. Don’t fret. There are several other brick-and-mortar places to pawn off your used clothes, shoes, handbags, accessories — even baby clothes, toys and supplies — to get cash in your pocket by the end of the day.

A woman shops for clothing at Upscale Cheapskate, a trendy thrift store.

Uptown Cheapskate

Want to pop some tags? Uptown Cheapskate is your place. It’s located in 21 states and is a cross between a trendy boutique and a thrift store for young adults. You can sell or trade in men’s and women’s clothes at any of its locations. Trade-ins get 25% bonus store credit.

Brands that do well at Uptown Cheapskate include Urban Outfitters, Levi’s and H&M. If you’re unsure if your clothes will fit in style-wise, visit its website for more info on trending brands and styles.

Buffalo Exchange

Founded back in 1974, Buffalo Exchange has remained family owned as it has expanded to 19 states and the District of Columbia. And if you don’t live in one of those areas, the clothing exchange has a sell-by-mail program. The company is a firm believer in reusing and recycling clothes to reduce waste and pollution (and save cash). Each store also partners with local charities.

Buffalo Exchange accepts a wide array of clothes for both men and women — vintage, athletic wear, plus sizes and more. Contrary to its name, it does not accept bison at this time. Sorry in advance.

Clothes Mentor

Clothes Mentor is a one-stop shop for fashionable women’s clothing sized 0 to 26 and maternity wear. It’s a hub for those who want designer brands without designer price tags.

Clothes that sell well include Armani, Banana Republic, Saks Fifth Avenue, White House Black Market and others. Shoes, accessories, jewelry and handbags are also accepted. 

Clothes Mentor has 143 stores across 30 states and, at certain locations, offers personal shoppers who tailor outfits to suit your tastes.

Plato’s Closet

Ah, the ole standby, Plato’s Closet. You may not have known this was a clothing exchange store, but it’s likely that you’ve caught a glimpse of one of its more than 470 locations in North America — probably tucked between your local Chinese buffet and the grocery store.

Plato’s is Winmark Corp.’s most successful clothing exchange franchise, and it’s aimed at teens and young adults. Everyday styles from Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle, H&M, Nike and Obey are typically in demand. Plato’s Closet also buys athletic wear, shoes and accessories.

To see if your wardrobe surplus is a good fit for Plato’s, browse its website for other brands and styles that sell well.

Style Encore

Another solid option from Winmark Corp. is Style Encore. It’s like Plato’s sibling, only slightly older and more sophisticated.

Style Encore accepts women’s clothing from brands like Banana Republic, Calvin Klein, Coach and Kate Spade. Like Clothes Mentor, Style Encore has personal stylists to help you look like a million bucks (without spending a million).

It’s Winmark’s newest clothing exchange brand, so locations aren’t as comprehensive as Plato’s. Double-check the store locator to find the closest one to you.

Once Upon a Child

Last but not least in Winmark’s clothing resale portfolio is Once Upon a Child.

It’s no surprise that child care expenses are a budget buster, but this store can help keep costs down when it comes to baby clothes, supplies and even furniture.

In addition to children’s clothes sized preemie to youth 20, Once Upon a Child will buy used cribs, cradles, strollers, baby electronics, halloween costumes and toys. Even more good news for parents: You won’t have to look very far. Once Upon a Child has more than 350 stores across the U.S. and Canada.

Local Consignment Shops

If none of the above stores fit the bill, you can always try your nearest consignment shop.

These shops work a little differently than clothing exchanges, because consignment stores may not pay you until your item sells. That means it’s unlikely you’ll walk out with a pocketful of cash. It’s also difficult to predict what brands they will buy, because most local stores don’t have databases and metrics to go off of. Sales are often based on personal taste or season.

But hey, anything is better than leaving unused clothes tucked away in the furthest corner of your shelf for years to come.

How to Get the Most Cash From Your Clothes

A thrift store owner goes through clothing a customer brought in to sell.

Some things are guesswork when trying to sell your clothes. Stock and styles change, so it’s hard to say for sure which brand or outfit will sell. However, there are a few things you should always take into consideration, no matter the item or the store.

Following these few guidelines will ensure you get the best quote possible.

Clean and Fold Your Clothes

If it seems like I’m wagging my finger, it’s because I’m wagging my finger.

Almost every store listed above recommends washing your clothes before taking them in. Since your payout is based on an associate’s quote after they carefully check each item, you don’t want dirt or food caked to your shirt. It’ll definitely go in the “no” pile.

Likewise, super wrinkly clothes come across as unwashed, and you don’t want to give that impression. So be sure to fold them neatly before taking them in.

Use a Nice Basket or Hamper to Carry Your Clothes

Quick! What do you think of when you see trash bags?

Trash, right? Not clothes.

Presentation matters. The associates checking your clothes don’t want to sift through trash bags. So after you’ve washed all the clothes you want to sell, fold them and place them in a basket, hamper or box that you can take to the store.

Check for Damage or Pit Stains

If you were a shopper, would you buy a shirt that had pit stains or a missing pocket? Didn’t think so. The stores work the same way. They don’t want damaged, stained or heavily faded clothing.

Before you take your clothes in, examine them under a bright light to check for tears or discoloration.

Pro-tip: In general, to keep colors bright, you can soak your clothes in salt. Only wash them as needed — inside out and in cool water to avoid fading.

Sell Your Clothes Often

Buffalo Exchange’s biggest tip is to buy or sell your clothes every three months. That way, your clothes cache will always be in style, which means more money in your pocket when you sell.

Since most clothing exchanges buy with seasons in mind, it may be best to wait till spring or summer before purging your bathing suits.

Unless you live in Florida. Then January’s probably fine.

Adam Hardy is a staff writer on the Make Money team at The Penny Hoarder. He believes in the life-changing magic of selling all most of your things. 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.

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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Ready, set, file: Here’s what you need to know to file your 2018 tax return

The only certainty is death and taxes: The 2018 filing season will kick off on Monday, Jan. 28, even amid the shutdown. Here's what you need to know to make the process a little less painful.
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Here’s Where This Financial Planner Keeps Her Money (Hint: Not a Big Bank)

After becoming a financial planner in 2017, Denisa Petricko took a closer look at her own finances.

“After looking at the breakdowns of how my money was being handled by a larger bank, I realized that I had large sums just sitting in an account accumulating interest — but not for me,” she says in an email. “It was for the banks themselves.”

Then, she stumbled upon an article about the Aspiration Account.

When she read the online account would collect 1% in interest — for her to keep — she was sold.

The Perks of Opening an Account With Aspiration

This online-only account comes with a debit card, so you can easily access your money when you need it. Here’s what else you get:

  • As we mentioned in our Aspiration review, Aspiration is a do-good company, focusing on what’s best for you and the planet. You can even track the impact of your spending based on the retailers you frequent.
  • It allows you to choose what you pay each month — even if that’s $ 0. Additionally, there are no sneaky fees. There’s no minimum balance and no minimum monthly deposit. Plus, you can open an account with just $ 10.
  • You can travel without facing insane ATM fees. In fact, ATM fees across the world are 100% refundable. Aspiration automatically reimburses you a couple of days after you’re charged.
  • Aspiration has an easy-to-use app and website, making it accessible everywhere there’s cell phone or internet service.
  • It offers investment options, including its Redwood Fund and Flagship IRA accounts.

With her old bank, Petricko was lucky to earn 8 cents a month on a $ 10,000 balance. Now, Aspiration’s high-yield account slides $ 5 to $ 10 into her account each month, thanks to those interest rates.

Interested in learning more about the online-only  account? Head over to Aspiration.

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

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Here’s Why More Expensive Cloth Diapers Could Be Worth It

Babies might be small and cute, but they can also be expensive.

One of the easiest ways to save money on baby gear (and be eco-friendly) is to invest in a cloth diaper stash rather than using disposables. While you pay more money upfront for cloth diapers, you’ll save money over the course of your baby’s journey from infant to potty-trained preschooler.

I’m currently on my second cloth-diapered kid. My husband, Ben, and I used them with our daughter, Rose, from the time she was a newborn until she was potty trained at age 3. Now, we use cloth diapers on our son, Liam (3 months), and plan to do so until he is potty trained as well.

When building our stash, I was pretty overwhelmed by the types of diapers available and the various brands at different price points. Now, I’m a cloth diaper pro. I know what works for me and what I’m willing to pay. I decided to talk to some of my mom friends who have used cloth diapers to see which brands they recommend.

Budget-Friendly Diapers

detail of a pocket cloth diaper
Pocket diapers consist of a diaper cover and inserts that you stuff inside. Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

If you’re thinking of trying cloth diapers but don’t want to invest too much in case it’s not for you, consider buying a few cheaper pocket diapers to take for a trial run. Pocket diapers consist of a diaper cover and inserts that you stuff inside that cover. You’ll need to wash the cover and inserts after each use.

I bought a lot of KaWaii Baby diapers on eBay before Rose was born and used them with her until she was potty trained. I am using them with Liam as well and find them to be just as absorbent. I paid $ 110 for 24 diapers, which works out to $ 4.58 per diaper.

I could have stuck with Rose’s diaper stash for Liam, but I decided to invest in some new prints. I found a couple of brands on Amazon that offered a variety of cute prints for cheap.

Alva Baby offers affordable pocket diapers. You can buy a pack of six diapers with 12 microfiber inserts from Amazon for $ 39.99, or $ 6.67 per diaper. Alva Baby has a lot of different print choices, all of which are very cute and very affordable.

I also got a pack of six Mama Koala diapers with six microfiber inserts for $ 39.99, or $ 6.67 per diaper. The prints I got featured different types of food, from pizza and tacos to avocado toast with eggs (it was the latter that made me purchase them, to be honest).

Another good way to build a diaper stash on a budget is through local consignment sales. These sales allow local moms to sell their gently used baby and kid clothes and toys, and you can find great deals on diapers if you’re lucky. Local cloth diaper stores might also have consignment sales where you can find deals. My local store, Samozrejme, holds quarterly “re-stash” sales where you can score gently used cloth diapers for cheap.

My friend Alexis Goodwin found another way to go the cloth-diaper route on a budget with prefolds (a rectangular-shaped cloth diaper with an absorbent pad sewn in the middle). “I used covers and prefolds so I could reuse the covers multiple times versus a single use,” she told me. “I believe the prefolds I used were cotton. I added a homemade liner of fleece to help keep [my baby] dry by wicking away the moisture. This also made it easier, when we started solids, to get rid of poop.”

You can buy prefold diapers very cheaply, so diapering this way is a great budget option. And you’ll only need to wash the prefolds after each use rather than both the insert and the cover.

Mid-Priced Diapers

detail of Thirsties cloth diaper covers
Thirsties cloth diaper covers are a good mid-range option for cloth diapering. Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

If you decide to go the prefold-diaper route, Goodwin recommends Thirsties covers as a good mid-range option. You can buy these new for around $ 12 each, which is more expensive than the budget brands mentioned. But since you can use the diaper covers multiple times and just replace the prefolds when they are soiled, you’ll need fewer covers than if you go with pocket diapers or all-in-one options (where the cover and insert are permanently attached).

Another mid-range diaper brand Goodwin recommends is Rumparooz. She used the newborn-size covers, but you can also get one-size diaper covers that fit from six to 35 pounds. Rumparooz newborn covers cost $ 10 each, and one-size covers cost $ 14.

Buying mid-priced diapers still works on a budget if you go the cover-and-prefold route. Depending on how many covers you buy, you could end up spending less than you would if you bought a budget brand pocket diaper stash.

Splurge-Worthy Diapers

detail of a Grovia diaper
GroVia diaper covers are pricey but they are versatile because they can be used with inserts that snap into the shell as well as with prefold diapers. Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder

As with anything, you can spend a lot of money on cloth diapers. But sometimes, spending more on a pricier brand might be worth it.

“I loved my GroVia shells,” said Goodwin. “My littlest was a skinny baby with skinny legs. These fit her perfectly from about two months until she potty trained. They had such cute prints, too! If money wasn’t an issue, I’d [recommend buying] GroVia covers and inexpensive prefolds.”

The nice thing about GroVia diaper covers is that you can buy inserts to snap in rather than using prefold diapers. The shells and inserts cost $ 16.95 each, or you can buy GroVia prefolds at $ 8.95 for a pack of three.

My friend Kathryn Dowell swears by AppleCheeks diapers. This Canadian company offers sized diapers as well as one-size diapers. Prices range from $ 20.75 to $ 24 per diaper cover. You can use them with cheap prefolds or stick with AppleCheeks brand inserts, depending on your budget.

“[AppleCheeks’] customer interaction and community… is a large part of why I choose them. But the company aligns with a lot of my beliefs in other ways. They are produced in Canada and hire local seamstresses,” Dowell explained.

Dowell first discovered AppleCheeks when a friend sold her a starter stash for half the retail price. She was so impressed with the company and the quality of the product that she quickly became a convert.

“The quality will last through several children,” she said. “[They are often] available on sale.” This can range from 15% off a regular diaper to 40% off a discontinued color.

Splurging on pricier diapers might be painful at first, but if you plan on cloth diapering through two or more kids, it could be worth the upfront cost.

Whether you stick to budget brands or splurge on more expensive ones, cloth diapering your kid can save you big in the long term (not to mention saving a bunch of disposable diapers from entering a landfill).

The great thing about cloth diapers is that you can resell them when you don’t need them anymore. So even if you spend big in the beginning, you can recoup some of that money once your kids are potty trained.

Catherine Hiles first started cloth diapering to do her part for the environment. Now, she can’t imagine using disposable diapers as a full-time option.

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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Lenders promise savings on student loans, but here’s why the reality is different than advertised

Student loan refinancing companies say they offer borrowers a way to save thousands of dollars on their debt, by allowing them to pay off their loans at a lower interest rate, in less time.
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Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

Leaving Your Bank in 2019 Could Save You $360. Here’s How

When’s the last time you were slapped with a bank fee?

Maybe you didn’t maintain that insanely high minimum balance, or you accidentally overdrafted by 99 cents, Or you might’ve used an out-of-network ATM out of desperation.

You’re not alone.

Big banks make big bucks off these fees. Looking at overdraft fees alone, banks collected $ 6.4 billion from Americans in 2016, according to a CNN analysis.

The average overdraft fee these days hovers around $ 30, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. That’s approximately 10 small Starbucks lattes. Or 30 items off the McDonald’s dollar menu — one snack a day (though we don’t really recommend that health-wise).

Bottom line: We’re losing a lot of money in fees.

And if you’re a moderately frequent overdrafter (defined by the CFPB as someone who overdrafts once a month), then you’re handing over $ 360 in fees each year.

The good news is that there are some very nice accounts out there that won’t charge you overdraft fees — or nearly any fees for that matter — like Aspiration.

This Unicorn of an Account Doesn’t Charge Insane Fees

The Aspiration Account is an online-only account with no monthly fees, no minimums and pays 1% APY.

Yep! Instead of getting charged fees, you can actually earn money with this account.

Here’s a quick rundown of the account’s features and its fees (or lack thereof):

  • Minimum opening deposit: $ 10
  • Minimum balance to maintain: $ 0
  • Monthly maintenance fee: $ 0
  • ATM fee (both domestic and international): $ 0
  • Overdraft fee: $ 0
  • Stop payment fee: $ 0
  • Incoming wire transfers: 82 cents
  • Outgoing wire transfers: 82 cents

(Honestly, there’s Venmo and PayPal these days for those transfers anyways…)

So rather than getting tangled in an endless cycle of bank fees, Aspiration’s account actually allows you to sit back and watch your money grow, thanks to that 1% APY you’ll earn on your balance.

So make the switch, save some money and have a happy, fee-free year!

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Full disclosure: She banks with Aspiration and loves it!

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

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Here’s A Major Hair Tip For Women That Like To Blowout Their Natural Hair

Loving care nourishes luxurious hair

Source: PeopleImages / Getty

Recently, I took a trip to Beleza Natural in Harlem to get my hair done. This Brazilian salon and haircare brand is bringing their techniques to the US and I got a first-hand experience with their products at the new salon. The one great thing about Beleza Natural is that they are serious about haircare and their stylists and technicians not only do your hair but also teach you about your hair. It’s incredible and perfect for the woman (like me) who always has a ton of questions when it comes to hair and haircare, particularly for my Type 4 texture.

Instagram Photo

My stylist, Shantelle Kelly was responsible for trimming my hair, blow drying, and providing me with a silk press that has lasted almost a week and through two workouts. (Seriously). Beleza Natural has a technique for everything. First: they only do curly cuts in the salon. Kelly explained, “a good thing about a curly cut is that you can see what’s going on with the hair.” I had only had a curly cut once before. I’m not sure I’m “sold” on curly cuts, but I’m not opposed to getting one done again. If you wear your hair in a wash and go, I would definitely suggest a curly cut or trim as you can shape your hair better.

Now, when you are blowdrying and flat ironing your hair, you want to protect your curl pattern. First off, use the blow dryer to get your hair as straight as possible. Think of the flat iron as the finishing technique, not the step to do all the work to get your hair straight. When you are blow drying your hair, your hair should be wet. Like wet, wet. Kelly was spritzing water in my hair before she started blow drying it. She explained, “Water helps to make the natural hair smooth and to stretch it.” Wow! Normally, after I’m out of the shower, I’ll t-shirt dry my hair, trying to get it as dry as I can, THEN blow dry it. Nope, nope, nope. That was a major hair no-no. I didn’t even know!

Danielle James' Trip To Beleza Natural

Source: Danielle James / Madame Noire

I’m a fan of Kelly’s technique. As you can see, my hair turned out smooth, silky, and lasted a week!

How do you prep your hair for a blowout and a silk press? Did you know this tip? Share in the comment section.

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Jason Reitman is Directing ‘Ghostbusters 3’; Here’s Everything We Know

Jason Reitman is Directing ‘Ghostbusters 3’; Here’s Everything We Know

It’s time to get slimed at least one more time.

Just when the fate of the Ghostbusters franchise seemed up in the air, another installment is in the works. That’s right, as revealed by Entertainment Weekly, Sony is going back to the popular 1980s series that started it all, but the still-rather-secret sequel isn’t totally clear in how it will connect to the old movies starring Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd.

So far, Ghostbusters 3 (or whatever the movie will be titled) has…

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Drive 50 Miles Per Day? Here’s How You Could Save Over $150 Per Month

Do you feel like you spend more time in your car than you do in your home? Do you have a long work commute, oodles of miles while doing your job or run your kids all over town for their extra curriculars? If so, you might feel like you’re watching life through a windshield while you belt out the lyrics to that song you’re hearing for the fifth time today.

That’s OK, especially if you like your car. But are you paying too much for it?

If you’re driving 50 miles per day, it feels better if you know you’re saving money. Here are a few ideas to pay less for your extensive time in the car.

Pay For Better Tunes By Saving at the Pump

Putting on miles means burning through a lot of gas, even with a fuelefficient car.

If you’re a savvy saver, you probably already use GasBuddy to help you find the cheapest gas station in town. It’s an easy — and free — way to avoid overpaying.

A quick look at gas prices on GasBuddy for urban areas such at Tampa, Dallas and Chicago shows you could save as much as 25 cents per gallon just by choosing the right gas station.Wow.

But once you pull up to the pump, here’s something else you can do: Get a discount card from GasBuddy to automatically save 10 cents per gallon on your first purchase (and 5 cents per gallon after that).

The free discount card is tied directly to your checking account. It works at 95% of gas stations throughout the country, so you don’t have to drive around town just to find “your” station. Plus, you don’t have to wait for a rebate — it’s immediate savings.

Simply and securely sign up through GasBuddy. Connect your bank account, enter your address, and GasBuddy will put a card in the mail.

Let’s say you save 25 cents per gallon by choosing the right gas station, plus 5 cents per gallon with the GasBuddy discount card. Based on our 50milesperday scenario, we’ll assume you are driving a sensible vehicle that gets about 30 mpg.

If you drove 30 days per month, you’d need to purchase 50 gallons of gas. If you’re saving 30 cents per gallon, that’s $ 15 per month you’re saving, just in gas. Boom. You just paid for your satellite radio subscription.

Find Out if You’re Paying Too Much for Car Insurance

When’s the last time you looked at your car insurance plan? Don’t just renew your plan because it’s what you’ve always done. See if there is a better plan out there for you, your car and the way you drive.

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. Less than 50% of us do that, according to this survey from The Zebra, though 81% of us report wanting lower rates.

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.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Head over to The Zebra’s search platform. Enter your car’s year, make and model, and your ZIP code. Continue on to answer questions about your driving habits, your car and your life.

On the right sidebar, you’ll watch rates increase or decrease based on your answers. For example, if you’ve gotten into an accident that was your fault in the past three years, your rates will kick up. It’s interesting to see what effect your answers might have.

  1. After answering some questions, it’s time to compare. The Zebra gives you an “Insurability Score,” which is similar to your credit score, except it’s for car insurance, and it  teaches you how to get better rates. The site also gives you different options for coverage.

When you’re ready to consider your options and select a quote, you can also receive a phone call from The Zebra for additional support.

A nice representative (a real, live human) on the line asks if you want to speak with a specialist. If you’re truly interested in car insurance and want to ask all the questions, this could be the perfect time.

Otherwise, just keep shoppin’ around and weighing options through The Zebra.

You could save up to 50% on your insurance premium. According to ValuePenguin, the national average for auto is $ 941 or about $ 78 per month. Cut that in half, and you just saved $ 39 per month. Your number might even be better!

Get More Mileage Out of Your Car Payments

Highway traffic to Jacksonville, Florida, US

When you bought the car you knew you’d spend a lot of time in, did you scour the banks, credit unions and internet to get the very best rate on your loan? If you’re like most people, you probably took the financing offered by the dealership, and that’s OK. But you could do better.

You might be able to save a nice chunk of change by refinancing your auto loan. The problem is that’s normally kind of a pain.

With auto refinancing, the biggest hurdle is the process of re-titling your vehicle, which involves dealing with your local DMV. And oh, my God, who wants to mess with that?

Never fear — MotoRefi’s digital platform handles all that technical stuff so you don’t have to. In a matter of minutes, you could qualify for a lower monthly payment, lower interest rate, or both.

MotoRefi partners with lenders — like community and regional banks — that can offer you the best rates. Once you choose a lender, MotoRefi handles all the paperwork, including the cumbersome re-titling process.

MotoRefi says it’s saving the average customer $ 100 per month or more. Checking for potential savings won’t impact your credit score.

MotoRefi is available in California, Connecticut and Michigan.

Your Savings Add Up — Just Like The Miles

See how easy that was? Let’s tally the score.

Gas savings: $ 15 per month

Insurance premium savings: $ 39 per month

Car payment savings: $ 100 per month

Grand total: $ 154

Your savings may be a bit less, or they could even be more, depending your car and how much you drive. Considering just how much time you spend behind the wheel listening to the radio play that super popular song over and over, taking a few minutes to discover your savings possibilities could hit just the right note.

Tyler Omoth is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder who loves soaking up the sun and finding creative ways to help others. He drives 70 miles every day to his awesome job. 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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Spider-Man Meets Nick Fury in First ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ Trailer; Here’s Everything We Know

Spider-Man Meets Nick Fury in First ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ Trailer; Here’s Everything We Know

Given what happens in Avengers: Infinity War, the next solo Spider-Man movie is shrouded in secrecy. At least, a lot of the details are. What we do know is the Spider-Man: Homecoming follow-up will be titled Spider-Man: Far From Home and it will supposedly be set after the events of this summer's Avengers: Endgame — if anyone is even still alive after that ultimate Marvel crossover, that is.

Sony dropped the first trailer for Far From Home this…

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Here’s the Significance of That Feather in the New Game of Thrones Teaser

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Game of Thrones.

The new Game of Thrones teaser that debuted ahead of Sunday night’s True Detective premiere opened with Jon Snow (Kit Harington) walking solemnly through the crypts of Winterfell and seemed to hint at a long-awaited reveal.

As Jon passes by the effigy of Lyanna Stark in the teaser we see the feather. Fans might recognize that it’s the very same feather that Robert Baratheon placed in her statue’s hand in the series’ first episode. The feather flutters to the ground behind Jon and he looks back, appearing confused, before continuing down the tunnel.

As fans know but Jon Snow is not yet aware, the King in the North is not actually the illegitimate son of Ned Stark, but rather the child of Ned’s sister, Lyanna, and Rhaegar Targaryen. In a series of flashbacks shown in the season 7 finale, it was revealed that Rhaegar wed Lyanna after annuling his marriage to Elia Martell. Lyanna then gave birth to Jon — whose real name is Aegon Targaryen — before she died, making him a trueborn Targaryen.

Lyanna and Rhaegar were very much in love when she ran away to be with him while still betrothed to Robert. However, Robert was blinded by his feelings for Lyanna and incited a rebellion against the Targaryen throne by claiming that Rhaegar kidnapped and raped her. Many in the Seven Kingdoms still believe that Robert’s version of events was credible.

But after seeing Robert’s feather finally fall from Lyanna’s statue in the new teaser, some fans are speculating that the truth about Lyanna, Rhaegar and Jon will finally be revealed to all in season 8.

“Jon walking by and blowing the feather off the statue is symbolic of the fact that Jon is a child of Lyanna and the Targaryen,” one reddit user posits. “Jon’s existence is a symbol of Lyanna’s rejection of Robert’s love for her. Jon is a force of revealing the truth and his character destroys the lies everyone believes.”

Watch the full teaser above.

Game of Thrones returns for its eighth and final season on April 14.


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The Joy of This Gymnast’s Floor Routine Is Reverberating Across the Internet. Here’s What to Know

If you’re a talented gymnast vaulting extremely high in the air in your immaculate floor routine, and your spirits are even higher, people notice.

So when UCLA shared a video of NCAA champion gymnast Katelyn Ohashi handily earning a perfect 10 score with her gymnast routine to Michael Jackson medley at Saturday’s Under Armor’s 2019 Collegiate Challenge, she got a whole lot of praise from some pretty high-profile people via Twitter.

In the clip, UCLA’s Katelyn Ohashi made sticking a flawless landing after nailing three backflips and landing into a split look like pure fun, and the crowd lapped it up. She did it all with unbridled joy and a million-watt smile to the tune of songs like Jackson’s “I Want You Back,” and Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation.”

That ability has lead the video to garner more than 15 million views of Monday morning, more views than Los Angeles has people.

You’ll want to orient yourself with her athletic career.

Ohashi moonwalked into tying for first place at last year’s Pac-12 Championships with a routine that earned a 9.95 out of 10 on the scorecard, and resulted in a video that got 90 million views. That was her personal best to beat, UCLA coach Valorie Kondos Field told the Los Angeles Times.

She’s since proven she has a cheery online presence, laughing at some of the major shoutouts.

The elite floor exercise athlete competes on the college level. She had originally set her sights on the Olympics, but decided to leave that behind according to The Players’ Tribune. “There was a time where I was on top of the world, an Olympic hopeful,” she explained during the video. “I was unbeatable, until I wasn’t.”

But that hasn’t stopped her from wowing millions of new fans.

According to her official UCLA website bio, the Katelyn Ohashi floor routine, as it is now known, was by no means the first perfect 10 score for the six-time all-American — and two were on the beam.

See some reactions to her latest triumph below.

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Blake Shelton Helped Gwen Stefani Heal After Her Divorce – Here’s How!

One insider report explains that Gwen Stefani was really affected by going through a divorce but Blake Shelton helped her heal and be open to the idea that she might tie the knot again one day! Supposedly, the singer is really ‘grateful’ for her country crooner boyfriend.

It sounds like Gwen was left with some deep emotional scars by her divorce, but because Blake was there to pick up the pieces soon after, she is much better today.

After things ended between her and Gavin Rossdale, Blake showed Gwen that a healthy relationship was not a myth.

The source shared with HollywoodLife that ‘Gwen is thankful for Blake and what he has done for her for many reasons, but she was truly skeptical about finding love again until connecting with Blake. She was scared to jump into things with him because she was incredibly hurt from her divorce.’

‘Though she has moved on from Gavin, she still deals with the pain and scars of that, which is why she is happy with where she and Blake are currently at.’

Her first marriage crumbling like that really made Gwen wary of marrying anyone again – even the amazing Blake Shelton!

But still, before meeting him, Gwen felt like she could not even entertain the idea of getting married again.

When he came along, he managed to make her open up more.

The insider made it very clear that the star has never really felt this happy in a relationship, which is also how Blake feels.

The man simply worships her and thinks all of her characteristics are attractive, including her strength and being a great mom to her sons.

So while before, Gwen was very scared of the idea of marriage, now she is much more open to it, and Blake is very thankful for that.

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1.11.19 Computer home appraisals; TikTok app is big with kids – here’s what you need to know

Computer home appraisals might be coming soon. Clark and Producer Joel discuss the pros and cons of this potential change; TikTok is surging in use among kids. Clark tells you what to watch out for if your kids are using this app.

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Watch the video

The post 1.11.19 Computer home appraisals; TikTok app is big with kids – here’s what you need to know appeared first on Clark Howard.

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Back To School Sale – Get up to 40% OFF stylish footwear at Payless.com

Hate Doing Taxes? Here’s How to Easily File Them — Without Even Leaving Home

Do you procrastinate on taxes until April 15 every year? Does the sight of a W-2 form make your eyes cross? Does pricy tax software make you want to run and hide?

C’mon, it doesn’t have to be that bad. Help is available at an affordable price, and you don’t even have to leave your home.

That’s what you’ll get from H&R Block, the biggest tax-preparation company in the world. Because they’ve been in business since 1955, you might think they’re stodgy and old-fashioned. Nope — they’re keeping up with the times, rolling out innovative new ways to make filing your taxes easy and affordable.

Tax Filing From Home

If your taxes are super simple, you can file for free from your phone, tablet or computer with H&R Block Free. You can also file for free if you’re paying tuition or receiving student loans.

The Penny Hoarder writer Carson Kohler tried H&R Block Free last year and was pleasantly surprised by how easy and quick it was.

“I poured myself a giant cup of coffee and settled in for the afternoon,” she wrote. “Little did I know, this would be over in about 20 minutes.”

She downloaded the H&R Block app on her phone and created an account. That made it easy to switch over to her computer at any point without losing any of her information. She snapped a photo of her W-2 and answered a few quick questions. Once she reviewed her information, her part was basically done.

If your taxes are a bit more complicated, you might need to pay a small fee to file online. These options include:

  • Deluxe Online Tax Filing: This is similar to the free service, because you do it all online. If your taxes are a little more complicated — for example, if you own a home or have children — this is a better fit. It’s only $ 29.99 — not free, but really affordable for professional tax prep services.
  • Premium Online Tax Filing: Use this if you’re a freelancer or if you own stocks or other investments. It costs $ 49.99.
  • Self-Employed Online Tax Filing: Use this if you’re self-employed or a small business owner. It costs $ 79.99.

Right now, Penny Hoarders get a 35% discount on all of these.

Professional Tax Prep Can Be a Godsend

The exterior building of H&R block.

Once upon a time, if you wanted to have your taxes done by a professional, you’d have to drive to a tax office in person. You’d sit there and make small talk while an accountant flipped through your documents, tapped on a calculator and figured out your deductions.

These days, you can skip the trip. With H&R Block Tax Pro Go, you’ll upload your documents online, and a tax professional will do everything for you and get back to you within five days. Prices start at $ 59 but can increase depending on how complicated your taxes are.

It can help to have a pro do your income taxes, because Uncle Sam keeps messing around with the tax codes. Some new rules are coming into play this tax season. For instance, the standard deduction is higher, but the personal exemption has been eliminated.

If you don’t know what that means, join the club. Maybe it’s time to call in a pro.

H&R Block’s services can help ensure you get the best refund possible at a price you can afford.

Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. A homeowner with two kids and freelance income, he hasn’t done his own taxes in years.

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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Renters Rejoice: Here’s 8 Ways to Reduce Your Heating Bill

Before buying a house last winter, I had rented several apartments in southwestern Ohio, which gets so cold in the winter (and fall and sometimes spring) that I may as well have lived in Alaska. The problem with every single apartment I lived in was the same: It was exorbitantly expensive to heat each one in the winter due to old systems, ancient windows and poor insulation.

Luckily, the house I purchased has great new windows, excellent insulation and doors that actually close properly. And any issues that have caused inefficient heating in my home, I’ve been able to fix cheaply.

It’s much more challenging to combat these issues in apartments because, as a renter, you can’t just invest in new windows or redo the insulation. In my eight years of renting, however, I discovered a number of ways to cut back on my apartment heating bills.

Close Off Unused Rooms

If you live in a two- or three-bedroom apartment but use one of the rooms for storage, exercise or an irregularly accessed workspace, close the door and shut the vents in that room when it is not in use. Otherwise, you will unnecessarily be heating an unused space.

And if the space is so infrequently used, consider downsizing to a smaller apartment the next time your lease is up for renewal. If you stay within the same apartment complex, you often will not have to offer up new deposits.

Turn Down the Heat

An easy way to reduce your electric or heating bill in the winter is to run your heat at a lower temperature.

Obviously, you need to keep your apartment warm enough to prevent your pipes from freezing, but if you can stand the chill, keep your apartment in the low- to mid-60s. Bundle up in sweatshirts, thick socks and blankets to stay warm — and don’t forget to cover up your pets, too.

Use a Space Heater

OK, so you’ve turned the heat down, closed off unused rooms and bundled up in blankets, but you’re still feeling chilly. A small space heater might do the trick. Rather than wasting the energy to heat the whole apartment to a warmer temperature, keep a space heater in the area that you plan to spend the day or evening. Running a little bit of heat in one small area is more affordable than heating your entire living space.

Insulate Your Windows

One apartment I lived in shortly after college had a living room with one wall that was entirely windows, overlooking a quaint pond. I toured the apartment in the springtime and was immediately sold. Little did I know that these single-pane windows would be the bane of my existence just nine months later when frost began forming on the inside.

Since renters can’t control whether their landlords install replacement windows (though I spent at least an hour a week in the main office demanding that mine do so, to no avail), finding temporary ways to keep heat from leaking out is crucial.

You can do this by hanging thick curtains in front of the windows, but an even better solution (or a solution to combine with the curtains) is purchasing a window insulation film kit. If it is your first time installing, I recommend asking an experienced friend or family member for assistance; when incorrectly installed, your window will look like it’s been covered in shrink wrap.

Stop Eating Out

Of course, you can save money on meals by eating at home instead of dining out, but in the winter, baking and cooking can have the added benefit of reducing your heating bill.

When you cook in your oven and on the stove top, heat emanates into your kitchen and surrounding rooms. Even after turning the oven off, the remaining heat will eventually filter out to into your home.

Block Out Drafts From Your Door

The bottoms of exterior doors are a major culprit for heat loss in the winter. If you can see daylight creeping in from beneath your door or feel a cool breeze, speak to your landlord about addressing this issue.

If that becomes a dead end or it will take maintenance a few days to get over, temporarily improve the situation by rolling up a towel and blocking the bottom of the door. The solution isn’t perfect, but it will prevent some heat loss for the time being.

Weatherstrip Like Crazy

Weatherstripping for doors and windows is key to retaining heat in the winter (and keeping it out in the summer). If your windows and doors are letting too much heat out, ask your landlord to replace the weatherstripping.

Unfortunately, not all landlords are created equal. If you encounter a landlord who dodges your requests, tell them in writing that you will be replacing the weatherstripping yourself. (Do not make it a question.) It’s a minor cost and will save you big-time on heating bills.

Leave a Review

If you are stuck in a lease at an apartment community that does not take your maintenance concerns seriously, remember that online reviews are your friend. Leave reviews on Google, social media and the Better Business Bureau site if your landlord ignores or refuses your reasonable requests. I’ve had to leave reviews more than once, and conveniently, the landlords took care of the issues the very next day.

Before you know it, winter will come and go. Reduce energy consumption year-round by also reading our tips for reducing utility bills in the summer.

Timothy Moore is a market research editor and freelance writer covering topics on personal finance, careers, education, pet care and automotive. He has worked in the field since 2012 and has been featured on sites like The Penny Hoarder, Debt.com, Ladders, Glassdoor and The News Wheel.

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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Marsai Martin Enters the Big Time in ‘Little’ Trailer; Here’s Everything We Know

Marsai Martin Enters the Big Time in ‘Little’ Trailer; Here’s Everything We Know

You’ve seen Big; now it’s time for Little, a comedy about a wealthy tech company executive who is magically turned back into a kid. That’s not the most amazing story involved with the movie, either: Little is based on an idea pitched by its young star, Marsai Martin, who also become one of the youngest Hollywood producers ever with this project at just 13 years old.

Universal Pictures has just released the first trailer for Little, which looks like a hoot and offers…

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Beyoncé Planning To Shop At Target ‘More Often’ After Unexpected Appearance There – Here’s Why!

Fans were surprised to see none other than Beyonce being relatable by shopping at Target. However, one source tells HollywoodLife that she is not planning her affordable shopping spree to be a one-time thing.

According to the insider, Bey has not only been to the department store before, she is totally willing to repeat the experience in the future too!

‘She likes doing what everyone finds regular because she wants to do regular things herself from time to time. It can’t always be glitz and glamour,’ the source went on to explain for the news outlet.

Apparently, going to places like Target means something special for the superstar.

‘It makes Beyoncé feel normal doing normal things like shopping at Target. She actually would love to do more of it. She misses regular life sometimes and it keeps her grounded. To be connected to real life is something that Beyoncé cherishes so chances are we will see her out and about again just living her life.’

So who knows? Maybe next time you’re out shopping, you might just run into Queen Bey!

When she appeared at that particular Target on Monday, Beyonce was not alone!

Her firstborn, daughter Blue Ivy was with her as well, and that makes sense since previous insider reports have claimed she wants to raise her young ones in an as normal as possible environment as well.

Still, people were shocked to meet the artist at Target, and even fellow celebs reacted to it, Chrissy Teigen having a very funny comment on the whole thing.

‘Beyonce you are so silly, I can just send you my new knives!!’ she jokingly tweeted after the news spread.

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‘Venom’ Sequel Officially in the Works; Here’s Everything We Know

‘Venom’ Sequel Officially in the Works; Here’s Everything We Know

Sony has a new comic book movie franchise, and the studio didn’t even need Spider-Man to make it happen – not on screen, anyway. Venom, a Marvel Comics character associated with Spidey, made his solo screen debut this past fall, and the movie has gone on to gross more than $ 850 million worldwide. Despite critics not liking it (28% on Rotten Tomatoes), moviegoers have been loving Venom and want more.

According to Variety, Sony is giving the fans what they desire by putting Venom 2 into…

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I bought my dad a Juul e-cigarette to see if he’d give up his Marlboros. Here’s what happened

My dad has smoked for decades, so I gave him a Juul e-cigarette to see whether this would help him finally give up cigarettes.
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From Poverty to Owning an Accounting Firm: Here’s How She Did It

In 2014, I graduated from college and spent 15 months traveling the world. I’d often stop traveling for a few months to work side jobs and earn enough to travel more. Whenever possible, these jobs were in theater, my dream career.

I came home to get married, but my husband and I promptly moved again so he could start pursuing his Ph.D. Unfortunately, we moved to a rural state without enough paying theaters to keep me employed full time.

Instead, I worked 60 to 80 hours per week at whatever jobs I could find. I was hospitality staff at a golf club. I assisted a wedding planner. I was an office manager. I worked summer camps. I worked after-school programs. I tutored. I continued to take whatever theater jobs came my way.

Undeterred, I decided take my art part-time and began looking for a second career. I scored zero interviews in almost a year of job searching.

By 2016, I was depressed, worn out and lucky to make $ 300 a week. I was slowly realizing a hard truth: I knew nothing about money. I felt if I could figure that out, then life would get better.

That’s when I started reading The Penny Hoarder and learned about work-from-home opportunities like Ben Robinson’s Bookkeeper Business Launch program.

Not only did I complete Ben’s program, but by 2017, I owned a global accounting firm for creative entrepreneurs. I attended business conferences with the likes of Kyle Taylor, founder of The Penny Hoarder, who hugged me when I told him how his website changed my life.

While learning about money and specialized bookkeeping helped start my business, there are few key personal realizations that actually made it grow.

Money Doesn’t Have to Trap You

I’m not alone in desiring nontraditional employment. The rise of the gig economy shows that many are choosing to work outside the classic 9-to-5 schedule. If done well, the opportunities to grow your income are staggering.

Yet so many entrepreneurs fail. Many side hustles never pay off. How did I avoid this?

Well, I almost didn’t.  

I finished Ben’s bookkeeping program in 2016. By the time I shared a celebratory hug with Kyle in 2017, I had clients all over the world, and I wasn’t just doing bookkeeping anymore. My team also offered tax services, financial strategy and consulting.

But for the first eight months I was “in business,” I didn’t have a single client. All that incredible growth was crammed into four whirlwind months.

What changed in month eight?

When I “quit” theater to pursue bookkeeping, I thought I needed a certain type of client to support myself. There was clearly no money in art, so I had to pursue lawyers, dentists and other traditional business owners to make a living.

Except I didn’t fit in very well with traditional business. Of course, they didn’t hire me!

The people I actually wanted to help were people like me — creatives who owned a business because they simply loved the work. My new financial skills, and past theatrical experience helped these people the most.

Ironically, I had trapped myself in a dead-end job of my own creation. I thought the money was best in one area, so that’s where I tried to work.

Fortunately, no one hired me, and I was forced to examine my values — who I wanted to help, and why I was the right person to help them. Once I aligned my work to that purpose, I enjoyed it more and I made more money.

If you’re going to start a business, remember you can’t sell something you don’t love.

Sometimes We Need to Borrow Willpower

Katherina Pomerantz enjoying some time on her tire swing.

Although my story has a happy ending, those eight clientless months were unbelievably hard.

My husband and I spent the first year of our marriage below the poverty threshold. Even working 80 hours per week, we lived on less than half the average American salary.

We were already exhausted and stressed, and I thought it was a good idea to invest some of our scant, precious dollars into building a business. Then, I quit my jobs because I didn’t have enough time to grow that business.

And I didn’t have a single client.

I’d like to claim that I’m brave, but the truth is, I borrowed strength from the people around me. I had no idea if I would be successful, but spending time with positive people always gave me little bursts of productivity. So I was very selective about spending time with certain friends during those hard months.

I also did everything possible to be around other successful business owners.  I went to conferences. I bought into expensive masterminds. My intention was never to make sales but rather to lean on the experience and mindset of successful people while I didn’t have very much of my own.

And it worked! Not only did I build an incredible support network of people who understood what I was going through, but these business friends also became my first referral partners. They are the reason I have clients all over the world, and they are the reason my income has never stopped growing.

Good Financial Habits Will Save You

If you read that I bought into expensive masterminds and thought I was spending recklessly, think again. The difficulties in my young adulthood taught me to be frugal, and I was very intentional about what I invested in my business.

So much so that I continued to shrink our debt. I never missed a bill. I budgeted like crazy, and I prioritized our emergency fund.

That’s the only reason we survived eight clientless months. I wasn’t digging myself further into a financial hole, but rather, I continued to solidify my family’s financial foundation, even if it was only a few dollars at a time.

These good habits allowed me to feel like an overnight success. When the money started rolling in, I had already cleaned up many of our financial messes. I had resources like The Penny Hoarder teaching me good habits, and I could focus solely on growing my business.

Quality of Life Matters

Portrait of Pomerantz

With “success” came a whole new slew of challenges. There is a lot of pressure on businesses to perpetually grow. In the business world, the message is “more clients, more money, more markets, more opportunity, more everything”.

Added to this pressure were the bad habits I developed in my early adulthood. Because I was used to a 60-plus-hours-a-week schedule, I worked too hard and suffered periods of intense burnout. I doubled, and then tripled, my salary. But my fears of becoming poor again meant the pressure for more money never went away.

I needed to learn when I had enough. I needed to separate my success from a dollar amount.

And in order to do that, I needed to measure my quality of life: Where did I want to live? What did I enjoy doing? How did I want to fill my time — morning, noon, night and on the weekends? How much income would this life require?

These lifestyle goals are much more attainable and much more fulfilling, than any income goal I’ve ever set. Obtaining them makes me feel powerful and successful. In turn, I am a better business owner — even if I’m not obsessed with “growth.”

It is perhaps strange to attribute so much of my success to a lifestyle, but that’s what it took. I needed to be honest about the kind of work I loved doing. I needed friends who could help me experience the life I wanted. And I needed to shape my habits, and mindset, to fit my dream life.

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

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Here’s what went wrong with McDonald’s in Iceland

There are very few places where you won't find a McDonald's. Here's one of them.
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Here’s how the government shutdown affects health care

Funding for "big-ticket" health programs is already in place.
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Tim Cook blamed China for Apple weakness: Here’s what he said about the country in 2018

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook blamed an economic slowdown in China, and the Sino-U.S. trade war, for the downgrade of its revenue forecast, but he was positive about the region throughout 2018.
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A Job Shouldn’t Rule Your Life. Here’s How to Find Fulfillment Outside Work

Throughout history, our sources of purpose have shifted. First, our purpose was simply to survive. Then we built families and embraced religion. But now, we increasingly look to our jobs as a source of meaning.

And who could blame us? Our society idolizes people like Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs, who romanticize work and tell us to do what we love. But according to research from the Kaiser Family Foundation, that’s led us to a point where Americans are highly isolated and unhappy.

Looking to our jobs for purpose is risky business, says Jeremy Smith, an expert on purpose and an editor for the University of California, Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center magazine.

“The problem with finding a sense of purpose in a job is that you can get fired,” Smith says. “It’s really that simple. Most employment is conditional.”

Despite this, members of Generation Y (aka millennials) — now the largest generation in the workforce — look to their jobs for meaning at a higher rate than previous generations, according to Gallup research.

The lines between work and life are getting blurred, explains Nate Dvorak, a researcher for Gallup and an expert on well-being. Millennials increasingly want to work for a company that invests in them as employees and as people, in a holistic sense.

But in most cases, they’re not finding it.

In that context, it’s easy to see the disconnect, or as Smith likes to call it, the “crisis of purpose.”

Aaron Castillo, a content strategist for a marketing company in Florida, exemplifies most of Gallup’s findings to a T. Like most of Gen Y, he struggles to find a sense of purpose in his day job. Most days, he does the number-crunching side of marketing, but he much prefers creative work, especially videography and photography. Those opportunities are few and far between.

How to Find Your Purpose Outside Your Job

An important part of finding a sense of purpose is to diversify your sources. Then, your purpose isn’t attached too heavily on any one thing, especially not a job that is at the whims of the economy or a tyrannical boss.

Dvorak says that jobs are indeed important, but there are several other factors to overall well-being to consider. He warns against putting too much emphasis on one element.

“Well-being is more about life evaluation,” he says. “Not just happiness. Not just satisfaction.”

Gallup defines well-being using these five main factors:

  • Purpose (Enjoying what you do every day. Jobs can be a big part of this one.)
  • Social (Having supportive and loving relationships.)
  • Financial (Managing your money so you can live a less stressful life.)
  • Community (Feeling safe and having pride in where you live.)
  • Physical (Being healthy and energetic enough to do what you want.)

As you can see, the majority of well-being has little to do with your day job.

Smith notes that we can also tap into “human capacities” to live more meaningful lives — capacities such as social connection, awe, gratitude, compassion, forgiveness, mindfulness and empathy.  

With both Gallup and the Greater Good Science Center research on the aspects on well-being in mind, there are plenty of practical ways to find a sense of meaning outside the office. Here are a few.

Cultivate Meaningful Relationships

Young adults hang out at a bar

Social well-being is something Americans struggle with. While we have hundreds, if not thousands, of friends on social media, we lack genuine, deep connections with one another.

“By many, many measures,” Smith says, “Americans are more isolated than they have been in the past.”

And he isn’t referring to romantic relationships. This spans the gamut. Friendships, families and partnerships are all areas we need to actively cultivate a more meaningful connection.

Dvorak suggests that the lack of connection could be because millennials are focusing too much on their careers and not enough on friends and family.

“Social well-being is not about a number of friends you have. It’s about the quality of friends you have,” he says.

So the next time you’re socializing, think twice about immediately responding when your phone buzzes. I promise, the notification will be there later.

Volunteer for a Cause You Like

Volunteering is a great way to add fulfillment to your life, and it certainly develops human capacities like compassion and empathy. It also allows you to develop new skills and try new things that have nothing to do with your professional life.

In the Greater Good Science Center’s Greater Good magazine, Smith writes that altruism is one such way to have a greater sense of purpose.

When Castillo reached the point where his job didn’t feel fulfilling, he turned to a local volunteer organization that focused on keeping the Tampa Bay community clean, a cause more personal than professional. Cleaning up beaches helped him find a greater sense of community. And suddenly his world was a little bigger. The boring days at work didn’t mean so much.

But sometimes it’s hard to find time to volunteer.

To combat your scheduling woes, Dvorak  proposes “double dipping,” i.e. combining multiple aspects of well-being into one activity. So don’t just volunteer alone. Rally your friends and family to your local food pantry or run a 5K race that raises money for your favorite charity.

Join a Professional Group

Smith makes a clear distinction between your job and your work. Jobs are temporary, he says. Even if you’re lucky enough to have the same one for 40 years, it’s still temporary. But your work is a greater cause.

So if you aren’t happy with your current job, but you do enjoy the sense of work or the field that you’re in, professional groups can be fulfilling on multiple levels.

A nonprofit, professional advertising organization for Gen Y called Ad 2 Tampa Bay helps Castillo balance out those number-crunching days at his marketing job. It allows him to pursue the creative side of advertising, and it sharpened his videography and photography skills.

He was able to bring that fresh set of skills back to his day job and incorporate more creativity at work.

There’s also the hugely important social aspect of professional organizations.

“One of the primary reason for me joining Ad 2 in the first place was because I didn’t know anyone in the field,” Castillo says. “It seemed like a good way to get out of my comfort zone and meet new people and experience new things.”

Start a New Hobby or Nurture a Passion Project

Depending on which hobby or project you choose, you can support several aspects of well-being simultaneously. Hobbies like rock climbing or CrossFit support physical and social well-being for sure, but Smith highly recommends reading and writing.

He notes that social isolation can lead to a lack of meaning, but these solitary activities are big exceptions. They actually increase the human capacities mentioned above.

For example, reading can foster insight and empathy by introducing you to someone you would have never met otherwise. And writing, especially about your own experiences and life, can help you find a sense of meaning.

“Try turning [your life] into a story with a beginning, a middle and an end,” Smith says. “That can allow you to project your story out into the future.”

Reframe Your Mindset About Your Job

A sign in New York City reads:

If you’re like me, you may put a little too much emphasis on the work category of your overall well-being. Whether you love or hate your job, it’s easy to get caught up in it and have the issues of the day or month or year follow you home.

I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum. A bad work environment when I lived in South Korea would have tainted my whole perception of the country if I had let it. On the other hand, there have been instances where I get so amped about a project that I forget to eat dinner. By the time I put my laptop down, it’s bedtime.

Neither example is a good place to be consistently.

To redistribute some of the importance that you place on your job into other areas like physical or social well-being, you can reframe how you view it.

“I think the important thing is not what your external circumstances are, but how you feel about those circumstances,” Smith says, noting that it’s entirely possible to be in prison and have a strong sense of purpose. “As long as you have enough to eat and a roof over your head, there’s hope.”

Similar to writing about your life story, this mindset can help bring a bigger perspective to your life.

“Why do we have jobs? We have jobs so that we can make money and pay the rent and eat,” Smith says. “Unhitch… your self-esteem from your job.”

In other words, view your job as a paycheck that allows you to enjoy the other aspects of your life, not as a main source of fulfillment itself.

Practice Mindfulness

A woman meditates in her bedroom

Research shows that mindfulness has several benefits. Sometimes those benefits are exaggerated. But we do know that when done properly, mindfulness can help increase your attention, improve your mental health and positively affect your relationships, among several other things.

But Smith warns against “self-destructive” perceptions of mindfulness. For example, some people think that isolating yourself on top of a mountain is a good way to reach enlightenment. But that could actually have negative effects (beyond the dangers of, you know, slipping and falling to certain death).

“Even monks who take a vow of silence for decades have a connection to a monastery,” he says. “That path to enlightenment is oftentimes connected to a larger religious organization.”

As you incorporate some (or none) of these suggestions, it’s important to keep in mind that this list is in no way definitive. These are merely examples of activities to increase your chances of overall well-being.

So get creative and come up with activities of your own that fit your schedule.

“There’s not a certain amount of boxes to check on your road to purpose. People can take many different paths,” Smith says. “The important thing is you’re really listening to your life… listening and responding to it.”

Adam Hardy is an editorial assistant 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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Here’s What’s New on Netflix in January 2019 — And What’s Leaving

Netflix is heading into the new year with lots of new TV, movies and original shows set to join the streaming service in January.

For those looking to start 2019 on a mission of decluttering, organizational expert Marie Kondo is bringing her talents to a new original series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Classic favorites, including the Indiana Jones series, Pan’s Labyrinth, Pulp Fiction, Swingers and The Addams Family will all be on Netflix starting January 1. And fans of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt can say goodbye to Kimmy, Titus, Lillian and Jacqueline a final time when the show returns for the second half of its last season.

A collection of titles are also leaving Netflix in the new year, leaving about a month to catch up on movies like The Godfather, The Shining and The Princess Diaries.

See what else will be streaming on—and leaving—Netflix in January.

Here’s are the TV shows, movies and originals coming to Netflix in January 2019.

January 1

A Series of Unfortunate Events: Season 3

Across the Universe

Babel

Black Hawk Down

City of God

COMEDIANS of the world

Definitely, Maybe

Godzilla

Happy Feet

Hell or High Water

I Know What You Did Last Summer

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

It Takes Two

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back

Jersey Boys

Mona Lisa Smile

Mr. Bean’s Holiday

Pan’s Labyrinth

Pinky Malinky

Pulp Fiction

Swingers

Tears of the Sun

The Addams Family

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

The Dark Knight

The Departed

The Mummy

The Mummy Returns

The Strangers

Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

Watchmen

xXx

XXX: State of the Union

January 2

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

January 4

And Breathe Normally

Call My Agent!: Season 3

El Potro: Unstoppable

Lionheart

January 9

GODZILLA The Planet Eater

Solo: A Star Wars Story

January 10

When Heroes Fly

January 11

Friends from College: Season 2

ReMastered: Massacre at the Stadium

Sex Education

Solo

The Last Laugh

January 15

Revenger

Sebastian Maniscalco: Stay Hungry

January 16

American Gangster

January 17

American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace

January 18

Carmen Sandiego

Close

FYRE: The Greatest Party That Never Happened

GIRL

Grace and Frankie: Season 5

IO

Soni

The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes: Season 2 Part B

Trigger Warning with Killer Mike

Trolls: The Beat Goes On!: Season 5

January 21

Justice

January 24

Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes

Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation

January 25

Animas

Black Earth Rising

Club de Cuervos: Season 4

Kingdom

Medici: The Magnificent

Polar

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Season 4 Part 2

January 27

Z Nation: Season 5

January 29

Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias: One Show Fits All

Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man and the Wasp

January 30

Disney•Pixar’s The Incredibles 2

TBD

Marvel’s The Punisher: Season 2

Here’s what’s leaving Netflix in January 2019.

January 1

Beethoven’s Christmas Adventure

Blade

Blade II

Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Catwoman

Face/Off

Finding Neverland

Friday Night Lights

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

I Am Ali

Interview with the Vampire

Into the Wild

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Kung Fu Panda

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: The Fifteenth Year

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: The Seventeenth Year

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: The Sixteenth Year

Like Water for Chocolate

Love Actually

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

Marie Antoinette

Meet the Fockers

Meet the Parents

Million Dollar Baby

Monsters vs. Aliens

Mortal Kombat

Rent

Sharknado

Sharknado 2: The Second One

Sharknado 3

Sharknado 5

Sharknado: The 4th Awakens

The 6th Day

The Godfather

The Godfather: Part II

The Godfather: Part III

The Green Mile

The Iron Giant

The Princess Diaries

The Queen of the Damned

The Reaping

The Shining

January 4

Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World

January 13

It Follows

January 14

Armageddon

January 18

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

January 19

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring


Entertainment – TIME

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Here’s how to create that collage of your top nine Instagram posts from 2018

Instagram top 9

If you’ve haven’t seen this in your Instagram feed already, just wait. It’s coming. The arrival of a new year means so many things. Turning a page on the calendar, the compilation of resolutions for the year ahead, endless lists about the “best of” this or that from 2018 — and tons of collages. Specifically, those perennial collages of nine Instagram posts that users of the Facebook-owned service create and share around this time each year. The collages represent the best (i.e., most-liked) nine images a user posted on Insta over the prior year, and this is how to create one for yourself, assuming you don’t already know how.

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Here’s how to create that collage of your top nine Instagram posts from 2018 originally appeared on BGR.com on Mon, 31 Dec 2018 at 22:22:27 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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Alone for the Holidays? Here’s How to Keep Yourself Sane

Source: Vladimir Vladimirov / Getty

For some, the holidays are the best time of the year. It means spending quality time with friends and family, holiday parties and gifts galore. For others, the holidays can be less than cheerful and seem to have a special way of making you feel awful if you’re spending the season alone.

Maybe you’re getting over a recent break up or the loss of a loved one. Maybe you’ve moved away for work or school and can’t afford to make it home in time for the holidays. Whatever the scenario, let’s be honest: being alone over the holidays sucks…and the fact that the entire world is talking about it definitely doesn’t make being alone feel any better.

If you’re one of those feeling a bit lonely this season, you’ll be surprised to know that you’re actually not alone as the holidays can be one of the loneliest times of the year. In an effort to keep your spirits up in spite of being alone, we’ve complied a few coping mechanisms to help you get through the last few days of the year. Here’s a few ways to stay sane if you’re alone during the holidays:

Create Your Own Tradition

Starting your own tradition is a great way to distract yourself from being alone over the holidays. If you have other friends, coworkers or neighbors who are also spending the holidays alone, it might be a great opportunity to start your own “Friendsgiving” or “Christmas Brunch” where you can bond over great food, great drinks and great conversation.

If you’re not up for the group activity, you can start a solo tradition too. Maybe go to the movies on Christmas, or take yourself ice skating, or treat yourself to a nice fancy dinner. If you adapt a tradition you love, you might find yourself actually looking forward to spending the holidays to disconnect from the world and reconnect with yourself.

Helping Others

Volunteering and helping others is a sure way to lift your spirits when you’re feeling down. Just knowing you’ve made a difference in someone’s life by giving back will help bring a smile to your face and remind you of how fortunate you truly are.

You can give back in many ways over the holidays by collecting toys and warm clothing for those less fortunate, delivering meals to the elderly, spending time at a nursing home or even donating to your favorite charity. Bringing joy to someone else is a beautiful way to experience joy yourself.

Set Realistic Expectations

You might feel lonely during this time of year simply due to the fact that society has placed such huge expectations on what it means to celebrate the holidays. Everywhere you turn, there are romantic holiday movies playing, family Christmas portraits being hung and social media posts giving off false perceptions that everyone is living their most picture-perfect lives.

Not having a significant other or close family might only seem weird during the time when we’re “supposed” to be going to parties, exchanging gifts and spending time with those we love. Combat those feelings by re-thinking your expectations and realize that nobody’s life truly measures up to the Hallmark Channel movies you’ve been binge watching all weekend. Instead, shift your focus to the great things you do have in life and realize that your holiday is perfectly fine just the way it is.

Remember What You’re Grateful For

Expressing gratitude might seem like something simple, but it actually has many benefits that’ll help bring you out of your holiday slump. It’s hard to focus on being thankful and feeling lonely at the same time. For example, if you’re feeling down due to the lack of love in your life, be thankful for the love that you do have whether it be from friends, family or even your pets.

Keeping a gratitude journal is also a great exercise you can try to get you in the habit of recording everything you value in life. It’s even more rewarding to read through your list of grateful moments the next time you’re feeling down.

Prepare Yourself for The Coming Year

There’s no better pick me up than reflecting on everything you’ve accomplished this year and figuring out your plan for how you’ll level up even more next year. Rather than sitting around feeling lonely, you can spend the holidays writing down your dreams and goals for the coming year and mapping out a plan on how to achieve them.

You can try creating a vision board, reading self-help books, writing motivational notes to yourself or simply writing down your list of goals using your notes app. No matter your tactic, focusing on how great the coming year can be will definitely lift your spirits and help take your mind off of feeling alone!

 

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Here’s a map of all 80 stores that Sears and Kmart are shuttering in March

Sears is expected to close another round of stores early next year, as the bankrupt department store chain now tries to stay afloat via a $ 4.4 billion bid from its chairman, Eddie Lampert.
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Here’s Where This Financial Planner Keeps Her Money (Hint: Not Big Banks)

After becoming a financial planner last year, Denisa Petricko took a closer look at her own finances.

A lump of her money sat quietly at Wells Fargo.

With a more informed eye, the 40-year-old resident, whose primary gig is as a real estate agent, started investigating what the bank did with her money.

“After looking at the breakdowns of how my money was being handled by a larger bank, I realized that I had large sums just sitting in an account accumulating interest — but not for me,” she says in an email. “It was for the banks themselves.”

Petricko met with her bank’s financial consultants to see if there was anything out there that’d help her out — earn her some interest.

The meetings led nowhere.

Then, in the summer of 2017, as she clicked through Elephant Journal, an online yoga-centric magazine (she’s also a certified yoga instructor — holy side gigs!), she stumbled upon an article about the Aspiration Account.

When she read the online checking account would collect up to 1% in interest — for her to keep — she was sold.

Why This Financial Planner Banks With Aspiration

using debit card in the city

Although the initial sell for Petricko was the interest rate, she’s come to love many other parts of Aspiration and her account, including:

  • As we mentioned in a previous Aspiration review, Aspiration is a do-good company, focusing on what’s best for not only you, but also the planet. You can even track the impact of your spending based on the retailers you frequent.
  • It allows you to choose what you pay each month — even if that’s $ 0. Additionally, there are no sneaky fees. There’s no minimum balance and no minimum monthly deposit. Plus, you can open an account with just $ 10.
  • You can travel (which Petricko does frequently for both business and pleasure) without facing insane ATM fees. In fact, ATM fees across the world are 100% refundable. Aspiration automatically reimburses you each month.
  • Aspiration has an easy-to-use app and website, making it accessible everywhere there’s cell phone or internet service.
  • It also offers investment options, including its Redwood Fund and Flagship IRA accounts — all of which Petricko has in one convenient spot.

It’s been more than a year since this financial planner trusted Aspiration with her money, and she says she has no regrets; she’s yet to have a negative experience.

In fact, Petricko would go as far as to call Aspiration’s online-only model “banking of the future.”

“The big banks are proving to be crooked,” she says. “…Aspiration gave me new hope in banking.”

With her old bank, she was lucky to earn 8 cents a month on a $ 10,000 balance. That’s because, Petricko explains, the bank was earning interest interest for themselves — from her money.

Now, Aspiration’s high-yield account slides $ 5 to $ 10 into her account each month, thanks to those interest rates.

Petricko wholeheartedly recommends Aspiration to her clients, her friends and her family.

If you’re interested in learning more about the online-only bank account, head over to Aspiration.

We may receive compensation from Aspiration for promoting the company, but we weren’t paid for this specific review. All reporting is our own.

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She too banks with Aspiration and broke down why she loves it (as well as a few downsides).

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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Watch First, Totally Unnerving ‘Us’ Trailer; Here’s Everything We Know

Watch First, Totally Unnerving 'Us' Trailer; Here's Everything We Know

 

Jordan Peele's "social horror" thriller Get Out was an unexpected success, both with audiences and critics. Soon after the film was nominated for three Academy Awards — Peele himself ended up winning an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay — Peele announced he was writing his next film and planned to direct it for Universal Pictures.

Now the first trailer has been released and it looks totally unnerving. Here's everything we know about the thriller; watch the…

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Facebook, Snapchat and TikTok have a massive underage problem — here’s why it matters

The teen suicide rate is on the rise, and some researchers are linking the rise in depression to social media use.
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Amazon Might Owe You a Free Month of Prime. Here’s How to Find out

Ah, the perks of Amazon Prime.

We love free two-day shipping, free same-day shipping, free movies, free music and even free photo storage (for when your phone won’t stop letting you know your storage is full).

Yes, those are some solid benefits, but it will cost ya — about $ 119 a year.

Wanna know our secret, though?

You can get compensation, in some cases a free month of Amazon Prime, if one of your guaranteed shipments arrives late.

Find out If Amazon Owes You

You might’ve heard of Paribus.

The free tool tracks your online purchases from more than 25 merchants. When it detects a price drop, it’ll work with the retailer’s price-match policy to help get you the difference. When it detects an Amazon guaranteed shipment is late? It’ll work with Amazon to compensate you.

But what if you got free shipping as a Prime member? We’ve spoken with several shoppers who’ve gotten a free month of Prime as compensation.

Here’s how to make sure you get compensated for late shipments:

  • Sign up with Paribus. All you need is your email address.
  • Let Paribus do its thing, passively tracking your orders.
  • If it detects a late guaranteed shipment, it’ll work with Amazon to get you compensated.

Happy free shipping, Amazon Prime members!

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

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s managed to ease back on her Prime orders… it was a little out of hand there for a while.

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

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Here’s who the partial government shutdown affects

More than 420,000 federal employees across numerous agencies could continue to work without receiving their paychecks, and hundreds of thousands more could be furloughed, according to Senate Democrats' projections.
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Here’s Why Black Investors Should Consider Investing in Commercial Real Estate

Investing in commercial real estate can be confusing to new investorsdizzying numbers and jargon can make investors wary. However, investing in commercial real estate is actually easier than you think—and the perks are great to boot. Sound income potential, solid stability, and downside protection against market volatility are some of those perks.

Investing in Commercial Real Estate Doesn’t Require You to Be an Expert

Investing in real estate doesn’t demand you be an expert in real estate This is where sponsors come in. And no, a sponsor isn’t an advertiser. A sponsor is an asset operator who syndicates the funds and makes the deal happen.The sponsor handles anything from funding to managing the investment. They manage the asset. You collect the income.

 

Commercial Real Estate is a Long-Term Investment

Another upside to investing in commercial real estate is its long-term focus. It protects your downside and is engineered to collect big returns over time. On the flip side, if you’re just looking to make quick buck, real estate might not be the right investment space for you. Plus your money’s locked up for a pre-set contractual period — you can’t just cash out anytime you want.

Crowdfunding Allows Everyday Folks to Own Commercial Property for Under $ 1000

The Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, signed in 2012, allows everyday investors to own a piece of assets such as the World Trade Center through real estate crowdfunding. There are tons of online marketplaces that give you access to syndicated deals. And if you’re not into that? Well, there’s always REITs.

A version of this story appeared on WealthLAB.

The post Here’s Why Black Investors Should Consider Investing in Commercial Real Estate appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Want to Quit Your Job? Here’s What You’d Have to Do to Make $73,480/Year

Something’s bubbling up inside you. No, it’s not from your fifth cup of coffee. It’s anger, frustration or maybe just extreme boredom.

You’re dying to do something else, to escape the grips of management, to pursue your passion.

But you also need an income.

Deciding to quit your job is no willy-nilly decision, but it’s important to know you have options. There are ways out.

Here’s What You Could Do to Make $ 75,988/Year

We’ve talked to dozens of people who’ve quit their jobs to pursue their passions, set their own schedules and carve out a lifestyle they’ve always dreamed of.

No, it’s not always easy (usually it’s not), but there are ways to replace your salary.

To show you it’s possible, here are five ways real people have earned substantial money through side gigs.

If you were to do them all, you could potentially bank an extra $ 75,988 a year.

1. Watch Videos Online for an Extra $ 2,700/Year

It might sound too good to be true, but InboxDollars will actually pay you to watch videos. We’re talkin’ movie previews, celebrity gossip, cooking tutorials and brief news segments.

We interviewed Sarah Houston, a college student who easily made an extra $ 600 through the site in about three years — averaging $ 200 a year. If you really dedicate yourself, though, InboxDollars says you can make up to $ 225 a month, or $ 2,700 a year, watching these segments.

I mean, no, they’re not as enthralling as the latest Netflix hit, but earning money through InboxDollars is simple and mindless enough!

2. List Your Backyard Tent for an Extra $ 8,280/Year

tent in the backyard

Have a spare room? Or even a backyard tent? Try to earn some money by listing it on Airbnb.

Yep! We found a guy who earned $ 46 a night listing a backyard tent on Airbnb. Renting it out for half the month for a full year could earn him $ 8,280.

Get started with some of these basic tips:

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

Use the Airbnb calculator to find out how much you could potentially make by listing your spare room, couch or that backyard tent.

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

3. Take the Dogs out for a Walk for an Extra $ 12,000/Year

man walking dog in the city

If you love hanging out with dogs, Rover might be your perfect gig.

The online network connects dog walkers and sitters to local dog owners through its 4.9-star-rated app, so you don’t have to staple flyers on every utility pole across town.

Rover says sitters can earn as much as $ 1,000 a month. One stay-at-home mom wrote about how she makes $ 6,000 just working when she wants and is available.

Rover dog-sitter requirements vary by location. In general, you must:

  • Be 18 years or older.
  • Pass a background check.
  • Have access to the Rover app (iOS or Android).

Here’s how it works: You’ll create an online sitter profile where you’ll answer questions about your experience with puppers and your schedule availability.

You can choose to offer a variety of services, including dog walking, overnight boarding at your home or theirs, and daycare. Boarding is the app’s most popular service, so offering it can get you more gigs. You set your own rates. (Rover keeps a small percentage as a service fee.)

Dog owners will reach out to you. Accept which gigs you want, then start snugglin’ pups. As soon as you complete a service, you’ll be paid within two days.

4. Create Your Own Online Business for an Extra $ 50,000/Year

Do you have a passion? Whether it’s crunching numbers, lines of code, writing or designing, you can strike up an online business and work for yourself — when you want and from where you want.

Meet Daniel Honan, a former military officer who decided to start his own bookkeeping business. He took an online course, Bookkeeper Business Launch, which walked him through the entire start-up process.

When we interviewed Honan, he was on track to make $ 50,000 in his first year of business.

This isn’t unheard of in other industries either. Jamie Cattanach is another great example. She quit her full-time job as a writer and started freelancing full time. In her first year of business, she raked in $ 50,000 — that was more than her full-time salary.

5. Get Cash Back on Your Purchases for an Extra $ 500/Year

Kathleen Garvin, outreach strategist and editor at TPH, checks out Paribus on her phone. By using Paribus, she's received about in refunds.

All right, so there’s no guarantee you’re going to make money with this free tool, but it’s worth a try, especially if you stock up on items online.

That’s what single mom Aimee B. does. In the past two years, she’s recouped $ 1,000 while shopping online.

Her secret weapon 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.

“My time is worth a lot,” Aimee says. “An hour of my time saved is absolutely worth its weight in gold.”

Or, at least, $ 1,000 back in her bank account.

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

Bonus: Hit the $ 10,000 Jackpot

It’s everyone’s dream to hit the lottery, right? Never work a day in your life again.

We’re not going to suggest you go out and invest in lottery tickets. Instead, play free scratch-off tickets through 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.

And, yes, you can actually win money. We interviewed Oniel Campbell, a single dad who won $ 5,000 through Lucktastic, which he planned to use toward a down payment on a home.

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.

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.

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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Here’s how Powerball, Mega Millions jackpot winners fare under new tax law

Although the top federal tax rate was reduced by the new tax law that took effect in 2018, lottery winners could end up owing more to the IRS.
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Here’s what research shows about immigration’s impact on an economy

The economics of immigration is a complicated topic, with significant political disagreement about to what extent it affects a country's growth and finances.
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First ‘Hellboy’ Trailer Arrives Just in Time; Here’s Everything We Know

First ‘Hellboy’ Trailer Arrives Just in Time; Here’s Everything We Know

There’s a new Hellboy on the block. Summit Entertainment’s reboot of the comic book movie franchise promises to be different style-wise than Guillermo del Toro’s 2004 take, but we can still anticipate a similar mix of brawn and banter from the titular demon-spawn character.

Darker is the supposed direction of this Hellboy, though that doesn’t show so much in the first trailer. David Harbour’s version of the big, red not-a-monster antihero is humorous, and the…

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Victoria Beckham Lost $13 Million This Year. Here’s How She’ll Bounce Back.

Photo Illustration by Kelly Caminero/The Daily Beast

Victoria Beckham’s current ready-to-wear collection is full of girl power. Not the skin-tight, leopard-print, Scrunchie-d girl power that reigned during her spicy youth, but the clean, straight lines of Pantsuit Nation.

While the former Posh may be doin’ it for herself, her luxury fashion label could use some help. On Monday, it was reported that Beckham’s eponymous line of clothing, accessories, and eyewear lost $ 12.9 million in 2018. (Representatives for the brand did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.)

The news comes after the line celebrated a decade in the industry, where Beckham has long been a fashion darling. Her label now boasts two brick-and-mortar stores, and is sold in 400 stockists in 50 countries. Top-tier department stores such as Neiman Marcus, Barney, and Moda Operandi carry VB.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Here’s our first look at Will Smith as the Genie from Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ remake

Aladdin 2019 First Trailer

We’ve known for a few weeks now that Disney is turning yet another of its classic animated features into a live-action film. Launching next May, Aladdin will join the likes of Beauty and the Beast, Dumbo, and The Lion King. But Disney has so far only released a teaser trailer for the film, and until now we had no idea how Will Smith will look as the Genie. However, the first Aladdin footage and still photos are now out, and Smith’s Genie is finally out of the bottle.

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Here’s our first look at Will Smith as the Genie from Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ remake originally appeared on BGR.com on Wed, 19 Dec 2018 at 14:02:12 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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85 Million Americans Could Have Credit Report Errors. Here’s How to Find the Mistakes

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 four 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.”

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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Yes, you can wear sneakers to your holiday party — here’s how

Body-conscious minidresses and sky-high heels have long been the holiday party go-to uniform, but this season, the trend tides have turned — suffering for style is so passé. Sparkly pieces with a sporty twist allow you to stay comfy without sacrificing festive glamour: Consider layering a cozy turtleneck under a glittery sheath or jazzing up sweats…
Fashion News, Photos, and Video | New York Post

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Here’s how Trump hobbled Obamacare and drove enrollment down this year

While President Donald Trump didn't repeal and replace former President Barack Obama's signature health-care law, more commonly known as Obamacare, he was able to dismantle key parts of it that health policy researchers are blaming for a drop.
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Scott Derrickson to Direct ‘Doctor Strange’ Sequel; Here’s Everything We Know

Scott Derrickson to Direct ‘Doctor Strange’ Sequel; Here’s Everything We Know

There was a time when the Marvel Cinematic Universe was publicly planned out years in advance, but currently, we still don’t know many confirmed titles, let alone their release dates for anything post-Avengers: Endgame next May.

There’s Spider-Man: Far From Home in July for sure, and then what? At some point we expect to see Black Panther 2, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Black Widow and Eternals. Now comes word that Doctor Strange 2 is also on the way.

At the moment, the…

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This School Counselor Paid Off $42K of Debt on a $36K Salary. Here’s How

When Val Breit graduated from college in January 2012, she picked up her diploma and a bill for $ 42,000 in student loans.

Val had been saving for her wedding, but now out of school, she felt the weight of her student loans more heavily than before.

As she looked at her repayment options, she saw that if she stuck to the plan she was automatically assigned to, she’d pay an extra $ 32,000 in interest for her master’s degree in school counseling.

“I started bawling,” she remembered. “How am I ever going to repay that?”

It was the moment she decided to stop ignoring her debt and prioritize paying it off.

How to Pay Off Debt Without a Second Job

Val and her now husband, Nathan, had been engaged for over a year when she graduated. They were planning a small wedding that would cost $ 10,000. After help from family and her fiance, Val was left with $ 2,500 to fund on her own.

So she started living frugally while in school to be able to save for the wedding. She would eventually cover most of her portion with those savings.

Nathan, who had about $ 9,000 in student loans himself, admired what his bride was doing but didn’t feel the same urgency about paying off his own debt. He’d maybe put an extra $ 20 per month toward paying it off, but he was always supportive of Val’s mission.

Even in marriage, Val and Nathan didn’t combine their incomes. So instead of working extra or starting a side hustle, Val decided that to pay off her student loans, she’d just continue the frugal lifestyle she’d adopted to save for her wedding.

Val had just started a job as a school counselor making $ 36,000 per year. Even though her student loans were more than her salary, she was determined.

“We really looked at things through the lens of, ‘Do I want this thing now — like a new couch set, for example — or do I want to get rid of this debt?’” Val said. It was this perspective that influenced all her day-to-day decisions.

Here are some of the things she did to cut expenses.

She carpooled to work. “I had a 35-minute commute each way to work, and I carpooled with co-workers almost every day for two years to save on gas and car maintenance,” Val said. “My husband also carpooled on his one-hour-each-way commute for two years.”

She used a flip phone. Val tried to get a smartphone with a data plan, but it never fit in their budget. “My friends had smartphones in college. My co-workers had smartphones at work. My mom even had a smartphone before I did,” she said.

They got hand-me-down furniture. “We had a kitchen table with ugly plastic paisley that was probably from the ‘80s,” Val remembered. Their bed, barstools, recliner, end tables, coffee tables — almost everything was stuff their family members wanted to get rid of.

They drove old cars they could pay cash for. Val’s was used with 100,000 miles, and Nathan’s was an old beater they bought from an elderly woman who could no longer drive. “He was still driving it when it was a ‘collector’ at 20 years old!” Val joked.

She made manual loan payments. “Since my lender could never get my autopayments right, I ended autopayments, sacrificed the whatever-percent reduction and made every single payment manually.” Val usually made two per month: the first for what was due, and the second for whatever was left in her checking account that would allow her to keep a $ 1,000 balance.

“The manual payments made me a little more angry at my loan and motivated me to just pay it off faster,” she said. “I didn’t know it at the time, but by being active with my payments instead of passive, I always knew exactly how much I still owed and how much was still going toward interest. Both made me sick and fueled my debt-payoff fire.”

The Finish Line

In May 2013, after almost a year of being married, Val and Nathan bought a house in a small town outside of Madison, Wisconsin, and finally combined their finances — and their efforts to become debt-free.

They continued to live frugally, budget and live without smartphones. In the fall of 2014, they were down to the last $ 9,000. They found out they were pregnant, and Val knew she didn’t want to still be paying off debt when they brought home their baby.

After taking a look at their sinking funds for things like cars and traveling, they realized they had enough to pay it all off. Then they could rebuild those funds as if they were paying off the debt. So in November 2014, she made her final student loan payment.

Val had her baby in May 2015. And without debt payments, she was able to afford to quit her job — the job that provided 60% of the household income and the family’s health insurance — and now gets to stay home with her.

“I fully believe paying off my student loans and getting us together living this lifestyle of living below our means, budgeting and knowing how to tighten things up is the reason I can be a stay-at-home mom.”

Val has since written a book to help others pay off their student loans quickly, even without a six-figure income or the time to start 100 side hustles.

“It all started with paying off debt,” Val said. “That really changed our lives and our family’s life.”

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

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

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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We Are the Pets in Second ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ Trailer; Here’s Everything We Know

We Are the Pets in Second ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ Trailer; Here’s Everything We Know

Five years after the Gareth Edwards-helmed reboot of Godzilla, the sequel is finally stomping into theaters very soon. Godzilla: King of the Monsters will be an even bigger movie, pitting the iconic title creature against three classic foes. Who will win the battle? Well, the next installment is called Godzilla vs. Kong, so let that help your guess.

Still, Godzilla isn’t going to have an easy fight in King of Monsters, as we see in the second trailer. And anyway, humanity…

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Here’s How Designers Decorate for the Holidays

Searching for inspiration for your holiday decor? Look no further! We’ve gathered the boldest, brightest ideas for 2018 from top designers around the country. These artful tips will help you put your own twist on traditional themes and bring joy to friends and family all season long.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert

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First ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Trailer Arrives as Release Date Moves Up; Here’s Everything We Know

First 'Avengers: Endgame' Trailer Arrives as Release Date Moves Up; Here's Everything We Know

Ever since the devastating ending of Avengers: Infinity War, moviegoers have been dying to see what happens next and find out just what's become of not only half of Earth's Mightiest Heroes, but the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe. The fourth crossover tentpole of the franchise, Avengers: Endgame, will see theatrical release just under a year later, hopefully with all our questions answered. 

The first trailer for Endgame has now arrived to give fans hope that the surviving…

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We Stalked The Bachelor Season 23 Contestants on Social Media: Here’s What We Learned About Colton’s Ladies

The Bachelor Season 23It’s a very diverse, interesting, dynamic group of women.”
Well, when you have a Cinderella, a sloth, two Miss USA competitors and two Hannahs from Alabama, we think it’s safe…

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Director Christian Rivers Talks ‘Mortal Engines’ VFX Challenges; Here’s Everything We Know

Director Christian Rivers Talks 'Mortal Engines' VFX Challenges; Here's Everything We Know

Universal Pictures has pulled back the curtains on Mortal Engines, a steampunk fantasy film presented by Peter Jackson. Jackson is also responsible for the film’s screenplay alongside writing partners Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, the trio behind The Lord of the Rings.

Mortal Engines promises to be one of the biggest special effects spectacles of the year, and ahead of the release, we chatted with director Christian Rivers about the challenges of creating the movie's villain,…

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Here’s what you can safely talk about at this year’s office holiday party

The Post — like plenty of other companies — is having its holiday party in a couple of weeks. No, you aren’t invited. But since I am going, I thought it would be wise, given the current social climate, to make a list of the topics that are safe, or not, to discuss over a…
Business | New York Post

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"There's a way to get all of that digitally on your phone," along with the coupons and ExtraBucks rewards, CVS CEO Larry Merlo tells CNBC's Bertha Coombs.
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Freelancers, Remote Workers and Entrepreneurs: Here’s How to Find a Mentor

When people ask Kristi Porter for business advice, she first tells them to find a mentor.

Porter is the “chief do-gooder” at Signify, an Atlanta-based business specializing in marketing for nonprofit and for-profit organizations helping specific causes. Over the years leading up to and after the launch of her company in 2016, she sought the guidance of several mentors on how to set up her website and run her own business.

For freelancers, entrepreneurs and people who work independently, she says, it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking they have to do everything by themselves. But that’s not the case. Mentors can be a support system offering guidance on overcoming the hurdles preventing your business from improving.

“It’s just great knowing that you’re not doing it alone,” she says. “Having outside perspectives and voices help[s] you get through the good and bad times.”

So having a mentor can be beneficial, but how do you find one if you’re a freelancer, an entrepreneur or someone who works from home? To find out, we ask some experts what to do when finding a mentor.

Full-Time Remote Worker? Make Yourself Visible

Not reporting to a central office can make finding a mentor seem impossible. That’s why Brie Reynolds, senior career specialists at FlexJobs, encourages remote workers to be as visible as possible. You can get on your co-workers’ and your boss’s radar by sending weekly job-related updates and setting times to chat about things other than work.

By making time to reach out and get to know your remote co-workers via instant messaging programs, phone or email, you’ll start to build a solid rapport. Those people may develop into potential mentors or point you toward someone who’s a better fit.

“Finding a mentor is ultimately about building a relationship with somebody, so you have to start at a small level,” Reynolds says.

Leverage Your Networks

Kristi Porter works from home in Atlanta, GA, on November 21, 2018.

According to Porter, one of the easiest ways for people to find a mentor is by letting their personal and professional networks know that they’re searching for one.

When the Atlanta-based nonprofit Plywood People introduced its new community manager, Porter seized the opportunity. She asked if the manager knew anyone with expertise in running an online business.

Within a day or two, the manager responded and set up an introduction with someone who she thought might be a great match. The recommended person ended up becoming a mentor to Porter. Over their yearlong mentor-mentee relationship, Porter learned the technical side of setting up an online business.

“Sometimes it’ about being bold and putting the ‘ask’ out there, and letting people know rather than continuing the hunt on your own,” she says.

Attend Professional Networking Events

During her days working as a restaurant sales manager, Beth Lawrence was regularly attending industry and non-industry-specific networking events around Philadelphia.

But after a layoff, she decided to become an entrepreneur and open her own event planning and marketing company, Beth Lawrence LLC. This time she wanted to seek out business groups featuring people going through similar situations.

Now she attends networking events aimed at helping female entrepreneurs and freelancers from different industries. “I just always find that I really learn a lot from people who aren’t necessarily in my same profession,” she says. At these events, she was able to develop new skills and get her business-related questions answered in a group setting.

It was at these networking events she found one of her mentors, an attorney. Despite not being in the same industry or having a similar career path, Lawrence always sought her advice when making major career decisions.

She says if you’re a freelancer or entrepreneur considering attending a networking event for the first time, go with a friend. By going with a friend, someone you know or a group member, it’s easier to make casual in-person introductions. “At the end of the day, a warm introduction is way better than a cold email or cold call,” she says.

Consider Creating an Accountability Group

When looking for potential mentors, Reynolds says, you don’t have to stick to the traditional mentor-mentee relationship. Try lateral relationships to start.

“I think sometimes people hear ‘mentor’ and think that it has to be this very formalized relationship, but it doesn’t have to be that way,” she says. “It can really be even just a couple of freelancers who are at the same level helping each other out.”

Porter says accountability partners — or mentor groups — are peers who are in the trenches with you. These are often fellow freelancers or entrepreneurs all working on their personal businesses who are willing to lend you a hand when needed. Her accountability partner’s background is in selling physical products online, but Porter’s is in service-based business.

While working together in person is one way to hold these accountability or mentor groups, Reynolds says there is no specific format when structuring these relationships. They can be done in person or with email chains and instant messaging threads. She says, “It really just depends on what you are all comfortable working on.”

How Do You Ask Someone to Be Your Mentor?

Kristi Porter poses for a portrait against a backdrop of fall leaves.

After all the networking, email exchanges and coffee dates, if you see someone as a potential mentor, all you need to do is ask.  

It doesn’t have to be something incredibly formal. When Porter asked her mentor if she wanted to take the role 10 years ago, it was done via email following a coffee meeting. Porter recalls they both hit it off so well that she decided to be bold and ask.

“I know a lot of people in high-level positions are willing to give back in some capacity and do want to share what they’ve learned,” she says. When Porter’s mentor opened the email, she was flattered. “She thought, ‘Yeah, this is something I can do. I like you and want to see you succeed,’” Porter remembers.

But if a potential mentor isn’t willing to take you under their wing, don’t worry. Porter tells freelancers and entrepreneurs to be patient when searching for the right person.

“It sometimes takes quite a while to find these people, so don’t give up, keep trying,” she says. “Once you find somebody that works with you, it’s a really great partnership and you’ll be so glad that you waited.”

Matt Reinstetle is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He covers career advice and side gigs. You can follow 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.

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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Here’s the Exact Red Lipstick Priyanka Chopra Used for Her Wedding to Nick Jonas

ESC: Priyanka Chopra Everyone is talking about Priyanka Chopra’s wedding glow.
In case you missed it, the Indian-born actress married singer Nick Jonas with a cross-cultural, week-long wedding celebration…

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Here’s What’s New on Amazon Prime in December 2018

Several movies, TV shows and original series are coming to Amazon Prime Video in December 2018. The second season of Emmy and Golden Globe-winning The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel hits the streaming service on Dec. 5. Amazon is adding more to its original series in December with season one of Vanity Fair.

Also coming to Amazon Prime are the horror film Hereditary, political thriller All the President’s Men and Groundhog Day, among other classic and new movies.

See what’s coming to Amazon Prime in December 2018.

Here are the new Amazon Prime original series in December 2018

December 5

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: Season 2

December 14

LOL: Last One Laughing: Season 1

December 21

Vanity Fair: Season 1

December 28

Niko and the Sword of Light: Season 2

Here are the TV shows new to Amazon Prime in December 2018

December 15

4 Blocks: Season 2

Life of Crime: Mini-series

Here are the movies coming to Amazon Prime in December 2018

December 1

A Clockwork Orange

A Fish Called Wanda

A Fistful of Dollars (Per un pugno di dollari)

All the President’s Men

Bad Girls from Mars

Because I Said So

Bestseller

Beverly Hills Vamp

Blue Hill Avenue

Boogie Nights

Bright Lights, Big City

Event Horizon

Gargoyle

Groundhog Day

Happily N’Ever After

Happily N’Ever After 2

Hitman’s Run

King of the Mountain

Line of Duty

Livin’ by the Gun

Margin Call

Mars Attacks!

Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult

Ordinary People

Promised Land

Silent Tongue

Sleepover

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The Black Stallion

The Dark Crystal

The Firm

The Game

The Godson

The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear

The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad!

Trucks

Ulee’s Gold

Valkyrie

War

Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins

Wild Wild West

Windtalkers

December 7

Killers

Why Did I Get Married Too?

December 8

Before I Fall

Collide

December 16

Evan Almighty

December 19

A Most Wanted Man

December 21

Life Itself

December 25

Iron Man 2

December 27

Hereditary


Entertainment – TIME

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Here’s How to Get KAWS’ ‘CLEAN SLATE’ Companion Collectible

After teasing an image of a CLEAN SLATE Companion earlier this week, KAWS shares an official look and more details on how to procure the collectible. In partnership with the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the Brooklyn artist will be releasing a trio of 14-inch vinyl figurines in three different colorways: monochromatic gray, brown and all black. The design mirrors that of the large-scale sculpture, which is currently on display at Phillips’ plaza in New York and recently set a record as the highest auction estimate for a work by KAWS.

The Modern also recently acquired a 21-foot-tall version of the CLEAN SLATE in bronze, which will be revealed to the public in conjunction with the collectibles’ launch. The open editions will be available both in-store and online at The Modern starting at 10 a.m. CST on Dec. 9, with a retail price of $ 480 USD.

Click here to view full gallery at HYPEBEAST




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Here’s Your Guide to the Movie References in Ariana Grande’s ‘Thank U, Next’ Music Video

Leave it to Ariana Grande to capture the essence of the teen rom-com with her music video for “Thank U, Next.”

In the highly anticipated video released on Friday, Grande pays homage to films like Mean Girls, Legally Blonde, Bring It On and 13 Going on 30 by channeling their sweet storylines. Viewers will even spot some cameos from some of the films’ stars.

The song, which has maintained the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks as of Friday, is a widely discussed self-love anthem that arrived in the wake of much public conversation about Grande’s past romantic relationships. “Thank U, Next” was released just weeks after she and Saturday Night Live cast member Pete Davidson called off their engagement, and two months after Grande’s ex-boyfriend, the rapper and producer Mac Miller, died from an accidental overdose.

In the video, Grande cheekily pokes fun at the public’s curiosity about her personal life, recreating the gossip sequence about queen bee Regina George (Rachel McAdams) in Mean Girls. She also channels Elle Woods (played by Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde), Torrance Shipman (played by Kirsten Dunst in Bring It On) and other pop-culture heroines, employing the references in service to her message about the challenges of moving on after a breakup.

Here, we’ve compiled a handy guide to every movie reference that Ariana Grande squeezed in “Thank U, Next.” You can thank us later.

Mean Girls

Like any true queen bee, Mean Girls takes precedent as the alpha rom-com in “Thank U, Next.” Grande dresses up in full Regina George looks, down to the Louis Vuitton purses, silver initial necklace and long blonde hair. The video’s typography and the song’s original artwork mimic that of the film and, of course, its infamous “Burn Book.”

View this post on Instagram

coming soon

A post shared by Ariana Grande (@arianagrande) on

Additionally, some of the most high-profile cameos in the music video appear during the Mean Girls segments, with Jonathan Bennett returning as high school heartthrob Aaron Samuels and Stefanie Drummond as a major Regina enthusiast. Grande collaborator Troye Sivan appears in the video in a letterman jacket, while YouTube stars Colleen Ballinger and Gabi DeMartino and Grande’s former Victorious co-star, Elizabeth Gillies, round out the crew as Cady Heron and the rest of the Plastics. Kris Jenner makes a delightful appearance as Regina’s “cool mom.”

Legally Blonde

Grande went full valley girl for the Legally Blonde-inspired segments of the music video, where she sported a pink maribou feather Adam Selman tube top that would have warmed the cockles of Elle Woods’ heart. From studying on an orange MacBook Pro while working out on the ellipticals like any hard-working Harvard student to hanging out with the legendary Jennifer Coolidge, who reprises her role as Paulette, Grande portrays a woman ready to keep up with whatever life throws her way.

View this post on Instagram

new best friend …. thank u, next

A post shared by Ariana Grande (@arianagrande) on

Luckily, the real Elle Woods has already given it her blessing.

13 Going on 30

Grande made a convincing Jenna Rink crashing the wedding, complete with her Barbie Dream House.

Bring It On

Grande’s been a longtime champion of the high ponytail, so it seems only fitting that she would channel the cheerleaders of Bring It On in “Thank U, Next.” Dressed up in a red cheerleading costume that reads “TUN” for “Thank U, Next” but looks quite similar to the one worn by the Rancho Carne Toros, Grande’s cheer squad faces off the East Compton Lovers, a reference to the beloved Clovers.

View this post on Instagram

that’s all for today …. thank u, next 🖤🏈

A post shared by Ariana Grande (@arianagrande) on

View this post on Instagram

east compton 🍀lovers 🖤 thank u, next

A post shared by Ariana Grande (@arianagrande) on

And while it seems that both the Lovers and the TNU Toros brought the heat, a number of Bring It On’s most formidable cheerleaders also threw in their bids to join Grande’s squads.


Entertainment – TIME

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First ‘Artemis Fowl’ Teaser Will Make You Believe; Here’s Everything We Know

First 'Artemis Fowl' Teaser Will Make You Believe; Here's Everything We Know

Fans of the Artemis Fowl books have been waiting a long time for the title character to appear on the big screen. The first of Eoin Colfer's eight books in the young adult (YA) series was published back in 2001, and there were plans at that time for a movie adaptation. Disney picked up the rights five years ago and things started to look positive. Now, we've got a 2019 release to anticipate. 

We've also got the first teaser trailer for Artemis Fowl. Despite having just over…

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Truth Lies Beneath the Surface in New ‘Serenity’ Trailer; Here’s Everything We Know

Truth Lies Beneath the Surface in New 'Serenity' Trailer; Here's Everything We Know

If you seek more grown-up fare at the multiplex, you'll be wishing for Serenity now. The steamy thriller has a terrific cast of dramatic talents, including Oscar winners Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway, and a premise that is sure to pique the curiosity of anyone who enjoys old-fashioned crime plots with modern twists. 

Yes, Serenity is classified as a neo-noir, and its second trailer has dropped just in time to be a part of everyone's favorite month-long classic-film…

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The 60-20-20 Budget Puts Needs Before Wants. Here’s How to Try It

I always thought the right budget breakdown was the tried-and-true 50-30-20 method, where 50% of my monthly take-home pay goes toward living expenses, 20% toward savings and 30% toward whatever I want.

But when I finally got a financial advisor, I was surprised to hear that his recommendation wasn’t 50-30-20 after all — it was the 60-20-20 budget.

During our first meeting, we discussed all of my finances. I explained to him that I own a home in a costly state (hello, New Jersey), commute to work in New York City, aim to save a large amount every month and have little debt.

With all of this and more in mind, his recommendation of the 60-20-20 budget made perfect sense. I immediately became a huge fan of how the money I save and spend on whatever I want is equal — each 20%. Plus, knowing I was allowed 60% of my monthly budget for my living expenses, I had a little more flexibility over my fluctuating bills like groceries and electric.

Why the 60-20-20 Budget?

In reality, you can budget your take-home pay any way you want, but the 60-20-20 budget is great place to begin.

Let’s say your monthly take-home pay is $ 4,000. According to the 60-20-20 budget, you should allot 60% (or $ 2,400) to your monthly living expenses, 20% (or $ 800) to savings and then 20% (another $ 800) to your personal wants.

My financial advisor, Northwestern Mutual insurance agent Nicholas Verard Zanoni, said this method can help you build structure into your budget and learn how to save.

“With this rule, 60% of your [take-home pay] will typically go toward your lifestyle expenses,” Zanoni said. “These are your needs — food, water, shelter and standard of living. Things like your fixed expenses. Then 20% is for your discretionary spending. This is your fun money — traveling, drinks, sporting events, concerts, eating out, etc. And the last 20% is to be saved or invested.”

It’s not much different than the 50-30-20 budget, but it puts more of a focus on fixed expenses and savings than personal wants and spending.

“This is a rule-of-thumb guideline to start out with and visualize,” Zanoni said. “Whether it’s 50/30 or 60/20, it’s really just splitting hairs in a lot of ways. Ultimately, my goal is to help coach my clients at first to spend 80% and save 20%.”

When you take a step back and look at how much of your take-home pay goes into each of these three buckets, you can better analyze your spending in order to make smarter savings decisions.

How to Get Started With the 60-20-20 Budget

If you’re ready to utilize the 60-20-20 budget, start by taking inventory of your finances. Write down every monthly expense you can think of and keep track of them in a spreadsheet. Then look at how much you’re spending through the lens of the 60-20-20 budget.

From there, consider using a financial app to help you find ways to cut back and save even more.

“People should focus on treating their savings like a bill, an obligation and not so much of an option,” Zanoni said. “Focusing on fixed expenses and saving helps identify the money that might be being spent unnecessarily or without much recognition. More often than not, most individuals are not aware of all of the things they spend money on.”

This budget could help you be more aware of your spending habits, especially when you’re doling out the dough for things you don’t really need (hi, super cute sweater from H&M) or that you’re not using (hello, monthly streaming subscriptions).

Instead of equally spending $ 800 on savings and $ 800 on your personal wants, perhaps you’d want to put $ 1,000 toward your savings and only spend $ 600 on your personal wants. That would shift the 60-20-20 budget to 60-25-15, and you’d be saving more.

“In order to reach the goals we have for ourselves, we very typically find that we need to increase savings to 25 or 30% over time to reach those goals,” Zanoni said. “People may not be able to start out at 20%, but that’s what we want to help them achieve and work toward at first. Over time, we will need to be saving more as we continue to progress in life every single year.”

Lastly, Zanoni said to keep your goals in mind and consider working with a financial advisor who can help you stay on track.

“Focusing on that budget and making sure that they work with someone to help optimize that budget for all of their goals is really the most important part,” Zanoni said.

Budgeting is all about finding ways to set yourself up for financial freedom. Starting now can really make a difference in the future.

Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI (NM) and its subsidiaries. Nicholas Verard Zanoni is an insurance agent of NM.

Hilarey Wojtowicz is the senior career and finance editor at Swirled, a lifestyle newsletter and website that helps millennials learn everything they need to know in order to truly start adulting.

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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‘The Possession of Hannah Grace’ May Scare the Dead Back to Life; Here’s Everything We Know

'The Possession of Hannah Grace' May Scare the Dead Back to Life; Here's Everything We Know

"When you die, you die" is a phrase that is repeated several times in the trailer for The Possession of Hannah Grace, which is a thought that can reassure anyone worried that the dead might return to life in a very bad mood. Of course, countless horror movies have sought to disprove that phrase by reanimating corpses to very frightening effect.

The Possession of Hannah Grace introduces the protagonist in a sympathetic manner before quickly moving on to its scary setup, making sure…

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‘Green Book’ Explores Racism and Friendship in the ’60s Deep South; Here’s Everything We Know

‘Green Book’ Explores Racism and Friendship in the '60s Deep South; Here's Everything We Know

The road trip is a time-honored cinematic tradition that is renewed with a very real sense of racism and danger in Green Book. Rather than a dry historical treatment, however, director Peter Farrelly infuses the film with wry humor and a welcome consideration of the roots of the differences that can divide us.  

Remaining focused on the two lead characters bolsters the film immeasurably, since we get to know them intimately, even as they get to know each other. The relationship is…

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Ready for Homeownership? Here’s A Checklist to Get You Started

During the 2018 National Association of Realtors® Conference in Boston, Chief Economist Lawrence Yun mentioned that “millennials have outgrown their apartments” and are ready for homeownership.

Buying a home for the first time can be an exciting experience, but it can also be a bit mystifying. As millennials go on the hunt for the perfect home, there is a checklist of items that should be considered to make the process easier.

Ready for homeownership? Here are five things you can do now to get you started in the right direction.

1. Check Your Credit Score

Do you remember what your grades were in school? Well, in real life your grade is your credit score. This score tells lenders and other third parties how “financially responsible” you are. Credit scores have a standard range of 300-850. On that scale, a credit score of 700 or above generally means you are a good, credit-worthy borrower. Having the highest possible credit score allows you to take advantage of preferred rates when you buy a home.

Are you suffering from a mediocre credit score? Don’t sweat it. The UltraFICO score is expected to come to the market in 2019 and is expected to boost access to credit for those with scores in the upper 500s to lower 600s. You should also consult with a credit specialist or financial professional who can help you identify the weakest areas of your credit scores and help you improve your performance.

2. Get Your Down Payment Ready

More first time buyers are having a difficult time saving for a downpayment on a home in 2018 versus 2010 when the economy was in recovery mode. According to the National Association of Realtors 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 27% of first-time buyers in 2018 compared to 16% in 2008 had difficulty saving for a downpayment. Determine the range you would want to spend or be qualified for on a home and then work with a financial professional to determine an estimated amount that you should save for a home.

3. Manage Your Debt to Income Ratio

Too much debt can get in the way of your dreams of homeownership—especially if you aren’t bringing in enough income to manage those liabilities. Draft an honest assessment of your monthly debt and income. Your monthly debt may include rent, student loan payments, and credit card debt. Now add all the income sources you accumulate throughout the month. Take your monthly debt amount divided by your income. That’s your debt to income ratio. So, if your monthly debt is $ 1,500 and your monthly income is $ 4,000, then your debt to income ratio is 37.5%.

What’s an ideal debt to income ratio? You can use the 36% rule as guidance. It’s a standard used by most lenders to determine the maximum about of your gross income that should go toward debt. Do whatever it takes to ensure your debt to income ratio is under 36% to increase your chances of receiving a qualified mortgage.

4. Determine Where You Want to Live

What matters most to you when buying your first home? Do you want to be near public transportation, malls, food, and schools? Are you seeking a small, close-knit community with running trails and parks? Determine what your criteria are for your first home and then identify neighborhoods that match your desires. This will make the homebuying process much easier.

5. Find a Realtor

You don’t want to walk the process to homeownership alone. Start researching realtors in your area who can walk you through the process and expose you to the resources that may be available to you during the homebuying process. When searching for a realtor, work with someone who has the knowledge, professionalism, and personality to make you feel empowered during the process. You should also seek out a realtor who offers buyer consultations. During this meeting, the realtor can help you identify areas of opportunity and educate you on property matters that you weren’t familiar with before.

This is a great checklist to get you started. If you want to keep going in your pursuit to find and afford your dream home, talk to a financial professional, CPA, and/or Realtor to keep you going on this journey. Do your research and make sure you have people on your team who can lead you to the best way to achieve your goal.

The post Ready for Homeownership? Here’s A Checklist to Get You Started appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Ready for Homeownership? Here’s A Checklist to Get You Started

During the 2018 National Association of Realtors® Conference in Boston, Chief Economist Lawrence Yun mentioned that “millennials have outgrown their apartments” and are ready for homeownership.

Buying a home for the first time can be an exciting experience, but it can also be a bit mystifying. As millennials go on the hunt for the perfect home, there is a checklist of items that should be considered to make the process easier.

Ready for homeownership? Here are five things you can do now to get you started in the right direction.

1. Check Your Credit Score

Do you remember what your grades were in school? Well, in real life your grade is your credit score. This score tells lenders and other third parties how “financially responsible” you are. Credit scores have a standard range of 300-850. On that scale, a credit score of 700 or above generally means you are a good, credit-worthy borrower. Having the highest possible credit score allows you to take advantage of preferred rates when you buy a home.

Are you suffering from a mediocre credit score? Don’t sweat it. The UltraFICO score is expected to come to the market in 2019 and is expected to boost access to credit for those with scores in the upper 500s to lower 600s. You should also consult with a credit specialist or financial professional who can help you identify the weakest areas of your credit scores and help you improve your performance.

2. Get Your Down Payment Ready

More first time buyers are having a difficult time saving for a downpayment on a home in 2018 versus 2010 when the economy was in recovery mode. According to the National Association of Realtors 2018 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 27% of first-time buyers in 2018 compared to 16% in 2008 had difficulty saving for a downpayment. Determine the range you would want to spend or be qualified for on a home and then work with a financial professional to determine an estimated amount that you should save for a home.

3. Manage Your Debt to Income Ratio

Too much debt can get in the way of your dreams of homeownership—especially if you aren’t bringing in enough income to manage those liabilities. Draft an honest assessment of your monthly debt and income. Your monthly debt may include rent, student loan payments, and credit card debt. Now add all the income sources you accumulate throughout the month. Take your monthly debt amount divided by your income. That’s your debt to income ratio. So, if your monthly debt is $ 1,500 and your monthly income is $ 4,000, then your debt to income ratio is 37.5%.

What’s an ideal debt to income ratio? You can use the 36% rule as guidance. It’s a standard used by most lenders to determine the maximum about of your gross income that should go toward debt. Do whatever it takes to ensure your debt to income ratio is under 36% to increase your chances of receiving a qualified mortgage.

4. Determine Where You Want to Live

What matters most to you when buying your first home? Do you want to be near public transportation, malls, food, and schools? Are you seeking a small, close-knit community with running trails and parks? Determine what your criteria are for your first home and then identify neighborhoods that match your desires. This will make the homebuying process much easier.

5. Find a Realtor

You don’t want to walk the process to homeownership alone. Start researching realtors in your area who can walk you through the process and expose you to the resources that may be available to you during the homebuying process. When searching for a realtor, work with someone who has the knowledge, professionalism, and personality to make you feel empowered during the process. You should also seek out a realtor who offers buyer consultations. During this meeting, the realtor can help you identify areas of opportunity and educate you on property matters that you weren’t familiar with before.

This is a great checklist to get you started. If you want to keep going in your pursuit to find and afford your dream home, talk to a financial professional, CPA, and/or Realtor to keep you going on this journey. Do your research and make sure you have people on your team who can lead you to the best way to achieve your goal.

The post Ready for Homeownership? Here’s A Checklist to Get You Started appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Money | Black Enterprise

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Here’s what Cisco’s CEO told employees about mental illness after 2 celebrity suicides

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins has been speaking out to employees about the importance of mental health. He sent a company-wide email in June after the suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain and another in October during Mental Illness Awareness Week.
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Here’s a Simple Way to Earn $20 Today… Just for Buying LaCroix

Me: “Whoa, I can get cash back for buying LaCroix?”

My brain:

“Don’t do it.”

“Don’t do it.”

“Don’t do it.”

Me: *Loads 10 LaCroix cases into the cart.*

How to Get up to $ 20 Cash Back on Your Next LaCroix Run

Relatable? Same.

When I land on the LaCroix section in Target, I lose self control. I want all the cases.

Before your next LaCroix haul, download Ibotta, a free cash-back app.

Why? For an undisclosed amount of time, Ibotta has TWO cash-back LaCroix offers:

  1. Earn $ 1 cash back on eight- and 12-packs of traditional LaCroix flavors.
  2. Earn $ 1 cash back on eight- and 12-packs of the LaCroix Cúrate flavors, which include cherry-lime, blackberry-cucumber and cantaloupe-pink grapefruit.

This LaCroix deal is good for your purchases at Target, Walmart, Publix, Safeway, CVS, Whole Foods, The Fresh Market and more.

You can redeem each of these two offers up to five times per receipt, meaning you could pull in a quick $ 10 in cash back on something you’d already be purchasing — all you have to do is snap a photo of your receipt.

Plus, if you’re a new Ibotta user, you’ll get a $ 10 bonus after your first cash-back claim.

That means at the end of today, you could have $ 20 transferred over to your bank account. Just 👏 for 👏 buying 👏  LaCroix.

When our deputy editor, Caitlin Constantine, spotted the Ibotta deal, she headed straight to Publix and grabbed four cases — a mix of key lime, grapefruit and passionfruit. She says it won’t take more than two weeks to finish off her stash.

“Not only would I do this again, I am going to do it again,” she says.

Finally, your lack of self control can pay off. Literally.

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a big fan of the cantaloupe-pink grapefruit favor. Yeah, it sounds weird, but it’s actually the best.

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

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Here’s What It Costs to Order Your Thanksgiving Meal From These 8 Stores

Thanksgiving is hands down, unequivocally and undeniably my favorite major holiday of the year. (National IPA Day is still waiting to be recognized as “major” by some.)

Too many holidays require things that are exhausting and stressful. Do I have enough money for all of the gifts? What costume should I wear? Is that leprechaun going to attack me? Not cool, man.

Thanksgiving is free from all of that. On Thanksgiving, you eat a great meal, then you watch some football, take a nap, eat some more food, watch some more football and just chill with family and friends.

That’s a holiday!

You might think, “That’s all well and good if you’re not the one who has to make that massive feast.” Well I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to be the one who does all the cooking this year. You have plenty of options to order Thanksgiving dinner to go from your favorite grocery store or restaurant.

It just depends on what you’re willing to spend.

Here’s Where to Order Thanksgiving Dinner To Go

The average Thanksgiving meal has 12 people ready to dig in, according to the Pew Research Center. That’s a lot of mouths to feed. Sure, some of them — like the young ones and your weird uncle — may be at the kids’ table, but they’ll want food nonetheless.

So, what are your options when you want to skip the gourmet cooking and let someone else do the heavy lifting?

Here are eight companies ready to stuff your family for the big day.

1. Publix

If you live in the South, you probably know and love Publix. It loves you right back with the pre-made Publix Deli large turkey dinner. All you have to do is buy it, take it home and heat it up. It’ll feed 14 to 18 people.

This meal rings in at $ 89.99, which comes out to $ 4.99 to $ 6.43 per person.

It includes:

  • One 16- to 18-pound fully cooked Butterball turkey
  • 5 pounds of dressing
  • 5 pounds of mashed potatoes
  • 64 ounces of Publix gravy
  • 56 ounces of marshmallow delight
  • 32 ounces of Publix cranberry orange relish

And if you’re feeding a smaller family, you can get the Publix Deli turkey dinner for 7 to 10 people for $ 49.99, or about $ 4.99 to $ 7.14 per person.

The meal includes:

  • One 10- to 12-pound fully cooked Butterball turkey
  • 2 1/2 pounds of dressing
  • 2 1/2 pounds of mashed potatoes
  • 32 ounces of Publix gravy
  • 28 ounces of marshmallow delight
  • 16 ounces of Publix cranberry orange relish

Some items require up to 150 minutes to heat. Heating instructions are included for both meals.

2. Shoney’s

Thanksgiving dinner from Shoneys.

Shoney’s has two options for eat-and-serve holiday meals: you can grab a Thanksgiving bundle meal or “pick and choose” your Thanksgiving meal.

The holiday bundle meal rings in at $ 74.99, or $ 7.49 per person, and includes:

  • One 10- to 13-pound whole roasted turkey
  • 2 quarts of green beans
  • 2 quarts of mashed potatoes
  • 24 ounces of gravy
  • 12 dinner rolls

The bundle meal only serves 8 to 10 people. However, if you’re expecting more guests, you do have the option of adding additional sides. Or you can opt to build your own meal and choose your own sides and quantities.

You can order your holiday meal by stopping by or calling your nearest participating Shoney’s. The deadline for ordering is Monday, Nov. 19, and the meal must be picked up by 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 21.

3. Cracker Barrel

Nothing says “homestyle” like Cracker Barrel. With its Heat n’ Serve Holiday Family Meal To-Go, you know you’ll get comfort food — and plenty of it.

This down-home meal feeds up to 10 people for $ 109.99, which comes out to $ 10.99 per person.

The meal includes:

  • Two oven-roasted turkey breasts
  • Cornbread dressing
  • Turkey gravy
  • Cranberry relish
  • Your choice of three country sides
  • Sweet yeast rolls
  • Pumpkin pie and pecan pie

It’s pricy per person, but Cracker Barrel’s Thanksgiving meal gives some good options.

And if you’re hosting a smaller Thanksgiving dinner, you can grab the Homestyle Turkey n’ Dressing Family Meal To-Go, which serves up to six people for $ 67.99, or $ 6.79 per person. The meal includes:

  • Turkey
  • A sampling of sugar cured ham
  • Cornbread dressing
  • Turkey gravy
  • Cranberry relish
  • Your choice of three country sides
  • Choice of bread

Sorry, no pies included with this one, but still a good deal for a smaller crowd.

4. Boston Market

Thanksgiving dinner from Boston Market.

Boston Market prides itself on its homestyle food, so when Thanksgiving rolls around, it’s not about to step back. It gets in on the action with its complete Thanksgiving meal for 12.

The price for up to 12 people is $ 119.99, putting it at $ 10 per person.

The meal includes:

  • One roasted turkey
  • Two orders of vegetable stuffing
  • One order of spinach artichoke dip with crackers
  • 24 ounces of cranberry walnut relish
  • Two orders of mashed potatoes
  • 12 dinner rolls
  • Two orders of gravy
  • One apple pie
  • One pumpkin pie

Cranberry walnut relish? Spinach artichoke dip? The downside may be that your family will know that you couldn’t pull that off yourself! If you can convince them, kudos to you.

But if you really want to be convincing, you could go for the essential turkey meal for $ 99.99, or $ 8.33 per person, instead. This meal also serves up to 12 people and includes:

  • One roasted turkey
  • Two orders of vegetable stuffing
  • Two orders of mashed potatoes
  • Two orders of gravy
  • 12 dinner rolls

No fancy dips or pies included with this one, so your secret is safe with us!

And for smaller families (up to 6 people), you’ll find two meals to choose from on Boston Market’s heat-and-serve Thanksgiving menu. If you need any additional meats, sides or desserts, you can order from the a la carte menu, which comes fully cooked and chilled for pickup the week of Thanksgiving.

To make your Thanksgiving dinner preparations even less stressful, you can have your heat-and-serve meals, a la carte sides and desserts delivered right to your door through Nov. 18. Keep in mind, all orders are shipped frozen. Once fully thawed, your meal will be ready to heat and serve in two to three hours.

5. The Fresh Market

Thanksgiving dinner from Fresh Market

Fresh Market is known as an upscale grocer, but it doesn’t stretch the budget with its deluxe holiday dinner. If you want variety in your meal, you’ll get it with this one.

The cost to feed 12 to 14 people is $ 149.99, which comes out to $ 10.71 to $ 12.50 per person.

The meal kit includes:

  • One 10- to 12-pound fully cooked turkey
  • 3-pound boneless spiral ham
  • 4 pounds of Yukon Gold whipped potatoes
  • 3 pounds of traditional herb stuffing
  • 30 ounces of turkey gravy
  • 2 pounds of corn soufflé
  • 2 pounds of green beans
  • 16 ounces of cranberry relish with walnuts
  • 24 dinner rolls

Wait. Turkey and ham? That’s crazy talk! Plus, the sides look amazing. If you have a Fresh Market nearby, this could be a great option.

If your Thanksgiving dinner will be a little smaller — as in 8 to 10 people — then you can go for the traditional holiday dinner for $ 79.99, or about $ 8 to $ 10 per person.

This meal includes:

  • One 10- to 12-pound fully cooked turkey
  • 3 pounds of Yukon Gold whipped potatoes
  • 3 pounds of traditional herb stuffing
  • 30 ounces of turkey gravy
  • 16 ounces of cranberry relish with walnuts
  • 12 golden dinner rolls

And if your Thanksgiving table is even smaller, you can grab the essential holiday dinner for 3 to 5 people. This heat-and-serve meal rings in at $ 54.99, or about $ 11 to $ 18.33 per person, and includes:

  • 3 1/2-pound fully cooked turkey
  • 2 pounds of Yukon Gold whipped potatoes
  • 2 pounds of traditional herb stuffing
  • 1 pound of green beans
  • 30 ounces of homestyle turkey gravy
  • 8 ounces of cranberry relish with walnuts

The deadline for ordering in stores is Nov. 21, or you can order online by Nov. 18. The Fresh Market will be open Thanksgiving Day from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

6. Bob Evans

Thanksgiving dinner from Bob Evans.

To feed 12 people with Bob Evans’ Turkey Farmhouse Feast, you’d need to order one eight-person meal and one four-person meal. Together, they run $ 129.98, putting your bill at  $ 10.83 per person.

The meal includes:

  • Two slow-roasted turkey breasts
  • Bread-and-celery dressing
  • Homestyle mashed potatoes with gravy
  • Buttered sweet corn
  • Green beans with ham
  • Cranberry relish
  • Dinner rolls
  • Two pumpkin pies
  • One loaf of pumpkin bread

You can also opt for the Premium Farmhouse Feast which feeds 10 people for $ 114.99, or $ 11.50 per person, and includes:

  • Slow-roasted turkey breast
  • Hickory-smoked ham
  • Bread-and-celery dressing
  • Homestyle mashed potatoes with gravy
  • Buttered sweet corn
  • Green beans with ham
  • Cranberry relish
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Pumpkin bread
  • Dinner rolls
  • Pumpkin pie
  • Double-crust apple pie

The meals are packed cold, but heating instructions are included.

7. Hy-Vee

If you’re lucky enough to live in the Midwest where you can shop at Hy-Vee, you have a great holiday meal option with its family feast turkey dinner. Those outside the Midwest don’t know what they’re missing from this Iowa-based grocery store chain.

The price for up to 12 people is $ 129.99, which comes out to $ 10.83 per person.

The meal includes:

  • One 14- to 16-pound Butterball turkey
  • 48 ounces of turkey gravy
  • Two large sides of mashed potatoes
  • Four large sides of your choice (including dessert)
  • 24 dinner rolls

This is a no-frills, basic Thanksgiving meal, but there’s plenty of it! How much is 48 ounces of gravy, you ask? That’s 6 cups of savory delight, plus over one pound of turkey, per stomach. Perfect for bulking up for a hard, Midwestern winter. The instructions say to plan for 2 1/2 hours to reheat the meal.

8. Whole Foods Market

Tanksgiving meal from Whole Foods.

OK, you’re ready to pull out all the stops. “Go big or go home” is a great motto for this holiday. Whole Foods’ festive feast for 12 isn’t cheap, but it’ll blow the doors off your Thanksgiving — as well as your belt buckles and buttons.

The price for up to 12 people is $ 269.99, which comes out to $ 22.50 per person.

It includes:

  • One 14-pound classic roast turkey
  • One 7-pound spiral-cut ham with 8 oz. of maple-mustard glaze
  • 6 pounds of creamy mashed potatoes
  • 6 pounds of traditional herb stuffing
  • 3 pounds of green beans with crispy garlic and parsley
  • 4 pounds of roasted butternut squash with cranberries and sage
  • 4 pounds of creamed spinach and kale
  • 48 ounces of holiday turkey gravy
  • 32 ounces of cranberry orange sauce
  • One pumpkin pie
  • One apple pie

Yeah, that’s a meal for 12 with 21 pounds of meat. All in all, it’s about 50 pounds of delicious food. That’s 4 pounds per guest. At $ 269.99, it’s a more expensive option, but you’re getting a lot of food for your buck. Plus, there are a few smaller holiday meal options.

Remember, holidays should be fun and relaxing, not tiring and taxing. Sometimes it pays to spend a little money to buy back your time.

So this Thanksgiving, why not order your Thanksgiving dinner to go so you can take a load off and let someone else do the cooking? Your football team needs your help cheering, and it’s hard to do that from the kitchen.

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.

Jessica Gray is an editorial assistant at The Penny Hoarder. She updated this post for 2018.

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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Find Your Courage in First ‘Dumbo’ Trailer; Here’s Everything We Know

Find Your Courage in First 'Dumbo' Trailer; Here's Everything We Know

Disney's new, live-action Dumbo draws upon an animated film that was released during troubling times. Yet the original's simplicity and warmth attracted audiences in large numbers, and it subsequently has been recognized as a family classic. 

Now the first trailer for the new version has been released, presenting events initially from the perspective of two children at a circus before soaring outward. It, too, looks like a film with a positive spirit and an encouraging…

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The Rock Returns to Wrestling in First ‘Fighting With My Family’ Trailer; Here’s Everything We Know

The Rock Returns to Wrestling in First 'Fighting With My Family' Trailer; Here's Everything We Know

Dwayne Johnson returns to the WWE ring every now and then, but he's mostly considered a movie star these days. But he's combining both worlds next year with the biographical comedy Fighting With My Family. The movie will feature Johnson playing himself in support of the story of the Bevis family of wrestlers. 

While Johnson, a.k.a. "The Rock," is not the star of Fighting With My Family, he is one of its producers and appears prominently in the first trailer, which made…

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Watch the First ‘Pokémon: Detective Pikachu’ Trailer; Here’s Everything We Know

Watch the First 'Pokémon: Detective Pikachu' Trailer; Here's Everything We Know

You weren't expecting that the first truly great video game movie would also be a Pokémon movie, did you? All signs point to the former being a possibility, with Warner Bros.' live-action adaptation of the Nintendo game Detective Pikachu, starring everyone's favorite snarky voice actor, Ryan Reynolds. 

The first trailer for the upcoming movie (watch it down below) hints that, thanks to Reynolds voicing the title character, this is sort of going to be Deadpool for…

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Guys, here’s how to actually make your beard look good

Don’t ask me why I decided to grow a goatee. It was a long time ago. I was doing a lot of card counting and thought it looked cool. I do, however, know why I decided to ditch the Van Dyke: shame. At work recently, I listened in as a couple of nearby colleagues engaged…
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Here’s How LeBron James and the Lakers Paid Tribute to the Thousand Oaks Shooting Victims

In the wake of the mass shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif., that claimed the lives of 12 people last week, the Los Angeles Lakers and Atlanta Hawks paid tribute to the victims with warmup shirts that read “ENOUGH.”

Following in the footsteps of both the Los Angeles Clippers and the Milwaukee Bucks, the two teams wore shirts with “ENOUGH” printed on the front and the 12 victims’ names on the back ahead of their Sunday game at the Staples Center. The names of the victims were also read over the PA system before a moment of silence leading up to the national anthem, according to Uproxx.

Newly minted Laker LeBron James, who previously wore an “I Can’t Breathe” shirt in 2014 in solidarity with protestors rallying against a grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner, also took to Twitter to express his grief over the shooting.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the families who lost loved ones last night in Thousand Oaks, CA!!!!” he wrote, adding the hashtag .

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To make passengers more comfortable during the world's longest flight, Singapore Airlines has a few tricks up its sleeve.
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The Florida recount is official. Here’s how it will work.

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner announced on Saturday that three statewide races in Florida would head to a recount.


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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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These Millennials Have Invested in Real Estate All Over the Country. Here’s How

At just 35 and 29, Christopher and Meghan Miller are semi-retired.

The couple, with their infant son, Ben, recently quit their jobs and moved from Columbia, Maryland, to Berryville, Virginia — a town of approximately 4,000.

Their new home is perched on two acres. Across the street is a horse farm. Down the road is an organic farm where Christopher harvests produce twice a week. He’s paid in vegetables, which Meghan, an enthusiastic cook, plans meals around.

“We’ve just embarked on this semi-retired adventure of doing work we really enjoy and value instead of doing work that just has the highest salary or because we have to,” Christopher said.

The couple has worked hard to afford this new phase of life. Christopher, a former systems engineer, and Meghan, a former high school English teacher, built up their savings and sources of passive income, mostly through real estate investments.

In addition to four rental properties, the couple has invested in a diversified portfolio of real estate projects across the country — from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles — through an automated investment experience.

“I don’t have to manage them; I don’t have to do the work to improve the properties; I don’t have to find tenants, evict tenants,” Christopher says.

Unlike traditional real estate investments, the Millers back these national building projects through an online platform called Fundrise. Since 2016, Fundrise has paid dividends each quarter. (Note: As with any investment, past performance isn’t indicative of future results.)

Living off of Passive Income

A man's hand holds a mobile phone showing a web page near a horse's head.
A neighbor’s curious horse ambles by as Chris Miller checks his Fundrise account on his mobile phone. Ting Shen for The Penny Hoarder

Real estate piqued Christopher’s interest about 12 years ago when he read “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter. The book emphasizes the importance of investing, particularly in real estate.

In 2006, while still in college, Christopher purchased a rental home in Elkridge, Maryland.

“It was kind of a roller coaster,” he says. “At first I thought, ‘Man, this investing in real estate is really easy.’”

The first property’s value had increased 20%, so he purchased another house in 2008.

Then the market crashed.

By 2009, he was under water on both properties. He had purchased the first home with an interest-only mortgage. “It was a really bad loan that plagued the investment even more after the market crash,” he said.

After recruiting roommates, he lived in one house for free for about five years. (He also met Meghan in that neighborhood, so it all worked out.)

Still, he owed money.

In 2013, Christopher started feeling less gun shy about the real estate market, so he purchased a third rental. Then, a few years later, he and Meghan purchased several flip properties.

“It’s been a wild ride,” he says. “The passive income and making money while I sleep — I love that about real estate.”

In April 2016, he found an easier way to invest in real estate — one that didn’t require sweat equity, tenants and all the horror stories that come with owning rentals.

He could drop in as little as $ 500 and invest in properties across the U.S. through an online investment platform called Fundrise.

“I view our investments in Fundrise as something even more passive than the rental properties we own,” Christopher says.

Invest in Real Estate Online

A man looks at a laptop while sitting at a table in his home.
Miller uses a laptop to check his Fundrise account at his home in Berryville, Va. Ting Shen for The Penny Hoarder

Fundrise was launched in 2012 by two real estate investors and brothers. It aims to give everyone a chance to invest directly in real estate. It cuts the unnecessary middlemen, enabling it to offer low-fee diversified real estate investments to anyone with a computer. (There’s a 0.85% annual asset management fee and a 0.15% annual investment advisory fee.)

More than 200,000 Fundrise members are on the platform today, and Fundrise has invested in approximately $ 2.5 billion in real estate since its 2015 launch. Think of it like this: Fundrise is crowdfunding for new real estate projects across the country. Investors can hop in with as little as $ 500 or much more.

Taking Some of the Complexity out of Real Estate Investing

A smiling man holding a crate and wearing a cowboy hat stands by a tractor.
Miller carries freshly picked tomatoes at a neighbor’s farm. He earns a share of the produce for his family by helping with the harvest. Ting Shen for The Penny Hoarder

Investing in anything involves risk. But since 2014, Fundrise has seen historical returns of 8.7% to 12.4%.

For Christopher and Meghan, the online experience is a lot less weighty than those traditional real estate investments.

For example, remember the housing market crash of 2008 and how Christopher found himself under water on his properties? He finally sold one of those a few months ago — after 12 years of hanging on. He said it almost wasn’t worth the effort.

With Fundrise, Christopher can easily invest in real estate through the online platform, which puts his money into various income-producing properties, leaving him with a diverse portfolio of investments — from apartment renovations in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to stabilized apartments in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Making Real Estate Investing More Accessible — Even in L.A.

Christopher and Meghan follow the progress of each project they’ve invested money into through Fundrise, thanks to regular email updates. Each email features photos and videos, updating them on new, completed and in-progress projects.

“The emails help remind you that you’re actually investing in something real,” Christopher says. “Like a condo in D.C. or a single-family home in L.A.”

Getting Started With Fundrise

A man stacks crates of fresh vegetables in a cold storage room.
Miller sets down a crate of fresh okra in the cold room of a neighbor’s farm. Ting Shen for The Penny Hoarder

Christopher receives automatic payments directly into his checking account.

Because Christopher and Meghan don’t need the money right now, they can use the software to easily reinvest any dividends they may receive, putting it right back into projects.

The Fundrise Starter Portfolio is currently open to all investors and requires $ 500 to start. There’s a 90-day satisfaction period, so if you’re not happy, Fundrise redeems your investment at the original amount*. If you invest $ 1,000 or more, you can select one of the advanced plans –– Supplemental Income, Balances Investing or Long-Term Growth.

Moving Forward and Affording a Semi-Retired Lifestyle

A young couple and their little boy pose for a family photo in a vegetable field on a farm.
Chris and Meghan Miller pose for a photo with their 8-month-old son Finnegan at their neighbor’s farm. Ting Shen for The Penny Hoarder

As Christopher and Meghan settle into their new home in Berryville, Virginia, they find ways to piece together their income without full-time jobs.

Christopher does part-time landscaping and tree work on the side, which results in profitable firewood. Meghan has plans to write freelance. They also have a steady income stream thanks to their rental properties.

They say they’ll take out money from their investments if they need, but so far that hasn’t been necessary.

*Redemptions are subject to certain restrictions. See Full Disclosures for more information.

The publicly filed offering circulars of the issuers sponsored by Rise Companies Corp. (parent company of Fundrise), not all of which may be currently qualified by the Securities and Exchange Commission, may be found at fundrise.com/oc.

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer. No offense to The Penny Hoarder or anything, but she’d love to be semi-retired right about now.

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

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Here’s How Much of Each Popular Thanksgiving Food Gets Consumed Each Year

Most of us heap a little more food on our plates during the holidays—but how much? Nielsen has crunched the numbers and tallied how much Americans are buying—from the turkeys we roast in our ovens to the cinnamon we sprinkle in our cider. Read on to see how Americans will be setting the table—plus pick up some helpful hints about how to make your holiday more enjoyable this Thanksgiving.
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‘Jonny Quest’ Gets ‘Lego Batman Movie’ Director; Here’s Everything We Know

'Jonny Quest' Gets 'Lego Batman Movie' Director; Here's Everything We Know

In the fall of 1964, the animated series Jonny Quest debuted on television in prime time, to the delight of children (and some adults) everywhere. After 26 episodes, the sci-fi/action-adventure show was canceled, yet it lived on in the memories of everyone who saw it, whether during the original broadcast or in syndication. The show was revived, first in the 1980s and then in the 1990s.

Now a planned, live-action version for the big screen is finally moving forward (again). Chris McKay (The…

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Aaron Paul Touted to Star in ‘Breaking Bad’ Movie; Here’s Everything We Know

Aaron Paul Touted  to Star in 'Breaking Bad' Movie; Here's Everything We Know

Five years after Breaking Bad concluded its five-season run on AMC, the show is getting a feature-length sequel. As originally revealed by the Albuquerque Journal, the Breaking Bad movie is set to begin filming in New Mexico (where the show is set and was also filmed) later this month under the alias working title "Greenbrier."

Following that initial report, /Film confirmed the movie, but whether this will be a theatrical release or a broadcast or streaming feature is still…

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Tamar Braxton Compares Her New Boo To ‘Jesus Walking Out Of The Water’ While Fans Body Shame Vincent Herbert; She Defends Her Ex – Here’s The Video

Tamar Braxton has been living her best days for a while. She is together with her new boyfriend on vacay, and she has been keeping her fans and followers updated.

Tamar has been sharing lots of pics and videos from their vacation, and the latest video shows her boyfriend getting out of the water, while she’s lying in the sun.

We can hear Tamar comparing her new man with Jesus as she asks: ‘Is that Jesus walking out of the water?’

🎤 Said i wasn’t gone tell nobody but I….😂😂😩🤷🏽‍♀️’ Tamar captioned her video.

Someone posted ‘Vince shouldn’t have messed her career around the way he did. She wanted a new manager, and Vince couldn’t handle that. To sabotage your wife’s career is disloyal. How could she ever trust Vince again? A smart women to file for divorce and move on. Tamar wasn’t Vince property to do with as he pleased. He decided he made her and he was gonna break her. That decision cost him the marriage. Hooray for Tamar💥💥💥

View this post on Instagram

🎤 Said i wasn’t gone tell nobody but I….😂😂😩🤷🏽‍♀️

A post shared by Tamar Braxton ❤ (@tamarbraxton) on

Another follower wrote ‘He better be able to keep up with you’re lifestyle a hot body comes a dimes a dozen haha.’

One commenter made a joke and said ‘I had to call my lil boo cuz I thought that was him😂 I almost had to make a trip lol enjoy @tamarbraxton you deserve it👏🏾👏🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾

Someone criticized Tamar for what she said and posted ‘the fact that she called another man Jesus period is just wrong.’

Someone made a comment involving her ex, Vincent Herbert and Tamar hopped in the comments section as well to defend the man.

The Shade Room was quick enough to see the conversation and post it on their social media account.

View this post on Instagram

Okay #TamarBraxton!! We see you sis

A post shared by The Shade Room (@theshaderoom) on

‘That’s one hell of a transformation I don’t care what nobody say…..I had to keep reading comments to know that it really was Vince! He looks amazing’ someone commented, suggesting that the man is Vincent.

Someone else posted ‘I mean he lost hella weight after he had that health scare. Shouldn’t that count for something??? I can’t stand body shamers 🙄

Tamar has recently unveiled her new thigh tattoo while she was on this vacay, trying to lay low with her new man. She seems happy andprobably that’s all that matters.

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Long Island City, where Amazon is said to build its next headquarters, is a neighborhood going through a a massive transition.
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Here’s What You Need to Know if You’re Considering a VA Loan

If you’re a veteran or an active-duty member of the military, the idea of owning a home one day might give you warm, fuzzy feelings. Or maybe it’s just the idea of not having to move again.

When that day comes, you’ll find yourself researching mortgages, and you may go straight for the Veterans Affairs (VA) home loan.

VA home loans look attractive: They come with lower interest rates, lower closing costs and no private mortgage insurance (PMI), plus you can put 0% down.

But before you jump right into signing papers, it’s worth taking a closer look to find out if a VA loan is your best option.

What Makes a VA Home Loan Different?

A VA home loan is a type of mortgage that helps service members, veterans and eligible surviving spouses become homeowners. You can’t use a VA loan on an income property or a second home; these loans can only be used for your primary residence.

VA loans are provided by private lenders — banks, mortgage companies, etc. —  and usually backed by the government for up to 25% of the loan if the homeowner defaults.

Because 25% of the loan is guaranteed by the government, banks can lower eligibility requirements and don’t require you to pay private mortgage insurance.

That means veterans with lower credit scores are frequently approved for more mortgage than they would be otherwise.

“[VA loan] lenders tend to approve a higher mortgage-payment-to-income ratio and a higher total-debt-to-income ratio,” said Doug Nordman of The Military Guide.

But perhaps the most appealing feature of a VA loan is that you can put 0% down.

This might look like a deal, especially on a private’s housing allowance, but you’ll pay for it in other ways.

The Hidden Expenses of VA Loans

Before we compare VA loans with other options, let’s look at interest rates vs. APRs, or annual percentage rates. The interest rate is the amount you’ll pay each year to borrow money. The APR includes not just the interest rate, but also charges and fees from the mortgage broker.

VA loans have lower interest rates than conventional loans, but their APRs are higher.

At the time of this writing, one lender was offering a 30-year fixed conventional loan at a 4.62% interest rate with 4.69% APR, and a 30-year fixed VA loan at a 4.5% interest rate with 4.8% APR.

That’s because the VA loan has a funding fee. Instead of paying a set monthly charge for private mortgage insurance (PMI) to the bank, veterans pay a funding fee to the VA that is added at the beginning of the loan and compounds monthly.

The funding fee for regular military is 2.15% when you put 0% down, though it can be lowered by putting a down payment of 5% or more on the house.

For those in the reserves or National Guard, the funding fee is even higher at 2.4%.

It’s easy to look at the numbers with rose-colored glasses because you can afford the monthly payment. But it’s important to look at the big picture when taking on a loan of that size.

When you look at the breakdown of your mortgage, the funding fee will look lower than a PMI payment, but you can get rid of PMI when you reach 20% equity in your home. Unless you pay your funding fee upfront, it stays with you forever.

To put it in perspective: A $ 200,000 home with $ 0 down will have a funding fee of $ 4,300. That $ 4,300 gets put on the principal, which means you’ll be paying interest on it for 30 years. Even if you refinance, that $ 4,300 stays there.

Who Is a VA Loan Good For?

The funding fee doesn’t mean the VA loan is bad — it has lots of features that make it a good choice for many service members and veterans. Interest rates are lower, appraisals are more affordable, origination fees are capped at 1%, and you can qualify at a lower credit score.

But it’s even better if you can get the funding fee waived.

Those eligible for a waiver are:

  • Veterans who receive VA compensation for a service-connected disability.
  • Veterans who would be entitled to receive compensation for a service-connected disability but are receiving retirement or active-duty pay.
  • Surviving spouses of a veteran who died in service or from a service-connected disability.

Over 4 million veterans receive VA disability compensation, so a waiver is actually an option for a lot of Americans.

The bottom line: Don’t rush a decision as big as home ownership.

“Research indicates that nearly half of all veterans move yet again within two years of leaving the military, because their bridge career doesn’t work out,” Nordman said. “They end up putting that ‘forever home’ right back on the market, or — even worse — becoming reluctant long-distance landlords.”

Waiting until you’re location-stable will give you time to build your credit and qualify for the best home loan available.

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

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

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


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‘The Color Purple’ Will Hit the Big Screen Again in Musical Form; Here’s Everything We Know

'The Color Purple' Will Hit the Big Screen Again in Musical Form; Here's Everything We Know

As long as you're going to remake a movie, you might as well do something different with the material. That's why musical remakes are so much more interesting than straight rehashes. They tend to follow the original movie being turned into a Broadway musical with that stage production then being re-adapted for the screen. We've seen it recently with Hairspray and The Producers, but music-infused remakes used to be a pretty common occurrence in Hollywood.

Now Steven…

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Here’s How Much You Can Contribute to 401(k)s and IRAs in 2019

If you’re all about saving for retirement and putting away as much as you can, we’ve got some good news.

Starting in 2019, you can contribute $ 500 more to your 401(k) and individual retirement account (IRA) than you were allowed to in 2018.

New 401(k) and IRA Contribution Limits

In 2019, the U.S. government will raise the personal 401(k) contribution max from $ 18,500 to $ 19,000 annually. The annual contribution max for IRA accounts will also increase, from $ 5,500 to $ 6,000. That’s an extra $ 1,000 that you can tuck away and have working for you and your future.

The 401(k) maximum does not include employer contributions, so your freebie dough is off the hook.

The increase means your total contribution allowance is $ 25,000 for 2019.

Sweet, right?

OK, we’ll be real. Not many of us are putting away that much money. If you get paid every two weeks like most of us, you’re looking at more than $ 1,000 taken out of each paycheck to reach that lofty $ 25,000 by year’s end.

Another way to look at it is that if you make $ 125,000 annually, you can now stash a full 20% of your paycheck. What would that add up to, you ask?

If you were to start with no money and saved this much each year for 35 years, you’d have $ 665,000 before interest in your 401(k) and $ 193,000 before interest in your Roth IRA. Factor in a modest 6% return on investment, and the combined number jumps to just under $ 3 million. That’s a nice little chunk of change for your golden years.

The trick is to not dip into your retirement savings before you retire.

But let’s face it: Most of us don’t earn $ 125,000 a year and don’t put 20% of our salaries in our retirement accounts.

For now, contribute as much as you can to your 401(k) without putting your financial health at risk. A good starting point is to see how much your employer matches and try to at least hit that number. Here’s a simple 401(k) guide to get you jump started.

Consider opening a traditional or Roth IRA account if you don’t have one already.

Who knows? Perhaps you’ll reach that $ 25,000 annual contribution ceiling eventually. #lifegoals

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.

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

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


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America votes in one day. Here’s what’s at stake.

With one day to go before the midterm elections, Americans face a choice that could shape the nation for years after a campaign that left it politically torn, at war with itself over race, and mourning tragedy.


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Don’t Be Dopey: Here’s How to Get the Most Out of Your Disney Dining Plan

Most families roll up to the gates of Magic Kingdom dreaming of Mickey hugs and Space Mountain thrills. My family blows right past Snow White on a quest for cheeseburger spring rolls and Dole Whips. It’s all the pixie dust we need.

To transform the Manhattan-sized property into a playground for your taste buds, Walt Disney World has developed the Disney Dining Plan. The plan proposes to save you time and money as you eat your way around the World, and most people claim they can at least break even.

I’ve broken down the price of the Standard Disney Dining Plan to see how much you’ll save over buying food and drink outright — and I’ve added 10 years of my own Disney Dining Plan hacks to help you get the most out of your meals with Mickey.

Get to Know the Standard Dining Plan

Guests who stay at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel are eligible to purchase a Disney Dining Plan. The plans provide a certain number of credits to each person in the resort room. These credits can be redeemed at over 200 table and counter service restaurants across the parks and resorts. There are a few different dining plans: Quick Service, Standard and Deluxe.

The Quick-Service Dining Plan includes only fast food-style counter service meals, and the Deluxe Dining Plan comes at a premium price and includes extras like wine and more than one table service meal every day.

We’ll be looking at the Standard Dining Plan, which includes both counter service and table service meals.

2018 Standard Disney Dining Plan Cost-Per-Night:

Adults: $ 75.49

Children 3 to 9: $ 25.80

For each night of your stay, the 2018 Standard Dining Plan includes:

  • 1 table-service meal credit: includes entree, nonalcoholic beverage and dessert; or buffet.
  • 1 quick-service meal credit: includes entree with beverage.
  • 2 snacks.
  • 16-ounce souvenir mug, refillable at all resort beverage stations.

Note that your dining credits are for each night of your stay, not each day. This will come into play for our strategy later. In the meantime, let’s see how to get the most out of that refillable mug.

Your Mug Runneth Over

A photo of a refillable mug at Disney World.
The refillable resort mugs at Walt Disney World Resort can reap savings after the first drink. Rain Blanken/The Penny Hoarder

The refillable mug bundled into the price of your Disney Dining Plan retails for $ 18.99, but it’s actually worth so much more — if you do it right.

For a six-night stay, this mug averages out to a cost of $ 3.16 per day.

Fountain beverages average about $ 3.99 (price varies per location) per 16 ounces, so you’re already saving on that first drink. But don’t just snag a pop with dinner. If you grab coffee in the morning, a soda in the afternoon and hot chocolate in the evening, your mug is worth $ 11.97 in drinks on the first day of your stay.

In fact, the high-tech chip on the bottom of the mug will allow you to fill that bad boy for free every two minutes. (Please don’t drink a sweet tea every two minutes.)

The mugs are not usable in the parks but are usable across the 30 Walt Disney World resorts — not only the one you’re staying in.

When my husband and I heard of this fantastic tomfoolery, our eyes met and it clicked. With gleeful smiles, we remembered we had packed our own plastic bottle of rum in our luggage. Yep, that’s right, parents. If you pack in your own booze, the rum and Cokes at Disney resorts are close to free.

That’s about $ 7 per drink saved over visiting the bar, not including the tip. But drink responsibly, Penny Hoarders. You can’t bring alcohol into the parks, and if you’ve saved over $ 40 with this tip today, go back to your room and watch Dumbo for some pink elephant life lessons. No one likes a Disney lush.

All-You-Care-To-Eat Restaurants

Disney dining plan
Cousins Vinnie Harris and Evelyn Long share a bottomless milkshake at the Whispering Canyon Cafe. Rain Blanken/The Penny Hoarder

A buffet sounds like a great way to use a table-service credit, right? But not all buffets at Walt Disney World provide the same value. Here are a few that are your best bets and book up fast. I recommend making reservations for these months in advance of your trip.

Dinner at Whispering Canyon Cafe, $ 51 value: Yee-haw! The servers at this Disney World Wilderness Lodge Resort restaurant double as entertainers here, and you’ll likely experience a napkin shower or two. Li’l cowpokes could be led through a parade or even ride a wooden horse through the restaurant.

The All-You Care-to-Eat Skillet ($ 33.00 for adults for now, $ 35.15 starting December 16, 2018) on the menu has barbequed favorites and down-home sides. Order the bottomless milkshakes ($ 9.00) to maximize your value, and order the Granny Smith Caramel Apple Tart with gelato ($ 9.00)

Disney dining plan
A breakfast platter, including Mickey-shaped waffle, at Ohana in Disney’s Polynesian Resort, which offers character greetings and a view of Cinderella’s castle. Rain Blanken/The Penny Hoarder

Breakfast at Ohana ($ 40.47 adult, $ 24.50 child): Located at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, your luau morning begins with

Mickey, Stitch and friends visiting for photos and hugs right at your table. To start your day off with some magic, cast members will conduct a Hawaiian parade with the kids.

The all-you-care-to-eat breakfast of eggs, sausage, Mickey waffles and more is served in a large pan in the middle of the table and continuously refilled by your server. You’ll have a view of Cinderella’s Castle across the Seven Seas Lagoon as you dine, and the monorail can take your full bellies straight to the Magic Kingdom.

Dinner at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall at Epcot ($ 64.97 adult, $ 39.41 child): Your vacation dollar often comes down to time well spent, and character greeting lines can eat into your time at Disney. Let the princesses come to you.

At Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, Belle will give your little princess a royal greeting at the door, offering a special photo opportunity and some time to chat about the royal life. Up to five princesses will later come right to your table for photos and then lead the kids in a royal parade.

The meal includes access to a traditional all-you-care-to-eat Norwegian cold bar (unlimited smoked salmon, anyone?), then your choice of an entree (like “Tradisjonell Kjøttkake“ traditional Norwegian meatballs) and a dessert platter for the table to share.

Dinner at Cape May Cafe ($ 55.38 adult, $ 30.89 child): This seaside-themed restaurant at Disney’s Beach Club Resort is a seafood lover’s dream. No protocol, parades or waiting here — just hit the buffet until you can’t.

Grab crab legs by the bucket and eat all the mussels, clams and salmon you can handle. Since seafood typically comes at a premium, the value here is particularly delicious.

Don’t Go Signature. Unless…

A woman dressed in traditional Hawaiian gard performs with children wearing leis.
Young guests join an entertainer onstage during the Spirit of Aloha dinner show at Disney World. Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World Resorts

Dinner shows, private dining and some upscale “signature” restaurants require two table service credits per meal.

Most character meals and buffets use one table service credit, so there’s no need to go signature unless you’d like to splurge for something extra special, like dining with Cinderella in her castle.

One consideration for signature dining and meal credit splurging: Do you have extra credits?

Remember, the dining plan gives a credit for each night of your stay. The credits don’t expire after the night is over, so you’re likely to have some left over from the day you arrived.

To get the most out of your first night’s meal credits, the standard advice is to arrive on Disney property early. But let’s get real; most of us aren’t arranging our flight plans around making it to lunch.

The silver lining to an afternoon or evening arrival is that you’ve created a surplus of credits to eat like a king during your stay. The value of the extra credits is negligible because you didn’t have time in the morning or afternoon to use them on your arrival day anyway. Allot those extra credits to meal experiences that cost two table service credits.

Often, guests realize only on the last day that they have extra credits to spend and end up leaving with 20 Mickey rice cake treats in their suitcase. Be sure to check your receipt after every meal transaction to keep tabs on your credits.

Don’t Get Breakfast

A Mickey-shaped waffle may be on your list of Disney food goals, but it’s better to pay out of pocket for the pleasure. Breakfast is by far the cheapest meal of the day across Disney parks and resorts, so your dining credits are best reserved for lunch and dinner.

The parks typically open at 9 a.m., so a quick bite in the room is the most cost- and time-efficient solution for families eager to make the most of their ticket price. Microwaveable breakfast options can be packed in your luggage or scored via a local delivery service. You can even use the in-room coffee maker to pipe out hot water for instant oatmeal.

My only exception to this rule is the absolutely magical all-you-can-eat character buffet at the previously mentioned Ohana. It can get some character greetings out of the way for the day, helping you to avoid those long lines at Magic Kingdom. This is a good trade-off to maximize your park ticket price.

Skip the Soda at Counter-Service Locations

A styrofoam cup of chowder
Substitute the New England Clam Chowder (menu price of $ 6.49) as an extra side instead of a fountain soda to maximize your Disney Dining Plan value at Columbia Harbour House in Magic Kingdom. Rain Blanken/The Penny Hoarder

This is a little-known dining plan hack that could really pack your bag with portable munchies. At most quick service locations, you can swap your beverage out for a snack-type item or bottled water.

Quick service restaurants with a fountain beverage station offer free cups of water, so there’s really no need to use the beverage portion of your quick service credits.

“Snack” category items are labeled as such on the menu and include everything from soup to fries to cheesecake. Swap them for wrapped treats to stash in your bag for munching on during parades or waiting for the fireworks.

Alternatively, if someone in your party just isn’t that hungry when you stop, you can score a side item like chili or fries and even save their whole quick service credit for later.

This strategy also increases the value of your credits. For example, it’s possible to swap a $ 3.99 soda at Pinocchio’s Village Haus for $ 4.99 breadsticks. If you do this for all sodas during your trip, you’re racking up the savings every time you skip a sugary drink.

Swap for Snack Credits

A big chocolate frosted donut with whole rasberries on top at Disney World.
The Croissant Doughnut with Chocolate Hazelnut Cream at the annual Epcot Food & Wine Festival’s Taste Track booth is a good use of a snack credit, retailing at $ 6.50. Rain Blanken/The Penny Hoarder

At a quick service location, you can ask the cashier to swap one quick service credit for three snack credits. This is especially handy during the fall Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, where pop-up kiosks around World Showcase allow you to sample tastes from around the globe.

Some food and wine festival items have a higher ticket price but are still available as snack credits. Shoot for anything over $ 5 to maximize your value.

My go-to is the lobster roll at a booth near the American Adventure Pavilion which retails for $ 7.75, making it one of the best uses of a snack credit. The escargot croissant at the France pavilion is priced at $ 5.75, and the Croissant Doughnut with Chocolate Hazelnut Cream near Test Track hikes your snack credit up to a $ 6.50 value.

Use Snack Credits for Souvenirs

Chocolate bars at a souvenir store in Disney World.
A $ 5.99 Mickey chocolate bar is a great use of a leftover snack credit and makes a great souvenir for folks back home. Rain Blanken/The Penny Hoarder

Did you know that the wrapped Mickey-shaped rice cakes in the souvenir shop count as a snack credit? So do the Chip ’n’ Dale trail mix packs and sleeves of Disney cookies, or the new Mickey chocolate bars in flavors like Strawberry Truffle or Key Lime Pie. Look for any snack marked with the Disney Dining Plan snack icon.

If you have people back home to buy souvenirs for, consider using a snack credit to appease their Disney needs. You’ll likely have a few snack credits left over at the end of the trip, and these treats are as exclusive to Walt Disney World as any other (likely pricier) souvenir.

So How Much Can You Save?

A woman with a backpack and wearing Mickey Mouse ears shaped liked donuts looks across a lagoon during sunset at Disney World.
Rain Blanken, sporting donut ears and perhaps contemplating her next Disney dining hack, looks across Epcot’s Crescent Lake at sunset. Photo by Evelyn Long

For our example of an adult on the standard Disney Dining Plan ($ 75.49), here is a day of maximizing your value:

  • Quick Service Credit: Lunch at Pinocchio’s Village Haus: Chicken Parmesan Pasta, $ 12.99 and swapped fountain drink for a side of breadsticks, $ 4.99.
  • Table Service Credit: Dinner at Whispering Canyon Cafe: $ 51.
  • Snacks: Dole Whip float for $ 5.99; funnel cake with powdered sugar at $ 6.99.
  • Refillable Mug: Coffee in the morning and a soda in the evening for about $ 8.

Total Value: $ 89.96

In this example, you’ve already exceeded the day’s food plan cost by $ 14.47. This is excluding extra savings like only visiting the most valuable meal options I listed above, using your refillable mug more than twice and mixing your own adult drinks.

But you don’t have to spend your vacation tallying up the numbers. The reason many people get a Disney Dining Plan is so they can relax; like a cruise, the food is paid for up front.

Just try to beat the average meal value every time, swap those sodas for packaged snacks and use the refillable mug as much as you can. I promise you’ll go home with far too many Mickey-shaped rice crispy treats.

Rain Blanken (@RainLovesDisney) is a senior editor at The Penny Hoarder. She is a former Disney Vacation Planner, and has written on budget travel for About.com, WorldofWalt.com and InsidetheMagic.net.

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