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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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.

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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.

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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.

Money | 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.

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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.

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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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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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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.

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 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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Amazon is reportedly moving into Long Island City, Queens: Here’s what the neighborhood is like

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.


CNN.com – RSS Channel – Politics

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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.

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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Here’s How to Apply For 9 Top Game Shows So You Can Win Cash & Prizes

Participating in a game show is an easy and fun way to make extra money. Some are tougher to get on than others, but by registering for all of them, you can significantly increase your chances of becoming a contestant.

For that reason, we’ve put together a list of nine of the most popular game shows and how you can audition for each one.

1. “Jeopardy!”

How to Audition: The first step to getting on “Jeopardy” is to take the online test. They’re are only held on certain dates, and upcoming tests are announced on the show and on its website, Jeopardy.com. Online tests are offered separately for each of the following age groups: adults, college students (full-time undergrads with no previous bachelor’s degrees) and teens 13 through 17 years old.

If you perform well on the online test (“Jeopardy” won’t tell you your score), you will be asked to audition at a local testing facility. After more testing and a personality interview with producers, you will be added to the pool of available contestants.

Who gets on: Smarties who are willing to participate in an awkward 15-second interview with Alex Trebek after the first commercial break.

Website: https://www.jeopardy.com/be-on-j/faqs

2. “Wheel of Fortune”

How to Audition: Last year, over a million people requested the chance to audition for “Wheel of Fortune” and fewer than 600 people were selected to appear on the show. The first step to auditioning is to register on the Wheel’s website. They will notify you when the “Wheelmobile,” the traveling audition bus, is in your area.

From the show’s website: “Thousands of fans fill out applications and gather in front of the stage with a traveling version of the famous Wheel and Puzzle board. Applications are drawn at random throughout the event, calling individuals on stage in groups of five to participate in a brief interview, play a version of the “Wheel of Fortune” speed-up round and win special show-themed prizes. The most promising candidates are invited back to participate in final auditions for the show, usually held at a later date in the Wheelmobile host city. At the final auditions, Contestant Coordinators select the individuals who will appear on the show.”

Who gets on: Adults, college undergraduates and high school teenagers.

Website: https://www.wheeloffortune.com/be-a-contestant/

3. “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”

How to Audition: You can register to audition on the show’s website. To become a “Millionaire” contestant you must first pass the written test. If you do, you’ll then need to undergo a personal interview with a representative of the show. If you pass the audition process, you will be placed in the contestant pool and available for selection to play the game on a future show.

Who gets on: Smarties who are already a little rich. Seriously. You’ll need to pay for your own travel arrangements to Las Vegas in order to be on this show.

Website: http://www.dadt.com/millionaire/auditions/

4. “The Price is Right”

How to Audition: Contestants are usually chosen from among the ticket holders at each taping held in Los Angeles. Tickets are usually released six weeks in advance of the taping date. You can apply for free tickets on the website. You can also grab tickets at ThePriceIsRightLive.com if the show is on the road. Tickets for the traveling show will cost you, however. Who Gets On: Peppy adults who will jump up and down after winning a new vacuum cleaner.

Website: http://on-camera-audiences.com/shows/The_Price_is_Right

5. “Idiotest”

How to Audition: “Idiotest” is produced by the Game Show Network. Casting for all of GSN’s shows are announced on the front page of their website. They usually start casting just prior to the start of the season. To be a contestant, create an account on the website to sign up for available shows!Who Gets On: 80% of the 17 people who watch the Game Show Network

Website: https://www.gsntv.com/casting/

6. “Family Feud”

How to Audition: To have your chance at being next to Steve Harvey’s mustache, you can apply for tryouts online. Tryouts are mock run-throughs of the show and vary by location. If you’re not near one of the filming locations, you may also send in a recorded video.

Who Gets On: Enthusiastic families of five who can scream “Good answer!,” even when the answers are terrible.

Website: https://www.familyfeud.com/audition/

7-9. “Amazing Race,” “Survivor,” “Big Brother”

How to Audition: These are all reality game shows produced by CBS. The audition process varies a bit for each show, but the first step is to visit CBS’s casting website. Usually, you will be asked to send a video that showcases your personality along with a completed application. If you are selected for an interview, you’ll have to travel (on your own dime) to the nearest interview city. Applicants may also choose to attend an open casting in person, but are not required to do both for the preliminary application.

Who Gets On: Richard Hatch. People with a passport.

Website: http://www.cbs.com/casting/

Good luck, Penny Hoarders!

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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403(b) vs. 401(k): Here’s What You Need to Know if You’re Choosing Plans

Paper or plastic? Uber or Lyft? 403(b) or 401(k)?

It’s not often that you’re faced with the last choice. But if you’re a teacher, nurse or government employee, you may have been presented with this question before, because tax-exempt organizations can offer a 403(b) retirement plan, in addition to a traditional 401(k) option.

When you select the vehicle that will drive your investments, here are the things you should know about 403(b) and 401(k) plans.

403(b) vs. 401(k): What’s the Same?

Fundamentally, 403(b) and 401(k) plans are the same.

Both retirement plans are tax-deferred, meaning they protect you from paying taxes on contributions now and lower your annual taxable income, and you’ll pay taxes when you withdraw the funds.

The annual contribution limits, withdrawal requirements and rules for taking out a loan are the same as well.

403(b) vs. 401(k): What’s Different?

The differences are nuanced. 401(k) plans can be offered by any employer, while 403(b) plans are offered by tax-exempt organizations, such as nonprofits, religious groups, government organizations and school districts. While these organizations can also offer a 401(k), for-profit businesses don’t have the option of offering 403(b) plans.

The law allows tax-exempt organizations a pass on certain employer requirements, making administrative costs for a 403(b) less expensive. In turn, employer matches and contributions also aren’t as common for 403(b) plans as they are for 401(k)s.

And while annual contribution limits are the same, 403(b) plans have a unique provision called the maximum allowable contribution, aka MAC. It allows employees with at least 15 years of service to an employer to add an extra $ 3,000 to their annual contributions.

If you leave your employer, you’ll face the same rollover provisions for both plans, with one exception: You can roll a 403(b) into a 401(k), but not vice versa.

A 403(b) plan isn’t regulated as closely as a 401(k) plan. In exchange, administrative costs in 401(k) plans can be slightly higher.

  401(k) 403(b)
Eligibility Sponsored by any employer. Sponsored by a tax-exempt employer.
Annual contribution limits
(2018)
$ 18,500 if you’re under 50;
$ 24,500 if you’re 50 or older.
Same as a 401(k), but if you’ve been with your employer for 15 years or more, you can add an extra $ 3,000 to your contribution.
Investments Can contain almost any type of investment. Only contains mutual funds and annuities.
Rollovers Can be rolled over into traditional IRA or new employer-sponsored 401(k). Can be rolled over into traditional IRA or new employer-sponsored 403(b) or 401(k).
Required minimum distributions Withdrawals must begin no later than age 70 ½ Same, except for special allowances on pre-1987 amounts

If Your Employer Offers Both, Which Is Right for You?

If you’re looking to invest early and often, you can’t make a bad decision. But you should take a close look to ensure you’re making the best decision.

Get a list of the investment options and fees for both. While 403(b)s can only be invested in annuities and mutual funds, 401(k) plans have a wider pool of investments, including mutual funds, annuities, bonds, company stock and others.

Both can have very optimal or very suboptimal investments. It’s up to you to make sure the plan you choose is the one with the highest-performing and lowest-fee funds.  

Ultimately, the differences between a 403(b) and a 401(k) are small enough that your choice will likely come down to the options your employer has chosen inside your company’s plan more than the plan itself.

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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Ewan McGregor Joins ‘Birds of Prey’; Here’s Everything We Know

Ewan McGregor Joins 'Birds of Prey'; Here's Everything We Know

Margot Robbie will reprise her Suicide Squad role as Harley Quinn in the upcoming Birds of Prey; she will also serve as a producer. Her character was very much her own woman; smart, strong and sassy, she did whatever she felt was best for herself in any particular moment. So it should be exciting to see her lead the way in a project that's been described as a "girl gang movie."

Ewan McGregor, who most recently played a heroic family man in Christopher Robin (above), leads the…

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New ‘Flash Gordon’ on Its Way From ‘Overlord’ Director; Here’s Everything We Know

New 'Flash Gordon' on Its Way From 'Overlord' Director; Here's Everything We Know

Alex Raymond created Flash Gordon in a comic strip first published in January 1934 and the character soon leaped to the big screen. He appeared in a live-action television series in the 1950s and then debuted on the small screen in animated form in the late 1970s, leading to his return in a starring role in 1980's Flash Gordon.

Sam J. Jones starred in the beloved adventure, featuring a memorable soundtrack by Queen. With Queen getting their place in the sun this week, courtesy of the…

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Here’s your once-in-a-lifetime chance to own a Moon rock

moon rock auction

We’re all pretty familiar with the Moon from a very young age. It’s usually one of the first topics talked about in our earliest science classes in school, and we can see it most nights just by gazing skyward. But actually holding a piece of it in your hand is something that only a privileged few can claim they’ve done.

Now, a trio of Moon pieces is hitting the Sotheby’s auction block that will offer some lucky person the chance to own a piece of Earth’s largest natural satellite — as long as their pockets are deep enough.

Continue reading…

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Here’s your once-in-a-lifetime chance to own a Moon rock originally appeared on BGR.com on Tue, 30 Oct 2018 at 23:07:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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‘It’ Director Andy Muschietti Plans an ‘Attack on Titan’ Movie; Here’s Everything We Know

'It' Director Andy Muschietti Plans an 'Attack on Titan' Movie; Here's Everything We Know

After his achievement with last year's record-breaking adaptation of Stephen King's It, Andy Muschietti should be able to do anything his heart desires — once he delivers the sequel, It: Chapter Two, of course. For his next project, the filmmaker, who got his start turning his own short film into the feature Mama, care of mentorship from Guillermo del Toro, could even take things a little easy.

Instead, however, he is going for something more ambitious: according to Variety,…

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Here’s How The New FICO Credit Scoring Will Help Your Credit

Have you checked your credit score lately? Well, a new FICO credit scoring system is expected to debut in early 2019—and it may lead to a favorable boost in your credit if your bank activity is in line with standards.

The Fair Isaac Corp., the originators of the coveted FICO Score, is planning to create a more holistic credit scoring method. Traditionally, a borrower’s credit-worthiness has been calculated based on payment history (35%), amounts owed (30%), length of credit history (15%), new credit (10%), and credit mix (10%). Now, Fair Isaac Corp. will factor in a person’s ability to manage liquid assets such as checking, savings, and money-market accounts.

This new credit metric, the UltraFICO Score, is FICO’s solution to broadening lending eligibility. Experts believe this shift in credit scoring will increase access to credit products by leveraging consumer-driven bank information to assess an individual’s financial management capabilities. Lenders will now see an enhanced view of financial behavior that can impact lending outcomes and approval ratings.

Credit scores are synonymous to the report cards you get in school. It shows how well you’ve performed in a variety of financial areas to determine how likely you are to repay a loan. These scores are used by a variety of lenders to assess your credit personality and risk profile.

FICO estimates the UltraFICO Score scoring will improve credit access for the majority of Americans, especially those with credit scores ranging from the upper 500s to lower 600s and individuals with limited credit history or financially distressed individuals who are regaining their wind.

Most FICO scores range from 300 to 850, and the highest scores get access to the best interest rates in the market. According to FICO, the average FICO in the U.S. as of September 2018 was 704, rising approximately 15 points higher than average scores a decade ago when the recession was near its peak.

If you’re hoping the new credit scoring will work in your favor, pay close attention to the additional data points that will be taken into consideration and create a plan that will give you optimal results.

 

The post Here’s How The New FICO Credit Scoring Will Help Your Credit appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Krispy Kreme Is Giving Away Free Donuts on Halloween. Here’s How to Get One

Is your biggest Halloween fear that you somehow won’t find quite enough sugar this year?

Calm yourself: We’ve found a sweet solution.

Krispy Kreme is offering a free donut to folks in the holiday spirit this Halloween.

How to Get a Free Krispy Kreme Donut This Halloween

All you have to do is suit up in your Halloween costume and head over to your local Krispy Kreme on Wednesday, Oct. 31, to get a free donut.

Krispy Kreme goes all out for Halloween every year with a special collection of limited-time, Halloween-themed treats.

This year’s Halloween lineup includes two newbies: the Trick-or-Treat donut, a glazed donut dipped in salted caramel and covered in candy, and the Monster Batter donut, which is filled with cake batter and decorated with slime-green icing, monster eyes and candy confetti.

No purchase is necessary for this trick-free treat; however, the deal is only good at participating locations, so be sure to check with your local Krispy Kreme before suiting up.

Jamie Cattanach’s writing has been featured at The Write Life, Word Riot, Nashville Review and elsewhere. Find @JamieCattanach on Twitter to wave hello.

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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New ‘Clueless’ on Its Way; Here’s Everything We Know

New 'Clueless' on Its Way; Here's Everything We Know

Whether it's Clue or Clueless, Hollywood is revisiting all the modern classics. How can something so unique and beloved as Clueless be picked for a redo? Well, even though the original is the quintessential '90s teen comedy, complete with a ska song on the soundtrack, it's already a remake of — or modernized take on — Jane Austen's Emma. So, why not give it another update?

Deadline reports that a Clueless remake is in early development at Paramount, but details are so scant…

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Richard Linklater to Make a Bill Hicks Biopic; Here’s Everything We Know

Richard Linklater to Make a Bill Hicks Biopic; Here's Everything We Know

Richard Linklater has proven himself a versatile filmmaker over the years, but he's never attempted a biopic. He's made a movie about real people, namely Bernie, but he's never depicted the life of a famous figure. Until now. According to Collider, the Boyhood and Dazed and Confused helmer will write and direct a movie about the late stand-up comedian Bill Hicks. 

Here's everything we know about the project so far:

Who was Bill Hicks?

Hicks was a comedian…

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Here’s why Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are postponing their USA tour

And it all makes sense.

Credit: Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are currently undertaking their first official long royal tour, journeying through Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and the Kingdom of Tonga together.

To say that they have been a hit would be a huge understatement, with the royal newlyweds making viral news every day, from their sweet comments about their future arrival to their warm greetings with members of the public.

meghan markle prince harry cutest moments

Getty Images

From Meghan staying up late to bake banana bread for their host family to Prince Harry having his beard stroked by a very young fan, these two might have accomplished one of the most successful (and friendly) royal tours ever.

It’s hardly surprising therefore that there is a high demand for the royal couple to visit other countries too, with many questioning when a tour around the United States would take place.

meghan markle

Credit: Chris Putnam/REX/Shutterstock

Well, according to TMZ, a royal tour of the USA was supposed to take place in Spring 2019. It has now however been postponed.

But why the push back? Well, for their baby!

meghan markle and prince harry cutest moments

Tim Rooke/REX/Shutterstock

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are set to welcome their newborn in Spring 2019, with an exact due date not yet announced.

It’s hardly surprising therefore that the royal couple want to wait a bit before they travel to America.

They’re sure to have their hands full!

The post Here’s why Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are postponing their USA tour appeared first on Marie Claire.

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Halloween is coming, so here’s a state-by-state roundup of the most popular horror movies

Favorite horror movies

It’s that time of year again.

Break out the popcorn, dump some candy into the trick-or-treaters’ bags, and settle in for some scary movies. It’s interesting — horror is a particularly buzzy genre right now thanks in part to programs like The Haunting of Hill House and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, both of which have just debuted on Netflix and garnered plenty of online chatter.

The genre is also definitely resilient at the box office, because think about it — what better way to get scared out of your mind watching a horror movie than on a giant screen in a dark room with a bunch of strangers? Heck, people love horror films so much there’s even a streaming service dedicated to horror-related content.

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Halloween is coming, so here’s a state-by-state roundup of the most popular horror movies originally appeared on BGR.com on Sun, 28 Oct 2018 at 14:07:53 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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Clueless is being rebooted, so here’s a few other sacred TV shows and films we need to protect

No one told us life was gonna be this way.

90s movie reboots
Moviestore Collection/REX/Shutterstock

There are two kinds of people. First, you have the kind of people who can’t wait for the newly announced Clueless reboot. And secondly, you have people like me: who honestly can’t think of anything worse. Not because I don’t like the film – in fact, I’m obsessed with it – but because it was just so perfect and of its time. Deadline broke the news earlier today that a Clueless remake is currently in ‘early development’ over at Paramount and it’s being helmed by two women whose projects you’ve probably seen recently. Tracy Oliver, who wrote Girls Trip, will be producing the project while Marquita Robinson, who’s behind Netflix’s Glow, will be in charge of the script.

Although the outlet revealed they were currently unsure ‘whether it’s a fresh new take for the millennium and if older characters will be reprising their roles’, I don’t think either option is a great shout. (I’ve learned that the long, hard way after Sex and the City 2 and Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.) Like it or not, it seems like it’s full steam ahead. Cher and Josh, I adore you but I don’t know if I can come with you on this journey.

After seeing the announcement come out, it got me thinking about which other classic movies and television shows that Hollywood should just leave the hell alone. By virtue of putting them on this list though, I’m also 150% certain that there are definitely talks behind the scenes about reboots and remakes happening RN. If there’s anything 2018 has taught me, it’s that nothing is sacred anymore. Here’s a few 90s classics and early 00s beauties that should never be rebooted…

Friends

friends sibling theory

NBC via Getty Images

Like Clueless, Friends was this bolt of lightning that just captured a specific cultural moment. Although people have started picking apart the show and exposing its un-PC 90s underbelly, the tale of six pals in New York remains one of the most beloved television shows and continues to spur debates on whether or not Ross and Rachel were really on a break. Nobody will ever be able to fill the shoes that Matthew Perry, Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, David Scwhimmer and Matt LeBlanc have left behind and capture their chemistry IMO, so there’s no point in even trying to remake the entire series. The jury’s still out on whether or not a Friends movie is going to happen with them reprising their roles but I honestly don’t think that’s going to happen.

If you’re really keen on seeing what life was like for Monica and Chandler after Friends, an interior design company redesigned Monica’s iconic Friends apartment for the 21st century. It’s actually pretty cool and I’d move in if I could afford it.

Back to the Future

90s movie reboots

Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock

I swear, every film student I talked to when I was at uni waxed lyrical about this film. The adventures of Marty McFly and Doc hold a very special place in my heart and seeing anybody try to recreate that magic would hurt. Even though the Back to the Future series succeeded with one of their stellar sequels, it wasn’t magic every time. Please, I can’t do cowboys again.

Matilda

Roald Dahl’s novel was one of the first books I ever really resonated with as a kid and unsurprisingly, the film was no different. This 1996 film captured the zany brilliance of the original story with a spectacular over-the-top approach to the story, bringing to life memorable scenes like the Chokey and Miss Trunchbull literally tossing a girl miles away by her braids. I can’t imagine a better Matilda than Mara Wilson TBH and if you haven’t checked in on her in years, go follow her on Twitter – she’s amazing.

The original Harry Potter series

harry potter costumes

I’ve resigned myself to the fact that whether I like it or not, this is probably going to happen in five years. Nobody, not even J.K. Rowling, can let this beloved franchise go and I think it’s time we all pull a Daniel Radcliffe: hold it in our hearts forever, make our peace with it and move onto other things. The sound of John Williams’ orchestral opening still sends shivers down my spine and we all remember that moment that the doors were thrown open and we saw the Great Hall for the first time; I don’t think anything’s ever going to top that. Plus, let’s be real – who else would really be able to play the original trio but Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint? (Side note: if a remake has to happen, I want it to be in decades and for Daniel Radcliffe to play Professor Dumbledore.)

Bernard’s Watch

My friend Conor once said to me on a night out, ‘If I had Bernard’s watch, I would f*** shit up.’ Bernard’s Watch was such a sweet, wholesome television show and after hearing my pal say that, I don’t trust the powers at be not to abuse the power a magical watch will give a gen Y kid. It probably won’t even be a watch, it’ll probably be an app on an unbranded smartphone and even just typing that out makes me furious that I’ve already thought about this.

Ab Fab

This laugh out loud British comedy remains one of the funniest shows ever and even now, the tales of the chain-smoking, vodka-drinking and totally over it all duo remain some of my favourites. If there was to be a reboot or remake, the only way I’d come around to it would be if Jennifer Saunders was attached to write or direct since she was the one that brought the magic the first time round as one of the show’s main writers and playing Edina Monsoon. We’ve already gotten a sequel movie which wasn’t great, let’s not push our luck here.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

GIPHY

Even though The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was intended originally for American audiences, after it started airing on BBC 2 it became a British cult classic. People love this show (and the opening song which everybody seems to know backwards), so seeing it rebooted for a 21st century audience would be kind of devastating. Plus, the cast of Fresh Prince have since shut down any possibility of a revival since James Avery – who played Uncle Phil – sadly passed away.

Alfonso Ribeira, who played Carlton, told PEOPLE, ‘I think it’s impossible with James Avery being gone. Do we really want to see Will and Carlton in their, you know, 40s and 50s?’

He added, ‘James Avery, right, he’s actually the most important character on the show. … Without him, everything that Will and Carlton did would mean nothing.’

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

GIPHY

I’m still in denial that this reboot is happening. Buffy was one of the first real feminist television icons I ever came across and she’s stayed with me ever since: I’m literally going to a Buffy the Vampire Slayer-themed Halloween party this weekend. The butt-kicking adventures of the vampire slayer were my highlight growing up and seeing how much the Scooby gang cared for one another set the bar high for my own friendships, supernatural disasters and end-of-the-world crises aside. It was bold for its time and I literally can’t stop thinking about some of the show’s episodes, including the quiet, unexpected death of Buffy’s mother and Hush – the experimental completely silent episode.

According to the new showrunner Monica Owusu-Breen, the upcoming Buffy show won’t be a reboot and instead will centre on ‘a new Slayer’. I mean, I’m still not convinced but I’ll reserve judgement till we actually get to see it.

Any Amanda Bynes romcom

90s movie reboots

Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock

What a Girl WantsShe’s the Man? Honestly, we were #blessed to grow up with a bounty of Amanda Bynes’ films and TV shows. People aren’t going to be poring over any of these flicks at film school or championing them as a bastion of romance genre excellence, but I still don’t want anybody to touch them. Although Amanda Bynes has faded from the spotlight and gone pretty quiet recently, she was the funny, sassy girl that I desperately wanted to be. Nobody will ever hold a candle to her.

Live-action Studio Ghibli films

90s movie reboots

Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock

Disney’s currently on the live-action remake hype train and if Studio Ghibli hops on it, I’m going to lose my shit. These Japanese animated films are untouchable with the likes of Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle and Kiki’s Delivery Services beloved globally. They were brought over to English audiences pretty respectfully (a rare feat) and even attracted voice acting talent like Christian Bale, Lauren Bacall, Joseph Gordon Levitt and Emily Blunt.

That said, my skin actually crawls at the thought of Hollywood making a live-action Spirited Away – mostly because I’m terrified they would white-wash it and cast Scarlett Johansson as Chihiro. Never forgive, never forget Ghost in the Shell.

I’m sure there’s a ton of films and shows I’ve missed, but I’d be here all day if I listed them all. Off the top of my head, I wouldn’t be able to bear reboots of Fight Club, Die Hard, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Saved by the Bell.

Are there any films or shows you actually want to see rebooted?

The post Clueless is being rebooted, so here’s a few other sacred TV shows and films we need to protect appeared first on Marie Claire.

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Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment Starts Nov. 1. Here’s How to Sign Up

When it comes to electing health care coverage, deadlines matter. Miss one, and you could find yourself facing thousands of dollars in medical bills down the road.

Starting Nov. 1 and ending Dec. 15 (in most states), uninsured Americans can sign up for coverage under the Affordable Care Act or renew the coverage they already have.

If you want coverage in 2019, you must enroll during these 45 days unless you later have a qualifying life event, such as getting married or divorced.

Some younger and healthier people may not think coverage is worth the monthly premiums.

But think again, says Gerald Kominski, a professor of health policy and management at UCLA.

“There’s the idea that ‘I take care of myself, I live a healthy lifestyle, I eat well, I don’t smoke — I’m going to be healthy and live forever,’” he says. “Nobody knows what the future holds. People with perfectly healthy lifestyles get sick every day.”

What’s New This Year Under the Affordable Care Act

For the first time since the Health Insurance Marketplace — a federally run service where people can shop for and enroll in private insurance — opened five years ago, Americans will not have to pay a financial penalty for failing to obtain insurance. But experts say it’s still critical to buy coverage.

It costs up to $ 7,500 to fix a broken leg, about $ 30,000 for three days in the hospital and into the hundreds of thousands of dollars to treat cancer, HealthCare.gov says. The average visit to an emergency room in 2016 cost $ 1,917, according to the Health Care Cost Institute.

Most working people can’t cover that kind of expense with their salaries or savings, says Kominski — who, three decades ago as a graduate student, needed an appendectomy that cost $ 15,000. Because he had a student policy, he says, his share was less than $ 100.

In addition, health insurance plans that provide free or low-cost preventive services and promote the early identification of problems reduce the likelihood that more expensive and extensive treatment will be needed later, said Jay Wolfson, professor of public health, medicine and pharmacy at the University of South Florida. Thus, they benefit even people who are healthy — or appear to be.

And when healthier people buy insurance, it costs less for everyone, he said.

How To Shop For an Insurance Plan in the Marketplace

Start by going to HealthCare.gov and clicking “get ready to apply” if you plan to enroll for the first time or “get ready to keep/change” if you had a 2018 plan through the Marketplace, also known as the “exchange.”

Some states operate their own exchanges. If you live in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington or the District of Columbia, you must apply through your state.

Application deadlines are slightly later in California, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Rhode Island, so be sure to call or check your state exchange’s website. In general, coverage begins Jan. 1, 2019.

Online, you’ll learn how to estimate your 2019 income for the application and find a checklist of information you’ll need, such a such as household size, the Social Security numbers and birthdates of your family members, W-2 forms or pay stubs and policy numbers of any current health insurance. Coverage is available only to U.S. citizens and legal residents.

With insurance through the Marketplace, you’ll pay a deductible and coinsurance — a percentage of a covered health service — of 10% to 40%, depending on which plan you choose. You’ll have to pay only up to an out-of-pocket maximum, and there are no yearly or lifetime dollar limits.

You’ll also get the benefit of discounts that insurance companies negotiate with health care providers. People without insurance pay almost two times as much for care, according to HealthCare.gov.

How to Apply, What’s Covered and What Help Is Available

You can apply by phone, in person with help from a navigator — a person specially trained to walk you through the process — through an agent or broker or by mail with a paper application. Volunteers certified by the Marketplace also may be available through nonprofit organizations such as community health centers or hospitals.

Coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace is intended for those not covered by insurance at work or by government programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, Tricare (for members of the military, veterans and their families) or CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Plan.

Plans that comply with the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare, cannot discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. They also must cover birth control and breastfeeding equipment and counseling, plus 10 “essential” services:

  • Outpatient care.
  • Emergency services.
  • Hospitalization.
  • Pregnancy, maternity and newborn care.
  • Mental health and substance abuse services.
  • Prescription drugs.
  • Mental and physical rehabilitation for people with injuries, disabilities or chronic conditions.
  • Laboratory services.
  • Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management.
  • Pediatric treatment, including dental and vision care.

You’ll pay different premiums and out-of-pocket costs depending on the plan you choose. The government will subsidize your premiums if your income is between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level.

Currently, that’s $ 12,140 to $ 48,560 for a single person and $ 25,1000 to $ 100,400 for a family of four. Income eligibility levels are expected to rise slightly for 2019; the new figures won’t be available until Nov. 1, 2018.

The lower your income, the higher the premium tax credit you’re eligible for (i.e. the help you’ll receive).

What Kind of Plans Are Available?

Insurers sell plans in four categories: Bronze (the least coverage and the lowest premiums), Silver, Gold and Platinum (the most coverage and the highest premiums). Depending on where you live, you may find several types of plans at each level.

You’ll want to make sure your doctors are in the plan you choose and that your prescription medications are covered.

You may have a choice of:

  • An exclusive provider organization (EPO), which covers services provided only by doctors and hospitals in a network, except in an emergency. You aren’t required to choose a primary care provider.
  • A health maintenance organization (HMO), which requires you to obtain care from doctors who work for or contract with the HMO, except in an emergency. You may have to live or work in the HMO service area.
  • A point of service plan (POS), which charges less if you use health care providers that belong to a network and requires you to get a referral from your primary care doctor to see a specialist.
  • A preferred provider organization (PPO), in which you pay less for in-network providers, but you can go to out-of-network providers for an additional fee. You don’t need a referral to go to a specialist.

Average unsubsidized premiums vary widely from state to state. The price of the Silver plan for a 27-year-old single nonsmoker ranges from a low of $ 278 per month in Indiana to $ 709 per month in Wyoming, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The figures apply only to the 39 states that use the HealthCare.gov platform. About 9 million people have coverage through those exchanges, according to the federal government.

Catastrophic Insurance

Catastrophic insurance is another alternative available to people younger than 30 and those who can claim a hardship exemption, such as homelessness, domestic violence or bankruptcy. You must apply for the exemption.

On the upside, catastrophic plans cover the 10 essential health benefits, offer specific preventive services for free and cover at least three visits to a doctor annually before the deductible is met. They also cost about one-third as much as more comprehensive plans.

The large downside is that the deductible — the amount the patient has to pay before the insurance company starts sharing the cost — is $ 7,900. Additionally, these policyholders aren’t eligible for a premium tax credit.

Kominski of UCLA suggests that consumers compare the coverage and cost of a lower-tier plan in the Marketplace before choosing a catastrophic plan.

Coverage That Doesn’t Meet Affordable Care Act Standards

As of Oct. 1, 2018, low-cost health policies became available for a one-year term, renewable for up to three years. Previously, they were sold for a three-month period of coverage only, and were considered stopgap insurance plans for people between jobs or otherwise temporarily without insurance.

It’s important to be aware that these policies don’t comply with the mandates of the Affordable Care Act, meaning they don’t have to cover people with pre-existing conditions or pay for any of the services the act deems essential.

Kominski warns that low-cost policies may seem attractive — until you need medical care. He compares them to a car that’s cheap, but only because it doesn’t have airbags or comply with air-quality standards.

“If you’re shopping for price, you’re going to get what you pay for,” he said. “If you want to expose yourself to risk, we can make health care really affordable.”

Susan Jacobson is an editor at The Penny Hoarder. She also writes about health and wellness. Follow her @SusanJacobson44.

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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Your Long-Forgotten Yahoo Email Could Get You Up to $375. Here’s Why

Did you have a Yahoo email address between 2012 and 2016? Then listen up, because you could be eligible for a piece of Yahoo’s $ 50 million settlement pie.

Yahoo has agreed to pay $ 50 million in damages and provide two years of free credit monitoring services to 200 million people whose information was stolen in the largest security breach in history.

If you thought Equifax was bad, an estimated 2.9 billion accounts were compromised in this breach in 2013 and 2014. Yahoo didn’t disclose the breach until 2016.

How much can you expect to receive if you’re one of the select 200 million?

Yahoo will compensate account holders $ 25 per hour for the trouble it caused them, i.e., the time it took to deal with any identity theft issues. Those with documented losses can ask for up to 15 hours of lost time, or $ 375. Those who can’t document losses can file claims seeking up to five hours, or $ 125.

But don’t go looking for your check yet. You’ll have to wait on the federal court’s approval of the settlement, which is scheduled for Nov. 29.

Once the settlement’s approved, you’ll need to fill out a claim to receive compensation. Yahoo will notify eligible U.S. citizens through email, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Just so you don’t forget how much information Yahoo still has on you.

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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‘Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms’ Looks Magical and Dazzling; Here’s Everything We Know

'Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms' Looks Magical and Dazzling; Here's Everything We Know

The story that inspired Disney's The Nutcracker and the Four Realms dates back to the early 19th century, adapted most famously into a ballet that became enormously popular in recent years. It tells of a toy that comes to life and engages in battle with an evil royal ruler; much of the story takes place in a magical world, filled with wondrous creations.

Now the story has been adapted into a new adventure that looks dazzling; it will open in theaters everywhere on November 2. Here's…

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‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Promises to Rock the House; Here’s Everything We Know

'Bohemian Rhapsody' Promises to Rock the House; Here's Everything We Know

In Bohemian Rhapsody, Rami Malek portrays Freddie Mercury, who became the charismatic lead singer of the fledgling rock band Queen and led them to stardom. Their hits included "We Will Rock You," "We Are the Champions" and "Another One Bites the Dust." It was a journey not without its troubles, perhaps most notably due to Mercury's own private life and public tribulations.

Advance word on the film has been very positive. It will open in theaters everywhere…

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Mortgage Rates Are Rising. Here’s What That Means if You Want to Buy a Home

Earlier this year, mortgage rates hit a seven-year high, fueling speculation that it was time to buy if you were in the market for a new house.

But mortgage rates have continued to climb since then — up nearly a full percentage point this year to 4.85% in mid-October. And data from the National Association of Realtors suggests potential homebuyers may finally be feeling the pinch.

Existing home sales have fallen 4% since January, and the number of new homes under construction has dropped 10% during the same period.

So far, a monthly mortgage payment on a $ 250,000 home has gone up about $ 150, Freddie Mac Deputy Chief Economist Leonard Kiefer told The Penny Hoarder. “And that is quite substantial.”

And with the Fed likely to raise interest rates further in the coming year, it will just get pricier to take out a mortgage in 2019.

“Economists across the board are starting to forecast higher rates,” Kiefer said. And a lack of new housing just keeps pushing home prices up.

Still, there is some pent-up homebuying demand. The U.S. has one of the tightest labor markets in years, so the market might see modest growth in 2019, despite rate increases.

So if you are ready to make the leap from renting to buying, there are concrete ways to find savings.

Mortgage rates and housing prices vary across U.S. cities and lenders, Kiefer said. So if you are still planning to buy a home, make sure to do your research on the local market. Also, shop around for the lowest mortgage rate possible.

Getting one additional quote before locking in a rate and buying a home could save you $ 1,500 over the life of the loan, according to Freddie Mac.

Once you find the right rate, here are some other slick ways to save money on your mortgage.

Alex Mahadevan is a data journalist at The Penny Hoarder. He’s feeling the sting of regret for not shopping around for his mortgage.

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 Beards, the Pitchers and a Rivalry Reborn. Here’s Your Guide to the Red Sox-Dodgers 2018 World Series

Let’s face it: the 2018 World Series, between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Boston Red Sox, doesn’t exactly ooze charm. This matchup of coastal metropoles features the team with the highest team payroll in the league — Boston, at around $ 228 million — against a club clocking in at number three — the Dodgers, who shelled out nearly $ 200 million to win the National League pennant. Boston’s been awash in championships, and another one will spark millions of eye rolls outside of New England. Ever since the Curse of the Bambino ended when Boston won the World Series in 2004, the Sox have won two more titles, in 2007 and 2013. Over the past decade, each of Boston’s four major pro sports franchises has lifted at least one championship trophy.

Sure, the Dodgers haven’t won a World Series in 30 years. But Los Angeles is, well, Los Angeles. No one’s darling.

Still, this could be a terrific series. So stop obsessing over your fantasy football team or LeBron on the Lakers or the midterm elections or whatever you’re obsessing about, and enjoy the Fall Classic.

The World Series starts tonight. Here are few quick things to know:

Battle of the Beards. Each team has a talented player with bushy red stubble covering their faces. You can always pick a favorite and go from there. In Game 2 of the National League Championship Series, Los Angeles was six outs away from falling behind 0-2 to Milwaukee before Justin Turner hit a two-run home run that gave the Dodgers a 4-3 lead. Los Angeles won the game, and the series in seven. Turner’s do has inspired Halloween costumes, and this year he was nominated for MLB’s Roberto Clemente Award thanks to his off-the-field philanthropy. Boston’s bearded closer Craig Kimbrel hunches over and dangles his right arm like a bat’s wing before every pitch. He’s also struggled for much of this post-season, giving up runs in four straight playoff games before he quieted the Houston Astros in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series and closed out that series. According to former Red Sox reliever Eric Gagne, Kimbrel had been tipping his pitches: he texted this info to Boston manager Alex Cora, who passed it along to Kimbrel before his effective outing. As a player, Gagne enjoyed his best years in Los Angeles. After sharing info that could have given the Dodgers and advantage, no one’s buying Gagne any Dodger Dogs.

About That Drought. If any team’s due for a World Series title, it’s Los Angeles. Although the Dodgers haven’t won a championship in three decades, LA’s reached the playoffs a dozen times since ’88, and won the National League West six years running, falling just a game short against the Houston Astros in last year’s World Series. You’ll be sure to see many 30th anniversary replays of Kirk Gibson’s legendary home run in the bottom of the ninth of Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, when the injured slugger gave LA a walk-off win against the heavily favored Oakland A’s. (The Dodgers won the Series in five games). Poor Dennis Eckersley. The former Oakland reliever made the Hall of Fame, but at this point may be better known for giving up that homer to Gibson. Eckersley’s now a broadcaster… for the Red Sox.

Price Is (Finally) Right? Both teams have top-shelf starting pitchers that can keep the games tight. For Los Angeles, Clayton Kershaw’s likely headed to the Hall of Fame: he won Game 5 of the NLCS against Milwaukee then closed out Game 7 — and the NL pennant — with a quick inning of work. He’ll face Boston ace Chris Sale in tonight’s Game 1. But it’s the performance of another starter that’s giving Boston hope. David Price has struggled in the postseason; against Houston in Game 5 of the ALCS, however, Price pitched six shutout innings, and struck out nine Astros, leading Boston to a series-clinching victory. Price will start Game 2 against of the World Series, on Wednesday night.

Manny Being Manny. The Dodgers won the trade deadline this summer, when LA acquired Baltimore shortstop Manny Machado — one of the transcendent talents in the game — for five prospects. Look for Boston’s fans, never a reticent lot, to boo him hard. You see, a season ago Machado drove his spikes into the knee of Boston’s Justin Pedroia on a slide. Boston retaliated by throwing at Machado, and Machado hurled about 100 F’bombs at the Red Sox. In the ALCS, Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich called Machado a “dirty player” due to some of his baserunning habits (like appearing to kick people). Machado will sign a monster contract somewhere after this season. But LA’s trade deadline bet has paid off: the Dodgers, with Machado in tow, are back in the Fall Classic.

Rivalry Reborn? Fans might not remember the prior Fall Classic between these two franchises, in 1916 : the Red Sox faced the Brooklyn Robins, who became the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1932, who became the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1958. The Sox beat the Robins in five. Boston and LA forged a legendary basketball rivalry, as the Celtics have met the Los Angeles Lakers 11 times in the NBA Finals, with the Celtics winning eight of those meetings (Boston also defeated the Minneapolis Lakers in the 1959 Finals). Boston’s fans hated LA so much, they implored the Philadelphia 76ers to “Beat LA! Beat LA!” as Philly knocked the Celtics out of the 1982 playoffs. (The Lakers beat the Sixers in the Finals that year). Like it or not, both baseball teams have the money and talent to make return trips to the World Series. If Boston-LA is a budding baseball rivalry, let’s just hope for a stellar first act.

Sports – TIME

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John Lennon and Yoko Ono Biopic in the Works From ‘Big Little Lies’ Director; Here’s Everything We Know

John Lennon and Yoko Ono Biopic in the Works From 'Big Little Lies' Director; Here's Everything We Know

We'll never have too many Beatles biopics. From the band's early days in Liverpool to their stint in Hamburg to the assassination of John Lennon, filmmakers continue to be fascinated with the stories of the Fab Four (and the former and unofficial band members, too). Now it's time for the relationship of Lennon and Yoko Ono to make its way to the big screen.

There was something to this effect in the '80s on British TV (featuring Doctor Who's Peter Capaldi as George…

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Here’s why everyone’s talking about Jennifer Aniston’s controversial Friends revelation

And we can’t deal

Rex

After ten years of being there for us, Friends left our screens in 2004 – leaving a Central Perk shaped hole in our hearts – and we’re still not over it.

Yes it may have been 14 years since Chandler, Rachel, Ross, Monica, Phoebe and Joey made their last appearances but it still feels like it was just yesterday.

We’re still deeply invested in Rachel and Ross’ tumultuous relationship, we’ve never given up hope on Parker (Alec Baldwin) coming back into our lives, and are we the only ones confused by our feelings for Ben now that he’s grown up and starring in Riverdale?

Despite their relationship statuses being more uncertain than Brexit and the characters moving house and changing their jobs far too frequently, there was of course one constant on the show, Rachel Green’s perfect hair.

friends favourite character matt leblanc

The cast of Friends

From the iconic bob to the long layered look, everyone wanted ‘the Rachel’, no matter what season we were on.

The only issue of course was that no one was actually able to maintain ‘the Rachel’ other than Jennifer Aniston herself.

Flashback to all of us having a meltdown when we realised that we had cut all of our hair off and still looked nothing like Jennifer Aniston.

Yes, surprise surprise only Jennifer Aniston can pull of ‘the Rachel’ – a look created by iconic hairstylist Chris McMillan, but according to the actress, even she couldn’t handle the look.

Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer Aniston

While winning the 2018 Hairstylist of the Year award, Jen was given the honour of introducing Chris to the stage, but not before she told the whole world of the woes of ‘the Rachel’ upkeep behind the scenes.

‘You feel beautiful, you feel sexy, you feel alive, and then you feel screwed because no one has the ability to actually do what Chris did to this haircut,’ she explained to the audience. ‘I used to call it “The Rachel” years when I got that haircut. That was like “wow, this is amazing” and then I was totally left with this, like, Greek, frizzy mop on my head, because I had no idea how to do what he did.’

She concluded: ‘No one seems to know how to do what Chris does. I figured out that’s called creating job security, so well done Chris on that.’

Well at least it’s not just us that couldn’t cope with the iconic look – if you’ll excuse us, we’re off to burn all of the photos of us in the 90s.

The post Here’s why everyone’s talking about Jennifer Aniston’s controversial Friends revelation appeared first on Marie Claire.

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Here’s how you should behave at those upcoming company holiday parties

Christmas starts earlier and earlier each year. And there are a lot of folks right now planning their company party. So let me be the first of many to offer advice on holiday party behavior: First, don’t do or say anything that would make your 10-year-old snitch to mommy or daddy. (Pretend your kid is…
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Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga Join ‘Annabelle 3’; Here’s Everything We Know

Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga Join 'Annabelle 3'; Here's Everything We Know

We were first introduced to a diabolical doll named Annabelle in The Conjuring. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga starred as experienced paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, who were called upon to help a Rhode Island family in 1971.

The horror thriller was a breakout success, leading to the spin-off feature Annabelle. That film was also quite popular, inspiring a prequel, Annabelle: Creation that explored the doll's origins, as well as a promised third installment in the…

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‘The Curse of La Llorona’ Trailer Introduces the Terrifying “Weeping Woman”; Here’s Everything We Know

'The Curse of La Llorona' Trailer Introduces the Terrifying

Between the Saw series, the Insidious movies and The Conjuring Universe, James Wan has become one of history's greatest horror franchise producers. Now he's shepherding another to theaters, if The Curse of La Llorona proves as successful as all his other brands. There's already been enough confidence in the upcoming feature for Wan to pluck its director for The Conjuring 3. 

The first teaser trailer for La Llorona further promises something to look forward to, especially for…

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Living the Gig Life? You Might Still Need Life Insurance. Here’s How to Get It

There’s a reason you chose this life. Being an independent contractor provides a certain level of freedom. You might set your own hours. Maybe you work from your back porch that overlooks the lake. Perhaps it drives you harder, because when you work more, you’ll earn more.

Whether you’re spending your time behind the wheel as a driver with Uber or Lyft, writing articles on parenting or selling your bookkeeping services, life as an independent contractor comes with some serious benefits… and pitfalls.

Without that steady paycheck, you might also be missing key benefits, such as employer-sponsored insurance. Perhaps you’ve already thought about your medical coverage and dealt with it. Kudos.

But what about term life insurance? You know, the insurance that takes care of your loved ones if something should happen to you? Do you need it? How do you get it? How much do you need?

Here’s the scoop.

Do You Need Life Insurance?

Woman painting
wundervisuals/Getty Images

Life insurance is something you buy to help protect your family. You don’t want to think about it, but what would happen if your were to die tomorrow? Could your family get by without your income? Would they have enough for the mortgage? Who would pay the funeral costs?

If you’re making a decent income and have family that depends on you to help pay the bills and put food on the table, you probably should have life insurance. Not sure if you need it? Here are some examples of people who do and do not need life insurance policies.

How Much Is Enough?

DJ playing music
charliemarcos/Getty Images

How much insurance you need depends on who is depending on you and how many bills and obligations you leave behind. Do you have kids? If so, you want to think about their future, including college. How about a house with a mortgage? Are you a business owner? There are a lot of questions to consider when taking out a policy.

Here’s the good news: Life insurance is probably cheaper than you think. A whopping 44% of millennials believe the cost of life insurance to be more than it is… five times more, according to a 2018 Insurance Barometer Survey by LIMRA.

Folks, protecting your family with life insurance simply isn’t as expensive as you think.

How to Find Affordable Life Insurance

Architect building model
jacoblund/Getty Images

But what if you don’t have employer-sponsored coverage? As an independent contractor, you won’t be able to have that benefit simply taken out of your paycheck, but that doesn’t mean you can’t easily find a good policy that fits your life.

A company like Policygenius offers you an easy way for anyone to compare and buy life insurance. The search engine allows you to compare policies and get instant quotes. Once you find the right fit, you can apply right online.

If you’re young and mostly healthy, consider purchasing term life insurance online from Ethos. It partners with a major A-rated life insurance carrier to provide policies for a low price. For example, $ 30 a month could get your family $ 1 million of coverage.

Anyone, including independent contractors, can secure term life insurance through Ethos without a medical exam or extensive paperwork; just fill out a digital application.

You don’t need employer-sponsored life insurance; you just need to take a few minutes to jump online and find a policy that will work for you and yours.

Love Your Freelance Life, But Protect It As Well

A band performing live
recep-bg/Getty Images

You don’t have to give up your independent contractor life to get 9-to-5 style benefits. It’s 2018, and there are more options than ever.

Go ahead; keep working from your back porch or your car. Just take a few moments to look into life insurance so, if the unthinkable should happen, your family will be protected. You won’t even need to put on shoes and pants to do it.

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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Idris Elba to Play Another Villain in ‘Cats’; Here’s Everything We Know

Idris Elba to Play Another Villain in 'Cats'; Here's Everything We Know

Broadway fans who also love movies have a lot to anticipate. Not only has Lin-Manuel Miranda set his directorial debut with an adaptation of Jonathan Larson's autobiographical show Tick, Tick…Boom!, but there is also finally a Cats movie on its way. Andrew Lloyd Webber's long-running musical was announced for the big screen back in 2016; the movie is now gearing up with a cast list.

The latest comes from Variety, which reports Idris Elba is in final negotiations to join the…

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Disney’s Live-Action ‘Aladdin’ Conjures Up a Trailer; Here’s Everything We Know

Disney's Live-Action 'Aladdin' Conjures Up a Trailer; Here's Everything We Know

Disney's live-action adaptations of their animated classics are serious business. Even this year's Christopher Robin quietly grossed more than $ 180 million worldwide. There are many more to come, including four features arriving in 2019 alone: Dumbo, Aladdin, The Lion King and Lady and the Tramp, the last of which hits the new streaming service Disney Play later in the year. 

Aladdin is sure to be huge, as the 1992 animated version is considered a favorite among all Disney's…

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Today Is National Dessert Day. Here’s Where to Get Free Sweets

Halloween is still a couple of weeks away, but if you’re looking to accelerate your tooth decay early, October 14 is National Dessert Day. And as with any good food holiday, plenty of restaurants are hoping to lure you in with Dessert Day deals.

Many major chains are jumping on the coattails of the “holiday,” mainly as a tool to nudge customers into downloading their app or spend more on a meal. But if you’re planning to eat out anyway, there’s no reason not to take advantage of the National Dessert Day offers.

Here are some of the freebies you’ll find at national chains today.

Baskin-Robbins

Get a free regular sized scoop when you download the company’s app

Carvel

Join the Fudgie Fanatics club and you’ll get a free sundae when you buy one.

Cinnabon

Get a free Minibon cinnamon roll when you sign up for emails from the chain.

Coco’s Bakery

Join the eClub and get a free slice of pie.

Dairy Queen

Download the app and you’ll get a free small Blizzard.

Krispy Kreme

A free doughnut awaits when you sign up for the Simple & Sweet rewards program

Marble Slab Creamery

Want free ice cream? Join the company’s rewards program.

Mrs. Fields

The cookie chain isn’t giving away freebies, but you can get 15% off of online orders the entire month.

Quiznos

Buy a sub on Sunday and you’ll get a free dessert thrown in

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The Stock Market Cleaned Out Billionaires Over the Past Week. Here’s Who Lost the Most

Billionaires have won big in the long-running bull market that may be teetering on the edge of ending. But they’re also set to lose big. Over the past week, the world’s wealthiest have collectively dropped about $ 50 billion in estimated net worth.

What’s $ 50 billion among the world’s uber-rich? Enough to leave a mark, that’s for sure, but they aren’t hurting for cash–yet. For perspective though, in addition to being the amount of evaporating wealth, $ 50 billion is also the amount of the U.S. trade deficit in July, the first round of Trump’s tariffs against China, and the market value of Target–with $ 5 billion to spare.

So how exactly has the stock market selloff impacted the net worth of world’s richest people? Here’s who took the biggest bath this week, and how much it cost them:

Jeff Bezos (-$ 15 billion)

Amazon’s founder, the world’s richest person, stood to lose the most. And that he did. Jeff Bezos’ net worth dropped from $ 161 billion a week ago down to $ 140 billion on Thursday. That still puts him standing arms akimbo on top of the heap of lesser billionaires, but his company’s focus on consumer goods, which could be further affected by import tariffs and trade wars, could push him closer to more diversified super rich.

Bernard Arnault (-$ 5.9 billion)

Arnault is the longtime chairman and chief executive of LVMH (Mo?t Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE), the world’s largest luxury goods company. He’s also the richest person in Europe, and accordingly, his net worth went down with the crash, from $ 73.5 billion to $ 67.6 billion. At one point, he was down to $ 66.9 billion, but his portfolio seems to be rebounding already.

Warren Buffet (-$ 5.4 billion)

Even the Oracle of Omaha couldn’t predict the market volatility of this past week. Buffet initially saw gains from the $ 90 billion he started with a week ago, climbing to $ 92 billion by Oct. 9. But ultimately, he came crashing down, finishing Oct. 11 with an estimated $ 84.6 billion

Pony Ma (-$ 4 billion)

The China-based Tencent is one of the world’s largest Internet companies, and Pony Ma (Ma Huateng) is the founder, chairman, and chief executive, and maintains extensive holdings in the company. While Tencent dominates Chinese gaming, chat, investment, and other arenas, the global stock pullback pushed his net worth from $ 32 billion down to $ 28 billion.

Bill Gates (-$ 3.9 billion)

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has shifted out of the fast-paced life of a technology dominator into the role of public-health and education philanthropist. But despite regular transfers of wealth to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, he doesn’t find himself pulling his pockets inside out for change. Gates, the second-richest person in the world, saw his worth drop from $ 98.7 billion to $ 94.80 billion in the last week.

Larry Page (-$ 3.8 billion)

Google co-founder Larry Page remains actively involved in the management of Alphabet, the holding company of Google and other ventures, has been buffeted lately by concerns about the company navigating forward with a reported China-targeted search engine acceptable that country’s censors, and military-contracting work. Page’s net worth dropped from $ 57.10 to $ 53.30 billion since Oct. 4.

Fran?ois Pinault (-$ 3.8 billion)

Fran?ois Pinault, among France’s richest people and the head of one of the nation’s wealthiest families, is the 82-year-old self-made billionaire behind Kering, which owns a large array of luxury-goods brands, like Gucci, LVMH, and Yves Saint Laurent. He also personally owns Christie’s, the long-established auction house. His portfolio slumped from $ 32.4 billion to $ 28.6 billion.

Sergey Brin (-$ 3.6 billion)

Google’s other co-founder has similar holdings and suffered similar losses as his partner, Larry Page, with Sergey Brin dropping from a reported $ 55.6 billion to $ 52 billion.

Frank Wang (-$ 2.54 billion)

Frank Wang may seem like an outlier and a relative unknown in this list, with a net worth estimated on Oct. 11 of just $ 6.74 billion. But he’s also one of the biggest net losers, dropping from $ 9.28 billion in the last week. Wang’s holdings are tied up in DJI, the biggest maker of commercial and civilian drones in the world, and a company he founded in 2006. As a privately held company, estimates of his net worth over the short term may be more volatile, but DJI has a high degree of exposure to Trump’s trade wars with China from several angles, including the cost of raw goods globally and import tariffs imposed on the lucrative American market potentially reducing revenue.

Steve Ballmer (-$ 2.4 billion)

Bill Gates’s earliest lieutenant, Ballmer took over Microsoft for several years and missed out on the mobile revolution. Forced from the company, he’s found solace in $ 40.1 billion of personal wealth, down from $ 42.50 billion a week ago–and his ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers NBA basketball team.

Mark Zuckerberg (-$ 2.1 billion)

Despite the many investigations, disclosures, and security problems Facebook has faced in recent months, Mark Zuckerberg saw the least losses among his dot-com peers. He was worth $ 62.9 billion a week ago, and now $ 60.8 billion.

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First ‘Pet Sematary’ Trailer Eerily Resurrects a Classic; Here’s Everything We Know

First 'Pet Sematary' Trailer Eerily Resurrects a Classic; Here's Everything We Know

Paramount has been developing a remake of Pet Sematary since 2011, but the massive success of It has Hollywood scrambling to catch the heat of Stephen King mania. The favor for the author's work has already continued into Netflix's Gerald's Game and 1922. Now we're looking at a new adaptation of Pet Sematary coming soon to theaters.

With just under six months left until the remake arrives, Paramount has released the first…

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James Gunn to Write and Maybe Direct ‘Suicide Squad 2’; Here’s Everything We Know

James Gunn to Write and Maybe Direct 'Suicide Squad 2'; Here's Everything We Know

Suicide Squad is one of the highest-grossing of the Worlds of DC movies ($ 747 million worldwide). It's also one of the worst-reviewed of that franchise (28% on Rotten Tomatoes), also known as the DC Extended Universe. The former being more important to the studios, there was no doubt the comic book adaptation, focused on a team of villains gathered to save the world, would get a sequel. Improving upon the original would be a bonus, and doing so would be an easy goal. 

Various…

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New ‘Mortal Engines’ Trailer Released; Here’s Everything We Know

New 'Mortal Engines' Trailer Released; 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.

For some filmgoers that will be enough to go on, but the movie has just released another action-packed trailer to entice anyone in doubt. You can watch that new spot, which made its debut at New York Comic-Con, down…

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Patty Jenkins Might Direct Margot Robbie in ‘Barbie’; Here’s Everything We Know

Patty Jenkins Might Direct Margot Robbie in 'Barbie'; Here's Everything We Know

Barbie is finally ready to hit the big screen. Yes, we've seen plans for a movie based on the iconic doll for a few years now, including incarnations that were to star Amy Schumer (cast in 2016) and Anne Hathaway (cast in 2017), but the latest development sounds more promising than ever.

Firstly, according to The Hollywood Reporter, there is an update on the studio that's working with Mattel on the project. Warner Bros. has taken over from Sony, which let its deal for a…

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Here’s where the jobs are — in one chart

The professional and business services industry led job gains for the month of September, besting laggards like the leisure and hospitality sector, according to the latest government jobs report.
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Powerball, Mega Millions jackpots now total $752 million: Here’s a spending plan if you win big

While a sudden windfall can seem like an unlimited amount of money, protecting your newfound wealth involves managing how much you spend.
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‘Aquaman’ Debuts Spectacular First Video; Here’s Everything We Know

'Aquaman' Debuts Spectacular First Video; Here's Everything We Know

The upcoming DC superhero movie Aquaman will feature Jason Momoa reprising his role as the title character, last seen in Justice League (above). Based on some exciting images of the movie, our impression has been that Aquaman will be a different kind of superhero movie from anything we've ever seen before, even from the DC Extended Universe

Now an extended video has been released, with more than five minutes of footage. It shows the film's epic scope and features…

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Final ‘Overlord’ Trailer Reveals Unexpected Wartime Terrors; Here’s Everything We Know

Final 'Overlord' Trailer Reveals Unexpected Wartime Terrors; Here's Everything We Know

 

The first R-rated release from J.J. Abrams' production company Bad Robot, best known lately for surprise deliveries of Cloverfield movies, is Overlord, a film set during World War II. When we first heard about it, speculation ran rampant that it tied into the Cloverfield universe somehow, but instead it appears to be a completely stand-alone movie, albeit one with plenty of footage that justifies its rating. 

 

The final trailer has now been released. It starts…

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Here’s everything coming from Fenty Beauty’s #CHILLOWT Holiday collection, so start saving your coins now

Here’s everything coming from Fenty Beauty’s #CHILLOWT Holiday collection, so start saving your coins now


Here’s everything coming from Fenty Beauty’s #CHILLOWT Holiday collection, so start saving your coins now

We haven’t even gotten through October and Rihanna already has us super excited for the holidays. In case you totally missed it, Fenty Beauty teased its holiday collection earlier this week. Now, the full #CHILLOWT collection has been revealed in its entirety and contrary to the name, it’s hot AF. In addition to the Killawatt Freestyle Highlighting Palette, Fenty’s icy hot metallic collection will include three eye + lip trios, seven loose color pigments, brand-new Mattemoiselle lipsticks, and so much more. #CHILLOWT is set to hit Sephora, Harvey Nichols, and Fenty.com on October 12th, so put some money to the side now before you regret it later.

If you didn’t take our advice the first time around, now’s the time to gather some extra coins for Fenty. There’s so much to want from this collection, it’s pointless asking Santa for anything else.

Here’s everything coming from Fenty Beauty’s#CHILLOWT holiday collection.

Killawatt Foil Freestyle Highlighting Palette, $ 54

The same cream-to-powder formula that you know and love, but in shades that will heat up your look in the dead of the winter.  

Metallic Eye + Lip Crayon Trios in #FrostHunny, $ 39 

These multi-tasking metallic crayons have endless possibilities and will spice up your holiday makeup. Use them as liner, shadow, lipstick or whatever else your little heart desires.

Metallic Eye + Lip Crayon Trios in #FrostMoney, $ 39

If you like to keep it cool, #FrostMoney is the cool version of #FrostHunny. As per usual, Fenty’s got you.

And there’s even more.

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2/2 OMGGGG!!!!!! 🙀✨🙀✨🚨Here is the FULL #Holidays2018 #Collection ✨❄ @fentybeauty ✨includes: 1. Mini #FairyBomb $ 20 Each in: Candy Sparks – glimmering iridescent pink 2. #KillawattFoilFreestyle Highlighter Palette $ 54 3. Metallic #Eye + #Lip #Crayon $ 39 creamy, metallic crayons for both eyes and lips in: Frost Bunny – Banana Frost, Parka Princess, Guava Mint Frost Money – $ lu$ h Fund, Igloo Bloo, Smokin' Purp Frost Hunny – Sunfrost, Ice Dunes, Pretty Penny 4. Frosted Metal #Lipstick $ 36 creamy, metallic lipsticks: Snow Nights – No Chill, Frost Sauce, Fog Snog Snow Daze – Cuffing Season, What's Your Numb'a, So Chilli 5. Two Lil #Mattemoiselles – Chill Owt Edition $ 19 Griselda / Spanked – bold burgundy/ dusty rose 6. Mattemoiselle 10/10 #Set !! 👀🙀 10 all-new, full-size Mattemoiselle Plush Matte Lipsticks $ 149: Violet Fury – vivid violet Pumpkin Rose -rich marigold Flamingo Acid – bright berry Dragon Mami – tropical papaya I Quit – true mink F'n Black – navy black Turks & Caicos – deep teal Ballerina Blackout -loud bubblegum Thicc – sultry mauve Tiger Tini – exotic orange 7. #MatchStix By The Dozen $ 129 12 mini shimmer sticks (5 bestsellers + 7 new shades): Bordeaux Brat – radiant berry Champagne Heist – glittering champagne Starstruck – iced-out pearl Yacht Lyfe – glimmering peach-pink Ridiiic – golden papaya Confetti – iridescent purple Pink Lemonade – glimmering pink Hibi$ Cu$ -shimmering grapefruit Beach Bum -radiant peach Blonde -glimmering gold Cognac -gilded chestnut Platinum Pearl -iced-out platinum 8. Avalanche All-Over #MetallicPowder Set $ 99 includes 7 loose, metallic pigments for eyes, cheeks, and lips in: February -metallic violet Cleopatra -metallic green-gold Foxy -metallic terracotta Raspberry Rave -metallic berry Brain Freeze -metallic gunmetal Ice Cream -metallic gold Glacier Gang -metallic blue . . Will be available ➡ globally on OCTOBER 12TH on their website @sephora, @harveynichols, and #SephorainJCP worldwide! Note: the palette available now @sephoraaus and @sephoranz, online & in stores . . . . #Holidays2018 ✨❄Are you ready for it? 😍 XO #TRENDMOOD @badgalriri #fenty #fentybeauty #sephora

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Fenty hasn’t put up any official swatches yet, but according to TrendMood (who always has the scoop) and Sephora’s website, there will be one additional Eye + Lip Trip in #FrostBunny, as well as a set of 10 brand-new Mattemoiselle lipsticks, a mini Fairy Bomb, and a set of 12 Matchstix that include five bestsellers and seven new shades.

View this post on Instagram

1/2 OMGGGG!!!! L👀K! At these sets!! 🙀✨🙀✨🚨Here is the FULL #Holidays2018 #Collection ✨❄ @fentybeauty ✨includes: 1. Mini #FairyBomb $ 20 Each in: Candy Sparks – glimmering iridescent pink 2. #KillawattFoilFreestyle Highlighter Palette $ 54 3. Metallic #Eye + #Lip #Crayon $ 39 creamy, metallic crayons for both eyes and lips in: Frost Bunny – Banana Frost, Parka Princess, Guava Mint Frost Money – $ lu$ h Fund, Igloo Bloo, Smokin' Purp Frost Hunny – Sunfrost, Ice Dunes, Pretty Penny 4. Frosted Metal #Lipstick $ 36 creamy, metallic lipsticks: Snow Nights – No Chill, Frost Sauce, Fog Snog Snow Daze – Cuffing Season, What's Your Numb'a, So Chilli 5. Two Lil #Mattemoiselles – Chill Owt Edition $ 19 Griselda / Spanked – bold burgundy/ dusty rose 6. Mattemoiselle 10/10 #Set !! 👀🙀 10 all-new, full-size Mattemoiselle Plush Matte Lipsticks $ 149: Violet Fury – vivid violet Pumpkin Rose -rich marigold Flamingo Acid – bright berry Dragon Mami – tropical papaya I Quit – true mink F'n Black – navy black Turks & Caicos – deep teal Ballerina Blackout -loud bubblegum Thicc – sultry mauve Tiger Tini – exotic orange 7. #MatchStix By The Dozen $ 129 12 mini shimmer sticks (5 bestsellers + 7 new shades): Bordeaux Brat – radiant berry Champagne Heist – glittering champagne Starstruck – iced-out pearl Yacht Lyfe – glimmering peach-pink Ridiiic – golden papaya Confetti – iridescent purple Pink Lemonade – glimmering pink Hibi$ Cu$ -shimmering grapefruit Beach Bum -radiant peach Blonde -glimmering gold Cognac -gilded chestnut Platinum Pearl -iced-out platinum 8. Avalanche All-Over #MetallicPowder Set $ 99 includes 7 loose, metallic pigments for eyes, cheeks, and lips in: February -metallic violet Cleopatra -metallic green-gold Foxy -metallic terracotta Raspberry Rave -metallic berry Brain Freeze -metallic gunmetal Ice Cream -metallic gold Glacier Gang -metallic blue . . Will be available ➡ globally on OCTOBER 12TH on their website @sephora, @harveynichols, and #SephorainJCP worldwide! Note: the palette available now @sephoraaus and @sephoranz, online & in stores . . . . #Holidays2018 ✨❄Are you ready for it? 😍 XO #TRENDMOOD @badgalriri #fenty #fentybeauty #sephora

A post shared by TRENDMOOD (@trendmood1) on

We’re gonna go broke, Rih! Early Christmas present, anyone?

The post Here’s everything coming from Fenty Beauty’s #CHILLOWT Holiday collection, so start saving your coins now appeared first on HelloGiggles.

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Rosie Perez Joins ‘Birds of Prey’; Here’s What We Know

Rosie Perez Joins 'Birds of Prey'; Here's What We Know

Margot Robbie will reprise her Suicide Squad role as Harley Quinn in the upcoming Birds of Prey; she will also serve as a producer. Her character was very much her own woman; smart, strong and sassy, she did whatever she felt was best for herself in any particular moment. So it should be exciting to see her lead the way in a project that's been described as a "girl gang movie."

Rosie Perez (in Pineapple Express, above) leads the latest casting news, landing an intriguing role…

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See Christian Bale Transform Into Dick Cheney in ‘Vice’ Trailer; Here’s Everything We Know

See Christian Bale Transform Into Dick Cheney in 'Vice' Trailer; Here's Everything We Know

Whether you're intrigued about the life of Dick Cheney or you just want to see Christian Bale's chameleonic performance as the former Vice President, Vice is a going to be a hot ticket this Christmas. The biopic is also sure to be a big awards contender, though all its attention is sure to be as politically divisive as Oliver Stone's W. was 10 years ago. 

The first poster and trailer for Vice has arrived, and now we can see just how unrecognizable and magnificent…

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‘Wonder Woman’ Star Gal Gadot Joins ‘Death on the Nile’; Here’s Everything We Know

'Wonder Woman' Star Gal Gadot Joins 'Death on the Nile'; Here's Everything We Know

The global success of last year's Murder on the Orient Express has led to Fox's greenlight of a sequel, which will be based on another Agatha Christie novel, Death on the Nile. This isn't much of a surprise, as the ending of Murder featured Kenneth Branagh's Detective Poirot receiving word of a new case involving a death on the Nile in Egypt. 

Similar to the previous movie, Death on the Nile is set to have a star-studded ensemble. The first of which has just been…

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Watch Taron Egerton as Elton John in First ‘Rocketman’ Teaser; Here’s Everything We Know

Watch Taron Egerton as Elton John in First 'Rocketman' Teaser; Here's Everything We Know

Taron Egerton has worked with Sir Elton John in the Kingsman movies and now he'll play the music icon in a biopic. Rocketman will be a fantastical take on the life of the singer known for such tunes as "Your Song," "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," the Lion King hit "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" and the biopic's title number, "Rocketman."

This week, we got our first look at Egerton in the role (above), sporting Elton John's stylish…

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Should You Buy a Low-Cost Health Insurance Policy? Here’s What to Consider

Starting today, Americans can buy lower-cost health insurance policies that can stay in effect for as long as three years — up from the previous three-month limit.

But while the savings in premiums will be attractive to some, critics warn the old adage applies: “You get what you pay for.”

“As the bills from hospitals and other providers start to pile up, many of these folks… would come to realize they’re not really insured at all,” the Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families says. “For the individuals enrolled in these plans, the devastating financial consequences could be real and long term.”

Limitations of Short-Term Health Insurance Policies

The plans are cheaper — as much as one-third cheaper in some cases, according to the Department of Health and Human Services — than those that comply with the Affordable Care Act, which has required coverages. The average monthly premium for one person in late 2016 was about $ 124 compared with $ 393 for an unsubsidized plan that complied with the Affordable Care Act, according to the department.

But many lower-cost plans don’t cover services such as mental-health or substance-abuse treatment or prescription drug coverage, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis.

And none covers maternity care, the same study found. A regular birth costs about $ 32,000 and a cesarean section about $ 51,000, according to a 2013 Truven Health Analytics study of women with health insurance.

Also generally excluded are people with pre-existing medical conditions, who are required to be covered under policies that comply with the Affordable Care Act. An estimated 133 million Americans have a pre-existing condition, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Why Are Short-Term Health Insurance Policies Being Expanded?

Premiums for Affordable Care Act coverage went up about 21% in 2017, putting them out of financial reach for some people — especially those whose earnings are not low enough to qualify for a subsidy under the act, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The Department of Health and Human Services this summer announced that it would allow the lower-cost plans to be purchased for up to a year of coverage and renewed for two years.

The policies originally were limited to less than three months and intended as a stopgap for people who didn’t have health insurance through their employers.

Which Consumers Might Benefit From Short-Term Policies?

They work best for those who are generally healthy, because insurers can drop anyone who becomes sick, according to the Georgetown University Center on Health Insurance Reforms.

The reason the short-term policies are less expensive — the cost varies from state to state — is that they don’t have to meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

That means they can exclude benefits such as emergency services, hospitalization, rehabilitative services and devices, laboratory services, preventive care, chronic disease management, contraceptives, breastfeeding supplies, counseling and pediatric services.

There’s no easy way to determine what services are covered because plans vary widely, as do deductibles, copayments, and caps.

Other possible pitfalls:

  • The Department of Health and Human Services warns consumers that they won’t automatically be eligible to buy insurance through the Affordable Care Act if their short-term policy ends before the open enrollment period begins and they decide not to renew or are dropped by their insurer.
  • Short-term policies don’t meet the requirements to maintain health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, making consumers who buy them potentially liable in 2018 for a penalty of $ 695 per adult and $ 347.50 per child — or 2.5% of household income, whichever is greater. The penalty goes away starting in 2019.
  • Short-term policies generally have limits on the amount paid for services and caps on lifetime payouts. Patients may have to pick up the sometimes-substantial difference between what the insurer pays and what the provider charges.
  • Policyholders can be charged more based on age, sex and health.

The bottom line: These policies may be beneficial to some. But it’s critical to read all disclosures before signing up to avoid finding out later that you don’t have coverage for something you need. What’s cheap up front could end up costing you dearly later.

In short: caveat emptor.

Susan Jacobson is an editor at The Penny Hoarder.

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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Here’s Exactly Why ‘Venom’ Has a PG-13 Rating

Initially, the announcement of Venom’s PG-13 rating seemed a cause for concern among fans of the darker, more sinister Marvel character. Citing the recent success of grittier R-rated hero movies like Logan and Deadpool, fans questioned what the lighter rating would mean: Would a PG-13 rating mean a weaker, watered down version of Eddie Brock/Venom? Was the rating an attempt to entice Disney into letting squeaky clean Marvel teen Peter Parker possibly play in Venom’s sandbox? FANDOM spoke with Venom director Ruben Fleischer ahead of the movie’s October 5 release date, and here’s what he had to say.

No, the PG-13 rating is not about Spider-Man


Spider-Man, hammock, Venom

Fleischer confirmed that Venom was “always designed as a PG-13 movie.” But that doesn’t mean Spider-Man is totally out of the picture — and fans aren’t the only ones psyched for the possibility of a superhero crossover. When asked specifically about a possible future appearance by the wall-crawler, Fleischer replied, “Keeping it PG-13 does allow for the possibility of intersecting with other worlds, which is exciting.” Additionally, Fleischer doesn’t think sacrificing an R-rating meant sacrificing action or tone. “We wanted to push it to the hilt,” he said, “which I feel like we did.”

The Dark Knight was a big inspiration behind Venom‘s rating


The Dark Knight, The Joker, Heath Ledger

While the Spider-Man franchise wasn’t a factor in Venom‘s PG-13 rating, another superhero juggernaut was: The Dark Knight. “Our reference point was always The Dark Knight,” Fleischer explained. “If you can put a pen through a guy’s forehead, then you can certainly bite some peoples’ heads off. I don’t feel like Dark Knight made any compromises and I don’t believe that with our film we made any compromises.”

The director is very confident that the brutal action in Venom will be more than enough to fulfill audience expectations for new and old fans alike. It sounds like there will be plenty of skull-snacking, cranium-crunching, face-feasting to go around.

The post Here’s Exactly Why ‘Venom’ Has a PG-13 Rating appeared first on FANDOM.

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