WADA didn’t put money above clean sport on Russia, says chief

The World Anti-Doping Agency president Craig Reedie is offended by allegations that WADA put money above clean sport while reinstating Russia’s anti-doping agency (RUSADA), and said the move was only aimed at achieving Russian compliance.


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What the heck is dropshipping? And how you can make money by doing it?

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If you’re looking for a dependable side hustle to make some extra money, you should probably consider dropshipping. Confused already? It’s a lot simpler than it sounds. 

Basically, dropshipping is acting as a broker between a consumer and a third-party, usually the manufacturer or a wholesaler. Think of it as “on-demand selling,” in that you offer products for sale but don’t actually purchase them until you receive an order from a customer. That means you can open your own e-commerce store without paying a whole bunch of money upfront for inventory, and you can offer a wide variety of products because you’re not limited by an inventory budget. As long as the supplier has an item in stock, you can sell it. Read more…

More about Mashable Shopping, Shopping Stackcommerce, Shopping Onlinecourses, Dropshipping, and Business


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Four Reasons Traveling in October Can Save You Money and Enhance Your Trip


October is the quintessential month of autumn.

The seasons start to turn, and the scents of fall, from cinnamon brooms to pumpkin spice, welcome you.

Winter isn’t far off — nor are the dark and freezing mornings to come.

It’s the perfect in-between month, not only for weather, but for travel.

While everyone is preparing for the holidays, you could be having the time of your life for a fraction of the cost.

Why Travel in October

It seems like a strange month to travel with the kids back in school and the holidays just around the corner. Yet those are the exact reasons it’s one of the best months to travel.  

Shoulder Season

martin-dm/Getty Images

Most people know that off-season travel has the best deals, but many don’t consider the perks of traveling during shoulder seasons.

Shoulder season is the period between the peak season and the off-season.

It generally means lower prices and fewer crowds.

October comes after the peak summer season, on the heels of Labor Day and ahead of the holiday season, making it ripe for travel.  

Zag when everybody zigs,” said Mark Murphy, travelpulse.com founder.

“Go to places that are just out of their main season, when the crowds are gone, and you’ll have a better experience at a hard-to-beat price.

Deals, Deals, Deals

MStudioImages/Getty Images

Prices turn in the traveler’s favor in October, just like the color of leaves.

Skyscanner determined that September and October will be the cheapest time to fly in 2018.

Which totally makes sense because October follows the post-summer slump for airlines and cruises. Less demand for tickets and tours means cheaper offers to drum up business.

Iceland’s low-cost airline, WOW Airlines, offers $ 160 or less round-trip flights to select cities in Europe during October.

The same goes for gas prices, too.

Since 1993, gas prices for all petroleum types have averaged about $ 2.16 a gallon in October, making it the fifth cheapest month in which to travel by car, according to a Penny Hoarder analysis of U.S. Department of Energy data.

Murphy says the end of summer marks the end of peak demand for travel.

“This leads to aggressive pricing, value-added offers and even two-for-one deals the world over,” he said.

Weather

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There’s hardly a place on Earth where the weather is bad in October.

It’s spring in the Southern Hemisphere and autumn in the Northern. There’s no drastic temperature extreme, making it the perfect Goldilocks in-between.

Autumn brings a wave of colorful foliage down the East Coast along with cooler mornings and nights.

It’s too early to ski, but the first snowfall of the season could come early and bring fresh powder from Killington Peak, Vermont, to the Arapahoe Basin, Colorado.

Wanna watch the northern lights dance across the sky? October is one of the best months to witness them from any arctic viewing point including Norway, Iceland and Alaska.

Just don’t expect to see them on an Alaskan cruise — most of those close up shop come October.

Meanwhile, Caribbean cruises and resorts entice brave travelers with discounted rates since it’s the tail end of hurricane season.

Murphy said the threat of bad weather means better deals for you, like the recent volcano eruptions in Hawaii.

Bad news means a great deal… Usually nothing close to how they are actually portraying it, leading to a great deal for you,” he said.

School Is in Session

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Since October is sandwiched between Labor Day and the holidays, most families stay grounded during the month.

More kids in school means smaller crowds at main attractions.

For folks without kids, October is a prime month to travel if you’re looking for quieter experiences or you just want to see The Wizarding World of Harry Potter without thousands of middle schoolers around.

It’s also prime time for couples and solo travelers to explore the world without sharing a romantic or individual experience with herds of families on spring and summer vacation.

It’s much harder to travel in October if you have children, but if you do, lines at Disney are shorter and you might be the only family on the shoreline for miles.

Murphy suggests Iceland, Europe, the Caribbean and Mexico.

If you’re looking to stay stateside, big cities like New York, San Francisco and Las Vegas offer stellar deals, while national parks like the Grand Canyon and Shenandoah see fewer crowds but have the same great views.

The 10th month also is home to pumpkins galore, apple pickin’, wine tastin’, Halloween Horror Nights, the return of the monarch butterflies in Big Sur and the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

Seriously, why are you staying in again??

The Penny Hoarder data journalist Alex Mahadevan contributed to this post.

Stephanie Bolling is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. October is her favorite month.

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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11 of Our Favorite Money Apps — and Their Most Surprising Features


I do this thing where I find a restaurant I like and order the same exact thing over and over. And over.

“Want to try the special today?”

Not a chance, sir.

I’m a creature of habit, and sometimes it’s a good thing. I know I’ll like what I order. But I could also be missing out on something really great — like catch-of-the-day fish tacos.

This if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it mentality seeps into other parts of my life, too — like managing money.

Sure, I use Trim to negotiate my internet bill, Stash to invest and WinWin to save, but they offer a number of other useful features I’m not tapping into.

In the spirit of branching out, here are some unexpected features of our favorite money apps.

1. Negotiate Your Internet Bill — Then Pay off Your Debt

Dog helps his owner with finances
Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

What we’ve been using it for: Trim is a virtual assistant that helps its users save more than $ 1 million each month.

How? The online tool negotiates your internet and cell phone bills. It works with all major providers, including Comcast, Time Warner and Charter. Upload a PDF of your most recent bill, and Trim gets to work on your behalf.

What we’ve been missing out on: Trim also helps you save money with its debt-payoff calculator.

Simply enter your remaining balances, interest rates and minimum payments — no need to remember passwords or connect each debt-carrying account to the tool. As you play with monthly payment numbers, you’ll notice your debt-free date and total interest will change.

2. Keep Tabs on Your Money — Even Your Crypto

Bitcoin data
SlavkoSereda/Getty Images

What we’ve been using it for: Connect your financial accounts to the Empower app for a one-stop money-management shop. Check your balances and create a budget.

We especially like its “find free money” feature, which will help you save on cell phone bills, insurance premiums, credit card interest and more.

What we’ve been missing out on: There are dozens of money management apps on the market, but Empower stands out because it allows you to track your crypto exchanges, too.

Connect with Coinbase, Bittrex, Binance, Kraken and more, so you can manage your bitcoin investments from one app.

3. Dodge Bank Fees — and Get Paid up to 2 Days Early

Inside a bank
Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

What we’ve been using it for: Online-only banks are takin’ over. Varo Money is one example. Its main draw? No hidden fees.

And if you open a Varo Savings Account, you’ll snag 1.50% Annual Percentage Yield. That’s more than 20 times the average interest on savings accounts, based on a 0.06% average reported by CNN Money.

What we’ve been missing out on: When you set up direct deposit through Varo, you can get paid up to two days before your paycheck is typically posted. How? It simply posts your funds to your account as soon as your employer issues your pay.

4. Play Mindless Phone Games — and Start an Emergency Fund

Friends enjoying time together
Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

What we’ve been using it for: WinWin is an easy way to develop a savings habit by playing fun mini-games: pinball, breakout, whack-a-mole, you name it.

What we’ve been missing out on: You might not realize you can save a ton of money playing these mini-games — even win some cash!

Set up auto-save (start with as little as $ 5 a week) and build your emergency fund. The more you save, the better chances you have of winning some extra cash. Use the app for free for 60 days, then it costs $ 2 a month.

5. Save on Groceries — and Travel

Packing for a trip
Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

What we’ve been using it for: Ibotta is a cash-back app most well-known for saving you money on groceries.

What we’ve been missing out on: Ibotta has expanded a ton since its 2011 inception.

You can score cash back on just about anything, including travel. Book your flight and hotel through Booking for 7% cash back (at the time we wrote this). Next, book a rental car through Hertz and get 9% cash back. Or opt for an Uber for $ 1 off each ride.

6. Start Investing — Even in Cannabis

Cannabis in a jar
MmeEmil/Getty Images

What we’ve been using it for: Stash is a microinvesting app that lets you start investing with as little as $ 5 and for just a $ 1 monthly fee for balances under $ 5,000.

What we’ve been missing out on: Let’s be blunt: The marijuana industry is smokin’.

You don’t have to have tons of money to invest in the cannabis industry. Using Stash, you can invest in increments as little as $ 5.

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.

Bonus: Right now, The Penny Hoarder is teaming up with Stash to fund your first investment — so you’ll get a $ 5 bonus when you enter the code PENNYH

7. Earn Gift Cards by Watching TV — and Playing Trivia

Young woman relaxing while watching television
AndreaObzerova/Getty Images

What we’ve been using it for: Swagbucks is pretty well-known around here. It’s a free rewards community where you can earn gift cards for watching videos, taking surveys and redeeming coupons.

What we’ve been missing out on: Are you familiar with the mobile game show trend? Swagbucks has its own show called Swag IQ. Each day, Swag IQ hosts live trivia games.

The host asks 10 multiple-choice questions, which will progressively become more difficult. If you can answer all 10, you’ll split the day’s prize with the other winners — we’ve seen prizes around $ 1,000 a day.

8. Invest Your Spare Change — and Find Money

Close up of American currency
CatLane/Getty Images

What we’ve been using it for: Acorns is a microinvesting app that allows you to invest small amounts into your future. It’s perhaps most well known for its round-up feature, which rounds up your debit and credit card transactions to the nearest dollar and invests your spare change. Think of it like a digital piggy bank.

What we’ve been missing out on: Acorns has a “Found Money” feature.

What’s this mean? Brands you spend money with will invest in you. For example, when you book your next Airbnb through Acorns, Airbnb will invest 1.8% of your service fee. That’s basically cash back into your investments.

Other partnered brands include Apple, Blue Apron, Expedia, Jet, Lyft and Walmart.

9. Snag Your Free Credit Score — and Crush Your Financial Goals

Woman looking at her credit score on credit sesame
Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

What we’ve been using it for: Credit Sesame is a free credit-monitoring site. Sign up to receive a monthly TransUnion score alongside a credit report card, which is basically a more digestible credit report.

What we’ve been missing out on: Once on the Credit Sesame site, hover your mouse over “My Finances” and select “My Financial Goals.”

Here, you can set up specific goals, such as purchasing a home or taking out a personal loan. Credit Sesame will offer tailored advice to help you achieve this goal.

10. Discover Ways to Save Money — and Start a Christmas Fund Early

Christmas cash
CatLane/Getty Images

What we’ve been using it for: Charlie is your BFF (best financial friend) who lives in your Facebook Messenger app or through your SMS text messages (your choice, though Charlie is more fun and reliable on Messenger).

Sign up for Charlie and connect your bank account, and he’ll help you find ways to save money on your monthly bills, avoid surprise bank fees and spend less.

What we’ve been missing out on: Have a savings goal? Want to save $ 500 by Christmas, for example? Charlie’s smart. Just type, “Help me save money!” and Charlie will prompt you to type in a savings goal and deadline. He’ll remind you when to save money and will even suggest how much you can afford to save.

11. Conquer Your Fears — Then Create a Simple Budget

Creating a budget
Aileen Perilla/The Penny Hoarder

What we’ve been using it for: It’s Excel, and it’s as intimidating as anything. You might have explored it in a technology class in middle school. Then swore it off for the rest of your life.

What we’ve been missing out on: Excel can actually help you create a budget — and it’s not all that intimidating. The first step is to accept the tool into your life. Then, follow our guide to budgeting in Excel. We promise — you can do it!

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer. She’s loves uncovering fun features on her favorite money-management apps.

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 head of the world’s biggest money manager says US stands to lose big long term in the trade war

The U.S. is winning the trade war with China in the short term but stands to lose significantly over the long term, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink said Thursday.
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Take my Trump Tower apartment instead of my money, Manafort tells Mueller

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How to Buy the Best Steak for Your Money – The Steak Guide, Part II

In the first part of our Steak Guide, we discussed what a steak is (and isn’t), the related terminology, and what cuts of beef we recommend that you buy. The question remains, then: how should you go about buying your steak? This second part in the series answers that question, letting you know where and how to buy steak in order to get the highest quality product for your money.

Getting Started with Buying Your Steak

The first step to buying a great steak is to look at the components we discussed in Part I of this guide, in order to determine your preferred cut–whether that be a ribeye, a tenderloin, a New York Strip, a sirloin, or a t-bone or porterhouse.

Assortment of Steak Cuts at the butcher

Assortment of Steak Cuts at the butcher

Second, you look at the flavor profile. Is it grass-fed is it grain-fed or maybe grain fed with grass finish? Of course the size and the thickness of the steak are also very important. Most grocery-store steaks are usually cut very thin, while most chefs prefer a 1- to 2-inch thickness. At the end of the day, you should choose something that you’re comfortable cooking, because both can be over- and under-cooked. In our experience, we recommend slightly thicker cut steaks, as they preserve a bit of that nice pink area inside when prepared medium-rare.

Measure the Marbling – The USDA Grading Scale

A huge factor to consider when buying a steak is the amount of marbling, which is basically the amount of intramuscular fat. The marbling of steak can vary considerably depending on the cut you choose as well as the quality level of beef that you get. In the United States, the USDA has a grading system for beef that’s pretty universal; there are three main categories: USDA Select, Choice, and Prime. These three grading categories are simply based on the amount of marbling present in the beef. USDA Select is considered to be the lowest grade of steak you can get, but it’s therefore also the leanest one.

A handy infographic breaking down the USDA grading system.

Approximately 40% of all steaks are categorized as USDA Select. The next class up is USDA Choice, which will already have a higher degree of fine marbling visible; large chunks of fat are undesirable, because they won’t melt when you grill or sear a steak. Choice is the only category that is further sub-categorized into three: these sub-categorizations are small marbling, moderate marbling, and modest marbling. Small marbling represents approximately 37% of all steaks, modest marbling approximately 15%, and moderate marbling approximately 5%. Reigning supreme at the top of the USDA scale is the Prime steak. It’s the most flavorful choice, having the largest amount of marbling. Only about 3% of all steaks are graded as USDA Prime.

New York Strip aka Kansas City Strip Steak cuts with different degree of marbling - From Right to Left - Akaushi, Prime, Select, Grass Fed

New York Strip aka Kansas City Strip Steak cuts with different degree of marbling – From Right to Left – Akaushi, Prime, Select, Grass Fed

What About Grass-fed Beef?

Though it has become a desirable term (and something of a “buzz-word”) among consumers these days, we feel it’s important to note that “grass-fed” is not a protected or regulated term to any degree; thus, it can mean anything from a cow that ate just a tiny bit of grass to one that ate nothing but grass. As such, it really pays to understand where your grass-fed beef is coming from, and what the breeders are actually doing and feeding to their cattle. In general, grass-fed beef is leaner and has less intramuscular fat, simply because grass is not as energy-dense as grain. Also, grazing cows walk more than their grain-fed counterparts.

Grain Fed vs. Grass Fed

Grain Fed vs. Grass Fed

In recent years, grass-fed beef has become increasingly popular, touted by many as the healthy choice in steaks due to its higher amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids. While this claim is true when comparing the amount of Omega-3 in grass-fed steak to conventional grain-fed cuts, the overall amount still pales in comparison to other foods. For example, a 3.5-ounce piece of sirloin steak that is grass-fed has about 80 milligrams of Omega-3; at the same time, a traditional or conventional grain-fed piece of beef of the same size and cut has about half that, at 40 milligrams. Comparing both of these cuts to a 3.5-ounce piece of salmon, we find that the salmon contains 1000 to 2000 milligrams of Omega-3, meaning you’ll get about 12 to 25 times as much in the same portion.

Cattle on a ranch near Elko, Nevada, USA.

Cattle on a ranch near Elko, Nevada, USA.

What does this mean in practice? While it’s true that the consumer will get more Omega-3 fatty acids with grass-fed beef, we suggest that you simply enjoy the occasional piece of salmon every once in a while, and stick with traditional grain-fed beef; thus, you’ll continue to enjoy the more complex flavors of grain-fed beef when indulging in a steak, while still maintaining a diet that is richer in Omega-3 overall. That being said: as we discussed previously, grass-fed cattle are more often raised under more humane conditions; fewer antibiotics are used, and the cattle are allowed to roam and graze rather than being confined to tight-fitting pens, with the added benefit that such conditions lead to less environmental pollution. All this being said, grass-fed steaks do have a distinct flavor that some people enjoy or even prefer. At the end of the day, it’s a personal choice which you must make for yourself, and there’s no right or wrong answer.

What About Angus Steaks?

Certified Angus is a term that you’ll often see in restaurants or grocery stores, but stated simply, it refers to a specific cattle breed, not a quality grading. Angus or Aberdeen Angus is a breed of Scottish cattle that is smaller than the typical American cattle. As it is a breed and not a grading, Angus steaks can be graded under the USDA system discussed above, just as is the case with non-Angus beef. The breed has been around in the US for quite a while; the American Angus Association was founded in Chicago in 1883, though interestingly, it took them until 1978 to come up with the Certified Angus beef standard. The purpose behind this certification was simply to promote the idea of a higher-quality beef. In order to meet the Certified Angus standard, the cow in question must be 51% black in color and exhibit Angus influence, which includes simmental cattle and cross-breeds. Other necessary criteria include higher-than-average marbling, a carcass size of under 1000 pounds, and a certain hump size.

Two cuts of Angus beef (bearing the Certified Angus logo) alongside standard USDA-graded cuts.

With that being said, it’s worth keeping in mind that even McDonald’s serves Certified Angus beef. In our opinion, most people would not be able to discern a tenderloin of Certified Angus beef from a tenderloin that is not Certified Angus in a blind test, whereas a great many people would immediately be able to tell the difference between (for example) a Select-grade tenderloin and a Prime tenderloin. As with the differences between grass-fed and grain-fed beef, the difference in flavor (however marginal it may be) is yours to seek out if you prefer it.

What About Japanese Beef?

Given that these terms have also risen to greater popularity in recent years, let’s aim to answer the question of what characteristics are displayed by Kobe and Wagyu beef, and whether or not these Japanese cuts are worth your money. Stated simply, Kobe is a Japanese black cattle breed; more specifically, one of the Tajima substrain. It is fed on grain fodder, with a feeding period which is considerably longer than in the US (typically 26 to 32 months, as opposed to just 18). Kobe beef also has a much higher degree of intramuscular fat, the melting point of which is also much lower by comparison–meaning that when you eat it, it melts in your mouth like butter.

Steak Marbling Guide

A marbling guide to Japanese steaks.

There are only about 3000 cattle that qualify annually as authentic Kobe beef, and the best of them are never exported from Japan. Kobe grades go from a 1 at the low end to a 5 at the highest end. In the US, there are only a handful of restaurants that even offer a 5 grade Kobe beef. With this degree of exclusivity in mind, know that anything outside of these 3000 annually imported cattle are not the real deal, but rather a crossbreed between the Tajima strain and Angus cattle or other cattle in the US. In other words: whenever you are at the grocery store in the US and you see something advertised as Kobe beef, know that it’s simply not the real thing. If you are at a restaurant which touts that it does happen to serve genuine Kobe beef, it will cost you anywhere from $ 40 to $ 60 per ounce to enjoy such a steak–almost $ 2 per gram. While there are, in fact, some American Kobe beef breeders who have not crossbred their cattle, and they have them DNA tested to have them certified by the American Wagyu Association, we would generally urge you not to overpay for this American-style Kobe beef (especially when in a restaurant), because you can never see the raw product.

Authentic Japanese Kobe beef at the Wynn

Authentic Japanese Kobe beef at the Wynn

In our experience, Kobe beef is so fatty that you really don’t need more than two to three ounces per serving; personally, I once had it when I was in Japan, and it’s an entirely different experience from an American steak. I wouldn’t even call it the same thing–it’s really more like flavorful butter rather than the steak experience that you’re used to. So, should you buy the American Wagyu or Kobe beef that is advertised all over the place? Just keep in mind that it’s a crossbreed, and while it usually results in a higher amount of fat, it’s not regulated, so you really don’t know what you’re getting unless you can trust the source.

Akaushi Beef

Another Japanese beef variety that has become more popular recently in the US is so-called Akaushi beef. It’s actually a form of Japanese brown cattle, as opposed to black. In 1994, a Texas Ranger imported 11 purebred Akaushi cattle to the US, taking care to keep them separate from any American cattle to prevent crossbreeding. Today, that farm has over 5,000 head of Akaushi cattle. Typically, Akaushi steaks have even more marbling than USDA Prime steaks, and as such, are often priced higher (though you may occasionally be able to find a sale). Personally, I like the taste of it, and I think it’s a good alternative. So, the next time you come across a cut of Akaushi beef, maybe give it a try and see if you like it.

Certified Kobe Plaque at the Wynn in Las Vegas

Certified Kobe Plaque at the Wynn in Las Vegas

Where to Buy Your Steaks

Of course, once you know what kind of beef you like, you have to decide where you intend to buy it.

Grocery Store

Typically, the lowest-quality steak is always precut at the grocery store and shrink-wrapped. You have to hope that they didn’t falsify the packaging date, but keep in mind that–as we discussed in Part I–aging beef is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as it’s not spoiled. Alternatively, you can have your piece of meat cut at the grocery store’s meat counter, which has the considerable advantage that you can get exactly the piece of meat you want, in the exact thickness.

A typical grocery store meat counter.

Butcher Shop & Farmer’s Market

Another great source for your steaks is the local butcher shop. While there are chains of butchers, visiting a chain makes it harder to know where things are coming from. Conversely, if you go to an independently owned butcher, they can usually tell you exactly where their cattle is coming from, what breed it is, and why they chose it. Best of all, you can even have your local butcher dry-age certain beef cuts to your exact specifications, ensuring the flavor profile that you most enjoy. Additionally, you can also buy meat from a local farmer’s market; the benefits of this option are that you’ll be able to get to know the farmer well with repeated shopping (as well as learn what his cattle-raising and preparatory techniques are), and be secure in the knowledge that all the money you’re paying goes to him, and not to some marketing or logistics scheme.

Beautiful steak cuts at Lowry Hill Meats - a local butcher shop in Minneapolis

Beautiful steak cuts at Lowry Hill Meats – a local butcher shop in Minneapolis

Online Retailers

When it comes to specialty steaks–especially American-style Wagyu or other very high-end and expensive cuts–you can also buy them online. These cuts will likely come to you in Styrofoam boxes, packed in dry ice to prevent spoiling. You can buy online with confidence; that being said, it’s our experience that the prices you’ll pay for that kind of service are quite high for the quality that you’ll receive.

Snake River Farms American Kobe Wagyu Brisket

American Kobe Wagyu Brisket from online retailer Snake River Farms.

At the end of the day, what kind of steak you buy is entirely up to you. If you go to the grocery store, you’ll likely get the lowest overall price, whereas if you go to your local farmer or butcher, you will probably learn more about where your meat is coming from and what you’re eating. Also, if you like the taste of dry-aged beef, you’ll most often have to go to a butcher shop, or to someone else who really knows how to handle it; it’s not something you can do in your fridge at home.

Additional Tips

Finally, here are a few other tips we recommend when selecting your steaks:

  • How do you know whether a steak is aged so it’s really tender? I always find that if I use my finger and I push into the meat and the meat stays down it is tender, and will remain so once it’s cooked or grilled. Typically, grocery-store steaks are not aged as long, and will spring back immediately when subjected to this “push test.”
  • It’s worth noting that cattle that is stressed out before it’s slaughtered will have meat that tastes differently and feels tougher than meat from cattle that was relaxed at the time of slaughter–ergo, asking local sellers of meat about their techniques is often a desirable course of action.
  • If you and your family are frequent meat eaters, consider buying in larger quantities, such as a half or quarter of a cow. As beef can be frozen and defrosted for individual meals (and in fact, many chefs argue that beef that has been frozen cooks up better than fresher beef from the refrigerator), buying in bulk may be a cost-effective solution for the more carnivorous consumer.
Snake River Farms Wagyu Steak Lover Flight

If your family enjoys read meat frequently, consider buying in bulk.

Conclusion

With the information we’ve presented here, you should now be able to enter your local butcher shop or grocery store as a confident and well-informed customer, and come home with your desired cut(s) of beef. This is just the middle part of the process to enjoying  a great steak, however; after procuring your cuts, you’ve still got to know how to cook them properly. To learn more about this final (and perhaps most important) part of the experience, consult the final part of this Steak Guide; Part III deals with cooking and serving techniques. Additionally, you can go back to reference Part I, which covers basic terminology and our top five preferred cuts. Bon Appétit!

cast iron skillet steak

A preview of what’s to come in Part III – stay tuned!

This steak guide was written by Preston Schlueter, incorporating previous writings by Sven Raphael Schneider.


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The whole story behind Trump’s alleged ‘print money’ comment

President Trump is accused of saying a lot of stupid things by Bob Woodward in the journalist’s new book, “Fear: Trump in the White House.” One dumb thing was Trump’s alleged comment to Gary Cohn, his chief economic adviser, about how to lower the budget deficit. “Just run the presses — print money,” Trump told…
Business | New York Post

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Roger Federer Was Just Dethroned as the Top Prize Money Earner in Tennis

Roger Federer got hit with a one-two punch of defeat and disappointment this week at the U.S. Open.

First, the Swiss tennis icon lost the tournament on Tuesday, getting knocked out in the fourth round by Australian John Millman. Then, on Sunday, Serbian Novak Djokovic won the championship, earning $ 3.8 million and officially unseating Federer as the tennis player with the most career prize money.

The pair have been locked in a back-and-forth battle for the title of top prize earner for years, with Djokovic passing Federer in 2016 before falling behind in 2017. As of Sunday night, Djokovic has been awarded $ 119,110,890 in prizes, according to the Association of Tennis Professionals. Federer, 37, is now at $ 117,773,812.

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Don’t feel too bad for Roger, though — he was recently named the highest-paid tennis player in the world by Forbes for the 13th year in a row. But of the $ 54.3 million he brought in last year, only about $ 9 million came from his time on the court.

Federer’s several big-shot sponsors bankrolled the rest. According to his website, the player has endorsement deals with watch brand Rolex, pasta maker Barilla and auto company Mercedes Benz, among others.

His latest partnership is with Uniqlo. The Japanese clothing store announced earlier this summer that it was teaming up with the player after his decades-old contract with Nike ended. Federer’s new agreement with Uniqlo is worth $ 300 million, as the New York Times reported, meaning he’ll pocket about $ 74 million annually from all of his various endorsements.

But Djokovic has some high-profile backers of his own. Forbes reported he brought in $ 22 million last year from endorsement deals with companies like Lacoste, Asics, Seiko and Head, the last of which makes his equipment.

When Federer spends his cash, it’s often on real estate. Over the past few years, he’s donated $ 13.5 million through his foundation to open more than 80 preschools in Malawi. He recently bought and then sold a roughly $ 8.5 million glass mansion in Wollerau, Switzerland, and he has an apartment in Dubai.

Djokovic also has a handful of homes around the world. In 2017, the 31-year-old bought places in New York City and Miami, shelling out more than $ 11 million for two condos in Manhattan and as much as $ 8.9 million for one unit in Florida, according to Variety.

While Djokovic has recently encouraged his tennis peers to fight for more prize money, Federer’s agent has previously said that the player prioritizes games over paychecks.

“I can’t speak for Roger, but I know he would not make a decision for his schedule that was driven by money,” Tony Godsick told the Times last year. “He would make it first and foremost on whether it makes sense in the near and long term as it relates to the physical situation. Not, ‘Oh, there’s a bonus there.’ I’m not sure those years ever happened with Roger.”

Nevertheless, Federer’s net worth is estimated at about $ 450 million. Djokovic’s is about $ 200 million.

Sports – TIME

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3 Ways to Evacuate Ahead of a Hurricane If You Don’t Have a Lot of Money


As a Florida native who yawned while Hurricane Matthew crawled up the eastern coastline of Florida two years ago, I never thought I’d find myself caught up in the usual hysteria.

After all, I’d dealt with major storms before as a local reporter: I’d trudged through knee-deep waters after Tropical Storm Debby pounded Siesta Key in 2012 and photographed college students kayaking the streets of Longboat Key during Tropical Storm Colin four years later.

But Hurricane Harvey, and the devastation it brought to Houston, changed all that.

So there I was in September of last year, waiting three hours in line in south St. Petersburg, Florida, to fill my own sandbags. I watched as news poured in about a run on water, gas and batteries as Hurricane Irma bore down on the state.

Luckily, I had already put together most of my disaster-preparedness kit, and on a budget at that.

But next came the big question: Should I stay or should I go?

Ask Yourself: Do You Actually Need to Evacuate?

“Run from the water. Hide from the wind.”

That’s the refrain Sarasota County Emergency Management Chief Ed McCrane repeats every time a tropical cyclone threatens the vulnerable Gulf Coast county.

If you live in a home in a newer subdivision, or at least one that’s been built under current construction guidelines, and have hurricane shutters, you shouldn’t worry about the high winds. The storm surge and flooding will be the biggest threat to your home, McCrane said.

If you’re in a flood zone, you should be prepared to evacuate as a hurricane approaches. Check your county’s emergency management website to determine if you fall in an evacuation zone.

You should also plan to flee the storm if you live in a mobile home park or manufactured home.

For some, it’s just a matter of gassing up the SUV and heading to a hotel in another state if they want to evacuate. But what if you don’t have the luxury?

It may be slim pickings, but there are three resources for people who want to evacuate ahead of a hurricane.

1. Hurricane Shelters Could Be Your Best Bet

Hurricane shelters are there for a reason.

They are usually schools built under strict new construction guidelines that make them the safest place for your family and pets. Yes, your county should have a pet-friendly shelter available, McCrane said.

But what should you actually schlep with you over to the local shelter?

Bring everything you would need for your emergency kit at home, plus a few things to make yourself comfortable: pillows, blankets or air mattresses; folding or lawn chairs; extra clothing, shoes and glasses; toothpaste, deodorant and other hygiene supplies; important papers, identification and family keepsakes; extra medication; and toys or games to keep the kids — and yourselves — sane.

And if you have any furry family members, don’t forget your pet emergency kit.

Also, your insurance policy will be your golden ticket after the storm, so don’t forget that either.

Keep an eye on your local media stations to see when shelters open — don’t assume.

2. Reconnect With Friends and Relatives

Who says a natural disaster can’t be a good time to catch up with old friends?

Forget about paying inflated hotel room costs — let alone finding availability — and reach out to friends and family to see if they have an extra room or couch on which to crash.

“All you have to do is go tens of miles, not hundreds of miles,” McCrane said.

If you have to travel further than a few miles, bring plenty of cash in case ATMs are down and a filled gas can, if possible. Make sure to follow specific instructions like these on how to safely transport it. You’ll want to strap it to the top of your vehicle or secure it in the bed of a truck.

That way you’ll have an emergency stash if gas stations along the highway begin running out, and you can take advantage of current gas prices.

Bring everything mentioned above that you would take to a shelter, and make sure to let as many family members as you can know where you’re headed.

3. Look for an Airbnb

In 2012, Airbnb launched Open Homes, a disaster relief program that encourages Airbnb hosts to provide free temporary shelter for those affected by natural disasters.

Airbnb currently has open homes available for those affected by Tropical Storm Gordon.

The company has not yet announced open homes available for Hurricane Florence — but the storm is expected to make landfall later this week, so be sure you have those emergency kits ready (with lots of water).

But the best advice we have as you prepare your supplies and decide whether to evacuate is not to panic.

As we reach the peak of this year’s hurricane season, we’re reminded of the guidance offered by St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman last year as Hurricane Irma approached:

“I know we’re all on edge, but another important reminder as we prepare for Hurricane Irma — let’s be nice to each other. It costs nothing.”

Alex Mahadevan is a data journalist at The Penny Hoarder. He covered hurricanes and tropical storms for five years in Sarasota, Florida.

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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Couple accused of blowing money raised for homeless vet ordered to appear in court

A judge Wednesday ordered a New Jersey couple who raised more than $ 400,000 in donations for a homeless veteran to appear in court to explain what happened to the money.
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The World Surf League Announces Equal Prize Money For Both Male and Female Competitors

WSL PRESS RELEASE

Lemoore, Calif. – Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018 – The World Surf League (WSL) today announced that it will award equal prize money to male and female athletes for every WSL-controlled event in the 2019 season and beyond, becoming the first and only US based global sports league, and among the first internationally, to achieve prize money equality. The WSL is proud of its commitment to gender equality, and proud to join other organizations beyond the world of sport reaching this important milestone.
WSL CEO Sophie Goldschmidt said, “This is a huge step forward in our long-planned strategy to elevate women’s surfing and we are thrilled to make this commitment as we reveal our new 2019 schedule. This is the latest in a series of actions the League has undertaken to showcase our female athletes, from competing on the same quality waves as the men, to better locations, and increased investment and support.”

Goldschmidt continued, “This change is simply the right thing to do for the WSL and we would like to thank the many advocates who have worked for decades to help advance women’s surfing. We want to be at the forefront of pushing for equality in all walks of life, starting on the waves, and we feel very lucky to have women on our tour who are highly talented, iconic role models, and more than deserve this recognition as they stand alongside our extraordinary male athletes.”

Stephanie Gilmore, six-time World Champion, said, “This is incredible, and I am thrilled. The prize money is fantastic, but the message means even more. From the moment current ownership became involved, the situation for the women surfers has been transformed for the better in every way. We have been so appreciative, but this takes it to another level. I hope this serves as a model for other sports, global organizations and society as a whole. My fellow women athletes and I are honored by the confidence in us, and inspired to reward this decision with ever higher levels of surfing.”

Kelly Slater, holder of 11 World Championships and 55 Championship tour event victories, said, “The women on the tour deserve this change.  I’m so proud that surfing is choosing to lead sports in equality and fairness. The female WSL athletes are equally committed to their craft as the male athletes and should be paid the same.  Surfing has always been a pioneering sport, and this serves as an example of that.”

Kieren Perrow, WSL Commissioner said, “Today is a huge moment for the sport of surfing. With our 2019 calendar (link below), new season and dates, we are proud to confirm the new prize money equality will be in effect.  This covers all WSL-controlled events: the Championship Tour, the Longboard Tour, the World Junior Championships and includes the Big Wave Tour starting on October 1st, 2018 to March 2019. We will be working with our partners at competitions where we don’t control prize money, such as certain Qualifying Series events, to achieve equality as soon as possible.”

The WSL continues to be one of the fastest-growing sports leagues globally, continually expanding its reach and fan base. WSL content and live coverage is now digitally available in every market and over 100 linear broadcasters now cover its events, including this week’s groundbreaking competition at the human-made wave at Surf Ranch. Surfing has also been added to the roster for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, introducing the sport to new audiences.

In further support of its commitment to women’s surfing, today the WSL also announces three initiatives which will launch in 2019:

  • A global marketing campaign to highlight the women’s tour as well as increase event viewership and fan engagement.
  • An local community engagement program for girls around the world, featuring instructional clinics with WSL athletes at each women’s Championship Tour stop to inspire the next generation to embrace surfing.
  • A monthly content series about the pioneering women of surfing, celebrating them across WSL channels, starting next week with seven-time World Champion Layne Beachley.
_____________________________________________________________________________
WSL 2019 CT Calendar: www.worldsurfleague.com/press-room Appendix
The World Surf League has continued to feature the world’s best surfers on the world’s best waves, creating inclusive, exciting, high-quality events enjoyed by millions of fans around the world. A key focus in recent years has been to increase the investment in women’s surfing:

  • Combined men’s and women’s Championship Tour events have increased from four to nine.
  • Women’s Championship Tour prize money has risen by 153% per event.
  • 64 global women’s events scheduled for 2019 – up from 14 just seven years ago.
  • The addition of two historic women’s Big Wave Tour events in Pe’ahi and Mavericks.
  • Appointment of the WSL’s first female CEO in 2017.
  • Development of the co-ed, region vs. region Founders’ Cup, with multiple teams lead by female captains.
*WSL investment timeline in women’s surfing to date:
  • 2013: Eight Women’s Championship Tour events. The WSL now invests in 10.
  • Includes world-class venues Jeffreys Bay, Fiji (now Bali), Trestles (now Surf Ranch) and Maui.
  • Since 2013: Prize money per event for the women on the CT has increased by 153%.
  • 2014: The WSL institutes pay parity for the men’s and women’s Championship Tour (CT) – all surfers, men and women, earn the same average prize money per surfer.
  • 2016: Women compete in the Big Wave Tour at Pe’ahi for the very first time.
  • 2017: The WSL appoints its first female CEO, Sophie Goldschmidt.
  • 2018: The WSL execute world-first co-ed, region vs. region Founders’ Cup.
  • 2018: Two Big Wave Tour (BWT) events scheduled for women: Pe’ahi and Mavericks.
  • 2019: Full prize money equality covering the Championship Tour, the Longboard Tour, the World Junior Championships and the Big Wave Tour starting on October 1st, 2018 (to March 2019).
  • Future: Working with event partners, the institution of equal prize money across all non-WSL-controlled Qualifying Series (QS) and Pro Junior events).

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Unconventional ways to save money while traveling

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When you’re at home, you most likely know how to save money by shopping at the cheapest stores and which attractions are free.  So there’s no reason not to use this knowledge on holiday too.  The internet can be very useful in finding out where the best places to go are for saving money. Upon arriving you can also befriend locals and ask them for tips. This is not only a great way to save money, but it also gives you a more comprehensive understanding of the culture in the city you’re visiting. The smaller less-known restaurants and attractions that are off-the-beat-and-track are often the best both for your experience and wallet.

Travel Points

Most of your travel budget goes towards accommodation and transportation, so if you want to save money, you’ll have to find ways to get cheaper hotels and flights. And that’s where travel hacking comes in.  Hotel points and air miles are the way to go, as they can get you either free or discounted prices. For all the money you’ve already spent, you might as well get something back for it.It’s a simple and smart way to save money and allows you to travel like royalty without having to search for the cheapest flights and hotels.

Find cheap transportation

While traveling abroad, there are many ways to save money on transport. However, it all depends on what you’ve got in mind for your trip.  Perhaps booking a train ticket ahead of time is your best bet, or maybe getting a monthly rail pass will save you the most money. You have to do your research and figure out what makes the most sense.  Mainly in Europe, first-class train tickets are much more expensive than the regular cabin and are not all that different or more comfortable. Traveling by bus if you are not rushing will save you even more money. And if you are traveling with a group, sometimes renting a car and splitting the costs is the most efficient way to go, which also has an added element of comfort and freedom.

Choose your destination wisely

If you’re tight on money then you will need to consider your next travel destination very wisely.  Just because you’ve been wanting to go to a specific place, it doesn’t mean that other cheaper options are not worth seeing too. Do your research and find out what will offer you the best deal as well as an unforgettable experience.  Often the average popular tourist spots are very commercial and crowded anyway.

Work while traveling

Working while traveling is a great way to both save money and make money while you’re abroad. It makes the most sense for someone who is traveling for a long period of time and has more time to spend abroad. If you are traveling for just a week, this is not an ideal situation. But many solo travelers go away for months at a time, and if this is you, then working at a hotel or hostel for example can provide you with a free place to stay as well as extra cash to enjoy the your holiday during your time off, especially since this type of work is in shifts. Working at a restaurant as well will give you some free meals. And if you have a specific niche, such as singing then try performing at a bar. If you’re talented at yoga, offer some classes.

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The post Unconventional ways to save money while traveling appeared first on Worldation.

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10 Tips to Save Money on Subscription Services

Save Money on Subscription ServicesWe recently rounded up several good ways to cut the cord and say goodbye to your cable company forever, and today we thought we’d take a deeper dive by sharing 10 tips to save money on subscription services of all sorts — both the ones you already have and the ones you might be considering cutting.ways to save money on subscription services Readers, we’d love to hear from you — how often do you reassess subscription services? What are your best tips for ways to save money on subscription services? 

First, take stock of the current situation. Take a moment to write down all your current subscriptions, from your gym to Hulu to Hello Fresh — including the ones (like, say, Netflix) that you know you won’t be canceling, and the ones you’ve been meaning to get rid of and keep forgetting about. Check your last month or so of credit card transactions to catch any that you might be forgetting. (Don’t forget to check your Paypal account, and scrutinize charges from regular credit card line items like Amazon and iTunes to make sure you’re not unwittingly subscribing to services.)  Are there yearly subscriptions or paid memberships you’re forgetting about? What is your monthly total for the subscriptions you’ve signed up for, and are there any you’re not even using, or barely using?

If you find yourself unpleasantly surprised (or even shocked) by your list, you can tackle the problem by using these 10 tips to save money on subscription services, now and in the future:

1. If you sign up for free trials for any services, don’t forget why they want your credit card number. As soon as you start a free trial, always immediately mark your calendar with the last possible day to cancel and set up a reminder to alert you a few days ahead of time. That way, you’ll avoid an “Oops, that was a 7-day trial and not a 30-day trial?” situation. After I recently signed up for a free 30-day trial for Showtime through Amazon’s Prime Video Channels, I somehow didn’t cancel after the first month as planned, then ended up paying for one or two months’ worth [affiliate link].

2. Find out if there’s a family plan. Subscription services don’t always go out of their way to publicize the opportunities to share content and benefits with one or more people in your household. Amazon Household allows you to share certain Prime benefits with someone else, for example, and with Family Library, you can also share ebooks, audiobooks, apps, and games [affiliate links]. (Either or both of you can choose not to share your content if you prefer.) Using music streaming services for another example, Spotify Family costs $ 14.99/month and gives you Premium accounts for you and up to five people in your home (don’t worry, you can keep all your playlists), and for the same price, you can sign up for a family plan with Apple Music or Google Music, as well as share access to apps and music with Apple Family Sharing.

3. Look for cheaper and/or better options first — or even free ones. Some services you may not know about are CBS All Access, Mubi, Tubi TVPlutoTVScribd, the brand-new Walmart eBooks, and Stitcher Premium. Lifehacker has a list of both free and affordable streaming services (all 100% legal). If you’ve never heard of a particular subscription, you may want to google for reviews before committing. Don’t forget about your local library, either — see below!

4. Don’t forget about the library! So many people seem to forget how much money you can save by using the library. (And libraries are just great places anyway!) I borrow books regularly, and we borrow movies on Blu-ray when we can’t find them on streaming. (The DVD bonus features are a … bonus.) I have to say that borrowing ebooks has always seemed more complicated than it should be, however (YMMV). After being turned off by the seemingly complicated process before, I finally tried it recently. After waiting a week or two for my turn (which is another aspect that bugs me — having to wait to borrow non-physical books), I realized I accidentally borrowed … the audiobook version. Sigh. (Kat’s ed. note: I love using the library for Kindle books, movies, audio books and more!)

5. Try to find out about any discounts that come with membership. Besides searching for any discount codes, find out if the professional organizations and other groups you belong to offer reduced rates on subscriptions/memberships, either career-related or not. For example, because I’m a member of the Society of Professional Journalists, I can get discounts on things like LifeLock Identity Protection (umm, remember this, though?), a subscription to AP Stylebook Online, LexisNexis access, and more. Check your alumni association’s membership benefits, too — and even AAA. (Psst: here’s our last discussion on how to find and join great professional organizations!)

6. If you have cable, check out all the potential substitutesI’ve been happily cable-free for a decade, and Kat recently ditched her cable company, too. In our recent post on cutting the cord, we shared many good options. Still, the world of streaming isn’t a panacea; as more companies launch their own services (like Disney’s upcoming offering, rumored to be called “Disney Play”) and remove their content from other streaming services, the “a la carte” cable alternative that we’ve been demanding for years might turn into a “Be careful for what you wish for” situation. If you sign up for enough streaming services, you may find yourself paying even more than you were before.

7. Remind yourself that you don’t need to have every subscription at once. Some people rotate streaming subscriptions, for example; they’ll have Netflix for a while, then Hulu, etc. (Did you know Hulu lets you put your subscription on hold?)

8. If you have Amazon Prime, get familiar with all its benefits, not just the well-known ones. If you have Spotify, for example, check out Amazon Music, which lets you stream two million songs. (The unlimited plan, which for Prime members is discounted to $ 7.99/month or $ 79/year, has “tens of millions” of songs.) If you’re paying $ 9.99/month for Kindle Unlimited, which includes one million books, plus magazines, look at Prime Reading, which lets you download up to 10 titles at a time from 1,000+ books and magazines. I recently signed up for online access to The Washington Post through Amazon Prime for $ 3.99/month (starting with a six-month free trial) — vs. the newspaper’s own rate, which is $ 10 every 4 weeks. Audible Channels, which are free for Prime members (normally $ 60/year), offer commercial-free podcasts and audiobooks, while Prime Photos gives you unlimited photo storage. I recently wrote about the new service Prime Wardrobe — I like the idea, and I’ve used it twice, but readers had mixed reactions. [affiliate links]

9. Figure out if a warehouse club membership is really worth it. If you’re considering joining BJ’s, Costco, or Sam’s Club, this article from Money Crashers (although it’s a few years old) has a thorough list of pros and cons to consider. To help you decide, you can use a one-day guest pass from Sam’s Club or BJ’s. (If you actually buy anything, Sam’s Club charges a 10% service fee. BJ’s charges 20%, but if you join within seven days, that goes toward a membership.) For Costco, which doesn’t offer day passes, you can visit with another member (but not buy anything yourself). Here are a few other helpful articles: Costco vs. Sam’s: A warehouse club showdown (Costco won), The Best and Worst Things You Can Buy at Wholesale Clubs, 18 costly mistakes to avoid making at Sam’s Club or Costco.

10. Look into the apps Truebill and Trim. They sound pretty promising! The writer of this Money article, which explains how they work, says that Truebill, “an app that promises to help users track spending, identify subscriptions they’ve forgotten about, and cancel unwanted ones,” saved her $ 276, while the writer of this Lifehacker article shares that she prefers Trim for “finding all of your active subscriptions and doing the legwork of cancelling those that you no longer need.”

What are your favorite ways to save money on subscription services? Which are your must-have subscription services that you would never cancel? Have you decided to part with any for budget reasons? Which services have you decided to pay for after the free trial ended (and which didn’t seem worth it)? If you have Amazon Prime, do you use a lot of its perks or mostly have it for Prime Shipping?

Stock photo credit: Deposit Photos / Mactrunk

 Do you keep a handle on how much money you're paying for subscription and membership services? You'd be surprised how quickly those costs add up! We rounded up 10 tips for saving money on subscription services, whether it's the gym, a professional membership organization, Netflix, Hulu, or more:

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American political consultant admits foreign money was funneled to Trump inaugural

W. Sam Patten said he arranged for a U.S. citizen to act as a “straw donor” to give $ 50,000 in exchange for four tickets to the inauguration in place of a Ukrainian businessman.
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Floyd (Money) Mayweather went on a major jewelry spending spree in the Diamond District

After a weekend of wheeling and dealing in Atlantic City,. Floyd Mayweather hit Manhattan’s Diamond District and dropped more than a million dollars on bling.

The former champ was spotted at Pristine Jewelers and Avianne & Co. Jewelers, both on W. 47th St. this week.

“He went on a jewelry spree,”…

/entertainment – New York Daily News

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Will Solar Panels Really Save You Money? Here’s What You Need to Know


Carol Marks’ monthly electric bill was between $ 250 and $ 300 before she had solar panels installed on her home.

Her first bill afterward, in June — one of the hotter months in her home state of Florida — was $ 45.

“Living in the Sunshine State and the Sunshine City, it seemed like a natural thing to do,” says Marks, co-chairwoman of the sustainability action team of the League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area. “Why not use power that’s available to us that comes from the sun?”

For Marks, the decision to go solar was relatively easy, but how do you decide whether the change makes sense for you?

“Generally, it’s good for consumers and the environment, but everybody’s situation is different,” says Susan Grant, director of consumer protection and privacy at the Consumer Federation of America, an association of nonprofit consumer groups. “It depends on where they live, the design of the home, the installation cost and expected savings.”

How to Save Money Going Solar

Workers install solar panels on the roof of a house.
Technicians from Solar Source install solar panels on a house in Dunedin, Florida. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

One of the biggest advantages of installing residential solar panels is a 30% federal tax credit on the total cost of a system. That means homeowners — but not renters — can subtract the credit from the federal income taxes they owe, in effect reducing the price of their solar purchase by nearly one-third.

Congress authorized the credit through 2019, but it will decline to 26% in 2020 and 22% in 2021 and then disappear. The credit could save the average homeowner $ 5,000 or more (depending on the size of the system), according to EnergySage, a solar marketplace with a calculator to help estimate savings.

It may seem obvious, but access to sunlight is important. If your roof is deeply shaded by trees, mountains or buildings, solar panels won’t work well. Unsurprisingly, California leads the nation in residential solar capacity, but some of the others in the top 10 may surprise you.

It’s important to have a basic idea of how the panels work as well. Also known as photovoltaic panels, they are mounted on the roof of a house and use sunlight to produce electricity. An important part of any solar system is a box called an inverter, which often is installed in the garage and converts electricity produced by the panels (DC) into the kind that’s required to operate home appliances (AC).

At times, the panels will produce more electricity than is needed to power a home. The extra electricity can be sold back to the power company in an arrangement called net metering. It’s done through a two-way meter installed by the electric company, and it can keep your electric bill low. Duke Energy, which operates in six states, charges a $ 100 interconnection fee that includes the meter, company spokesman Randy Wheeless says. The fee can run as high as $ 300 and often is handled by the installer, who includes it in the total job price, says Emma  Rodvien, an operations director for Solar United Neighbors, a co-op that operates in eight states and the District of Columbia.

Do Your Homework

A worker installs electrical equipment for a solar panel installation.
Technician Curtis Cube installs an inverter for a solar system at a house in Dunedin, Florida.  The inverter converts direct current from the solar panels into alternating current for use in the house. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

You wouldn’t buy a car without checking out the features, comparing models and knowing the price, would you? Well, much more so with solar panels — which are likely to remain on your roof for at least 25 years.

“It is something that people really need to do their homework on before they decide to invite any company to make a sales pitch, and certainly before they sign up with anybody,” Grant says. “It’s a big commitment.”

Wendy Barsell, executive director of the Florida Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade group, agrees. Her advice applies to consumers in all states.

  1. Ask homeowners who have bought the panels how well they are working. What are the benefits and drawbacks? How long did the installation take? Did the installer do a good job? Was the power company easy to work with? How much money are they saving?
  2. Get referrals from neighbors, coworkers and friends. Search the company on online review sites; some consumers have complained about confusing contracts, misleading sales pitches and poor installation. The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners has a list of certified installers, and state groups such as the Florida Solar Energy Industries Association maintain their own lists of preferred companies. You should also check with your state to make sure the contractor is licensed to perform solar installations. Licensed contractors generally must carry insurance, but homeowners should verify that they do.
  3. Get several estimates, ask plenty of questions and don’t be pressured to make a snap decision. We’re talking about an expense that runs an average of $ 18,840 for a 6 kW system and $ 31,400 for a 10 kW system, according to EnergySage.  “Get proposals from different companies that may have different ideologies, methods, product brands and information on how to make a decision,” Barsell says.
  4. Learn what you need. Systems are sized based on your consumption, the size of the sunny space on your roof and how much you can afford, according to Solar United Neighbors. The bigger the system, the more energy it produces (and the more expensive it is).
  5. Don’t sign a contract unless you understand everything, including your expected return on investment and break-even point. If your electric rates are high, you’ll pay off the cost a lot sooner, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
  6. Decide how you’re going to pay for the system — purchase, lease or what’s known as a solar power purchase agreement, in which the consumer buys the power but doesn’t own the system. Consumer Reports advises anyone who can afford it to pay upfront. That eliminates finance charges and allows you to take full advantage of the federal tax credit. Consider bids from smaller installers as well as larger ones, who may be more expensive, a recent government study showed.
  7. If you need to take out a loan, shop at credit unions and banks — some offer dedicated solar-energy loans — before committing to a loan offered through your solar installer. Additional options include a clean-energy mortgage through Fannie Mae. Property Assessment and Clean Energy (PACE) lending programs also are available in more than 20 states. But the Mortgage Bankers Association, among other groups, warn consumers they could lose their homes if they default on payments. “There’s a lot of issues to consider,” Grant says. “That’s why states are enacting disclosure laws that must be given to the consumer. Solar is a good thing, but it’s complex and people really need to understand what they’re getting into.”
  8. Explore whether your state offers its own tax incentives. Rebates, low-interest loans and grants may also be available.
  9. How old is your roof? Solar panels have an expected life span of about 25 years. If your roof is aging or damaged, you may be better off replacing it before you install the panels.
  10. How long do you plan to stay in your home? Although some surveys show that solar panels increase the value of a house, you won’t know until you sell. That’s why some experts say it’s safest to stay put until the panels pay for themselves.
  11. Understand your warranty. Most high-quality panels and system components called power optimizers are warrantied for 25 years, says Garrett Savadel, system designer at Brilliant Harvest, a Sarasota, Florida, solar installation company. Inverters have a warranty of about 12 years (but as little as five years in some cases), although that can be extended to 25 years for an additional fee, he says. A good inverter costs between $ 2,000 and $ 7,000 installed, depending on size — $ 1,000 to $ 2,000 for the parts alone.
  12. Ask about maintenance. Some companies say the panels must be washed regularly and offer that service for a price. But Savadel says rain usually washes off bird droppings and other routine dirt. Periodic professional cleaning may be necessary in states such as Arizona, New Mexico and California because they are so dry and dusty, he says.
  13. Make sure your homeowners insurance company will insure solar panels. Not all do.

What if the Power Goes Out?

A worker who is helping to install solar panels on a house roof wears a tethering strap.
Solar Source technician Jason Breaux is tethered to the roof of a house in Dunedin, Florida, during a solar panel installation. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

You might think that owning a solar system would ensure 24/7 access to electric power even when the grid goes down from hurricanes or other disasters or accidents. But that’s not the case. In those events, you have to rely on a generator or buy a battery backup for your solar system.

And while the cost of solar panels has dropped more than 70% since 2010, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, batteries can cost as much as $ 10,000 to $ 15,000, including installation, according to Solar United Neighbors. “Adding battery storage to a solar array can increase costs so much that the savings seen on utility bills are negligible,” the group’s website warns.

For those who want the peace of mind and can afford the cost, batteries may be a viable option. They work like this: When the sun is shining, your panels produce electricity that you direct to the battery, where it’s stored until you need it. Unlike a generator, no fuel is needed.

Marks, the Florida retiree, opted for a battery. She and her husband also own an electric car. For them, going green is at least as important as saving money.

“We’re going to keep trying to reduce that carbon footprint and power ourselves,” she says.

Susan Jacobson is an editor 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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14 Creative Ways of Making Money On the Side

Making money in addition to a regular income can have a big impact on your finances. An extra $ 500 per month could go a long way in paying down debt or raising your investment. Diversifying your income streams is important, especially as wage remain stagnant. You decide how you want to produce the income. Either you ‘do something’ to generate the income- this is active income such as providing a service; or the income is generated without you having to ‘do anything,’ – this is passive income such as hosting an Airbnb. Just make sure you do not place all your eggs in one basket.

Creating multiple streams of income does not man get a second job to supplement your current income. A second job does not provide you with the flexibility and freedom to increase your income. In fact, it can hurt you when you think about it. You are trading time for money and in the long run, you lose. Instead, create something that will allow you to give yourself a pay raise when you need and want it. 

When evaluating and researching ways to produce income, take the following into consideration:

  • Investment — should require minimal investment.
  • Sustainable — ultimately, something that generates income without you.
  • Scalable — produces substantial amounts of income
  • Flexibility — you call the shots. 

Here’s what an extra $ 500 per month could look like: 

Savings account: If you deposited $ 500 each month for one year with an interest rate of 4.00%, compounded annually, and an initial starting balance of $ 500, your yield will be $ 6,629.22. 

Investment account: Now transfer the amount above from your savings into a 5- year CD with an interest rate of 2%, compounded annually, for five years, your yield will be $ 7,319.99.

Financial freedom: Extra income of $ 500 per month could cover car payments, auto insurance, help pay down credit card debt, or cover some or even all of a mortgage payment. Before saving, research rates, get your kids involved, and have fun with it. 

Small incremental savings can ultimately go a long way. Below are steadfast ideas guaranteed to help you generate multiple streams of income this year.

14 Ways of Making Money on the Side 

Sell an E-book

If publishing a book the traditional ways is a long shot, then consider an e-book. An e-book is simple; many people publish them for free, but many sell them as well on Amazon.

Affiliate Marketing

If you have a blog or other type of site, you can build affiliate links to different services on the website. Many people use Amazon as an affiliate partner. For example, if you are a beauty blogger writing about different products, you can set up Amazon affiliate links on your blog so that whenever someone buys the product you mention on Amazon, you receive a percentage of the sale. Amazon is not the only affiliate partner out there. Here is good, in-depth information on affiliate marketing

Write a Book

A well-written book will undoubtedly rake in some profits for you. Although the process of getting it published is sometimes tedious, it is not entirely impossible. Contrary to what many believe, self-publishing can be easy, fun, invigorating, and life changing.

Begin a Micro-Business

Many of the above examples are also small businesses. However, you can start a more traditional kind of business–one that sells a service or product. Consider the one thing you’re good at or the one thing you are constantly complimented on. Before starting, make sure you have all the legal documents in alignment.

Teach a Class

If you have excellent skills or knowledge, then consider teaching at a university; make a series of seminars or make your own classes at your business.

Offer Consulting or Coaching

Instead of teaching a full class, you can coach clients one-on-one.

Start a Blog

It may take a while for a blog to earn any money, as with any business, but with consistency and commitment, it will eventually pay off.

Develop a Product

A typical way of making money is to transform a service into a product. For example, as a freelancer, you offer a service once and earn money once. However, if you can change your service into a product, you can put it up for sale once and get paid lots of times.

Have Multiple Clients

If you depend on one main client only, slowly begin branching out to fresh customers. Build your client list through list building.

Launch a Magazine

You can select a topic, develop content, transform it into a perfect magazine and sell it for a profit.

Offer Expert Advice 

The technique here charges for calls from people who want guidance in the topic/field you are knowledgeable in.

Create a Membership Website 

If you can make valuable content, there will almost forever be people willing to pay a monthly fee for membership.

Invest

Stocks, bonds, 401(k)s, annuities, etc., are great ways to earn passive income. Place proceeds in a high-interest savings account or a high-interest checking account to establish your emergency fund account.

Purchase Real Estate

Real estate is a good way to earn extra income. Real estate investing includes fixing and flipping houses, which requires capital in the form of cash and credit. Speak with seasoned investors and realtors to find out if this passive income strategy is right for you.

Producing additional income is the foundation to building wealth. While earning extra income does take work, the ROI can be enormous and pay off for years to come. Now’s the time to create your plan for building your financial legacy for you and your family.  

-Editor’s Note: This article was updated since its original publish date of March 14, 2017.

 

 

The post 14 Creative Ways of Making Money On the Side appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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T.I. Gives A Year’s Worth Of Lunch Money To Student Denied Food For Petty Reason

T.I. took a break from his hustle to help a high school student in Florida recently. The rapper, whose real name is Clifford Harris, donated a year’s worth of lunch money to a sophomore that was reportedly denied food at school because she was 15 cents short last week.

News about the incident involving Danielle Aiken, a student at University High School in Volusia County, has sparked outrage, with the lyricist and actor taking to social media to address it.

“This s**t is despicable!!! This is the kinda s**t that deters kids from coming to school. I’d like to take care of her school lunch for the year. I hate to hear this type of thing happening to our children. Petty a** … poor excuse for a grown person,” T.I. tweeted.

Aiken was not allowed to eat lunch in her school cafeteria on her first day of school on Aug. 14 because her account was underfunded by the small amount, the teen’s mom Kimberly Aiken told CBS affiliate WKMG. The meal was thrown in the trash, her mother said.

“She puts her food on the tray, gets to the front, gives her [account] number to the cashier, and she says, ‘Well, you owe 15 cents,’” the mother said. “My daughter said she didn’t have any money, so the cashier took her food. That’s the big thing — it’s eat breakfast, lunch, so that they can make sure that they’re doing good on their work. But then you starve my child?”

A statement was given by Roger Edgcomb, a spokesman for Volusia County Public Schools, in response to the incident.

“The school is always willing to work with students and families as needed,” Edgcomb said. “The school will be contacting the family directly to help resolve this issue.”

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Swagbucks is More Than Surveys: 4 New Ways to Earn Money


Still think the only way to earn gift cards on Swagbucks is by taking surveys, watching videos and searching online? Think again.

Swagbucks is adding new ways to earn rewards all the time. In just 20 minutes a day, I earn $ 100 or more per month in Swagbucks rewards. To boost your bonus earnings, check out these top ways we’ve found to increase your rewards in less time.

New to Swagbucks? Check out our complete beginner’s guide.

Play Swag IQ

Swagbucks’ new trivia game, Swag IQ, lets you earn rewards for your trivia prowess.

A live trivia game every weekday allows you to win Swagbucks (SBs) for correct answers. Get all ten questions right (or buy back in with SBs when you get one wrong) and receive your share of the daily cash price. The bonus pot is typically worth over $ 1,100, but the prize is split between all winners.

Even if you get a question wrong, be sure to stick around! You earn SBs for each correct answer. But you do have to be signed in for the entire game for those rewards to hit your account.

Get Bonus SBs for Completing a Swago Board

Swago is Swagbucks’ digital bingo game to earn bonus rewards. These contests are weeklong challenges to complete different simple tasks within the Swagbucks platform to create specific designs on your Swago board. The more difficult the design, the more SBs you can earn.

Claim tiles by earning SBs through using the Swagbucks search engine, attempting surveys, clicking through to partner sites and activating your SwagButton browser extension. The columns with the easiest tiles on the board typically take just a minute or two, and can earn you 10 SBs. But fill up the whole board and you’ll snag 500 SBs.

Beware, however, that completing the whole board always includes buying a gift card from Swagbucks partner site, MyGiftCardsPlus. Only buy gift cards you need. Don’t create unnecessary spending to earn rewards.

Take Advantage of Swag Local Rewards

You don’t need to be online to earn Swagbucks rewards. Swagbucks is partnered with thousands of local businesses to offer SB rewards on your purchases.

Connect a credit or debit card to Swagbucks so they can see your transactions. (Don’t worry: They don’t have access to make changes to your account, and they are fully secure.) Then shop at your usual local restaurants and businesses. Rewards will be automatically applied to your account.

This is one of my favorite ways to earn SBs, since I get rewards for things I’m already doing. My family’s favorite local barbecue and Chinese food restaurants are partnered with Swag Local. After linking our card, I get rewards every time we order takeout.

If you’re looking to cool off this summer, Baskin-Robbins is offering 15 SBs per dollar spent – the equivalent of 15% rewards. Keep an eye out on your account balance; it can take two to three weeks for your account to be credited.

Complete Your Daily To-Do List

Ever sign into Swagbucks and wonder what to do first? There are so many ways to earn SBs now, with more being added all the time. To help you focus your efforts, Swagbucks has rolled out a daily to-do list.

With eight items on the list, you earn a bonus for completing your daily activities in addition to your rewards from each task.

I like to do the Daily Watch on my phone. That way, I can run the movie trailers while I tackle the other items on the list. The Daily Poll, Daily Search and Deal of the Day just require a quick click, but completing a survey can take a few minutes.

Finishing your daily to-do list has a double benefit.

Checking off all eight items, including completing a gold survey, usually earns you enough SBs to surpass your daily earnings goal. That gets you another few bonus SBs. And who doesn’t like free money?

Chelsea Brennan is a personal finance writer focused on helping families make their money work for them. She is the founder of the blog Mama Fish Saves, and her work has been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, GoBankingRates and more.

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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Madden: Here’s how the no-name Oakland A’s are giving baseball’s super teams a run for their money

Perhaps the best story in baseball right now is also the best-kept secret in baseball right now.

We refer to the Oakland A’s, or maybe more fittingly the Oakland Phantoms, as there is hardly a household name to be found on this roster littered with bargain basement free agents, under-the-radar…

Sports – New York Daily News

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12 Steps to Take Care of Your Money After Landing Your First Grown-up Job


You did it. You’re free! With a college diploma in your hand, you run out to take the world by storm. It’s time to show everyone just how awesome you can do the adulting thing.

Then the bills start rushing in like your college buddies at a happy hour taco bar.

Getting that first real job might not happen just as you hope. For 2017 Florida State graduate Hannah Bartholomew, the job market wasn’t quite what she had expected.

“They really blow salaries out of proportion in college,” she says. “They really exaggerate what you’ll be making out of college. I had to think, ‘What is the very minimum I can make?’”

So even when you do find a job in your field, you might not be cashing checks as big as you thought.

But you’re in the real world now, and it’s time to give yourself a reality check.

How to Manage Your Finances After You Get a Real Job

Here are a few ideas to start your financial life off on the right foot.

1. Get a Few Bucks for That Futon

Woman on green mattress in bright home office interior with posters and plants
KatarzynaBialasiewicz/Getty Images

One of the first things you want to do when you get a good job is to upgrade your home, even if it’s still a one-bedroom rental. No more futons and framed Bob Marley posters. You’re ready for a sectional sofa and some real art.

But don’t just shove that stuff into your car and take it to the donation stop. It still has value to somebody. Sell it!

You can sell virtually anything on Letgo. This intuitive app lets you snap a photo and list 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.

2. Start Budgeting — Without Giving up on Fun

Albert Bell models opposing footwear in downtown Atlanta.
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

The dreaded B-word. Budget. It doesn’t have to be as scary as you think. Having a budget doesn’t mean you have to cut out any and all fun things in your life. It just means you are focusing your finances enough to meet your goals.

“When I graduated, honestly, my primary goal was to find a way to support myself and not have to move back in with my parents,” says Bartholomew.

Talk about life goals. We’ve all been there.

If you’re a bit nervous about setting a budget, consider the 50/20/30 budget. It’s easy, and it gives you plenty of wiggle room because, face it, you still want to hit that happy hour taco bar once in a while, right?

Here’s how it works. Every month you set aside:

  • 50% of your income for essentials, like rent or mortgage, groceries, utilities, car insurance and other important bills.
  • 20% for your financial goals, like retirement savings, paying down your college debt or even saving for a home.
  • 30% for your personal spending. These are your funds for dining out, drinks with friends, Netflix, travel, shopping, etc. That’s a pretty big chunk of money you get to play with each month.

The trick to this budget, like any, is to stick to it. You’ll make progress on your financial goals while still having a life.

3. Break up With Your High School Bank

From left, Dalton Iohrke and Alece Moreno help out bank customers at Mount McKinley Bank in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

“The bank that I use is a local credit union that I’ve used my whole life,” says Bartholomew. “Quite honestly, it’s a hassle to switch banks.”

Quick… why do you bank where you bank? Like Hannah, it’s probably because that’s where your family has always done their banking business. But other options offer perks you might not have considered.

Take, for example, the option to get your shiny new paycheck a couple of days early. If that idea sounds good to you, you should check out Chime.

Unlike most banks, this online bank won’t wait until your pay date to get your money. As soon as it receives notification of a direct deposit from your employer, it immediately posts those funds to your account — up to two days before payday.

Who doesn’t want to get paid early?

Opening an account with Chime is free and only takes about five minutes.

4. Take Care of Your Student Loans

woman studying for exams in college
skynesher/Getty Images

Now that you have your diploma in hand and you’re gainfully employed, you’re going to have to start paying back those student loans.

Ugh.

Do your loans have a good interest rate? Finding a lower rate can help you spend less on interest and pay off those loans faster.

Consider refinancing for a better rate.

An easy way to do this is with LendKey, a service that allows you to quickly browse low-interest loans from credit unions and community banks.

That’s LendKey’s secret sauce. Compared to the big national bank chains, smaller community banks often offer more borrower-friendly loan terms — namely, lower interest rates and more flexibility.

LendKey’s simple, straightforward online platform can help you find and apply for the right loan without visiting a dozen bank branches.

And if you’ve been turned down by other lenders, don’t fret. LendKey has more lenient credit score minimums and income requirements for applicants, so you have a better shot at getting a loan through the company.

Plus, when you’re approved for a loan you applied for through LendKey, you’ll get a $ 100 bonus after the loan is disbursed. That’s a hundred bucks you can put right toward paying down your new, lower-interest student loan. Boom!

5. Pay Attention to This Score (It’s Not a Game)

Credit card and mobile phone on a wooden background
Plamen Resseleshki/Getty Images

Your credit score is important. You’ve heard that. But, now that you’re adulting, it’s time to take it seriously.

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.

Now that you have a great job, get a handle on your credit score and start making it shine.

6. Pay Your Bills

Couple paying bills together at home
Anchiy/Getty Images

Adulting means paying bills. The good news is with your new job, you can afford to pay them. You just need to remember to do it.

How about getting rewards for paying your bills on time?

An app called MoneyLion offers rewards to help you develop healthy financial habits and will literally pay you for logging onto the app.

You can earn points in the rewards program by paying bills on time, connecting your bank account or downloading the mobile app.

You can redeem those points for gift cards to retailers like Amazon, Apple and Walmart.

7. Stop Calling Mom and Dad for Emergency Money

father having a conversation with his son
Steve Debenport/Getty Images

There might have been a time when you could just pick up the phone and call Mom or Dad when your car went on the fritz or you had to pay for a quick trip to urgent care.

Welcome to the real world. You have a career now, so it’s up to you to prepare for those little life speed bumps with an emergency fund.

An emergency fund should be able to help you out with small emergencies, like a car repair, as well as tougher times, like finding yourself out of work for a bit. A savings account with three to six months of income is typically recommended.

Don’t worry. You don’t need to have it all set right away, but you should set up a plan to start building that fund. Consider it a buffer between you and living in your parents’ basement. Yeah, your old room is now Mom’s she-den. You didn’t know that? Sorry.

8. Start Thinking About Retirement (Yes, Already)

man and woman discussing business in office
Weekend Images Inc./Getty Images

If you’re just starting out with your 401(k) plan at your new job, do everything you can to put it into high gear. You can really make a difference in these early years.

It takes more than just taking that 3% out of your paycheck, though.

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. At your age, you might be able to make a significant difference.

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.

9. You’re Ready to Invest (No, Really)

man using Acorns app on phone
Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

Investing? You’re used to just trying to pay the rent!

It’s OK, you can start small with Acorns. The app lets you stack up change over time with its “round-up” feature. That means if you spend $ 10.23 at the grocery store, 77 cents gets dropped into your Acorns account.

Then, the app does the whole investing thing for you.

The idea is you won’t miss the digital pocket change, and the automatic savings stack up faster than you’d think. For example, we reviewed how Penny Hoarder Dana Sitar was able to save at a rate of $ 420 a year!

At that rate, you could set aside $ 1,000 in about two and a half years — without trying.

The app is $ 1 a month for balances under $ 1 million, and you’ll get a $ 5 bonus when you sign up.

10. Don’t Pay Full Price… Ever

vegetables at Lucky's Market
Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

These days, there is no reason to pay full price for anything… ever. OK, maybe you pay upfront, but you should at least get some money back, right?

One of our favorite ways to save is with Ebates, a cash-back site that rewards you nearly every time you buy something. 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.

To earn your gift card:

  1. Sign up for Ebates with your email or Facebook account.
  2. Use the Ebates portal the next time you need to buy something. It’s connected to thousands of stores, including Walmart, Amazon and Target. You’ll need to make your first purchase through the site within 90 days and spend at least $ 25.
  3. Your account will be credited with rewards points you can cash in for your $ 10 Walmart gift card.

Seriously, it’s too easy not to use. You’re buying that stuff online anyway so why not get some money back?

11. Deal With the College Credit You Didn’t Want

Close up male college student doing homework at laptop in classroom
Sidekick/Getty Images

A lot of us are being crushed by credit card interest rates north of 20%. It’s OK. It’s the same scoop for a lot of recent grads. If you’re in that boat, consolidation and refinancing might be worth a look.

A good resource is consumer financial technology platform Even Financial, which can help match you with the right personal loan to meet your needs.

Even searches the top online lenders to match you with a personalized loan offer in less than 60 seconds. Its platform can help you borrow up to $ 100,000 (no collateral needed) with fixed rates starting at 4.99% and terms from 24 to 84 months.

You want to keep you college memories forever, not the credit card bills you racked up. A better interest rate will make them disappear like your freshman-year roommate.

12. Figure out Where You Fall on the Adulting Curve

women chatting in the street.
santypan/Getty Images

As Bartholomew took stock of her new situation, she had to keep the big picture in mind.

“I make enough money to pay my bills and to save an acceptable amount of what I make,” she says. “But you think about the American dream of buying a home, owning property or being debt-free… that’s something that comes to mind the most.”

But do you know how your financial plan is stacking up your friends’? Admit it. You want to know. What if your friends or relatives your age a getting out of debt and saving way faster than you?

Status Money is an app that allows you to anonymously compare your financial situation with your peers’ without asking those awkward, prying questions. Tap into this database, and you’ll be able to compare your income, debt, interest rates, credit score, spending… you name it.

By seeing how others are doing, you can see what you need to work on — or where you can sit back a little and just breathe easy.

Now Relax. You’ve Done the Hard Part.

You’re at an exciting point in your life. Landing that first “real” job is fun, but it can also be a little intimidating. Life is going to expect a little more of you now.

By taking a good look at your finances now, you can set yourself up for a great financial future. The toughest part is making the decision to do it.

So now what? Did someone say “taco bar”?

Tyler Omoth is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder who loves soaking up the sun and finding creative ways to help others. He wishes he could send this article back to his 22-year-old self and make him read it. Catch him on Twitter at @Tyomoth.

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

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Innovator Wins Award for Creating Technology To Help People Raise Bail Money [VIDEO]

At the recent Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit in Charlotte, North Carolina, event sponsor Koch Industries and its Georgia Pacific subsidiary presented the inaugural Principled Entrepreneurship Award to a business innovator who is literally helping thousands gain their freedom. Ben McFarlin, founder, chief technology officer, and CEO of Atlanta–based Help Bond Me Inc. has been using technology to drive justice reform through a platform that allows pretrial detainees to connect with family members, friends, and followers via social media to raise bail money.

A core tenet of the Market-Based Management framework developed by Charles G. Koch, CEO of one of the nation’s largest privately held corporations, Principled Entrepreneurship focuses on companies that create products and services to help people improve their lives, and doing so through the application of “the judgment, responsibility, initiative, economic and critical thinking skills, and sense of urgency necessary to generate the greatest contribution, consistent with their organization’s risk philosophy.” As such, it emphasizes that value creation, innovation, self-determination, and integrity helps drive long-term success.

Bearing all of those qualities, McFarlin is the first subject in our special “Profiles of Principled Entrepreneurship” series.

McFarlin founded the company in 2016 after being moved by the tragic case of Sandra Bland, which drew national attention when she died three days after her incarceration at a Waller County, Texas, jail due, in large part, to her inability to obtain $ 5,000 needed for her release. McFarlin, who holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Southern University A&M College and attended graduate school at the Georgia Institute of Technology developed both the hardware and software for the Help Bond Me system. When he first unveiled the platform, BE designated it as one of our “10 Best Apps From Black Founders.”

raise bail money

To launch his business, he gained guidance from some of the most brilliant minds in the tech space by participating in accelerator programs like Tech Wildcatters in Dallas, NewMe in Miami, and TechSquare Labs in Atlanta. He maintains that the expertise and advice from tech powerhouses such as Angela Benton, Paul Judge, and Rodney Sampson in “those spaces really helped me to grow.”

Visit the helpbond.me website and you’ll witness that expansion, McFarlin and his dedicated team share the company’s current and upcoming services, including:

  • Construction of hardware kiosks and tablets for county jails. Such devices enable pretrial detainees to send hundreds of arrest notifications to friends, family, and followers through social media, text messaging, and e-mail—all which have higher response rates than phone calls.
  • Creation of “a blockchain-based fundraising platform for bail.” Friends and family can obtain bail in cryptocurrency and managed by a smart contract. “All transactions will be recorded to the Ethereum Blockchain to ensure immutability and transparency,” McFarlin told BE at the Entrepreneurs Summit. “We are building a financial system for deposit bail. Processing credit card payments for bail has traditionally been considered high risk. Our funds are guaranteed with zero chargebacks and instantly available to county clerks using the Help Bond Me Ethereum debit card.”
  • Developing “an angel network” tied to community bail funds in major cities nationwide that gain financial contributions from local philanthropists to post bail for destitute pretrial detainees.

Thus far, McFarlin has made inroads into the Cook County, Illinois, jail system as well as explored the jail system in Cobb County, Georgia.

This service is especially vital to African Americans. The 2018 Report To The United Nations on Racial Disparities in the U.S. Criminal Justice System from The Sentencing Project, a justice reform advocacy group, revealed that African Americans were incarcerated in local jails at a rate 3.5 times that of non-Hispanic whites in 2016. Moreover, roughly 70% of pretrial releases require money bond, “an especially high hurdle for low-income defendants, who are disproportionately people of color,” according to that report.

As an African American who knows all too well that a traffic stop can turn into a life-derailing event,  McFarlin says the development of Help Bond Me has been a deeply personal mission for him. “It has taken quite a bit of time, money, and effort to get to this point. We started out with just an idea that could help someone in their time of need. Since then, we have spoken with hundreds of people. That includes the person who was arrested, the jail commander that held him, the judge who set the bail, the family members that raised the bail and the bond agent that posted it,” McFarlin wrote on the Help Bond Me Facebook page. “We’ve traveled the country, gone to jail conferences, presented to sheriffs, spoken with non-profits about bail reform and collaborated with local bail funds. We’ve hit the streets with Help Bond Me, in the malls, flea markets, barber shops, beauty salons, trains, and bus stations. There’s no hype, gimmick or ‘hook’ to what we do. Quite frankly, it can sometimes be an ugly business. But, it’s important work that needs to be done.”

In our video interview, discover how McFarlin transformed his passion for justice reform into a disruptive venture, serving thousands of detainees and their families. He represents a true principled entrepreneur.

The post Innovator Wins Award for Creating Technology To Help People Raise Bail Money [VIDEO] appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Tips for saving money while on vacation

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You’re excited about going on vacation, you’ve been saving up for months to be able to get away for a while, but that means you can’t spend as much cash as you would like to when you get there. If you aren’t careful, you can spend a ton of money without realizing it when on vacation, so staying on top of your finances is a must when you’re away. We have got some helpful tips to make sure you save as much money as possible while still having a great vacation.

Flight snacks

You aren’t allowed to bring drinks through airport security anymore, but that is not the rule for food. Stuff a load of flight snacks in your carry on luggage to make sure you don’t have to spend a fortune on the airplane snacks. The markup on these food items is considerable, so you’ll be saving yourself almost the equivalent of a taxi ride from the airport just by avoiding buying these. You can make your own trail mix using granola and dried fruit, and that will keep you going throughout your flight. Many airports now have places you can fill an empty bottle with water after you get through security, saving you a couple of dollars buying that too.

Your own two feet

You can save yourself so much money by avoiding using public transport where possible. If you are visiting a city, then walk around it, immerse yourself in the atmosphere from the street, rather than in the back of a taxi cab. If where you are planning on heading to is too far to walk, look into renting a bicycle or scooter, they are considerably cheaper than a cab will be and you can go at your own leisurely pace through your vacation destination.

Souvenirs

We need to talk about souvenirs, ask yourself if you really need to buy them at all. Have you noticed the other souvenirs you bought people just lying around their homes getting covered in dust? They are a nice gesture, but your vacation is for you, not your loved ones back home. If you really must get souvenirs to bring home then make sure you shop around. The prices will vary from location to location and don’t leave it until getting to the airport to buy them, they will be incredibly overpriced in the airport store.

Don’t pack too much

If you really are prepared to save some money make the brave decision to only bring carry on luggage with you. The price of checking in a case can be pretty substantial, sometimes as much as a flight. By packing light, you can ensure your money will be better spent when on vacation, maybe on a nice dinner or something. When looking for hotels, find one that has laundry facilities to allow you to pack fewer clothes.

Coffee lovers

If you have to start your day with a freshly brewed coffee, then the cost can really add up when on vacation. There is a solution though! You can buy a small French press coffee maker, meaning all you’ll need is some beans, and you should be good to brew fresh hot coffee every morning for a fraction of the price it will cost at the local cafes.

The cost can really add up when you are on vacation, so being able to save some money here and there will go a long way. Try following these tips to ensure your vacation doesn’t bankrupt you, or leave you having to wait years before you can afford to go on another one again.

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Money Mondays: GDP Growth Was Great Last Quarter – What Can We Expect Going Forward?

Today we are talking about the economy? The numbers looked good last quarter. What is driving it?

The economy certainly seems to be in high gear at the moment.  On Friday, the Commerce Department reported that gross domestic product – a figure that measures goods and services produced in the economy – grew 4.1 percent in the second quarter of 2018. A number of factors contributed to this growth.  First, consumer spending, which accounts for 2/3 of economic activity in the US economy, continued to be strong.  Americans opened up their wallets last quarter, buying cars, electronics and clothes, eating out and traveling.  All of this despite low wage growth and rising gas price.

Additionally, the effects of the 2017 tax cut continue to make their way through the economy, and government spending has helped to fuel higher rates of growth.

Should we expect this to continue?

The fundamentals of the economy continue to be strong. Unemployment is very low, corporate profits are high, manufacturers are seeing strong demand for products, and exports have ramped up in recent quarters. Some analysts are increasingly confident that the US economy could see 3 percent annual growth for the first time since the Great Recession. Yet others are not so sure, believing these strong GDP numbers may be short-lived. They point to a number of risks on the horizon that could have negative consequences for the economy, including the looming threat of protectionist trade policy, rising consumer debt, and struggling wage growth.

What types of warnings signs are we seeing?

Given the role consumer spending plays in fueling our economy, the signs that Americans are overextending themselves could have big consequences. Currently, consumer spending has been growing faster than take home pay, meaning that Americans are saving less and, in many cases, taking on more debt. Savings as a percentage of disposable income is 3.2%, near its all-time low of 1.9% in 2005. After ten years of moving in the right direction – canceling cards and paying off debt –people are once again breaking out the plastic and starting to struggle to pay them back. As people save less and spend more on accrued debt, that threatens consumer spending on other things.

 

The trade war also looms large. While the effects of the current tariffs the White House has levied seem to have had a small effect on growth, future tensions could quickly ripple through the economy. Last quarter, exports grew by 9.3 percent, accounting for a quarter of the total G.D.P. growth. Looking forward, we are unlikely to see a continuation of that trend. As a result of continuing trade disputes, exports will almost certainly fall in coming quarters, and may drag down overall G.D.P. growth rather than boosting it.

What does all of this mean for everyday Americans?

Well Tom, the tight labor market should continue to benefit everyone. Not only does it mean steady, if not spectacular wage growth, but we are likely to see more Americans who had stopped looking or who were only able to get part-time work participate in the labor force. For those of us are invested in the stock market, the continued strength of corporate America is also good news.

There are some negatives that are on the horizon too. Due to the strong fundamentals, the Fed is expected to continue to steadily raise interest rates. This will make borrowing money – for a house, for a card, your credit card debt – more expensive. In addition, higher tariffs mean more expensive goods for consumers on everything from agricultural imports to electronics to washing machines.

In general, the current strong economy is good news and should benefit most Americans. However, the current rate of growth is not something we can take entirely for granted.

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Money traps you’re falling for every time you travel

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There are so many hidden costs when you go traveling. It is annoying! You save up for ages, book your flights, reserve your accommodation and then that’s it, right? No. There are so many hidden pitfalls that so many of us fall into, every time we go abroad. Here are some of them.

Not reading the fine print

Often it is necessary to rent a car if your accommodation is far away from the airport, then it makes sense to get there in comfort, instead of jumping on five trains and eight buses. If you’re taking a road trip for the ages, then make sure you read all of the fine print on the car documentation, ideally before you sign and agree to the terms. Occasionally car hire companies can add insurance to the price without even asking you. Your travel finance company might even cover the cost, check their small print too!

Don’t be shy

You know that movie trope where the newlyweds are upgraded to first class, just because they are newlyweds? Yeah, we hate them too. Well, that could be you! Don’t be afraid to ask for upgrades when you get to the desk, you never know, they might give it to you for free if they are available. Simply asking if they have any upgrades available could be enough to prompt them to offer it free of charge, often upgrades are only provided upon request.

Do your research

Make sure to check out your transport to and from the airport. Sure, you know you can hail a cab here, but what about in Tibet, or Bangladesh? Not so easy. It is important to research how you will be getting from the airport to your destination; otherwise, you could end up stranded in the middle of nowhere with nothing but your birthday suit. Many travel agents will be able to put a transfer into your package if you require it.

Eat at home

Airport food is ridiculously overpriced, don’t eat there. Just, don’t. Eat your own food at home, it’s cheaper and nicer. Fine, go to the drive-thru and get a Happy Meal, just don’t eat at the airport. It’ll save you so much money. The wonderful thing about lugging a massive suitcase around is that you can fill it with stuff. Some of that stuff should be food.

Figure out how to make calls

Most of us have smartphones with WiFi capabilities. Make sure that when you’re traveling around you find WiFi hotspots and use them. Do not try and use Google Maps if you get lost, it will cost you so much money in roaming charges. One trick that will come in handy is to purchase a local SIM from the airport. This will only set you back a small amount, and it will not have astronomical roaming charges. A tip, within a tip; head to the kiosk closest to the exit, they will be paying less rent so are the most likely to have the cheapest SIMs.

Check ATM fees

If you run out of cash, which is probably likely if you’ve found a sweet street food vendor that just does the best pickled snake. Maybe not, but whatever you spend your local currency on be sure to know what the additional charge will be when you want to fill your wallet back up. Most will charge for each transaction so try to take enough out to last you a while to avoid multiple ATM visits.

Those were some tips we think you’ll find useful the next time you’re heading to a new travel destination. Make sure you plan your trip as far in advance as possible, it will allow you to budget better and avoid the hidden costs. One final piece of advice – don’t eat near tourist attractions, it is super expensive.

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The post Money traps you’re falling for every time you travel appeared first on Worldation.

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Dear John: I don’t think banks cash Series EE US government bonds. I believe you have to bring them to the US Treasury in Minneapolis. Mitch Dear Mitch: Here’s what the Treasury says: “You can cash paper EE and E bonds at most local financial institutions. This is the easiest way to cash bonds and…
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How to find missing money from an old 401(k) you forgot about

For years, money expert Clark Howard has talked about ways to find missing money from forgotten bank accounts, insurance policies, rental and utility deposits, safe deposit boxes, old pensions and other places.

Well, now you can add forgotten 401(k)s to that list!

RELATED: Why you shouldn’t cash out your 401(k) when changing jobs

Search for forgotten 401(k) money with this tool

There’s an little-known federal organization called the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) that acts as a safety net when a company goes bust and can’t honor its pension obligations to current and former employees.

(Editor’s note: You can read about a more in-depth explanation about how PBGC works here.)

Part of what PBGC does through its Missing Participants Program is track down employees and connect them with retirement savings they may have forgotten about.

For many years, the PBGC only concerned itself with picking up the pieces and paying out obligations for terminated private pension plans. But a recent change has expanded the PBGC’s scope to include 401(k) plans that have been terminated by failing employers.

So now a failing employer has the option to transfer the 401(k) assets of past employees it can’t track down to the PBGC. The organization will then begin the search and hold the money until the rightful owner can be found.

In the past, it was common practice for an employer that was about to go out of business to simply set up an IRA in the missing employee’s name at any old financial institution. But those IRAs often came with heavy management or maintenance fees and costly distribution charges.

Now the PBGC is offering to step in to pay out benefits from terminated 401(k) plans — with interest — when the employees to whom the money is due can finally be tracked down.

According to Kiplinger magazine, some 25 million of us have at least one dormant retirement account that we’ve left behind with an old employer and forgotten all about.

Now with the help of the PBGC, you can check to see if you have money in a forgotten 401(k) here.

Another organization that can help you track down a lost 401(k) or pension benefit is the federal Employee Benefits Security Administration, a division of the United States Department of Labor.

If you’re having difficulty getting a pension you’re rightfully owed, you can reach out to the U.S. Administration on Aging’s Pension Counseling and Information Program for free legal advice. Thirty states are within a service area of one of the counseling projects they’ll refer you to.

But the best advice of all is this perhaps…

Keep any former employers where you may have a 401(k) or pension plan updated with your current address. That way they always know how to get in touch with you.

Kiplinger also recommends keeping all plan documents, tax returns and other paperwork together so you have a paper trail to follow and can more easily track down the money you’re due.

Other ways to find unclaimed funds in your name

While you’re on the hunt for missing money, be sure to check these sites. It’s free to search and claim any money that may be out there in your name!

  1. MissingMoney.com – Database of governmental unclaimed property records
  2. Unclaimed.org – National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators
  3. HUD.gov – You could be due a refund if you ever had an FHA loan
  4. FDIC.gov – Unclaimed funds search from failed banks and financial institutions

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Affordable Office Attire: How to Buy an Entire Work Wardrobe With No Money

how to buy an entire work wardrobe with no money - guide to affordable office attireIt’s a common problem for people just starting out — you may need to buy an entire work wardrobe with no money or an extremely limited budget. Short of relying on the kindness of parents (or using credit cards — please resist the urge to go into debt to build your work wardrobe!), what’s a person to do? Whether it’s for an internship or a new job, let’s talk about it: what are your best tips on how to buy an entire work wardrobe with no money? Where can you cut — and where can you save? A fun question for today: what did your very first work wardrobe look like — did you have a strict budget? Did you buy it in one trip to the mall or over a series of weeks or months? 

The Guiding Principles: Know Your Office — and Let Your Work Speak Louder Than Your Clothes

If you’re just starting out at a new office, you don’t “know your office” — that’s the trick. You may THINK you know your office. But really you’ve got to work there for a week or two to get a feel for how people dress for work, what’s usual, what’s off limits or eyebrow-raising. The whole goal of buying a working wardrobe when you’re starting out is to let your WORK speak louder than your clothes. So in the beginning, you want to stick to the “safe” options that are appropriate for work at even the most conservative of places, and focus on doing a great job on your work. This isn’t to say you have to look frumpy or boring — think sleek, classic, polished, timeless.

Note that “business casual attire” can be even more complicated than conservative office attire because the margin for error is wider. You can check out our Ultimate Guide to Business Casual for Women, but when in doubt your best bet from a budget perspective is to buy more conservative options at first if you’re trying to buy an entire work wardrobe with no money. (This goes double if you’re just interning and might some day be working in a conservative office.)

Assess Your Existing Wardrobe: Know What You Can’t Wear to Work

Before we talk about what you need to buy, let’s talk about what you’ve already got — which may be easiest by going through what you can’t wear to a conservative office (and may not even be able to wear to some business casual offices depending on geography and industry). So: these are the items you shouldn’t wear to work until you know it better: graphic t-shirts, hoodies, ripped denim, maxi skirts and dresses, mini skirts and dresses (if it’s more than 5″ above your knee it’s way too short), spaghetti-strap camisoles (really anything that shows your bra or requires a special bra), jogger pants, cargo pants, and anything exposing your back or midriff. (See more discussions on what not to wear to work here.)

So…. what’s left? If that is literally your entire wardrobe, let’s look at your t-shirts or blouses — if any of them are too fancy to work out in (polo shirt, polyester floral t-shirt, etc) then you can probably wear them to the office. Look at your accessories: do you have closed-toe shoes that aren’t sneakers? Belts? Jewelry? You may want to look at the colors and metals in what you’ve already got — if everything you have is silver-toned and you’re not an expert in mixing metals, you may just want to stick with silver-toned stuff for accessories. If you have a bright red necklace you love, consider making that one of your accent colors (see below).how to buy an entire work wardrobe with no money tight budget The rest of the blanks you’ll have to fill with affordable office attire and some intentional shopping.

Your Initial Shop: WHAT and HOW MUCH to Buy

You really don’t need that many pieces to have a professional wardrobe, and if you’re trying to buy an entire work wardrobe with no money, it’s better to have fewer pieces to start. In your initial shop, buy enough clothes for 7 or 8 days of work, and look for pieces that you can mix and match so by the time you rewear the same pants to the office you’re wearing them with a different top. (It may be a bit weird if you wear the exact same outfit to work repeatedly, but mixing and matching, as well as a wardrobe full of neutrals, is just part of the game.) Reassess after you’ve worn everything to the office once. To that end, go for quality over quantity — if you’re building your work wardrobe you should look for classic pieces that you think will last you for a few years, and use fast/cheap fashion sparingly to add trendier pieces. You may want to check out our work outfit challenge, or our post on how to build a capsule wardrobe for work (one suggested wardrobe for a conservative office below) — note that all of these pieces can be mixed and matched, and if you need to transition from a conservative office to a more casual one, just the addition of one pair of dark rinse denim and a pair of funky shoes can go a long way towards bridging the gap.

how to buy a work wardrobe with no money - buy a capsule wardrobe!

If you need a suit that will probably be the biggest expenditure, so make sure you can wear the blazer, skirt, dress, and pants all as separates as well as together as a suit. For a business casual office, though, all you may need are separates. My best advice is to pick a neutral base (black or gray will probably easiest) and then a few accent colors (red, light blue, and white for example) and buy within those accent colors. Everything should work together; you shouldn’t have any closet singletons.

An initial shopping list might look like this — note that if you’ve already got a suit you may already have some of these pieces:

  • 1-2 pairs of nice trousers in a neutral color (not too tight, not too loose)
  • at least one skirt in a neutral color that isn’t too short
  • a neutral dress in a flattering shape – no special bra required! Sheath, shift, or fit & flare are the most common.
  • 4-6 nice tops (you can go for a basic t-shirt here or sweater here! — they just have to fit well and not be washed out or workout wear
  • 2-3 toppers: cardigan, jardigan or blazers
  • 1-3 accessories: a watch, a scarf, a necklace you love — I’d go with necklaces to make the biggest impact on your wardrobe
  • 1-2 pairs of neutral, classic shoes you can walk in — for my $ .02 I’d argue one pair of heels and 1 pair of flats, but that’s me. You always want to be able to let your shoes “breathe” for a day between wearings so you should be able to alternate.

Where to Buy Affordable Office Attire: Stores, Thrifting, and More

Fast fashion is everywhere these days, and if you really have to buy your entire work wardrobe at one of those spots, so be it — but don’t get carried away and get 100 pieces because everything’s so cheap. (I would suggest shops like Express, Uniqlo, Old Navy for reliable basics — H&M, Topshop and Zara can be hit or miss in terms of what’s too trendy or youthful for a conservative office.) You may want to check out our regular series, How to Build a Work Wardrobe At… to see which are the best-sellers/reader favorites/repeat classics from the various workwear stores.

If you are REALLY working with an extreme budget — and truly are wondering how to buy an entire work wardrobe with no money — look to thrift stores and eBay — sometimes you can buy an entire work wardrobe that someone’s outgrown or no longer needs in a single lot. Don’t forget your friends, either — if you all graduate together and then start work together soon, odds are good everyone will have some hits and misses. Schedule a closet swap party for a few months in so you can swap the misses out early.

How to Pay For Your New Work Wardrobe

I would argue that you should NEVER go into debt to buy a bunch of new clothes — don’t put it on a credit card and figure you’ll pay it off later! If you can start early, one way to make a big spend less painful is to put aside a little bit of money each week or month so that it builds up over time. If you put $ 20 away each week you’d have $ 520 in six months. If that’s your budget, you can still buy a work wardrobe for that first year of working, but it will likely be very much on the minimal/capsule side.

Readers, what are your best tips on how to buy an entire work wardrobe with no money? What are your favorite spots for affordable office attire? Do you have any hacks or tricks for building an entirely new wardrobe on a very tight budget? 

Pictured at top and on social media: Deposit Photos / IgorVetushko

It's a really common problem if you're just starting a new job or internship: you're hunting for affordable office attire and wondering how to buy an entire work wardrobe with no money or an extremely tight budget. We rounded up our best tips for buying a work wardrobe on a tight budget, a mini shopping list for your initial shop, a few notes on quality vs quantity, and suggestions of the best work stores for affordable office attire.

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The Money Behind LeBron James’ Lakers Move

After years of fumbling around with the rebuilding of a franchise in Northeast Ohio, it is now official. LeBron James will be heading to Los Angeles this summer in a four year, $ 154 million-contract, declining to exercise his $ 35.6 million player option with the Clevland Cavaliers.

There were indeed legitimate championship contending teams interested in James’ signature. The Philadelphia 76ers needed a superstar who has been there, done that. The Houston Rockets would have immediately become favorites had James joined forces with Chris Paul and James Harden. There were even talks that he could land in Toronto. But the four-time MVP and two-time Olympic gold medalist, at 33 years old, wasn’t going to make this decision lightly. Unlike “The Decision,” it was never going to be purely on a team’s basketball acumen or history.

WHERE THE KING GOES, THE MONEY FOLLOWS

Everywhere he goes, James, along with his billion-dollar body, carries an economic windfall that is parallel to no other athlete. Shortly after James announced his return to Cleveland in 2014, Cavaliers’ ticket sales spiked by more than 100 times, jumping from $ 25 to a staggering $ 386. Season tickets sold out within hours, and according to a Cleveland.com report, his return to Ohio resulted in a nine-figure economic boost for downtown Cleveland.

In the wake of his announcement, Lakers season tickets, which were selling for $ 3,499 each, skyrocketed to $ 5,800 just 20 minutes after the announcement. One person, according to ESPN W paid $ 188,781, including fees for four season tickets on StubHub. The seats, which are 16 rows up, one section off the center, are for regular-season games and do not include the playoffs. The Lakers preseason tickets, now on sale, have doubled in price to $ 550 plus fees.

LEBRON JAMES’ BIG ECONOMIC IMPACT:

A 2017 study published by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) quantified the effects that the 33-year-old forward had in Cleveland with the Cavaliers and his brief stint in Miami when he played for the Heat from 2011 to 2014.

By playing in both cities, the data showed that James’ presence had a huge impact on their local economies by boosting restaurant revenues, ticket sales, and job creation. The number of eateries and bars within the mile of the stadium where he played at the time increased by 13%, with employment within those establishments increasing by 23.5%. While, on the other hand, those numbers dropped when James was not on either team.

Earlier in the year, BLACK ENTERPRISE took a look at the cities that would benefit the most if King James joined their NBA team through a study conducted by FormSwift. Had James joined the Knicks, he would have an estimated $ 1.7 billion economic impact on the city, bringing the state $ 1.2 million in tax revenue and over 12,000 new jobs over a five-year period. In comparison, if the NBA star signed with the Brooklyn Nets, the state’s economy would receive about $ 441 million, 3,334 jobs, and $ 32 million in state tax revenue. Had he moved to Washington, D.C., he would bring the nation’s capital over $ 66 million in state tax revenue, 3,200 jobs, and more than $ 444 million in total local economic impact in five years.

According to the report, his presence in Los Angeles will have a $ 396 million economic impact on the city. In addition, the city will gain about 3,000 jobs and $ 29 million in state tax revenue.

BUILDING A BILLION-DOLLAR BRAND

James could have stayed home and signed an even bigger deal worth around $ 205 million with the Cavaliers but his move to Los Angeles opens up business opportunities that “could propel him to even bigger global superstar status if he can return the purple-and-gold to NBA title contention.”

“It’s my biggest milestone. Obviously. I want to maximize my business,” said James. “And if I happen to get it, if I happen to be a billion-dollar athlete, ho. Hip hip hooray! Oh, my God, I’m gonna be excited,” James said in a GQ cover story four years ago. His new deal with the Lakers, according to Forbes, brings him closer to becoming a billion-dollar athlete.

As of two years ago, James’ net worth, according to Forbes, was $ 275 million, but “James has banked another $ 170 million, including endorsements, since then, and the stock market continues to move higher.” In total, he has made an estimated $ 765 million, including off-court earnings, since he entered the NBA in 2003. At 33, his endorsements are the best in the NBA at more than $ 50 million annually through deals with Nike, Coca-Cola, Beats, Kia, Intel, and Blaze Pizza per Forbes. He is also an investor and franchisee in Blaze. Stephen Curry is the only hoops star within $ 20 million of James off the court, and James’ total earnings are likely to approach $ 400 million during his four years in L.A., according to the article.

The post The Money Behind LeBron James’ Lakers Move appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Money Mondays: The Ripple Effects Of Trade Tensions

What’s the latest on trade?

We have certainly discussed trade regularly on Money Monday in recent months, but in the last few weeks are beginning to see the effects of trade tensions resulting from some of President Trump’s protectionist policies. On Friday, General Motors warned that the next round of tariffs the White House is contemplating – on foreign cars and car parts, among other things – would kill jobs, lower wages and cause the company to investment less in new factories and other items. GM is not alone among companies that would get hurt, and consumers will be impacted as well. Today, I want to talk about what that looks like, and what we can expect from here based on what we have seen thus far.

Remind us what policies you are talking about?

You may recall that during the 2016 campaign, the President regularly brought up the trade deficit and what he called unfair trade. Once elected, he withdrew from a large free trade agreement with Latin American and Asian countries, and in August of 2017, he launched investigations to determine whether imports from China and other countries could be a threat to national security. Following this, President Trump announced tariffs on imported solar panels and washing machines in January, import tariffs of 25% on steel imports and 10% on aluminum imports in March, and other more specific measures since then. China, the European Union, Canada, Mexico and others have retaliated with their own targeted tariffs on US goods. All of these moves have been rippling through the global economy and affecting consumers and businesses alike.

What effects are we seeing for businesses?

I mentioned General Motors. Another great example of a business being impacted by trade tensions is Harley Davidson. In response the President’s steel and aluminum tariffs, the European Union raised tariffs on a number of American products. One of those products was American motorcycles, which saw import duties rise from 6% to 31% of their value. That comes out to about $ 2,200 in fees for each motorcycle the company sells in Europe. The company has said it will eat those costs to protect their sales volume and brand, costing them up to $ 100 million a year, and it will start building more of its bikes oversea, rather than expanding in the US, and it could see job losses in the long term. These challenges are not unique to Harley Davidson. From nail companies to pork farmers, these trade battles are hurting many American businesses. In addition to tariffs, higher prices on goods like steel means that companies that use these goods have higher production costs.

Are they helping any American businesses?

Some businesses are benefiting, including steel and aluminum producers. Prices for different types of steel and aluminum began to climb almost immediately after President Trump imposed tariffs on the metals, posting the biggest three-month price increase that has been recorded in years. However, it is worth keeping in mind that more lose than gain. As of mid-2017, there were 29,288 steel-consuming firms, employing over 900,000 workers who face higher prices versus just 916 steel-producing firms with 80,000 employees who benefit from those higher prices and reduced competition.

How are consumers being affected?

Americans are starting to see the ripple effects of the trade battles in the form of price increases. Take washing machines; President Trump raised tariffs on imported washing machines to 20% in January. In the months that have followed, prices shot up. The Labor Department’s consumer-price Index, which gauges inflation, found the price of washing machines rose by about 17% over the past three months. Due to higher steel and aluminum prices, we have seen prices rise for everything that requires these materials, from cans of soup to automobiles. General Motors noted new tariffs could drive vehicle prices up by thousands of dollars, and that the models that would see the biggest price increase would be the ones bought by consumers who can least afford one. At the end of the day, tariffs cost all Americans money.

What can we expect going forward?

If trade relations continue to deteriorate, businesses and consumers are likely to suffer, and economic growth is likely to slow. Free flow of goods and capital is important for businesses to grow, and for American consumers to have access to low cost goods. In the extreme, we could see a recession. Let’s hope that cooler heads prevail on the trade front.

Mellody is President of Ariel Investments, a Chicago-based money management firm that serves individual investors and retirement plans through its no-load mutual funds and separate accounts.  Additionally, she is a regular financial contributor and analyst for CBS News and CBS.com.

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Lee Daniels Vows To Pay Damon Dash Back His Money

The Woodsman New York City Premiere - Outside Arrivals

Source: Jim Spellman / Getty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Days after a video surfaced of Damon Dash running up on Lee Daniels at a Diana Ross concert demanding he get his money back, Daniels has vowed publicly to repay the millions he owes him.

The Empire creator sat down with TMZ on Friday to admit his wrongdoings and promise to pay the former Roc-A-Fella mogul his coins for investing in a few of his earlier films.

“When nobody in Hollywood was giving me money, after my Academy award, unprecedented with Halle Berry, nobody was giving me money,” he says in the brief clip.

“Damon’s crazy ass was crazy enough to give me money for The Woodsman and for Shadowboxer. The investment for Shadowboxer didn’t pay off.”

He added: “I am in the position now to get it to him, so I’m going to get it to him because I think that’s the right thing to do.”

“It sadly took that wake-up call during Diana’s “Reach Out And Touch Somebody’s Hand” for me to realize that and for me to sit with myself.”

Take a look:

Instagram Photo

Apparently, Dame saw the sit-down and wrote on Instagram that he accepts the Oscar-nominated director’s apology.

“We’re good bro,” he wrote in the caption. “Appreciate the honesty…time to move forward let’s forget the bubble gum shit and get the money.”

As we previously reported, Daniels reportedly promised Dash stake as the EP on the Richard Pryor biopic in addition to five percent of Daniels’ back end profits. The biopic never happened, leading to Dash suing Daniels for his contribution. Dame also sued Daniels in 2004 after the mogul says he loaned the director $ 2 million for the film The Woodsman, none of which Daniels has paid back.

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Here’s one easy way to save big money on your cable bill

While it’s true that more and more people are opting for streaming TV these days, one question money expert Clark Howard still gets a lot is, “How can I keep cable but save money?”

Here’s how to save money on your cable bill

An easy way to keep your cable but save on your monthly bill is to eliminate your modem fee. Many cable companies charge a monthly fee for using the cable modem that allows you to connect to the internet and watch television. Take a gander at your cable bill and see if you can find this fee or “surcharge.”

Most cable companies charge between $ 6 to $ 10 per month for a cable modem. That means you’re paying up to $ 120 a year — and that fee never goes away. It’s just a perennial charge that the companies collect as long as you’re a customer.

So not only are you paying for the actual content you’re consuming, but the cable company is basically charging you a rental fee for that rectangular box. The great thing is, you can buy one yourself and cut out the middleman altogether.

For example, a Netgear N450 WiFi Docsis 3.0 Cable Modem Router gives you internet access and the capability to get all the channels you subscribe to. It currently costs $ 69.86 on Amazon.

That means for a one-time charge, you can save as much as $ 50 in the first 12 months and be done with that fee forever.

Before you buy, make sure that the modem you choose works with your cable provider. The Netgear modem’s product description says it’s “compatible with Xfinity from Comcast, Spectrum, Cox, & more.”

Photo credit: Amazon.com

No matter which cable modem you choose, make sure it has Wi-Fi. Otherwise, you’ll have to buy a separate router.

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Will I save money by buying an all-in-one car seat?

by

Joyce Slaton

posted in Products

Blame the Graco 4Ever: though all-in-one car seats have been on the market for years, the 4Ever was the all-in-one breakthrough. It won 2018’s Best Convertible Car Seat award in the 2018 Mom’s Picks, and it’s one of the most popular car seats out there.

Parents love the idea of buying one seat that takes their child safely from infancy through the booster seat years. But they also tend to think that buying just one seat will save money too. And that’s not necessarily true.

Graco 4Ever, $ 299.99
Graco Size4Me 65, $ 122.09
Graco Highback TurboBooster, $ 59.66

So you see that you actually pay more than $ 100 more for the 4Ever. It may be worth it to you — and the 4Ever is sometimes available on sale for as little as $ 220 — but know that you’re not automatically saving money by buying one seat.

The same is true of some other all-in-one seats — but not all.

The Evenflo SafeMax Platinum All-in-One pictured above goes for $ 279.99 (though it can frequently be found on sale for less). But if you wanted to go the non all-in-one route, the Evenflo SureRide DLX is a bargain fave for $ 89.99, and the Evenflo Amp is a popular highbacked booster for $ 32.99.

The total? $ 122.98, or $ 157.01 less than the SafeMax alone.

The Evenflo Amp
However, all-in-one seats aren’t always more expensive than buying a convertible and then a booster seat. Safety 1st’s Grow and Go is a well-reviewed bargain all-in-one seat that retails for $ 199, though we found it for $ 189.99, and it can be had for as little as $ 129 or even less on sale (here it is for $ 127.99, for instance.)

Safety 1st Grow-and-Go
Meanwhile, Safety 1st’s popular bargain seat the Guide 65 goes for $ 80.84, while the brand’s most popular booster, the Safety 1st Store ‘n Go is $ 58.06. The grand total? $ 138.90, or a little more than $ 10 more than the on-sale Grow and Go.

Comparison shopping is such a drag. But so is wasting money. Careful shoppers: good luck out there.

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Scandinavian top blogger Helena-Reet: Vanity gives money for the clever and tooks it away from the vain

OHMYGOSSIP – NordenBladet & OHMYGOSSIP-sites developer Helena-Reet Ennet is the blogger who is weekly in Finnish and Swedish news, who has more social media followers than no other girl or company in Scandinavia and who “tells the ugly truth” directly to your face. Metropoli.net talked with her about vanity.

– Vanity blinds people! People want to be “VIP” and “ESPECIAL”, but the truth is that VIP and special are only those who control their own lives. The old school well known “Snob-effect”* is the key how people get rich. It is not a secret, that if you want to make money – “approve a fool” and “pressure their vanity”! Sounds very cruel, but this is how it works. Vanity is the main thing which gives money for the clever and takes it away from the vain and foolish. And this works, always and in all life situations. Trust me!

– Don’t let others think/decide what is cool, original or nice. Make your own decisions! Yeah, I have said it thousand times, but I’ll tell it again. You do not need to waste a single penny to designer clothes/bags/widgets, especially for those you actually do not like but your “cool rich” friend has. Start decide yourself what is cool. If you truly think you like it, buy it, but if your idol has it and you do not like it, leave it.

– Just an example… you have a fat ass (like I do), believe me, it does not matter if you wear Armani, YSL, Gucci jeans or no-name trousers… your butt looks the same – fat – the “names” do not make your ass look better! Better try to find trousers what fit you well, no matter what their price/name is. Choose what is good for you and what you like! Show some personality!

– Imagine that there are things and no prices — what would you choose then? What would you choose if you do not know anything about the brands and names? It is difficult, I know.  People are very much affected what VIP’s or very rich think and wear –  that is “used to be” generally cool. Make your own decisions! Use your own head, otherwise you are a cheap and easy channel for business-branches, who uses you. I promise you, once you’ll find this confidence in you, your life is a thousand times more happy and successful!

_______________________________________
*In microeconomics, the snob effect is a phenomenon referring to the situation where the demand for a certain good by individuals of a higher income level is inversely related to the demand for the good by individuals of a lower income level. The “snob effect” contrasts most other microeconomic models, in that the demand curve can have a positive slope, rather than the typical negatively sloped demand curve of normal goods.

This situation is derived by the desire to own unusual, expensive or unique goods. These goods usually have a high economic value, but low practical value. The less of an item available, the higher its snob value. Examples of such items with general snob value are rare works of art, designer clothing, and sports cars.

In all these cases, one can debate whether they meet the snob value criterion, which in itself may vary from person to person. A person may reasonably claim to purchase a designer garment because of a certain threading technique, longevity, and fabric. While this is true in some cases, the desired effect can often be achieved by purchasing a less-expensive version from a reputable brand. Often these high-end items end up as closeout items in discount stores or online retailers where they may be offered at deep discounts from original price, bringing into question the true value of the product. Ultimately, wealthy consumers can be lured by superficial factors such as rarity, celebrity representation and brand prestige.

Collectors within a specific field can suffer from snob effect, searching for the rarest and often most expensive collectibles. Such examples are classic automobiles, stamps and coins.

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How to make easy money on your work commute with Wrapify

Our radio producer Joel has turned his commute into cash with the Wrapify app! Wrapify is a company that pays you to wrap your car in advertising for their clients.

Make money while you drive with Wrapify

The Wrapify app matches you to ad campaigns based on your driving patterns. Joel explained the steps:

Watch the video

  1. Download the Wrapify app and set up your account
  2. Wrapify will track your driving for a period of time
  3. They will let you know if you are eligible for a campaign — it may take a few weeks for them to determine your campaign
  4. They’ll set you up with an appointment to get the ad placed on your car — you’ll have to leave it at a body shop for a day while it’s applied
  5. You pick up your car and drive your normal routes — you can track how much cash you’re making in the app

It may be slightly inconvenient to leave your car all day to get wrapped, but Wrapify will reimburse you for a Lyft or Uber to and back from the facility.

Another thing you’ll want to keep in mind: You’ll have to be connected to your car via Bluetooth for them to track your driving. If you don’t have this capability, you may not be eligible.

If you try this, let us know how it works out for you!

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Here’s How Much Money World Cup 2018 Players Make

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar… you may know the names of soccer’s biggest stars, but do you know how much they’re getting paid to play in the 2018 World Cup?

As is typical with FIFA, the answer is complicated.

The international football federation is set to award $ 400 million total to the 32 teams competing for glory at the World Cup over the next month in Russia, according to the Associated Press. By the end of the tournament on July 15, one champion will take home a whopping prize of $ 38 million. The second and third-place teams will receive still-impressive checks for $ 28 million and $ 24 million, respectively.

Non-Equal Pay

Those are impressive figures, but the players aren’t necessarily splitting the prize pots evenly. As USA Today reported back in 2014, awards are given to winning teams’ national federations, which are then allowed to decide how to pay athletes at their discretion. That means the payoff for playing in the World Cup varies by country.

The German Football Association, for example, said in December that each of its players will get a bonus of €350,000, or about $ 400,000, if they win this summer’s World Cup. The sums are staggered depending on how far the team makes it in the competition. If they get to the semi-finals, each player will pocket €125,000 ($ 145,000); if they only survive to the quarter finals, each player will get €75,000 ($ 87,000). There is no bonus for only making it past the first round.

The breakdown is different in Brazil, where each person will get €800,000, or roughly $ 930,000, if they emerge victorious from the World Cup, according to Reuters.

Spain’s players are in the best position. If their team wins the title, each athlete will get €825,000 — the equivalent of more than $ 950,000.

You can definitely consider the bonuses a score: These payments come on top of the players’ regular-season professional salaries, which in Ronaldo’s case exceeds $ 60 million a year, according to Forbes. Each team also gets $ 1.5 million before the World Cup so they can prepare for the contest.

Pay Problems

But the money can cause drama. In 2014, disagreements over pay posed problems for a handful of African countries. Cameroon’s team initially refused to board their flight to the World Cup four years ago because players believed their £61,000 bonuses were too low. The Nigerian squad boycotted a training session because they were afraid they wouldn’t get paid. Ghana threatened to skip a game unless they got paid ahead of time in cash — a stunt that forced the government to put $ 3 million on a plane to Brazil.

This time around, neither Ghana nor Cameroon are in the World Cup. But FIFA did give Nigeria and four other nations $ 2 million advances so they could get any money disputes out of the way before the competition actually began.

Winning the World Cup isn’t all about money. German Football Association President Reinhard Grindel told reporters last year that though the financial bonuses were admittedly attractive, “the sporting challenge is the main focus and not the economic aspect.”

Then again, try telling that to Sepp Blatter, the former FIFA president who was accused of skirting the law after he gave himself a $ 12 million bonus for the 2014 World Cup.

Sports – TIME

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Money Mondays: Get Out Of Debt Now

CONSUMER DEBT IS ON YOUR MIND. WHY?

While we have been paying a lot of attention to the good economic news in recent months – low unemployment, the continued bull market, lower taxes – we have also seen consumer debt growing at a rapid clip. According to a recent report by Lending Tree, the total tab for consumer debt in the US is on track to reach a record $ 4 trillion by the end of this year.

The report, which analyzed data from the Federal Reserve on non-mortgage debts found that Americans owe more than 26 percent of their annual income to this debt, up from 22 percent in 2010 and higher than the levels we saw during the mid-2000s when credit was easily available. This rise in borrowing could put some American families on the path to financial trouble.

WHY IS DEBT SUCH A BAD THING?

Debt in and of itself is not a bad thing. Debt can be a tool that we use to accomplish goals buying a house. There are two important distinctions to make. First, the type of debt matters. Money owed on a mortgage is much better than money owed on a high interest credit card. Second, the ratio of debt or credit to income is key. Non-mortgage debt that exceeds 20% of your take-home pay is generally a cause for concern.

 WHAT TYPES OF CONSUMER DEBT ARE YOU MOST CONCERNED ABOUT AT THE MOMENT?

Auto lending trends show signs of future trouble, Tom. First, car buyers are borrowing larger amounts of money for longer periods. Last month the average monthly car payment hit a record high and the average length of an auto loan stretched to 69 months – nearly six years! This is one of the drivers of a higher ratio of non-mortgage debt to income levels the LendingTree report found.

On top of this, the subprime auto loans continue to be a problem for many Americans. While we have seen a reduction in lending to subprime borrowers, defaults on subprime auto loans at the highest rate since 1996, even exceeding that during the financial crisis according to a Bloomberg report. The delinquency rate for subprime auto loans more than 60 days past due reached 5.8%, according to Fitch’s data for March, its most recent data available.

Credit card debt is also something we need to watch. As lenders have made access to credit easier as the economy has recovered, we have seen credit card debt grow. The year-over-year loan growth rate for credit cards in Q1 of 2018 reached 6.7 percent, higher than the 5.3 percent for auto loans and 3.6 percent for residential mortgages.

Along with the rise in credit card debt, we have seen the number of late payments rise in the past few years. Because interest rates are on the rise, that means that borrowing will cost you more money and if you fall behind on your payments it will be harder to get caught up.

These two types of debt could cause consumers real pain if current trends continue.

WHAT STEPS SHOULD WE TAKE TO AVOID GETTING IN HOT WATER?

The easiest way to avoid problematic debt is to create a budget and stick with it. The most important part is to know where each dollar goes, because then you can prioritize spending and manage your expenses. If you already have debt that you want to tackle, start by taking a comprehensive look at all of your finances, and tally up your debts.

Next, rank them in order from the highest interest rate to the lowest. Once you have done that, put the most toward your highest interest-rate debt, since that debt is costing you the most in interest. If you are having trouble finding extra money to pay down your debt, turn to your budget. Look for areas to cut back. If you take a short-term drop in your wants – that new car or the latest iPhone – it will pay off financially.

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7 Money Tips to Slay Your Dream Summer Vacation

Summer is right around the corner, making this a prime time for travel adventures. According to WalletHub, 49% of Americans say they need a vacation more this year than last year, and 56% actually plan on acting on the urge. Whether it’s a simple state-to-state road trip or an international voyage, taking the time to get a bit of relax-relate-release from all the pressures of life is essential for one’s mental health and can strengthen family and friendship bonds.

Anyone who travels knows navigating the trip financially can be a bit challenging without proper research and planning. WalletHub reveals telling facts about this year’s travelers and a few insights into how to circumvent the worries and get to the fun.

7 Money Tips to Slay Your Dream Summer Vacation

  • Americans spend more than $ 245 billion on international travel each year. According to WalletHub, several banks and card issuers offer incentives including travel rewards or cut foreign transaction fees altogether. Some also offer services like insurance for lost luggage, free overnight replacement cards, and courtesy worldwide acceptance. (Check out this list on the most popular credit cards on the market that are travel-friendly for international treks.)

 

  • 47% percent of travelers worry about money, yet 35% of people think travel is worth getting into debt forExperts say planning makes perfect. Instead of going into debt, try creating a savings plan that you work throughout the year and make realistic goals for a vacation budget. Get realistic about what type of trip you can afford and try cost-saving sites like Groupon.

 

  • Search out cards that offer points for the essential purchases you make daily and you might have enough for that 2019 trek through Europe without spending a dime.

 

  • 40% of travelers have used credit card rewards to pay for at least part of a vacation. 

 

  • 50% of travelers worry about a weather issue, 45% about travel delays, 38% about theft and 33% about illness but the good news is that 70% of card issuers offer financial assistance for travel emergencies. Contact your bank or card issuer to find out your options before your trip or check out this list.

 

  • 40% of Americans think about post-vacation credit card bills while on vacay. Why struggle with future worries instead of enjoying the moment? Setting up automatic withdrawals and sticking to a true budget will help with the issue of being overwhelmed when it’s time to return to business as usual. Experts also recommend paying some bills before you leave so that you can put your mind at ease when it’s time to face upcoming ones.

The post 7 Money Tips to Slay Your Dream Summer Vacation appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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17 self-care tips for moms who have no freaking time or money

by

Maggie Downs

posted in Life

Self care is the buzzword du jour, I guess.

After I gave birth, everybody talked about it, including the doctor, my friends, my mom’s group, and a random person in the drugstore aisle. And while they meant well, I always wondered how?

How can you possibly care for yourself when time is in short supply, money is tight, and all your energy is given to the tiny human who depends on it?

Selfie of mom with sleeping baby

I do think it’s true that moms – and new moms especially – require a solid dose of self-care as a necessary part of caring for others.

But putting on the oxygen mask first before you care for others feels counterintuitive as a new mom. Moms routinely eat cold food as they feed their own children first, abstain from sleep to tend to another, and do without the resources they need in order to provide for the babies. It doesn’t surprise me that women report higher rates of extreme stress than men.

Whenever my well-intentioned acquaintances offered suggestions of self-care, like, “You should treat yourself to a pedicure!” I couldn’t help but laugh like a maniac. Yeah, I know my needs should come first, but who will take the baby? How will I pay for it? Is it worth the guilt I’ll feel for spending resources like time, energy, and cash on myself?

 

Woman swinging and sun shining by her crotch

There has to be a better way to self-care.

After 2.5 years of mothering, I think I’ve finally realized I needed to change my own definition of what it means to treat myself. Self-care doesn’t have to be a costly day at the spa. It doesn’t have to involve spending money. And it doesn’t always mean spending a large chunk of time away from the family.

It’s anything that returns your focus to you. It’s making room for at least one happiness in a day of chaos and poopy diapers. It’s recognizing that you and your health needs are essential.

And then it’s integrating this into your daily routine.

As the writer and activist Audre Lorde said, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation.”

Here are some suggestions for doing just that:

• Cross something off your to-do list.

• Play your favorite song and have a five-minute dance party with your child.

• Unplug from electronics for an amount of time, whether it’s a half-hour or an afternoon. Put the phone on vibrate. Don’t answer email. Turn off the news.

• Plan some healthy snacks ahead of time. Cut up veggies or fruit, make bean dip, freeze homemade juice popsicles, have a smoothie ready to go.

• Light a candle.

• Put flowers on the table.

• If your child is doing something crafty, join in. It’s fun to draw, scribble, paint, or get your hands in clay.

Paint palette with dirty brushes

• Cuddle an animal.

• Look at beautiful things, whether that means window shopping or an art museum.

• Use your old coffee grounds to make a bath scrub that feels decadent but costs almost nothing.

• Get some fresh air. (During my son’s naps, I often brought the baby monitor outside while I sat on the front steps. Just having a few minutes of air and sunshine made my entire day better.)

• Take a walk.

• Do something nice for someone else.

• Play on the playground. (My non-scientific opinion: Swings are the best.)

• Drink an extra glass of water.

• Stretch. Find some good videos on YouTube.

• Go to bed early.

How do you care for yourself?

Images by Maggie Downs, and Unsplash and iStock

This post was originally published in March, 2017.

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Real Money and Real Opportunity: The Impact of the Cryptocurrency Gender Gap

If you have been treating Bitcoin, cryptocurrency and block chain as background noise, it may be time to pay attention. This new form of financing is changing the way everyone lives, works, plays and donates—and a gender gap has already formed in who is benefitting from its rise.

2015’s Coinbase study showed that 90 percent of investors in Cryptocurrency were men. Forbes reported, for the first time ever, the richest people in cryptocurrency in February—a list that included 20 men and no women with at least $ 350 million in net worth. Coin Dance, which tracked Bitcoin Community Engagement by Gender, reported that engagement was 95 percent male as of this month. The upcoming BlockShow Europe 2018 in Berlin later this month, which boasts more than 3,000 participants, has 73 experts listed as speaking online; only 13 are women.

Still, notable innovative women are thriving in the cryptocurrency space. Tina Hui, CEO and founder at Follow The Coin and Brit Morin, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur in block chain, recently hosted a cryptocurrency event for 500 women attendees and live-streamed to another 16,000. A group in New York City called Women in Blockchain boasts more than 1,900 members. Coinreveiws listed 24 women in blockchain/crypto to follow in 2018. A 2017 survey by Myetherwaller showed that women make up 16 percent of traders on their site.

Women’s participation appears to be growing, but still a long way off from parity—and as possibilities in this realm grow, that means they’re missing out on myriad economic opportunities. The block chain backbone is changing the way we use global currency.

A new movie, “Lamborghini,” starring Antonio Banderas as car designer Ferruccio Lamborghini and Alec Baldwin as rival Enzo Ferrari for the first time will be financed by crypto currency. It will be co-produced through a blockchain based social entertainment platform that rewards viewers.

Two recent philanthropic gifts generated by cryptocurrency wealth also manifested into real cash. The Pineapple Fund, which plans to donate $ 86 million worth of Bitcoin, was launched by an anonymous donor who claims to be one of the 250 largest holders of the currency worldwide; a $ 1 million dollar gift was made to BitGive Foundation, which accepts donations in Bitcoin and uses block chain technology to trace transactions on a public platform in real time to show donors how funds are spent and ensure they reach their final destination. And the Chronicle of Philanthropy recently reported that a sole donor—Ripple, a cryptocurrency company—had fulfilled over 35,000 requests on DonorsChose, totaling $ 29 million in the cryptocurrency XRP, from teachers who needed money to cover expenses for their classrooms, marking the largest gift in the 18-year history of the platform with an impact that will be felt at one in six public schools nationwide.

Currency is the first application at the start of the economic transformation to disrupt how we use and manage ownership of assets, identity and much more—and gender diversity in cryptocurrency could result in more overall investments in causes affecting women and girls.

A more equitable cryptocurrency space and gender parity in block chain can drive solutions to  benefit women as part of the greatest wealth generator in the next decade. You can bet on it.

Cynthia Yung is Executive Director of The Boone Family Foundation and a Public Voices Fellow through The OpEd Project.

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The post Real Money and Real Opportunity: The Impact of the Cryptocurrency Gender Gap appeared first on Ms. Magazine Blog.

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Money Mondays: Get Ahead Of The Game By Saving For College Early

YOU JOIN US TODAY TO DISCUSS A SURVEY ABOUT COLLEGE SAVINGS. WHAT DOES IT TELL US?

According to Sallie Mae’s 2018 report, How America Saves for College, parents are making progress when it comes to saving for their children’s college education. The report was based on a survey of more than 2,000 parents of children under 18 and found that the average amount saved is $ 18,135. That is 10% more than the $ 16,380 average in 2016 and is the highest level of savings the survey has found since 2013.

THIS IS GREAT NEWS! WHAT ELSE DID THE SURVEY FIND?

There were two additional positive findings in the survey. First, parents are getting more realistic about paying for college. Specifically, many parents are coming to believe that the cost of college shouldn’t fall only on them, especially as the costs rise. Respondents said they expect to cover about one-third of the total cost of their child’s college costs.

Additionally, close to 60 percent of parents said they expected their child to pay for part of their education, up from around 50 percent in 2016. As parents become more realistic about the costs of college and what they can contribute, I believe we can expect to see more of them planning and focusing on other resources, so that is good news.

On top of this, there was another excellent finding in the survey: Parents are shying away from mortgaging their future to pay for their child’s education. Just 10% of parents said they plan to tap their retirement savings for their child’s education, down from 20 percent in 2016. Let’s hope this the start of a trend, Tom. As I have said many times, there are loans for college, but not for retirement.

WERE THERE ANY AREAS OF CONCERN?

Absolutely. First, the cost of college continues to move higher. According to the College Board, the average private nonprofit college charged $ 46,950 for tuition, fees and room and board in the 2017-2018 academic year, it is expected to continue to climb. This means that even as parents are saving more, they are not necessarily making a dent in the overall shortfall.

On top of that, just 39% of respondents reported that they were planning and saving for their child’s college expenses while, 17% said they were saving but not planning, and 44% said they were not saving at all.

Finally, and of particular importance for our community, there continues to be a significant gap between Black and Hispanic parents and white parents when it comes to college savings. The survey found the average college savings for Black respondents was $ 10,702 this year, compared to $ 23,460 for white families. This is another way the persistent wealth gap between Black and white Americans impacts our children’s future.

IF WE ARE ALREADY SAVING FOR COLLEGE, OR WE WANT TO START, WHAT DO YOU RECOMMEND?

 The most important thing to do is keep saving, or if you haven’t already, to start saving. Once you do, then you want to concentrate on growing that money. The two most common vehicles to do this are 529 plans and Coverdell Education Savings Accounts. 529 plans are offered in various states and can be used for undergraduate or graduate studies.

In these plans, you’re typically given a menu of investment options to choose from. Keep in mind, 529 plans do come with some restrictions. Funds can be withdrawn tax-free only for qualified education expenses such as tuition, books, and room and board.

Coverdell Education Savings Accounts also allow your investments to grow tax-free, as long as they are used for qualified education expenses. But, money from Coverdell accounts can also be used for K-12 expenses, and you can choose your own investment options.

Coverdell accounts are limited to a maximum of $ 2,000 per year, while 529 plans generally have higher contribution limits. Remember, if funds from 529 plans or Coverdell accounts are not used for qualified education expenses, there can be both taxes and penalties.

Remember, you want to be clear on the goals and objectives for these accounts. Consult your financial advisor to determine which type of account makes the most sense for your situation.

Mellody Hobson is President of Ariel Investments, a Chicago-based money management firm that serves individual investors and retirement plans through its no-load mutual funds and separate accounts. Additionally, she is a regular financial contributor and analyst for CBS News.

 

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7 Money Lessons from the Bible

The Bible is not only a source of inspiration, comfort, and a guide for living, but also a guide for how you should manage your money. Take a look at these money lessons from the bible.

7 Money Lessons from the Bible

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?”  —Luke 14:28

Lesson: Keep track of your money and think before you spend. Check out these money-saving apps that can make your financial goals a bit more doable.

money lessons from the bible

(iStock/Liderina)

 

 

“A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children.”  —Proverbs 13:22

Lesson: Leave wealth for the next generation. There are many resources for African Americans on building generational wealth. Rodney Sampson, founder of Opportunity Hub (OHUB), just announced at this year’s SXSW event, a number of programs he and others are launching to help the community build multigenerational wealth. Also, here is great information on how some are using life insurance to build generational wealth. Find other great wealth-building information here

(iStock/kali9)

 

 

“Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.”  —Proverbs 13:11

Lesson: Be honest in your financial dealings and always watch out for ‘get-rich-quick’ schemes. Here’s how not to lose money and fall victim to network marketing and pyramid schemes; multilevel marketing pitches; and scams that target those with home-based businesses.

money lessons from the bible

(iStock/RapidEye)

 

 

“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers, they succeed.”  —Proverbs 15:22

Lesson: Don’t be afraid or ashamed to seek financial advice. Seek out a money coach, read up on great money tips, and learn about good personal finance habits from a number of experts.

money lessons from the bible

(iStock/Steve Debenport)

 

 

“A man lacking judgement strikes hands in pledge and puts up security for his neighbor.”  —Proverbs 17:18

Lesson: Use caution when lending money, especially when official documentation is involved like co-signing a loan for someone. For example, here’s why you should never lend out your credit card. And these reasons will make you think twice before co-signing that loan.

money lessons from the bible

(iStock/fizkes)

 

“Give everyone what you owe him. If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”  —Romans 13:7 

Lesson: Stay on top of your debt, taxes, credit cards, loans (especially student loans)—fit payments into your monthly budget. Get some great tips from those who are ‘young, single, and free of debt’, and even greater advice on eliminating debt without going crazy.

money lessons from the bible

(iStock/:Rawpixel)

 

 

“To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.”  —Matthew 25:14-30

Lesson: It takes money to make money; invest, but invest wisely. Take advantage of that 401(k) at work, or, at minimum, make a commitment to put a specific amount of money away from every paycheck—even if it’s just $ 20.

money lessons from the bible

(iStock/AndreyPopov)

—Lisa Fraser, Samara Lynn, and Sequoia Blodgett also contributed to this article. 

 

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in December 2010. 

The post 7 Money Lessons from the Bible appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Clark Howard’s guide to saving money on your wedding

When money expert Clark Howard’s daughter was planning her wedding for May 2018, she and her fiancé used a lot of different money-saving strategies to hold down the cost while still putting on a lovely event.

The great news is that you can use those same strategies to plan your own fabulous wedding without going deep into debt.

RELATED: Clark Howard — How my daughter saved a ton of money on her wedding

Follow Clark’s advice to get married cheap and happy!

Wedding planning season is here, and couples are racing to plan the perfect nuptials in time for a late-spring or summer wedding date.

The average wedding today costs $ 33,391, according to the latest numbers. So before you get too deep into planning, you need to sit down and come up with a budget for your wedding. It can be $ 100 or it can be $ 30,000 or more.

The idea that weddings have to be frightfully expensive to be any good is an odd and amazing thing. I think about my in-laws who were married some 50 years ago and it cost them $ 25. Inflation adjusted, that would be like a $ 100 wedding today. — Clark Howard

Ultimately, it’s your budget that will determine whether your wedding is a courthouse ceremony or more like a coronation. It’s whatever makes sense in your life — or in your parents’ lives.

Such was the case with Clark when he gave his daughter a flat amount of money and told her whatever she didn’t spend, she and her husband could keep for the down payment on their first home.

As part of creating your budget, write down all the elements of a wedding you want — flowers, DJ, wedding favors, etc. —  and then start prioritizing them. That way you get a feel for what’s indispensable and what you can maybe do without.

“Just don’t do what I did to save money on the vehicle we drove off in [after getting married],” Clark warns of his marriage to wife Lane.

“My mother-in-law will probably never forgive me for renting a subcompact purple Mitsubishi that was $ 16 a day. I also remember the wedding photographer was so angry at me for ruining his exit shot. He wanted me to leave in his car, which was a Cadillac convertible. I said, ‘Nobody’s going to believe that it was really me leaving in a Cadillac convertible!’”

Without further ado, here are some ways you can keep it both cheap and classy…

The first rule of a cheap wedding is…Never say the word “wedding”

When you call around to vendors, don’t tell anybody you’re getting quotes for a wedding. Call it a ‘party’ because you’ll likely get a lower quote.

Don’t buy a million bridal magazines

Leading up to the big day, women love to thumb through wedding magazines. But the cost of those polished glossy magazines can really add up! Browse Pinterest for wedding ideas for free or just look at those magazines the library.

Besides, you won’t want a pile of those magazine hanging around after the big day anyway.

Be flexible on the venue

You can save the cost of a catering hall by holding the reception at your home or someone else’s home. Sometimes people who met at college will hold the reception on campus. Or, check to see if you can rent a museum or other public facility for your wedding.

Clark’s daughter and her fiancé looked at a lot of venues and found an event space in a public park. They got married outside and, luckily, had great weather.

You can save a lot if you hold the reception at a place that will let you bring in your own caterer and alcohol. In that case, consider buying the alcohol yourself at a discount store and bringing it to the reception.

Be flexible with your wedding date

Many event spaces have different charges on different days of week. Saturday and Sunday are typically high-priced days to get married. If you want to go really budget, consider a Tuesday or Thursday. If that’s too extreme, then maybe Friday is the right compromise between scheduling and pricing.

“I have nephew who got married on Monday because their venue in California was cheaper on that day,” Clark says. “When have you ever heard of somebody getting married on a Monday?!?”

Another way to flex to save money is to plan your wedding for a time of year that’s not traditionally associated with weddings. That could mean considering a January wedding instead of a June one.

Work with a canceled-wedding broker

It’s always a great idea to see what services you can pick up on the cheap. For instance, when engaged people break up and don’t make it to the altar, what happens to those non-refundable services they booked?

If they’re smart, they’ll sometimes sell the services they’ve paid for to a canceled-wedding broker. That helps recoup at least some of the cost.

But here’s the neat thing: Their loss can be your gain!

A site like CanceledWeddings.com buys broken contracts and offers them at a discount. This recent snapshot of their Twitter feed shows venues you could pick up on the cheap in Pennsylvania, Washington D.C. and California for summer and fall 2018 weddings:

canceled weddings

Consider your guest list carefully

You may have to make tough choices with your guest list based on your budget.

Since most catering facilities will charge you by the person, deciding how many people to invite will have a greater impact on the cost of the wedding than almost anything else.

Make your own invitations

Look for fonts that appeal to you online and use them to create your own invitations with a laser printer. Pinterest is perfect for this purpose.

Or, as an alternative, use online discount sites that can also make your Save the Date cards and invitations. This works especially well if you have a discount code that can bring the price down further.

Live band or DJ?

A DJ will be much cheaper than a live band. Ask about cash discounts or pay-in-advance discounts. It never hurts to negotiate, either. Just be sure to get the final agreement in writing.

If you want at least some live music on your big day, consider hiring a piano major from a nearby college or music school to play at the cocktail reception. Maybe you’ll luck out and even find a student jazz ensemble that will perform for much less than a professional band!

Opt for beer and wine — but not liquor

It’s much cheaper to serve just beer, wine and maybe one signature cocktail at your reception than to have an open bar serving liquor.

You could also consider offering a cash bar, or serving no alcohol at all.

Create your own décor

Joel, one of the producers on The Clark Howard Show, got married back in 2011. He and his bride Emily staged a very inexpensive wedding, working within the $ 12,000 budget from her parents.

Emily had fun creating the décor for the wedding. She crafted flowers out of paper instead of dedicating money to a huge flower budget.

(If you do opt for real flowers, ask the florist if you can buy the vessels in which to display them yourself. That could be a savings of $ 20 or $ 30 per vase or bowl right there if you find ones you like at a discount store.)

Joel says Emily liked the creativity behind the whole process and the saving money part just kind of fell in line with that. For their rehearsal dinner, they opted for catered BBQ and kept prices down that way.

Again, Pinterest is an amazing place to get ideas for DIY wedding projects. We’ve got a list of some of the many wedding items you can create and personalize on Pinterest here.

Sheet cake from a supermarket is a money-saver

A sheet cake rather than a multi-tiered cake will net you a big savings. Top off those savings by buying the sheet cake at Costco, Target or another grocery store bakery.

Clark’s daughter had a regular white icing cake from the Publix supermarket bakery. She bought four different sizes of round cakes and stacked them to dramatic effect to make one giant cake. The price tag? Under $ 40!

Don’t financially strap your bridesmaids

For the bridesmaids, try telling them a color (like navy or black) and encouraging them to wear an existing dress, rather than having them buy a one-time use only dress.

About the dress…

Buying a wedding dress off the rack is a great way to save money on this centerpiece of any bride’s wedding. H&M has wedding dresses for just a couple hundred bucks or less online. J. Crew and Ann Taylor sell wedding dresses, too.

Sample dresses at bridal stores are often discounted. You also shouldn’t rule out buying a dress secondhand or using a hand-me-down, particularly if you’re into either vintage styles or family heirlooms.

Renting a dress is another great option because then you don’t have to worry about storing or preserving the dress after your wedding. The reality is most people can’t tell if your dress is designer or from a chain. So, if you aren’t attached to a specific dress or designer, try a rental site like BorrowingMagnolia.com.

If designer is the way you want to go and you want to own, you can buy a name dress on deep discount from NearlyNewlywed.com.

Final thought

Does a glitzy wedding make the marriage? Not by a long shot.

In fact, recent research into the correlation between what you spend on a wedding and how long your marriage lasts shows the exact opposite.

If you insist on spending more than $ 20,000, you’re statistically going to get divorced at a rate that’s roughly 1.6 times higher than couples who spend between $ 5,000 and $ 10,000.

Want to have the longest-lasting and happiest marriage of all? The study shows you’ll have a lower-that-average rate of divorce if you spend $ 1,000 or less on your wedding.

Ultimately, the lavishness of the ceremony means nothing. It’s about who you’re marrying.

“If you’re a Bridezilla, I would encourage you to take a chill pill,” Clark says. “Remember that your vows and having a great life with your spouse are the most important things. A wedding can be very tasteful and it does not have to blow the budget.”

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6 ways to save money on your Memorial Day roadtrip

As millions of Americans prepare to hit the road for Memorial Day weekend, some extra savings could make the trip even sweeter. As you fill up your tank with fuel and grab your map (yes, you should still have a map), you’re going to want to make your trip as cost-effective as possible.

AAA says more than 42 million Americans will kick off the summer travel season by getting away for Memorial Day. The projection constitutes a 5% increase over last year and the most in a dozen years.

Before you go to the ATM and drain your bank account for travel expenses, there are several ways to trim your budget.

Here are 6 ways to save money while road-tripping

If you plan on hitting the road for the holiday, here are some tips on saving money along the way:

  • Rent a vehicle: You may be tempted to drive your vehicle on the long journey, but money expert Clark Howard says you’ll end up saving more money in the long haul if you rent a car.  “If you shop and find a good deal on a rental car, you put those trip miles and the depreciation that goes with it on that rental car instead of your own,” he says.
  • Pack a lunch: If you’re going for the long haul on a one-day trip (no more than 10 hours on the road, OK?) it’s a good idea to pack a few snacks. Nothing too complicated and messy (no barbecue ribs and no ginormous tacos that spill into your lap), so as not to distract your driving. This will not only save you and your family some pretty nice cash, it will also save you time.
  • Download some restaurant apps: If you choose not to pack your own food, you likely will opt to pull over and grab a burger or something similar from a fast-food chain. There’s nothing wrong with that – but why not save money doing it? The BK mobile app has several coupons, including a buy-one-Whopper-get-one-free deal. The McDonald’s app has weekly deals, including a free McCafe with purchase.
  • Bring a cooler: Nothing wastes time more than having to pull off the interstate and venture into some strange little town for a $ 2.99 Dasani. Bringing chilled water is a great idea, especially if there happens to be a traffic jam and you find yourself stuck in the middle of nowhere for an hour.
  • Skip lodging: If your trip is not too long, generally about 500 miles or eight hours, you can save a bunch of money by not having to secure lodging. No way do we recommend driving more than eight hours safely. Better yet, got family along the way? Pay an overnight visit and catch up.
  • Don’t speed: The #1 way to save money on a road trip is to obey the traffic laws. Nothing stinks more than being pulled over and hearing those eight frightening words: “Do you know how fast you were going?” Trust us: The money you save on that ticket could be the difference between the cost of driving vs. flying.

AAA Senior Vice President Bill Sutherland says although gasoline prices are rising, it will do little to sway driver behavior this holiday.

“The highest gas prices since 2014 won’t keep travelers home this Memorial Day weekend,” Sutherland was quoted as saying. “A strong economy and growing consumer confidence are giving Americans all the motivation they need to kick off what we expect to be a busy summer travel season with a Memorial Day getaway.”

RELATED5 ways to save money on gas

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What My Mother Taught Me About Gender and Money

I was recently reminded of a conversation I had a few days ago. I was with an amazing group of about eight women, including news legend Carol Jenkins, host of CUNY TV’s Black America. The conversation was “light”– gender stereotypes and the ways in which they have affected our lives. About halfway into it, we began to speak about our mothers.

My mom grew up on a farm in a small town in North Carolina near New Bern. Her family grew and sold tobacco, cotton, and lumber. They were poor, and all of the family members, including the seven children, worked on the farm.

I shared with the group how my maternal grandmother (unfortunately, we never met), insisted that the girls get a college education. The boys stayed home and worked the farm to help support their sisters.

Jenkins, whose family also grew up poor in the South, shared that she had the same experience. The group then discussed how this was a relatively common practice in black southern families “back in the day.” The reasoning, at least from my Mom’s family’s perspective, was that black women are going to be faced with so many challenges and disadvantages that being educated was crucial to their survival.

Our mothers and grandmothers “got it.” They knew that the world is not designed for women, particularly their daughters, to create lives in which they could thrive. They knew that the key to standing up to these challenges was education.

Even with education, however, the scales are greatly weighted against black women. A survey by The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation found that black women have a harder time getting loans and paying bills than other groups.

This is not ‘breaking news.’ We all know that black women are on the losing side of socioeconomics. They are at the bottom of the pay gap, making 64 cents for every dollar that white men make, and 70% of black women are trying to raise children on their own.

It’s more important than ever to empower ourselves with knowledge, and be the financial role model our children need us to be as we honor our own mothers.

Ask yourself:

  • What are the five most important things I want my child to learn about money?
  • What would I want my child to do differently when it comes to money?
  • What changes do I have to make in order to be the financial role model my child needs me to be?

Write down your answers and share your thoughts and feelings with your children, as one day they will be reflecting on the financial lessons you taught them.

Editor’s Note: This article originally published in May 2016

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The best sunscreens for your money

Consumer Reports is out with its latest rank of sunscreens, and it turns out you don’t have to pay big bucks to protect your skin from harsh UV rays.

Here’s what so funny: Two of the highest rated sunscreens that got ‘best buy’ recommendations turned out to be the cheapest ones the magazine tested!

RELATED: Clark’s road trip hack — Why renting a car could be smarter than driving your own

Great sunscreen protection doesn’t have to break the bank

Want the best sunscreen for your money? Check out these options…

Lotions

Equate Ultra Protection Sunscreen SPF 50

This Walmart store brand lotion is a ‘best buy’ recommendation from Consumer Reports with a score of 92 out of 100.

It costs only 47 cents an ounce — the cheapest unit price of any lotion tested!

Active ingredients include Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (13%), Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene (7%) and Oxybenzone (4%).

Scoring slightly higher in the lotion category was this Walmart favorite:

Equate Sport Lotion SPF 50

walmart sport lotion sunscreen

Walmart’s Sport Lotion sunscreen got a nearly perfect score at 99 out of 100 on the magazine’s tally. The cost was 63 cents per ounce, and it was a ‘best buy.’

This bottle has a slightly different formulation than its cheaper counterpart, with less Octocrylene (5%) and more Oxybenzone (6%) while all the other ingredients hold steady in the same quantities.

Coppertone Water Babies SPF 50

Not a fan of Walmart? Coppertone Water Babies scored a 95 out of 100, at a cost of $ 1.13 an ounce.

Yet we should note that the Coppertone has the exact same active ingredient composition — in the exact same ratios — as the Equate Ultra Protection Sunscreen SPF 50!

Why would you pay more than twice as much for the name brand when you can get the same formulation in a store brand?

Meanwhile, at the other extreme…

If you balked at the higher price of the Coppertone offering we just mentioned, it’s nothing compared to La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios 60 Melt-in Sunscreen Milk. We’re talking $ 7.20 per ounce on this one!!

In its defense, La Roche-Posay was the only brand to score a perfect 100 on the Consumer Reports test. But who can stomach that price?

Moreover, the La Roche-Posay had an active ingredient composition remarkably similar to the cheaper competition: Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (10.72%), Octisalate (3.21%), Octocrylene (6%) and Oxybenzone (3.86%).

Again, why pay way more for basically the same stuff?!?

Sprays

Trader Joe’s Spray SPF 50+

When it comes to sprays, this Trader Joe’s offering scored a perfect 100 on the Consumer Reports annual tally!

At $ 1 an ounce, it might be worth a look. Active ingredients include Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (15%), Octisalate (5%) and Oxybenzone (6%).

Yet there was a cheaper recommended option you may want to consider…

Equate Sport Continuous Spray SPF 30

At 83 cents an ounce, this Walmart store brand scored an 83.

Active ingredients include Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (10%), Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene (2%) and Oxybenzone (4%).

Conclusion

Clearly, it’s possible to get all the protection from the sun’s harmful rays you need and not break the bank.

Just be sure that whatever sunscreen you get says ‘broad spectrum’ on the label for maximum protection. That will ensure that it protects against both ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet A (UVA) rays.

Consumer Reports says UVB is the biggest culprit when it comes to sunburn and it also plays a role in skin cancer. UVA, meanwhile, is responsible for tanning and aging skin, in addition to contributing to skin cancer.

You also want to see the words ‘SPF 30’ (or higher) and ‘water resistance’ on the label of whatever you sunscreen you get. These are all federally regulated terms with specific meanings.

Some terms that aren’t regulated and are therefore practically meaningless — because the definition can change from manufacturer to manufacturer — include ‘Sport,’ ‘Dermatologist Recommended,’ ‘Natural,’ Mineral Based’ and ‘Reef Safe.’

That last descriptor made the news recently when Hawaii announced it would ban the sale of sunscreens with oxybenzone and octinoxate beginning in 2021. Both are chemical sunscreen ingredients believed to threaten coral reefs.

If you want an ecologically safe alternative that’s cheap too, Consumer Reports says you might consider clothing that’s UPF-rated for ultraviolet protection; sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide; or maybe even a chemical-based sunscreen that doesn’t contain oxybenzone.

RELATED: The #1 rule of cheap travel

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5 Pieces of Money Advice for Young Adults About to Face the Real World

Spring is in sight, and right about now, you’ll see that anxious look on the faces of college seniors and other young adults about to face the real world for the first time. Even if they’re fortunate enough to have a job lined up, they are far from secure financially, and often have no idea how to handle their finances.

If this is you or someone you know, adopting these financial habits now will take the stress out of newly independent adulthood and pay off big in the long run.

 

5 Pieces of Money Advice for Young Adults

 

1. Create a Spending Plan: A.K.A. Your Budget

 

It doesn’t have to be complicated–it’s just about listing and keeping track of all your expenses and income on a weekly or monthly basis. It may not be pretty, but it’s better than the stress of not knowing your financial status. Also, there are plenty of great budgeting tools that are easy to learn and use. A budget is key to gaining control of your spending, and a sense of control as you face the real world on your own for the first time will really reduce your anxiety.

 

2. Follow the First Rule of Personal Finance: Pay Yourself First

 

Begin building up your emergency savings right away, even if it’s only 20 or 30 dollars a month. Save at least 10% of every dollar you get from any source. This money should go into a fund for emergencies–i.e. job loss–only, and should be separate from all other savings and other accounts you have. Click here for dos and don’ts of creating and maintaining your emergency fund.

The earlier you get into the habit of paying yourself first, the easier it becomes, and the more secure you’ll be in the long run. Build these savings into your budget. It’s only smart to face the real world with a financial cushion, should you have to deal with an unexpected setback.

 3. Attack Your Student Loans–or, at Least, Don’t Ignore Them

 

If you have student loans, explore your repayment options, and exercise them, if you have to buy yourself time or reduce your payments. Whatever you do, don’t just ignore them. Not only are they not going to go away, they will just become bigger, thanks to interest and penalties, and even more intimidating over time. Besides, ignore them for too long, and your lenders may just take action and garnish payments from your paycheck, anyway.

Staying on top of your student loans is also important for another reason: protecting your credit, which can impact everything from employment consideration, to renting an apartment. It is much tougher to face the real world with poor credit.

 

4. Pay Your Bills–and Don’t Abuse Credit

 

Yes, paying your bills when they are due matters, as much as it matters to you that you actually get paid on pay day. In addition to avoiding late fees and other penalties you can’t really afford, 35% of your credit score is based on your payment history. (Click here to learn the other components of your credit score.)

Also, don’t abuse credit by using it to pay for things you don’t have the cash for. Keep credit card balances to no more than about 30% of the credit you have access to. That means if you have a credit card limit of $ 1,000, do your best to limit your balance owed to under $ 350.

 

5. Don’t Pass Up Job Benefits

 

If and when you get a job, don’t skip the employee benefits, including health insurance and making contributions toward a retirement savings account. Sure, your take home pay will be smaller, but the benefits are more valuable over time–especially if you get sick or injured.

 

The Bottom Line on Money Advice for Young Adults

 

The longer you put these off, the more costly it will be to you over time, and the more you will regret it. Bite the bullet and adopt good money habits early. You’ll get used to doing it sooner, and they’ll pay off in the long run. Best of all, you’ll be able to face the real world with optimism, not fear.

Editor’s Note: This article originally published February, 2017

 

 

 

The post 5 Pieces of Money Advice for Young Adults About to Face the Real World appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Money Mondays: Unemployment Drops Below 4%

TODAY WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE APRIL JOBS REPORT. WHAT DID WE LEARN ON FRIDAY?

The economy continues to be strong, and companies are continuing to hire workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic report last week, the economy added 164,000 new jobs last month, and the unemployment rate dropped to 3.9%, the lowest rate we have seen in 18 years. This is great news, but there were some mixed signals in the report on Friday, which I also want to highlight.

LET’S START WITH THE GOOD NEWS FROM THE REPORT; UNEMPLOYMENT IS THE LOWEST IT HAS BEEN IN NEARLY TWO DECADES. WHAT IS DRIVING THIS?

Put simply, companies are confident about the economy and their future, and as a result they are hiring. Whether you look at the white collar professional services sector, the healthcare sector or the construction industry, job growth has been the name of the game in recent years. In fact, April was the 91st straight month the US economy added jobs.

And economists expect it to continue. A Wall Street Journal article noted that we are likely to see the unemployment rate continue to trend downward in the months ahead. Currently the Fed is forecasting a 3.6% rate next year as the labor market continues to tighten.

YOU NOTED THERE WERE SOME MIXED SIGNALS. WHAT WERE THEY?

While we certainly cannot complain about a positive jobs report, there are some signals that the pace of job growth is slowing. April’s 164,000 jobs number was well below the 191,000 the economy averaged over the past year. This could be due to a couple of factors. First, companies are simply struggling to find workers. It could also be a result of employers seeing more uncertainty in the future, as concerns of trade tensions with China, rising operating costs and interest rates are considered. Indeed, hiring in the manufacturing sector has slowed since President Trump has ramped up his rhetoric concerning trade.

Beyond the pace of hiring, we are still not seeing wages grow as fast as expected. Last month, wage rose 2.6% from a year earlier, extending a stretch of sluggish growth that many had hoped would come to an end as the labor market tightened. The last time unemployment was this low, it forced employers to raise wages as they worked to attract and retain worker, and wage growth was 4.4% year over year. We have not really seen that recently, and that continues to be a point of concern.

WHAT IS BEHIND THIS SLOW WAGE GROWTH, MELLODY?

That is a great question, SKIP, and there are a number of things people have attributed it to. One of the prime culprits is the labor force participation rate. In 2000, the labor force participation rate was just over 67%. It has been falling ever since, most sharply in the wake of the Great Recession. Many of those people who had stopped looking for work for several years are now returning to the work force, sometimes for lower wages due to the large unemployment span, which may be keeping wage growth low. Economists have also pointed to the decline of union and the rise of the gig economy as factors. And finally, some companies have become accustomed to giving smaller raises in recent year.

WE HAVE SEEN A LOT OF TALK FROM SOME FIGURES ABOUT THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE FOR MINORITIES. WHAT DID THIS REPORT TELL US?

While the President and others have definitely touted the unemployment rate for Black workers – currently at 6.6% in April, the lowest level on record – it is still considerably higher than other cohorts. Last month, it was nearly double the unemployment rate for whites – 3.6% – and higher than the 4.8% among Hispanics. So clearly there is still room for improvement.


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Mellody Hobson is President of Ariel Investments, a Chicago-based money management firm that serves individual investors and retirement plans through its no-load mutual funds and separate accounts. Additionally, she is a regular financial contributor and analyst for CBS News.

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Stephen Colbert Goes After the Stormy Daniels Hush Money: ‘I Had Sex With Donald Trump’

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Wednesday night on Sean Hannity’s Trump Pravda program, Rudy Giuliani—a man who knows a thing or two about scandalous affairs—put his foot directly into his mouth.

When asked about Trump attorney/fixer Michael Cohen’s $ 130,000 hush money payment in the final weeks of the presidential election to porn star Stormy Daniels, who’s alleged that she had an affair with Trump mere months after first lady Melania gave birth to their son Barron, Giuliani said, “… they funneled it through a law firm… and then the president repaid it.” (Don’t forget, both Cohen and Trump had repeatedly denied that the president knew about the payoff and had reimbursed Cohen, with Trump even denying it on tape to a group of press onboard Air Force one.)

Enter Stephen Colbert.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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8 ways to save money at andThat! stores

You’re probably familiar with all the usual chain dollar store suspects — Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Family Dollar, 99-Cents Only.

But did you know there’s a new retailer that can qualify as a secret fifth dollar store chain — and that it masquerades as a home decor emporium?!

That’s the big secret about andThat! stores, a corporate cousin to the better-know likes of Bed, Bath & Beyond, Cost Plus World Market, buybuy BABY and others.

Here’s what Clark.com found when we visited one andThat! location…

RELATED: Cost Plus World Market: 8 ways to save money

How to save money at andThat! stores

With only a handful of locations in five states, andThat! isn’t a well-known name. But it is worth a look if you have one near you  and you like home decor stores that offer more than just the standard home decor — like alcohol, dry food and even pet food.

1. Know how to shop andThat! as a dollar store alternative

Dollar stores have way more inventory priced at a buck than andThat! stores do. But there were some major finds with the $ 1 price point jumping out at us when we walked the aisles.

$  1 aluminum bakeware

Among the more unique items we saw were packs of monogrammed facial tissue and vintage sodas for just $ 1.

$  1 vintage sodas

monogrammed facial tissue

And if the inner rebel in you doesn’t want to pay outrageous prices for candy at the movie theater, andThat! has a big selection of those giant boxes priced just right!

$  1 theater candy

2. Look for the 90% off rack

Rather than centralizing its clearance stuff, andThat! has it located at several different points throughout the store.

Right when we entered, we saw an area with a variety of items priced at 90% off the original price.

90% off clearance

That steep clearance price meant some items like this book we priced as low as 48 cents. That beats the pants off Dollar Tree’s $ 1 books!

cheap book

3. Shop the seasonal clearance section

andThat! was unloading its Easter gear for 75% off the original price at the location we visited.

Monogrammed Easter egg dying kits, anyone?

75% off seasonal clearance

4. Stop and shop the foyer

When you’re coming in from the parking lot, you go through the first set of automatic doors. But before you even cross the threshold of the store proper, there’s a foyer with a ton of promotionally priced merchandise.

This area is so thick with deals, you could practically trip over them!

And there’s that $ 1 price point again, this time on 14-ounce bottles of fancy boutique-style hand soap in the photo below.

$  1 soap at kennesaw andthat store

5. Don’t forget to check outside for bargains, too

andThat! lines up a lot of furniture and other deals along the store’s exterior. We found 98-cent windshield washer fluid and plant stands on sale, among other things.

That stands were marked down from $ 5.49 to prices starting at just $ 2.28.

windshield washer fluid plant stands

6. Some people come just for the coffee

andthat coffee

The coffee sales, that is.

One associate told Clark.com that some shoppers come just to load up on coffee like the Victor Allen’s 42-count single serve brew cups when they’re on sale for $ 9.99 each.

In fact, we saw one woman pile five boxes in her hands, all the way up to her chin, as she walked to checkout. The woman told us by pairing the sale price with a $ 10 coupon, she’s able to pay only $ 40 for all five boxes.

You can get the same coupon, too. Just text DEALS to 47283 for your $ 10 off a purchase of $ 50 coupon.

So how good of a deal is that price on coffee? Well, Amazon offers the same product in the same size at a much-higher price of $ 21 per box.

That’s a big savings!

7. Look for handwritten furniture markdowns

Some sets are marked down in red and they’re priced to move. This four-piece set was discounted by 20% off the original sale price.

furniture markdown 2

Meanwhile, if you like scratch-and-dent furniture, there’s no official ‘sold as is’ furniture section like there is at the store’s corporate cousin, World Market.

But after speaking with the andThat! manager, we learned that any scuffs or marks on the furniture could get you an additional discount at management’s discretion.

Hey, it never hurts to ask.

8. Check out the free phone charging

So this one’s not necessarily a way to save money, but it is a nicety for shoppers.

andThat! makes a free phone charging kiosk available for customers near the front of the store.

free phone charger

There are eight slots for phone charging. Your mobile phone number becomes your secure code to lock yours up and let it get some juice while you’re shopping.

free phone charger2

clark.com

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Comcast’s wireless service is such a good deal it’s losing the company money

Xfinity Mobile unlimited plans

Comcast recently started offering its own wireless service under the brand of Xfinity Mobile. The actual mobile service is provided by Verizon, and the plans are surprisingly cheap and flexible. We’ve said before that Xfinity Wireless is a good deal for Comcast subscribers, and as it turns out, it’s such a good deal that Comcast is losing money.

In its latest earnings report, Comcast posted a $ 189 million loss for Xfinity Mobile, despite adding 196,000 new subscribers in the quarter. Analysts expected the loss — they actually expect Comcast to burn through $ 1.2 billion in the first 18 months — but this loss exceeded expectations.

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Money Smart Week Helps Keep You in the Black

During Money Smart Week, April 21–April 28, more than 1,000 libraries across the country will host educational events that focus on financial issues such as the following:

  • first-time home buying
  • home renovation loans
  • personal spending plan (otherwise known as a budget!)
  • the property tax appeal process
  • financial aid packages and how to evaluate them
  • the right Medicare plan
  • the basics of wills and trusts
  • options for tax-free savings
  • charitable tax strategies, and more

“During Money Smart Week, libraries in rural, suburban, and urban communities are helping people examine their personal finances, whether that involves estate planning or budgeting for groceries,” says Felton Thomas Jr., executive director and CEO of the Cleveland Public Library.

“Libraries will use fliers and books and displays, and provide programming that will help their specific community, by connecting patrons with experts and advisers,” he continued.

Library patrons—and you don’t need a library card unless you’re checking out materials—will meet with money experts, not librarians.

Partnering with the Federal Reserve Bank in Cleveland and the Veterans Administration, the Cleveland Public Library has designed its Money Smart Week to work with veterans.

“It will be like a fair,” says Thomas, who is also a past president of the Public Library Association. “We want to get them signed up for their VA benefits. There will be different educational institutions, reps from the VA, and OhioMeansJobs [an employment initiative in Ohio].”

In Chicago, the public library is focusing on those in the sharing economy, such as Uber, Lyft, or Airbnb, who are now figuring out tax questions.

“IRS Taxpayer Advocates will be on hand to help patrons in the sharing economy,” Thomas said. “Other libraries are focusing specifically on children 5–8 years of age learning money management.”

In Pickerington, Ohio, a library will have a grocery store providing tips on how to manage the food budget.

“Every library is doing what it thinks is important for their community,” Thomas says, noting that no one socioeconomic group is targeted. “Everyone can learn to budget their funds better.”

“Money Smart Week shines a light on what libraries do,” says Thomas. “Libraries do this kind of programming all the time.”

To learn about activities at your local library, visit the Money Smart Week website.

The post Money Smart Week Helps Keep You in the Black appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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The Money Behind Coachella and Beyoncé’s Epic Performance

Despite being notorious for attracting the most reprehensibly privileged, culture-appropriating people on the planet, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival rakes in big bucks each year. Every April, thousands of music lovers convene in Indio, California, for the two-weekend concert that features an array of artists, from superstars like The Weekend to up-and-coming indie artists.

#Beychella

A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on


This year, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter became the first African American woman to headline the mega-fest. On Saturday, Queen Bey delivered a dynamic, unapologetically black performance that paid tribute to HBCUs, Malcolm X, Nina Simone, and African queen Nefertiti. It was marked by a live marching band, an army of 100 dancers, costume changes, and cameos from Destiny Child, Jay-Z, and Solange. It was epic and it likely cost hundreds of thousands of dollars—if not a million—to produce.

Following the performance, which has been dubbed “Beychella,” the Grammy Award-winner announced that she will donate $ 100,000 to four different HBCUs. As part of her BeyGOOD initiative, one student Tuskegee University, Bethune-Cookman University, Xavier University of Louisiana and Wilberforce University will receive $ 25,000 each for the 2018-2019 academic year.

Money Moves

Just days before hitting the stage at Coachella, Belcalis “Cardi B” Almanzar revealed that she will earn $ 70,000 for each of her two performances. However, because she planned on spending around $ 300,000 of her own money on her stage set, she’ll actually take a financial hit. She explained during a recent appearance on SiriusXM’s Hip Hop Nation that the festival was booked in 2017 when she wasn’t quite as popular, which, therefore may have compromised her star power to negotiate higher pay.

“We booked Coachella like six or seven months ago,” she said on April 10. “So, I’m getting paid for Coachella like 70 [thousand] a day. I’ve been booked for this. Then it’s like, I have to invest so much money on my stage set—my own money that I have to go to Wells Fargo and write a check. It’s crazy. Almost $ 300,000.”



 

This left us wondering if Cardi B received $ 140,000 then how much did Beyoncé earn minus the overhead for her over-the-top production costs?  According to Quora, the amount that artists are paid to perform at music festivals depends on their popularity, the festival’s budget, and how many slots are open in the lineup.

The price for an artist or a band also fluctuates depending on how successful they were the year before. “You can imagine that a band that releases an album right before a festival lineup is arranged will probably earn more than if they didn’t put out an album for a whole year,” writes Quora. It continues:

“Another simple way to evaluate how much bands might be getting paid at a festival is by looking at the lineup post. The bigger the font the bigger the cash! Bands at the bottom of the lineup in the tiniest font sometimes might not even get paid much if they get paid at all because the organizers of the festivals are really doing these bands a favor. Not only are they getting a ton of exposure by being on a lineup with other high profile names, they’re also going to get a huge audience at the festival.”

Last year, it was reported that Beyoncé received $ 1 million just for initially signing on to perform at Coachella in 2017 even without performing thanks to an insurance policy that is commonly signed by entertainers. Because she was pregnant with twins, she ended up canceling. According to a policy obtained by TMZ, the insurance covers an artist’s fee for “incapacity,” which typically includes complications from a high-risk pregnancy.

The Business of Coachella

The festival is run by billionaire Republican donor Philip Anschutz, the founder of the festival’s parent company Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG). AEG and AEG Live operate Goldenvoice, the company that launched Coachella in 1999. Despite the controversy surrounding Anschutz and his conservative views, the festival’s popularity and profit have soared over the last decade, making it the most profitable festival in the U.S. Back in 2007 it generated $ 16 million when it was still a one-weekend show. Five years later, the festival earned $ 47.3 million in 2012 after moving the celebration to two weekends.

In 2015, Coachella made just over $ 84 million in ticket sales and became the highest-grossing music festival in the world that year. That does not include the revenue it generated from merchandise and food and beverage sales. It topped $ 100 million in earnings in 2016 and then again in 2017 when it profited a record-breaking $ 114 million.

The festival will likely earn big bucks once again this year since its pricey tickets—which ranged from $ 429 for general admission to nearly $ 1,000 for VIP passes—sold out within a few hours after they went on sale on Jan. 5, 2018.

The post The Money Behind Coachella and Beyoncé’s Epic Performance appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Facebook COO: Privacy would cost money

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3 Negotiation and Money Moves Success Stories For Women

Salary negotiation is a partial solution to the gender pay gap, yet many women struggle with making the ask for more money, flexibility, or opportunity. We caught up with a few corporate professionals and women entrepreneurs for their best negotiation tips.

Nathalie Cazeau, Recruiter, Capstone Hill Search Limited

Women have so much to offer, yet we always find ourselves hesitant to talk about our worth and values when it comes to negotiating, which hurts us in the long run. When offered a salary, don’t be afraid to present a counteroffer, especially if the one offered is not between 15% to 20% above your current salary. Have a range in mind, but always seek a salary offer at the top of the range. For instance, if you’re seeking a salary of $ 75,000, don’t propose a range of $ 70,000- $ 75,000, because the employer will most likely lowball you.

Jennifer (Young) McNeil, Project Manager, PulseLearning Global

While I was interviewing and hiring as a project manager at Computer Sciences Corp. and C2 Technologies, I was always disappointed when a woman would accept the first offer I made. In my experience, men never accepted the first offer. I always had at least another $ 2,000 a year or so I could offer a candidate, without even going back to my boss for approval. Or I could agree to a one-time hiring bonus. Or maybe your clincher is an additional vacation. Don’t be afraid to ask. No one withdraws an offer because you asked for more!

You will never catch up if you don’t start on even footing. Ask for a raise when you’ve earned it. Twice I was given pseudo-promotions—the kind with more responsibility, but no job title or salary increase. The first one, I refused to take until I got the title. If I were moving from being the programmer to the supervisor, I would have the supervisor title or no deal. Responsibilities without authority never work well. The second time, after proving I could do the job, I asked for the raise I’d earned.

Vallicia Lowe, Business Technology Delivery Manager at Accenture

As a consultant, I work with clients in different locations. Last year I had the opportunity to work on my first project away from home. I have a 3-year-old daughter, so I couldn’t see myself being away from her for so long. Since every client must sit down with the consultant prior to the start of the project, I decided to do an early breakfast meeting. Initially, we discussed our experiences and some of her daily concerns in her role, basically what keeps her up at night. I asked what their immediate needs were and long-term plans for their future development. I made it very clear how I could help, my only concern was being away from home. I asked would it be possible for the company to provide corporate housing rather than a hotel. The client understood and I was able to live with my daughter in a beautiful luxury apartment around the corner from the office. It was the most liberating feeling in the world to stand up for myself and be able to effectively communicate my ability to meet my clients’ short-term and long-term needs.

I start the negotiation highlighting how I can support the business or organization and the added value I can provide outside of the scope of the role. Also highlighting how most businesses pay two people for the level of service you’re able to provide is helpful. If you can clearly relay a story on how you’ve accomplished this in the past, I believe it truly helps the client understand the value you add.

I’ve learned to have to faith in the biblical saying, “You have not because you ask not.” Meaning, if you don’t ask you’ll never know what you could’ve received.

Stay tuned for our women entrepreneurs. 

The post 3 Negotiation and Money Moves Success Stories For Women appeared first on Black Enterprise.

Money | Black Enterprise

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Maybe Amazon isn’t the best company to be teaching teens about money management

Amazon Checking Account

On top of looking to sell you everything available on this planet, and then some – as long as your product doesn’t compete with theirs – Amazon is reportedly looking to become your banker too. The company is currently looking at ways to offer customers Amazon checking accounts, with teens being the primary target.

Amazon isn’t only looking to get a hold of the younger audience, and turn teens into Amazon customers and, in time, lock them into the Amazon shopping experience. But also to make a buck in the process. And it looks like teens are open to doing their banking with Amazon, even if that involves a monthly fee.

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Maybe Amazon isn’t the best company to be teaching teens about money management originally appeared on BGR.com on Thu, 29 Mar 2018 at 23:34:39 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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Millennial Moves: Luvvie Ajayi shares some of her money lessons

If you’re serious about managing your money and taking actionable steps to reaching your financial goals, it might help to get some insight from Luvvie Ajayi. The New York Times best-selling author, advocate, blogger, TED speaker, award-winning writer, and now, podcaster, chatted finances on the “MAKERS Money” series last week, hosted by Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and co-Founder of Ellevest, the digital investment and planning company geared toward women.

Ajayi captured the attention of many after the instant success of her 2016 best-selling book, I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual, a series of her thoughtful and witty essays that dished up some much-needed social commentary and called out bad behavior in our current culture. Her straightforward and sassy voice attracted Oprah Winfrey, who selected her as part of the inaugural SuperSoul 100 list, and Shonda Rhimes, who in 2017 acquired the rights to Ajayi’s book in an effort to develop her first comedy series for cable TV.

Ajayi’s inspirational TED Talk on how to get comfortable with being uncomfortable has over 1 million views and counting. And recently, she also made headlines for co-creating blackwomeninpolitics.com, an online database of all the black women running for office in 2018.

 

With such an extensive list of accomplishments and a message that attracts the masses, we figured the BE audience would be interested in hearing what she has to say about managing finances. The women behind MAKERS were interested too.

“The future of women’s leadership is alive and well and there was no better way for us to showcase that leadership than to have a stand out like Luvvie Ajayi on the “MAKERS Money” series, said Nancy Armstrong,  executive producer of the “MAKERS Money” series and executive producer at MAKERS, the media platform that showcases the stories of trailblazing women. The series, created and produced by MAKERS and Yahoo Finance in partnership with Ellevest, features weekly advice for women from top female financial experts.

When given the opportunity to catch up with Ajayi in light of the “MAKERS Money” episode, which you can find here, we couldn’t say no. The influencer and thought-leader shared some of her personal experiences with money and why it’s important to gain and improve money management skills.

How important are money and financial health to you? Why?

Financial health is important because when you have a strong financial platform, that’s one less thing to worry about, especially when you’re running your own business.

You said the stupidest thing you did with your money was to keep it in a savings account. How so? And how did you change that?

We’ve been told too many times to put our money in a savings account, we say that’s all we need to do. But there the money is rarely growing, there’s a less than 1% growth. In that sense, it’s like you’re losing money and it’s not doing anything, it’s just stagnant and losing value. When I started making money I realized I could be doing more with it. When you’re investing your money, you can easily get a 4% return.

What would you say to the woman who is considering investing her money but is afraid to?
I would say get a financial adviser, you don’t have to jump into the well by yourself. If you’re not an expert at something you’re bound to feel less confident at doing it, so you want to get more educated and know what you’re putting your money into, know what it means to invest. A financial adviser will walk you through it easily.

You said the smartest thing you did with your money was to buy your own home. Why was that the smartest thing you did, and why is that so important to you?

It’s one of the biggest kinds of investments and it’s a commitment. I think it’s a goal people should strive for but I don’t necessarily think that not owning a home makes you a bad financial planner; it’s different for everybody.

As you were in your journey from being laid off to becoming the successful, influential person you are today, were there any money habits that you adhered to? How did you address the financial uncertainty that comes with transitions like that?

I tried to live below my means at that time. I tried to save for a time, putting some money away, and that’s the habit you need.

Who would you say is your best financial adviser?

There is not just one person, I did a lot of studying, read a lot of books, read a lot of websites. But it would probably be my mom—she’s always lived below her means too, so I probably got some of that from her. she was never wasteful.

Self-care and finances, do you see a correlation between the two? How can we use our finances and the habits we develop around our money as a form of self-care? 

[The money-saving habits] provide something less for you to worry about. You’ll have disposable income, you can then go get massages or facials on a regular basis. Everything is tied to money, especially self-care. And when you have disposable income, you have more room to do the things that might increase your value of life.

Why do you think that women should have conversations about money & finances?

I’m glad to have had the opportunity to talk about finances on MAKERS. A lot of times men are told how to grow and spend their money, and women are often left out of that conversation.

 

The post Millennial Moves: Luvvie Ajayi shares some of her money lessons appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Weinstein Owes Money to Malia Obama, David Bowie and Thousands More

Bryan Bedder

David Bowie, Malia Obama, and Robert De Niro are among the thousands of creditors who are owed money by The Weinstein Company, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this week following the Harvey Weinstein sex scandal. However, it has been revealed harassment victims may get nothing from the troubled corporation.

An exhaustive 394-page list of creditors has been published as part of the company’s filings.

The list includes dozens of A-list stars such as Pierce Brosnan, Jennifer Lawrence, Seth Rogen, and Heidi Klum.

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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Money Mondays: How Social Media Affects Your Spending

You are here this morning to talk about a very interesting factor affecting the financial behavior of many Americans. What is it?

 We all have heard that phrase keeping up with the Jones’, but not many of us give much thought to how this phenomenon has changed in our era of ubiquitous technology and connection. As it turns out, the answer – specifically for millennials – is a lot. A new survey from Allianz Life has found the tendency for social media users to broadcast a very curated view of their life has financial ripple effects for many Americans.

What did the survey find?

 The survey found that FOMO (fear of missing out) drives many Americans to make poor financial decisions, and the most susceptible Americans are millennials. The report states that social media “has become the millennials’ financial Achilles’ heel.” Of the millennials survey respondents, 55% reported experiencing a fear of missing out, and 57% spent money they hadn’t planned to because of what they saw on their social media feeds.

Nearly 9 in 10 (88%) said they believe social media causes people to compare their wealth/lifestyle with others. But it is not just the younger generation. Seven in ten (71%) of Gen Xers and just over half of Baby Boomers (54%) responded the same way. And 61% of millennial respondents reported feel inadequate about their own life and what they have because of social media, with half of millennials claiming to have spent more money going out than they do on rent or mortgage.

 Is this yet another sign of millennials being fiscally irresponsible?

 You know, Tom, the funny thing is millennials do not really deserve this reputation. Witnessing their parents deal with financial hardship during the Great Recession had a profound impact on this generation, and they have taken lessons from those experiences to improve their own financial habits.

In fact, the survey found that 77% feel financially confident (compared to only 64% of Gen Xers) and 48% of those with a 401(k) contribute 10% or more on a monthly basis – the highest percentage of any other generation.

On top of this, 41% of Millennials reported they set aside a portion of their monthly earnings for savings, and 58% believe saving for retirement is a basic necessity. Finally, they are very likely to seek out help. Forty percent of millennials said they have a financial professional and work closely with them, compared to just 25% of Gen Xers.

What lessons should we take away from these findings?

All of us need to be aware of the pressures that we are exposed to when on social media. I think we are often very away of the barrage of ads we see on various platforms, but we do not necessarily think about what we see from those we are connecting with. If you are a millennial, I urge you to embrace the stock market. The survey found that nearly 6 in 10 Millennials remain skeptical of the stock market. Investing in the stock market is the best way to grow wealth for retirement.

If you are a Gen Xer or a Baby Boomer, this survey tells you there are a number of places to step up your game. Whether it is setting aside money for savings, or contributing more to your retirement, if you are in these generations, you must take these lessons to heart. Having a safety net and building your nest egg are even more important when you are making the most money and getting closer to retirement.

Mellody Hobson is President of Ariel Investments, a Chicago-based money management firm that serves individual investors and retirement plans through its no-load mutual funds and separate accounts. Additionally, she is a regular financial contributor and analyst for CBS News.

 

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UMBC’s Historic March Madness Upset Made a Bunch of Other Universities a Ton of Money

UMBC made more than history in the NCAA Tournament.

By becoming the first No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1, the Retrievers made about $ 1.7 million for the America East Conference. Loyola-Chicago’s buzzer-beating run to the Sweet 16 will be worth double that to the Missouri Valley Conference. Nevada’s consecutive comebacks were also worth about $ 3.4 million for the Mountain West. The MVC and Mountain West will pocket at least as much from NCAA Tournament units as the Pac-12, which had three teams in the field, all bounced after one game each.

Units are what the NCAA calls its revenue distributions from the basketball performance fund, which rewards teams for tournament performance. The NCAA Tournament generates more than $ 700 million in revenue for the association and its schools, the vast majority from its media rights deal with CBS and Turner.

Units for this year’s tournament are worth approximately $ 273,000, according to the NCAA, but their value ends up being greater than that.

The units are paid out annually each of the next six years, increasing in value each year by about 2-3 percent. The payout system means that one upset by UMBC should be worth more than $ 1.7 million. Units are earned every game a team appears in, with the exception of the first game played by an automatic qualifier and the NCAA championship game.

The money goes to the conferences, unless the school is an independent in basketball. The NCAA encourages equal distribution by conferences among its members, but it is not required. Most do.

The Missouri Valley has in the past received multiple bids, but only champion Loyola-Chicago got in as an automatic qualifier this year. The MVC distributes the units revenue equally among 10 members — though the NCAA Tournament participants receive an additional half-share to cover travel expenses, MVC spokesman Ryan Davis said Sunday.

The Atlantic Coast Conference has been rolling in units in recent years, with a total of 64 from 2015-17, worth more than $ 100 million . This season, the ACC got nine teams into the field, more than any other conference, and placed four teams in Sweet 16. Two of them — Duke and Syracuse — play in the regional semifinals, limiting the conference’s earning potential.

The Big 12 also placed four teams in the round of 16. The Southeastern Conference and Big Ten each have two.

For the ACC — and other Power Five conferences — NCAA units account for less than 10 percent of conference revenue. The ACC reported $ 373.4 million in revenue for fiscal year 2016 — most of which comes from a television rights deals with ESPN — and paid out about $ 25 million to each of its members.

For low-major Division I schools such as UMBC and the eight other members of the America East, those units are real money.

UMBC’s athletic budget for 2017 was $ 9.3 million. NCAA records from 2010-15 show the America East earned a total of eight units and $ 2,086,514 in basketball revenue.

Over that same period of time, the Missouri Valley earned 21 units and $ 5,477,099. The Mountain West earned 33 and $ 8,606,870.

All that money helps explain why the American Athletic Conference lured tournament-regular Wichita State from the MVC last year, despite the Shockers not having a football team, and why the Mountain West is trying to strike a similar deal to pull Gonzaga out of the West Coast Conference.

The Shockers went out in the first round, upset by Marshall, Conference USA’s only tournament team. But Gonzaga is back in the Sweet 16 after padding the WCC coffers with a Final Four appearance last year.

Sports – TIME

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This New Hamilton-Dear Evan Hansen Mashup Is Raising Money for the March for Our Lives Movement

Lin-Manuel Miranda and Ben Platt joined musical forces to help raise money for the upcoming March for Our Lives organized by the student survivors of last month’s Parkland high school shooting.

The Broadway duo released a song titled “Found/Tonight,” which combines Hamilton’s “Story of Tonight” and Dear Evan Hansen‘s “You Will Be Found.” The track is inspired by the movement started by Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students in the aftermath of the shooting that left 17 dead in February. A portion of the proceeds will go to the upcoming March for Our Lives rally, a nationwide protest on March 24 initiated by Parkland shooting survivors that calls for gun control.

“These students are paving the way for future generations and it’s so inspiring to see young people standing up for what is probably the most important cause right now in this country, and demanding action,” Platt said in a statement.

The song instantly shot up to the top of the iTunes’s Top Songs by Monday morning, where it is available to purchase for $ 1.29. The Hamilton-Dear Evan Hansen mashup is also available for free on streaming platforms like Spotify. A representative from Atlantic Records did not immediately respond to a request from TIME inquiring how much money the song had raised for the March for Our Lives initiative thus far.

The song is part of Miranda’s monthly “Hamildrops” releases and was produced by Alex Lacamoire, who served as the musical supervisor on both Tony Award-winning musicals.

While from fundamentally different shows set hundreds of years apart, the two songs grapple with adolescence and community. Hamilton‘s “Story of Tonight” depicts the burgeoning revolutionaries on the cusp of fighting for America’s independence reflecting on impact and legacy. “You Will Be Found,” written by Dear Evan Hansen‘s Justin Paul and Benj Pasek, follows a teenager — originally played by Platt — struggling with social anxiety and using a newfound platform to tell others they are not alone.

Cameron Kasky, one of the Stoneman Douglas students leading the charge on gun control, tweeted that the two musical theater stars “did something amazing.” “I also cried,” he added.

The collaboration also appears to have also struck a chord with musical theater fans. Indeed, Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen won numerous Tony Awards in 2016 and 2017, respectively, and continue to be some of the hottest Broadway tickets since. Miranda and Platt have since left their shows for other projects.

Since Hamilton catapulted Miranda’s fame, the performer and songwriter has come to use his platform to spread awareness and raise funds for different causes. After the devastating Hurricane Maria ripped through Puerto Rico and the Caribbean over the summer, Miranda recorded a new single — “Almost Like Praying” — with a number of high-profile collaborators to raise funds for disaster relief. That song was inspired by West Side Story‘s “Maria,” and includes the names of all 78 towns in Puerto Rico.

“There’s no shortage of challenges, and there’s no shortage of ways to do good, and this is just one of them,” Miranda told TIME in October.


Entertainment – TIME

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