Simple & Fab: A Smart Casual Outfit

I stumbled across this outfit and thought it was easy, comfy, versatile, and fabulous. Combine a pair of dark wash jeans with a top in a shade of grey, taupe or white. Layer a trendy long blazer over the lot and add dressy metallic footwear. 

In this case the shoes are silver, but any metallic is good. I can see a silver, grey, white, or red bag and silver statement jewellery finish off the look.

Universal Standard Beas Jacket

Feel free to substitute the black jacket for a dark neutral like charcoal or dark blue. The topper needn’t be extra long, but sharp and tailored are important. Feel free to tuck or semi-tuck the top and add a belt if that’s more to your taste. I can see black jeans work quite well, but the dark blue is more crisp and interesting to my eye. Who likes this vibe?


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Kate Middleton’s Latest Look Defines Smart Chic

Before Meghan Markle entered our lives, the royal family had another style icon in Kensington Palace — Kate Middleton! Forget her fab hat game and envy-inducing hair, Prince William’s better half knows how to put together a killer ensemble and has remained true to her sophisticated sense of style.

From her blue Issa engagement dress and her show-stopping Alexander McQueen wedding gown to her penchant for gorgeous green get-ups and the occasional patterned frock too, Duchess Kate simply personifies classic and timeless dressing with a modernly regal twist. To see some of Duchess Kate’s best style moments, keep scrolling for killer frocks, all-star gowns and show-stopping coat dresses.

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9 Smart (and Simple) Ways to Stretch Your Budget When You’re a Single Parent

As far as I’m concerned, all you single parents are heroes without capes.

Well, you’ll swoosh on a cape when your kids want to play dress-up. But that’s beside the point. Single parents have to juggle work, kids and life. That’s no easy feat — especially on the wallet.

That’s why we put together these simple tips to help you better manage your money.

1. Involve Kids in Financial Decisions

Your kid sees their classmates taking piano, tennis, dance and karate lessons. But you might not be able to afford all of that.

Instead of feeling guilty — or worse, caving and overspending — have an open conversation with your child.

“Classically, parents will go behind a closed door to talk about saving, budgeting and investing,” says Maggie Johndrow, a financial adviser at Johndrow Wealth Management. “But psychologists have found that will make your children think finances are scary, taboo and something that’s not to be talked about in the open.”

Instead, Johndrow encourages parents lay it all out there. Let your child know your budget for after-school activities, then work together to pick and choose what you can afford.

“Empower them and teach them by giving them that choice,” she says.

2. Analyze Your Needs vs. Wants

Mother and daughter on computer

An integral part of managing your money is budgeting. Ew, gross. We know. But it’s important to take a good look at what you’re spending and understand where you can cut back.

You don’t have to rely on complicated Excel-spreadsheet formulas or spend hours categorizing your expenses to stick to a budget. Instead, use an app.

An easy way to automate this process is to use Trim, a little bot that’ll keep track of all your transactions.

Connect your checking account, credit card and savings account for a big-picture look at your spending habits. Then, take a closer look by checking out each of your transactions. Set alerts that’ll let you know when bills are due, when you’ve hit a spending cap or when you’ve (hopefully not) overdrafted.

Best part? It’s free to sign up.

3. Pay Yourself First

Hey, you! Yeah, you! You’re important. Don’t forget to prioritize your needs — like your savings. Whether you’re starting an emergency fund, saving for a down payment on a home or planning a weekend getaway for you and the kids, why not make the process easy?

One of our favorite strategies? Set up automatic withdrawals from your paycheck, so you’ll squirrel money away without thinking about it.

One of our favorite accounts for this is Aspiration — you’ll pay no monthly fees, and you’ll earn up to 2.00% APY on your savings.

You’ll get access to an online-only account for spending and for saving. It comes with a debit card that earns 0.5% cash back on all your purchases, plus free ATMs, so you can easily access your money when you need it.

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

  • Automatically deposit a portion of your income into your spending account, and use that to cover basic expenses.
  • Deposit what’s left into your Aspiration savings to keep it out of sight and let it grow. You’ll earn 2.00% APY as long you deposit just $ 1 a month.

Even if you’re slipping $ 10 into your emergency fund each month, that’s OK. Do what you can to take advantage of the compound interest.

4. Take Care of Your Debt

Mom multitasking

“I often find that people are struggling because of debt, so if you can come up with a debt repayment strategy and eliminate your debt, the other things all of a sudden become a lot easier,” Johndrow says.

Her top recommendation? Refinance. Refinancing can lower your interest rates and, therefore, lower your monthly payments.

You can basically refinance any type of debt, but here are a couple of examples:

  • Refinance your credit card debt: Credit card interest is no joke. Refinancing your debt with a personal loan could help you save a ton. If your credit score is at least 620, a good resource is Fiona, a search engine that can help match you with the right personal loan to meet your needs. You can borrow up to $ 100,000 (no collateral needed) with fixed rates starting at 4.99% and terms from 24 to 84 months.
  • Refinance your auto loan: It’s normally a pain to re-title your vehicle at your local DMV office, but a company called MotoRefi will do all the heavy lifting for you — and could cut your monthly car payment by $ 100 or more.

In addition to refinancing for better interest rates, Johndrow suggests extending the term of your loan if your budget is tight. “This might mean paying more in interest over time, but it might free up some monthly cash flow, which can help with your budgeting,” she says.

It gives you some breathing room.

5. Find Sneaky Ways to Save on Your Necessities

Finding ways to save on your needs feels harder than finding ways to save on your wants — but it’s possible.

Here are a few examples that’ll get you going in the right direction:

  • Save on groceries with a cash-back app. There’s no way around groceries, but you can earn some money back with Ibotta. The app is free to download, and you’ll get a $ 10 sign-up bonus after uploading your first receipt.
  • Save money by negotiating your bills. Don’t have time to call? Download Truebill, an app that’ll negotiate your bills, cancel unwanted subscriptions and refund your bank fees. On average, Truebill says it helps customers save more than $ 700 a year.
  • Save money on your car insurance. One way you could save money is by shopping around and comparing rates. Use an online car insurance search engine like The Zebra, which offers “insurance in black and white” and compares your options from 204 providers in less than 60 seconds

6. Manage Life’s Risks

Father dancing with daughter

You never know what’s going to happen tomorrow, so it’s important to be realistic.

“God forbid something happens to you, and you’re all your kid has,” Johndrow says. “Life insurance leaves them with enough to still hopefully attend college and achieve their goals.”

If you’re under the age of 54 and want to get a fast life insurance quote without the medical exam, pushy sales calls or even getting up from the couch, check out Bestow. The company is built around one concept: helping you get the term life insurance policy you want, simply and fast.

It just takes five minutes to answer some basic lifestyle questions, and you can get quotes for up to $ 1 million in coverage without a medical exam. If you’re approved, you can personalize your coverage to fit your budget. You can change or cancel your plan at any time.

Johndrow also urges parents to look into disability insurance, in case you can’t work and need to supplement your income; and long-term care insurance, in case you need health care not covered by your health insurance.

7. Find Creative Ways to Diversify Your Income

We know you don’t have a lot of extra time, but if you’re looking for a way to make some extra money to cushion your budget, try something creative.

For example, have you ever thought about renting out your baby gear? Yeah, the stuff you have sitting around the house that your kids don’t need anymore.

Online marketplaces like BabyQuip allow parents to rent out strollers, car seats, cribs and other baby items to traveling parents. (Because checking a crib on a flight is near impossible.)

Stay-at-home mom Manuela Madrid rents her baby gear out. She works, on average, 12 hours a month and earns between $ 120 to $ 180 with each rental.

8. Don’t Sleep on Your Retirement Savings

Dad telling bed time stories

Although retirement might seem like a faraway fantasy, it’s going to pop up sooner than you think.

If you haven’t yet started, open a company-matched 401(k) or your own traditional or Roth IRA. Even if you only put $ 5 in each week, that’s something — and you’re still taking advantage of that compound interest.

Having trouble prioritizing your savings? Johndrow urges you to think of it like this: “You can take out a loan for almost anything in life, but you cannot take out a loan for your retirement.”

So if you can’t put away money for your kids’ college fund? They’ll be OK. They can take out student loans like everyone else. But you can’t take out a loan to cover your living expenses once you retire.

“You want the best for your children, and the last thing you want to do is ask them to care for you when they’re trying to care for themselves and the next generation,” Johndrow says.

9. Make a Date With Your Money

At the end of each month, put the kids to bed, and pour yourself a glass of wine. If you prefer: Once they’re out the door to school, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and cozy in.

Then, take some time to look at your monthly income and spending and see how you’re doing. See how the last month went — which areas you excelled in and where you might’ve gone over budget. Then, take a look at the month ahead and note any additional upcoming expenses.

Even taking 15 minutes to check in with yourself can help you stay on budget.

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.

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

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Tax Refund: How to Spend Yours in Smart but Fun Ways

Tax season is in full swing and that means if you’re one of the many of Americans that get a large tax refund, it’s time to plan how you’ll spend it. First off, be smart. There are many things like saving for retirement, investing in stocks, or paying off debt or mortgages that are smart and savvy ways to use this extra cash to make life a bit easier for you. But if you want something a bit more self-serving, here are a couple of other ways to spend that refund. Instant gratification can be a smart use of money, too.

Upgrade Your Gadgets

New versions of your favorite smart gadgets come out regularly and it’s sometimes hard to justify purchasing a new model just because, well, it’s new. If you have a smart home device, or really any tech accessory, that’s in need of an upgrade, getting one with your tax refund is a great idea. Think the newest Echo, or the new waterproof Kindle, or the all-in-one Google Home Max.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Scouted: The Philips Hue Go Is The Portable LED Smart Light That Compliments Any Room

The Philips Hue Go is both a lamp and not a lamp at the same time. It’s a portable, dimmable, programmable bowl-shaped LED smart light that integrates into the Philips Hue ecosystem and can be used basically anywhere. I use it behind my TV as an accent light, usually set to a soft dim. I’ve previously discussed my aversion to overhead lighting and the Go means that I can pick it up (if I want to) and bring it with me.

The Go works as a smart lamp in that it can connect to your Alexa through the Philips Hue Hub and then you can easily control it with your light. It can be simply synced and added to any pre-existing collection of Hue lights and switches and adds a softer glow than a traditional light bulb. But it also has the portability that makes it stand out. Bring it with you as you sit outside on your porch or even to the beach for a nighttime hang. It can last up to three hours before needing a charge, which is plenty of time to enjoy its luminosity.

Portable lighting isn’t all that new, but it is exciting. The ability to treat something that can be turned on and off with a voice command like a flashlight feels incredibly futuristic to me. The Go sets itself apart from other portable lighting option because of its smart capabilities. And while you do need the Philips Hue Hub, it’s an amazing addition to any smart lighting system.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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2.15.19 Smart appliances invading your privacy; Clark Stinks

Smart appliances could be invading your privacy thanks to lax standards from the manufacturers; Christa reads listener posts about how Clark has missed the mark in his advice this week. If you have a “Clark Stinks” to share you can leave it here

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

Watch the video

The post 2.15.19 Smart appliances invading your privacy; Clark Stinks appeared first on Clark Howard.

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Apple hires an ex-Microsoft exec to revamp its smart home business, and catch up to Google, Amazon

Apple just brought on a new leader for its home unit.
Health and Science

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The Smart and The Crazy: Inside The Standout Paris Menswear Shows

Victor VIRGILE/Getty

PARIS—

For followers of men’s fashion, the Fall/Winter 2019 collections, presented last week in the French capital, amid continuing unrest from anti-government protesters, the Gilets jaunes, was a space worth watching.

A number of top designers made their first or second outing at some of the world’s most famous fashion houses in what has become the hot world of men’s fashion.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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This $1,300 smart crib that rocks your baby to sleep is now available to rent

Dr. Harvey Karp, author of "Happiest Baby on the Block," built a high-tech crib that can soothe a baby to sleep with the push of a button
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Kellyanne Conway calls Jim Acosta ‘smart ass’ in heated exchange

President Trump’s counselor Kellyanne Conway got into a verbal smackdown with White House nemesis Jim Acosta of CNN — calling him a “smart ass” when he asked her if Trump would be honest in Tuesday’s Oval Office speech on border security. “Can you promise that the president will tell the truth tonight? Will he tell…
Media | New York Post

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Willow unveils a new version of its smart breast pump

Willow is a wearable and hands free breast pump that fits inside your bra. The company just unveiled an updated version of its first device.
Health and Science

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

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Why pay $50 for Philips Hue’s smart LED bulbs when these $17 bulbs are just as good?

Smart LED Light Bulbs

I have Philips Hue smart LED lighting all throughout my home and I love it. To be honest though, every time I expand my setup and add new bulbs in new places, I kick myself a little for having committed to such an expensive solution. If you want to add smart lighting features to your home but you don’t want to spend $ 50 a bulb, we’ve got just the thing. MagicLight WiFi Smart Light Bulbs cost just $ 17 each and they have all the best features from Philips Hue bulbs, including support for voice commands with Alexa and Google Assistant.

MagicLight WiFi Smart Light Bulb, Dimmable, Multicolor, Wake-Up Lights, No Hub Required, Magic…: $ 16.95

Here’s more info from the product page:

  • ✔ Compatible with Alexa & Google Assistant: Voice Control your MagicLight WiFi light bulb with your Amazon Echo or Echo Dot and Google Home Assistant
  • ✔ Works with IFTTT: DIY Your WiFi Light Bulb Depending on Various Events by Connecting it to IFTTT
  • ✔ Works with iOS/Android: Personalize Your WiFI Smart Lights to Match Your Mood, Control Your Smart WiFi Lights Bulb Remotely When You are not at Home
  • ✔ Various Scene Modes: Color Palette, Group Control, Sunlight, Music Mode, Timer, Sunrise, Sunset, Dimmable, MIC Function, DIY Mode, Scene Mode, Energy Saving……
  • ✔ Application: This is a WiFi enabled light bulb, no hub required. Multiple lighting patterns, suitable for a showcase, residential, office, hotel, shop, exhibition room, landscaping, indoor, home etc.

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Why pay $ 50 for Philips Hue’s smart LED bulbs when these $ 17 bulbs are just as good? originally appeared on BGR.com on Wed, 26 Dec 2018 at 07:46:02 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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The Smart Way This Stay-at-Home Mom Is Saving for a Trip to Disneyland

Vanessa Worthen just wanted to go to Disneyland.

A stay-at-home mom in the San Francisco Bay area, Worthen wanted to start traveling with her two children, a 6-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy. Naturally, she figured a travel rewards credit card would help.

“I wanted a card where I’d get points back,” she says. “I’m always at the grocery store, shopping for the kids, and I thought it’d be good to use a card where I’d earn travel points. I want to take my kids to Disneyland.”

So she applied for a popular travel rewards card. But she didn’t qualify, and she had no idea why. It was baffling.

Looking for answers, she signed up with Credit.com, a free credit monitoring service. She ended up being surprised by the difference it would make.

Learning What She Didn’t Know She Didn’t Know

Vanessa Worthen shows her credit score on her cell phone.

“I never had a need to check my credit before,” says Worthen, 35, of Novato, California, “but I’ve been using their tips, and I’ve already seen my credit improve.”

In only six months, her credit score has shot up by 75 points. “It was 630, and now it’s at 705,” she says.

Credit.com supplied her with a free credit score and a “credit report card” identifying problems that were hurting her score. She got personalized tips for how she should manage her credit.

She quickly discovered one major problem: She owed a lot of money compared to her overall credit limit. That hurt her credit utilization ratio — the percentage of her available credit that she was actually using. That’s a major factor in credit scores.

Sure, she needed to start paying down her credit card balances. But at the same time, she also needed to acquire more credit. Believe it or not, she needed another credit card or two, or she needed to raise her credit limits on her existing cards.

“It’s kind of a funny thing,” she says. “To have good credit, you need to get more credit.”

Worthen matter-of-factly notes that she didn’t know much about all of this before signing up with Credit.com.

“There’s a lot of information I just kind of assumed I understood, and I didn’t,” she says.

The Curse of Unpaid Bills

Vanessa Worthen poses in front of a lake.

After signing on with Credit.com, Worthen learned of another hidden problem that was hurting her credit: a couple of old, unpaid bills.

“There were accounts I didn’t know were in collections,” she says. “I just had no idea. I didn’t know those were on my credit report. They [at Credit.com] were able to bring that to my attention.”

“One was an old cable bill from an account that I had with an old roommate. She thought I had taken care of it, and I thought she had taken care of it.”

With Credit.com’s guidance, Worthen was able to work with the cable company, settle the bill for a reduced amount and get it off her credit report.

Now She’s Got a Game Plan

Worthen plays at a Novato, Calif., park with her children Avey Levin, 6, and J.J. Levin, 2, on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2018.

Now that she’s seen the results, Worthen is following a step-by-step action plan suggested by Credit.com, where her credit score and her report card get updated every two weeks.

“I’m using their budgeting techniques to get my credit card balances down,” she says. “Now I have a game plan for how I’m going to pay it off each month.”

Credit.com makes money by selling credit monitoring and identity theft protection services and by partnering with advertisers who pay for referrals.

Worthen gets what she needs for free.

And whenever she has a question, she actually calls the company on the phone.

“It’s very user-friendly,” she says. “Everyone I’ve talked to in customer service has been helpful, and they’ve followed up with me immediately.”

Now she has a credit score that’s north of 700, and she has her coveted Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card to earn travel rewards. She uses it every time she goes to the grocery store.

Sure, she earns double points when she spends money on travel or dining out. But more importantly, she earns a point for every dollar she spends on groceries for her 6- and 2-year-old kids.

Vanessa Worthen has a plan for next summer.

She’s going to Disneyland.

Mike Brassfield (mike@thepennyhoarder.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He’s been to Disneyland.

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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Q&A: Smart Year End Financial Moves

With unemployment at historic lows, rising wages and consumer confidence at an 18 year high consumers are understandably in good cheer and ready to go out and spend this holiday season.

But for you, the thrill of the deal can quickly turn in to despair over the debt if you go overboard with your holiday gift giving.

Here’s how to keep your budget in check during the holiday shopping season.

What’s the best way to approach holiday shopping if we don’t want things to get out of hand?

Well, if there’s one thing that I hope people ask for, and get, this Christmas, it’s discipline. All the budgeting “tips and tricks” in the world won’t help you if you can’t control yourself.

Yet, relying on willpower alone won’t be enough to get the job done. You need a system.

Here’s what I suggest:

 

  1. Build a Budget– This sounds simple, but on one likes to do this. You have to go into shopping season with a set amount that you’re committed to not outspend. When you do this, be sure to include ALL of your costs such as wrapping, shipping, travel, etc.

 

  1. Save All Year– You do realize that Christmas happens at the same time every year, right? So why do you seem so surprised when Black Friday rolls around and you haven’t set aside any money for gifts?

 

Americans are expected to spend $ 1000 on average during the holiday shopping season.  That’s $ 80/month or $ 20.00/week you should save in advance.

 3Create a Separate Account – Don’t keep your “gift” money in the same account as your “bill” money. Open a free checking account or put money onto a prepaid debit card that will only be used for your holiday shopping. When it’s gone, it’s gone.

4. Never Use Credit – Buying something on sale, but using credit to do so and paying the minimum each month totally defeats the purpose of getting the deal in the first place. Only use your credit card if you’re getting points or rewards and you’re going to pay it off in full when the bill comes.

Ok, but what if we didn’t save up much money for Christmas, what should we do then? 

In that case, it’s time to think about generating some extra cash. Luckily, since there’s so much spending going on during the holiday season, there should be lots of opportunities to do this.

For example you can:

Convert Old Gift Cards – Check your wallet for unused or partially used gift cards. Use the balance for gifts, or use a site like CardCash.com to convert those balances to cash.

Sell Your Junk! – Go through your garage and your closet to find things that still have tags or haven’t been used in a while.  Sell these things on eBay, Poshmark, etc.

Donate Items – Donate the things you can’t sell to Goodwill, etc.  You’ll get the advantage of the tax deduction, which may put extra cash in your pocket at tax time.

Ok, what if people are expecting expensive gifts?

Look, you have to take charge and set the expectations up front.

With Your Kids – This is a great time to discuss needs vs. wants and priorities with your kids.  They may not be able to get everything they want, so give them a say in what is most important to them.

With Your Family – Perhaps set up a Secret Santa gift exchange where each family member only has to buy one gift. Try secretsanta.com or Elfster to set up your exchange.

With Yourself – Buying great presents won’t make you a better friend, spouse or parent. Have a real discussion about what the most important people in your life really want, and you might find that it may not cost you anything at all.

 

Rob Wilson is the Chief Insight Officer at Wilson Insight and a frequent contributor to CNN, CBS, NBC and Fox.

For more important lessons on improving your finances, connect with Rob on Twitter @robwilsontv or at his website http://www.robwilson.tv

Life & Style – Black America Web

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11 Smart Financial Tools Made Just for Your Type A Personality

I’m a proud Type-A.

I have this innate drive to get things done — and get them done correctly and on time. I’m not happy coasting along; I want to climb that ladder, baby. If I’m running behind, I’m probably impulsively biting my nails off. I don’t think I’m competitive until I’m competing. Then it’s like some weird instinct kicks in, and I don’t know who I become.

I can be impatient with my Type-B counterparts, who are a little, well, too laid back for my taste.

OK, I kind of sound super high-strung. I promise I’m tolerable… ask my boyfriend. (Errr, well, maybe don’t.)

Although I have this innate love for to-do lists, color codes and all-things organization, some parts of my life are, well, not as tidy. Like my finances.

I can procrastinate the crap out of any financial matters. I get stressed out, so I push tasks to the side. Oh, I’ll check my retirement account… tomorrow. Oh, I’ll update my budget… never.

But don’t fret just yet. There are a number tools out there that can help us Type-A people organize our finances — without losing hours to get everything just so.

1. Check Your Financial Grade

Checking her credit score

While most of my classmates hated the day grades came out, I loved it. Luckily, most of mine were good, but I also just loved gauging my performance — knowing how I was doing and where I could work harder.

In real life, you don’t get grades. Your manager might offer feedback, but that’s about it.

What about finances? How do you know how you’re doing there?

Luckily, Credit Sesame offers free credit scores and credit report cards.

The easy-to-understand report outlines how you’re doing financially. You’ll get a big-picture view of your open accounts, your debt and any items sitting in collections. And, perhaps even better, it’ll offer actionable tips to help you improve your credit score.

2. Consolidate Your Financial Stress

If you’re juggling several unpaid credit card bills, or any form of debt for that matter, don’t panic. There’s an easier way to keep tabs on your outstanding balances — and even pay off your debt faster.

Try consolidating it into one manageable bill through Fiona, a financial technology company that helps match you to a personal loan that meets your needs. Consolidating your credit card debt could also help get you a lower interest rate and save you thousands while you pay it off.

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

Now, breathe a sigh of relief. No more juggling approximately 293,003 bills this month. You’ve just got one!

3. Optimize Your Retirement Plan

Woman planning her finances

Got a 401(k)? You’re on the right track. Now it’s time to clean it up by making sure it’s doing exactly what you need it to.

However, tapping into that account and deciphering the information — or lack thereof — can take hours. Not to worry: There’s a robo-adviser for that. Blooom, an SEC-registered investment advisory firm, will optimize and monitor your 401(k) for you.

It gives you an initial 401(k) checkup for free, and you’ll get to know your account a little more intimately. Find out if you’re paying too many hidden fees, have the appropriate amount invested in stocks versus bonds, that kind of fun stuff.

After that, the tool is $ 10 a month to use to continue to monitor your retirement account. Let Blooom know your target retirement age, and it can help you get there by investing more and less aggressively.

4. Compare Yourself to Others — and Be the Best

Ah, got a competitive streak like me? Sometimes life turns into a competition. I’ve got this insane drive to be The Best. It’s hard to make it stop.

If you want to use that force for financial good, tap into Status Money, an app that allows you to anonymously compare your financial situation with your peers without asking those awkward, prying questions.

Link an account to tap into this database and you’ll be able to compare your income, debt, interest rates, credit score, spending… you name it.

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

5. Make Your Money Work as Hard as You Do

Woman holding money

Listen, you work hard for your money, so it should work just as hard for you. It shouldn’t be just sitting around. How dare it?

Make it work for you with an interest-earning bank account from Radius Bank.

The Radius Hybrid Checking account earns .85% APY on balances of at least $ 2,500 with no monthly fees or minimum balances after the initial $ 10 to open an account.

Sounds better than what you’re getting with your checking account at that big bank, right?

6. Strike a Budgeting Balance

As a Type A, it’s easy to get stuck in the details. Sometimes I’ll fixate on my pennies and dimes — versus the big-picture dollars.

But a budget can help you strike this balance. It allows you to keep track of those daily expenses in a way that’s future-thinking.

That’s where Empower comes in to help you organize and track your financial goals.

Simply link your accounts, and every time you log in, you’ll see a simple snapshot of where you stand on your monthly budget. Are you above or below the line? In one second, you’ll know whether you’re on track or need to dial things back a bit.

You can set goals, and Empower will keep you accountable.

7. Keep Overachieving — and Saving Money

Man driving his car

You’re most likely an overachiever, so of course you do your due diligence to hunt down great deals. But some bills fall to the wayside… When’s the last time you compared rates on your car insurance?

Your premium can creep up on you several times a year, if you’re not monitoring it.

The Zebra, an online car insurance search engine that offers “insurance in black and white,” compares your options from 204 providers in less than 60 seconds to help you find the best rate.

If you’re beating its top pick, you know you’ve beat the system. If not, go ahead and secure the best rate.

8. Get Rewarded for Your Ability to Hit Deadlines

Your mom probably gave you an allowance for washing the dishes and sweeping the floor when you were a kid. (You were really good at it.) Now all you get for doing it is a kitchen that’s clean for, like, 15 minutes.

As an adult, you don’t typically get rewards for doing things that are expected of you… until now.

This app kind of rules them all: MoneyLion, a free all-in-one app for managing your personal finances.

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.

If credit cards aren’t your thing, MoneyLion is like having a rewards credit card without the temptation to overspend.

The app also connects with all your bank, credit card, student loan and other financial accounts. Based on your income and spending patterns, it offers personalized advice to help you save money, reduce your debt and improve your credit.

9. Dig Into Your Deep-Seated Clutter

Woman pulling out a sweater from her closet

Although I’m innately Type A, there are some deep, dark corners of my life that are, well, less than tidy. (Ask my boyfriend about the bomb that recently went off in my closet… Yikes.)

If you need some motivation to declutter even the darkest corners of your home, turn it into a fun side gig.

For example, if your closet looks anything like mine, consider cleaning it up and creating a “for sale” pile. You can list any items on Letgo, an easy-to-use app that allows you to snap a photo and list your unneeded items to folks in your area. It’s 100% free to use and removes a lot of the hassle of selling online.

For your technology (uh, yeah, for some reason I collect old phones in my bedside table…), get free estimates from Decluttr, a site that’ll buy your old CDs, DVDs, video games and even phones.

Just download the Decluttr app and start scanning the barcodes on your media to get immediate quotes. It’s completely free to use, you won’t pay listing or seller fees, payment is super fast and even shipping is free.

10. Tidy up Your Subscription Services

For the most part, I love subscription services. I can get whatever I need to my front door each month. Vitamins? Check. Feminine products? Check. Beauty products? Why not…

Yeah, with my Type A comes compulsion sometimes, so I can go overboard. Every now and then I like to check in and see which subscriptions I’m getting billed for each month — clean things up a bit.

Download TrueBill, an app that’ll negotiate your bills, refund your bank fees and, yes, cancel unwanted subscriptions. The app will remind you of all those sneaky subscriptions you’ve signed up for through the years, so you can cancel what you don’t use and reclaim your monthly budget.

On average, Truebill says it helps customers save more than $ 700 a year by lowering their bills, canceling necessary subscriptions and getting refunds.

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

11. Track Your Lofty Goals With Colorful Pens

Bullet journal planning

If you want to get a little more creative, set up goals and track them with a bullet journal. A bullet journal is great for the more creative Type A folks — the ones who love color-coding and drawing the straightest line possible.

You can set up a debt payoff plan, track your expenses or set up an annual savings plan. The Jihi Elephant blog has some great ideas to get you started.

In the end, embrace your Type-A tendencies. They’ll help you become financially happy and healthy.

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She loves the feeling of crossing off items on a to-do list.

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

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

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Smart Casual Teal & Toffee

A new outfit from Kimberly Smith of Penny Pincher Fashion, whom we introduced to YLF in October 2013.

Kimberly is sporting black faux leather skinny pants with a toffee crew neck sweater. Semi-tucking the sweater lengthens the leg line, so does pairing the pants with high-heeled booties. The suede booties add extra textural interest and echo the sweater colour. Our blogger’s chain-strap crossbody in toffee and black complements her outfit beautifully. Kimberly then adds a bouclé coat in a tailored Modern Classic cut. The rich jewel-toned teal is unexpected and fab with the warm-toned toffee of her sweater and footwear. A chevron scarf with subtle toffee accent, on-trend rib-knit hat with faux-fur pom-pom, and a simple gold pendant finish off the look to perfection.

Kimberly Smith - 1

Kimberly Smith - 2


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With this $25 gadget, Amazon will finally get you to stop scoffing at the idea of a ‘smart home’

Amazon's smart plug lets you easily control lights, appliances and other gadgets by voice or with your phone no matter where you are. CNBC will walk you through how to set up and use the Amazon smart plug. It's very easy.
Tech

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Goodbye bellboy. Robots will check you in and carry your luggage at smart hotels of the future

Smart hotels of the future in China will use robots to carry luggage, facial recognition for easier check-ins, and use smart keys on phones to turn on air conditioning, says an expert at one of China's largest online travel services company.
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A ‘smart’ toilet could stop us from flushing away our most valuable health information, says doctor

Both doctors and patients could benefit if we figure out a way to stop flushing away some of our most vital health information, argues Dr. Sameer Berry, a third-year resident physician at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
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Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

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

Smart Horror Movie Characters Who Died Anyway

Horror movies are filled with characters who died because of their own dumb decisions: heading toward the strange noise, taunting the monster, choosing the flashlight over the baseball bat. Those who survive usually do so through a combination of luck and intelligence. Sometimes, though, even making smart decisions isn’t enough to ensure survival, as these savvy but decidedly dead horror victims show.

Ellen Ripley, Alien 3


Ellen Ripley with shaved head in Alien 3
Ellen Ripley: the Xenomorphs’ scary monster.

From the start, Ellen Ripley has proven herself smarter than her horror movie peers, refusing early in Alien to let shipmate Kane aboard while attached to a facehugger. With her decision overridden, the alien is unleashed on the Nostromo and picks off the crew one by one. Only Ripley survives. In the sequel, Ripley again shows her smarts, surviving an entire colony of Xenomorphs, saving a young girl, and killing the alien queen.

Then Alien 3 came along. Before the end of the opening credits, a stowaway facehugger implants an embryo inside Ripley during cryo-sleep. She discovers this halfway through and does everything in her power to eliminate the alien threatening the prison colony she crash-landed on. She kills the last alien — the one inside her — by throwing herself into a furnace. In the end, it doesn’t matter how badass you are when you’re effectively killed off before the film even starts.

Dana Polk and Marty Mikalski, The Cabin in the Woods


Dana Polk and Marty Mikalski in The Cabin in the Woods
That moment you realize you’re in a horror movie.

When Dana and Marty join their friends for a weekend at a secluded cabin, they can’t imagine exactly what’s in store. Alarm bells go off as they slowly encounter classic horror tropes: the creepy gas station attendant, the mysterious cellar, and the sudden strange behavior of their friends. Only after the deaths of their friends do they discover the true scope of their situation.

Marty finds a hidden elevator, and the pair travel downward, having nowhere else to go. They realize they are sacrificial pawns in some larger game. Instead of rolling over, they turn the tables on their tormentors, releasing a horde of supernatural terrors on the underground complex. When they finally realize that the whole set up is an elaborate sacrifice to stave off the wrath of giant gods, they ultimately decide to sacrifice themselves (and presumably the world) to stop the cycle.

Randy Meeks, Scream 2


Randy Meeks from Scream 2
“Do as I say, not as I do.”

When a masked killer targets students at Woodsboro High School, resident film geek Randy Meeks wastes no time schooling his friends on the rules of surviving a horror movie. Granted, he doesn’t always heed his own advice, nearly dying in the first film after the killer had snuck up behind him. After high school, Randy follows Sidney Prescott to college and is quick with the rules for a sequel when the second killing spree begins.

He even makes a video for his friends laying out the rules for a third killing spree in case he doesn’t survive. On the phone with the current killer, Randy mocks the original Ghostface, Billy Loomis. The killer — who turns out to be Billy’s mother — pops out of the van Randy is standing next to, pulls him inside, and stabs him to death. Even Randy, the horror movie expert, couldn’t have anticipated the killer hiding in a van in the middle of the day.

Ben, Night of the Living Dead


Duane Jones as Ben in Night of the Living Dead
Ben even made sure other people’s stupidity wouldn’t get him killed.

When the zombie apocalypse begins, Ben finds shelter in an old farmhouse after running out of gas. From the start, Ben is all about surviving. Where the other characters panic and fight amongst themselves, Ben sees the bigger picture and focuses on staying alive. Ben makes every smart decision imaginable, from using fire to ward off a zombie hoard to boarding up the windows. He even comments on not wanting the others’ stupidity to get him killed.

He knows the right things to say to calm the freaked-out Barbara, but he is also willing to forcibly subdue her when her panic threatens to get them killed. When fellow survivor Harry locks him out of the farmhouse, Ben fights his way back in. When the power goes out and the zombies break through, Ben survives the night by holing up in the cellar. The following morning, however, he’s mistaken for a zombie and shot and killed by a posse hunting down the dead.

Lee Abbot, A Quiet Place


“We’re going to play the marathon version of ‘who-can-be-quiet-the-longest’.”

When alien creatures with super-acute hearing invade earth and begin killing off the human population, Lee Abbott wastes no time protecting his family. He studies the creatures, learning their strengths, weaknesses, and habits. He builds a life for his wife and children completely devoid of sound. With a deaf daughter, the family already knows sign language, and Lee supplements this with a soundless communication system involving lights. With patience and perseverance, Lee and his wife Evelyn build a (relatively) safe and even pleasant life for his family.

Lee also works unsuccessfully on repairing his daughter Regan’s cochlear implant. When a handful of aliens make it onto the property, Lee sacrifices himself to save his children. After his death, Regan and Evelyn realize that the enhancements Lee made to Regan’s implant can actually disrupt and even incapacitate the creatures. Evelyn and Regan take this new weapon and turn it on the unsuspecting creatures. In attempting to keep his family safe, Lee may have helped save the world.

10 Worst Movie Monsters Ever To Appear on Screen

The post Smart Horror Movie Characters Who Died Anyway appeared first on FANDOM.

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Trio wins chemistry Nobel for work on antibody drugs, smart enzymes

Two Americans and a Briton won the 2018 Nobel Prize for Chemistry on Wednesday for harnessing the power of evolution to generate novel proteins used in everything from environmentally friendly detergents to cancer drugs.


Reuters: Science News

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Facebook Launches Portal Smart Speakers With Video Calling

Facebook Inc. on Monday launched a pair of smart-speakers that enable video calling on the company’s Messenger service. The devices, which feature cameras and microphones, are intended to challenge Amazon and Google’s dominance in the smart-speaker market. Both the devices are now available for pre-order in the U.S. – from Facebook at portal.facebook.com, as well as Amazon and Best Buy.
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