14 Legitimate Ways to Get Free Money Online Right Now

The internet is a treasure chest of free cash — you just have to know where to look.

No, you can’t order money-tree seeds or buy a fully loaded cash cannon, but you can complete some quick and simple tasks to start making money online.

Free Money: 14 Places to Find Extra Money Online

There are a number of companies, websites and apps that offer easy money, so we scoured the internet to find the best — and most legitimate — ways to tap into that extra cash.

Ready to start digging for treasure?

  1. 1. Search For Unclaimed Money

    State treasuries throughout the United Sates have more than $ 43 billion in unclaimed funds, according to The New York Times. Just sitting around! Waiting for you to come play lost and found.

    There are a few websites that allow you to check for unclaimed property, including the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators and MissingMoney.com. (Beware of scam look-alike sites!)

    It takes less than a minute to check. The Penny Hoarder reader Kelli Howell heeded our advice, performed a quick search and found unclaimed money in her husband’s name — $ 56 from a “matured insurance policy.”

    Sure, it’s $ 56, but what an effortless way to tap into some extra money fast!

  2. 2. Invest in Good Causes, and Get a $ 50 Bonus

     Savannah Holley organizes money she got from the drive through banking counter at Mount McKinley Bank in Fairbanks, Alaska.

    Investing can be a great way to grow your money, but have you carefully considered which companies you’re willing to back? Their morals and values? You probably wouldn’t want to invest in a company that’s destroying our oceans or cheating the system.

    With Swell Investing you can invest in companies that are committed to clean water, zero waste, renewable energy or disease eradication, to name a few.

    Plus, when you invest $ 50 in one of these companies, Swell Investing will match you with a $ 50 bonus! Just use the code PENNY after making your initial investment.

    Swell doesn’t have any trading fees, price tiers or expense ratios. It charges a 0.75% annual fee — that’s about the cost of one coffee ($ 3.75) per year if you invest $ 500.

    Get started with Swell by signing up with your email address here.

    Disclosure: We have a financial relationship with Swell Investing LLC and will be compensated if consumers apply for an account and/or fund an account with Swell through links in our content. However, the analysis and opinions expressed here are our own.

  3. 3. Find Hidden Money in Your Inbox

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

    One of our secret weapons is called Paribus — a tool that gets you money back for your online purchases. It’s free to sign up, and once you do, it will scan your email for any receipts. If it discovers you’ve purchased something from one of its monitored retailers, it will track the item’s price and help you get a refund when there’s a price drop.

    To save time, mom and blog manager Aimee B. does the majority of her shopping online — about 90% of it, she estimates. She stocks up on groceries, clothes and household necessities without leaving home.

    In the past two years, Paribus has found Aimee $ 1,315.41 in savings while shopping online.

    “It really is as simple as giving your email address,” she says. “It’s kind of a no-brainer.”

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

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

  4. 4. Get Paid to Share Your Opinion on Survey Sites

    Jessica Warden walks through the city in New York, NY.

    Companies will pay you for your opinions when it comes to judging their brands and gauging your shopping habits.

    Survey sites are a great place to get money and gift cards through sign-up bonuses if you’ve got some spare time.

    Here are a few options we like:

    • MyPoints: With MyPoints, you can earn gift cards for taking polls and filling out surveys. Once you complete your first five surveys, you’ll earn a $ 5 bonus.
    • Survey Junkie: It doesn’t take long to earn points on this survey site. Take all the profile surveys to earn an easy 200 points or so upfront. Then, once you earn 1,000 points — equal to $ 10 — you can cash out for a gift card or cash via your PayPal account.
    • Swagbucks: This one is definitely a reader favorite. You can make money through surveys but also when you watch videos and answer polls. You’ll get a $ 5 bonus when you sign up and earn 2,500 SB (points) within your first 60 days. Then you can cash out for as little as $ 3 and get an Amazon gift card.
    • Vindale Research: This free online survey site offers some high-paying offers ($ 50 for one survey?!). Plus, you’ll earn $ 1 when you sign up. Hit $ 50, and redeem your earnings for a check or via PayPal.
  5. 5. Send This Company Your Junk Mail

    How many ads do you receive in your mailbox each day? What about in your inbox?

    The Small Business Knowledge Center is a market research firm that studies the way companies advertise via mail and email marketing — and it wants to see what you’ve been receiving.

    Sign up as a panelist, and start sending your qualifying junk mail in, via postage-paid envelopes. You can also forward your emails. You’ll earn points along the way, which you can redeem for a Visa debit card.

    The site says frequent participants earn up to $ 20 every six to 10 weeks — not bad for getting rid of your junk mail.

  6. 6. Invest in Cannabis and Get a $ 5 Bonus

    You don’t just want to invest. You want to invest in an industry you believe in. One that could take off and make money.

    You want to invest in cannabis, and now you can. You don’t have to have tons of money to invest in the cannabis industry. Using a micro-investing app like Stash, you can invest in increments as little as $ 5.

    Need a nudge? Right now, The Penny Hoarder is teaming up with Stash to give you an extra $ 5 after your first investment.

    Stash curates investments from professional fund managers and investors and lets you choose where to put your money. It offers more than 40 exchange-traded funds, including one for those who are already seeing green on the cannabis horizon.

    But it leaves the complicated investment terms out of it. You just choose from a set of simple portfolios reflecting your beliefs, interests and goals.

    Once you sign up with Stash, take a look at the app’s portfolio options, including one cannabis-related ETF, to find an investment blend that meets your goals. You can be as conservative or aggressive as you need to be.

  7. 7. Sign up for This Credit Card for a $ 150 Bonus

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

    You just have to be sure you don’t get too carried away with those purchases — and that the card is paid off at the end of each billing period.

    Here’s an option we like: It’s the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. Its claim to fame? You’ll earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all your purchases. Plus, if you spend $ 500 in your first three months of opening the card (hi, groceries), you’ll pocket a $ 150 bonus.

    There’s no annual fee, and the cash-back rewards don’t expire.

    Get signed up — and 0% intro APR for 15 months — here.

    The information for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card has been collected independently by The Penny Hoarder. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. The Penny Hoarder is a partner of Credible.

  8. 8. Get $ 10 Now, Plus Cash Back After Each Grocery Run

    Albert Bell shops at Whole Foods in downtown Atlanta. Atlanta GA.

    Before heading to the store, search for items on your shopping list within Ibotta. Then shop.

    When you get home, snap a photo of your receipt and scan the items’ barcodes to get paid.
    Some deals we’ve seen include:

    • 25 cents cash back for any item
    • 25 cents back on strawberries
    • 50 cents back on frozen fruit snacks
    • $ 1 back on a box of tea
    • $ 5 back on a case of Shiner Bock beer

    Notice a lot of those aren’t tied to a brand — just shop for the staples on your list, and earn money!

    Ibotta is free to download. Plus, you’ll get a $ 10 sign-up bonus after uploading your first receipt.

  9. 9. Start an Automated Savings Account With a Free $ 5

    Been meaning to save money? An extra $ 5 to start your account would be nice, right?

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

    Bonus: Penny Hoarders will get an extra $ 5 just for signing up. Additionally, savers will receive a 1.00% bonus every three months.

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

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

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

  10. 10. Open a Shiny New Bank Account for an Extra $ 350

    Not happy with your bank? Open a new bank account — but first find a promotional offer to earn cash.

    We like the Chase Total Checking® account.

    You’ll get a $ 200 bonus when you open a new Chase Total Checking® account and set up direct deposit.

    Then you’ll get a $ 150 bonus when you open a new Chase Savings℠ account, deposit a total of $ 10,000 or more in new money within 20 days, and maintain a $ 10,000 balance for 90 days. You’re not required to open the savings account to earn the $ 200 Chase checking bonus.

    To get started, visit this Chase Total Checking® page* to apply online, or enter your email address to get a unique coupon to take with you to open your account at any Chase branch.

    This coupon expires July 15, 2019, so you’ll need to complete the application before then.

    This offer is available in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

  11. 11. Find Savings in Your Monthly Utility Bills

    Cindy Woodley using laptop in downtown Atlanta

    Finding free money doesn’t always mean digging up a treasure chest. You can find hidden money (ahem, savings) by negotiating your bills.

    Instead of sitting on hold, use Trim, a digital personal assistant that’ll negotiate your bills for you. We’re not just talking your cable bill, either. It’ll also negotiate your internet, cell phone, home security and XM radio bills.

    William Ellis, a Trim user in Ellettsville, Indiana, uploaded PDF copies of his Dish, Comcast and Sprint bills to Trim. That’s all he had to do — Trim worked behind the scenes, eventually notifying him of his savings.

    “Yes, anybody can call and do this,” Ellis points out, “but do you?”

    Curious how he did? Trim reduced his bills by:

    • $ 385.20 a year on Dish.
    • $ 800.18 a year on Comcast.
    • $ 80.04 a year on Sprint.

    Trim reduced Ellis’ bills by a total of $ 1265.42 per year.

    If Trim successfully negotiates on your behalf, it charges an upfront fee equal to 33% of your first year of savings, and you keep the rest. (Hey, Trim’s gotta get rewarded for its expert negotiation skills!) But that’s still a big chunk of savings.

    To get started, no need to pick up the phone. Just sign up through Facebook or with your email address, and upload your bills!

  12. 12. Earn a $ 300 New-Driver Bonus with Lyft

    Been looking for a new side hustle? A way to start making money on the side? Here’s an idea — and a way to get an extra $ 300.

    Try driving with Lyft.

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

    Right now, Lyft is offering a $ 300 sign-on bonus to new drivers when you use code EXTRA300. Here’s what you need to qualify:

    • You must be approved to drive within 30 days of your application start date.
    • Once you’re in, complete 100 rides within your first 30 days of being a Lyft driver.

    And just like that, the bonus cash is yours. Easy, right?

  13. 13. Use an Automatic Cash-Back App

    hand raised against the sky with dollar bills

    There are a ton of ways to earn cash back on your day-to-day purchases, but here’s one that doesn’t require you to take photos of receipts, claim offers or watch long video ads.

    It’s Dosh. Download the app, link up your credit and debit cards, and go about your normal buying behavior. When you spend money at one of its connected stores, you’ll earn automatic cash back.

    Once you earn $ 25, you can transfer the money directly to your bank account.

  14. 14. Get an Easy $ 36 a Year If You Shop on Amazon

    Calling all Amazon shoppers!

    This is such an easy, passive way to rake in an extra $ 36 a year. ShopTracker, one of the leading public opinion research companies, wants you to share your Amazon purchase history. And you’ll be paid for every month you share!

    When you sign up for ShopTracker, it keeps your private information, well, private. All it wants to see is your order information.

    To earn your first gift card today:

    1. Sign up, and download the ShopTracker app on your Windows computer and Apple or Android phone. It takes about two minutes. You’ll need to answer a few questions about your Amazon use to qualify.
    2. Open the app, and log in to your Amazon account to automatically share your purchase history. You’ll receive your Visa e-gift card code for $ 3 via email within 48 hours.
    3. Take a couple of minutes to share your purchase history to earn another $ 3 each month.

    Enjoy Your Free Money, Honey! (Just Be Careful of Scams)

    Congratulations! You’ve made it through our list of ways to get free money.

    Now, want to go out and find some more money on your own? Just remember: The internet can be a scary place, so be wary of scams. To vet a “free money” opportunity like we do, take these steps:

    • Search the company or website’s name on Google. Read reviews, look up Better Business Bureau ratings, and sign up for scam alerts from the Federal Trade Commission.
    • Don’t offer your personal or financial information unless you absolutely trust the site. You should never have to pay money in order to receive it.
    • Give the company a call, and ask questions.
    • Be skeptical, and if something’s too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t think you’ll get paid $ 1,000 for taking a five-minute survey.
    • Peruse a site’s privacy policy to make sure your information isn’t going to be sold to other companies. (That might be why you’re getting all those junk emails and robocalls.)

    Overall, just be smart! Or the easiest way is to just keep checking back in with The Penny Hoarder to find more ways to earn free money.

    Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s a big fan of free 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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Democrats Keep Rejecting Corporate PAC Money. But Is It Just for Show?

From former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, who is making a bid for the U.S. Senate, to presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, the refrain du jour among 2020 Democratic presidential candidates seems to be a pledge to swear off donations from corporate political action committees (PACs). It’s a good sound bite to drop on the campaign trail: rejecting corporate and special interest money. But does it really matter on paper?

Steven Billet, who oversees a master’s program in legislative affairs at George Washington University, says candidates who refuse corporate PAC money are basically “giving the sleeves out of their vest.”

“They are giving up nothing because they wouldn’t have gotten much corporate PAC money,” Billet tells Fortune.

A corporate PAC, a type of PAC that raises money in the name of a company, can contribute up to $ 5,000 to a candidate’s campaign per election. To put this in perspective, an individual donor can donate up to $ 2,800 of personal money, and a couple can give up to $ 5,600. So, if a candidate refuses $ 5,000 from a corporate PAC, they could potentially get the same amount from a private donor.

“Corporate PAC contributions are not a big piece of the pie for major candidates,” says Andrew Mayersohn, a researcher at the Center for Responsive Politics. “There just aren’t enough corporate PACs out there to fund much of an eight-figure senate campaign, let alone a presidential campaign.”

And, according to Mayersohn, corporate PACs specifically “aren’t particularly ideological,” so they tend to give money to incumbents, rather than candidates in open primaries.

“Most corporate PACs don’t make direct contributions to presidential candidates,” he says, “especially when there’s a primary where you don’t know what the outcome will be.”

And even when corporate PACs do give money to a candidate, the sum pales in comparison to other contributions. In the 2016 presidential election, for example, Hillary Clinton raised around $ 250,000 from corporate PACs–constituting less than 0.5% of the total money she raised, data analyst Brendan Glavin told Marketplace. That number was even smaller for then-candidate Donald Trump: $ 26,000 or 0.01% of his total fundraising.

Finding the Loopholes

While corporate PACs might not donate money to a specific candidate who doesn’t want them, they can still donate to a political party. A candidate like Warren could reject the corporate and special interest money, but that doesn’t mean the Democratic Party as a whole will do the same. Money that comes through the party could end up being used to support an individual candidate or to sponsor political events.

But perhaps the easiest workaround is that people who work for corporations can donate on an individual basis, money that many candidates gladly continue to accept. In some cases, candidates may even seek out money from a company’s executives on an individual basis.

Michael Williams, founder of the public policy and communications consulting firm The Williams Group, calls it a “sick irony” that candidates will turn away lobbyist or corporate PAC money, while continuing to accept money from executives at the same companies.

“What’s the difference? If you won’t take a particular bank’s money, but you’ll take the bank executive’s money?” Williams tells Fortune. “Are you really materially changing anything?”

Williams says doing so only perpetuates the myth that money influences policy. If a candidate is completely opposed to an industry, he says, those corporations won’t give them money because they don’t expect money to change a candidate’s position.

“I don’t know anyone who was a ‘no’ on something until they got a contribution and then became a ‘yes,’” he says.

And these private donations tend to add up much more quickly than those from a corporate PAC. Unlike individual contribution limits, which have grown over time, corporate PACs continue to face the $ 5,000 per candidate donation limit–a figure that hasn’t changed since 1974. As such, the total contributions from individuals have skyrocketed as compared to those from PACs.

According to 2017-18 data from OpenSecrets, corporate PAC donations to Democrats totaled $ 149,426,431, while business donations from individuals to Democrats totaled $ 920,808,050–more than six times the total given by PACs.

FEC data for the 2016 presidential election shows that corporate PAC donations to Democratic presidential candidates totaled $ 942,116, and independent expenditures for non-political committees totaled $ 4,582,471.

But not everyone feels rejecting corporate PAC money is misguided. At the very least, the move could be an effective branding strategy.

Brad Smith, a former FEC commissioner and the current chairman of the Institute for Free Speech, a nonprofit that advocates for loosening campaign-finance regulations, calls swearing off corporate PAC money “not meaningless, but a calculation,” and says the advantage of doing so could outweigh the loss of PAC money.

“It might even get them a net increase in contributions if it persuades more individuals to give,” Smith tells Fortune.

What about super PACs?

While not all of the Democratic candidates are aligned in this respect, many of the expected frontrunners–including Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, and Elizabeth Warren–have disavowed super PACs. But this is tricky in practice.

Super PACs have only been around since 2010, but unlike other PACs, they can accept unlimited contributions from any non-foreign source and can spend unlimited amounts to influence an election–meaning that their potential power is also limitless.

Yet super PACs are intended to operate independently from a candidate: they are legally prohibited from contributing directly to a candidate or party, meaning that their funds are usually used to run ads for or against particular candidates and issues. As a result, a candidate can say that they don’t support a super PAC operating on their behalf, but in practice, there isn’t all that much they can do to stop it.

“Any candidate who swears he won’t accept super PAC money is either ignorant, or assumes the listener is ignorant,” says Smith. “A candidate cannot ‘refuse’ super PAC support. He can publicly ask a super PAC not to spend in his race, but the super PAC can choose to ignore the plea and spend whatever it wants.”

Such a claim, therefore, amounts to “grandstanding,” he says.

In addition to swearing off super PACs, some candidates–like Julian Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, Beto O’Rourke, and Elizabeth Warren–have sworn off PAC money entirely, meaning they won’t accept money from labor or ideological PACs, either. Gabbard, O’Rourke, and Warren are also joined by Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, and Amy Klobuchar in a pledge to refuse money from lobbyists.

But the pledge that might matter more than the others, according to Mayersohn, is Warren’s. Going a step further than the rest of the crowd, Warren told supporters in a February email that she would not attend high-dollar fundraisers, dinners, or cocktail receptions with donors, in order to provide “equal access.”

Looks like 2020 might become the small dollar donation election, after all.

Fortune

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How Much Money Do Porn Stars Actually Make?

Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast

Ask a porn star about sex and you’ll be inundated with every dirty detail—unless you ask how much it pays. That’s when the conversation becomes awkward. When discussing pay rates, XXX performers are just like everyone else, and equally as private. Earnings are often over-exaggerated (the few performers willing to speak about rates inevitably claim to be on the higher end of the scale).

Twenty-six-year-old Ariana Marie recalls how little she knew about the pay structure when she first entered the industry, and how heavily she relied on her agent. Marie’s starting rate for a boy/girl scene was $ 1200, which is the higher end of today’s standard range. However, her booking agent’s 40% commission was not. Most XXX agents take a 10-20% commission, but a new performer wouldn’t automatically know that. “Anytime I was on set I started asking other girls, ‘How much does your agent take?’ They’d say 10 or 15% and then I started asking, ‘Well, why does mine take 40?’”

Marie’s next agent seemed a little better—at first. His cut was standard but it wasn’t long before they were haggling over her rates, which he called “too high.” Apparently, that agent was offering buddy deals. “The agent was friends with some of the companies and he’d lower my rate for them,” says Marie. “His excuse was, ‘You’ll work more,’ but I was already working a lot.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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Dear Penny: I’m a Saver. My Wife Is a Spender. How Do We Manage Our Money?

Dear A.,

I’m sure some people reading this column will say, “Why didn’t you talk about this before you got married?” But you probably did — to some extent.

Once you settle into life as a married couple, though, you can more clearly see how intertwined finances become, and where the missing puzzle pieces are supposed to go.

When we talk about money with a partner, we have a tendency to get caught up in the nuts and bolts of budgeting without really understanding the values underneath. Naturally, your upbringing comes into play, but it’s only part of what influences your financial priorities.

Your childhood experiences can help you identify how you tend to manage your money, but they don’t always explain your motivation for sticking with those ideas instead of breaking away from them as an adult.

When you carry ideas from childhood into your adult life, you need to think about your motivation, and resist the urge to operate on autopilot. Saying, “This is the way I was raised, so it’s obviously the best way to go about it” rings a bit hollow, doesn’t it?

Going one layer deeper can take you from simply trying to get all the bills paid on time to understanding what principles and priorities truly drive your financial choices.

Neither of your approaches to money are necessarily wrong. The problem is that you don’t agree on which approach to take when it comes to balancing saving and spending. You’re on opposite sides of the spectrum right now, but can you identify any financial goals you agree on?

Try to find one or two goals to focus on together, rather than struggling to be a unified front across the board. And that may mean letting go of the rest — or deciding to uncouple some of your financial accounts. Not every couple combines every one of their accounts or splits all expenses down the middle.

It may be easier to achieve her desire for autonomy and your desire for control — if that’s actually what’s driving each of you — if you rethink how you’ve intertwined those ideals.

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

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

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

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5 Simple Ways to Use a Bullet Journal to Manage Your Money

Instead of choosing from the dizzying array of online budgeting tools, here’s a novel thought: The best solution to keeping track of your money may be writing everything down with pen and paper.  

The bullet journal — or BuJo, for short — is an analog organizational system that can help you find the “calm in the chaos” (at least, according to the creator of the bullet journal, Ryder Carroll).

What sets the bullet journal apart from other lookalikes is it’s completely customizable. Each page has tiny bullets to use as a guide to track whatever you want. You can set goals, write down to-do lists and track your finances all in one place.

Unlike pre-designed planners, bullet journal budget trackers allow you to create spreads for your particular financial goals and tasks, including the visuals that will most inspire you to reach them.

So if you want to buy a house, for instance, you can color each brick of a house as you save for a down payment.

And if you’ve ever missed a reminder amid the constant pings from the calendar on your phone, you’ll appreciate that bullet journals offer a physical, visually pleasing alternative for tracking your bills.

And you don’t have to be creative to get started.

Alicia Geigel teaches bullet journaling workshops at Whim So Doodle in St. Petersburg, Florida. She typically shares layout ideas to get people comfortable with tracking their lives both personally and professionally on paper. Now she’s finding people are interested in using the bullet journals for their personal finances.

Currently, she is using her journal to save $ 2,500 for a trip to Italy.

“Since I do it every night and try to make it part of my routine, it just reminds me of the path I am trying to save on,” Geigel said.

If switching to a bullet journal system is too much for you to take on all at once, consider starting with just one or two of Geigel’s tips:

Tip #1: Create A Monthly Budget Tracker

Detail of a monthly budget

Unless you check your bank account every day, it’s difficult to know exactly what’s coming in and out of your budget at any given time. So write it down.

Just like a checkbook, write down your scheduled bills on the left and record expenses on the right. Every time you spend money, deduct it from your balance — this will hold you accountable. There should be no surprises when you look at your bank account.

Tip #2: Design a Visual Savings Goal

Detail of a picture of a piggy bank

Determine an object that motivates you to save money. Is it a jar? A piggy bank?

Design a savings goal you can track visually. Each time you put money in your savings account, shade in a portion of the object. It’s quite satisfying to see it come to life.

Tip #3: Draw a Line Graph to Show Debt Payoff

Detail of a line graph

Nothing is better than seeing your debt disappear. Draw a line graph to chart your debt payoff. Create a line for your credit cards, mortgage or car loan — as you pay them down, mark your progress on the graph.

Seeing the line go down can give you an extra push to pay it off faster.

Tip #4: Try a No-Spend Challenge

Detail of a calendar

Try a no-spend challenge by creating a calendar. Check off the days you didn’t spend money. Even if you have a setback, by seeing your successes on paper, you’ll want to do it more often!

Tip #5: Use a Habit Tracker

Detail of a habit tracker

Whether you want to break a bad habit or develop a new routine, a tracker can help you get there. Let’s say you want to pay bills on time. Acknowledge when you do it by filling in a box. The more boxes you see, the more it encourages the habit.

One of the great benefits of using a habit tracker in your bullet journal is that you can start to see patterns you might have missed before (like those budget-breaking lattes that sneak in around mid-week).

Remember, there is no right or wrong way to use a bullet journal. Figure out what works best for you. Before you know it, your finances will start to turn around.

Christie Post is a former supervising producer and host at The Penny Hoarder. You can see the videos she produces on YouTube. Subscribe and give her a shoutout @christiepost.

Staff writer Tiffany Wendln Connors contributed to this post.

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

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Loughlin, Husband, Others Hit With Money Laundering Charge

BOSTON (AP) — Federal prosecutors added money laundering to the list of accusations against actress Lori Loughlin, her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, and 14 other parents Tuesday in the college admissions bribery case, signaling an escalation against parents who are fighting the allegations instead of pleading guilty.

Loughlin, the star of TV’s “Full House,” and Giannulli are among 33 prominent parents accused of participating in a scheme that involved rigging college entrance exams and bribing coaches at top universities.

They were arrested last month on a single charge of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. An indictment brought Tuesday adds a charge of money laundering conspiracy against the couple and the 14 other parents.

Other parents indicted on the new charge Tuesday include Michelle Janavs, whose family developed the microwave snack line Hot Pockets before selling their company, and William McGlashan, who co-founded an investment fund with U2’s Bono in 2017.

McGlashan’s attorney John Hueston said Tuesday the case against him “is deeply flawed.”

“We look forward to presenting his side of the story,” Hueston said.

Messages seeking comment were left with representatives for Loughlin, Giannulli and Janavs.

Amy and Gregory Colburn, a California couple accused of paying $ 25,000 to cheat on their son’s SAT, were indicted last month on money laundering and mail fraud conspiracy charges.

The parents in the sweeping case, the largest such scheme ever prosecuted by the Justice Department, are accused of paying an admissions consultant, Rick Singer, to cheat on their children’s college entrance exams and get their children admitted as athletic recruits at schools including Georgetown and Yale.

Loughlin and Giannulli are accused of paying $ 500,000 in bribes to get their daughters into the University of Southern California as crew team recruits, even though neither of them played the sport.

They appeared in Boston federal court briefly last week and were not asked to enter a plea.

The new charges come a day after “Desperate Housewives” actress Felicity Huffman, 12 other parents and a coach agreed to plead guilty .

Huffman, the 56-year-old Emmy-winner who stared in ABC’s “Desperate Housewives,” was accused of paying $ 15,000 disguised as a charitable donation to have a proctor correct the answers on her daughter’s SAT. She and the 12 other parents agreed Monday to plead guilty to a single charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

Prosecutors say they will seek a prison sentence that’s on the low end of between four and 10 months for Huffman.

In her first public comments since her arrest, Huffman took responsibility for her actions and said she would accept the consequences.

“My daughter knew absolutely nothing about my actions, and in my misguided and profoundly wrong way, I have betrayed her. This transgression toward her and the public I will carry for the rest of my life. My desire to help my daughter is no excuse to break the law or engage in dishonesty,” she said after her plea deal was announced.

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4.5.19 Americans are borrowing money to pay for healthcare costs; Clark Stinks

Americans eschew certain healthcare procedures to cut costs and are often borrowing from others to pay for healthcare needs; Christa reads listener posts about how Clark has missed the mark in his advice this week. If you have a “Clark Stinks” to share you can leave it here.

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The Money Snapshot: A 33-Year-Old Management Consultant Shares Thoughts on Three Mortgages & Her Aggressive Savings Strategy

 

Today we’re proud to present our third “money snapshot,” this time with C, a management consultant on the West Coast! She notes: “I paid off my student loans extremely aggressively — all were paid off within two years of graduating. Although I had a job that paid well right out of college (I started at $ 60K), I tried to live frugally where reasonably possible in order to prioritize paying these off.”

By way of background: we got a few requests from readers to launch our own “money diary” series, so we’ve asked willing readers to fill out a form with lots of details about debt, spending, saving and more!  If you’d like to fill out the form and be considered for a future personal money snapshot, please click here if you’d like to see the form and/or submit responses! You can also see a PDF of the questions if you want to review them ahead of time. See others in the Personal Money Snapshot series here.

Please remember that this is is a real person who has feelings and isn’t gaining anything from this, unlike your usual friendly (soul-deadened, thick-skinned, cold-hearted, money-grubbing) blogger — so please be kind with any comments. Thank you! — Kat

Name: C
Location: HCOL suburb on the West Coast
Age: 33 
Occupation: Management consultant
Income: $ 180K/year base, $ 10K–$ 40K bonus
Net worth: About $ 900,000
Net worth when started working: Negative $ 52K (student loans) at age 22 
Current debt: Three mortgages (home, rental property, and vacation home) totaling $ 830K
Living situation: Own a house and pay $ 2,000/month in mortgage.

Debt

What does your debt picture look like?
My only debt right now is mortgage debt, across three homes (primary, vacation, investment property), totaling $ 830K. I have pretty good mortgage rates (3.5%, 3.75%, and 4.5%, all 30-year fixed), so I am paying the regular monthly payments. While I made an extra lump sum payment on my primary home with a bonus a few years ago, I now just put those bonuses into savings/investments so that I could pay the mortgages off later if I needed to.

How much money are you spending each month to pay down debt?
$ 5,400 in monthly mortgage payments, though $ 3,500 is paid by tenants

How did you pay for school?
I paid off my student loans extremely aggressively — all were paid off within two years of graduating. Although I had a job that paid well right out of college (I started at $ 60K), I tried to live frugally where reasonably possible in order to prioritize paying these off. I am very uncomfortable having debt, so it was important to me to not have my student loans hanging over my head.

What advice would you share with readers about buying and maintaining a rental property?
Find someone you trust that you can call for repairs! I don’t have a property manager per se, but I do have a handyman who lives right by the property to whom I sole source all repairs. If he can’t do it, he will call around and find someone who can, then charge a one-off commission (which is well worth it). It’s amazing peace of mind to know that if there is an issue, my tenants can call me or call him directly in an emergency. Also, if you are looking to buy a rental property, remember that you don’t need to like it personally, so try to avoid any upgrades that make it to your taste, and stick with something more generic.

Savings, Investments & Retirement

How much do you save for retirement?
I max out my 401K ($ 2,100/month). I used to max out my Roth IRA before I became ineligible for that. I still do a “backdoor Roth” where I put it into a traditional IRA and then immediately convert it, so that the earnings will be tax free.

How much money do you allocate to other tax-savvy investments/accounts?
I max out my HSA at $ 260/month… I figure even if it stays in there now without me using it, it will be good to have when I’m older and more prone to health issues. I have had two health issues that depleted my HSA significantly, over 10 years, so I figure it’s a great emergency fund — especially since I’m on a high-deductible plan.

How much do you save outside of retirement accounts?
I also save $ 4,500/month post tax in a combo of index funds and a managed portfolio. I prefer to manually transfer the funds when my paycheck comes in, which forces me to check out my financial situation every two weeks and see how I’m doing. I transfer the money from my paycheck bank account to another “transaction” bank account, then I have automatic transfers for my investments set up to take the money a week after my paycheck hits. I feel like that’s the best of both worlds — keeps it simple but also forces me to continuously evaluate and reassess. And if I’m short on funds, I could always stop a transfer.

Do you have/use a financial adviser or planner? 
I started using a financial adviser last year, who manages a portfolio for me that complies with my company’s guidelines around what I can/can’t invest in. (Working in consulting, there are a lot of restrictions around investing in clients.) I felt pressured to start using an adviser by my company, but I do wonder if it’s worth the fees (1%) or if I’d be better off with it all in index funds. I put $ 2,000/month into that portfolio for my adviser to invest as he sees fit, and then I put $ 2,500/month into the Schwab Total Market Stock Index fund. I feel very uninformed/inexperienced when it comes to investing, but I haven’t prioritized learning about it.

Do you have an end goal for saving or are you just saving for a rainy day?
I’d like to retire early (mid-40s) and am well on track to do so. But if I decide to have a family, I know that timeline would be pushed back significantly.

What’s the #1 thing you’re doing to save money, limit spending, or live frugally?
I think I am generally pretty frugal, though I’m motivated by knowing I CAN buy anything I want thanks to my otherwise-frugality. I’ve made a few big impulse buys over the years (my vacation home wasn’t supposed to happen for a while longer, but I found this house and fell in love with it). It feels SOOOOO good to know that I never have to worry about money, which is the opposite of how I grew up. No matter how much my salary increases, I plan to always live well below my means and try to avoid keeping up with the Joneses.

Do a lot of your financial decisions today stem from the money situation your family had growing up?
Yes — it’s really important to me to pay my bills on time (which my parents weren’t financially able to do), and it also makes me feel amazing to be able to buy things without having to worry about bouncing checks or overdrawn credit cards, which were common in my childhood.

When did you start saving seriously? How has your savings strategy changed over the years?
The day I graduated college! It’s always been a high priority for me to be financially comfortable and not in debt.

Do you have an estate plan in place?  
None — I probably should. However, as a single, I don’t really know who I’d want my estate to go to. Probably my parents, and they will get it by default anyway.

How much do you have in cash that’s available today?
$ 20? Ha. I don’t keep actual physical cash.

How much do you have in cash that’s available in a week?
$ 8,000 — currently very depleted from the down payment on my vacation home. I would like this to be $ 20K. This is my emergency fund, and I keep it in a savings account.

How much do you have in retirement savings?
$ 201K

How much do you have in long-term investments and savings that are not behind a retirement wall?
$ 142K

If property values are included in your net worth, how much are those worth?
Home: $ 338K equity
Rental property: $ 82K equity
Vacation home: $ 125K equity
Car: fully paid off and worth about $ 15K

Looking back, did you ever expect to own three properties at 33? In general, say, 10 years ago, did you expect to be where you are now financially?
DEFINITELY not. I feel like all of my real estate purchases were accidental — the investment property was a short sale that came across my lap when I had a bunch of cash in savings and hadn’t really figured out investing. My primary home was of course planned, but the vacation home was something I didn’t expect. I thought vacation homes were only for richer/more established people and was pleasantly surprised when I happened across the property and found I could make the numbers work. I feel incredibly lucky to be where I am today financially; I honestly never really expected much more than being able to make ends meet and am proud to be well ahead of that.

Spending 

How much do you spend on the following categories on a monthly basis?

Groceries: $ 120 
Restaurants, bars, takeout, and delivery: 
$ 500
Clothing and accessories: $ 200
Transportation: $ 20/week on gas, $ 100/month on car registration/insurance
Rent/living expenses: $ 2,000 mortgage payment  
Entertainment: $ 30/month for a local concert series I like. I rarely buy books (yay for libraries!) or go to the movies.
Health care — premiums and other costs: $ 80/month for a high deductible plan ($ 3,500 deductible). I probably spend about $ 500/year from my FSA for various things (medicine, co-pays, contact lenses).

What’s your spending range for these things? What’s your average?

Vacations – Average: Low — I tend to take a lot of three-day weekends, using hotel points and frequent flyer miles, so they still often fit in my regular weekly budget of ~$ 400/week.

Charity – Average Donation: $ 20 to any friend asking for money for their pet charities, and then I go to a decent number of events ($ 150 for a ticket, another $ 100–$ 500 on auction items/general donation).

Individual items of clothing – Range: $ 10–$ 100 
Individual items of clothing – Average: I have inexpensive taste — I really like Old Navy for trendy stuff because I don’t care if it lasts that long anyway, and for classic pieces that I do want to last, I tend to buy from Banana Republic and Lands’ End. I like shopping brands online that I can easily return in stores rather than having to mail them back, and I tend to buy a LOT to try at home, and then return a lot. I almost always wait till things are on sale to buy, and will often put things into my cart that I like, then come back to it weeks later when I see they’re doing 50% off everything (or whatever). I’d say I typically pay around $ 30–$ 50 for a work dress, $ 10–$ 20 for a shirt / sweater, $ 20 for jeans, and $ 20 for shoes. For black-tie events, I’ll find gowns for $ 80–$ 150; there are a lot in this price range from basic department stores (e.g., Macy’s). I like seeing the pieces featured on Corporette, but most of them are much more expensive than what I’d consider buying.

Apartment or house – Current main residence: $ 2,000/month

Car or other vehicle – Last purchase / current main vehicle: Bought a new SUV for $ 25K that is five years old and that I plan to drive several more years.

Fill in the blank on this question: I could save _____ if I stopped ______, but I don’t because _______.
I could save $ 1,000 a month if I got a roommate for my gigantic house that I live in alone, but I don’t because I really value having my own place. I love my neighborhood, but it doesn’t have any 2-bedroom houses, which would have more than sufficed! I did look at a few townhomes that would have been a great size, but the value wasn’t nearly as high compared to paying just a little bit more for twice the room.

How much did your car cost?
$ 25K. In hindsight, I wish I had bought a used car rather than new.

How much did your home cost?
$ 470K

If you have vacation homes, timeshares, or income properties, how much did those cost?  
(1) I bought a townhouse five years ago for $ 130K; it’s now worth $ 180K. I rent this out for $ 1,500/month, which more than covers the $ 1,000/month mortgage. (2) Last year, I bought a vacation home for $ 525K; the mortgage is $ 2,400/month. I partially rent it out for $ 2,000/month, which allows me to still enjoy it part time without having to pay the full burden of the mortgage. I eventually plan to stop renting it out.

How has your family provided financial support in your adult life, if any? (Or, do you provide support to them?)
When I graduated college, I went home and lived with my parents for three months until moving to start my first job. I worked at a restaurant to cover spending money, but they paid my cell phone bill and I didn’t pay rent/utilities. I’ve made loans to a few family members of $ 5K–$ 20K; some have been paid back and some haven’t. I don’t like loaning money to people so I only make loans that I am comfortable losing entirely.

Money Strategy

Do you have a general money strategy?
I keep a spreadsheet of all my accounts, and a general budget, though the only categories I “budget” for out of my paycheck are mortgage, utilities, internet, savings, and the rest in a generic “spending money” category. I don’t budget separately for food because I could easily make dinner for $ 5 from the grocery store or buy a meal for $ 150 at a restaurant, so I think of food as a form of entertainment and want it included in that generic “spending money” category. I budget $ 1,500 month for “spending money,” and when I pay my credit card bill (which I do in full each month), I see how it compares to that budget. If it’s over, I keep it in mind and try to tighten my belt a little bit the next month. But I like the freedom of not having to worry about individual purchases, and just looking at it in aggregate. I’ve used this strategy since I graduated college, though back then my budget was $ 800/month ($ 200/week).

Time vs. money — do you spend money to save time (e.g., cleaning service)? Do you donate your time instead of money? What else does this phrase mean to you?
I volunteer about 20 hours/month and generally try to give back this way instead of financially. Writing a check doesn’t really mean much to me, but I get a huge psychological benefit out of spending time volunteering — for me, that decision is much more about the psychology than it is about saving money. However, I definitely tend to spend time to save money. I don’t hire a cleaning service, and do it myself — it’s really not that hard if I block off an hour a week and keep up with it regularly. I try to save whatever I can on things that don’t matter to me (e.g., store brand groceries vs. name brand) so that I don’t have to worry about spending money on the things I want to indulge in (a great meal at a fancy restaurant).

What are your favorite resources for personal finance?
Blogs: The Simple Dollar, Mr. Money Mustache. Both of those are often much more frugal than I’m comfortable with, but I get some good ideas from there. And, it helps to normalize extreme frugality for me, which makes me feel comfortable with how frugal I am. 

Photo credit: icons via Stencil.

Wow – huge thanks to C for sharing her life with us!

The post The Money Snapshot: A 33-Year-Old Management Consultant Shares Thoughts on Three Mortgages & Her Aggressive Savings Strategy appeared first on Corporette.com.

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Got an Idea for a T-Shirt? Here’s How to Earn Money From It on the Side

Josh Waldron is usually skeptical when he hears stories about people making colossal amounts of money working side hustles.

While killing time at an airport in February 2017, he read an article about how a man made $ 10,000 per month selling T-shirts online using print-on-demand services, which allow people to sell without owning a print shop. Waldron’s doubts washed away as the article laid out the business model.

The process seemed carefully documented and could be replicated on a smaller scale. “So that’s why I was willing to jump in,” he says.

Later that day, the 34-year-old founder of web-design company Studio JWAL and operator of a miniature golf course in Waynesboro, Virginia, signed up for Amazon’s print-on-demand service, Merch by Amazon. Once he was approved a few months later, he started creating designs.

Waldron says that last year he earned a couple of hundred dollars each month selling his products without dedicating much time to it. Here’s how he and others sell T-shirts online using print-on-demand services.

How Print on Demand Works

Two computer screens show Merch by Amazon

Print on demand is the process of printing custom designs on products such as T-shirts, hats and sweatshirts that are made to order instead of printed in bulk.

These services are appealing to side hustlers because most of the work is done by a third-party company. After setting up a profile, designers can start uploading their designs for review. This is when the designer can preview the shirt to see how it will look and also when the company examines the shirt for any possible trademark violations. After the shirt is approved, the designer creates a product description, sets the retail price and makes it available for purchase.

That’s it for the designer. No need to worry about managing inventory, shipping, returns or customer service. The third-party company handles it all.

This hands-off model is ideal for people like Terri Broussard Williams, 40, of Austin, Texas, founder of Movement Maker Tribe, a political and philanthropy blog. She uses print-on-demand services to create merch associated with her blog and public-speaking work. She always wanted to sell merch but had no idea how to go about it until learning of Spreadshirt. She opened her shop in August 2018 and now makes $ 100 per month from her designs.

One of the trade-offs with these services is that your profit margin will be slimmer because the company is doing a majority of the work.

Waldon says if he lists a T-shirt for $ 16.99 on Merch by Amazon, he earns $ 3.11 per shirt. The higher the retail listing price, the higher the cut for the designer. (Each print-on-demand service is different; to help you decide which service is best for you, we’ve highlighted below some of the pros and cons of different companies.)

Do I Need a Graphic-Design Background?

A young woman holds open her jacket to show a T-shirt with a message.

Even though it helps to have a background in graphic design, it is possible for people with no Adobe Photoshop experience to sell shirts. “I’ve tried, but I failed miserably,” Broussard Williams says of her attempt to learn Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.

Instead, she outsources the design work to a graphic designer she’s worked with in the past, and they collaborate on shirts. Overall, she’s spent about $ 200 outsourcing her design work. If you don’t know any graphic designers, Waldron says, you can find freelancers on services such as Fiverr or Upwork.

But if you don’t want to outsource your designing, there are options. You can read articles and watch YouTube tutorials from experienced online T-shirt sellers to learn how to use creative suites such as Photoshop and Canva, a program that allows you to use royalty-free fonts to create images.

“So I think it’s doable for anyone,” Waldron says. “I feel like for me it’s definitely easier because I can just hop into Photoshop and kind of put an idea together. But there are other alternatives if you don’t have Photoshop experience.”

Tips for Success

Below are some tips for starting off in the print-on-demand T-shirt industry from people who have been successful.

Put Your Stuff Out There

Newbies trying print-on-demand for the first time need to be bold and brave, Broussard Williams says.

“You’re selling [a] product, and you’re putting it out for the whole world to see, so for some people that might be intimidating,” she says. “It might be easy to assume that no one wants to buy your message, but I’ve learned people do.”

If your designs are not selling right away, don’t fret. Stacy Caprio, 27, who lives in Chicago and runs the website her.ceo, started selling T-shirts on services such as Merch by Amazon, Redbubble, Printful and Printify in early 2017. She says it took over a month to earn her first sale.

“Test it for a month. Put some [designs] up and see if you get any sales because I think that’s the best way to see if that’s something you want to continue with,” she says.

Caprio has experience using multiple print-on-demand services to sell her designs. Although she no longer actively uploads new designs on these services, she still earns between $ 200 and $ 300 per month in residual income.

Find Your Niche

A man poses for a picture in front of his home office

When coming up with designs, remember that the riches are in the niches. If you’re into a particular activity or hobby, then focus on that topic, Waldron says. In the beginning, he had a difficult time getting his golf-themed T-shirts noticed because that category was saturated with competition. One topic he noticed early on that didn’t have much competition was bowling. Waldron says his wife is a great bowler, so they brainstormed designs and phrases that appealed to bowling fans.

He says the more specific the niche, the less likely you’ll face competition from other designers. So find a topic and put your efforts into creating the best designs possible.

Have Great — Original — Designs

Waldron warns people to be careful when it comes to trying to create designs based on trending topics. You might have an excellent idea for a shirt that involves a celebrity or current event, but you might not be able to use it.

“It gets tricky because something’s probably been copyrighted, so the easiest ideas are just the ones that you come up with on your own, like purely out of the dark, and then you can go online and you can check the trademark database,” he says.

You can look up trademarks by going to the the United States Patent and Trademark Office Website and using the Trademark Electronic Search System. There you can search for certain terms and phrases to see if someone owns an active, or live, trademark or copyright.

Also, a simple Google search will help to see if someone has already beat you to the punch and created a T-shirt with a similar idea.

Waldron says he learned early on that Merch by Amazon doesn’t play around when it comes to trademarks and copyrights. One of his designs was a vector image of a character that had some slight similarities to the superhero Iron Man holding a golf club iron. He says he tried to make him look not too “Iron Man-ish,” but the design didn’t pass. “They squashed that one pretty quick,” he says.

Don’t Neglect Your Product Descriptions

After your design has been created and approved, you don’t want to ignore your product descriptions and titles. “If you put all the energy into making a cool shirt and then you do one sentence for your description, you’re kind of wasting the little real estate that Amazon gives you,” Waldron says.

For example, let’s say Waldron is uploading a funny bowling T-shirt about the 10 pin, a pin that right-handed bowlers have trouble hitting. He’s not going to title it “10 Pin T-shirt.” He’s going to call it “Funny Bowling T-Shirt -10 Pin Design,” or something similar.

The goal is to think like a shopper and anticipate how they would search for your item if they didn’t know it existed, he says.

When writing the description, make sure to include part of your product title, such as the saying on the T-shirt, if there is one. He says, for example, “Are you looking for a great bowling gift for your family or friends? This ‘Living on a Spare’ T-shirt is the perfect gift, and sure to generate laughs at the bowling alley.”

Print-On-Demand Services to Consider

A smiling woman wears a T-shirt with a message on it.

A couple of quick Google searches will reveal several companies offering print-on-demand services.

Each of these services has its own pros and cons regarding product quality, profit margins, audience size and speed of shipping.

Below is a list of some print-on-demand services, with details from people who have used them.

Merch by Amazon

Amazon’s print-on-demand service is the biggest player on the block, according to Caprio and Waldron. Caprio says she preferred using Merch by Amazon over other services because of Amazon’s massive built-in audience and its reliable product-delivery service.

One of the most significant hurdles is that you must go through an application process to sell on the platform. Caprio waited six months for approval. Waldron says he was approved in about two months and credits his web-design experience for giving him an edge.

Here’s where you can find out more about Merch by Amazon.

Printful

Printful features many high-quality T-shirts and items to put your designs on. The service has a profit calculator available so designers can see how to price products to obtain their desired profit margin.

Printify

Printify allows designers to save 20% on their costs with an optional premium membership for $ 29 per month. Caprio says it’s great if your demand is strong and people are buying your items often. Here is a breakdown of the pricing structure for Printify.

Spreadshirts

Spreadshirt has a wide variety of high-quality items and many customization options. Designers can put their images on short- and long-sleeve shirts, hoodies, mugs, phone cases and more. Buyers have the freedom to select their shirt and font colors. Broussard Williams says she typically earns between $ 2 and $ 3 per shirt.

Redbubble

Redbubble sells baby clothes, greeting cards, wall art and bags in addition to shirts. Caprio liked using Redbubble because it gave her the opportunity to put her designs on unique items such as onesies. Here is a breakdown of the base prices of the items available on Redbubble.

Matt Reinstetle is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He covers side hustles and the gig economy. 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 How a ‘Money Buddy’ Can Help You Reach Your Financial Goals

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

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

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

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

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

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

“It reinforces that positive behavior.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.

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

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The Trump administration is forcing this health start-up that took Chinese money into a fire sale

PatientsLikeMe sold a majority stake to Chinese company iCarbonX in 2017. The deal is backfiring now that Trump is clamping down on China, as CFIUS forces the Chinese firm to divest its majority stake.
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Frozen Fruits and Vegetables Save You Money and Are as Healthy as Fresh

Dear Celery,

I meant well. I swear I did. I bought you with the best of intentions from the produce section and even cut you up for snacking. That was the last we saw of each other, until I found you again weeks later, white and sad.

You’ve probably seen the television ad where the lady puts her strawberries in the fridge, eats a few and then forgets all about them. (Don’t get me started on their use of the “Married Life” song from Disney-Pixar’s “Up.” Carl lost Ellie — spoiler alert! — during that song, not some berries.)

It’s a common tale. We’re taught to shop the outside aisles of the grocery store, because fresh products are healthier than their alternatives.

It now seems that concept is slightly flawed, and more of us are catching on by shopping for produce in the freezer aisle.

How to Save Money on Produce (Hint: Buy Frozen)

Simply put, frozen produce retains almost all of the health benefits of fresh produce, but with far less waste.

Most fresh produce has a refrigerator life of a few days at best. For frozen produce, that window can be extended up to one year, with little to no significant difference in nutritional value.

And frozen produce is cheaper to ship and store than fresh fruits (pretty but pricy displays in the supermarket require paying employees to maintain — and think how fast those fresh veggies wilt), which makes buying a bag easier on your wallet.

For fans of The Penny Hoarder, this shouldn’t be big news. We’ve been promoting the frozen food aisle as a great way to reduce waste in your kitchen. Less wasted food means less wasted money, right?

A study published by the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that peas, carrots and corn actually had higher levels of vitamin E than their fresh counterparts.

This is great news for savvy shoppers. You can eat healthily, save money and waste less food. Just keep your eyes on the frozen produce section, and avoid turning toward those beckoning frozen pizzas and ice-cream treats closeby.

Tyler Omoth is a former senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

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

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12 Weird (But Totally Legal) Ways to Make Extra Money in Canada

O, the Great White North. Nova Britannia. Land of Maple Syrup. America’s Hat. The 14th colony. *Whispers* America’s friendliest neighbor.

It must be nice to have the best nicknames around.

And while we’re on the subject of best things, we thought you might also want to know about the best — and weirdest — ways you can pocket some extra Canadian dollars.

But you have to promise not to spend it all on poutine and butter tarts — only some of it.

Note: Monetary amounts are shown in U.S. dollars. Bank of Canada is a good resource to find the current exchange rate.

How to Make Money in Canada

We combed through all of our tips to filter out the best flexible ways to make money in Canada. You can do many of these without leaving the confines of your home.

1. Tell This Company What’s in Your Fridge

Remember the Nielsen company? It’s always tracked TV ratings, but now it wants to know what’s in your fridge.

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

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

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

2. Fill This out While Watching TV

Hand holding remote

We’re going to be real here: Survey sites aren’t our favorite way to make extra money, because it’s difficult to bag a lot. But if you’re just hanging out and watching TV, why not click a few buttons on your phone and turn your spare time into money?

Here are a few of our favorite sites for earning money in your free time:

  • VIP Voice offers surveys that are relatively quick to complete and reward you with points you can redeem for cash or gift cards.
  • MobileXpression: After you’ve installed this app for one week, you get to play an instant rewards game for a prize. (Everyone wins something.) We’ve seen users win $ 25 Amazon gift cards, but some of the other prizes include iPads and Samsung TVs.
  • SaskWatch Panel: Do you call Saskatchewan home? Insightrix’s SaskWatch lets you fill out surveys for rewards points you can redeem for cash. You’ll voice your opinion on social, political and consumer issues facing your community.
  • LifePoints Panel is a tried-and-true survey site that’s been around for a long time. This one is easy to use, even if you just have a few minutes to spare. You’ll earn cash and prizes for your opinions.

3. Get Paid to Get in Shape

Woman working out

Listen. Losing weight and getting fit is easier said than done.

But will a little bit of money motivate you?

It’s motivating Marcie Hagner, 44, who has placed a bet on her weight-loss goals through HealthyWage. If she can lose the 50 pounds she bet she could, she’ll pocket $ 862.

“Money is a huge motivator for me,” she says. “Especially because I don’t have a lot. I don’t want to give somebody $ 500, especially for something I can control and do.”

Read more about how she’s finding motivation to lose weight through HealthyWage.

4. List Your Extra Space on Airbnb

Room shot

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

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

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

Here are some tips:

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

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

5. Tutor Kids (From Behind a Computer Screen)

Woman working from home

Did you know you can tutor kids — without leaving your house? And without them entering your house?

Chegg Tutors is open to applicants worldwide. There are tons of open tutoring subjects, from calculus to biology — even astrophysics.

To sign up as a Chegg online tutor, you must provide two forms of proof you are either currently or were previously enrolled in a university. You will also need a Facebook account. Once your profile is approved, you will be matched with students seeking tutoring in your subject. Tutors earn $ 20 or more per hour.

Skooli is a Canada-based company that offers tutoring for K-12 courses, as well as college-level classes.

If you are a certified teacher with a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or specialized instructor qualification (like ESL), you can become an online tutor for Skooli. Skooli tutors are paid $ 25 per hour.

To apply, you must provide proof of qualifications and education. If they deem you a good fit, you’ll be approved and available to tutor students. Go the extra mile and receive full Skooli verification by also adding a criminal record check.

This extra step gets you a purple Skooli shield badge on your profile, which will garner more attention from parents and students (read: more money), and you could also qualify for special programs that not all tutors have access to.

6. Drive With Uber

Uber driver in car

Enjoy finding the best route around town? Why not turn it into your side hustle and get paid for it?

As a driver partner with Uber, you create your own schedule and work as much or as little as you want.

If you want to give it a try, here are a few things to keep in mind: You must be at least 21 years old, have at least one year of licensed driving experience (three years if you are under 23 years old), have a valid driver’s license and pass a background check.

Also, your car must be a four-door, seat at least four passengers (excluding the driver), be registered in-state and be covered by in-state insurance.

7. Earn up to $ 60 an Hour as a Part-Time Bookkeeper

Woman working

Does earning $ 60 an hour sound appealing? How about the freedom to work remotely while helping others succeed?

Those are the perks of working as a bookkeeper, says Ben Robinson, a certified public accountant and business owner who teaches others to become virtual bookkeepers through his online course, Bookkeeper Business Launch.

And no, you don’t have to have a CPA to be successful in this business. In fact, all you really need are decent computer skills and a passion for helping business owners tackle real-world problems.

It’s a great opportunity for moms who want to work part-time, grads who are just out of college and anyone who wants to bring in real money while working from home.

8. Get Paid for Your Useless Trivia Knowledge

If you’re one of those people who can pull useless pieces of knowledge from out of nowhere, you’ll want to download this app.

It’s called HQ Trivia. With at times more than a million players logging on at 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. ET each day to play, you might’ve heard of it.

“Quiz Daddy” Scott Rogowsky is the game’s main host. He asks 12 questions. You’ve got three multiple-choice options and 10 seconds to answer each. If you get all 12 questions correct, you’ll split the grand prize (around $ 5,000 lately, though it’s been $ 25,000 or more on randomly chosen special occasions) amongst the other winners.

The HQ Trivia app is available for iPhone and Android.

Pro tip: Share your personalized referral code with friends and family to get an extra life. Trust us. You’ll want it.

9. Clean up Search Engine Mistakes

Man typing on keyboard

Search engines use complicated algorithms to determine the results you see. But they don’t always get it right…

They’re actually full of errors, so companies need real humans to look at the results and judge them for quality, relevance and usefulness. That’s where you come in.

You can find search engine evaluator jobs through Lionbridge. You’ll take a qualifying test, and some companies also conduct a phone interview. Once you’re accepted, you can set your own schedule and work as much or little as you want.

10. Work From Home as a Transcriptionist

Headphones on keyboard

Transcribing is a great way to earn cash that requires little to no prior experience and offers flexible hours and workloads. Plus, you can do it from home.

The work sounds easy: Listen to audio and type what you hear. But it can be repetitive and requires a lot of attention to detail.

However, the pay is a pretty good selling point: Earn around $ 15 to $ 25 per hour for general transcription, and more if you learn to specialize in the legal or medical fields.

11. Go Watch a Movie

If you want to get paid to watch movies, fill out an application with the mystery shopping company Market Force Information.

The application is just a few questions long, and nearly everyone in the U.S. and Canada is eligible.

Once you’re accepted as an auditor, keep an eye out for email alerts for new assignments in your area. You can accept or decline any assignments — so if a movie’s not even worth watching for $ 30, you don’t have to see it.

In-theater checks don’t come with huge paydays, but you’ll get a free movie and earn about $ 10 to $ 20 an hour for your time.

12. Sell Your iPhone Photos

Food being photographed from phone

Those thought-out photos you take can get you more than just social media likes.

Upload your iPhone photos to stock photography sites. Many of them are trying to get away from the “perfect” photo and are looking for more realistic images. After a quick upload, you’ll get an email notification when someone purchases your work.

You likely won’t become a millionaire; sites like Foap pay about $ 5 per purchase. However, if you have a nicer camera, you can step up your game like Eliza Snow, who quit her corporate job to sell stock photos full time.

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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Don’t Let Just Anyone Handle Your Money: Use Caution When Choosing a Financial Adviser

African Americans may do well to check out a financial adviser’s credentials thoroughly before hiring one to manage their investments. New data shows what you need to know before choosing a financial adviser.

Some 48% of Americans mistakenly believe all financial advisers are required by law to always act in their clients’ best interest, a new survey by digital wealth manager Personal Capital shows. The finding comes after the Securities and Exchange Commission this month settled charges against 79 investment advisers who must return over $ 125 million to clients tied to mutual fund sales, with a large chunk of the money going to retail investors, DI Media reports.

The Personal Capital 2019 Financial Trust Report further disclosed that 65% of investors who work with a financial adviser incorrectly believe that financial advisers only make recommendations that are in a client’s best interest, a rise from 46% in 2017.

A startling discovery was that just 44% of Americans know the fee amounts they pay on all their investment accounts. And 20% do not know how their adviser is paid. Personal Capital claims hidden fees can add up to more than an eye-popping $ 400,000 in an investor’s lifetime.

This report stemmed from a CARAVAN survey by Engine among a sample of 2,007 adults—1,004 men and 1,003 women—18 years of age and older. The online interviews were conducted in December 2018 and entailed responses from 202 African Americans.

Though 30% surveyed think a financial adviser is likely to take advantage of a consumer, 97% trust that their own financial adviser will act in their best interests.

A Lack of Awareness When Choosing a Financial Adviser

Accentuating the lack of awareness pertaining to advisers’ legal obligations to clients, 18% were unable to identify if their adviser is a broker/dealer or a fiduciary. The 26% who indicated their advisers are broker/dealers should reconsider if they are receiving unbiased financial advice, Personal Capital says.

Questioned about who they would trust their money with, 28% said a registered investment adviser, 21% a big bank/brokerage firm, 14% a local advisory company, 8% an online platform. Thirty-three of the respondents said none of the above.

On the loyalty front, millennials surprisingly were the most devoted with 80% declaring they would follow an adviser to a new firm. Seventy percent of Gen Xers and 66% of baby boomers felt that way. Respondents reflected on the usefulness of technology in financial services and cybersecurity concerns.

The overall findings come after years of public debate among regulatory bodies over the fate of the fiduciary rule focused on arguing the definition of “best interest,” which Personal Capital claims may be contributing to the increased public confusion.

“While we hope all financial services professionals and firms are working with Americans’ best interests in mind regardless of fiduciary designations, this simply isn’t the case,” said Jay Shah, CEO of Personal Capital. “When it comes to wealth management, anything less than advice that meets the fiduciary standard simply isn’t acceptable. Investors deserve more.”

How to Find a Reputable Adviser

Responding to the Personal Capital report, Kevin Mayeux, CEO of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, said, “Broker-dealers and their registered representatives provide affordable, trustworthy financial services and products to clients at all income levels, from the wealthy to those with more modest means.” The NAIFA is the nation’s largest membership association of insurance and financial professionals.

Mayeux added,  “Fiduciary regulations, such as one imposed by the U.S. Department of Labor before it was struck down by a federal court, can create burdensome and costly requirements that make it difficult or impossible for advisers to provide individualized, human-on-human advice and services to middle- and lower-income consumers. Many registered investment advisers charge fees and require account minimums of $ 200,000 to $ 1 million or more while relegating people who cannot maintain those balances or afford those fees to one-size-fits-all computerized models or call-centers.”

“The truth is, insurance and financial advisers are highly-trained and licensed professionals. They are governed by state and federal securities laws, and every securities transaction they complete with a client is subject to compliance reviews by their broker-dealers and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.”

Mayeux pointed out NAIFA members agree to abide by a code of ethics that includes a promise to promote their clients’ interests. He says the vast majority of these advisers build and maintain enduring relationships with clients that often last decades and would not be possible if the advisers were not looking out for the best interests of their clients.

“Nonetheless, NAIFA supports an ongoing effort by the Securities and Exchange Commission that would further require advisers to serve in the best interests of their clients and is working with the SEC to ensure that the final rule benefits consumers of all income levels and allows them to continue to receive needed services and advice.”

A “Staunch Advocate”

Geoffrey Brown, CEO of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, said the findings from Personal Capital’s 2019 Financial Trust Report are not surprising. He said because of efforts to mislead and confuse the public by non-fiduciary financial services professionals, consumers often don’t have the clarity needed to evaluate the relationship they have with their chosen professional.

He added this leads to a lack of understanding about the true cost of the engagement and the duties owed to the client under the law. Since its inception, Brown claims NAPFA has been a staunch advocate for fiduciary principles, something he maintains is the most transparent way of serving the public. The NAPFA calls itself the country’s leading professional association of fee-only financial advisers.

“In today’s marketplace, it’s virtually impossible to distinguish a salesperson from an adviser, or between those advisers who are legally obligated to provide advice under a fiduciary standard versus those who are not. When working with an adviser or salesperson, consumers need to be clear about the nature of the relationship,” Brown says.

 

The post Don’t Let Just Anyone Handle Your Money: Use Caution When Choosing a Financial Adviser appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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29 Totally Flexible Ways to Make Money in College Without Dropping Classes

Working through college is one way to reduce the amount of debt you’ll have after graduation. You know, make some money now and take out fewer student loans. Big. Win.

But finding a job with decent pay that’ll allow you to schedule shifts around your classes and extracurriculars can be harder to find than a healthy taco bar. And maybe you’re not too keen on flipping burgers at your local fast-food joint.

Well… have you thought about ditching the demanding work schedule and finding flexible work instead? You’ve got options, after all.

29 Ways to Make Money in College — Without a Fast Food Gig

From part-time jobs to apps and websites that let you make money online from your dorm or apartment, you have plenty of options that won’t cut into your study time.  

1. Get Rewarded for Your Good Grades

Don’t have a lot of spare time outside of studying?

Check with the dean of your college or university to see if your school offers incentives for getting good grades. Some actually offer cash bonuses to college students who maintain a good GPA.

2. Drive With Uber and Lyft

A woman holds a cell phone.

Need a fun, flexible way to earn money while also meeting lots of new people?

Try driving with Lyft!

Demand for ride-sharing has been growing like crazy, and it shows no signs of slowing down. To be eligible, you’ll need to be at least 21 years old with a year of driving experience, pass a background check and own a car made in 2007 or later. You can drive days, nights or weekends — it’s up to you!

Because it’s simple to switch between apps, many Lyft drivers also sign up with Uber.

As a partner driver with Uber, you’re an independent contractor. You create your own schedule and work as much or as little as you want.

If you want to give Uber a try here are a few of the things to keep in mind: You must be at least 21 years old, have at least one year of licensed driving experience in the U.S. (three years if you are under 23 years old), have a valid US driver’s license and pass a background check.

Finally, your car must be a four-door, seat at least four passengers (excluding the driver), be registered in-state and be covered by insurance.

And if you aren’t sure which is better for you? Here’s our guide to Lyft versus Uber.

3. Share Your Opinions

No, you won’t make a ton of money doing online surveys, but you also won’t have to spend a lot of time or effort. Heck, you won’t even have to leave your dorm room.

One survey site we love is MyPoints. It rewards you in gift cards for taking polls and answering surveys. It’s a great way to pass time while you wait in long lines at the dining hall. You’ll earn a $ 5 bonus when you complete your first five surveys.

Then there’s also the reader favorite Swagbucks, which offers a wide variety of ways to make money beyond taking surveys. Plus, you get a $ 5 bonus when you sign up and earn 2,500 SB within your first 60 days.

If you’re looking to make a bit of money in those free minutes between classes, it doesn’t get much easier than this.

4. Be a Human Guinea Pig

From medical tests to market research, being a test subject can be an interesting, educational and — above all — lucrative way to spend your time.

Some tests, like clinical trials, may be more taxing and require a greater time commitment. But they just might pay a pretty penny; we’ve seen as much as $ 600 for some studies.

But other opportunities, like market research, may just take a couple hours of your afternoon, and you’ll earn free samples and some extra cash.

Here are a few resources to help you get started:

Keep an eye out on campus for opportunities at your university, too. These are usually quick gigs that could yield $ 10 to $ 20 for less than an hour’s work.

5. Buy and Resell Textbooks

Detail of Text Books

When you were in high school, you had no idea how much money textbooks cost, did you? Ouch. You know you can earn a little cash back for selling your textbooks at the end of the semester.

But you can go beyond that — and actually start profiting from textbook sales.

Instead of relying on your own collection, buy textbooks online from sites like eBay and resell them on a site like BookScouter.

Before you shop, you can look up a book’s ISBN on BookScouter and find out how much it’s worth. That way you’ll only buy books you know you can sell for more than what you pay.

Profit margins aren’t huge on textbook reselling, but if you can average $ 5 per book and sell five per day, you could earn $ 750 each month. That’s a solid side hustle!

6. Turn Saving Money Into a Team Sport

If you’re a fan of friendly competition, start recruiting team members to join you on Ibotta, a free app that’ll grant you cash back on just about everything. Yeah, if you’re 21, you can even earn cash back from the bar.

If you’re not yet an Ibotta member, go ahead and sign up. Once you claim your first offer, you’ll earn a $ 10 bonus.

Then start building your team. You can refer friends and earn a $ 5 bonus. The more team members you have, the more shopping bonuses you’ll likely accrue. Can you say passive income? Plus, Ibotta ranks your earnings against your friends, which turns saving money into a friendly competition.

Just think how much you can earn if you get your whole dorm or sorority involved!

7. Sell Your Old Cell Phone

iphone sitting on seat of car

You know that old cell phone you have sitting in your junk drawer or perhaps your bedside table? It’s time to give it up and pocket some cash.

Gazelle is an online trade-in site that makes the process super easy.

Enter your device’s information, and Gazelle will give you a trade-in estimate. For qualifying devices, it’ll even send you a free box for shipping.

If you need money more quickly, see if an affiliated kiosk is located in your area. You’ll be able to get an estimate on your device, and if you agree to sell, you’ll immediately get cash.

8. Become a Tutor

Are you looking for on-campus jobs? Have you ever considered becoming a tutor?

Look for programs through your university or specific departments where you could get paid to work with other students.

For more flexibility, consider becoming an online tutor. Through a platform like Wyzant, you can browse tutoring jobs and set your own rates.

9. Get Refunds on Your Online Orders

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

One of our secret weapons is called Paribus — a tool that gets you money back for your online purchases. It’s free to sign up, and once you do, it will scan your email for any receipts. If it discovers you’ve purchased something from one of its monitored retailers, it will track the item’s price and help you get a refund when there’s a price drop.

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

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

10. Find Money You Didn’t Know Was Yours

Money on the ground next to shoes.

State treasuries throughout the U.S. have more than $ 43 billion in unclaimed funds, according to The New York Times. Just sitting around! Waiting for you to come play lost and found.

Check for your unclaimed money with the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators. Click your state on the map, and it’ll redirect you to your state’s appropriate search site. (Beware: There are several look-a-like sites out there. Be sure you’re searching legitimate ones.)

Penny Hoarder reader Kelli Howell heeded our advice, performed a quick search and found unclaimed money in her husband’s name.

“As I was scrolling through, I saw his name and his middle initial,” she says. She asked him to confirm his old Florida address; he grew up in Tampa. Sure enough, Mark Howell was entitled to $ 56 from a “matured insurance policy.”

Not bad for an unexpected check, right?

11. Become a Virtual Employee

If you want more steady work and income still offering the flexibility you need to get to class and rest after pulling all-nighters, look online.

Not sure where to start your search for a remote gig? Turn to ZipRecruiter. Click here, and it’ll send you to a list of geo-tailored work-from-home job openings.

Because you don’t yet have a degree and aren’t seeking full-time employment, we suggest looking into these jobs:

  • Virtual recruiter: Put your networking skills to use and connect employees or freelancers to the right jobs. You’ll do things like post available jobs, screen resumes, conduct preliminary interviews and negotiate salaries.
  • Virtual assistant: Are you super organized? Get paid to help a busy professional stay on track. You can use the organization and communication skills you’ve developed to help out with data entry, social media management, website maintenance, research and customer service needs.

Transcriber: Know how to type speedy fast? Transcribing requires little to no prior experience and offers flexible hours and workloads. The work can be demanding, but the pay is a pretty good selling point: about $ 15 to $ 25 per hour for general transcription, and more if you specialize in a legal or medical field.

12. Advertise Your Skills as a Freelancer

Freelancing is a wonderful, flexible way to make money on the side. You set your own rates and your hours. It also can be a great way to gain experience and connect with potential employers before you even graduate.

Whether you’re a graphic designer, a writer, an editor or a computer programmer, you can find virtual gigs through platforms like Upwork, Fiverr and other freelance websites.

13. Sell Crafting Supplies on Etsy

Tulips, scissors and rope on wooden background.

Maybe you love crafting, but you simply don’t have the time to knit scarves, quilt blankets or cross-stitch sassy sayings to sell. Well, here’s some good news: You can make money simply selling craft kits and supplies.

Look for supplies, kits and patterns at thrift stores and garage sales. Find good deals, and resell these items to crafters on Etsy. Take note from Janet Berry-Johnson who was able to make an extra $ 200 a month by selling supplies on Etsy.

14. Get Paid for Completing Small Tasks on Amazon

Have you heard of Amazon’s Mechanical Turk?

Create an account, and start performing “human intelligence tasks.” These tasks range from answering surveys to transcribing interviews to creating spreadsheets. You can pick and choose what you want to do.

Penny Hoarder contributor Michael Naab shared that he made an average of $ 500 a month through Mechanical Turk.

15. Hang out With Dogs or Cats

A dog sits on the street

If you’re looking for a flexible, independent way to earn money — and you love hanging out with dogs — Rover might be your perfect gig.

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

Rover says sitters can earn as much as $ 1,000 a month.

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

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

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

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

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

16. Braid Horse Manes

Are your friends always asking you to do their hair? Put it in a French braid or a fancy knot?

Well, you can get paid to put your skills to use — on horses.

Kat Tretina worked on weekends braiding horse manes for shows. She had zero experience and invested an initial $ 20 for a supply kit. Then started banking $ 1,000 a month.

You’ll find some small shows in the fall and winter months, but spring and summer are the most popular.

And because the work happens almost exclusively on the weekends, you should have no problem fitting it around your class schedule.

17. Help Your Neighbors With Odd Jobs — the Modern Way

Odd jobs and side gigs are an awesome way to earn extra money without committing to a full-time job or fixed schedule.

Sure, you could always find work the old-fashioned way — have your parents ask their friends if they need help with anything. But modern technology and our infatuation with the sharing economy have made gigs a much more effective way of earning a living.

Use an app like TaskRabbit to connect with people in your area who need help with cleaning, assembling furniture or installing a new faucet.

If you’re not as handy around the house, you can use Instacart or Postmates to deliver groceries and takeout orders to people who don’t have time, resources or ability to do it on their own.

18. Pick up House-Sitting Gigs

If you’re not keen on babysitting or pet sitting, why not house sit? It could be a great way to escape your shared dorm room while also making some extra money.

There are tons of websites out there that’ll help you find the perfect gig. Check out a few of these house-sitting marketplaces.

19. Get Paid to Exercise

Bottom line: HealthyWage will literally pay you for losing weight.

Not only are you getting more healthy, you’re also making some money. How’s that for motivation?

Here’s how it works:

  1. Read our full HealthyWage review, and sign up.
  2. Define a goal weight and the amount of time you’ll give yourself to achieve it.
  3. Place a bet on yourself ranging from $ 20 to $ 500 a month.

Depending on how much you have to lose, how long you give yourself to do it and how much money you put on the table, you could win up to $ 10,000!

Wondering if it can really work? We talked to one woman, Teresa Suarez, who lost 68 pounds — and made over $ 2,400.

20. Be on Your Favorite TV Game Show

Do you watch “Jeopardy!” or “Wheel of Fortune” every evening and feel like you’d crush the contestants?

You can be part of these shows more easily than you might think, and it can be a cool way to boost your budget.

To get started, read our full guide to becoming a game show contestant for details on joining “Jeopardy!,” “Wheel of Fortune,” “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, “The Price is Right” and more.

21. Claim Class-Action Settlements

Class-action lawsuits are a simple way to make some extra money on the side.

Heck, you’re probably already part of a class-action suit you don’t even know about. They come up more often than you might realize.

We share open settlements here when we hear about them, so keep an eye out.

To file a claim, you’ll usually just have to fill out an online form. Some settlements also require proof of purchase of a relevant product or service.

How much you get depends on how many claimants are part of the case settlement and the amount of the settlement. You could get anything from free tuna to a check for $ 5,000 from California hotels.

22. Deliver Packages for Amazon Flex

You know when you order a package through Amazon and receive it the same day? It’s not magic — it’s your friendly Amazon Flex delivery partner.

As an Amazon Flex delivery partner, you’ll deliver goods to consumers via Amazon.com, Prime Now, AmazonFresh and Amazon Restaurants.

Amazon Flex says you can make $ 18 to $ 25 an hour as a Flex associate, though that’ll depend on how much you’re able to deliver. It processes payments on Tuesdays and Fridays through direct deposit, so you should see your money on Wednesdays, Saturdays or both.

One of the biggest perks of this part-time gig is that you get to set your own schedule, using the Flex app to claim delivery blocks (or shifts) you want to work. You’re an independent contractor, though, so you’ll be responsible for expenses, including gas, parking and tolls.

To qualify, you’ll need a phone with the Flex app and a car. If you’re delivering Prime Now orders, any car will suffice; however, if you’re delivering for Amazon.com, you’ll need a four-door midsize sedan or larger. In some areas, bikes are acceptable.

The program recruits in various areas across the country based on need. If you don’t find your city on the list when you go to sign up, you can always join the waitlist.

23. Play Free Scratch-offs for a Chance to Win Real Money

Woman scratching lottery ticket

You know that feeling when you find a $ 20 bill hiding in the pocket of those jeans you wore last week? Yeah, that’s the feeling of a lucky day. The Lucky Day app is just like that.

You could win up to $ 10,000 playing digital scratch-off tickets or even a whopping $ 100,000 in the daily lotto. You’ll also have a lot of chances to win gift cards to cool places like Amazon, Walmart, Dunkin and Target.

It’s all free to play, with no in-app purchases. The company has already awarded more than $ 3 million in prizes to winners since 2014.

No, it’s not guaranteed money, but it’s a fun way to pass the time when you’re just sitting around and, who knows, you could hit a big one!

24. Sell Your Instagram-Worthy Pictures

If you have a smartphone and a photographic eye, making money may have just gotten a lot easier. Oh – you’ll also need access to marketable scenery.

An app called Foap lets you turn your smartphone photos into cash.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Download the free app and create an account.
  2. Take a quality photo and upload it to Foap’s marketplace.
  3. Someone buys the license to your photo for $ 10. You make $ 5.

If your photo sells 20 times, you make $ 5 each time and end up with $ 100 in your pocket — all for about five minutes of work. Pretty cool, right?

25. Serve as a Mock Juror From Your Laptop

Who isn’t obsessed with with true-crime podcasts these days? “My Favorite Murder,” anyone?

If you want an insider look at what happens when a case hits the courtroom, you can serve as an online mock juror through a site like eJury.

As a mock juror, you’ll review evidence including documents, videos and photos. The fate of the mock-innocent, or mock-guilty, could be in your hands. The goal? Help the lawyers prepare for the real thing.

You can earn $ 5 to $ 10 per case.

26. Sell Your Clutter and Make Some Cash

Living that minimalist lifestyle is all the rage right now, so why not use this mentality to your advantage?

Start taking a good hard look at your belongings. What do you actually need? What can you make money from?

  • Clothes: If you have clothes you haven’t worn in the last year, why do you hang onto them? Try selling them to folks in your area through an online marketplace like Letgo. It takes about five minutes to create your account and list an item, and it’s free.
  • Technology: About your overcrowded entertainment center… Consider selling these items to Decluttr. It’ll buy your old CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, video games and even cell phones and tablets. Shipping is free, and Decluttr pays you within 24 hours of retrieval.
  • Books: Bookshelf collecting dust? We love books as much as the next person, but see whether your treasures are worth anything by listing them on Amazon. With Amazon Trade-In, you can trade in your used textbooks, plus other items, like electronics, in exchange for an Amazon gift card.

Ready, set, purge.

27. Get Your Nanny on

Whether you want to look after school-aged kids on Saturday nights or help tired parents after school, you can find opportunities to use your child care experience to earn cash.

Look within your circle of friends and acquaintances first, as parents are more likely to trust someone they know. Ask friends if they know anyone else who could use a few hours to themselves, whether it’s to grocery shop or simply to head to the gym.

You can also let parents find you through Care.com. Rates on the platform will vary by city, but the average rate for babysitters in 2017 was $ 16.20 an hour, according to Care.com’s 2018 Cost of Care Survey.

28. Invest in Real Estate (Even as a College Student)

Want to try real-estate investing without playing landlord? We found a company that helps you do just that.

Oh, and you don’t have to have hundreds of thousands of dollars, either. You can get started with a minimum investment of just $ 500. A company called Fundrise does all the heavy lifting for you.

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

This isn’t an obscure investment, though. You can see exactly which properties are included in your portfolios — like a set of townhomes in Snoqualmie, Washington, or an apartment building in Charlotte, North Carolina.

You can earn money through quarterly dividend payments and potential appreciation in the value of your shares, just like a stock. Cash flow typically comes from interest payments and property income (e.g. rent).

(But remember: Investments come with risk. While Fundrise has paid distributions every quarter since 2014, dividend and principal payments are never guaranteed.)

You’ll pay a 0.85% annual asset management fee and a 0.15% annual investment advisory fee.

29. Cash in on Your Smartphone Addiction

A woman looks at the apps on her phone,

Let’s be real: That phone habit is hard to break. So you might as well make some money while you’re scrolling instead of totally waste your time.

Download AppKarma, a free rewards app that lets you earn cash and gift cards when you try out gaming apps and watch videos.

Android users can download the AppKarma app directly through the Google Play Store.

iPhone users: AppKarma is not in the app store, but you can use it from your mobile browser. Click on the link from your iOS device to access the AppKarma web app. Complete the first offer (and earn 100 points!) to get started.

Bonus: Penny Hoarders will get 500 extra points when you sign up, plus you’ll get an email shortly after signing up with a special promo code worth another 750 bonus points.

You can exchange your Karma Points for gift cards to Amazon, PayPal, iTunes, Target, Starbucks and Walmart, among other retailers.

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

The Penny Hoarder

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Learn how to make easy money on Amazon — and cash in on Jeff Bezos’ empire

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Amazon isn’t just the place you buy toilet paper and dog treats when you’re too lazy to go to the store. For many, Amazon is responsible for their livelihoods, and it could for you too one day. 

From the Amazon affiliate program to selling private-label products, there’s more than one path to Amazon-made success.

If your interest is piqued, here are three ways to do it:

1. Become an Amazon affiliate

One of the most painless ways to earn money on Amazon is by becoming an affiliate. In a nutshell, an affiliate is someone who serves as an ambassador for certain products. Your job is to get people to buy items through content marketing or a separate e-commerce store, and once someone makes a purchase, you earn a commission. Read more…

More about Amazon, Small Business, Online Learning, Mashable Shopping, and Shopping Stackcommerce


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BREAKING NEWS:

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

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

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

More than free money: How long-shot 2020 candidate Andrew Yang would reshape the US economy

Long-shot Democratic candidate Andrew Yang has proposed a $ 1,000 monthly stipend to Americans 18 and older, but he's looking to tackle other issues.
Economy

ECONOMY NEWS UPDATE:

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

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

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

3.15.19 Well-known money advice guru ran ponzi scheme; Clark Stinks

Former “Money answer man” Jonathan Goodman was running a ponzi scheme and massively profiting from his shady relationships; Christa reads listener posts about how Clark has missed the mark in his advice this week. If you have a “Clark Stinks” to share you can leave it here.

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

Watch the video

The post 3.15.19 Well-known money advice guru ran ponzi scheme; Clark Stinks appeared first on Clark Howard.

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10 “Free” Things That Cost You Money in the Long Run

Life is expensive. Between the mortgage, insurance, car payments, and unexpected repairs, homeowners have a lot of money going out. It’s understandable, then, that many are tempted to take advantage of freebies when they’re offered. But be wary: There’s a price to pay for everything—even the free stuff. Before you accept freebies, understand what you’re actually getting. Goods and services that you don’t have to pay for may not be up to standard or may come with sneaky fine print, or they may just cause more problems. So, while you might save money in the short term, in the long run you could live to regret your frugal choices. Avoid these 10 “free” things that are likely to end up costing you money.
Bob Vila : Trusted Home Renovation & Repair Expert

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You’re more likely to win money if this is your star sign

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Do you believe in star signs? Whether you trust in what your horoscope says or not, you might want to read this…

It turns out that the luckiest star sign is Aries. According to research by Buzzbingo.com, those born between March 21st and April 19th are more likely to hit the jackpot. Aries are the most likely to win big (more than £1000), with 520 big winners per 10,000 winners, with Sagittarus coming in close second. However, it’s bad news if you’re a Capricorn, as they came last in the table. Those with a Leo and Aquarius star sign didn’t do too well, either Sorry.

Here’s the full list so that you can see where you fall in line with your star sign. It’s based on the most winners per 10,000 winners.

Aries – 520

Sagittarius – 519

Cancer – 510

Taurus – 510

Virgo – 498

Scorpio – 496

Libra – 477

Gemini – 476

Pisces – 471

Leo – 467

Aquarius – 462

Capricorn – 456

The study shows that Virgos came out on top when it comes to overall winners, with 11,186 people taking home cash wins. This is the full breakdown…

Credit: Buzzbingo

So all in all – great news if you’re an Aries!

Sagittarius and Cancer, we’d say you can cash in on the luck, too.

Might be worth heading to the bingo this weekend…

The post You’re more likely to win money if this is your star sign appeared first on Marie Claire.

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How to Automate Your Savings to Amortize Big Expenses and Save Money

how to automate savings

I realized the other day that while I’d mentioned how I amortize big expenses through automatic saving, that I’ve never done an explicit post on it, so I thought it might be a good discussion. Ladies, what are your best tips on how to automate your savings? How much each month do you send to automatic savings (versus automatic investments)? Do you save for specific big expenses (like bills you know are coming), breaking them into smaller chunks each month, or are you just saving for a future nebulous expense like a downpayment or wedding? If you’ve got big debts (like student loan debt), how do you decide when to save vs when to pay down debt?

Pictured above: WHOA, Nordstrom has several magic wallets (affiliate link).

I have automated a ton of my savings, mostly to amortize big expenses — in fact most of our monthly income is immediately sent to automatic savings or automatic investments, which means that it can feel a little tight if our credit card bill is too high or the blog income (which varies widely) is too low. You can set this up in a lot of different accounts, but personally I’ve used Ally for the past five or six years. (This is not a sponsored post!) I like Ally because I find it very easy to 1) set up new accounts with beneficiaries and so forth, 2) in Ally you can label the accounts silly things like “Griffin Fun Money,” 3) they offer a pretty good savings rate, 4) Ally integrates seamlessly with my main bank for business and personal use, Chase, and 5) the separate little Ally accounts all sync with Mint — and I’ve set it up so Mint knows the account labels, so it isn’t at all confusing.

Each month we automatically save money into these accounts in Ally:

  • Insurance fun – My husband and I both have a fair amount of term life insurance, and the renewal comes at the same time every year, so that can be a pretty big chunk of money — so I added up all of the insurance payments we make through the year, divided by 12, and put that amount into a separate savings account once a month — and then when the insurance renewals come there’s no stress because the money is already set aside.
  • Vacation money – We don’t take a huge number of vacations but we have a set amount going each month to a separate vacation fund — we’re more likely to use it for a quick weekend trip, but I like not stressing about how much a hotel/plane flight costs — and when the amount gets too big in the account it’s a good incentive for us to actually plan a trip and go somewhere fun
  • Kids’ expenses/lessons – At various points through the kids’ lives we’ve had what felt like big, predictable expenses for the kids, so I’ve broken them down like I have for the insurance payments (totalling them up then dividing by 12); if the vacation fund gets too big I might also start diverting money every other month to the kids expense bucket.
  • Griffin Fun Money – After our post on “when to dip into your emergency fund” I realized I needed to change my system a bit, so now we have a monthly amount going into “fun money,” designed to cover those bigger expenses that come along rarely, like buying a new piece of furniture. 
  • Emergency funds – Our emergency funds are fully stocked right now (I have one for business and one for the family), but if we needed to restock things we would put them here.
  • Other big expenses – If you know you’re saving for a downpayment, a car, or some other house-related project like a kitchen renovation, I would definitely set up a savings account to break it into smaller chunks ahead of time.

Just to be super clear and distinguish this discussion from the one we had a while ago on automatic investing: if I think I’ll need the money within three years, I put the money in savings rather than investments like index funds. I’ve never been big on CDs, but Ally recently offered some good rates for 12-month CDs so I will admit to having some of our “emergency fund” money in CDs rather than savings accounts — but with Ally saving accounts offering 2.20% right now that’s hard to beat. (When I looked at bank rates on Mint recently there were a number of different banks offering that kind of savings right now, so definitely shop around if your emergency fund or other cash is earning less than that.)

Readers, how about you — have you automated your savings, whether for specific expenses or a nebulous future expense that’s different than your emergency fund? How much are you putting away each month for savings (vs. automated investments like your 401K)?

 

The post How to Automate Your Savings to Amortize Big Expenses and Save Money appeared first on Corporette.com.

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The Money Snapshot: A Chemist in New Jersey Shares Thoughts on Student Loans, Mortgages, & More!

chemist-nj-money-snapshot-under-30

Presenting our second “money snapshot,” this time with a 29-year-old chemist in New Jersey! She notes: “We paid off our cars and my student loan debt, and now we are saving for a house.”   

By way of background: we got a few requests from readers to launch our own “money diary” series, so we asked willing readers to fill out a form with lots of details about debt, spending, saving and more!  If you’d like to fill out the form and be considered for a future personal money snapshot, please click here if you’d like to see the form and/or submit responses! You can also see a PDF of the questions if you want to review them ahead of time. See others in the Personal Money Snapshot series here.

Please remember that this is is a real person who has feelings and isn’t gaining anything from this, unlike your usual friendly (soul-deadened, thick-skinned, cold-hearted, money-grubbing) blogger — so please be kind with any comments. Thank you! — Kat

Name: J
Location: Collingswood, NJ
Age: 29
Occupation: Chemist
Income: $ 85,000
Household income: $ 176,000
Partner’s age: 30
Household net worth:
not sure
Net worth when started working: Nothing except $ 55,000 in student loan debt (age 22)
Current debt: $ 0
Living situation: Currently renting; rent is $ 1,525/month

Debt

How much money are you spending each month to pay down debt?
$ 3,000 credit card bill — covers almost all expenses except rent

How did you pay for school?
Grants and loans

Have you paid off any major debt? 
Honestly, I wouldn’t have been able to pay off student loans so quickly ($ 54k in 7 years) if I didn’t have a partner covering all our daily expenses. 

What is your living situation?
We are renting — we rented for five years before we aggressively started saving for a house. In 18 months we had enough for a mortgage that we felt comfortable with, but we’re still hesitant to buy because property taxes in our area are so high and we aren’t 100% sure we want to (can?) commit to this area.

Savings, Investments & Retirement

How much do you save for retirement?
15% or more of my salary in 401k, and I have a rollover IRA that I haven’t touched. Both are more risk-balanced since I’m under 30.

How much money do you allocate to other tax-savvy investments/accounts like HSAs, 529s, FSAs, and others?
From 2011–2018, I put $ 10 a month into my HSA to focus on student loans. In 2019, I’ll contribute almost the maximum.

How much do you save outside of retirement accounts?
My partner pays for day-to-day expenses, and most of my salary (minus Target trips and a few monthly expenses like Audible) goes to a savings account.

Do you have/use a financial adviser or planner? Do you have a favorite index fund where you stick everything? Are you doing a bond ladder or other asset allocation strategy (like value funds or target retirement funds)?
No, but I think we should use a financial adviser soon. After Christmas [2018], I want to buy index fund.

Do you have an end goal for saving (e.g., early retirement or job change) or are you just saving for a rainy day?
House, Travel, and Apocalyptic life events. Early retirement would be great, but I haven’t thought about how to do that.

What’s the #1 thing you’re doing to save money, limit spending, or live frugally?
Automatic transfers help. Also, this sounds terrible, but having almost all our expenses on one credit card keeps me accountable. I’m far less likely to impulse spend if I know my partner is checking the credit card every week. My personal credit cards don’t have travel rewards, so I only want to use the joint CC and use the points to travel abroad. So my impulse spending is limited, and when I do spend, it’s at least going to be rewarded with crepes in Paris or something.

When did you start saving seriously? How has your savings strategy changed over the years?
I started saving seriously at the age of 26, and even more aggressively at 28.

How much do you have in cash that’s available today?
$ 2,000

How much do you have in cash that’s available in a week, such as with an online savings account?
$ 70,000

Spending 

How much do you spend on the following categories on a monthly basis?

Groceries: $ 300
Restaurants, bars, takeout, and delivery:
$ 150
Clothing and accessories: $ 150
Transportation: $ 160
Rent/living expenses: $ 1,525 (rent)

What’s your spending range for these things? What’s your average?

Vacations – Range: $ 0$ 5,000
Vacation – Average: $ 2,500

Individual items of clothing – Range: $ 5–$ 75
Individual items of clothing – Average: $ 40

Apartment or house – Range: $ 900–$ 1,600/month
Apartment or house – Current main residence: $ 1,525/month

Car or other vehicle – Range: $ 0$ 400/month
Car or other vehicle – Last purchase / current main vehicle: $ 400/month

Fill in the blank on this question: I could save _____ if I stopped ______, but I don’t because _______.
I could save $ 150/month if I moved closer to work, but I don’t because the state I work in is undesirable in so many ways.

When was your wedding and how much did it cost? 
Everything including honeymoon cost about $ 30,000. My parents covered about half. We spent a lot of money on the venue, food, and photographer. We bought our own alcohol (tax-free Delaware), hired the least experienced but still awesome DJ, and I got all the table flowers from Produce Junction and Trader Joe’s. 

If you own, how much did your car cost?
$ 22,000  

Money Strategy

Do you have a general money strategy?
Save as much as possible, and between my partner and I, try to live on one income and save the rest.

What advice would you give your younger self about personal finance?
Get a roommate after college. Don’t buy a new car.

Photo credit: icons via Stencil. 

Psst: We’ve talked about automatizing saving and automatic investing, as well as how to decide whether to pay down debt or save

 

The post The Money Snapshot: A Chemist in New Jersey Shares Thoughts on Student Loans, Mortgages, & More! appeared first on Corporette.com.

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Need More Money? Here Are 30 Ways to Earn Extra Cash in 2019

It’s simple enough: You. Need. Money.

Now.

But deciding how to make money — or how to make more money — can get complicated.

As Penny Hoarders, we have plenty of experience sharing ways to make bank, and we’ve compiled 30 ways to do it quickly in 2019.

Whether it’s online, offline, at your job or by doing nothing (OK, not nothing, but through passive income), we’ll tell you how to find moneymaking opportunities and how much you can expect to take in.

What are you waiting for? Let’s earn some quick cash!

How to Make Money Online

Although there may be plenty of ways to make money online, that doesn’t mean they’re all worth your time. We’ve researched the effort vs. reward for these online options — from earning a few bucks for completing simple tasks to making enough dough to quit your day job.

Read on for more ways to earn extra cash on the web.

1. Trade Unwanted Gift Cards for Cash

What to do with all those gift cards from well-meaning relatives who either don’t know your interests or don’t take your location into consideration? (Thanks for the In-N-Out Burger gift card, but I live in Brooklyn.)

Sell them for cash (or a gift card you’ll actually use).

The Penny Hoarder’s Branded Content Editor Dana Sitar analyzed five gift card exchange sites that swap for cash or other gift cards.

Although you can make some fast cash this way, know that you won’t get the full face value of the card. Sitar suggests checking out two or three sites to find the best deal.

She also warns people to be wary of fast-cash offers through mobile payment sites like PayPal, which charges additional fees.

How much money can you make? The site Cardpool offered Sitar $ 21 cash for a $ 25 Target gift card.

2. Find a Side Hustle on Upwork

Hey there, fast fingers. You might be feeling low with the news that ”typist” is among the dying occupations, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still find a way to make money hitting the keys (at least for now).

Upwork is a freelance site that lets you indicate whether you prefer short- or long-term projects and the number of hours you wish to work. You can narrow your search to specific jobs like “virtual assistant” or “data entry” within categories that include design, writing, administrative support and customer service.

Improve your chances of finding jobs that fit your skill set and fit into your spare time by being as precise as possible in your profile title and focusing on just a few keywords.

You’ll get paid by the hour or by the project, minus a percentage that Upwork charges freelancers.

How much money can you make? One Penny Hoarder earned $ 40 per hour on Upwork as a virtual assistant.

3. Freelance on Fiverr

Looking to pad your bank account by writing articles, designing logos or translating text?

Check out Fiverr, an online marketplace for freelancers. You can set up your platform for free, but Fiverr collects 20% of the transactions made over the site. Then it’s just a matter of choosing your gig.

Jobs tend toward the creative types, but there’s a wide range of categories, including graphics and design, digital marketing, writing and translation, video and animation and music and audio.

How much money can you make? Pay starts at $ 5 per project, but Charmaine Pocek told The Penny Hoarder she earned $ 30 to $ 800 on Fiverr as freelance writer creating resumes and cover letters and optimizing clients’ LinkedIn profiles. In the past six years, Pocek has added to her to total and has now made $ 2.3 million from work she’s found on the site, according to Abby Forman, spokeswoman for Fiverr.

4. Teach ESL Online

Kirsten Cherry teaches English online from her dining room table in her home in Twin Falls, ID.

You love kids, but at a distance — because, you know, those sticky hands. So snag a work-from-home job teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) to Chinese students ages 4 to 12 through services like VIPKID and Qkids.

Both online platforms require a bachelor’s degree, a six-month commitment and the ability to work a minimum of six to seven hours per week. Teachers fill time slots by posting their availability — and since China is on the other side of the globe, your schedule will need to accommodate the time difference. (If it’s 6 p.m. in China, it’s 5 a.m. in New York).

After quitting her full-time job, new mom Kirsten Cherry of Twin Falls, Idaho, found part-time work teaching students through VIPKID.

“I got hired in June. Within two weeks, my schedule was 97% full,” said Cherry, 26. “In the first month, I earned over $ 1,000.

How much money can you make? Qkids states on its site that the base pay is $ 8 per 30-minute lesson, plus attendance and performance incentives. Cherry said she makes up to $ 22 teaching two lessons in an hour through VIPKID.

5. Test Websites and Apps

For all the sprinters out there, website and app testing could be your path to fast cash.

Start by filling out a registration form with a testing service. Once approved, you’ll receive access to projects as they become available. Testing involves interacting with a site and completing a series of tasks while providing feedback for market research.

Most testing requires you to work from a computer rather than your cell phone, as you’ll speak your feedback out loud as the company records your experience through the testing interface.

Cherry said she tried three different testing platforms and found the most success with Userlytics.

Most tests only take five to 15 minutes to complete, she noted, but you have to be ready to test at a moment’s notice.

“A lot of them I can actually do, as long as I click on them and follow the link on time,” Cherry said. “Sometimes even within 10 to 15 minutes after you get the email, they’re already full; they already have enough tests done.”

How much money can you make? Banking $ 10 to $ 20 per test, Cherry has earned $ 200 for taking a total of 18 tests.

6. Become a Search Engine Evaluator

Use your attention to detail to make money as a search engine evaluator.

Evaluators analyze the relevance and quality of ads and news feeds — think: deciding if those Google search results make sense. The guidelines are fairly strict for these kinds of jobs, and testing can be extensive.

You’ll need in-depth, up-to-date knowledge of the topics you cover and of the web in general, according to Prathima Tothempudi, senior human resources business partner at Lionbridge, a company that regularly posts openings for search engine evaluator gigs. In exchange, you’ll get a job that typically offers a flexible schedule.

How much money can you make? Lionbridge pays $ 10.80 per hour, Tothempudi said.

7. Sell Free Stuff on Craigslist

The online classified site Craigslist lets you sell stuff for cash, including items you get for free. And you don’t even need to leave the site to find those freebies — there’s a “free” listings section right there on Craigslist. Convenient, right?

Penny Hoarder Steve Gillman picked up six boxes of floor tiles he found for free on Craigslist, then sold them to the first flooring company he passed on his way back home.

How much money can you make? Gillman made $ 10 off of the pile of tiles.

8. Sell Thrift Store Finds on eBay

A woman holds a pile of clothes.

Selling your possessions on the auction site eBay is one way to pocket some cash quickly.

You can also make money by buying designer clothes for cheap, then selling them on the site to the highest bidder. If you have an eye for fashion — or at least the most popular labels — you can track down inventory at local thrift stores.

Create listings for your items, making sure to include well-written item descriptions and quality photographs to give your listings a professional polish (and get top dollar). Check out similar items to get a sense of where to set your starting bid, and be sure to incorporate the costs of shipping and eBay’s seller fees into your price.

Penny Hoarder Kat Tretina resold designer jeans by starting with a minimal investment — packaging tape and a scale to weigh packages for shipping — and ended up more than tripling her money.

How much money can you make? Your profitability depends upon what you’re selling, but for working 10 to 15 hours a month, Tretina made $ 500 to $ 800.

9. Sell Handmade Goods on Etsy

If you have a knack for crafting, you probably are already familiar with Etsy, aka the crafters’ paradise.

And if you’re considering making the leap from selling your wares at the farmers market to earning your money online as a crafty small business, starting out on Etsy is fairly simple. When you set up your site, you’ll pick a name, choose the items to list (the site recommends starting with at least 10) and set up payment and billing.

The site charges 20 cents for your first item, and you’ll pay transaction and payment-processing fees when you make a sale. To turn your shop into a viable moneymaker, take advice from those who’ve gone before you.

Lena Gosik-Wolfe, who followed up on a successful Etsy store with a second business advising people how they can sell on the crafty site, offered the following tips for ways to make money on Etsy:

  • Treat your shop like a brick-and-mortar version.
  • File necessary tax documents.
  • Design a professional site to attract customers.
  • Develop a clear, cohesive marketing strategy.

How much money can you make? Your Etsy profitability depends on what you’re selling and how much time you put into your business. Crafter Beth Gates told The Penny Hoarder she made $ 400 during her first six months selling Southern-style sundries and crochet items. After dedicating more time to her business, she made more than $ 4,000 in one year.

10. Do Online Transcription  

Those listening skills you honed by eavesdropping on your roommates’ conversations could finally pay off with a job in online transcription.

Transcription jobs usually require an assessment test to gauge your typing speed and accuracy. Depending on the service, you could be listening to a car commercial or court hearings, so find out what you’re getting into before you apply.

Cherry wishes she had known that tip before she signed up for her first transcription gig, which brought in $ 85.15 over six months for a job that required extensive testing and a lot of studying to follow a strict style guide.

“For that first transcription job, oh my gosh, I spent hours on that, and I got paid so little,” Cherry said. “I wish I would have just, in the beginning, told myself, ‘Hey, this just isn’t going to be worth it. Find something else.’”

Cherry had better luck after discovering the transcription service Rev, which offered a user-friendly platform and more lucrative projects.

How much money can you make? Making 40 cents to 75 cents per minute of transcription at Rev, Cherry earned $ 87.45 in one month for less than four hours of work.

11. Incorporate Affiliate Marketing Into Your Blog

Hey bloggers, there’s money to be made through affiliate marketing.

The basic process for making money through affiliate marketing goes like this: Write reviews about products on your blog and include a specific tracking link. When readers click the link and make a purchase, you receive a commission.

The more readers you have, the better your chances for making money, so attracting more eyeballs to your site is essential. One way to do that: Pitch articles to other blogs that allow you to link back to your blog.

How much money can you make? The affiliate marketplace ClickBank, which offers products and services to promote in your blog, says commissions range from 1% to 75%. The maximum commission on a single sale is $ 150.

12. Take Online Surveys

Looking to make a few bucks from a task that doesn’t require much effort? Taking online surveys could be your jam.

After signing up with a platform like Swagbucks or InboxDollars, you’ll select surveys based on your initial application, then answer questions that take an average of 20 minutes to complete.

The Penny Hoarder reviewed six online survey sites, noting that some paid out cash directly while others paid in gift cards or even sweepstakes entries. So do your homework before you sign up.

How much money can you make? Swagbucks surveys pay anywhere from 40 to 200 SB (100 SB equal $ 1), according to our Swagbucks review. Earn 300 SB to cash out for $ 3 gift cards to places like Amazon or Dunkin Donuts.

How to Make Money Fast (and in Person)

What if you need money fast and you want to do something that calls for less face time with your screen and more face time with actual, live human beings (or animals)?

Read on for ways to make more money in person.

13. Drive for Uber or Lyft

Lyft driver Paul Pruce poses in front of his car during a driving shift in Philadelphia, PA

Need a fun, flexible way to earn money while also meeting lots of new people?

Try driving with Lyft.

Demand for ride-sharing has been growing like crazy, and it shows no signs of slowing down. To be eligible, you’ll need to be at least 21 years old with a year of driving experience, pass a background check and own a car made in 2007 or later.

Best of all, you can do it on your own time. You can work days, nights or weekends — it’s up to you.

Because it’s easy to switch between apps, Lyft drivers often also sign up to drive with Uber.

How much money can you make? We talked to Paul Pruce, who had been driving full-time with Lyft for over a year and earning $ 750 a week as a driver.

14. Do Household Tasks Through TaskRabbit

You’re the person Aunt Peggy always calls to fix a faucet or assemble a bookshelf.

It’s time you stopped getting paid in oatmeal cookies. (Sorry, Peg).

Instead, use your household know-how to earn extra cash on TaskRabbit, which connects you with clients who need help cleaning their house, hanging pictures and making deliveries. In exchange for getting paid for your work, TaskRabbit deducts a 15% service fee.

How much money can you make? The company has stated you can make up to $ 2,000 per week — but no cookies.

15. Start a Pet-Sitting Business

If you prefer your coworkers to be the four-legged variety, snagging a job as a pet sitter could be the job you’ve been begging for (as if you thought I wouldn’t go there).

Posting notices on your local social networks will help you find owners in need of walkers, sitters and general companions for their fur babies.

Want to improve your rate of hire as a newbie? Instill trust by snapping a few photos of the pet when you’re with them, then send them to the owner, according to Lisa Peddicord, who has a pet-sitting side gig.

How much money can you make? Peddicord told The Penny Hoarder she made just under $ 10,000 in 2018.

16. Walk Dogs With Rover

If you’re looking for a flexible, independent way to earn money — and you love hanging out with dogs — Rover might be your perfect gig.

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

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

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

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

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

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

How much money can you make? Rover says sitters can earn as much as $ 1,000 a month.

17. Deliver Groceries Through Shipt and Instacart

Destiny Frith, 24, of Nashville, a shopper for Shipt, makes her way to her car after shopping for a customer at Kroger in Franklin, Tenn.

Enjoy spending money but still need to make some? You can pocket cash if you’re willing to shop for other people — particularly for their food — and drop it off at their homes.

So if you have a keen eye for kiwi or a knack for knowing your knockwurst, you could make bank shopping and delivering groceries for Shipt or Instacart, on-demand grocery-delivery services.

To get started, you’ll sign up for an account, then select your schedule based on your availability. Instacart lets you pick between shopping and delivering or just shopping in-store, so you don’t even necessarily need a car.

You’ll receive orders through the company app and can communicate directly with the customers in case the store is all out of their preferred brand of pickled pig’s feet.

How much money can you make? Instacart shoppers in larger metropolitan areas can make $ 25 per hour during high-demand times, according to Instacart Boston city manager Nima Zahedi. Shipt notes on its website that shoppers make an average of $ 22 an hour, and Shipt shopper Destiny Firth told us she made approximately $ 600 per week (including tips) working 35 hours per week.

18. Sell Your Old Video Games

That old Mario Kart at the bottom of your video-game bin could be making you money instead of collecting dust.

Penny Hoarder Staff Writer Adam Hardy used GameStop’s rather stingy buyback policy to his advantage by swapping store credit for gift cards and maximizing his profit.

How much money can you make? GameStop originally offered Hardy $ 72.40 cash for his games, but he opted for the $ 111.14 Shell Gas card instead, which he could then trade on CardPool for $ 95.58 cash.

19. Become an Airbnb Host

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

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

A few simple steps can make the difference between a great experience and a less-than-satisfactory one. We talked to Terence Michael, an Airbnb superhost based in Los Angeles.

Here are some of his tips:

  • Break out the labelmaker. “I have the entire house loaded with labels,” Michael says. “They look nice; they’re modern. This helps people feel less helpless.”
  • Be a good host, and stock your place with the toiletries you’d expect at a hotel — toilet paper, soap and towels. Here’s a little hack from Michael: “I order on Amazon and have it delivered when people are there.”
  • Be kind to your neighbors. “I say, ‘I’m not going to put anyone here who I think won’t be good for you,’” Michael explains. “And I turn a lot of big groups away, especially in Nashville. I don’t want anyone going to the cops or the city.”

How much money can you make? Figure your potential earnings with this Airbnb calculator.

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

20. Rent Out Your Ride on Getaround

It doesn’t seem fair: While you toil away at the office all day, what is your car doing?

Living the sweet life in a parking garage.

Make that freeloader earn its keep by renting out your ride during your workday. (You can also do it on weekends you prefer to stay in and binge watch “The Good Place.”)

Peer-to-peer car rentals let you lend your car and pocket the cash. Getaround, available in New Jersey and 13 cities in other states, allows you to list your vehicle for free.

How much money can you make? Getaround says users can make up to $ 800 a month.

21. Find Baby-sitting Jobs on Care.com

You can recite the names of every Paw Patrol member, you knew Doc McStuffins when she was just a resident and you can sing every verse of “Baby Shark” — with a smile.

You were born to baby-sit.

If you’re the responsible type and love kids, baby-sitting can be an easy gig to pick up on the side, starting with your own friends and family

And services like Care.com can expand your client base beyond your inner circle — plus, it lets you choose other caregiving options like pet sitting or senior care.

How much money can you make? The average baby-sitting rate was $ 16.20 per hour, according to a 2018 Care.com Cost of Care Survey.

Make Money on Social Media

You already spend a lot of time on social media, so why not make some fast cash there, right?

Most people who make big money do so based on the size of their audience (hello, Kardashians). But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to make some bank — especially if you have a loyal following that has the potential to grow.

Considering 70% of teenage YouTube subscribers say they relate to YouTube creators more than traditional celebrities, there’s plenty of reason to believe that even smaller social media influencers can attract advertiser dollars.

If you’re among that group of influencers, there are ways to grow your audience, build a professional profile and thus attract more money. Online platforms like Kred, Klear and GroupHigh can help you connect with companies that will pay you to mention their brands to your audience.

Ready for the spotlight? Check out these ways to make money on social media.

22. Stream on Twitch

 Cory Michael, who goes by the screen name King Gothalion, has turned broadcasting video games on Twitch into a profitable full time job.

Your mom was wrong. Playing video games might not be a waste of your time after all.

Cory Michael started streaming his gaming sessions and over four years attracted 29 million people to watch him tackle Destiny and other multiplayer online games. As a result, Twitch accepted his partnership application and agreed to pay him to play.

How much money can you make? Michael explained to The Penny Hoarder that there are three ways to make money streaming on Twitch: tipping, ad revenue and subscriptions. Top Twitch streamers can earn hundreds of thousands of dollars per month.

23. Produce Videos for YouTube

Put that camera phone to work by making some bucks logging your life, times and cat videos on YouTube.

But you’ll need more viewers than your biggest fan (thanks, grandma!) to make money on the video streaming site. To be reviewed for the YouTube Partner Program, your channel must have at least 4,000 watch hours in the previous 12 months and 1,000 subscribers.

Linden Wolbert, who makes a living performing as a mermaid, said she loves teaching kids about the ocean on “Mermaid Minute,” an educational web series she launched on the YouTube channel in 2012. But after YouTube raised the bar for its Partner Program in 2017, “It’s become a lot more challenging,” she said.

To help attract more eyeballs to your site and reach the threshold, the YouTube Creators channel advises vloggers to post new videos consistently and frequently — think Monday through Friday at 3 p.m., no matter what your cat did that day.

Your channel can make money through advertising, subscribers and Super Chats — that’s where fans can pay extra to add a highlighted message to the chat as you live stream.

How much money can you make? Wolbert made four figures a month before YouTube updated its algorithms, but YouTube indicates there are opportunities to earn even more money. Its press page states that the number of channels earning five figures per year grew 50% year over year.

How to Make Passive Income

Even if you don’t have the free time to take on a part-time job, you can still make money by putting in a little front-end work.

It’s called passive income, and we’ve found ways to help you pad your bank account without lifting a finger (or at least maybe not all of them).

24. Earn Cash Back on Purchases With Ebates

Instead of handing over all your hard-earned money when checking out, how’d you like to earn some of that cash back?

Ebates lets you earn anywhere from 1% to 25% on purchases you make at its retailers; (there are 2,500, so lots of options). You can sign up for free using your Facebook or Google account.

By clicking the “shop now” button before you check out, a percentage of the price goes back to your Ebates account.

How much money can you make? On its site, Ebates says you can earn a $ 10 Walmart gift card or Ebates cash bonus by spending at least $ 25 and making your first purchase through the site within 90 days of signing up.

25. Upload Your Receipts to Ibotta

A woman pushes a full cart at a grocery store.

You’re already a coupon cutter (right? right?!?), so discover another easy way to make cash back on your groceries with the Ibotta app.

After you sign up for an account, click the little addition sign next to the products you can save on (just like couponing, but without the scissors). Then upload a picture of your receipt, and Ibotta deposits the amount saved into your account. You’ll get a $ 10 sign-up bonus after you upload your first receipt. Once you reach the $ 20 minimum, you can cash out through PayPal or Venmo.

Even better, the app isn’t limited to grocery store purchases — you can earn cash back on other shopping and travel, too.

How much money can you make? Penny Hoarder staffer Colleen Rice earned approximately $ 45 from Ibotta during one road trip by finding cash-back deals on Hotels.com.

26. Invest in Real Estate

Even if you’re not exactly the handy type (hand raised) or you don’t have cash to sink into million-dollar properties (both hands raised), you can make passive income from real estate through online investment options like Fundrise.

For as little as $ 500, you can join the crowdfunding-style real estate investment platform, which invests in American properties. Learn more in The Penny Hoarder’s review of Fundrise.

How much money can you make? Fundrise has seen historical returns of 8.7% to 12.4%. (Note: As with any investment, past performance isn’t indicative of future results.)

27. Earn Interest on Savings Accounts

Will you get rich quick putting your money in a savings account? No.

But if you’ve been leaving your money to waste away in a traditional savings account with its minuscule returns — or you don’t have a savings account at all — high-yield online savings accounts can offer you at least some passive income.

Varo Money combines traditional banking tools with modern technology to help its customers become financially healthy.

Here’s the best part: Pair your bank account with a Varo Savings Account, where you’ll earn 2.1% annual percentage yield. That’s 35 times — repeat, 35 times — the average savings account, based on a 0.06% average reported by CNN Money.

Varo goes easy on the fees, too. As long as you use one of its 55,000 ATMs across the world, you’ll never pay fees.

Additionally, you’ll pay no monthly service fees, no minimum balance fees, no foreign transaction fees and no cash replacement fees. You’ll just pay any fees charged by out-of-network ATMs and cash deposit fees if you deposit cash in-store through Green Dot.

How much money can you make? If you tuck away $ 1,000 in an account with a 2.1% annual percentage yield (APY), you’ll earn an extra $ 21 this year.  

28. Use Credit Card Points

Wait a second, you say, I’m trying to make money, not spend it!

But you do have to spend money on some essentials, right? Like groceries and gas?

I can speak from personal experience that collecting points on these purchases can help you earn cash back and gift cards.

The key to this being worthwhile, though, is that you must pay off your credit card each month. Otherwise, the interest you’re paying on the balance negates any profit you’re making through point accumulation.

How much money can you make? I received $ 250 in Target gift cards last year by using points I earned on my Mastercard.

How to Make More Money at Your Job

A businessman smiles as he walks down a street talking on his cell phone

This may seem like an obvious option — you’re already making money at your job, right? (If not, find another job.) But since your employer is already a source for earning cash, why not consider it as an option for making more money?

29. Ask for More Hours (and More Money)

If you’re working a part-time job, one way to make more money is to ask for more hours.

In addition to the extra cash, a full-time position may offer more benefits, like paid time off and health insurance coverage.

Make your case for more hours with a list of current accomplishments and ways you can further help the company, suggests career strategist Emily Kapit of ReFreshYourStep.com.

“You set yourself up for the best chance of success… if you go in prepared and also positioning it as helping the manager,” Kapit said. “You’re going to feel more empowered.”

Check out this article for more tips for turning your part-time gig into a full-time job.

How much money can you make? It depends on how many additional hours you can snag. And since benefits account for 31.8% of an employee’s total compensation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, be sure to check out this article to figure out your total compensation package.

30. Ask for a Raise

Wouldn’t it be great if your boss just said, “Hey there, superstar, how’d you like a big pile of money for being awesome?”

That probably won’t happen. (And if it does, don’t do the humblebrag thing on Facebook. It’s annoying.)

If you want to ask for a raise, you should first know whether you’re in a good position to negotiate, according to Michelle Tillis Lederman, CEO of Executive Essentials and author of “The Connector’s Advantage.”

“Are you getting good assignments? Are your getting good feedback?” Lederman asked. “What was your performance-review comment? Did you exceed expectations, or did you just meet expectations?”

Before scheduling a meeting with your boss, arm yourself. Check out salary-comparison calculators on sites like Glassdoor, and document your work wins — and the approximate value they add to the company — to prove your worth. And don’t forget to check out what the competition is offering someone with a job similar to yours.

How much money can you make? Chad Busta told The Penny Hoarder he used a competing offer to negotiate with his current employer for a 6% pay raise and the ability to work from home.

More Ways to Make Money

Here’s the thing to keep in mind about making money: No matter what the flimflam artists may claim, you generally don’t make money without any effort.

But instead of dreaming about making a million dollars by posting videos of your cat on YouTube, you can realistically expect to make extra cash by putting in some time and effort.

That’s been Cherry’s experience. She says that by working a few hours every day, she’s earned money to help her family — and to enjoy a few perks.

“If I earn a certain amount of money, I say I’ll give myself 10%, and then I put it toward what I want,” she said. “It just makes me happy that I’m earning something and that I can buy myself a little extra.”

And if you’re looking for even more ways to make bank, check out our post on side jobs to make extra money.

Happy earning!

Tiffany Wendeln Connors is a writer/editor for The Penny Hoarder. Find her on Twitter @TiffanyWendeln.

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

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

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The best eyeliners money can buy in pencil, liquid and gel form

These bad boys are an absolute essential for a cat eye or smokey eye

best eyeliners

Few beauty products hold cult status in the same way as the best eyeliners. From Brigitte Bardot to Audrey Hepburn, just about every beauty muse from recent history wore eyeliner as part of their signature look.

It’s a make-up bag staple all over the world and, combined with the best mascara and best eyeshadow palettes, is essential in creating red carpet-worthy eye make-up looks.

Keep scrolling to shop our edit of the best liquid, pencil, gel and pen choices below.

Best drugstore eyeliner

Bourjois Couture Waterproof Clubbing Eyeliner, £3.74 Fabled

best eyeliner

Considering this eyeliner comes in under four quid, it’s a total steal for how good it is. The colour is a true, inky black stays put. (Don’t worry, you don’t have to go clubbing to wear it.)

Buy now

Best eyeliner pencil

Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Colour Smokey Pencil, £17, Amazon

best eyeliners pencil Elizabeth Arden Smokey Pencil

The super soft, powder formula and built-in smudger makes Elizabeth Arden’s pencils super easy to apply and blend out for the ultimate evening eye. Call it smokey eye in pencil form, if you will.

Buy Now

Best waterproof eyeliner

NARS Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner, £19, Fabled

best eyeliners NARS

Described as ‘budge proof’, NARS’ Long Wear liner is exactly that. Each of the pencils is richly pigmented for a true colour pay off that lasts a whole working day or night out (none of this watery, transparent business). If you’re fed up of reapplying eyeliner to your waterline a few times a day, this one is for you.

Buy now

Best eyeliner pen

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner, £14.50, Fabled

best eyeliners

Smudge proof, sweat proof, heck, we’d go as far as to say that Stila’s waterproof liner is actually life proof, and without a doubt one of the best liquid eyeliner formulas ever made. Inky, dense black and with a super sharp felt tip,you’ll find no smudging or printing on to your upper lids here.

Buy now

Best gel eyeliner

Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner, £19.50, Fabled

best eyeliners Bobbi Brown Gel

Fun fact: Bobbi Brown first decided to create a gel liner when she had none to hand ahead of a photo shoot; instead, she applied waterproof mascara using a cotton bud without the fuzzy head. It did not budge one bit, and so the Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner was born. Today it’s still one of the brand’s best sellers with a velvety finish, and is available in all sorts of shades as well as classic black.

Buy now

Want to shop even more of the best eyeliners? We’ve charted five more hero buys below.

Happy smokey eye-ing.

The post The best eyeliners money can buy in pencil, liquid and gel form appeared first on Marie Claire.

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Dear Penny: I’m Debt-Free! But What Should I Do With All My Money Now?

Dear N.,

Congratulations on being debt-free! Your world is filled with nothing but possibility.

I was you once. I paid off all my business, credit card and undergraduate debt, rejoiced for but a moment, and then turned around and took out a car note. We all make our choices. Don’t make the same one I did!

The trouble with possibilities is that it’s easy to start disbursing money into so many different buckets: savings, other savings, a rainy day fund, a house fund and so on. If you try to divide and conquer too much, you’re not going to conquer anything. Those small achievements for each of your goals could actually leave you feeling disheartened instead of empowered.

For your best next step, I turned to Jen Smith, a fellow writer at The Penny Hoarder who paid off $ 78,000 of debt with her husband in two years. Smith is my savings role model.

Smith recommends starting your debt-free life by first saving three to six months of expenses in a high-yield savings account, and then making sure 15% of your income goes toward retirement. “Fifteen percent isn’t a hard-and-fast rule,” she said, “but if you want to retire on time, then prioritizing it is essential. Then, any extra can go toward saving for a house.”

Since you’re already saving, you can probably skip ahead to focusing on your retirement accounts. Smith is a fan of contributing to your company-sponsored 401(k) up to the offered match. Then it’s time to open a Roth IRA if your income permits.

“Roth IRAs are great because you have full control over the investments, and the contribution limits are reasonable enough to be able to max it out,” she explained. (The contribution limit for 2019 is $ 6,000; if you’re 50 or older, you can contribute an extra $ 1,000.)  

If you still aren’t setting aside that full 15 %, go back to your 401(k) or HSA and contribute more to one of those. If you’re not catching the drift, your priority should be to stash as much money as you can for retirement now, before a house or kids enter the picture.

But while you’re making these plans, don’t forget to pat yourself on the back. The progress you’ve made is noble and worth celebrating. Smith and I salute you!

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

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

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

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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Tales from the Wallet: How Much Money Do You Need to Be Happy?

How much money do you need to be happy?

Here’s a random question that is always a fun discussion: how much money do you think you need to be happy? Do you agree that there may be an “optimal” income for happiness in that your problems increase if you make more? (We haven’t talked about how we all define “rich” for quite a while…)

I’ve always heard $ 75,000 is the “optimal” number, but according to a recent(ish) story in Fast Company the amount is now $ 105,000 for Americans, and beyond that, “there’s a point at which more money has decreasing returns in terms of our emotional well-being and life satisfaction.”

How Much Money Do You Need to Be Happy - Tales from the Wallet

Pictured above (affiliate link).

It’s an interesting point, and readers I’d love to hear from you — if you’ve made different salaries, did you notice increasing stress or happiness as the numbers moved up or down? To what degree “does money buy happiness” for you, either in terms of enabling hobbies or lifestyle habits (like eating out often) or in terms of enabling outsourcing (so, for example, someone else scrubs your toilets). To what extent does “mo money mo problems” ring true to you — either in terms of increased expectations or stress at work, keeping up with the Joneses or other issues? 

Stock photo via Stencil.

The latest studies say that the "optimal salary" for Americans is $  105K, with the theory being that more money = more problems. We asked our professional women readers: how much money do YOU need to be happy? Readers with household incomes of anywhere from $  67K to HHI of $  400K chimed in...

The post Tales from the Wallet: How Much Money Do You Need to Be Happy? appeared first on Corporette.com.

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16 Simple Ways to Stop Wasting Food in Your Kitchen (and Save Money)

Have you ever really thought about the afterlife of your leftovers?

A once-edible meal lies defeated and unpurposed as it falls into the trash, never to be thought of again.

Those forgotten food remnants add up to some pretty alarming numbers.

In the U.S, an estimated 30% to 40% of food is thrown away.

Who’s thinking about a hunger crisis when there’s a bountiful food supply at the edge of your fingertips? Tossing a few scraps seems harmless, right?

How Bad Is the Food Waste Problem?

Food waste happens in such little bits here and there that people don’t even realize they’re doing it, according to Dana Gunders, a former senior scientist at the National Resource Defense Council and author of “Waste-Free Kitchen Handbook: A Guide to Eating Well and Saving Money By Wasting Less Food.”

Consumers waste more food, collectively, than restaurants or grocery stores,” Gunders said. “And the average household of four spends about $ 1,800 on food they never eat.”

A whopping one-third of ALL food grown for human consumption on Earth is lost or wasted.

“Growing food and getting it to our tables is a huge investment in resources,” Gunders said. “When you throw out one hamburger, it’s like taking a 90-minute shower in terms of the water it took to produce that hamburger.”

Really scary questions loom about feeding future generations, landfills and how common — and easy — it is to squander precious resources.

Can you imagine how much money and food everyone would save if they bought only the food they’d actually eat?

Gunders said that once people open their eyes to the problem, they naturally waste a little less.

“I find it interesting that people can be swayed by 5 or 10 cents when in the grocery store, but that math goes out the window when it comes to wasting food once they’re home,” she said.

There’s a lot we can’t control, but there’s a great deal we can control about our kitchens, plates and trash cans.

16 Tips for Reducing Food Waste

Before you take up dumpster diving to rescue forgotten-about food, consider some of these tips for how to reduce food waste at home.

1. Make a Grocery List and Stick to It

Overbuying leads to food waste. Planning your meals for the week, making a list and sticking to it can prevent impulse buys and limit the vegetable carcasses not even good intentions could revive.

Gunders suggests thinking double duty. If you need fresh cilantro for a meal, can you plan a second meal that will use it, too? This not only saves your budget, but it eliminates casual food waste.

2. Buy Frozen Instead of Fresh

A man shops in the frozen food section of a grocery store

The bright, beautiful colors of fresh fruits and veggies tempt me every week. Then I remember how quickly fresh produce can spoil.

Now, I’ve turned to stocking my freezer with produce. I call this the Too Many Avocados Left Behind Act. I don’t freeze my avocados, but I do buy most fruits and veggies frozen now. I can thaw them in a flash and count on having a random assortment of ingredients on a whim.

3. Plan for Surprises

It’s so easy to get tempted by the events of the week, from an unscheduled lunch to a surprise happy hour. Leftovers get abandoned as you nosh on an unplanned (and unbudgeted) meal out.

You can plan your meals for the week and allot some wiggle room for spontaneous outings.  By having a backup recipe or frozen meal you will always have on hand, you can accept a last-minute invitation and not fritter away a thing.

4. Rethink Expiration Dates

Yogurt containers with expiration dates

Sell-by, use-by and expiration dates all mean different things. Most often, the dates serve as a freshness, quality or display indicator, not a marker for when the food will actually go bad. Many people throw out perfectly good food because of date stamps. Use common sense, and research what the date on your packaged or canned food really means before you toss it.

5. Make Your Freezer Great Again

Good intentions can’t reverse rotten tomatoes or spoiled meat. That steak you meant to eat on Sunday looks questionable by Tuesday.

You can extend the life of your meats, bread and vegetables by freezing them.

Gunders said almost anything can be frozen: Milk, shredded cheese, sliced bread and even raw eggs (out of the shell) can go in the freezer.

It’ll all be there when you’re ready, thus, it will save you future cooking time, money and food waste. Don’t you feel better?

6. Store Items Where You Can See Them

Some produce slips into the crisper abyss. Out of sight, out of mind. Keep items where you can see them. You’re more likely to use items that you can physically see.

Additionally, learn how to store each type of vegetable. Some ripen faster and can speed up others nearby. Consider investing in special airtight containers that keep produce firm and fresh longer.

Washing the pieces of fruit or vegetables you plan on using will also keep the whole bag from going bad before you get a chance to enjoy their deliciousness.

7. Clean Your Fridge and Organize Your Pantry

Food in a refrigerator

Expired items hide, and mold lurks on the edges you can’t quite see. Having a tidy fridge helps you see exactly what you have and inspires you to use it.

Same goes for the pantry: Keeping it tidy allows you to see what you have at a glance and prevents items from getting lost behind the castles of steel cans.

8. Try Composting

Skip the landfill, and start composting. Everything from your coffee grounds to celery ends can find their way into your bin. In turn, you can eventually use it toward your next home gardening adventure.

9. Learn to Preserve or Can Foods

Pickle? Preserve? Can? They’re all options gaining popularity. But these practices have been around for centuries and have helped folks survive harsh winters and economic downturns.

With a little upfront investment of time and money, you can acquire the tools necessary to preserve your excess foods. This can prolong their shelf life and reduce food waste and costs.

10. Donate Extra Food

If you know your family won’t eat something, donate it. Many local pantries and food banks welcome donations, however, consider friends or families in your community who might appreciate a little extra food. There are restrictions and rules at some charities about what can be donated, so check before making any contributions.

11. Eat What You Have

Plan recipes around what’s been sitting around for a while or what needs to get used before it expires. Keeping your fridge and pantry clean and organized helps you see exactly what you have and what you should cook before adding more supplies to the mix.

12. Mix It Up

Leftovers you’re tired of eating can be repurposed into new recipes. Some fruits and vegetables that are a little too ripe can be baked or mashed into a casserole. Ripe bananas make great banana bread, and soft strawberries can be added to smoothies.

Other scraps can be made into stocks or added to a compost. I’ve put coffee grounds in my soil, and a friend of mine makes corn silk tea. There’s a practical use for almost any piece of food you might throw away.

13. Host a Potluck

I’m a picky eater, yet I love to cook. Sometimes I acquire ingredients for recipes that I don’t end up using again, or I try something and end up not liking it. So, I’ve hosted potlucks to use said ingredients. Invite friends over, and have leftover lunches for days. You’ll help everyone else also clean their cabinets. Win-win.

14. Get an App

A woman boils water on her stove while checking her cell phone

There are a few apps on the market that try to put a dent in the global food waste problem. Here are a few to consider:

  • The USDA FoodKeeper app aids in best practices of food and beverage storage to maximize quality and freshness.
  • Too Good to Go makes surplus restaurant food available for pickup before it gets thrown out.
  • Waste No Food helps food-based establishments, from farms to restaurants, to donate excess food to charities and and shelters.

15. Channel Bob Ross

Ever wish you could make art with your food outside of Instagram posts? Let the bright colors of your leftovers become the colors of your clothes or the paint on your canvas.

Yup, your peels and ends from scraps of everything from beets, spinach and lemons can be made into permanent fabric dye that could double as watercolor paint.

16. Life’s a Garden… Dig It!

Even the brownest thumbs can turn green. Try regrowing your food scraps, and see what happens. Put seeds in the backyard, or try sprouting them over a cup of water.

The Lesson: Waste Not, Want Not

It’s simple math: Buying less food means more money in your pocket.

It’s not going to happen overnight.

But with a few small adjustments and active intentions of how to better store, buy and cook food, you can start a ripple effect that will save time, money and food in the long run.

Who knows — maybe others will catch on. Look at Denmark. It reduced its food waste by 25% over a five-year period, and it didn’t happen without a real effort and cultural shift to address the problem.

Learn what works for you. Maybe you’ll grow a new habit if you just plant the seed.

Stephanie Bolling is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Her cat never wastes any food.

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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Why this year’s Oscars campaigns spent the ‘most money’ ever

With the Oscars ceremony one week away, voting closes Tuesday — but who will win Best Picture is still anyone’s guess. “Green Book” has been honored by the Golden Globes (for Best Musical or Comedy) and the Producers Guild of America. “Roma” received nods from the Directors Guild of America, the New York Film Critics’…
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Yes, You can Make Money Playing Video Games. Here Are 7 Ways to Do It

Frederick Aldeco was the youngest of three boys who loved to game.

Growing up, he and his brothers first fought over who could play the Nintendo, then the Super Nintendo, then the PlayStation — he could only play when his older brothers let him.

But then he got his own Game Boy. It came with Pokémon Yellow, and everything changed.

“I could play anytime I wanted to without them having an issue,” Aldeco said.

Nearly two decades later, Aldeco, 29, still loves Pokémon — so much so that he runs a Pokémon news channel on YouTube under the moniker DaddyGamer Fred.

Besides that, he’s done what most gamers dream of doing: Making money playing video games. While it’s not his full-time gig, Aldeco said his content has earned him up to $ 300 a week.

Over the years, gaming has become increasingly popular with almost all age groups. The Entertainment Software Association has tracked gamers with an annual survey since 1997, and its latest data show that 64% of households own regularly played gaming systems. Perhaps what’s more surprising is that association research shows the typical gamer may not be who you think. In the U.S., more women play video games than teenage boys.

And if you belong to this new wave of gamers, you’ve probably thought at some point, “There’s got to be a way to get paid for this.”

Turns out, there are plenty.

How to Make Money Playing Video Games

These recommendations require actually playing a video game to earn you cash. You may need some in-depth knowledge or skills for most of the following methods — but not all of them. So don’t worry if your gaming abilities aren’t esports-ready just yet.

1. Participate in Video Game Tournaments

The League of Legends World Championship is an esports tournament that can earn elite winners millions of dollars and millions of fans, but most gamers are not at that level and never will be.

Instead, opt for amateur tournaments to earn $ 5 or $ 10 per match. GamerSaloon is one video-gaming site where you can do just that. Anyone 18 years or older can create a free account and start joining tournaments. The more you win, the more you earn.

The website is open to gamers around the world, but the system is based on the U.S. dollar. All other currencies are accepted but will be converted automatically.

Popular games on the site include NBA 2k19, Fortnite, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, UFC 3, FIFA 19 and others.

2. Become a Beta Tester

Millions of people now pay for video games before they are released by pre-ordering them.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if video game companies would pay you instead to play their video games before the release date?

Actually, that’s a thing.

Several companies pay people to beta test video games to collect feedback and work out the kinks before the mass market gets its hands on it.

For the lucky gamers who live near Redmond, Washington, Nintendo partners with two staffing agencies to beta test games on-site. Unfortunately, there are no remote testing options available.

For those living outside the area, there’s VMC Consulting, a tech company that specializes in quality assurance and support. It runs a Global Beta Test Network, which tests major multiplayer video games for consoles and PCs before their release. Applicants can live anywhere, must be at least 18 years old and must use Discord (a chat messaging system for gamers) to give feedback.

3. Start Streaming

No, not on Netflix. In the video-game world, streaming has a different meaning. It refers to a live feed of someone playing a video game. Streaming services allow the streamer to interact directly with the audience via a chatroom system. Viewers can also tip the streamer in real time.

There are several free streaming services to choose from, the most popular being Twitch.tv. You don’t have to be a pro to stream, either. You just have to be entertaining. One streamer, Cory Michael — aka King Gothalion — turned his streaming hobby into a six-figure salary.

Michael said the main three sources of income come from subscriptions, tips directly from your viewers and ad revenue.

Even if you don’t manage millions of subscribers, streaming could still get you tips here and there, and once your channel becomes more popular, you could land a paid partnership with the streaming service.

4. Create a Business on Second Life

Fifteen years later, Second Life is still kicking with about 750,000 monthly users.

Second Life is a video game that was slated to revolutionize the internet (before social media came along). But it’s hard to call Second Life a video game. It’s more than that.

There aren’t any overt objectives. No bosses to beat. No princesses to rescue. Instead, all of its content is user-generated, from the avatars themselves to the worlds they inhabit. In Second Life, people date, have children, build houses and travel to replicas of famous landmarks.

People spend years carving out a piece of digital paradise. Some hire real-life experts to help get it just right. In-game specialists can make bank, too. Architects, publishers and fashion designers have used their industry knowledge to bolster their virtual businesses. There’s even a journalist, Wagner James Au, who works inside Second Life and reports on in-game artists and entrepreneurs.

Second Life spawned the first video game business millionaire, Ailin Graef, and she’s not the only person to make a fortune with the game.

There are multiple people and businesses that have made over a million U.S. dollars in Second Life over the years,” said Brett Atwood, Director of Marketing at Linden Labs, the company that created Second Life. “Many are still active.”

Since Second Life’s launch in 2003, players have spent billions of dollars of real money on in-game currency called Linden Dollars (or L$ ). The exchange rate currently is about 250 L$ to $ 1. Users can go to the Second Life exchange store to purchase L$ , then use L$ for in-game services. The level of customization is incredibly granular, and users are eager to pay L$ for real-life experts to apply their knowledge to the virtual world.

Atwood said the big bucks are usually in virtual real estate and fashion.

For other business ideas and examples of Second Life entrepreneurs, check out its business site.

5. Coach Others in How to Play

Are you a Starcraft god? A Fortnite legend? Share your strategies with us noobs for cash.

You can teach beginners basic lingo or coach seasoned players on the latest competitive strategies. Some online tutoring websites, Superprof for example, are general tutoring platforms that happen to allow video-game listings.

However, there are some other options that are tailored specifically for gaming lessons. Gamer Sensei is one such platform that hires senseis, aka coaches, to teach lessons in specific games, including League of Legends, Counter-Strike, DOTA 2 and — of course — Fortnite.

Making a sensei profile is free. Senseis set their own schedules and prices and have no hourly time commitments.

Another option is Gameflip Gigs. Gameflip is a video game marketplace, where people can buy, sell and trade video games and related content.

The company recently launched Gigs, which is still in beta but is open for applications.

The gigs revolve around four types of services:

  • Create: Good at graphic design? You can craft the perfect avatar or graphic for a gamer’s profile or online store.
  • Entertain: If you’re hilarious, get paid for it by joining people’s in-game parties and having fun.
  • Coach: Teach others the way to victory.
  • Carry: Some people just like winning. You provide that service.

During the beta, Gigs members have a $ 1,000 limit on what they can earn.

Other Ways to Make Money With Video Games

A person holds video game boxes and a controller.

Maybe you aren’t comfortable with turning your hobby into a job. You want to keep it sacred and fun. That’s all right, too. You can still make plenty of money with gigs related to video gaming that don’t require you to play them.

6. Sell Video Games for Cash

Do you blast through video games? Are you constantly in search of new ones to conquer? Then you should consider selling your used video games once you’re finished.

Your pile of old games can fund your next virtual adventure, get you some quick cash to make rent, or if you’re like Aldeco, help fund your move from the U.S. to Switzerland.

The Penny Hoarder’s guide walks you through the best technique to sell video games through GameStop and get up to 50% extra cash for your games. I turned a $ 72.40 cash offer for a few of my video games and a controller into $ 111.14.

If you’d rather not make the trek to GameStop, Gameflip allows users to buy and sell their video games and gift cards online.

That’s what Aldeco used to downsize before his move overseas. He sold off all his physical games and consoles but kept the handheld devices — his trusty Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita.

Alternatively, you can sell games on eBay, but you may be stuck with a bunch of additional fees if you don’t meet the site’s minimum seller service standards.

7. Make Video Game Guides

Perhaps you’ve played a game for so long that you’ve discovered all the Easter eggs, all the glitches and all the best farming spots.

You can create guides to help people do the same, whether they’re articles or YouTube videos.

Stephen Robinson, better known by the moniker Ratty Star, creates YouTube guides for a post-apocalyptic role playing game, Fallout 76.

“I have had some success,” Robinson said, “with a few videos getting a few thousand views, with my highest currently at 63,000.”

Several major gaming publications accept freelance pitches for video game guides and commentary, too. So if you prefer writing to video editing, give IGN, Kotaku, Escapist Magazine, Game Informer and GamesRadar+ a shot.

If you’re not a seasoned freelancer, we have a guide that walks you through how to come up with story ideas, pitch to editors and ultimately make money as a freelance writer. In the meantime, you can build up your portfolio by writing for GameSkinny, which will pay you based on how many views your articles get.

Neither Robinson nor Aldeco is famous. They have about 2,500 followers between the two of them. Getting famous really isn’t the point.

“I’m doing it because I’m enjoying the creative process,” Aldeco said. “Whenever the money comes, of course it’s a plus, but [it’s] not truly the end goal for me.”

Adam Hardy is a staff writer on the Make Money team at The Penny Hoarder. He has played video games since he was 6 years old. Read his full bio here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.

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

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Bag Over Bae: Study Says Consumers Favor Money Over Love

Valentine’s Day, depending on who you ask, is a day filled with Instagramable moments of bae goals, or a time to totally go the anti-beau route and focus on self-love. You can’t get through February 14th without seeing an oversaturation of all things related to love.

However, a recent Merill Edge report reflects that for many people, money trumps love with 56% preferring a partner who provides financial security over grandiose love (44%). Respondents also favor a partner who is career-focused (63%) over socially conscious (37%), frugal (55%) over philanthropic (45%), and a saver (83%) over a big spender (17%).

“Americans are saving money at record rates, and yet we’re seeing people of all ages look to their current and prospective partners to secure their financial futures. Economic uncertainty and a lack of financial planning seem to be creating this burgeoning trend of dependence on others for financial security,” Aron Levine, head of Consumer Banking & Merrill Edge, said in a statement. “We believe that it’s crucial to have a financial plan at every life stage in order to achieve financial goals and stay on the right path to financial success.”

Though many are attracted to a go-getter who is all about getting that coin, things can get a little sticky when it comes to the oh-so-inevitable “money talk” with bae. The report found the majority of respondents admitted they “rarely talk about their debt (60%),” salary (57%), and investments (55%) with their partner.

Respondents in the study also ranked almost all major relationship milestones ahead of discussing their finances, including meeting the family, being intimate, traveling together, and discussing politics.

According to Merrill Edge, the nationwide survey is delivered semi‑annually and “takes an in‑depth look at the financial concerns and priorities of “mass affluent Americans—U.S. households with investable assets ranging from $ 50,000 to $ 250,000.” Respondents in the study included those aged 18-40 (Gen Z and millennials) with investable assets between $ 50,000 and $ 250,000 or aged 18-40 who have investable assets between $ 20,000 and $ 50,000 with an annual income of at least $ 50,000.

If money is a major factor in a choosing a love or spouse, experts recommend getting over the awkward silence and procrastination and asking key questions about debt, money morality, and financial plans for the future—including retirement—early. Having open and honest conversations about money with someone of serious romantic interest—especially as millennial households are earning more money at their age than generations before—can help those in the dating pool avoid a lot of heartbreak and relationship woes down the road.

Merrill Edge Report: Fall 2018 infographic

 

The post Bag Over Bae: Study Says Consumers Favor Money Over Love appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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How To Mix Love And Money

VALENTINE’S DAY IS THURSDAY AND TODAY WE ARE TALKING LOVE AND MONEY. 

While millions of people are making plans for Thursday, a much smaller number is thinking about the role finances play in their relationship. And while talking about money isn’t exactly romantic, it is a mistake to ignore the role it can play in relationships. Money is among the top reasons couples fight, and it may even prevent you from finding someone in the first place!

WITH THOSE WHO ARE LOOKING FOR LOVE, FINANCIAL HEALTH CAN BE A BIG FACTOR, RIGHT?

If you are trying to find Mr. or Ms. Right, your credit score might matter a lot more than you think. Since the financial crisis, numerous surveys have found that financial factors have taken on greater importance when it comes to attractiveness. Take debt: a recent survey from Finder.com found debt is a key consideration.

Nearly three-quarters of American adults (72%) said they would reconsider a romantic relationship because of the other person’s debt. Respondents said credit card debt was the biggest concern, with 56% citing that as a red flag, followed by student loan debt (52%), and payday loan debt (49%) following close behind.

This is not to say that if you have some student loan debt you are destined to be single, but it is a good reminder that healthy financial habits have benefits that go beyond money. So, check your credit report for errors. Pay your bills on time. Put a premium on living within your means and paying down outstanding debt. Start saving for retirement. This will put your finances and perhaps your dating life on a  more secure financial footing!

WHAT IF WE ALREADY HAVE SOMEONE WE ARE SWEET ON? HOW DO YOU START OUT A RELATIONSHIP ON THE RIGHT FOOT WHEN IT COMES TO MONEY?

Honesty and transparency are imperative when it comes to finances. A recent CreditCards.com survey found 19 percent of people in live-in relationships were hiding a bank or credit card account from their partner. That’s about 29 million Americans! Considering trust is the single most important predictor of the success of a relationship, that means 1 in 5 people in this situation is putting their relationship at risk. This is not the route that you want to take.

Instead, it is best to get it all out in the open, rather than waiting until late in the game. Now I am not saying that you break out your credit history on the second date, but you do want to discuss your respective financial practices and backgrounds as your relationship gets more serious. If you have outstanding debts or past mistakes, share them with your partner. These factors will have an outsized impact on what you can achieve together, whether that is buying a house, raising children or traveling the world. Being honest and open about your finances will ensure there are no surprises later, and it will mean you and your sweetheart are more likely to stay together!

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR THOSE WHO ARE READY TO TIE THE KNOT?

For those of you out there who are ready to get hitched, you want to develop a joint financial plan before the big day.  This means taking the time to define your mutual money goals and outline your shared financial commitments. Both of you should be equals when it comes to your finances. Each person should be involved in money management, understand what decisions are being made, what your cash flow looks like, and the status of any financial accounts.

You should develop a joint budget and determine how each person will contribute to living expenses and other joint costs ahead of time. None of this is to say your finances have to be totally merged – in fact, it is important for each party to maintain a financial identity of their own – but you want to be on the same page when it comes to your shared money goals.

The other thing you must do before you tie the knot is to get everything in writing! We have all heard the stories: two people madly in love and convinced nothing will ever come between them, so they throw caution to the wind. Then something does happen, and money issues come to the fore.

While it may not be fun, or even feel optimistic, putting your financial agreements in writing is very important. Whether it is a prenuptial agreement which clearly specifies your respective assets or a living trust or will that determine what happens to your money in the event of a tragedy, you should handle this before you sign your wedding certificate.

ANY OTHER FINANCIAL TIPS FOR COUPLES?

Always remember to keep an open financial dialogue. Plan for hardship periods, especially if your family depends on two incomes. And work together to save for your future.


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Grammys Decoded: The Money Behind Winning a Grammy

Many have wondered if artists get paid for performing at the Grammys or if they take home extra cash after winning an award. Black Enterprise did a little digging  to find the answers.

Turns out that the Beyonces and Rihannas of the world who cash in millions for their world tours don’t get paid a cent when they grace the esteemed ceremony. They don’t get a check for winning either; but we’re sure those golden trophies could auction off for a hefty dollar amount should they ever need the funds.

The live event is far from a loss though. Forbes reports that performers and producers see a “‘Grammy Bounce’ of at least 55% in concert ticket sales and producer fees during the year following a Grammy win.” David Banner told the source that his producer fee jumped from $ 50,000 to $ 100,000 after his work on Lil Wayne’s single “Lollipop.”

Co-producer Jim Jonsin, who also worked with Beyonce, told DailyFinance.com that the rewards were “life-changing.” “If I really wanted to, I could charge a good 20% to 30% more. I didn’t raise my prices, though,” he said of his Grammy win. Before winning a Grammy, producers on average charge $ 30,000 to $ 50,000 per track. If you’re fortunate enough to snag an award, though, Jonsin says that the starting figure is in the $ 75,000 area and super-producers like Timbaland and Pharrell can demand twice that.

Thanks to the high-profile night, stars benefit in mainstream visibility and in their pockets too. After winning his first Grammy, “Bruno Mars’ average nightly gross swelled from $ 130,000 to $ 202,000 (+55%).” Esperanza Spalding went from $ 20,000 to $ 32,000 (+60%) and Taylor Swift jumped from $ 125,000 to $ 600,000 (+380%).

And because it would be so tasteless for Hollywood to send its multi-millionaire guests home empty handed, celebrities leave the occasion with a gift bag worth more than some people’s salaries. As The Toronto Sun reports, “Gifts include Tiffany cat collars, Gibson guitars, trips to deserted islands, cashmere sweaters, teeth whitening products, jewelry, sunglasses and designer leather bags.” The very generous goodies in 2010 reportedly came to about $ 50,000 in value.

So, no, the consensus is that music’s superstars don’t walk away with a physical check in tow. The association to the Grammys, however, does fatten their wallets long after the special airs.

In Case You Missed It: 

 

 

-Editor’s Note: This article has been updated since its original publish date of January 29, 2018. 


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Tales from the Wallet: How to Save Money on Food

how to save money on food when you work long hours

There was an interesting threadjack the other day about how much people spend on groceries, and I thought it might make an interesting discussion for its own post. How DO you save money on food when you work long hours and don’t have a ton of time for meal prep and other things? When you’re cutting back do you cut back on restaurants, food deliveries, groceries and more? Do you do this for a period of time (no eating out for a month!) or do you try to do it for the long haul? (Side note: how do you track purchases so you can quantify what you’re spending on food?) (For those of you who DO do a lot of weekend meal prep and bring your own lunches, share your best tips!) 

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how to save money on food when you work long hours(Pictured above: lovely J.Crew wallet, now 50% off! It’s available in three colors and is $ 64.)

Psst: we’ve talked specifically about how to save money on lunch in the past.

For my $ .02, I’ve never been great about tracking grocery spending — too much of our stuff comes from mixed-category stores like Amazon, CVS and more to be flagged easily by Mint. I also tend to swing wildly from overstocking the cabinets (aka “buying whatever I want”) one month to “realizing I’ve bought too much and now we must eat it” the next month, so one month’s spending may be $ 1000+ and another month may be $ 200. (But we DO save money when I buy grocery items because they’re on sale rather than “we need it right now,” so… I’m not sure what the answer is.)

In my very first job, I was on such a strict budget that I often realized I had $ 5 left at the end of the month — so I would end up bringing things like a raw potato and a slice of American cheese with me to microwave at lunch. I also perfected the art of making sandwiches with grocery store meat and cheese from home but with slightly-less-fresh bagels from the deli. A lot of these habits stuck with me even when I was a lawyer — I kept a 6-can mini-fridge (affiliate link) in my office so I could have yogurts, Diet Cokes, deli meat and cheese on hand… and I knew more than a few lawyers who kept a jumbo jar of peanut butter along with some crackers to “eat something quickly” if they really had no time to eat.  (Also great if you need to avoid getting hangry at work!)

In terms of restaurants and other food spending, that is generally easier for me to track and curb — after all, it’s easy to avoid the fanciest restaurants when you’re making plans, and you can even make intelligent decisions when looking at the menu, like getting the $ 16 pasta dish (and taking some home for later if it’s too many calories for you at that moment) versus getting the $ 34 fish dish and not having any leftovers.

How about you, readers — how do you save money on food? Do you feel like it’s harder to save money on food if you’re working long hours, or easier? After all, you may not be buying many groceries for your home fridge — but you may feel like you’re spending a ton on lunches or convenience foods.

The post Tales from the Wallet: How to Save Money on Food appeared first on Corporette.com.

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YOUR MONEY, YOUR LIFE: EPISODE 6 – “Ways To Finance Your Emergency Fund”

Establishing and maintaining a cash emergency fund, with an amount equal to six months up to a year’s worth your annual living expenses, is a foundational principle of financial wellness. Author, speaker, and financial coach Tarra “Madam Money” Jackson answers the question of where to get the money to finance your emergency fund



The new personal finance podcast, Your Money, Your Life is sponsored by Prudential and hosted by Black Enterprise’s own Alfred Edmond Jr. This special series features a lineup of great guests, including The Breakfast Club’s Angela Yee; DeForest B. Soaries Jr., founder of the dfree Financial Freedom Movement; Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche; and Jacquette M. Timmons, president & CEO of Sterling Investment Management. The show will cover money topics ranging from how to control your debt to our psychological relationship with our finance. A can’t miss!

The post YOUR MONEY, YOUR LIFE: EPISODE 6 – “Ways To Finance Your Emergency Fund” appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Money | Black Enterprise

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Personal Money Snapshot: An Administrator in Public Higher Education and Former Lawyer Shares Her Money Snapshot!

 

Eeek – we are thrilled to present our very first personal money snapshot! By way of background: we got a few requests from readers to launch our own “money diary” series, so we asked willing readers to fill out a form with lots of details about debt, spending, saving and more!  If you’d like to fill out the form and be considered for a future personal money snapshot, please click here if you’d like to see the form and/or submit responses! You can also see a PDF of the questions if you want to review them ahead of time.

Today’s snapshot features reader P, who notes: “I have worked almost exclusively in public administration or higher education, so not a high roller here! Husband had a job loss early in career (about five years ago) that screwed us up.”

Please remember that this is is a real person who has feelings and isn’t gaining anything from this, unlike your usual friendly (soul-deadened, thick-skinned, cold-hearted, money-grubbing) blogger — so please be kind with any comments. Thank you! — Kat

Name: P
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Age: 32
Occupation: lawyer –> public higher ed administrator
Income: $ 83,000
Household income: $ 165,000
Partner’s age: 34 (husband)
Household net worth:
 About $ 100,000
Net worth when started working: $ 26,000 (age 24)
Current debt: $ 15,000 credit card debt, $ 2,000 student loans
Living situation: Currently renting; rent is $ 1,400/month. (I do not contribute to rent.)

Debt

What does your debt picture look like?
Aggressively paying down $ 15,000 in consumer debt (credit card) accrued due to a job loss, a period of underemployment after a relocation to a much lower cost of living area (from D.C. to Chapel Hill), and shopping like an idiot. I have about $ 2,000 left on my student loans, which was only $ 10,000 to start.

How much money are you spending each month to pay down debt?
$ 2,000

How did you pay for school?
I made educational choices that left me with as little debt as possible (full scholarships to both undergrad and law school, albeit to lower ranked, less challenging institutions than I could have succeeded in). I always had two jobs during school (except for during 1L). Parents generously paid my rent and let me drive a family car.

What is your living situation?
We rent because we moved here with very little in savings and have lower-paying jobs. We sold our home to move to D.C., which subsequently ate our money ($ 2,500/month in rent for a 1-bedroom in Maryland), and now we rent for both money reasons and for flexibility reasons. We are planning to purchase again in 2019, thankfully, as we build savings and have a better grasp on what we want from our home.

Have you ever done anything noteworthy to avoid or lessen debt?
We had to cash out a small retirement account when my husband lost his job in 2013. We used it as a stopgap for some major things, but ultimately he re-invested about $ 4,000 of that.

Savings, Investments & Retirement

How much do you save for retirement?
I invest about 15–20% of my gross pay each month (target date retirement funds), with some of that as an employer match. Higher ed has its minimal benefits for things like matching!

How much do you have in retirement savings?
$ 70,000 (just mine)

How much do you save outside of retirement accounts?
We fund an emergency account for about $ 400/month, a down payment account at about $ 1000–$ 1500/month, and a vacation fund at $ 100/month. Buying a house is first priority, and a not-sucky retirement is the other. We are childfree and find that impacts some of our decisions with relationship to both the house and retirement.

What’s the #1 thing you’re doing to save money, limit spending, or live frugally?
We just don’t buy a lot of stuff, clothes, disposable things. We’re relatively minimal with our “stuff” consumption. And we bring lunches!

How much do you have in cash that’s available today?
Twenty bucks? Idk, I’m a millennial.

How much do you have in cash that’s available in a week, such as with an online savings account?
$ 20,000, all of my banking is online, no brick and mortar (includes $ 7,000 emergency fund).

Spending 

How much do you spend on the following categories on a monthly basis?

Groceries: $ 600
Restaurants, bars, takeout, and delivery:
$ 400
Clothing and accessories: Less than $ 100
Transportation: Household spends about $ 330 (gas plus car payments, two cars)
Rent/living expenses: $ 1,400
Entertainment: $ 25, Hulu and Netflix only
Health care: $ 50/month each for two individual plans; no kids

What’s your spending range for these things? What’s your average?

Vacations – Range: $ 50–$ 7,000
Vacation – Average: $ 2,500

Individual items of clothing – Range: $ 10–70
Individual items of clothing – Average: $ 40

Apartment or house – Range: $ 1,000–$ 2,600
Apartment or house – Current main residence: $ 1,400 (rent)

Car or other vehicle – Range: $ 8,000–$ 10,000, always buy used, hate cars
Car or other vehicle – Last purchase / current main vehicle: $ 10,000, used vehicle

When was your wedding and how much did it cost? 
2010, $ 30,000 total (parents paid), $ 250 for my wedding ring, about $ 300 for bridesmaids’ gifts, $ 250 for husband’s gift. Was married at 24 to my high school sweetheart (still am!). Tradition in my family is parents pay; it is “their party in our honor,” and the guest list was big (175+) due to very large families. Did not get married in a church. Married by judge I interned for, on lawn of beach club in New England. No honeymoon, as we had just started jobs.

Are there any other large expenses in your life, now or previously?
Husband doesn’t do the taxes anymore… didn’t know how to calculate “income” for IRS purposes so we had a $ 6,000 tax bill one year. Ugh.

Money Strategy

Do you have a general money strategy?
Make as much as you can while still having a life and being happy; spend it on the experiences and food you really want.

Stock photo credit: Deposit Photos / Dualshock

 

The post Personal Money Snapshot: An Administrator in Public Higher Education and Former Lawyer Shares Her Money Snapshot! appeared first on Corporette.com.

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Nineteenth Amendment: New Money, New Exposure

Nineteenth Amendment is bringing its made-to-order model to TV with “Project Runway” and has raised some money to help it turn the fashion business model on its head.
The company was one of five firms — out of more than 1,000 — selected for a $ 100,000 investment from Chloe Capital. It also received an investment form Style With Substance Ventures, which takes stakes in companies that help reduce the environmental impact of fashion. (Nineteenth Amendment was founded with less than $ 10,000, incubated at the New York Fashion Tech Lab).
Amanda Curtis, chief executive officer and cofounder, said the new money and the “Project Runway” connection is “definitely going to help support what we’re doing” and will aid in bringing the company’s technology to larger brands.
Founded in 2014, Nineteenth Amendment provides a Made in the U.S.A. manufacturing platform that brands can use to fulfill orders inventory-free in six weeks or less.
More than 1,000 brands in 30 countries use the service, which will get a little more attention on March 14, when the latest season of “Project Runway” premieres.
Viewers can become shoppers and buy the winning look on the first episode — and three other episodes during the season — through Nineteenth Amendment.
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Don’t Be Ashamed of Your Money. These 13 Tools Are Here to Help

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

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

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

But just help me; don’t chastise me.

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

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

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

1. Earn a 100x the Normal Interest Rate

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

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

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

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

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

2. Take a Deep Breath and Check Your Credit Score

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

man and woman scratching lotto tickets and drinking wine

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

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

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

4. Use This to Bust Your Debt

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Stop Deleting Your Emails

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

One of our secret weapons is called Paribus — a tool that gets you money back for your online purchases. It’s free to sign up, and once you do, it will scan your email for any receipts. If it discovers you’ve purchased something from one of its monitored retailers, it will track the item’s price and help you get a refund when there’s a price drop.

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

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

6. Share What’s in Your Fridge

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

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

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

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

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

7. Stop Overpaying for Monthly Bills

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. Earn Money Every Time You Swipe Your Credit Card

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

You just have to be sure you don’t get too carried away with those purchases — and that the card is paid off at the end of each billing period.

Here’s an option we like: It’s the Chase Freedom Unlimited card*. Its claim to fame? You’ll earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all your purchases. Plus, if you spend $ 500 in your first three months of opening the card (hi, groceries), you’ll pocket a $ 150 bonus.

There’s no annual fee, and the cash-back rewards don’t expire. We checked Credible’s annual rewards calculator, and it estimates $ 417 in annual rewards based on our spending habits.* (You can enter your unique spending habits and see what you’d earn, too.)

Get signed up — and 0% intro APR for 15 months — here.

9. Save Money Mindlessly

String tired around finge

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

Digit makes that possible.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Little boy saving coin in a money jar

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

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

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

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

woman using phone

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

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

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

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

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

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

12. Invest Like a Woman

Businesswomen looking at fabric samples on presentation board.

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

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

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

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

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

13. Manage Your Credit Card Payments in One Place

women hands getting cash in a bank teller

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

**Annual Rewards amounts will change based on the amounts you enter. The monthly spending category names and definitions may vary among issuers, and categories may not align one-to-one.

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

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

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

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1.28.19 Cruise deals happening now; Verizon reverses school fee stance; Almost no-one makes money via MLM’s

Wave Week is in full swing and the cruise deals are best to buy now through March; Verizon made a Clarkrage recently. Thankfully the massive company has rethought their stance; Less than 1% of people that participate in an MLM make money. 

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

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Money Management Matters for Black Millennials

Money management is a multilayered concept, that if applied correctly, can start anyone on the road to financial freedom. The topic of wealth in the black community has become the center of discussion, especially among black millennials. Between Jay-Z’s “4:44” to the blockbuster film Black Panther, and more history-making pop cultural accomplishments from black creatives; our mentality has changed in recent years.

A more futuristic view of the black existence is taking shape. We’re breaking free from the perception of a powerless existence that hindered our forward progression for generations. A perception carved into our psyche over years of beatings, killings, segregation, drug epidemics, impoverishment, and imprisonment. All mechanisms of oppression made possible by a system built to keep us running in place.

Welcome to a new day.

We now have a generation more educated and entrepreneurial than the parents who raised us with the fearlessness of the great grandparents who fought for the rights we enjoy today. Eighty-nine percent of African Americans ages 25–34 completed high school, compared to 77% of African Americans ages 55 and older. Twenty-one percent of African Americans ages 25–34 have an associate’s college degree or higher, versus 17% of those who are 55 and older. Our buying power is at $ 1.2 trillion, and we have a bad habit of investing that money in everything but ourselves.

African Americans make up 14% of the U.S. population, but have outsized influence over spending on items. These items include $ 810 million on bottled water (15% of overall spending) and $ 587 million on refrigerated drinks (17% of overall spending). Luxury, non-essential products such as women’s fragrances ($ 151 million of a $ 679 million industry total), watches and timepieces ($ 60 million of $ 385 million in overall spending). Meanwhile, the racial wealth gap in America continues to widen.

What’s apparent is that our spending habits don’t match our declining financial state as a people. We’re spending more money than we’re retaining, and it’s a poor person’s mentality. The road to generational wealth is a marathon, not a sprint. The starting point of that marathon is an act of discipline called budgeting. If we want generational wealth to become a standard instead of a fantasy, we must start respecting every dollar from a young age.

More often than not, advice from a professional weighs more than the opinion of someone who just wants you to do better. I spoke with the founder of Melanin Money, George Acheampong, a financial planner and investment adviser who knows the ins and outs of making your money work for you.

For BLACK ENTERPRISE, he broke down the intricacies of budgeting for young, black America in a Q&A: 

BE: Many people think they don’t need to start budgeting until they’ve got a certain amount of money coming in. What are some more common misconceptions about budgeting?

George Acheampong: Most people think budgeting is about preventing you from doing what you want to do, quite the opposite. The purpose of budgeting is telling your money where you want it to go, so you don’t have to wonder where it went. Which actually gives you more foresight on how to plan out the things you want to do.

For college students, what are some recurring expenses that most students don’t give second thought to?

Ideally, there shouldn’t be many. Cell phone, car insurance, which in some cases your parents might still be taking care of, and a couple of subscriptions like Netflix or apple music, but if you have a friend who’s the real MVP, you may be able to use their account for the love. Food will probably be your biggest expense, so you want to closely monitor what you are spending because those $ 5 meals here and there can add up quick.

Are there standard budgeting practices that young adults should begin incorporating now, that they’ll need for life?

I wouldn’t say that there is a one-size fits all approach because everyone will have different goals and needs, but there are some basic fundamentals that will always be true. it’s important to lay the foundation of spending what’s left AFTER saving. If you get a pay check, what you see is not what you get. Treat your savings like taxes, have that money come out before any money is spent. Ideally, have it automatically go a savings account so you don’t even have to think about it. Anywhere between 10-20% ideally, more if you are able to.

As prices continue to go up for goods and services, pay rates usually take a while to increase. How can young adults save substantially while still having money to spend freely?

For most college students they have not yet accumulated a lot of bills. Do not start acquiring more debt by getting the nice car or the expensive apartment. Stay humble, stack your money. A lot of young adults have aspirations to start a business or pursue a dream, you know what makes it harder to do so? Having too many bills. I know you think your big time and want the nice apartment, car or clothes, but while you are in the building phases the best thing you can do is keep your expenses low. Have the roommate or two, keep the old beater car or use ride share services to keep cost low.  Low expenses = more savings.

Can you recommend any apps or tools that can help with budgeting?

Yeah, I used Mint.com when I first got out of college, it’s still the leading free budgeting tool.

Using personal experience, what’s the biggest piece of advise you have for young adults who are just starting to see their first income without any major responsibilities to consider?

I hate to beat a dead horse, but the best thing you can do is to continue to live as modest as possible. Our natural instinct is if we start making more, to start spending more. Resist that urge. Save as much as possible because there will come a time when you do have to spend more, or you can’t have that roommate. So while you can, take advantage of it and stack as much as possible. That extra money will give you options and choices. If you find yourself in a job you really hate, you can quit if you have enough money in the bank. If you have a dream you want to pursue full-time, you can do that with money in the bank. You can’t do that when you are living paycheck to paycheck.


Steve KingThe ideas and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author’s and not necessarily the opinion of Black Enterprise.

 

 

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The President would have to adopt a fundamental change of approach if he is to wring money from Congress for his border wall

It’s as if President Donald Trump’s humiliation over the government shutdown and his failed push to honor his core campaign promise never happened.


CNN.com – RSS Channel – HP Hero

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College Is For Suckas? You’ll Never Guess How Much Money Amber Rose Makes Off Instagram

amber rose talks personal finance

Source: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin / Getty

The government shutdown had plenty of people considering new career paths with Uber and other creative ways to get by without a regular direct deposit occurring. One person that was clearly unaffected by Trump’s massive temper tantrum is Instagram favorite Amber Rose. The 35-year-old who was once Kanye West’s muse before he drank the Kardashian Kool-Aide recently sat down with Van Lathan as a guest on his podcast “The Red Pill.” Rose who is also affectionately known as “MUVA” shared with Lathan that thanks to Instagram she’s booked and busy and her bank account has no worries.

So how much money does MUVA make in a year? The blonde beauty shared that endorsements for flat tummy teas and popular clothing company, FashionNova as well as other collaborations bring in about a cool $ 2 million per year.

“Probably like $ 2 million a year, just off Instagram.”

While she isn’t exactly living check to check, she did point out that the payout was modest for a social media influencer:

“There’s girls that make more than $ 2 million a year, I make $ 2 million on Instagram a year.”

Like many of us, Lathan took a moment to highlight the millennial student loan-debt struggle sarcastically noting how some went to “college and bought into that bullsh*t, and Amber’s making $ 2 million off Instagram. Wow!” It’s also reported that Rose pocketed $ 4 million from an emoji app she launched in 2014. But MUVA maintains that while she’s been blessed in many ways, ultimately, she feels like the money moves are a result of her being a good person more than anything else:

“I feel like I made it this far by being a really good person.”

“I’m good to everyone I’m around. I treat everyone the same whether it’s a waitress or a driver or anybody. I take care of my team. I’m just a cool, down-home Philly chick.”

As much as I’m inspired by this tale of God’s favor for the fortuitous, I must say that I know plenty of “nice” women who treat those around them with respect that are still playing musical bills every month with their paychecks trying to see how they’re going to pay car insurance AND tuition for their kids. Are we really going to sit here and act like money falls from the sky simply because you acknowledged your Uber driver? Furthermore, as much as I applaud Amber Rose taking making the most out a few minutes of fame (I wouldn’t know who she was had it not been for Kanye), I would really appreciate it if many of these celebs were a little bit more honest about the connections that got them this far in the first place, but I digress.

You can watch Amber Rose discuss coins and congeniality, her thoughts on R. Kelly and her humble beginnings below at around the 1:20:00 mark:

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WRAPUP 2-U.S. seeks to cut off money for Venezuela’s Maduro, aid opposition

The United States is
seeking to ensure that Venezuelan oil revenue goes to opposition
leader Juan Guaido, who swore himself in as interim president,
and to cut off money from the increasingly isolated President
Nicolas Maduro, a top U.S. official said on Thursday.


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Here’s Where This Financial Planner Keeps Her Money (Hint: Not a Big Bank)

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

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

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

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

The Perks of Opening an Account With Aspiration

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

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

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

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

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

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Gofundme: About a third of money raised on site has been for medical expenses

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

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House Democrats to propose $1 billion for border security without money for wall

House Democrats are pushing forward with legislation to beef up security at the borders without funding for the wall demanded by President Donald Trump, a move bound to intensify the standoff over a partial government shutdown heading into its fifth week.


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

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Mixer Adds Premium Currency to Support Streamers with Real Money

Microsoft’s streaming platform Mixer has added a premium currency in order to allow viewers to more directly support their favourite streamers.

An update to the Mixer blog explains this new currency is called Mixer Embers and is already in early access for mobile app users. Once purchased the Embers can be used to buy skills which include animated stickers and full-screen effects, much like the already established free currency, Sparks.

Sparks are earned by watching streams on Mixer and can be spent in the chat of a Mixer Partner’s channel. Where Embers will differ is that Sparks go towards achieving milestones to unlock cash bonuses while Embers will translate directly to cash. Viewers will also be able to purchase different premium skills with Embers as opposed to Sparks.

Continue reading…

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Do These 7 Companies Owe You Money? Check These Class Action Settlements

The holidays may have made everything merry and bright, but some businesses will be fighting to keep the office lights on after they pay these class-action lawsuit settlements. Our New Year’s countdown includes three tiers of claimants, two small-appliance companies and one payment processor accused of charging unauthorized fees.

Intuit TurboTax Fraudulent Tax Return

If you had a fraudulent tax return filed in your name, you could be eligible for two years of free credit monitoring by TransUnion as a result of an Intuit TurboTax class-action settlement.

Intuit TurboTax faced allegations the company failed to adequately protect consumers’ information, which allowed fraudulent tax returns to be filed for several years.

Class members are those who had a fraudulent tax return filed in their name through Intuit TurboTax for tax years 2014, 2015 or 2016.

Intuit admits no wrongdoing by agreeing to the settlement. No money is offered in the settlement, which could affect more than 915,000 consumers who will not be compensated for expenses related to fraudulent tax return filings. Consumers may wish to pursue such compensation separately.

To receive two years of free TransUnion credit monitoring services, click here to file a claim by Jan. 22, 2019.

Black & Decker, Farberware Small Appliances

Consumers who bought Black & Decker or Farberware small appliances may qualify for a portion of a class-action settlement.

Plaintiffs alleged that both companies failed to represent that certain covered products are manufactured and warranted by them.

Some plaintiffs also accused the brands of selling coffee makers that make much less coffee than they were marketed as producing.

The coffee makers were advertised as making a predetermined number of “cups,” which the plaintiffs allege are not the standard 8 fluid ounces that most consumers purportedly assume is meant by a “cup.”

The defendants included Spectrum Brands Holdings Inc. and Applica Consumer Products Inc. Neither admitted to wrongdoing in the settlement.

Consumers who purchased certain appliances between Feb. 5, 2014, and Oct. 19, 2018, may be eligible to receive compensation. Eligible items include:

  • Black & Decker: air fryers, blenders, can openers, coffee grinders, coffee makers, electric knives, food processors, grills, irons, juicers, kettles, mixers, quesadilla makers, rice cookers, skillets and other surface cookers, slow cookers, toasters, toaster ovens and waffles.
  • Farberware: coffee urns and percolators, food processors and toaster ovens.

Class members are eligible to receive up to $ 4.

For more information — and to fill out your claim form by the Feb. 28, 2019, deadline — click here.

Van Heusen Fake Sale (California Only)

Customers who shopped at a Van Heusen store in California could receive up to $ 150 in merchandise certificates due to a recent class-action settlement.

The retailer admits no wrongdoing in the settlement but faced allegations that it engaged in deceptive advertising practices by placing false reference prices on merchandise.

The fake prices were allegedly designed to convince customers that the products were of high quality and that the current prices were a bargain.

Class members are those who shopped at a Van Heusen store in California between June 1, 2018, and Oct. 3, 2018, where such fake reference prices were displayed upon products.

Compensation will be distributed by means of single-use merchandise certificates in the amount of $ 6.50.

There are three levels of class members, which include:

  • First tier of claimants: Class members who are a member of the Van Heusen loyalty program and made one or more qualifying purchases. These claimants are not required to submit proof and are eligible for one merchandise certificate.
  • Second tier of claimants: Class members who made one or more qualifying purchases and submit a valid claim form with proof of purchase. These claimants are eligible for one merchandise certificate.
  • Third tier of claimants: Class members who are a tier one or tier two claimant, made a qualifying purchase of $ 150 or more and submit a valid claim with proof of purchase. These claimants are eligible for additional merchandising certificates.

The potential award is $ 150 in merchandise certificates with proof of purchase or just one merchandise certificate of $ 6.50 without proof.

Click here for more details and to submit a claim by Jan. 16, 2019.

Subway Credit Card Receipt

Customers who used a debit or credit card to purchase items at a Subway fast-food restaurant may be eligible for part of a $ 30.9 million class-action settlement.

Subway faced allegations that the company violated the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) by allowing the expiration date of credit and debit cards to appear on receipts handed to customers.

FACTA prohibits anything other than the last five digits of the card number to appear on a receipt. The expiration dates allegedly appeared on receipts given at specific restaurant locations that used a Subway payment management system that had been programmed to print the dates.

Class members include customers who purchased food or other merchandise from those Subway restaurants between Jan. 1, 2016, and March 23, 2017.

Each class member is eligible for a potential award up to $ 75.

For instructions on how to obtain a claim ID and to submit a claim by the Jan. 22, 2019, deadline, click here.

Fiat Chrysler Automatic Transmission

If you owned or leased a 2014 or 2015 Jeep Cherokee, 2015 Jeep Renegade, 2015 Chrysler 200 or 2015 Ram ProMaster City vehicle, you could be eligible for a portion of a class-action settlement regarding allegations that Fiat Chrysler installed defective automatic transmissions.

Vehicles equipped with a ZF 9HP transmission allegedly included a defect that causes loud noises and makes it difficult to shift into gear. The vehicles were marketed as having the benefits of both manual and automatic transmissions.

Under the terms of the class-action settlement, class members who made at least three transmission-related complaints to an FCA US-authorized dealer could receive up to $ 2,000 cash or a trade-in value of up to $ 4,000.

Fiat Chrysler has also agreed to extend warranties on vehicles containing the ZF 9HP transmission of the class vehicles to six years or 100,000 miles.

Class members with one of the qualifying vehicles must complete a claim form and include documentation that they made at least three transmission-related complaints prior to Nov. 16, 2018.

Get into gear and click here for more information and to file a claim by May 15, 2019.

Conde Nast, Vogue, Golf Digest Magazines (Michigan Only)

Magazine subscribers in Michigan may be eligible for a portion of a $ 13.75 million class-action settlement.

Plaintiffs in the Condé Nast class-action lawsuit alleged Advance Magazine Publishers Inc. violated Michigan’s Preservation of Personal Privacy Act by allegedly sharing subscriber information with third parties.

No wrongdoing has been determined in the settlement, but Michigan subscribers of Allure, Architectural Digest, Bon Appétit, Brides, Condé Nast Traveler, Footwear News, Glamour, Golf Digest, Golf World, GQ, Lucky, Self, Teen Vogue, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Vogue, W, Wired, and Women’s Wear Daily may qualify to receive up to $ 75 each in the settlement.

The actual award will depend upon the number of qualifying claims received by the estimated deadline of April 14, 2019.

Class members include Michigan residents who subscribed to a Condé Nast publication between July 20, 2009, and July 30, 2016.

For more information on the magazine privacy class action settlement flip or click here.

Merchants’ Choice Payment Solutions Fees

A $ 15 million class-action settlement has been reached between businesses and Merchants’ Choice Payment Solutions, a payment card processing service accused of adding unauthorized charges to the merchants’ invoices.

Class members are those who contracted with or through Merchants’ Choice for payment processing services between Dec. 22, 2013, and Sept. 18, 2018, and were charged one of the following fees:

  • Annual fees.
  • Batch header fees.
  • PCI program/compliance fees.
  • PCI noncompliance/non-validation fees.
  • Gateway access fees.
  • Foundry/e-merchant fees.
  • Monthly minimum discount fees.
  • Nonqualified fees.
  • Discount rates.
  • Other discount fees (including signature debit rates).
  • Paper statement fees.

Potential awards are estimated to be $ 65 to $ 70.

Click here for more information and to file a claim by the March 4, 2019, deadline.

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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Your Money, Your Life: Episode 5 – ‘Biggest Threat to Financial Wellness’ with Ash Cash

Too much debt is the biggest threat to financial wellness. Financial motivator Ash “Cash” Exantus, co-founder and CEO of MindRight Money Management, explains why your mindset and lifestyle determines how you manage debt, and offers valuable actions you can take to get and keep it under control



The new personal finance podcast, Your Money, Your Life is sponsored by Prudential and hosted by Black Enterprise’s own Alfred Edmond Jr. This special series features a lineup of great guests including The Breakfast Club’s Angela Yee; DeForest B. Soaries Jr., founder of the dfree Financial Freedom Movement; Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche; and Jacquette M. Timmons, president & CEO of Sterling Investment Management. The show will cover money topics ranging from how to control your debt to our psychological relationship with our finance. A can’t miss!

The post Your Money, Your Life: Episode 5 – ‘Biggest Threat to Financial Wellness’ with Ash Cash appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Money | Black Enterprise

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The work bonus that is way more important than money

Studies reveal that above a certain amount of money — $ 105,000 in the US, says Gallup — more income doesn't create more happiness. What does have a significant effect on well-being is free time. The good news: More companies are offering flex time.
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Kate Wright slams troll who criticised posh holiday with Rio’s kids and says ‘money can’t bring back loved ones and heal grief’

KATE Wright has hit back at a cruel troll who criticised her swanky holiday with husband Rio Ferdinand’s three children.

The former Towie star won praise from fans as she defended the family trip on Rio’s Instagram page.

Rio was criticised after posting this holiday photo

The 38-year-old football pro posted a photo of the group enjoying a fancy meal at 5.8 Undersea restaurant in the Maldives – an all-glass eating establishment in the middle of the ocean.

He captioned the snap: “Lunch in the sea. What a place with the family. I was dribbling at this point.”

The picture racked up tens of thousands of likes and hundreds of comments – but some trolls couldn’t resist leaving snarky remarks.

Kate, 27, hit back at one user who’d posted a negative now-deleted comment on the snap.

Kate defended her husband and his family
Getty Images – Getty

She wrote: “Money doesn’t make looking after three children that have lost their mum easier.

“Yes we can have nice holidays but money can’t bring back loved ones and heal grief.

“Looking after children and caring for them comes from the heart, not from the bank.”

Kate was inundated with praise for the way that she had handled the troll, with one writing: “What a moving response. Now that’s wisdom.”

The group have been enjoying a Christmas holidays in the Maldives

Another added: “Well said, Kate. Some people will always be jealous and money-orientated.

“I’m sure most people would swap money for loved ones.”

A third wrote: “Well said… You have made those kids happy, be proud of what you both have achieved.

“Such a hard time for anyone who has lost their mum or dad.”

Kate and Rio got engaged two months ago
Instagram

Since arriving at the private resort in the Maldives, Kate has posted several photos to document her holiday with  Rio and his three children.

Kate admitted that she was “feeling blessed” as she shared a video of the family on a boat surrounded by dolphins, and Rio has shared several snaps and videos too.

To mark their Christmas holiday, the sportsman shared a cute photo of Kate and his children posing in Santa hats against a backdrop of blue sky, the crystal clear ocean and pure white sand on Thursday.

He captioned the snap: “Bit delayed on the Christmas post, been offline for a few days! loads of Love from us (the nutters)”.


In October, Rio and Kate got engaged after two years of dating – three years after his late wife Rebecca Ellison’s death.

Rio asked Kate to be his wife as his three children, Lorenz, nine-year-old Tate, and Tia, seven, watched during a family holiday – with Rio later admitting that the children had been involved in his proposal plan.

The star’s late wife passed away following a battle with breast cancer in 2015 – but gave her blessing for her husband to marry again.


Got a story? email digishowbiz@the-sun.co.uk or call us direct on 02077824220.

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TV and Showbiz – latest celebrity news, gossip, photos, TV and film reviews | The Sun

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5 Ways You Can Save $1,378 in 2019 (Even if You’re Awful at Saving Money)

The blank slate of a new year is something I always look forward to as January approaches.

It doesn’t matter what happened in the past. The new year is a time to set yourself off on the right foot.

Many of us — myself included — try to commit to financial goals as we make our New Year’s resolutions. We have grand visions of saving more money… but we don’t always have a plan mapped out to make it happen.

That’s where the 52-Week Money Challenge comes in.

You may have caught wind of this challenge on social media around the beginning of January in years past. The premise is simple, but this savings endeavor gets more difficult as the year goes along.

The first week, you save $ 1. The second week, you save $ 2. The third week, you save $ 3…

The idea is to increase the amount you deposit by $ 1 each week until you eventually save $ 52 in week 52, the last week of the year. Stay disciplined and stick to the plan, and you’ll have $ 1,378 in your account at the end of the year.

Can you imagine what you could do with an extra $ 1,378? Go ahead, I’ll give you a second to dream.

Now let’s get back to reality. While saving over $ 1,000 in one year is wonderful, the classic 52-week challenge isn’t ideal for everyone. It’s good for those who love to raise the bar higher after each goal they reach. But others shudder at the thought of saving over $ 200 in the month of December. (You’d need to save $ 49, $ 50, $ 51 and $ 52 in the last four weeks of the year.)

The good news is that the 52-week challenge can be customized to work for your financial life.

5 Alternative Ways to Conquer the 52-Week Money Challenge

We’ve come up with five new ways to complete the 52-Week Money Challenge. You’ll still make weekly deposits into your savings account. You’ll still end up with $ 1,378 by year’s end. These options just have you going about the savings plan in different ways.

Method No. 1 — Odd Numbers Up, Even Numbers Down

A GIF plays showing how to save money

This approach is for those who’d like the challenge to get easier as the year winds down.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You start the year saving money on an odd-number basis, increasing the amount each week by $ 2. So in week one, you’ll save $ 1. In week two, you’ll save $ 3. In week 3, you’ll save $ 5. Keep the pattern going until you’re at week 26, when you’ll save $ 51.
  2. Once you hit week 27 (halfway through the year), you’ll switch your savings amounts to even numbers, starting with $ 52. From there, you’ll decrease the amount you’re saving each week by $ 2. So you’ll save $ 52 in week 27, $ 50 in week 28, $ 48 in week 29 and so on. Once you hit the last week of the year, you’ll only be depositing $ 2 into your account to reach that $ 1,378 total.

While you’ll need to put away large sums of money in the months of June and July, you’ll stress less about saving money at the end of the year.

Method No. 2 — Quarterly Breakdowns

A woman puts in a dollar bill in a piggy bank.

Maybe you like the idea of saving more money each week, but you’d rather break up the time frame into smaller chunks. With this approach, you’ll save incrementally each quarter, which is every 13 weeks.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Deposit $ 1 into your savings account the first week. For the following weeks in the quarter, you’ll add $ 4 to the amount you deposited the previous week. So for the second week, you’ll deposit $ 5. For the third week, you’ll deposit $ 9. Keep up the pattern until you’ve reached week 13, when you’ll deposit $ 49.
  2. Start the second quarter of the year by depositing $ 2. You’ll be in week 14 at this point. Start the pattern of adding $ 4 to each subsequent deposit amount until you get through week 26. So you’ll deposit $ 6 in week 15, $ 10 in week 16 and so on until week 26, when you’ll deposit $ 50.
  3. Start the third quarter of the year by depositing $ 3. You’re now in week 27. Start up the pattern of adding $ 4 to the amount you deposit each week. In week 28, you’ll deposit $ 7. In week 29, you’ll deposit $ 11. Continue this pattern through week 39, when you’ll deposit $ 51.
  4. Week 40 will be the first week of the last quarter of the year. You’ll start off by depositing $ 4 that week, and then you’ll jump back into the pattern you established in the previous quarters. You’ll need to deposit $ 8 in week 41 and $ 12 in week 42. You’ll keep at it until you’ve deposited $ 52 in week 52, resulting in a total yearly savings of $ 1,378.

Method No. 3 — Random Lottery

A woman pulls a piece of paper from a jar

This method is for those who like to mix things up and not follow a predictable path. You’ll choose a different dollar amount at random each week to reach the savings goal.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Get 52 slips of paper, and write an amount from $ 1 to $ 52 on each piece. Fold each slip of paper and put them in a jar.
  2. Blindly select a slip of paper each week. The amount on the paper you pull will be the amount you deposit that week. Discard each slip of paper after you select it. Instead of doing weekly drawings, you could also create a chart or spreadsheet that outlines how much you’ll deposit each week. At the beginning of the year, you can draw slips of paper for all 52 weeks and write down on your spreadsheet how much you’ll save each week.

This approach to saving is completely arbitrary. You might deposit $ 5 one week and then $ 50 the next. There really isn’t a method to the madness.

Method No. 4 — Semicontrolled Lottery

A woman pulls out a piece of paper from a jar.

This method is a hybrid between completely random selection and incremental savings deposits.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Write deposit amounts from $ 1 to $ 52 on slips of paper.
  2. Separate the slips of paper into four piles: $ 1 to $ 13 in one group, $ 14 to $ 26 in the next group, $ 27 to $ 39 in another group and $ 40 to $ 52 in the last group.
  3. Fold the slips of paper, and put each group into its own jar. Label them Jar One, Jar Two, Jar Three and Jar Four.
  4. Blindly select a slip of paper from Jar One in the first week. Pull from Jar Two the second week, then Jar Three in the third week and Jar Four in the fourth week. Discard each slip of paper after you select it for the week. Go back to Jar One in week five, and repeat that pattern through the end of the year. You can also choose to do the selection for the entire year at the beginning of the year, using a chart or spreadsheet to record which amounts you picked from the jars for each week.

With this method, you’re guaranteed to be depositing a mix of dollar amounts each month — some on the lower end and some on the higher end. Although you’re still incorporating some random selection, you won’t ever run into the possibility of making four deposits over $ 40 in one month.

Method No. 5 — Steady Savings

A woman counts $  26.50

If you thrive on consistency, this option is perfect for you.

Instead of varying the amount of money you save weekly, you can deposit $ 26.50 into your savings account each week for 52 weeks to reach that $ 1,378 goal by year’s end.

This is a simple, uniform approach to meeting this money-saving challenge. Sure, it may not be as fun (for those of us who think saving is fun in the first place), but it gets the job done.

You don’t have to think twice about how much you need to save each week. In fact, you can automate your deposits at the beginning of the year and not think about them at all.

The Most Important Lesson: Just Start Saving

Now that we showed you it’s possible to save over $ 1,000 in one year, the question is: Which method will you choose?

We’ve highlighted several options, but keep in mind there are many other ways to customize a money-saving challenge to your liking.

Maybe you get paid every other week, and you want to make your deposits biweekly so they fall on payday. Perhaps you’d rather commit to depositing money in your savings account once a month. Or maybe the bulk of your income comes from tips, and you prefer to save your cash on a daily basis.

You also don’t have to constrict yourself to saving $ 1,378. (I have to admit, it’s a pretty odd amount to stick with.) If your budget is tight and saving $ 52 in one week seems impossible at any time of the year, you could cut the suggested weekly deposits in half. You’ll still net $ 689 by the end of the year. Or maybe you have a bit of wiggle room in your budget and you want to double the weekly deposits, which will give you $ 2,756 in savings at the end of the year.

No matter how you choose to do it, the important thing is that you’re consciously making the effort to save. Get in the habit of regularly putting money aside so that when 2020 rolls around, saving money won’t even seem like a challenge to you.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’ll probably go with method No. 5.

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 Where This Financial Planner Keeps Her Money (Hint: Not Big Banks)

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

A lump of her money sat quietly at Wells Fargo.

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

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

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

The meetings led nowhere.

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

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

Why This Financial Planner Banks With Aspiration

using debit card in the city

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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[VIDEO] The Top 3 Millennials’ Money Mistakes

From early 401(k) plan withdrawals to not actively investing in stocks because that is for “old white people,studies show Millennials rank near or at the bottom when it comes to financial savvy. Here are the top three Millennials’ money mistakes:

Millennials Money Mistake 1: Being All For The ‘Gram

Keeping up with the Joneses (or even the Kardashians) for the sake of Instagram can keep you in a world wind of purchases and outings you cannot afford. The continued pictures of you dining out, vacationing on a credit card, and costly “lituations”is an expensive lifestyle when you add it all up.

Yes, you can have fun, especially when you’re young. However, you’re not only losing valuable time, but if you find yourself spending more than you can afford, you will end up robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Just do the math—by time you have added up the cost of that lifestyle for even one year, you could have created your own “bank” by purchasing a new financial solution that offers a cash value via Index Funds. That way, you could vacation or even purchase a new car without putting your checking account and credit cards in the negative.

In this video, financial expert and advisor Robinne Alexander breaks down the other top two financial mistakes Millennials make.



 

The post [VIDEO] The Top 3 Millennials’ Money Mistakes appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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LeBron James’ No Good, Very Bad Week: From ‘The Shop’ to ‘Jewish Money’

Harry How/Getty

He’s reigned as the King of Basketball for the better part of a decade, a hardwood maestro possessed of the highest on-court IQ ever. But his off-court accomplishments—creating a public school for at-risk children in his hometown of Akron, presiding over a large foundation that raises millions for charity, financing a wing of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, speaking out in support of Black Lives Matter, to name a few—are even more impressive. If all that weren’t enough, he’s a devoted family man married to his high schools sweetheart whose parenting clips go viral. LeBron James is the best ambassador the NBA has ever had, which makes his past week all the more disappointing.

The trouble began on Friday, with the latest edition of his HBO talk show The Shop.

While LeBron’s “slave mentality” comments about NFL owners grabbed all the headlines—even if he was pretty spot-on—the more troubling portion of the episode came later, when the musical artists Mary J. Blige and Nas were welcomed onto the program.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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

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Your Money, Your Life: Episode 3 – ‘Key Questions To Ask Before Working With A Financial Adviser’

How to know when you are ready to hire a financial pro and what you need to ask to find the right one for you, with guest Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche, founder of the Live Richer Challenge Movement.



 

The new personal finance podcast, Your Money, Your Life is sponsored by Prudential and hosted by Black Enterprise’s own Alfred Edmond Jr. This special series features a lineup of great guests including The Breakfast Club’s Angela Yee; DeForest B. Soaries Jr., founder of the dfree Financial Freedom Movement; Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche; and Jacquette M. Timmons, president & CEO of Sterling Investment Management. The show will cover money topics ranging from how to control your debt to our psychological relationship with our finance. A can’t miss!

The post Your Money, Your Life: Episode 3 – ‘Key Questions To Ask Before Working With A Financial Adviser’ appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Your Money, Your Life: Episode 4 – ‘Creating A Budget That Works For You’

Learn why having a spending plan—also known as a budget—is key to financial wellness and enables you to confidently set and achieve your goals, with guest Angela Yee, host of The Breakfast Club and host and creator of the ‘Lip Service’ podcast.



The new personal finance podcast, Your Money, Your Life is sponsored by Prudential and hosted by Black Enterprise’s own Alfred Edmond Jr. This special series features a lineup of great guests including The Breakfast Club’s Angela Yee; DeForest B. Soaries Jr., founder of the dfree Financial Freedom Movement; Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche; and Jacquette M. Timmons, president & CEO of Sterling Investment Management. The show will cover money topics ranging from how to control your debt to our psychological relationship with our finance. A can’t miss!

The post Your Money, Your Life: Episode 4 – ‘Creating A Budget That Works For You’ appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Quench Your Wanderlust (And Save Some Money) by Teaching English Abroad

Maybe you’re stuck in traffic on the commute home from a job you don’t like. Or maybe you’re a fresh-out-of-college grad who is hesitant to jump into the corporate world.

Whatever your situation, you’ve probably said this at some point: Something’s got to change.

Blowing your savings on an international trip isn’t the smartest move. Taking a gap year doesn’t sound like a good fit, either. But you know you want to see the world.

If you are a native English speaker, there’s a really practical solution to this dilemma: teaching English abroad. You won’t have to forego a full year of job experience or drain your bank account to do it. In fact, you’ll boost your resume and very likely save hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars while traveling.

I personally saved up to a thousand dollars a month teaching in South Korea, and my case isn’t unique, either. Jessie Smith, an expert in teaching English abroad for the International TEFL Academy (ITA), saved a similar amount each month when she taught overseas.

It all depends on what your goals are, Raneem Taleb-Agha said. She taught English in Spain shortly after graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, and said the experience jump-started her career in writing and editing.

“This is your chance to go and see the world and experience life in another country,” she said.

How to Teach English Abroad

Young teaches an english class in Tottori Prefecture, Japan.

If you were born in an English-speaking country, consider yourself lucky. English is the world’s business language, and many countries are scrambling to learn it. That means jobs teaching English are in high demand.

There are a plethora of teaching programs, countries, certifications and jobs to choose from. Below are some of the biggest considerations and steps you can take before booking those plane tickets.

Standard Requirements to Teach English Overseas

When you think of teaching, you might think it requires a bachelor’s or even a master’s degree in the field. That’s because degrees are needed for typical grade school teaching jobs inside the U.S. But because the demand is so high for English teachers abroad, a degree isn’t always needed.

Of course, the requirements vary for each individual job listing, but it’s fairly easy for most U.S. citizens to get into the industry.

To meet basic requirements for international teaching jobs, you must:

  • Be a native English speaker.
  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Have a high school diploma.

If you prefer to teach in Western Europe, chances are you will need a bachelor’s degree. (Two notable exceptions are Spain and Italy.)

“If you don’t have a four-year degree,” Taleb-Agha said, “I would recommend looking particularly at Southeast Asia or Latin America.”

Even though several countries don’t require a related degree or previous teaching experience, it’s very important to make sure you have the necessary teaching skills for the job.

“Be someone who is going to put in the work, time and effort to give the children a good experience,” Taleb-Agha said. “At the end of the day, their education is most important.”

That’s where certifications come in. And there are a ton of them.

Find the Right TEFL Certification Program

When searching for English teaching programs, you will come across a lot of acronyms, namely TEFL and TESOL. TEFL stands for “Teaching English as a Foreign Language.” TESOL means “Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.”

The terms are often interchangeable, but you’re more likely to see TEFL associated with certifications.This certification is all about practical English-teaching and classroom-management skills.

You can find certification programs, completed mostly online, at universities or through providers like ITA, who offer certification courses and job assistance in the destination country.

The University of Cambridge’s English teaching certification is referred to as the CELTA, short for Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults.

Though it costs more than most TEFL certifications, the CELTA is widely recognized internationally.

“CELTA is the global gold standard,” said Peter Novak, country manager for the U.S. and Canada at Cambridge Assessment English, a nonprofit English-language certification department at the University of Cambridge. “You can hop into any language school and start teaching the next day — and start teaching confidently.”

Not all situations require a certificate from the University of Cambridge, but it certainly won’t hurt. In many cases, it will boost your salary. At the very least, make sure the TEFL program includes a practicum component where you are in a classroom teaching real students.

Both Novak and Smith noted that there are a lot of less-than-reputable, bargain-bin programs, which aren’t accredited.

According to Smith, legitimate TEFL certifications should consist of:

  • 100 hours of coursework.
  • In-person teaching practicum with a non-English speaker, up to 20 hours.
  • Curriculum accredited by Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training, College of Teachers or Training Qualifications UK, or through a university.
  • Courses taught by a credentialed professor or instructor of TESOL.

Smith said to be wary of Groupo TEFL certifications taught by “TEFL coaches” instead of professors. Any too-good-to-be-true pricing is also a red flag.

“A true university-level TEFL class could not possibly run under $ 1,000” or so, Smith said. Sometimes, “you’ll see the words ‘self-accredited,’ which — needless to say — means just about nothing.”

Choose the Country That’s Best for You

Ask yourself what type of experience you want.

Do you want to save a lot of money? Break even financially? Travel to a particular region? Learn a certain language?

“It’s important to keep an open mind,” Taleb-Agha said. “Consider destinations that you never thought you were interested in. Go somewhere even if you don’t speak the language.”

It’s also important to consider the requirements of most jobs in the country. Your qualifications are important to determine which country to teach in.

Smith broke it down into a few categories:

  • For experienced teachers or master’s degree holders, try the United Arab Emirates. She said the pay is high and they really “roll out the red carpet for teachers.”
  • Fresh out of college? Taiwan, Vietnam or South Korea are great Asian options. Germany and the Czech Republic are top European destinations as well.
  • For less experienced teachers, there are plenty of options in Latin America and a couple in Western Europe, like Spain and Italy.

Novak said it may be a little harder to break into the English teaching industry in Northern European countries.

“English is so highly integrated in their societies,” he said, noting that they still require English teachers, just at a very advanced level.

And as with all international travel, make sure to check out the U.S. State Department’s travel advisory scale. Countries are rated on a scale of one to four — the higher the worse. A four rating simply reads, “Do not travel.” Pretty self-explanatory there.

Start Your Job Hunt

You’ve done your research and picked a country. You maybe even got a TEFL or CELTA certification. Now you have to find a job.

Some TEFL providers like ITA and Teach Adventures Asia help or even guarantee you employment after you’ve completed the program. Some countries have government-run English teaching programs, like Japan’s JET program or South Korea’s EPIK program, that place you in a public school.

But most of the time, the job hunt is up to you. Forums, Facebook groups, blogs and travel websites are all fairly good ways to find work overseas.

Taleb-Agha found her teaching job in Spain on her own.

“Using Google, I found a lot of helpful blogs,” she said.

If you’re doing the research yourself, she recommends using Young Adventuress and Go Overseas, which offers program and job reviews. She also writes several helpful articles on teaching abroad for Go Overseas as a topic expert.

And once you’ve found a school, make sure to vet it properly. After all, you’re about to move across the globe to work there.

“Request to speak to another teacher on staff,” Smith advises. “That is standard operating procedure.”

If they say no, that’s your cue to keep hunting.

Adam Hardy is an editorial assistant on the Jobs Team at The Penny Hoarder. He previously worked in international education at the University of South Florida and taught English in South Korea to grade-schoolers and North Korean refugees. Read his full bio here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.

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

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Report: Millennials Managing Money Better Than You May Assume

When it comes to handling money, millennials often get a bad rap on such matters as saving and long-term financial planning. But the latest Better Money Habits Millennial Report by financial services giant Bank of America opposes some of the notions.

In reality, the report swears millennials are just as good, or better than other generations when it comes to managing money. That means they are getting their finances in shape. Millennials—ages 23 to 37—are more likely to set savings goals with most of the generation meeting them. The bulk of millennials feel just as financially secure as other age groups, including Generation X and baby boomers.

Yet there are some obstacles, too. Roughly 1 in 4 millennials worry often about money. And intriguingly, 75% of them report their generation overspends compared to other generations. Plus, 73% of millennials say their age group spends too much on unnecessary indulgences.

Some findings from the report include:

  • Regardless of stereotypes on millennials’ money habits, they are doing better than what others and themselves believe. Sixty-three percent are saving versus 64% for Gen X and 75% for baby boomers. Some 57% of millennials have a savings goal versus 42% each for Gen Xers and baby boomers.
  • The younger group has made great progress stashing money. Forty-seven percent of millennials now have more than $ 15,000 saved, up from 33% in 2015. Sixteen percent of millennials have $ 100,000 or more in savings, up from 8% three years ago.
  • Falling short on savings and careers are top financial stressors for millennials. However, when it comes to putting money away, millennials cite saving for emergency funds (64%), retirement (49%) and buying a house (33%) as top priorities.
  • Millennials are not afraid to ask for more money. Some 80% of millennials who asked for a raise in the past two years got one. Millennials are bigger advocates on asking for raises than GenXers and baby boomers.

Other topics included in the report ranged from how millennials feel about career changes to finances being a  top source of tension in millennial households. For instance, almost 1 in 5 millennials don’t know how much their spouse/partner makes.

Bank of America paid for a survey of 1,500 respondents, ages 18-71 years old, to examine their views on personal financial matters. Millennials in the report were defined as ages 23-37, with younger millennials ages 23-27 and older millennials ages 28-37.

Andrew Plepler, Global Head of Environmental, Social and Governance at Bank of America, commented on millennial financial habits in the report.

“Millennials deserve more credit—both from themselves and from others—for their mindfulness when it comes to money and their lives. They have room and, importantly, time to reduce the stress they report having around money.”

The post Report: Millennials Managing Money Better Than You May Assume appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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17 Ways to Save Money When You Live in a Big City (It’s Actually Possible!)

I know I don’t have to tell you this, city dwellers: Living in a big city is expensive.

I was slapped with that cold reality when I moved to Denver. After living in two relatively rural college towns, I was used to paying a rent I could almost afford; groceries that were, well, normally priced; and a night out with friends that never remotely creeped close to $ 50.

Then there were those times I visited New York City and San Francisco for long weekends… Don’t get me started.

Anyway, kudos for making it work — but I know it’s got to get difficult sometimes. That’s why we put together a list of ways to save money when you live in a big city.

1. Save Money on Any Debt You’ve Already Accumulated  

Moving in general is expensive, but moving to a big city and adjusting to that new cost of living is difficult.

If you accumulate any credit card debt in the process that’s still lingering, consider refinancing or consolidating it to find better interest rates.

A good resource is Fiona, a search engine for financial services, which can help match you with the right personal loan to meet your needs.

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

2. Get $ 3 Pantry Essentials Delivered to Your Door

Groceries tend to be more expensive in big cities. Goods in New York City are 10% higher than average U.S. prices, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The task itself also tends to be more difficult, depending on how far away you live from the closest store.

A great way to save money is to order the essentials online — where prices are more likely to be the same nationwide.

With Brandless, you can stock up on all your grocery essentials for $ 3 each. Yup — everything’s $ 3. And you’ll get $ 5 off your order when you sign up with your email address.

Better yet, Brandless carries organic, gluten-free and vegan options. You could spend hours perusing the virtual aisles, but here are a few examples:

  • An 8-ounce jar of organic, 100% pure honey: $ 3
  • Organic aged white cheddar popcorn: Two for $ 3
  • Roasted and salted almonds: $ 3
  • Organic, fair-trade, light-roast ground coffee: $ 3

You can also stock up on Brandless cleaning supplies, household essentials and clean beauty supplies.

Shipping is free when you spend $ 39 or more.

3. Claim Cash Back on Drinks and Takeout Orders

Life tends to be a bit more stressful in the big city, and it’s important to take time to unwind. Whether you prefer to do that with alcohol or takeout, claim cash back.

Traditionally, Ibotta is known for its cash-back offers on groceries, but it’s also available for restaurants, bars and food-delivery services.

For example, we’ve seen deals for:

  • 10% cash back for new DoorDash users.
  • $ 5 back on two bottles of Stella Artois.
  • $ 2 back on a glass of Cupcake Wine.

Just download the app for free, then select “Find Offers.” When you claim your first cash-back offer, you’ll pocket a $ 10 bonus.

4. Ease the Pain of Those Higher Car Insurance Rates

The good news is big cities typically have public transit systems, so sometimes you can get away with selling your car and living that car-free life.

If you still need your car, though, you’ll probably face higher car insurance rates.

Here are three options to help alleviate the pain associated with those high costs:

  • First, find a pay-per-mile insurance policy. If you live in California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia or Washington and drive less than 200 miles a week, consider getting insurance through MetroMile, a company that lets you pay for insurance by the mile. I you only drive 5,000 miles per year, you could save $ 500, according to MetroMile’s calculations. Find out if it could help you save by snagging a free quote.
  • If you still drive quite a bit, take a few minutes to compare rates from other providers. A service called Gabi will do it for you, and you don’t even have to fill out any forms. Simply link your insurance account and provide your driver’s license number, and Gabi will go to work. Gabi says it finds an average savings of $ 720 per year for its customers.
  • Help offset big-city costs by renting your car out when you’re not using it. With the Getaround app, you can safely rent out your car to people in your community and neighborhood. The company insures your car for each trip, offers 24/7 roadside assistance and screens drivers for a safe driving record.

5. Count Your Many Steps and Turn ’Em Into Cash

Whether you walk to work or take public transit, you tend to spend more time on your feet in big cities.

Go ahead and reward your barking feet with the Achievement app.

Achievement connects to your phone’s health apps and runs in the background, so it works passively. Many users report being happily surprised when logging on and checking their progress.

Once you earn 10,000 points, you’ll score $ 10, which you can deposit directly into your bank account.

Pro tip: Achievement connects to more than 30 Android and iOS health-related apps, including MyFitnessPal and Garmin. The more apps you connect, the more earning opportunities.

6. Negotiate Your Monthly Bills (or Have This Bot Do It)

A great money-saving tactic when living in a big city is to negotiate your bills. Some may be more difficult to negotiate than others (you can even try negotiating your rent), but we suggest starting simply with a free negotiation tool.

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

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

On average, Truebill says it helps customers save more than $ 700 a year by lowering their bills, canceling necessary subscriptions and getting refunds.

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

7. Set up Your Big-City Budget

If money’s tighter than you’d like, it’s important to keep a budget.

Budgeting can be a little scary, but it doesn’t have to be. The first step is to find out how you’re doing now. Luckily, you can have a financial assistant right in your pocket to help you out.

The Empower app is a powerful budgeting tool that can help you figure out how you’re spending your money and develop a budgeting plan to keep you on track.

Link the app to your bank accounts, and it will track your spending. It will also categorize your spending so you can see exactly where you are overdoing it. That’s right: It will show you just how many times you went out for dinner because you didn’t want to do the dishes.

Set a monthly spending limit and the app will show you a graph that can tell you in one snapshot just how you’re doing for the month. Are you over the line or under it? It’s that simple to see how you’re doing so you can adjust your spending accordingly.

8. Declutter Your Space — and Earn Some Extra Cash

Affordable apartments tend to be small, so if you’re feeling a bit cluttered in your space, clean stuff out.

You can sell virtually anything on Letgo. This easy-to-use app lets you snap a photo and upload your item in less than 30 seconds. It removes a lot of the hassle of selling things online, and it’s 100% free to use.

If you’ve got old technology lingering (think: phones, CDs, DVDs or video games), download the Decluttr app, and start scanning the barcodes on your media to get immediate quotes. It’s completely free to use, you won’t pay listing or seller fees, payment is super fast and even shipping is free.

Plus, enter FREE5 at checkout to get an extra $ 5 for your trade-in order!

9. Entertain Yourself on Your Commute (and Win Cash)

While you’re swiping around on your phone and wasting time on your commute, go ahead and download the Lucky Day app

You could win up to $ 10,000 playing digital scratch-off tickets or even a whopping $ 100,000 in the daily lotto. You’ll also have a lot of chances to win gift cards to cool places like Amazon, Walmart, Dunkin and Target.

It’s all free to play, with no in-app purchases. The company has already awarded more than $ 3 million in prizes to winners since 2014.

Try to resist an embarrassing happy dance on the subway if you win money.

10. Create an In-Case-of-Emergency Fund Without Thinking

When you have to spend a lot of money just to get by day to day, the task of saving money will easily fall to the wayside.

Don’t let that happen. Digit allows you to save money without even noticing.

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

Bonus: Penny Hoarders will get an extra $ 5 just for signing up! Additionally, savers will receive a 1% bonus every three months.

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

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

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

11. Dress up to Big-City Standards Without Credit Card Debt

There’s something about living in a big city where there’s more pressure to dress like, well, a real human. Fashion trends are actually timely, and you want to look professional when walking into your skyscraper of an office.

But just because you have pressure to look trendy doesn’t mean you have to rack up credit card debt.

Instead of shopping online at any ol’ retailer or signing up for a clothing subscription service, check out flash-sale site Rue La La first.

It offers top brands for up to 70% off. How? When retailers have excess product, Rue La La takes it and sells it at a hefty discount — but each sale is only available for a limited time.

Just sign up for free with your email address. (It’s an exclusive site — discounts are for members only.) Then search your favorite brands, or browse the boutiques to see what’s available.

12. Protect Your Abode and Belongings With Affordable Insurance

If you’re renting, you know some cities and states require renters insurance. It might seem like a pain at the time, but it can really save you in the long run.

For example, when my boyfriend lived in Denver, a hail storm hit and destroyed his complex’s roof, causing water to flood into his apartment. After his deductible, his renters insurance paid for him to move into a hotel near his workplace for about three months. If any of his items had been damaged, it would have covered those expenses, too.

If you don’t yet have renters insurance — or want to shop around for a better rate — start by getting a free quote. We recommend the online insurance company Lemonade, through which renters insurance starts at $ 5 a month.

Beyond affordable rates, Lemonade adds a layer of transparency you don’t often see in the insurance world. Instead of profiting extra when it doesn’t have to pay out claims, the company keeps a set 20% of your premium for itself, and 80% goes into a pool for paying claims. Money left over after paying claims each year goes to a cause of your choice.

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

13. Find a Side Gig (Opportunities Abound)

Big cities are basically playgrounds for side gigs. If you’re struggling to make rent or are racking up credit card debt, consider increasing your income, even if only temporarily.

Here are some of our favorite side-gig options for folks in the big city:

  • It’s no secret big cities attract more tourists, and that’s good news for you. If you have a spare room, try earning some extra money by listing it on Airbnb. If you’re a good host with a desirable space, you could add hundreds — even thousands — of dollars to your savings account with Airbnb.
  • If you’re looking for a flexible, independent way to earn money — and you love hanging out with dogs — Rover might be your perfect gig. The online network connects dog walkers and sitters to local dog owners through its 4.9-star-rated app, so you don’t have to staple flyers on every utility pole across town. Rover says sitters can earn as much as $ 1,000 a month.
  • Need a fun, flexible way to earn money while also meeting lots of new people? Try driving with Lyft. To be eligible, you’ll need to be at least 21 years old with a year of driving experience, pass a background check and own a car made in 2007 or later.

14. Call it Quits With Your Expensive Cell Phone Provider

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

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

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

Pro tip: Big cities mean big Wi-Fi opportunities. Whenever you can, tap into free Wi-Fi to save on data.

15. Snag Cash Back — Even From Your Favorite Local Deli

Cash-back apps are great, but many of them don’t cater to your favorite local haunts — like that unsuspecting deli on your block or your favorite coffee pitstop on your way to work.

But don’t worry. We found an app that’ll reward you for keeping any receipt.

As seen on Shark Tank, CoinOut is a shopping rewards app. You’ll earn cash when you snap a photo of a receipt — any receipt, from any retailer, featuring any item. (Similar apps are a lot pickier.)

We put it to the test: A couple of Penny Hoarder staffers dug out receipts — a $ 5 Wendy’s order and a salad from a local sandwich shop. One collected 5 cents, the other 4 cents. The better condition your receipt is in, the more you’ll earn back, so resist crumpling it into a ball.

You can also earn cash back when you shop online with one click through the CoinOut app. Featured retailers include Walmart, Overstock and Warby Parker.

You can cash — ahem, coin — out once a week for an Amazon gift card or funnel the money right into your bank account or PayPal.

16. Don’t Let Laundry and Dry Cleaning Shrink Your Budget

Laundry’s a big expensive chore in big cities. And dry cleaning? Don’t even get us started…

You’ve probably already invested in that magical Febreze Fabric Refresher spray (if you haven’t, just trust us), but now it’s time to tackle the costs of dry cleaning.

For some fabrics, it’s totally necessary. But for others (even if the tag says dry-cleaning only), it’s not.

Dive into your guide to saving money on dry cleaning. It just might change your life (or at least your budget).

17. Find Fun (and Free!) Weekend Activities

All right. We’ve addressed all your big recurring bills, but you’ve got to have some fun, too. After all, you live in a city where there’s tons to do and explore.

Look into your neighborhood’s farmers market, check out free museum passes from your local library, take a hike (genuinely), plan a picnic or window-shop.

Get some inspiration from our list of free things to do in Orlando.

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.

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

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

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Personal Money Snapshot: Corporette Edition

personal money snapshot

I know everyone (including me) loves to read those money diaries on sites like Refinery29, and I’ve been meaning to create a “personal money snapshot” series to feature readers who are willing to share a summary of their financial situation. We now have a Google form (similar to the form we have for the CorporetteMoms Week in the Life of a Working Mom posts), and I would love to a) open it up for participants, b) get your feedback (too long?), and c) note that everything is possible for change. (The nice thing about Google forms is that we can edit questions, which is not always the case with surveys and things.) Click here if you’d like to see the form and/or submit responses! You can also see a PDF of the questions if you want to review them ahead of time.

Notes on the Personal Money Snapshot Form:

1. The reason we ask for your email address: It would be much, much better if we could have your email address so that Kate or I could ask follow-up questions for clarity — sometimes not everything is obvious from an outside perspective. THAT SAID, there are a lot of personal questions on the form, so I understand if you don’t want to share your address. I can’t quite figure out how to make that question optional, though, so just put something obviously fake and we’ll deal. (If you DO trust us with your email address, thank you very much! We will keep your info safe pursuant to the Corporette Privacy Policy — and I promise to never ever hit you up for a loan if you’re loaded.)

2. The general nature of the questions (and why it looks longer than it is): I’ve been observing reader comments and discussions on money for a long time, and I think the usual “what I spend in a week” summary isn’t necessarily illuminating or educational. That’s why the questions on the form are pretty wide-ranging — and it may seem long when you first look at it, but that’s because I’m not expecting EVERYONE to have something to say in EVERY category. (I’m assuming readers will have a lot to say in one or two of the sections and less in others.)

I also believe that people have “quadrants of knowledge” when it comes to personal finance. Maybe you know everything about country club fees, which markets are awesome for second homes, and which ostrich bag is REALLY worth the $ 10,000. That’s awesome, and we want to hear from you! We also want to hear from people who are in six figures of debt, flirting with bankruptcy, and/or living paycheck to paycheck (yes, even if you have a high income and are living paycheck to paycheck). We also want to hear from the FIRE people who are putting away $ 100K of their $ 120K income, and people who had their lives wildly shifted (for good or bad) by something like inheritance (hopefully good) or crazy medical bills (probably bad). 

3. Big Picture questions: There are a few questions I want everyone to answer because I think they generally inform the reading of responses. One question asks specifically what your net worth was when you started working since I think there’s a huge difference in what your personal finance journey looks like if your net worth at 25 or whatever is -$ 260,000 (in debt) vs. $ 5,000 vs. $ 150,000. Another question asks, “Is there anything else we should know about you from a “Big Picture” perspective up front, for context, as it relates to your net worth, expenses, or debt?” I included that to delve into situations that we wouldn’t know to ask about but certainly affect your money situation, e.g., “had to be life-flighted to the hospital and had $ 100K in medical bills,” or “private schools are not optional for my family because I don’t believe my kids will get a fair shake in public school” or “all of our home-related finances are super high because my in-laws live with us and we pay for everything.” 

Like I said, it’s pretty wide ranging and hopefully not TOO… asky. If there are specific questions that are offensive to people or otherwise problematic, I’d love to know which ones in particular. If people think there need to be specific questions added to any part of it, we’d love to hear those too.

Here’s a quick question for discussion today, though: what are your favorite resources to learn about money? What’s your favorite podcast, book, blog, or other resource?

Psst: here’s our last discussion on the best personal finance books for beginners, as well as my “money roadmap,” or what my own personal finance journey has looked like. 

The post Personal Money Snapshot: Corporette Edition appeared first on Corporette.com.

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It’s OK to Stop Saving Money If You’re Doing One of These 6 Things

At 7, your goal was to save enough money so you could buy that new toy all the kids were raving about.

At 18, you just wanted to scrape up enough to stock up on ramen for the week.

At 23, your cohorts started talking about emergency funds, and you thought, “OK, I probably need a little nest egg of my own, too.”

At 27, you started counting down to retirement — only about 40 years away… Better start saving now.

And you’re still saving.

You’ve basically been saving money your entire life. Is there ever a time you’ll be able to stop saving money? Perhaps even — gasp — spend it?

Short answer: Yes!

6 Times It’s OK to Stop Saving Your Money

We’ll forever encourage people to save their pennies, but, depending on your financial situation, sometimes it’s OK to stop saving, even just for a little while. Come on; you’ve earned it, right?

Breathe a sigh of relief. It’s OK to stop saving money if you’re…

1. Investing in Causes You Care About

Hand of person holding light bulb

Once you have a nice rainy day fund saved, investing can be a great way to grow your money. In a way, you’re still saving money — but know risk is always associated with investing.

You’ll want to make sure you’re using your hard-saved money to support companies you actually believe in — their morals and values. You probably wouldn’t want to invest in a company that’s destroying our oceans or cheating the system.

Impact investing is a simple fix. It adds a new layer of transparency to investing. Take Swell Investing, an SEC-registered investment adviser committed to supporting sustainable companies.

Its Impact 400 portfolio features companies whose products and services align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It considers everything from gender equality to ending poverty to clean energy.

You can start with just $ 50 and invest in this or other portfolios committed to clean water, zero waste, renewable energy or disease eradication, to name a few. Plus, you’ll get a $ 50 bonus with the code PENNY after making your initial investment.

Swell doesn’t have any trading fees, price tiers or expense ratios. It charges a 0.75% annual fee — that’s about the cost of one coffee ($ 3.75) per year if you invest $ 500.

Disclosure: We have a financial relationship with Swell Investing LLC and will be compensated if consumers apply for an account and/or fund an account with Swell through links in our content. However, the analysis and opinions expressed here are our own.

2. Signing up for Life Insurance

If you have a dependent or two, you’ll want to think about life insurance. Sure, it’ll cost you a monthly fee, but it’ll help ensure your family will be financially sound if (goodness forbid) anything happens to you.

Plus, finding life insurance doesn’t have to be the complicated, research-intensive experience you might expect. Some newcomers in the industry are updating the old model.

Ethos can get you term life insurance in less than 10 minutes — with no medical exam — for coverage up to $ 1 million. Ethos offers a digital application, and customer service is available if you have questions.

It partners with a major life insurance carrier to quickly offer policies as low as $ 6 a month. It’s helped thousands of folks access term life insurance, including independent contractors who use Uber, Postmates, TaskRabbit and other gig apps.

So even if you have to take $ 6 out of your savings each month, life insurance could be worth it — for that peace of mind.

3. Paying off Your Credit Card Debt

TPH photo editor, Alexa Vincent, in various scenes showing credit card debt, consolidation and bankruptcy on August 14, 2018.

A lot of us are being crushed by credit card interest rates north of 20%. That can make paying off your debt feel like this never-ending cycle — and can even cost you thousands of extra dollars over time.

If you have a nice savings cushion, it could be beneficial to pause your savings for a couple of months and pay off your debt more quickly to alleviate the pain of tacked-on interest.

See if you can make your debt a little more manageable first by consolidating or refinancing with a personal loan.

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

Unlike traditional underwriting models that use only the common FICO scoring model, Upstart’s technology looks at factors like your education and employment history to determine your creditworthiness (though it does require a 620 credit score).

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

4. Preparing for a Happy Retirement

Because you’re already into saving, you probably have a 401(k). Kudos for that, but is it doing what you need it to?

Chances are, your 401(k) could be doing a lot better. Take control with help from Blooom, an SEC-registered investment advisory firm that can optimize and monitor your 401(k) for you and keep it speeding toward retirement.

It just takes a few minutes to get a free 401(k) analysis that will show you whether your investments are allocated properly and whether you’re losing money paying hidden investment fees. It’ll even tell you just how much more money your account could earn by the time you want to retire.

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

Think of Blooom like a mechanic constantly fine-tuning your car’s engine so it gives you the best possible performance and gas mileage. Except it’s your 401(k) — and your future.

5. Treating Yourself With a Reward

woman carrying shopping bags

You know how most healthy people talk about the importance of cheat days? To let yourself indulge — just a little. The same goes for personal finance. You can be as budget abiding as you want, but you have to leave a little bit of wiggle room to treat yourself.

If you haven’t gotten a pedicure in at least a decade, escaped city limits for a weekend away from the kids or splurged on a new gadget, then maybe it’s time. But please do so responsibly.

Make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck with these tools:

  • Ibotta: With Ibotta, you can bank cash back when you make an Amazon purchase, sign up for Hulu, book your next vacation or even order groceries through Shipt. Plus, if you sign up now, you’ll snag a $ 10 bonus when you claim your first cash-back offer.
  • Paribus: This tool gets you money back for your online purchases. If it discovers you’ve purchased something from one of its monitored retailers, it will track the item’s price and help you get a refund when there’s a price drop.
  • When you’re spending money, always, always be sure to keep tabs on your budget to make sure you’re not overspending. If you don’t yet have one, the Empower app is a powerful budgeting tool that can help you figure out how you’re spending your money and develop a budgeting plan to keep you on track.

6. Buying a Home

Perhaps for the past few years, you’ve been saving for a down payment. That’s great! Now, you’re ready to buy your first home.

In those first couple of months of homeownership, though, don’t feel bad if you have to pause your savings. Expect a lot of expenses to pop up: closing costs, real estate agent commission, property taxes, homeowners insurance, last-minute repairs — just to name a few.

Get all of that taken care of as you settle into your new abode. After a few months, once you’re getting back into the swing of things and are coasting along with your monthly mortgage payments, you can start saving again.

Time to Resume…

Sure, depending on your financial health, there are certain life events, investments and money moves you can justify pausing your savings for. But the break can’t last forever — you’ll need to resume your savings at some point.

After all, you never know when you’ll need the savings. That newest and hottest toy of the season could hit the shelves any minute.

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’ll forever be saving 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.

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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Winter Is Here — and This App Will Help You Make Money Shoveling Snow

I wish I could start this article with, “We’ve all had to do it…”

But, fortunately, I’m a Floridian, and I’ve never had to shovel snow. From what I’ve heard, some people find it a real pain — a job happily pawned off to any willing being.

On the other hand, what if you’re that willing being? You might be able to make some good money from a hearty dusting.

Even 50 Cent has shoveled snow.

I’m going out to shovel snow and see if I can make me a few extra dollars today. I’m charging more if they want to take pictures

— 50cent (@50cent) December 27, 2010

And so has Daniel Miller, CEO of an app called Shovler.

It’s kind of like Uber — but for snow shoveling — and since its release in December 2016, more than 15,000 people have registered to become snow shovelers, according to Miller.

How Did the Shovler App Get Started?

Miller shoveled snow as a teenager and always thought it was the perfect gig: People are appreciative, you get a good workout in and it’s actually kind of fun.

Plus: The pay ain’t too shabby.

Miller came up with the idea for Shovler in the winter of 2015 when his parents were hanging out in Florida and wanted a clear driveway upon returning home to New Jersey. A full-on plow service wasn’t necessary, and, other than that, they had a hard time finding someone.

“It just dawned on me that there are lots of people in similar situations, especially the elderly, that just want to hire a snow shoveler on demand for the days they need one or want to take a break from shoveling themselves,” Miller writes in an email.

He’d always seen those apps about solving what he calls “minor problems” — like delivering food a few blocks away. “But nobody has fixed this major logistical nightmare that people have every year,” he says.

For him, the app seemed obvious. Why hadn’t it been invented years ago?

How Much Money Can You Make Shoveling Snow?

Enter: Shovler.

The app went live for iOS and Android at the beginning of December 2016, and approximately 15,000 snow shovelers have registered with it across the U.S. and parts of Canada, according to Miller.

Those who are in need of shoveling services enter their requests into the app. The registered shovelers get pinged when a job’s available nearby.

Pay is calculated by an algorithm that takes the depth of snow and the size of the property, as well as other factors, into consideration. In general, though, typical rates range from:

  • $ 20 to $ 35 for a car parked on a city street
  • $ 30 to $ 75 for up to a two-car driveway that fits three cars in length, an average walkway and an average sidewalk in front of a house
  • 50 cents to $ 2 per square feet for a city sidewalk or small parking lots (for businesses)

The Shovler app takes 20% of each job (though there are promo codes out there for 10% off), and the human shoveler gets the rest.

Miller says shovelers have made up to $ 200 per gig and says the app also hosts customers who tip generously, some tacking on a 50% tip.

“Shovelers love the app because they get paid by the job, not the hour,” Miller says. “That really gives them the ability to earn $ 50 in an hour if they are quick.”

Shovelers get paid after the user rates the job or within 24 hours — whichever is faster.

How You Can Sign Up For Shovler

The app is available across the U.S. and in parts of Canada, but its most popular cities are Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and New York.

Signing up is easy — and a lot easier than awkwardly knocking on your neighbors’ doors or giving them a ring. Plus, the app is currently running a promotion for new shovelers – if you sign up by December 21, you’ll be reimbursed up to $ 30 for snow shoveling tools or receive a $ 10 credit if you already have your own tools.

So why not make some money off the most recent dumping of the devil’s dandruff?

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.

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

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

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The 12 Dumbest Money Questions We’ve Ever Asked (and Why They’re Not Actually Dumb)

Let’s channel our former middle school teachers: There are no dumb questions.

Especially when it comes to personal finance.

Do you remember your financial literacy class? Probably not, because not many states require such a subject.

So it’s not your fault you have to watch a YouTube tutorial to make sure you’re writing a check correctly or that you have to quietly Google, “How much money do I need to retire?”

But you can stop being embarrassed now. We’re here to answer your “dumbest” money questions.

‘Dumb’ Question No. 1: What Do I Do With My 401(k)?

This isn’t a dumb question, because your 401(k), or any investment account for that matter, is an integral part to a happy and financially healthy retirement.

A 401(k) is an employee-sponsored plan, so it’s largely hands off. If you can, we recommend maxing out your contributions.

Then, thanks to the power of compound interest, watch it grow.

Sure, it’s all automated — out of sight, out of mind. But chances are, your 401(k) could be doing a lot better.

Take control with help from Blooom, an SEC-registered investment advisory firm that can optimize and monitor your 401(k) for you and keep it speeding toward retirement.

It just takes a few minutes to get a free 401(k) analysis that will show you whether your investments are allocated properly and whether you’re losing money paying hidden investment fees. It’ll even tell you just how much more money your account could earn by the time you want to retire.

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

Now that you have Blooom keeping tabs on your 401(k), you can sit back and max out your contributions (if possible).

‘Dumb’ Question No. 2: How Can I Invest If I’m Broke?

You. Don’t. Need. Thousands. Of. Dollars. To. Invest.

Yes, everyone’s talking about investing in shares of Amazon, Apple or Netflix, but you can start investing with pocket change.

Start small and download Acorns, an investing app that’ll round up your debit and credit card purchases and, once it accumulates $ 5, it’ll invest the spare change for you.

That means if you spend $ 10.23 at the grocery store, 77 cents gets dropped into your Acorns account. Then, the app does the whole investing thing for you.

The app is $ 1 a month for balances under $ 1 million, and you’ll get a $ 5 bonus when you sign up.

‘Dumb’ Question No. 3: Does My Credit Score Really Matter?

Um, also, how do I check my credit score?

Some folks argue that credit scores are just three-digit numbers that hold no significance. And that might be true… if you’re living off the grid or never plan to purchase a car, rent or buy a home, or apply for a loan.

Seriously. Credit scores matter. They represent your financial health and allow you to build your future.

If it’s been… a while… since you’ve last checked your credit score, here’s a simple — and free — tool that’ll help: Credit Sesame.

Not only will you be able to peep your credit score, you’ll also tap into your free “credit report card,” which breaks down exactly what’s in your credit report and how it affects your score. The tool even offers tailored tips and tricks that’ll help you get your score up.

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

‘Dumb’ Question No. 4: Do I Need Life Insurance?

This isn’t a dumb question, because there are so many variables you’ll need to consider before purchasing life insurance.

Life insurance financially protects your loved ones in the event of your death, which, sorry to break it to you, is inevitable. However, certain people need life insurance more than others. (If you’re not sure, here are three types of people who need life insurance.)

If you think you (or, really, your family) could benefit from life insurance, buying it doesn’t have to be the uncomfortable experience you might expect. Some newcomers in the industry are updating the old model.

Ethos, for example, can get you term life insurance in less than 10 minutes — with no medical exam — for coverage up to $ 1 million. Ethos offers a digital application, and customer service is available if you have questions.

It partners with a major life insurance carrier to quickly offer policies as low as $ 6 a month. It’s helped thousands of folks access term life insurance, including independent contractors who use Uber, Postmates, TaskRabbit and other gig apps.

‘Dumb’ Question No. 5: Why Is My Money Disappearing?

If you’re wondering where your money goes after each paycheck, start tracking your expenses with the Empower app.

Empower helps you organize and track your financial goals. Simply link your accounts, and every time you log in, you’ll see a simple snapshot of where you stand on your monthly budget. Are you above or below the line? In one second you’ll know whether you’re on track or need to dial things back a bit.

Empower even has a cool “find free money” feature. It’ll do things like negotiate your cell phone bill, review your insurance coverage and cancel unwanted subscriptions.

Side note: If your money is truly disappearing, then you might have a little identity theft situation on your hands. You’ll want to dig into this with your bank or credit card company.

‘Dumb’ Question No. 6: Can I Invest Without Supporting Evil Companies?

If you’ve got a $ 50 bill burning a hole in your wallet, look into Swell Investing, an SEC-registered investment adviser committed to supporting sustainable companies.

Its Impact 400 portfolio features companies whose products and services align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It considers everything from gender equality to ending poverty to clean energy.

You’ll get a $ 50 bonus with the code PENNY after making your initial investment of at least $ 50.

Swell doesn’t have any trading fees, price tiers or expense ratios. It charges a 0.75% annual fee — that’s about the cost of one coffee ($ 3.75) per year if you invest $ 500.

Disclosure: We have a financial relationship with Swell Investing LLC and will be compensated if consumers apply for an account and/or fund an account with Swell through links in our content. However, the analysis and opinions expressed here are our own.

‘Dumb’ Question No. 7: Are Credit Cards Bad?

Short answer: If you use credit cards responsibly, they’re not bad.

Credit cards can be detrimental if you treat them like a never-ending stream of money. But if you spend within your means and pay them off each month, they can actually be beneficial. They help build your credit and some also grant you rewards — like cash back or travel points.

Here’s an option we like: It’s the Chase Freedom Unlimited card*. Its claim to fame? You’ll earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all your purchases. Plus, if you spend $ 500 in your first three months of opening the card (hi, groceries), you’ll pocket a $ 150 bonus.

Get signed up — and 0% intro APR for 15 months — here.

‘Dumb’ Question No. 8: How Does Interest Work?

There are a lot of acronyms in the banking world, so, to save you some time, here’s a rundown of one of the most beneficial: APY.

APY stands for annual percentage yield. It’s the interest you earn on a savings account.

For example, an iOS app called Varo Money combines traditional banking tools with modern technology to help its customers become financially healthy.

Here’s the best part: Pair your bank account with a Varo Savings Account where you’ll earn 1.75% annual percentage yield. That’s nearly 20 times — repeat, 20 times — the average savings account, based on a 0.06% average reported by CNN Money.

Because it’s compounded interest, it’ll get paid out daily, monthly or quarterly, depending on the account’s terms. Basically, the higher the APY and the more frequently it’s compounded, the better.

So yeah, you’re on the right track if you’re asking about APY.

‘Dumb’ Question No. 9: Where Can I Get Money If I Need it?

You’re in a pinch, and you need some money…

Maybe you’re looking to buy a new car, consolidate your debt, pay an unexpected medical bill or make some improvements around the house.

Um, so, where do you find that money?

This feels like a question that has one of those duh answers, but you’ve really got a lot of options.

You can take out a loan through your bank, credit union, peer-to-peer lending platform or a loan company. (We suggest avoiding 401(k) loans and payday loans.)

This money won’t be free; you’ll have to pay it back plus interest. You can easily shop around for the best terms and rates through an online marketplace, like Even Financial, which can help match you with the right personal loan to meet your needs.

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

‘Dumb’ Question No. 10: How Can I Make Money Online?

If you’re looking to make some money online, you’re not the only one. Google receives approximately 100,000 “how to make money online” searches a month.

Not to worry. There are plenty of ways to get paid while sitting on the couch — from full-time work-from-home jobs to side gigs.

Some ideas, based on your wants and needs, include:

  • If you just want to mindlessly make some money while watching TV, try signing up for a few top-rated survey sitesSwagbucks is definitely a reader favorite, probably because of the wide variety of ways to make money beyond taking surveys. Plus, you get a $ 5 bonus when you sign up and earn 2,500 SB within your first 60 days.
  • If you’re looking to flex your skills with a company, then search our work-from-home job board. You’ll find both part-time and full-time opportunities, though note these are usually a little less flexible
  • If you’re looking to set your own schedule, find an online opportunity that allows you to pick and choose when — and how much — you work. Consider signing up for a freelance platform like Fiverr, Mechanical Turk or Upwork.

So, yes, it’s possible to pad your bank account from the comfort of your home — just be watchful of the scammy stuff.

‘Dumb’ Question No. 11: Why Are Groceries So Expensive?

Admittedly, this is a question I recently asked while navigating the grocery store: “Why does it cost $ 3 for a gallon of milk?” Then, at the checkout counter, “How did I just spend $ 100 on groceries?”

I get that there are layers upon layers of factors that ultimately determine the price of groceries, but it seems like the weekly tab just keeps on increasing.

If you want to combat the price of groceries, use Ibotta. It sounds strange, but it’ll pay you cash for taking pictures of your grocery store receipts.

Here’s how it works: Before heading to the store, search for items on your shopping list within the Ibotta app. When you get home, snap a photo of your receipt and scan the items’ barcodes and get you cash back.

Ibotta is free to download. Plus, you’ll get a $ 10 sign-up bonus after uploading your first receipt.

Some cash-back opportunities we’ve seen include:

  • 25 cents back on strawberries.
  • $ 1 back on a box of tea.
  • $ 5 back on a case of Shiner Bock beer.

Notice a lot of those aren’t tied to a brand — just shop for the staples on your list and earn cash back!

‘Dumb’ Question No. 12: How Do I Write a Check?

It’s pretty rare these days to have to write a check, so it’s easy to forget how to fill that sucker in.

Just go ahead and bookmark this six-step check-writing guide, so you look like you know what you’re doing the next time the opportunity arises.

Always Raise Your Hand and Ask the Dumb Question

Do you finally believe your middle school teacher? There are no dumb questions! Especially when it comes to personal finance.

If you want to go back to school and get more answers to your “dumb” questions, you can do so for free. We’ve just launched The Penny Hoarder Academy, which will guide you through the ins and outs of personal finance — from building a budget to saving money on groceries to buying your first home.

Never be afraid to just ask.

*Annual Rewards amounts will change based on the amounts you enter. The monthly spending category names and definitions may vary among issuers, and categories may not align one-to-one.

The information for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card has been collected independently by The Penny Hoarder. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. The Penny Hoarder is a partner of Credible.

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She was always the one who raised her hand and started with, “Umm… this might be a dumb question, but…”

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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