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These 11 Tips Will Help You Get Financing to Start a Small Business

For entrepreneurs, obtaining the right amount of funding can mean the difference between success and failure when launching a small business.

But for newbies, knowing how and where to find working capital can be an intimidating process. So, where do you start? There are several ways entrepreneurs can obtain money to fund the launch, expansion of day-to-day operations and cash flow of their small businesses.

Each method comes with its own pros and cons based on several factors, including the age of the business and the financial history of the borrower.

11 Ways to Obtain Small Business Funding

Below is a list of 11 ways entrepreneurs can obtain small-business financing. This ranking is based on ease of access, as some options might not be available to business owners with no prior experience or to people launching startups.

1. Bootstrapping

A woman counts money

With bootstrapping, entrepreneurs launch their businesses using as little external capital, such as loans, as possible. The funds come from either personal finances, such as selling assets, using savings or credit cards or from using revenue from the business once it gets going.

This is a very lean method of running a business, as entrepreneurs find the least expensive way to make a viable product or service. If you do choose to empty your savings or use credit cards to fund your business, be careful because there is no guarantee the business will pan out.

Nikki Larchar and her business partner, Tina Todd, bootstrapped their company by pooling their finances and launching the human resources consulting firm SimplyHR about 2 1/2 years ago. She believes bootstrapping her business instead of getting a loan is a significant reason why she was able to turn a profit within a year after launching.

“For us, it’s been monumental being able to grow the business how we want to grow it and not have a looming loan over our head,” she says.

Pro: Avoids starting your business in debt.
Con: Not an option if you don’t have assets to sell or personal savings to use.

2. Crowdfunding Platforms

Due to the rise in popularity of sites such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter, crowdfunding sites have become a more mainstream way to gain capital for a business, service or product.

Here’s how it works: Entrepreneurs and small business owners create a 30-day fundraising campaign seeking investors in the company or project instead of going to a bank for money.

Usually, business owners reward individual investors with some kind of gift, product discount or, sometimes, equity in the company.

Last year, Larchar used Kickstarter to raise $ 10,200 to fund a comic book that human resources departments could use to teach employees about sexual harassment policies. They met their goal and launched in January 2019.

“[W]e were able to fully jump into the project a lot quicker than we would have otherwise,” she says.

Pro: Can generate buzz for your business while raising funds.
Con: No guarantee of hitting your desired funding goal.   

3. Product Pre-Sales

An easy way to acquire funds if you’re operating a small business selling products is to hold a pre-sale in which customers pay for goods up-front. The business owner can use the money raised to fund the manufacturing of the initial batch of products.

“Product pre-sales is such a great strategy because you’ve just proven the customers want your product,” says Kedma Ough, the statewide innovation director for America’s Small Business Development Centers in Oregon.

Pro: Can help alleviate some of the upfront costs of making the products.
Con: Not a viable option for service-based businesses.

4. Friends and Family

Friends and family may be a potential source for financial capital for your small business, but be warned: If the business doesn’t make it or falls on hard times, it might destroy the personal relationship.

Ough says she’s witnessed many cases where family members stopped speaking to each other because they went into business and things went south. “It doesn’t mean it can’t work, but I’ve seen enough in my lifetime [that] it’ll break your heart,” she says.

Pro: Easily accessible.
Con: May ruin relationships if the business fails.

5. Partners

Two businessmen hold a meeting.

Taking on a business partner can be a way to secure funding in exchange for equity in your company. Depending on the arrangement, the partner might be an employee, someone not involved with day-to-day operations or just an investor.

If you are considering taking on a partner, write down every detail of the business partnership, preferably with the help of a lawyer. Define clear expectations and boundaries of what each partner can expect while running the business and worst-case scenarios of how the business would dissolve in the case of a partner dying or wanting to be bought out of the business.

“Make sure all that is dialed in before you go into partnership,” Ough says.
Pro: Can offer funding and business support without family connections.
Con: All partners need to have defined roles and expectations to avoid conflicts.

6. Small Business Grants

Small business grants come from a variety of sources, including government agencies, nonprofit and for-profit companies. Government agency grants tend to have the most narrow eligibility requirements, as they often focus on businesses in the science, technology or energy industries that will bring direct growth to the community.

Grants from nonprofits may focus on specific types of business owners, such as women, minorities or veterans. Grants from for-profit companies often have the widest eligibility requirements and may be given out based on merit or by completing an application.

Your local Chamber of Commerce may have information on small business grants available in your area. The only catch is everyone wants free money, so these grants can be hard to come by.

“[Government grants are] definitely not something that most small businesses are able to get funding through,” says Priyanka Prakash, a senior staff writer at Fundera. “But if you think you meet the requirements, definitely spend time putting the application materials together because if you win, you get free money and it’s an amazing way to start out.”

Pro: Who doesn’t love free money?
Con: Highly competitive.

7. Angel Investors

Just as the name suggests, the idea of having a wealthy investor come in and fund a startup can sound like the answer to an entrepreneur’s prayers. Angel investors can be affluent people or groups looking to fund startups.

P. Simon Mahler, a small business mentor with Score, a non-profit that advises small businesses, says people can search for angel investors by industry and by location — one such way is by browsing Angel Capital Association’s national directory of angel investors and firms.

Once you find a potential investor, it’s a long, thorough interview process with the entrepreneur and that person’s entire business team to make sure the business is viable.

“They’re very conservative, very selective as to who and why they invest in certain businesses,” Mahler says. “They want the sure thing.”

Pro: Having a benefactor can alleviate funding headaches.
Con: Can be a slow, difficult process to get the money.

8. Venture Capital

Similar to angel investors, venture capital firms also provide funding to small businesses and startups early on in development. The difference is the speed with which they operate and what they ask for in return. But that speed comes at a price.

Mahler says venture capital firms are very niche in what they invest in and are aggressive once they decide to invest. For example, angels may offer advice with their funding, while venture capitalists may ask for equity in your company and request specific changes in your business model.

“You’re giving away a lot to get a lot,” he says. “That’s what a lot of people struggle with is that it sounds good to have VC [venture capital] money, but you’re giving away a huge chunk of the ownership stake in your business.”

If you think your business may be of interest to such firms, start by asking your network for personal recommendations. You can also opt to make a profile for your business on AngelList — a national platform for job seekers, angel investors, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists alike.

Pro: May be quicker than using an angel investor to obtain large amounts of money.
Con: May have to give up a big piece of ownership stake to get the funds.

9. Online Alternative Lenders

Online alternative lenders have become a popular business financing option versus getting capital from traditional bank loans. Online alternative lending companies, such as Kabbage, OnDeck or BlueVine, are a convenient and fast way to get funds. There is no need to go to a bank to apply as everything is done online and funds can be deposited in a couple of business days.

Just like loans, online alternative lenders also offer business lines of credit, where instead of providing one lump sum of money up-front, you can use as much or as little as you need within your limit.

But the downside to using one of these lenders is that doing so can be an expensive way to borrow money. Prakash says the interest rate of a bank loan may be 7%-8% while these online lenders may charge up to 60%-70% in interests.

“It’s definitely a trade-off between how quickly or badly you need the capital versus how much you’re willing to pay for it,” she says.

Pros: Easy application process, faster way to get funds.
Con: High-interest rates.

10. SBA Loans

The U.S. Small Business Administration has a program to help business people get financing after they demonstrate success for a few years. SBA loans come with a guarantee that the loan will be repaid to the lender. If the business fails to pay back the loan, the government will pay the lender, which could be, for example, a traditional bank.

“It’s a way to take some of the risk off the lender, and it encourages banks to lend to more small businesses,” Prakash says.

The only catch is these loans are rather difficult to obtain for startups. “If your business is a couple of years old and generating good revenue and is close to a profit, then it’s a much more viable option for a small business loan,” she says. You can go to SBA.gov to find out if you qualify for an SBA loan.

Pro: Takes the pressure off the small business if the loan can’t be repaid.
Con: Not easy to get for startups.

11. Banks

Buildings with bank names are pictured

For entrepreneurs with not much experience under their belts, the most obvious place to obtain a business loan might not be the place to go.

Traditional banks want to make sure they’ll get their money back, so they’ll only work with what they’d consider a sure thing. This means unless you’ve been in business for a few years or have a track record of successfully starting small businesses, banks may not consider you for a loan.

Pro: Lower interest rates than online lenders.
Con: May not lend to newer businesses or startups.

What if You Have Bad Credit?

For people with a not-so-stellar credit score, there is still hope for launching a small business.

Funding options such as bootstrapping, loans from family and friends, crowdfunding and online alternative lenders might be the route you have to take because bank and SBA loans could be off the table initially.

You may have to pay more now, which is the case when using an alternative online lender with a high interest rate, but more affordable options may become available in the future.

Matt Reinstetle is a former staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Adam Hardy contributed to this post.

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

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We really wish Apple’s $159 AirPods had one simple feature from these $30 true wireless earbuds

True Wireless Earbuds Amazon

$ 159 is a whole lot of money to spend on headphones that you can’t even fully enjoy. Since Apple decided to make the tips out of smooth plastic instead of grippy silicone, they don’t isolate sound and all that great bass leaks right out of your ears. Then you have the SoundPEATS True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds, which have silicone tips and cost just $ 30. They keep all that great sound locked in your ears so you don’t leak and bass and your music sounds as good as you want it to. For $ 159, Apple should’ve been able to do the same.

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These 7 Tips Will Help You Avoid Burning Out When You Have a Side Gig

When Ericka Eller, a certified health coach and nutritionist, works with clients facing stress from overloaded work schedules, she shares her personal experience of burning out.

Eller hit the wall in 2016. Back then, she was obtaining her health coach certification while juggling the responsibilities of a full-time job as a business development manager at a nutritional supplement company with being a mom.

“All of those things were great, but I was going full speed ahead with everything, always feeling like I wasn’t doing enough,” she says.

Eventually, all the responsibilities and travel from work, getting her business off the ground and not sleeping and eating well compounded to the point that she says she developed health problems. This led her to change the way she juggles jobs and her personal life.

Eller and other people running side hustles along with full-time jobs often feel overwhelmed. Luckily, there are ways they can avoid burnout.

Focus on Three Goals Per Week

After working a full day at your 9-to-5, coming home to start focusing on what needs to be done for your side hustle can feel like an insurmountable chore.

Eller’s clients often come to her burdened with never-ending to-do lists. They usually don’t know what to tackle first to meet the obligations of their day job, side gig and life outside work.

To shorten the list, Eller tells people to write down their three top goals for the week and then write down three tasks each day that will lead to achieving them.

“That way, they are moving forward in their three top goals, but it’s not overwhelming,” she says. “Three [goals] feels a lot better than 20.”

Block Out Your Schedule

One of the keys to success when working a full-time job with one or more side hustles is managing time wisely.

For Hope Bolinger, time management is a necessity to prevent fatigue as she juggles her work as a literary agent, editor and writer of her first novel. To keep all her deadlines in check, she maps out her week by blocking out time for each project.

Each day, Bolinger estimates how many hours she expects to work on an assignment and then budgets more time than it may take. For example, if she thinks a task will take three hours to complete, she blocks out four hours. That way she’ll still be on track if tasks take longer than planned or something unexpected pops up.

Don’t forget to budget break times. Bolinger says she includes a 15- to 20-minute break every four hours. “If you’re working longer than four-hour stretches, the screen is going to start getting blurry, and you’re not going to be as effective as you want to be,” she says.  

Bolinger uses a computer spreadsheet to keep track of her hourly schedule, but paper planners and journals work, too.

Tackle the Least Enjoyable Projects in Bits

One of the added benefits of blocking out your daily schedule is that you can split up your time working on different projects the way you see fit, Bolinger says. For example, if you’re not particularly thrilled to work on a tasks related to your side hustle, you can sprinkle in half-hour blocks of something you enjoy to break up the monotony.

But sometimes, you aren’t able to break up those less enjoyable tasks. In that case, work on the least exciting stuff first instead of putting it off until the end. “When you get to the projects you’re very excited to work on, it’s kind of a little treat for yourself,” Bolinger says.

Learn to Say ‘No’

An easy way to accelerate side-hustle burnout is not knowing your limits. One of the ways Chantay Bridges keeps up all her jobs as a Realtor, talent coordinator and event manager is knowing when to say no.

When she manages events such as weddings, clients will often ask her to provide additional chairs, tables and dishes or devote more time than what was agreed upon. She reminds her clients to stick to the contract because those extra requests add up and can make the difference between needing to hire more people and not.

If you’re prone to taking on too many tasks, it’s up to you to change your behavior to avoid burning out.

“If you don’t change your behavior and change the way you operate, then you’re teaching people to treat you that way,” she says.

Make Sleep a Priority

Sleep was always the first thing Eller sacrificed when managing an overloaded schedule. She says almost every woman she works with as a client either can’t get to sleep or chooses not to because she feels it’s unproductive.

But sleep is important because it can recharge your body and mind. That’s why Eller encourages people to get eight to nine hours of sleep per night.

To get the most out of your sleep, create a bedtime routine. It can consist of any number of things, such as disconnecting from electronic screens, dimming lights or turning on an essential-oil diffuser an hour before bed, Eller suggests.

Also, your bedroom should be a calming, inviting place that’s free of distractions. Having baskets of unfolded laundry on the floor or hanging tomorrow’s clothes from a treadmill in the corner of the room can make some people feel overwhelmed. So put your clothes in your closet or move them out of sight and out of mind.

Find Some Hobbies Outside of Work

Another way to recharge and refocus is by having something unrelated to workto look forward to. Bolinger is involved with community theater, sings in a choral group and plays tennis.

After playing tennis or coming home from the theater, Bolinger feels more creative. “I usually tend to be most productive when I’m returning home from one of those things versus going at a project for more than five hours.”

If community theater isn’t your jam, exercise is an excellent way to release some endorphins. She says to look for anything you enjoy doing outside the office or house that can be a change of pace.

Treat Yo’ Self

It’s easy to forget to celebrate your accomplishments, Bolinger says. So when you scratch an important or difficult task off your to-do list for your side hustle, take a moment to “treat yo’ self.”

“I’m a chocoholic, so you can take a wild guess at what my little prize is if I hit a goal,” Bolinger says, adding that dark chocolate truffles are her go-to reward.

If eating chocolate doesn’t get you excited, maybe a night of Netflix binge-watching will. Whatever you choose, note that it doesn’t have to be something that costs a lot of money, Bollinger says. Just make it something that you look forward to.

Matt Reinstetle is a former 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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Want to learn Salesforce? These cheap online courses may be all you need.

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If there’s one skill that can add an extra kick to your résumé, it’s Salesforce — the top Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform now ubiquitous at all sorts of enterprise companies. Its cloud-based apps power work productivity at every stage of the sales funnel, from lead generation to executing upon final sales. In fact, Salesforce claims that its Salesforce Economy is expected to create 3.3 million new jobs by 2022.

Tempted? If you’re looking to jumpstart a career that requires knowledge of Salesforce, you have options. On the non-technical side, look to be certified as a Salesforce Administrator — in which case you’ll want to take a certification exam like the Certified Administrator Exam, which tests your knowledge of Salesforce admin tasks such as building reports, maintaining clean data, and adding new fields to forms. On the flip side, technical-minded folks can look to nab certification as a Salesforce Developer, in which case you should aim to ace an exam such as the Platform App Builder. Salesforce Developers handle all the backend stuff involving building testing, implementing, and maintaining Salesforce apps to keep the platform running like a well-oiled machine. Read more…

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Get Your New Small Business Noticed With These 13 Marketing Tips

So you’re in the early stages of launching a small business. You’ve got a great product or service and obtained funding to get the company off the ground, but what about marketing? Do people know your business will be opening soon?

Getting noticed is one of the biggest challenges facing new small business owners. There are many different ways to market your business, such as using internet ads, social media pages, content marketing, in-person networking and more.

Some methods may be more effective than others, depending on your industry. But two areas all businesses need to excel in are internet-based marketing and in-person networking.

We’ve compiled a list of small business marketing tips, strategies and ideas that will help get your business noticed before, during and after opening.

13 Small Business Marketing Tips, Ideas and Strategies

Below is a breakdown of different tips, strategies and approaches on small business marketing. These tips and ideas are ranked based on when you should consider implementing them during pre-launch or in the early days of your business.

1. Create a Marketing Budget

For small businesses operating on a shoestring budget, it can be tempting to save money by not setting aside funds for marketing. But if your marketing strategy is to rely on word of mouth to promote your business, you’re in for a rude awakening.

Josh Rubin, CEO of Post Modern Marketing, tells small business owners they have to create a marketing budget, and the value of that budget can’t be an amount that will break the company if it doesn’t produce immediate results.

In the early days, you’re going to be spending time determining your company’s identity and figuring out what messaging connects with new customers. Be prepared for a lot of trial and error. “So set a budget that you’re willing to lose,” Rubin says.

2. Secure Your Company Name

You have an idea of what to name your small business and think it will connect with your target audience, but is that name available online?

“I see a lot of business owners that think of the name of their company but then don’t think about reserving a URL with [that name],” says Sherry Bonelli, owner of Early Bird Digital Marketing. She is also a small business mentor with Score, a volunteer group supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration that connects business owners with mentors from similar fields.

Having a website address that matches your company name is important, as people are doing more business online. It might be difficult for potential customers to find your website if they don’t match.

Once you have a business name in mind, go to a domain registrar, such as GoDaddy or Google Domains, to see if the web address is available. Prices start at $ 12 per year to reserve a domain name using Google Domains.

3. Create a Logo and Brand

If you want to be taken seriously as a business, you’re going to need to look the part. It might be tempting to create a generic logo and use a website template or stock photos when launching, but that isn’t necessarily good in the long run.

“I think many small business owners skimp on this step, and that’s a big mistake because if you don’t look like a real company, customers and clients are not going to trust you,” Bonelli says. Freelance websites such as Fiverr, Upwork and 99designs connect business owners with graphic designers who can create a custom logo, color palette, business cards and overall design for your business. This can cost anywhere between $ 300 and $ 500.

4. Build a User-Friendly Website

Once you have your logo ready, it’s time to build your website.

The way people search online has created many changes to website design. Having a site that looks good on smartphones and tablets is more vital than ever.

Website builders like WordPress.com, Squarespace and Wix, come with mobile-friendly features. They offer multiple templates, customization options and support for a monthly fee. Think like a potential consumer when building your site and make sure it has all the features and information you’d want to see.

5. Make Your Website SEO Friendly

Now that you’ve built your website, you should make it as easy as possible for people to find it when searching the web. Search engine optimization, more commonly known as SEO, is the process of getting web traffic from search engine results. SEO plays a crucial role in helping local and small businesses get discovered online.

Several factors determine a website’s search engine ranking. These include posting well-written blog pages that establish your topic credibility on a regular basis and using correct keywords associated with your business. To learn more about best SEO practices, check out free resources on sites such as Moz, Search Engine Land and Search Engine Journal.

If you’re planning on opening a physical location such as a restaurant, store or office, don’t forget to create a business profile on Google My Business, a free business listing service, that provides your essential info,such as a street address, phone number, hours of operation and business description.

One of the primary benefits of Google My Business is that it drives the “Map Pack” on Google search results, which may increase your visibility, in-store visits or calls This service is only available for local businesses with a physical address, not internet-only companies.

6. Create Social Media Pages

A woman with curly hair and glasses types on a computer in her office.

Now it’s time to create social media pages on platforms your audience uses.  You can count on using the major platforms — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn — to promote business news and engage with your customer base.

At all stages of your company’s life, you should also keep an eye on what your competitors are doing with their social media platforms. “If a competitor is using Pinterest and it seems like they’re gaining a lot of engagement, then Pinterest might be a place you want to go,” says Kim Randall, owner of KiMedia Strategies, a small business marketing firm.

7. Find Free or Low-Cost Business Services

Money is going to be tight in the early days of starting your small business, so it helps to use free or low-cost services to help your marketing. Below is a list of programs that can help you save money running your business.

  • Buffer is a social media tool that allows users to schedule posts in advance or post the same content to different platforms at once. It has free and paid versions, starting at $ 15 per month.
  • Google Alerts are free and will help you keep up with what people are saying online about your business or keep up with specific keywords.
  • KeywordTool.io is a free service that allows business owners to do keyword research for their website and ads.
  • Apps such as Grammarly and the Hemingway Editor can be useful when writing blogs or content on your website. These will help you write more succinctly and catch grammatical errors. Grammarly has a free version and a premium version that includes features such as a plagiarism detector, vocabulary enhancement and genre-specific writing-style suggestions. The premium versions costs $ 29.95 per month (or a discounted rate of $ 139.95 when paid annually).

8. Buy Online Ads

Once your business has opened, it’s time to start advertising. Google Ads, which appear when you search on Google, is an obvious place to start because of the search engine’s popularity. According to Google, businesses generally make an average of $ 2 in revenue for every $ 1 they spend on Google Ads.

Bonelli says the problem with Google Ads for new small-business owners is that it can be expensive. To make it effective, she says to include your ad the information that users seek when they search on Google.

For example, if someone is searching for “wedding gown alterations,” the web page your ad sends users to must emphasize that your business specializes in wedding gown alterations.

9. Set Up Email Marketing

People who sign up to your email marketing program tend to be the most engaged members of your audience. These members generally read more articles after opening the email and are more likely to buy your products or services. That’s why it’s important to provide content and information your audience cares about in every email blast you send.

“If you’re mailing out to a random [email subscription] list you didn’t build, that’s where you’re not going to be effective. But if you mail out information that people are interested in, that’s where it’s really effective,” Bonelli says.

Include a button on your website that allows people to sign up for your email campaigns. A free version of MailChimp can help build your email list — it allows you to send up to 12,000 emails a month to up to 2,000 subscribers. The paid version allows you to send an unlimited number of emails to an unlimited number of subscribers. The cost of the membership increases based on the number of subscribers.

10. Craft an Elevator Pitch

Before you start meeting potential customers and attending networking events, do you have your elevator pitch ready? An elevator pitch is a speech lasing 30 to 45 seconds that tells the listener who you are, what you do and how your business will be better than the competition. With some practice, it may lead to a potential customer. Learn more on how to develop a great elevator pitch.

11. Become a ‘Thought Leader” in Your Field

A woman listens as a man asks a question.

When your business is off the ground, think about establishing yourself as a thought leader. A “thought leader” is a marketing term for a recognized authority in a field who is sought after as an expert.

Every business owner is a thought leader without knowing it yet; there is a reason you started your business, so let people know what you know. For example, if you’re a photographer, write blogs offering tips and tricks on how to take better iPhone photos or suggest “three things to look for in a wedding photographer.”

Randall used this strategy in the early days of social media marketing. “When I gave my thoughts, tips and everything else away and became a thought leader within the social media space, I gained a lot more clients,” she says.

Early on when people are not yet visiting your site, consider becoming a guest contributor on another established website in your field so you can promote your knowledge on the subject and point people in the direction of your website to learn more.

Another way to become a recognized expert is by meeting your target audience. Meetup.com is a great way to find local groups who are interested in topics related to your business. For example, if you run a knitting or sewing store, you might look to see whether any knitting or sewing events are happening in your area and offer to give a free demonstration.

12. Get Involved With Your Chamber of Commerce

Not all marketing is done online. Getting involved with your local Chamber of Commerce will enable you to meet fellow business owners during in-person networking events and other chamber functions. Over time, you’ll expand your professional network and be able to utilize their resources.

Rubin says his Chamber helped his company get featured on a local news segment. Once you start to support other businesses, they’ll do the same when you have a big event or project.

“All it takes is your time and your energy,” he says.

13. Find a Business Mentor and Continue Learning

As a new small business owner or entrepreneur, it’s never a bad thing to seek guidance from people who have been in your shoes. There are both local and national nonprofits devoted to helping business owners.

Score offers their mentoring service free of charge. Rubin, a Score volunteer, says if you want to know more about marketing, Score can connect you with retired marketing executives or other knowledgeable people who can help you grow your business.

“I’ll scream their praises from every rooftop because everyone always thinks that you have to pay for this kind of business support, and it’s out there for free,” he says.

As you progress and figure out what marketing material connects with your audience, don’t stop learning new things. Small business marketing is a topic that is difficult to master because strategies that work now will change and marketing fads come and go.

Luckily, there are a lot of free blog posts, courses and resources out there to teach business owners about SEO, social media marketing, internet advertising and more.

You can sign up for a massive open online course (MOOCs), keep up with the SEO sites listed above or follow marketing professionals you admire on LinkedIn or other social media.

“There’s so much information out there now that if business owners spend an hour a night just searching the web and teaching themselves how to do small business marketing, they’ll be successful at it,” Bonelli says.

Matt Reinstetle 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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These 7 Steps Will Help You Negotiate Your Salary to Get What You’re Worth

After all the hard work you’ve put into designing your resume, crafting your cover letter and acing your job interview, you might be tempted to cash in on the first job offer a company gives you.

Most people do. Who could blame you?

But putting in a little extra time to negotiate a higher salary might be the easiest and quickest way to earn more money at your new job. Plus, hiring managers are often ready to negotiate. Are you?

What Are Salary Negotiations, and Why Are They Important?

Salary negotiations are one of the last steps in the hunt for a new job. They aren’t exactly synonymous with asking for a raise, though the two share a lot of similarities.

The key distinction is that negotiations for a higher salary happen sometime after your interview and before you sign the employment contract — not during a performance review for a current job.

Salary negotiations are crucial for a few key reasons. They show the company that you’re confident in your skills, that you’ve done your homework and that you’re not going to dart off to another better-paying position as soon as it’s available (because you’ll have the better-paying position).

Negotiations are also a time for you to think about your financial needs and to use the tight labor market to your advantage to score a higher starting salary.

“Unemployment rates are at all-time lows, and there’s a continued demand for skilled talent,” said Luke Stratmann, Baltimore Metro Market Manager of Robert Half, a 70-year-old S&P 500 career-consulting and staffing firm. “Professionals have the upper hand.”

The moment you say yes to a job, your sway over your benefits package and starting salary drops. If you don’t negotiate, you’ll have to wait six to 12 months to ask for a raise — money you could have been pocketing all along.

“Most employers expect — and even welcome — some back-and-forth on employment offers,” Stratmann said.

According to a 2019 survey by Robert Half, 70% of hiring managers are prepared for salary or benefit negotiations. The same survey shows that, within the last year, 45% of job seekers accepted the employer’s first offer without a peep.

Don’t be those people. It’s free money. Peep away.

How to Negotiate Salary

A woman shakes hands with a nan in an office setting.

Job interviews are nerve-racking as it is. When you add in salary negotiations, it’s enough to send most people into full-on panic mode.

Those anxieties could be enough to keep you from getting what you’re truly worth. Don’t let them.

Our step-by-step guide will help allay those initial fears and get you into the right frame of mind to not only ask for what you’re worth — but to emerge from those salary negotiations with a better offer.

Step 1: Research Salaries for Your Role

One of the best ways to calm yourself and to approach a salary negotiation with a level head is to do your homework about the company and your role. Don’t stress over manipulation tactics and strategies.

“If we go into a negotiation worrying about [that]… then we miss out on the most important feature of negotiation,” said Lisa Gates, cofounder of She Negotiates. “It’s a conversation. A human conversation.”

Gates, a leadership and negotiation coach for businesswomen and one of LinkedIn’s top 10 voices in the workplace, advises a good place to start is by searching what others in your position are earning. That could be by asking your colleagues (no, it’s not illegal, she said) or by looking up salary information on websites like Dice, Robert Half and Payscale.

With these tools you can establish what the national median income is for your position, what your local economy is paying and what your potential employer typically pays other people with the same title.

Consider where you’re located and where the company is located. For instance, if you are working in Nebraska, the local median income for copywriters is much lower than copywriter salaries in New York. But if you’re relocating to New York for the job, definitely use that salary range in negotiations. In that case, your salary history from Nebraska is irrelevant.

Likewise, this range is useful for establishing a fair salary for work-from-home jobs. Again, if you are a copywriter in Nebraska who is applying for a remote position in New York, you can negotiate a salary that’s in line with what New Yorkers earn, or at least you will have wiggle room to tap into national rates.

“Your salary should not be calibrated by your ZIP code,” Gates said. “It’s about the benefit you deliver to the company.”

Step 2: Know Your Work’s Worth

Once you’ve established a healthy salary range based on your research, you then have to plot yourself somewhere on that line.

“If you are a median performer… shoot for the median,” said Gates. “But chances are you’re amazing at what you do, and you want to shoot for a salary between median and high.”

When asking for above-average salaries, it needs to be a matter of showing rather than telling. If you believe you deserve the top of that range, then you’re going to need to fall back on something more substantial than “I believe I’m worth $ 70,000.” Because the obvious follow-up question to that statement is “Why?”

To be able to answer that question confidently and convincingly, “you need to make a list of all your contributions and accomplishments — and quantify them,” said Gates. “For example, if you are a customer service manager and you revamped your new-hire onboarding, what impact did that effort have on the bottom line?”

In terms of negotiation, your argument will be much stronger when it’s based on research and numbers rather than emotion. If you really do need that extra $ 5,000 for child care costs or relocation costs or rent, that’s OK to mention. Just don’t let that be your whole argument.

“Employers aren’t likely to respond well if job seekers are being unreasonable or pulling numbers out of thin air,” Stratmann said.

So show them exactly why you’re worth that extra five grand.

Step 3: Respond to the Initial Offer — Politely

This stage is ripe for fumbling.

You just got the job offer (congratulations!) and your emotions are running high — good or bad. It could be that the company offered you exactly what you wanted and you’re ecstatic. Or it could’ve lowballed you by about $ 10,000.

In either situation, it’s easy to respond on impulse. Check yourself first.

Take a deep breath and do not give your decision immediately, even if it’s a great offer. Likewise, it may not be the best time to negotiate especially if you’re a bit offended at that lowball.

“Responding graciously is the most important action to take when you first receive an offer,” said Loren Margolis, CEO and founder of Training & Leadership Success. “I recommend you state that you are grateful and excited, and then take a pause.”

Margolis is a career-training expert and a member of Forbes’ Coaching Council who’s worked with several Fortune 500 companies. She said that even if you know your answer or are ready to negotiate immediately, it’s good to ask for some time to think over the offer.

“If you negotiate on the spot, you run the risk of being influenced by emotion,” she said. “And you want to be logical and clear-headed when you talk money.”

The amount of time to ask the employer to think over the job offer could be anywhere from 24 hours to a week. Between 24 and 48 hours is typical, but employers may be in a pinch to fill the job quickly.

“You can also directly ask when the hiring manager would like to hear back,” Stratmann said.

That way you won’t be caught in a guessing game and will have a clear amount of time to review your salary research and prepare.

Step 4: Plan Your Counteroffer

A man wearing a tie examines papers.

At this point, you’ve done quite a bit of legwork on salary research. Now you need to pore over the details of your offer and establish what are known as a reservation point, a target salary and an anchor salary.

In salary negotiations, it’s important to stay within a realistic range that’s based on your research. And think back to your application. Did it ask, “What are your salary requirements?” If so, how did you respond?

If you answered “$ 40,000 to $ 50,000,” you have to work within that range.

For example, let’s say your initial job offer includes: $ 40,000 starting salary, health insurance, a 401(k) plan and three weeks of paid time off. If you’re an early-career professional, this offer might sound pretty good, and it is technically within your range. Negotiate anyway.

“Always negotiate, if for no other reason than to demonstrate that you are capable of having a problem-solving conversation,” Gates advised. “That’s what a negotiation is.”

The only exception is if the company made a “firm” offer or has a “non-negotiable” salary policy, Stratmann said. If that’s the case, “you probably don’t want to push your luck.”

But those cases are rare, so unless it’s expressly stated, get to planning your counteroffer.

First, do the numbers.

  • Set a reservation point above the amount they initially offered, perhaps at $ 42,500. This number is the minimum salary you will accept.
  • Your target salary, aka the amount you foresee agreeing on after negotiations, will be higher than your reservation amount — somewhere around $ 45,000.
  • Your anchor salary will be much higher. It’s the number you use to start the conversation and could be as high as $ 50,000.

It’s very possible the company won’t meet your target salary even after negotiations. But don’t fret.

“When evaluating offers, don’t just look at salary,” Stratmann said. “Benefits, cost of living, career path, commute, corporate culture and other factors should be taken into account.”

So negotiate elements of your benefits package, too. Do they have wiggle room on vacation time? What about a work-from-home policy? Learning stipends? Loan forgiveness?

Or, as Margolis put it, “Determine what perks would add some sparkle to your life.”

The important part in a counteroffer is to remain flexible and open-minded.

Step 5: Practice the Negotiation Conversation

You’ve come a long way. But now you have all of these numbers and nuggets of advice floating around in your head. Can you recall them on a moment’s notice while under pressure and probably sweating profusely?

Didn’t think so.

The conversation itself could happen in person or over the phone. But it does need to be a conversation. No email negotiations, Stratmann said.

“Email is great when corresponding about scheduling and general questions,” he said. “But most of the time, negotiating over the phone or in person is your best bet so you can get a better read on tone and responses.”

And if the conversation does happen to take place in person, you’ll have to take into consideration much more than your tone. According to research from Robert Half, hiring managers pay keen attention to several nonverbal cues, the most important being:

  • Eye contact.
  • Posture.
  • Handshake.
  • Hand gestures.
  • Facial expressions.
  • Fidgeting and nervous movements.

This is why feedback is crucial. For the most part, you won’t be able to address any of those cues without someone else’s help.

“Practice negotiating with someone you trust. And ask them to make it difficult for you,” Margolis said.  “Have them counter your assertions and challenge you so you can practice professionally pushing back.”

Margolis also recommended writing out the perks that mean the most to you in the negotiation. Then, write down three things that distinguish yourself from the other applicants — they could highlight your experience, skills or ways you will add unique value to the company.

Forcing yourself to write it out makes your argument more cohesive.

Similarly, Gates recommended crafting an opening statement that lays out exactly what you want. She’s created a specific formula to guide the conversation that should include:

  • Your strengths.
  • Quantified results of those strengths.
  • How you plan to produce those results in the future.
  • An anchor number to start off negotiations.

Then round off your opening statement with a question that sparks discussion. She recommended something along the lines of, ”How can you help me make this so?”

Following this formula, your opening statement could look like:

“I’m a creative and witty copywriter who has produced several award-winning advertisements for past clients, which raised their ad revenue by 20% in one quarter. I believe with the new resources and larger team in my new role here, I will deliver even better results. These achievements warrant a salary of $ 50,000. How can we come together on this?”

Your statement will obviously look different. Use language that’s natural to you and change it around as much as you like. Be sure to include your anchor salary and an open-ended question that invites the employer to speak.

When you’re practicing with a friend, try changing the question, especially if the response isn’t what you were expecting. Because you want to start a discussion, avoid yes-or-no questions in particular.

Practice as much as you can and ask for feedback along the way. When all is said and done, thank your practice partner profusely. Drinks are on you.

Step 6: Negotiate a Higher Salary

After all that preparation, it’s not so scary anymore, is it?

Give yourself a pep talk, take a deep breath, and go get yourself a higher salary.

If you’re conducting the salary talks in person, remember to mind your body language. And if they offer you a beverage, take it. Having something to sip on will help smooth over those awkward pauses and can buy you some time to think of a response if you’re stumped.

If you’re talking over the phone, throw all that advice about body language out the window. That’s not important here. You’ll be able to have your notes in front of you, too.

Remember that your tone is what’s important on the phone. Speak clearly and slowly, and you’ll have a better offer in no time.

Step 7: Get It in Writing

You don’t want all that effort to go to waste.

After you rock your salary negotiation and come out with your target salary (or higher), be sure to ask for it in writing.

Sometimes hiring processes are long and involve plenty of people at the company. Things get forgotten or lost in translation. Perhaps the negotiation was handled by a separate person in the HR department. Maybe that separate person only had your initial salary offer on file and not the renegotiated amount. Or there could be something more nefarious in the works. Let’s hope that’s not the case.

“Ask for them to at least send it in an email to ensure that you and the hiring company are both on the same page,” Margolis said.

And when you finally sign your name on the contract, ensure it reflects what was sent in the email.

Now all that’s left is to bask in the success of the single highest-earning conversation you’ve likely ever had.

Adam Hardy is a staff writer on the Make Money team at The Penny Hoarder, where he writes about career advice, legit work-from-home job opportunities and unique moneymaking techniques. Read his full bio here , or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.

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

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Nothing is too sexy for these hot mothers of the bride and groom

And the bride wore … who cares — is that her mother? When Ilene heard that her daughter was getting married, her first call was to the Vivaldi boutique on the Upper East Side, where the 50-something mom had outfitted herself for all four of her kids’ mitzvahs for years. “I knew right away I…
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These 5 Factors Are What Actually Matters When It Comes to Your Credit

It’s impossible to overstate the impact your credit score has on your life.

It determines everything from whether you can buy a home or rent an apartment to your credit card interest rates and how much you’ll pay for insurance.

Your credit score is basically just a three-digit number that measures how likely you are to repay your debt. Credit scores range from 300 to 850 and are based on information the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — have on file for you.

For simplicity’s sake, we’re going to talk about your credit score in the singular, but you actually have three credit scores — one from each of the credit bureaus.

A high score tells lenders that you’ve managed your debt well in the past, while a low credit score indicates that you have a poor history (or not much history) of managing credit.

If you want to build good credit, you need to understand the five credit factors that are used to calculate your score.

The 5 Credit Factors That Matter (and 5 Things That Don’t)

FICO, the data analytics company that calculates most credit scores, has always been hush-hush about the exact formula it uses. But it does tell us that the following five credit factors determine your score:

  • Payment history for loans and lines of credit: 35%
  • Credit utilization (i.e., how much of your total available credit you’re using): 30%
  • Length of credit history: 15%
  • Credit mix: 10%
  • New credit and hard inquiries: 10%

VantageScore, a newer credit scoring system, considers similar factors in calculating your score but weights them differently.

Here are some things that do not factor into your credit score:

  • Payments for expenses like rent, utilities or phone bills. However, missing payments could kill your credit if you wind up with an account in collections or a civil judgement against you.
  • How much money you have. But you are more likely to get approved for a loan if you have more cash on hand, because you will be able to make a bigger down payment.
  • Your age, although because the length of your credit history affects your score, you may find that your score increases as you get older.
  • Your income isn’t used to determine your credit score, though being able to prove steady income can help you obtain credit.
  • Checking your own credit. When you check your credit report, it counts as a “soft” inquiry, which doesn’t affect your credit score.

But let’s delve into the five credit factors that actually do matter.

1. Your Payment History: 35%

If you’re looking to improve your credit score, the single most important thing you can do is make on-time payments toward your credit cards and loans. That’s because your payment history accounts for 35% of your FICO score, making it the most important of the five credit factors.

When you make your debt payments, creditors report those payments to the credit bureaus, and you gradually build a good payment history. Eventually, those payments will help to boost your score.

The quickest way to negatively impact your credit score is to miss a payment.

If you’re more than 30 days late on a payment, your creditor will probably notify the bureaus, which will cause your credit score to drop. If your account goes into collections — which typically happens when your payment is 90 days or more past due — the negative impact to your score is even worse.

Late payments and collections stay on your credit reports for up to seven years, though the impact on your score lessens with time.

How to improve: If you have trouble remembering to pay bills on time, set up automatic bill pay for at least the minimum amount due for all of your debt payments.

Also, get copies of your credit reports (we’ll explain how later) to look for errors. If your reports contain an account in collections that doesn’t belong to you or that’s past the statute of limitations, having the negative information about your payment history removed could improve your credit score.

And if you know you’re not going to be able to make a payment, you need to talk to your creditors — ideally before you miss a payment, but at the very least before the account is sent to collections. They may be able to put you on a payment plan you can afford or change the due date for your bills.

2. Your Credit Utilization Ratio: 30%

Money falls on children's building blocks.

When it comes to credit factors that actually affect your score, what matters isn’t the total amount of debt you have — it’s the percentage of your available credit that you’re using, also known as your credit utilization ratio. It’s the second most important credit factor, determining 30% of your score.

Here’s an example: Suppose your credit card limits add up to $ 10,000. Your total balances amount to $ 3,500. Your credit utilization ratio is 35%.

The lower your credit utilization ratio, the better. A utilization ratio that’s too high tells lenders that you’re overly dependent on credit. While most experts recommend keeping utilization below 30%, the actual number you should be shooting for is zero. (No, don’t believe the credit myth that carrying a balance from month to month helps your score.)

How to improve: If you need to lower your credit utilization, keep paying down your debt without adding to your balance. Aim to get to the point where you can pay off your balance in full each month.

You can also improve your credit utilization by getting more credit. If your limit increases but your balance stays the same, your credit utilization ratio goes down.

Try asking for limit increases on your existing accounts. As you’re about to learn, the average age of credit and new credit are both factors that affect your score.

3. The Length of Your Credit History: 15%

Creditors like to see that you have experience managing credit, which is why the age of your credit matters. But if you’re new to credit, don’t get too hung up on age; it only makes up 15% of your overall score.

Both the average age of your overall credit and the age of your oldest account will affect your credit score. That means closing an older account or getting a new credit card could have a negative impact.

Your score could also drop if you pay off debt. For example, if you pay off the car loan that was one of your older accounts, that account will be closed. Even though you’ve done something good for your finances, your score could drop in the short term.

How to improve: There are no shortcuts here. Building your length of credit history takes time.

Think carefully before you close out a card you’ve had for a long time. But if you’re paying high fees or a card is causing you to overspend, don’t worry too much about the impact to your length of credit history.

The negative impact of closing an account is more likely to come from your increased credit utilization ratio, and even then, your score will probably bounce back in a few months, as long as your debt situation doesn’t change significantly.

4. New Credit and Hard Inquiries: 10%

Opening multiple accounts within a short period of time is bad for your credit, because it indicates a high risk of default.

FICO considers the number of new accounts that have been opened within the past six to 12 months, but that only accounts for 10% of your score.

Also included in this category is the number of hard inquiries, which occur when you apply for credit. What’s important to know is that if you apply for the same type of credit within 30 days — for instance, when you’re shopping around with multiple lenders for a mortgage — FICO treats it as a single hard inquiry, so the effect on your credit score will be minimal.

How to improve: Avoid applying for lots of new accounts within a few months, but don’t be afraid of shopping around for a specific type of loan or credit.

And, as we mentioned earlier, if you’re looking to lower your credit utilization ratio, consider asking for increases on your current lines of credit instead of applying for new lines of credit.

5. Credit Mix: 10%

Having a diverse mix of open accounts — credit cards, a line of credit and a mortgage, for example — is good for your credit. But note that the impact is small: It determines just 10% of your score.

How to improve: Don’t put too much emphasis on this credit factor. It’s not worth taking out a loan or going deeper into debt just to have a diverse credit mix.

3 Ways to Check Your Credit

Now that you know about the five credit factors and how much each one matters, it’s time to check your credit. Here are three places you can do so.

AnnualCreditReport.com

You’re entitled to check your credit report for free with each of the three credit bureaus once every 12 months. To do so, visit AnnualCreditReport.com.

While your actual credit scores aren’t included on the reports, you do see all the information that’s used to calculate your credit score. If you find errors, you can dispute them with the credit bureaus.

Your Bank, Credit Union or Credit Card Company

Many let you access at least one of your FICO scores for free, and some even offer free monitoring services.

Apps

Some apps like Credit Sesame will let you check your credit score for free, though they often use the VantageScore rather than your FICO scores.

Still, these apps are helpful in estimating your FICO score and monitoring changes to your reports.

Robin Hartill is a senior 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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These 31 Tips Will Give Your Resume an Edge in the 2019 Job Market

When you’re on the job hunt, you only have six seconds to hook a recruiter or future employer with your resume.

Six. Seconds.

And with the rise of applicant tracking systems (those doohickeys that scan your resume), figuring out what to include, what to trash, what to highlight and what to downplay on your resume is getting even more difficult.  

We already have an in-depth guide to writing a resume that should help you get started. And, we’ve covered some general guidelines for writing a resume for recent grads on writing a resume.

But with more than 7 million job openings in the U.S., we knew it was time to get serious — and give you a shotgun blast of tips that will help you stand out among the 6.5 million job seekers jostling through the labor market.

We chatted with several human resources and recruiting experts to find out the latest trends in resume writing and bring you inside knowledge about how to make yours stand out.

31 of the Best Resume Tips to You Get Noticed

Blasting your resume out likely won’t get you noticed, unfortunately.

That was the case for Austin Garcia-Cooper, a business development associate at Kobie Marketing in St. Petersburg, Florida, who found himself unemployed in 2018 when the startup he worked for went through layoffs.

“In pretty much all of my previous job hunts, I got lucky and was able to rely on various contacts to get me introductions to decision-makers at companies,” he said. “I hadn’t had to lean on a strong traditional resume, as I was able to almost go straight to the interview process in the past.”

This time, he knew he’d have to rely on a strong resume to hook recruiters.

These 31 tips should help you get started on your resume, and guarantee you get noticed.

Just Get Started on Writing Your Resume

Procrastination can be one of the biggest hurdles while writing your resume. It represents the whole of your working life and you want it to be absolutely perfect, right?

You’ll be constantly tweaking the document to tailor it to each job in which you apply, and to incorporate feedback from friends and even HR managers with whom you’ve interviewed. So it doesn’t have to start out perfect — it’s not a static document.

The key is to just sit down and get started on your resume right away, said Colin McIntosh, CEO of Sheets & Giggles, former recruiter, and author of the second most popular Reddit post of all time on the “jobs” subreddita resume guide.

“It’s like fishing without bait; make a resume on day one of a job hunt,” he said.

1. Ask yourself a set of questions before getting started

A woman poses for portraits outside of Treaty Oak, a tree where its limbs touch the ground, in Jacksonville, Fla.

To get in the right mindset for writing your resume, start by asking yourself — and answering — a set of questions. According to Jessica Hernandez, founder of North Florida-based Great Resumes Fast, these can include:

  • What are you most proud of in your professional career? You’ll want to focus on accomplishments rather than specific job duties while filling out your resume. Ask yourself this question about each previous job.
  • How did you add value — efficiency, cost saving or just happiness — to the company at which you last worked? Recruiters and HR managers want to see quantifiable results when they look at your previous positions. Did a process you implemented lead to a 10% growth in sales?
  • Can you explain what you actually did at your previous positions? For recruiters, clarity is king when it comes to describing your previous positions. Explain to a friend what you did at a previous job — do they understand your role? Avoid jargon and cliches.

2. Block out time to write your resume

Whip out that bullet journal, planner or even your Google calendar and carve out a specific time frame — an hour or two — and sit down and write. Just think: If you don’t have a resume, you can’t get a job and you won’t get paid.

“Don’t wait because you’re nervous about rejection or [have a] fear of failure. Decision paralysis can be a killer when you’re overly worried about bad outcomes.”

3. Spend time poring over the job description/listing

Grab a red pen or highlighter, print out the job description and start highlighting words or phrases you see repeatedly. Once you’ve done that, circle the ones you know you have in common with the description.

For example, if you see “analytical thinker” several times and you consider yourself one, circle that. These will likely be keywords recruiters are looking for on your resume.

4. Reach Out on LinkedIn

Don’t be shy: Make a connection with someone at the company over LinkedIn and ask what key skills or qualities they might be looking for in a candidate. This will help you bolster those keywords.

“I actually did this, but didn’t until after a month or two of searching,” said Garcia-Cooper. “It was super helpful to pick someone’s brain who hires people or got hired for a similar job that you would want; they obviously did something right.”

5. Tweak your resume based on the jobs you’re applying for

Your resume should not be static. That is, you should be customizing it for each job you are chasing.

Garcia-Cooper applied for jobs in a variety of industries, which means he had to tailor his resume for each position. This isn’t uncommon, and you should be prepared to tweak your resume based on the position and keywords in each job description.

6. Pay someone to write it

This may not seem like much of a tip, but if you want to get right to the job hunt, pay someone else to write your resume. Take it from us, writing is hard, and there are plenty of companies that have sprung up out there offering resume-writing services.

Loren Margolis, CEO of Training & Leadership Success, suggests reading reviews of these companies and asking for resume samples before paying for the service.

“One easy rule to follow: If an agency or individual doesn’t show you their templates up front and explain why — for free — they’d want to make certain decisions on your format, don’t work with them,” McIntosh said.

7. Shell out cash for the design

A man stands for a portrait in downtown St. Petersburg, Fla.

If you’re not the design-savvy person, it might be worth to pay for a custom template to get you started. Don’t just go with the first free template you find in Microsoft Word.

Garcia-Cooper used Visual CV to design his resume instead of going with a template that’s already out in the wild. This is especially helpful if you’re not the creative type and will incorporate many of the tips we highlight below.

Keep Formatting Simple

It might be tempting to add color, graphics or even a headshot to make your resume stand out. But according to resume experts, it’s best to keep it as simple as possible.

You can always add inline links to your LinkedIn profile or personal portfolio on your resume if you want to show off your creative side.

8. Don’t choose a fancy font

Err on the boring side with your font selection. Recruiters are looking for something easy to read that won’t be distracting — think Arial or Georgia, said Margolis.

9. Stick with a classic color scheme

We get it, you want to wow a recruiter or future employer with your creative spark. But you’re not Elle Woods, and as much as it may hurt, you want your accomplishments to speak for themselves. A fancy font can distract from that.

“I’ve seen a lot more color in resumes recently from applicants,” said McIntosh. “But I wouldn’t recommend that. Black and white is always the way to go.”

10. Use bulleted lists under each previous position

Short bullet points will highlight your accomplishments while making it easy for future employers to scan your work history. Also, it should (hopefully) make you mindful of rambling too much about your job history.

Recruiters will spend between six and 10 seconds reading your resume, so you want to make it as skimmable as possible, Margolis said. Short bullet points will highlight your accomplishments while making it easy for future employers to scan your work history.

11. Write in the software you want, but save it as a .pdf

Submitting a Word document of your resume could cause an applicant-tracking system to ignore it and also give recruiters without Microsoft Office a headache. Save your resume as a .pdf to avoid any problems with cross-compatibility.

12. Stick to 1 1/2 pages or less

There is still some disagreement about resume length among HR professionals.

Margolis said it’s OK to write your resume so it ends up longer than one page — but stop at 1 ½. Recruiters are more inclined to read past the first page than they have been in the past, but remember, they’ll still give you only six to 10 seconds.

McIntosh remains in the one-page-only camp.

13. Be aware of white space

Try to let your resume breathe. Add a few carriage returns between sections, or use a template that formats text so it isn’t crammed together.

Your resume is a single document aimed at summing up your entire professional life, so it’s not a surprise that you’ll want to jam as much information into 1 ½ pages as possible. Don’t do it.

“You don’t want a recruiter to get tired reading your resume because it’s filled with so much font,” Margolis said.

14. Consider a website

Since you only have 1 1/2 pages to sum up your career, you might want to consider making a website to expand on your experience — or include your professional portfolio. Make sure it is optimized for mobile devices, since a recruiter might open it on their phone.

“That is a terrific way to showcase not just your resume, but also your background,” Margolis said. “You can create a story about how well qualified you are for the jobs your targeting.”

The Nitty-Gritty: What to Include on Your Resume

15. Think about accomplishments rather than roles and responsibilities

A woman shows what a good resume should look like.

When you’re writing your resume, think more about what you have accomplished at each step of your career rather than what your responsibilities were. Did you edit a daily e-blast or have a hand in launching a first-of-its-kind online newsletter?

If you started with those questions from earlier in this post, you should have a good idea what you accomplished at each position.

16. Keywords are still king

Your resume will likely go through an applicant-tracking system, which will search for those keywords we discussed earlier. Recruiters will do the same as they skim your resume for those six seconds. So include the relevant phrases or words for the job description (those you highlighted and circled earlier) throughout your resume.

“However, while you want to incorporate keywords from the job posting in your resume, my advice is don’t get too crazy,” said Mikaila Turman, a vice president and expert in recruiting at Inflection, an Omaha, Nebraska-based company that uses big data to perform automated background checks.

17. Don’t include the dates in your education section

Regardless of how old you are, you can avoid any chance of age discrimination by excluding dates under the education section of your resume.

“Protect yourself and do not put graduation dates on your resume,” Hernandez said. “It’s pointless to do so.”

18. Consider omitting your first name

Don’t hide your name, but consider using your first initial to avoid any unconscious gender bias as well. McIntosh said this a positive trend he’s noticed in the world of resume-writing.

You should, however, still use your full name in the application and in your email.

19. Eliminate your address

Don’t put your exact address if you’re applying for jobs within the area. The street name and number will just add clutter.

But, what if you’re applying for a job in another state and don’t want to be at a disadvantage due to relocation? In that case, either exclude your location altogether, or add “Moving to:” in front of the city and state of the job to which you are applying.

20. Fill in the gaps

If you were truly unemployed, add a section in which you describe yourself as an independent consultant. Under the description, write that you needed some flexibility to take care of personal matters, McIntosh suggests.

When Garcia-Cooper was job hunting, he was working for his father’s landscaping businesses. But he didn’t include that on his resume because he didn’t think it was applicable experience.

He could have included it, one recruiter told him, because it shows that he was always working.

“I remedied this by realizing that there was relevant experience in almost all of my previous jobs,” he said. “It just came down to framing it correctly.”

21. Show some personality with an interests section

Including a section in which you list your hobbies and interests will help avoid being seen as a faceless resume and give something for recruiters to connect with.

“If you put “Seinfeld,” I promise someone will ask you what your favorite episode of Seinfeld is — (mine’s ‘The Soup Nazi’),” McIntosh said.

22. Don’t be afraid of life links

In the past, including links in your resume might trigger a spam filter through certain email clients, so human resources experts advised against including them. That’s changed, said Hernandez, and including links to your LinkedIn, personal website or portfolio can add depth to your resume without making it too long.

“I would say this very important — especially in 2019,” she said.

23. Get rid of the objective

Consider skipping the objective section at the top of your resume, which just takes up valuable space.

“The truth is, your objective is painfully obvious,” said Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, owner of Feather Communications, a resume-writing business in Wisconsin. “In fact, you wouldn’t be sending a resume if you didn’t want a new job.”

24. Be specific and avoid cliches

There’s nothing more grating for a recruiter than reading a mealy-mouthed jumble of cliches. And with the algorithms within applicant-tracking systems searching for specific words and phrases, it’s always best to be as specific and clear as possible in position titles, accomplishments and job responsibilities.

25. Avoid pronouns and use action verbs

Avoid using “I” or “me” while writing your resume. Use action verbs like “built” or “launched” at the beginning of bullet points.

“Resumes are like no other document you’ll ever write in that you’re supposed to sound like a caveman,” said Margolis.

26. Don’t try to quantify skills

Hernandez said you should avoid terms such as “proficient,” “experienced” and “skilled in” when describing software or skills. If you have some experience in Excel, just put “Excel” next to a bullet point in your skills section.

Make It Bulletproof: Proofread Your Resume

27. Print out your resume in a huge font size

You’ll probably read through your resume so many times on your computer screen that your eyes will cross. Printing it out will help you catch mistakes you might otherwise overlook.

Pro-tip: Use a much larger font to help yourself identify mistakes even more. There’s no quicker way for a resume to end up in the trash than being riddled with grammatical or spelling errors.

“Reading aloud is helpful, too,” said Margolis.

28. Have a friend read your resume

Ask one (or many) of your friends to read through your resume to try and catch any mistakes. You should also ask them to read it for clarity.

Does it convey exactly what you have accomplished? Is it clear what value you will bring to the company?

29. Pay a copy editor to read it

Go on Fiverr or Upwork and look for proofreaders or copy editors to take a look at your resume. Since it’s only one page, you’ll likely pay $ 5 or $ 10 — which could be worth it to catch a small mistake before a recruiter has a chance to notice it.

30. Use this naming convention for the file

Here’s how you should name your resume file: “[First name] [Last name] [Resume].pdf”. It will help recruiters identify whose resume they are looking at right away.

31. Ask for feedback if you get rejected

Most recruiters will be happy to provide feedback on your resume if you don’t happen to land that job you were chasing. In fact, that’s how Garcia-Cooper learned he should avoid leaving gaps in his work history.

Alex Mahadevan is a data journalist 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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Scouted: These Two Portable Bluetooth Speakers Sync to Your Phone and Give You Stereo Surround Sound – And They’re On Sale Right Now for $70

As outdoor weather inches toward us, it’s time to remember where you left your portable Bluetooth speaker. And if you’re not immediately “Ah ha!”-ing right now, it might not be so memorable (or good). That’s a great reason to upgrade today to a pair of Anker’s Soundcore Flares — a pretty unique set of waterproof (yes, proof) portable Bluetooth speakers that are inexplicably on sale right now for $ 70.

The 31% discount is sizable considering the nearly 500 reviews and 4.5-star average rating the Flares have amassed. But then again: Their features are really cool. They will both sync (seamlessly) to your device and play in stereo — that is, one will act as the right speaker and the other as the left.  You can just pop them on and decide just how enveloped in surround sound you want your outdoor space — be it a patio, roof, backyard, park, beach, or personal jetty. Or you could just place them next to each other to achieve an enhanced volume. The speakers are waterproof (rated IPX7) and LEDs packed into their bases can react to the music in real time. You can actually customize multiple themes and light patterns using Anker’s Soundcore app.

If you want to level up your Bluetooth portable speaker game this spring, this is your chance to do so with a real discount on a top-rated product.   

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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2019 Valero Texas Open odds, picks: These PGA Tour long shots worth a look

The PGA Tour stays in Texas for the Valero Texas Open at The Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio. The Valero replaces the Houston Open this season as the final test prior to the Masters. Here are three longer shots worth a look this weekend: The plays Jhonattan Vegas (40/1): Johnny Vegas pencils out very…
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EMPLOYMENT SEARCH UPDATE:

5 Ways to ‘Boss Up’ Your Career with These Career-Coaching Tips

According to Forbes, career coaching is a $ 2 billion, global industry. It seems you can’t sling a hashtag without finding a career coach online. This is partially due to the internet enabling the growth and popularity of the profession within the last 15 years. It is clear that digital and social media are driving the services that coaches offer.

Recently, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing a career coach on episode 14 of The Culture Soup Podcast. In speaking with Tristan Layfield, a recent BE Modern Man, I discovered that his role isn’t always about critiquing and improving résumés. He really has to be a social media expert with a strong grounding in what it means to manage one’s personal brand.

Layfield is a former recruiting manager at a Fortune 500 and currently a project manager at IBM. In his spare time, he was helping friends and family improve their résumés, and he noticed that they were actually snapping up the jobs they were after as a result. So, he decided to take his knack for résumé writing to another level by starting a business.

career coaching

Career Coach and Résumé Writer, Tristan Layfield. (Photo: Clyde Barnett III)

Layfield provided some very useful tips on improving your résumé, personal branding, and how to leverage LinkedIn and other social platforms so that a job hunter or even people who are happy in their current position but are looking to be more marketable can improve their searchability online.

 

5 Career Coaching Tips to ‘Boss Up’ Your Career

Focus: Understand what you really want to do.

The internet empowers us to research what we want to be when we grow up. Before we had robust search engines like Bing and Google, we were left to figure things like this out on our own, and mostly to no success. So, Layfield says, often people just remained stuck in whatever role they found themselves. The internet allows us to dream big, look into what it will take to achieve that dream, then execute against it. It’s a new day! Seize it.

Engage strategically on social media.

If you are one to shy away from being too vocal on social media, or perhaps you aren’t that great a writer, so content creation is something you’d rather stay away from, consider engaging with other people’s content instead. Layfield says that on platforms like LinkedIn, a simple “like” of someone’s content share or even a re-share can go a long way toward positioning yourself as a thought leader in any space. Just ensure the content always aligns with your personal brand.

 

Own your story.

Your uniqueness is your story, and it isn’t always pretty. People like authenticity, so sharing the learning experiences as well as the wins not only makes you more approachable, but it also makes you relatable. Layfield walks that talk by sharing about how he was fired from one job, which was a catalyst for him starting his own business. He says getting fired shouldn’t be something to be ashamed of because most people have experienced this in their careers at one time or the other.

 

Tailor your résumé to the job description.

This extremely smart and practical tip is one that many people overlook. Layfield says that before your résumé makes it to the recruiter, they use algorithms that search your document for certain keywords—words from the position description.  His suggestion is to ensure that your résumé has those words in it and often so that your résumé will not wind up in the “no” pile before it even sees human eyes.

 

Be your own best advocate.

In this highly-competitive, fast-moving, digital and cluttered world that we live in, it is no longer advised to wait for someone else to merchandise your work for you. Layfield advises his clients to be their own best advocates. That means it is OK to share your successes in a grounded and non-boastful way. He told the story of how he became a BE Modern Man.  When it came down to it, he nominated himself. He reasoned that he would either live up to the requirements or not; and why not practice what he preaches to his own clients. It resulted in a prestigious recognition. What if he hadn’t entered his name?

Listen to the entire episode on The Culture Soup Podcast.


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The post 5 Ways to ‘Boss Up’ Your Career with These Career-Coaching Tips appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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EMPLOYMENT UPDATE:

The best coffee comes from these countries

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Ask any coffee drinker, and they’ll tell you there is absolutely nothing like the taste of a freshly poured coffee in the morning. It’s an instant taste of optimism. The day starts as soon as that hot steaming mug of bitter-sweet goodness reaches your lip, and with a good-quality coffee, it usually starts pretty darn well.

There’s a lot to know about coffee – it’s not just about the average cup of instant granules you can pick up at the local supermarket, there’s a whole world of different smells and tastes that the little coffee bean can show you that you’re probably yet to discover. Every country has a different way of making coffee, and every little bean of coffee has a different story to tell. Can you tell that we love coffee yet? Here’s a look at the countries who supposedly make the best-tasting coffee and their best-loved strand. Get the flights booked.

Colombia – ‘Supremo Coffee’

Colombia is the world’s biggest supplier of coffee – providing it with 15% of its beans. One particular strand of coffee that is distinctively delightful to the tastebuds is the ‘Columbian Supremo’. It’s often described as the best type of coffee as it uses the latest technology to grow. However, because of this, a genuine 100% Supremo grade coffee is quite hard to come by.

What does ‘Colombian Supremo’ coffee taste like?
A rich, bold and velvety flavor.

Guatemala – ‘Antigua Volcanic’

Guatemala is a country known for its high-quality tasting coffee because the beans grow on the richly mineralized mountainous areas where flavor is intensified. The country’s favorite coffee strand is ‘Antigua Volcanic’ coffee, named appropriately so after it’s grown from the volcanically rich soils of Antigua Volcano.

What does Guatemalan ‘Antigua Volcanic’ coffee taste like?
A sophisticated and heavy taste, enriched with aromas of smoke.

The Arabian Peninsula – The ‘Arabian Mocha’

Arabian coffee is generally thought of to have a sweeter and more delicate flavor – softer tones of sugar, sweet and berries. So if you have a sweet tooth, this may be the one for you! The ‘Arabian Mocha,’ grown on the hills of the Arabian Peninsula, is one of the world’s most famous coffee strands, but due to its small production volumes, it is rare to come by, only usually exported to neighboring countries.

What does ‘Arabian Mocha’ taste?
A sweet and fruity chocolatey flavor.

Ethiopia – ‘Harrar Variety’

Some of the world’s best-known brands and strands of coffee are grown in Ethiopia. The beans are usually grown on the high-altitude Eastern highlands of the country, with each strand tasting notably different. Perhaps the most loved Ethiopian coffee is the ‘Harrar variety’ with an exotic zing perfect for anyone wanting their coffee full of bold flavor.

What does Ethiopian Harrar coffee taste like?
A wine-like aroma, mostly spicy or fruity.

Coffee is one of the most valued exports, and its world-wide produce is a huge business around the globe, powered by our universal love for the gorgeously tasting innocent little bean. When you next take your next first delicious morning sip, have a real think of where it has been grown, and ponder on where it may have all started.

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Hey, small business owners: These tax software programs make filing (almost) painless

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As a small business owner (SBO), you can handle the occasional hiccup or headache like it ain’t no thang. It’s basically part of your job description. In fact, the thrill of it all is probably part of the reason why you decided to pursue entrepreneurship in the first place. You relish the challenge of doing it all yourself. You’re not just a businessman (or woman) — you’re a business, man.

There’s an impressive amount of gutsiness that’s associated with small business ownership, one that’s essential to your company’s growth. But research has shown that if there’s one aspect of the gig that intimidates you, it’s getting your shit together come tax season. Read more…

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Beauty of 5: Amazon Launched A New Skincare Line And These Are The Products You Should Try

You're as beautiful as you believe you are

Source: LumiNola / Getty

Amazon launched their own beauty line and the entire world is excited. Belei is a cruelty-free collection, free from sulfates, parabens, phthalates. The in-depth skincare line was designed to address every blemish, dark spot, and wrinkle on your face. Get ready to indulge in serums, moisturizers, cleansers, masks and so much more. This is the first of the brand’s kind so the pressure is on for it to do well in the beauty market. If this launch sparks your interest, get ready to learn about 5 products carried by the collection that you must try.

 

One of the most amazing feelings in the world is taking a full face of makeup off with a damp cleansing wipe. Belei’s Oil-Free Micellar Facial Cleanser Wipes ($ 9.00, Amazon.com) has a fragrance and alcohol-free formula that won’t irritate or dry out your skin. You can count on this product to lift makeup, dirt and oil, while unclogging your pores. What I love most about this product is that you’re receiving 2 packs of facial wipes for just $ 9.00. Every makeup regimen needs an effective moisturizer. The key to healthy, clear, beautiful skin is hydration. Belei’s Retinol Refining Moisturizer ($ 35.00, Amazon.com) will smooth the appearance of wrinkles, and fine lines. Best use for this product? Anytime! Apply in the morning before makeup, at night before bed, or during the day on a clean face.

 

 

Adult acne is, unfortunately, a real thing that many people battle. Belei’s Blemish Control Spot Treatment ($ 22.00, Amazon.com) is designed to address each dark spot and blemish head-on. Apply once a day to the affected area after cleansing your face. With a combination of washing your face, using the spot treatment, and moisturizing your face, you’ll be able to eliminate those pesky pimples! A good skincare regimen is so important. Us melanated folks have proven that we can age backwards. With the help of good products, we can really maximize on the youthfulness of our skin. Amazon dipping into the beauty industry is kind of major. The name alone packs enough power to have me curious about this collection.

What do you think? Will you be sampling the Belei line?

 

 

MadameNoire

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These 10 Google Chrome extensions will make your life easier

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One of the best and worst things about Google Chrome is the amount of browser extensions you can find in the Chrome store. It’s the best because it gives users almost limitless ways to improve their Chrome experience, but also it’s the worst because you might not know how many great extensions you’re missing out on if you never look for them.

Chrome extensions can do everything, from totally reorganizing your email inbox to filtering out websites with adult content on them. Here’s a small sampling of the more useful Chrome extensions available right now.

Save to Google Drive

Send screenshots to Google Drive instantly with this extension.

Send screenshots to Google Drive instantly with this extension.

Image: Alex Perry / mashable Read more…

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You Could Be Paying Less in Taxes With These 7 Strategies

They say it because it’s true: The only certain things in life are death and taxes.

While we’re still working on the whole immortality thing, we have found some ways to reduce that pesky bill from Uncle Sam each April.

Don’t worry, we’re not talking about tax evasion. Throwing some bones to the government is a way better alternative than going to jail. (And besides, who doesn’t like roads and public libraries?)

But there are some totally aboveboard ways to keep more of your hard-earned dollars in your pocket.

Here are some ways to save money on taxes that won’t get you in trouble with Uncle Sam.

1. Reduce Your Taxable Income

One surefire way to not pay income tax: don’t earn any income!

Of course, for most of us, that plan won’t work. Unless you’re independently wealthy (or Bear Grylls-ing it in the woods somewhere), you need money to live on.

But there are ways to reduce your taxable income while still earning a living — and doing them might put you in a lower tax bracket. (To review: the amount you pay in income tax depends on how much of that income you earn, with higher earners being required, sensibly, to pay a higher percentage.)

The easiest way to reduce your taxable income — without throwing in the towel at work, of course — is to contribute to a tax-deferred retirement savings vehicle, like your company’s 401(k) plan.

Wages you defer to a 401(k) don’t count toward your taxable income for the year you make the contribution, though they will be taxed when you make withdrawals later.

Depending on how much you earn and how much you put away, you might be able to edge yourself down into a lower tax bracket… all while feeding your growing nest egg and setting yourself up for a comfortable retirement. Smart finances all around!

Which leads us to our second suggestion…

2. Contribute to a Traditional IRA

Woman managing the debt

Even if you already have a retirement savings account at work, like a 401(k) or a 457(b), you can still open and contribute to a traditional IRA (Individual Retirement Account) — you just need to have earned taxable income and not yet have reached age 70 ½.

What Is a Traditional IRA?

Just like that company-sponsored retirement plan we were talking about, the funds you contribute to your IRA don’t count toward your taxable income.

The exception: a Roth IRA, in which contributions are taxed today but then grow tax-free thereafter.

How Much Can You Contribute?

For 2018, you can contribute up to $ 5,500 to an IRA, or $ 6,500 if you’re over the age of 50. (Looking ahead to the future? 2019’s contribution caps have been raised to $ 6,000 and $ 7,000, respectively.)

Keep in mind that you have until tax day to max out your contribution for the previous calendar year.

An important caveat: If you’re a relatively high roller (i.e., you earn more than $ 100,000), you may not be able to deduct your full IRA contribution or any contribution at all.

Your specific eligibility will depend on whether you’re filing singly or jointly and whether or not you’re covered by a retirement plan at work; head to the IRS website for full details on these phase-out limits.

3. Consider a Health Savings Account

While IRAs are widely available and applicable to almost everyone, quite a few other investment accounts can get you this same kind of tax break.

What Is a Health Savings Account?

A Health Savings Account (HSA), is a tax-exempt option if your healthcare plan has a high deductible. Not only are your contributions deductible, but withdrawals aren’t taxed, either, as long as they’re used for qualified medical expenses.

How Much Can You Contribute?

In 2019, you can contribute up to $ 3,500 to an HSA if you have individual coverage, and up to $ 7,000 if your high-deductible health care plan (HDHP) covers a family.

And you don’t have to spend it all, either — you can leave funds in your HSA indefinitely since they’re not subject to required minimum distributions. (And if you’re like most of us, you’ll have more health care-related costs as you get older, anyway.)

However, do keep in mind that if you receive Medicare coverage, you might not be eligible to make HSA contributions, since you’ll have coverage outside of your HDHP.

4. Put Your Kids Through College

If you’ve got kids, chances are you’re already gritting your teeth just thinking about paying for college — even if you’re not planning on paying for all of it.

According to U.S. News & World Report, average costs range from $ 9,716 to $ 35,676 for a single year of education, so it’s important to get ahead of that bill now.

What Is a 529 Plan?

A 529 plan is an investment vehicle specifically built for educational savings. You can use it to pay for your kids’ college tuition — or even to send yourself or your spouse to school. The exact tax benefits vary by state, and the contributions aren’t deductible on your federal return.

But more than 30 states offer full or partial tax deduction or credits on 529 contributions, and the funds are allowed to grow tax-free. They won’t be taxed on withdrawal, either, so long as they’re used for qualified educational expenses.

What Expenses Qualify for the 529 Plan?

What qualifies, you ask? College tuition, fees, books and computers all count, and in some cases, it’ll cover room and board.  You can also take out up to $ 10,000 per year to pay for tuition at private or religious K-12 schools. (That’s $ 10,000 per beneficiary.)

But if you try to take the money out to pay for red Solo cups, you’ll be subject to regular income tax on the withdrawal, as well as an additional 10% penalty. So keep those noses in the books if you want to keep your own books nice and tidy!

5. Give It Away

Woman sorting through clothes in her home.

Looking for a way to save money on taxes… and get that warm, fuzzy feeling? Charitable donations are tax-deductible, and they can be a great way to lower your overall tax liability.

The easiest way to go about this strategy might be to just write a check to your favorite charity. But if you’re KonMari-ing your life, you can also itemize those trash-bagged Goodwill donations as deductions. (Of course, you will need to say “yes” when the attendant asks if you want a receipt, should you want to do so.)

But Keep the Books

Of course, doing so does mean keeping track of the estimated value of each of those old t-shirts and coffee makers. But lots of tax software includes tools to help you.

For instance, TurboTax’s ItsDeductible module will keep a running tally of your donations year-round, and help you make those value estimations in the first place.

The cans you drop off at the local food bank count, too, as do certain out-of-pocket expenses incurred by volunteering, such as gas and mileage.

You’ll save money while serving your community — what more could you ask of a tax-reduction strategy?

6. Know Your Deductions

You may already know that certain expenses are tax-deductible. But which ones, exactly?

Major medical bills: If you’ve spent more than 7.5% of your AGI (adjusted gross income) on qualified medical expenses, you may be able to write them off.

Student loan debt interest: Deductible up to $ 2,500

Mortgage interest and local property taxes: These may both be eligible for partial deductions — and if you’re a first-time buyer, you may be able to make penalty-free withdrawals from that IRA we were talking about earlier.

Charitable donations: These have a tax-deductible status, as mentioned above.

Business-related deductions: If you’re a freelancer or you work from home, you should also look into business-related deductions, like the cost of your home office space.

You might also be able to deduct certain supplies, travel expenses, and even meals and entertainment. Here are the full deets on freelancing deductions.

Itemizing your deductions does take time, however, and not everyone has enough to supersede the standard deduction — which is a fairly hefty $ 12,000 for single filers and $ 24,000 for joint filers in 2018.

So if you haven’t footed any of the expenses we mentioned, consider skipping this strategy.

7. Take Advantage of Tax Credits

In certain scenarios, the IRS extends credits to eligible taxpayers — for instance, those pursuing continued education or returning to school.

American Opportunity or Lifetime Learning Credits: Depending on your enrollment status, AGI, and how you’ve paid for educational expenses, you may be entitled to the American Opportunity or Lifetime Learning Credits, along with tuition and fee deductions. (Check out this quick quiz from the IRS, which will tell you if you’re qualified in just 10 minutes.)

Earned Income Tax Credit: If you’re not quite making fat stacks, you might be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, a benefit the IRS extends to low-to-moderate earners.

Your credit depends on your exact level of income as well as your marital status and number of dependents. For details, check out the IRS’ Earned Income Tax Credit fact sheet.

The cool thing about tax credits is that they don’t just reduce the amount you’ll pay in income taxes. Rather, they count as an actual reduction of your total tax bill.

So, for instance, if you would have owed $ 500 and claim $ 1,000 in tax credits, not only will your payment be waived — you’ll also receive a $ 500 return.

3 Ways to Save Money on Taxes Today and Tomorrow

A young couple going through their paperwork together at home

While the strategies above are great ways to get ahead of a nasty tax bill this year, taking a proactive approach can help you pay less in taxes every year hereafter. Here are our suggestions.

1. Adjust Your Withholdings.

If you work for an employer, you’ve filed a W-4 — which is the document where you specify how much of your wages should be withheld for taxes.

It might seem intuitive to keep your withholdings as low as possible so you keep more of your paycheck in your pocket. But if you found you owed money in April, you might want to go in and tweak it so you don’t run into the same problem next year.

2. Automate Your Contributions to Those Tax-Deferred Accounts.

Chances are your employer automatically deposits your deferrals into your 401(k). But if you open an IRA, HSA or 529, you’ll have to make contributions manually… and it’s all too easy to forget to do so (or, let’s be honest, spend the money on something else.)

Most account providers will allow you to set up automatic contributions on a regular basis, be it weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. That way, you’ll be sure to add enough funds to the account to significantly lower your tax bill while boosting the savings you’ll use for those qualified expenses down the line.

3. Work for Yourself? Don’t Forget to Pay Your Quarterlies!

Freelancers get a lot of autonomy, but it does come with a substantial drawback: Nobody’s withholding your taxes for you, so you’ve got to pay them yourself.

And if you don’t keep up with your estimated quarterly tax payments — or if you forget about self-employment tax, which adds an additional 15% to the usual 20% — you could be facing a downright scary situation come April.

So funnel about a third of every paycheck you make into a separate account, and label it “PROPERTY OF UNCLE SAM: DO NOT TOUCH.”

It can be painful to see how much of your hard-earned hustle money has to be shipped off to the government… but not nearly as painful as having to cut a five-figure check come springtime.

Jamie Cattanach’s work has been featured at Fodor’s, Yahoo, SELF, The Huffington Post, The Motley Fool, Roads & Kingdoms and other outlets. Learn more at www.jamiecattanach.com.

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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Filthy rich fashionistas are pumped for Gucci’s latest kicks. Taking its name from a basketball term, the Italian house’s “Screener” sneakers — inspired by a vintage sports style from the ’70s — are a purposely dirty style that were “treated for a vintage, distressed effect.” Beat-up Gucci still doesn’t come at a bargain, though. This…
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Want to Win March Madness? These 10 Players Could Lift Your Bracket to Office Pool Victory

Did Michigan State get a raw deal? Yeah. If the Spartans — who (along with Purdue) won the Big 10 regular season title and took the conference tournament — didn’t deserve a #1 seed, they definitely didn’t deserve a #2 seed. Especially because that puts Duke, the top overall team in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, right in Michigan State’s Final Four path. (If seeding holds, #1 Duke and #2 Michigan State would clash in the Elite Eight.)

Meanwhile, should the selection committee have granted St. John’s, who lost in the Big East tournament quarterfinals to Marquette by a cool 32 points, the last at-large bid? With apologies to the Red Storm faithful, you can make a strong argument that no, it shouldn’t have.

All bitter gripes about the brackets, however, should last about three seconds. You can’t change anything now. So grab your pencil, print out a piece of paper and get ready make your picks. (Seriously, just to mess with the IT honcho who runs your office pool, hand him paper brackets, we’re sure he’ll love it.)

To help you along with your NCAA basketball March Madness bracket, here are 10 standout players who could carry their teams to an upset or two, if not all the way to the Final Four in Minneapolis.

Zion Williamson, Duke

Duh, I know. But even hermits have been known to fill out brackets (presumably). And just in case you’re one of those folks who only tunes into college hoops this time of year: Duke freshman Zion Williamson is simply the most freakish player in the game. “There’s never been a player on any level like Zion Williamson,” says ESPN analyst Jay Bilas.

That doesn’t mean Williamson is the best player on the planet. It’s that no one with his build — chiseled 6’7″, 284 lb. linebacker — possesses his skill set. He can jump over the backboard. And Williamson — or just plain “Zion” at this point, ala Serena, LeBron and Neymar — is incredibly fundamental: he can dribble, pass, and owns an effective shooting touch around the rim. “He’s like a mack truck,” says Bilas, “playing lead in ballet.” Let’s just hope his shoes stay intact.

#1 Duke plays the winner of the #16 North Carolina Central/#16 North Dakota State game on Friday, March 22 at 7:10 PM ET on CBS.

Fletcher Magee, Wofford

Magee — “sounds like he should be somebody’s butler,” Bilas deadpans — might be the best shooter in the country. The 6’4″ senior has hit 502 career three-pointers for Wofford, the Southern Conference champs, two shy of the NCAA D-1 record. He shoots an efficient 43% from downtown, a pretty remarkable rate for a guy who hoists an arm-tiring 11 treys a game, and 91% from the foul line.

Magee grew up studying the shot of Philadelphia 76ers guard J.J. Redick, who used to play for the Magic in Magee’s hometown of Orlando; this season, Magee passed Redick on the career NCAA three-pointer list.

#7 Wofford — of Spartanburg, South Carolina — faces #10 Seton Hall on Thursday, March 21, at around 9:40 PM ET on CBS.

Anthony Lamb, Vermont

The player of the year in the America East Conference, Lamb, a 6’6″ junior, has an unusual style in today’s basketball world, which values spreading players across the floor and jacking threes. During Vermont’s America East Conference title game win over UMBC on Saturday, Vermont would dump the ball to Lamb around the foul line, and he’d often bully his way to the basket, a testament to his strength and skill. And Lamb can shoot: he hit 1.5 threes per game this season, nearly double his per-game production from a year ago.

Besides Lamb, who averaged 21.4 points per game this season, the Catamounts feature the Duncan brothers of Evansville, Indiana: fifth year senior Ernie, junior Everett, and freshman Robin. Vermont’s the fifth team in Division 1 history with a fraternal trio on the same squad.

Catch #13 Vermont against #4 Florida St. on Thursday at 2 p.m. ET on CBS.

Miye Oni, Yale

It’s been 24 years since the NBA drafted a player from the Ivy League. Yale’s Miye Oni could end that draught. A late bloomer who had committed to a Division 3 college in high school — and was spotted by a Yale assistant coach while scouting another player — NBA scouts have made regular visits to New Haven to check out Oni’s game. The 6’6″ guard won Ivy Player of the Year honors by doing a little bit of everything; Oni averaged 17.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game.

#13 Yale will play #4 LSU on Thursday at 12:40 PM ET on TruTV. Both schools are involved in embarrassing scandals: LSU coach Will Wade was placed on leave after he was caught potentially violating NCAA rules on wiretap. Yale’s embroiled in the college admissions scandal, as a family allegedly paid $ 1.2 million in bribes to get a fake soccer recruit into the school. Folks made jokes on the internet.

Ja Morant, Murray St.

Zion may be the top overall pick in this June’s NBA draft. But Morant, the explosive 6’3″ point guard from Murray St., is almost certainly going top 3. A Murray State assistant coach first spotted Morant, another unheralded recruit, while stopping by a gym concession stand to grab some chips. Best snack ever: Morant’s stewardship on the Murray St. offense is now appointment TV. Morant scores 24.6 points per game on 50% shooting, which is scarily efficient for a point guard, and dishes out 10 assists per game, tops in the country.

In the first round, Morant will duel with one of the country’s other top point guards, Markus Howard of #5 Marquette, around 4:30 PM ET on Thursday on TBS. Grab some more chips for that one.

Tacko Fall, University of Central Florida

Ja Morant, Fletcher Magee — this year’s tournament fields an impressive All-Name Team. Tacko Fall’s another name you won’t forget. The 7’6″ University of Central Florida center shot 75% from the field this season, and swatted away 2.5 shots per game for the Knights, who finished 23-8. That’s right: Fall’s 7’6″, with a 10-foot, 5-inch standing reach, meaning he need not jump to dunk the basketball.

In one of the season’s sweetest moments, Fall was reunited this season with his mother, whom he hadn’t seen in the seven years since he moved to the U.S. from Senegal.

#9 UCF takes on #8 VCU on Friday at around 9:40 ET PM on CBS. The winner most likely gets Duke in the second round.

Ethan Happ, Wisconsin

Ethan Happ, the 6’10” senior center, this season became the first Big 10 player in more than 35 years to score over 2,000 career points and grab over 1,000 rebounds. Don’t discount his passing — Happ has also assisted on 37% of his teammates’ field goals while he’s on the floor, a fantastic rate for a big man.

Happ’s a bit of a throwback, the rare tall pro prospect who doesn’t jack three-pointers — he finished his career 1-16 from downtown. Still, don’t discount the damage Happ, a second team All-American, and his Badgers can inflict on their opponents these next few weeks.

First test for #5 Wisconsin is #12 Oregon, the Pac-12 tournament champions, on Friday at 4:30 ET on TBS.

Eric Paschall, Villanova

One-and-done college players like Zion, who stay in college for a year before leaving for the NBA, rightfully steal most headlines. They tend to be phenomenal. But it’s nice to see players who stick around at college, like Happ and Villanova’s Eric Paschall, get their due. Remember the Wildcats, last year’s national champs? They lost four of their top six players to the NBA this season, but thanks in large part to Paschall — the relatively undersized senior 6’8″ power forward who memorably shot 10-11 from the field against Kansas in last year’s national semifinals — the Cats still won the Big East regular season and tournament championships.

‘Nova’s not a favorite to repeat as national champions. But beware of any team with a skilled bruiser like Paschall, who’s eager to prove that he’s ready to play at the next level, no matter his height.

#6 Villanova opens up its title defense against #11 St. Mary’s on Thursday at 7:20 ET on TBS.

Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga

Hachimura, a 6’8″ junior, is a projected NBA lottery pick: he’d be the first native of Japan ever selected in the draft. As a freshman at Gonzaga, for the 2016-2017 Zags team that reached the national championship game (before falling to North Carolina), he didn’t see much action. Hachimura missed practice time with his teammates to learn English in tutoring sessions (he also picked up the language through TV shows like The Vampire Diaries).

Since then, he’s blossomed. In one of the best regular season games of the season, in Hawaii back in November, Hachimura helped show that Duke — a team that some pundits were predicting would finish with a perfect record this season — could indeed be felled. In a thrilling 89-87 win for Gonzaga, Hachimura scored 20 points, with seven rebounds, five assists, and three blocked shots. Gonzaga could face Duke again in the national semifinals.

But first, on Thursday at 7:27 ET on TruTV, the #1 ‘Zags must advance past either #16 Farleigh Dickinson or #16 Prairie View A&M, who play in the “First Four” on Tuesday night in Dayton.

De’Andre Hunter, Virginia

A financial services firm called 361 Capital on Monday released a note —titled “The Psychology of Undermining March Madness Brackets” — applying behavioral research to tournament picks. (Makes sense: the firm’s clients surely want to win their bracket pool’s prize.) As one of its “behavioral biases that can bust a bracket,” the company pointed to “the gambler’s fallacy,” a misconception that an abnormal event is less likely to occur in the future because it just happened in the past. So, 361 Capital warns, don’t feel #1-seeded Virginia is immune to another historic upset at the hands of a #16 seed, just because UMBC crushed the Cavaliers a year ago.

With all due respect to the financial outfit, throw your psychological buzzwords off the court. Virginia’s not going to fall in the first round again, because this year, the Cavaliers have De’Andre Hunter. The 6’7″ sophomore swingman from Philly missed last year’s tournament game due to an injury. But this season, Hunter has emerged as Virginia’s best NBA prospect in the school’s resurgence under coach Tony Bennett over the last decade.

Virginia will try to move on from last year’s nightmare against Gardiner-Webb on Friday, at around 3:10 PM ET on TruTV. With Hunter, a third-team All-American, on the floor, they’re more than likely to avoid another disaster. That’s no fallacy, gambler’s or otherwise.

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Become a digital marketing guru with these cheap online courses

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It’s both amazing and completely bonkers that you only really need a computer and a reliable internet connection to make good money in 2019. And while you can always learn how to code and build websites for companies, there’s also money to be made in digital marketing (lots of it, FYI).

But digital marketing has also expanded significantly to include much, much more than setting up an Instagram account and posting photos of your cat. If you’re interested in training to become an elite digital marketer or social media manager, check out these online courses that can help you get started. Read more…

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These 21 Apps Will Prevent Your Spring Break Turning Into Spring Broke

If you’re a college student, the best part of your year is quickly approaching: spring break, baby!

Your goal? To have as much fun as you can.

But you know what can quickly put a damper on that fun? Worrying about money.

21 Apps That Help You Save Money on Spring Break

While you could always figure out a way to earn money during spring break, another strategy is to simply keep your costs as low as possible.

Put your money concerns aside, and save money on spring break with these apps.

Apps for Transportation

1. Hopper

Buy your flight now? Or wait? This old favorite takes the guessing game out of when to purchase tickets by analyzing billions of flights and telling you whether the price is likely to go up or down.

2. GasBuddy

Driving to your destination? Don’t leave home without this app. It lists the cost of gas at nearby stations so you can easily find the best deal.

(Want other options? Check out this list of apps that help you find cheap gas.)

3. Uber / 4. Lyft

Instead of paying for a taxi, get a safe (and cheaper) ride home with one of these services.

5. What3Words

Never get separated from your friends again.

When you’re in a new city with unfamiliar landmarks, it can be tough to describe where you are to your companions — especially if you’ve had a few drinks. This app aims to change that by dividing the world into 57 trillion 10-foot squares.

6. Parkmobile

In a big city or a beach town that’s littered with parking meters? Rather than digging up your quarters reserved for laundry, pay for your spot through this app.

7. Citymapper

You can save big by taking public transportation. However, that can get tricky — especially if you’re not used to it. Citymapper helps you plan trips from point A to point B the cheapest and most efficient way possible.

For accommodations, check out…

8. Airbnb

If you’re traveling with a group of friends, renting a house with Airbnb is both economical and fun. Check out these awesome places under $ 100 per night across the U.S.

And if your own place will be empty while you’re away, why not consider listing it on Airbnb and making some money while you’re partying?

9. Roomer

Want to book a hotel, but don’t want to pay hotel prices? Try Roomer. This innovative app allows you to book deeply-discounted hotel rooms from people who had to cancel their trips.

10. HotelTonight

If you’re really bad at planning ahead or find yourself in a pickle, book a hotel through HotelTonight. It promises last-minute deals for top-rated hotels.

11. Couchsurfing

If you’re down with staying on strangers’ couches, you can snag some awesome, free sleeping spaces. It’s a great way to meet other travelers and gain a local’s point of view.

For food and drink, check out…

12. Price Per Pint

One of the best ways to save money on food and drinks? Hitting up happy hour. But in an unfamiliar city, it’s hard to figure out where to go. Enter this app, which allows you to search by drink type, day, time and city for the lowest priced drink in your area..

13. Drizly

Because the bar can get expensive, you probably want to spend a few nights drinking at home with your friends. Use this app to compare prices at local stores and order booze for delivery.

14. Open Table / 15. Yelp

These two staples help you find nearby restaurants, peruse customer reviews and survey menus and prices.

For activities, check out…

16. TUN Student Discounts

Embrace your student status. Use this app to help you find all of the student discounts available in your destination.

17. Groupon

You probably subscribe to Groupon updates in your home city — but what about when you’re traveling? Though some of the discounts may only be available to local residents, you’re bound to find some great deals on tickets or activities in your destination.

For everything else, check out…

18. Whatsapp

If you’re traveling internationally, this app is a must. Don’t get slammed by exorbitant international data charges and keep track of your friends by using this app to text over WiFi.

19. Wifi Finder

You use a lot of data when you travel. Avoid going over your limit by connecting to wifi whenever possible; use this app to find hotspots near you. You can also find passwords, so you don’t have to ask your barista.

20. Cost Split

If you’re traveling in a group, figuring out who owes what can be a royal pain. This handy app does it for you, so nobody ends up unfairly paying more than their share. At the end of the trip, it’ll even email out a detailed report.

Then, check out these five money-sharing apps.

21. Noonlight

You can’t put a price on your safety. This app (formerly known as SafeTrek) has several features to give you (and your mom) peace of mind. Hold down the safety button until you’re safely where you need to be. When you get there, release the button and enter your pin. If you’re in danger, release — don’t enter your pin — and it’ll contact 911.

With a few downloads before you leave, you’re bound to enjoy your trip without breaking the bank. Appy Spring Break!

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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These 10 Tips Can Give You a Leg Up in Your Next Job Interview

Just the words “job interview” can strike fear into the hearts of the average job seeker.

What should you wear? How can you research the company? What should you say — and avoid saying?

But if you know how to prepare for a job interview, you’ll have the confidence you need to ace the process, and you’ll be more likely to hear the words, “You’re hired.”

How to Prepare for a Job Interview

It all starts with first impressions. You can make a good one before you ever walk in the door by researching the company you’re applying to.

1. Seek Information on the Company

A wealth of information is available online. Start with the business’s website and Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn pages.

You can also sign up for company newsletters and emails, and follow any influencers at the organization who can keep you up to date.

You should be ready with stories from your professional life that demonstrate the company’s core values, such as collaboration, leadership, teamwork and integrity, says Jill MacFadyen, a career coach and former recruiter who works with clients nationwide.

“You’re demonstrating that you care enough to have done the research,” she says. “You’re setting yourself apart from the other people who are interviewing.”

Search newspapers, magazines and specialty journals to see whether the company or the industry have been in the news recently. You’ll be a step above the competition if you know the latest trends and developments.

“In my opinion, you can never overprepare,” says Carlota Zimmerman, a New York City career coach with more than a decade of experience. “I cannot stress how much passion and preparation you should bring.”

2. Do Your Homework on the Interviewers

A woman looks at her laptop while relaxing at home in the dark.

Prior to your job interview, ask for the names of the people who will interview you, and search online to see whether you have any mutual friends or connections. You may also be able to get information about those who work in the department from the company’s website or LinkedIn.

Did you or one of your colleagues or friends previously work at the same organization? Go to the same school? Belong to any mutual clubs or groups? Check alumni networks, LinkedIn and community pages. You’re likely to score points if a current employee can recommend you.

“There’s a notion that this person has been vetted in some way,” says Mike Gellman, CEO and founder of High Five Career Coaching in Irvine, California. “There’s a level of trust there.”

Once you’ve done your research, study the job description and think about how your skills, knowledge and personality mesh with the duties the position requires. Have examples ready from your education and work experience that show you have what it takes to succeed.

Have you won any awards in the field? Did you attend seminars or read books that could help you stand out as well-informed and committed to the brand or industry?

It’s particularly important to explain how you helped your previous employers and clients turn a profit and attract new customers. Stress your achievements in concrete, measurable terms, such as, “I signed on 50 clients last year and brought in $ 250,000.”

Consider doing a mock interview with a friend to sharpen your responses.

3. Clean Up Your Social Media Profile

Most recruiters look at your LinkedIn profile, and some also comb Facebook and other social media. So make sure your pages reflect the image you want to convey.

“It’s about judgment,” Gellman says. “It’s about character for the company. Could this person be a good ambassador for us?”

More than two dozen states have laws prohibiting employers from asking for applicants’ social media usernames and passwords, while federal law prohibits employers from making hiring decisions based on factors such as religion, disability and pregnancy. Accordingly, some companies have stopped monitoring candidates’ social-media accounts to avoid potential discrimination lawsuits.

But many companies still do check. You can protect yourself by avoiding posting photos of anything you’d be embarrassed to have a recruiter discover — or at least adjusting your social media settings to private. And remember: Nothing is absolutely private on the internet.

4. Dress Professionally

A professionally dressed young woman looks in a mirror.

Even if you’re interviewing at a startup where the employees dress in flip-flops and shorts, you need to dress like, well, you’re on a job interview. That means professional and conservative relative to the industry. If you wear a jacket and find you’re overdressed, you can always remove it after you arrive.

“You have to convey a message that you’re serious about the job,” Gellman says. “And if you go in casually, you’re not going to convey that message.”

A good rule of thumb is to dress a level or two above the position you’re seeking, he says.  Make sure your clothes fit and are clean and wrinkle-free — no stains, rips or pet hair — and that your shoes are in good shape.

“Err on the side that your grandmother would look at your outfit and say, ‘You look so professional,’” Zimmerman says.

5. Turn Off Your Cell Phone

To prepare for a job interview adequately, you must turn off your cell phone — or, better yet, leave it in your car. It’s too easy to reflexively reach for a phone that pings or vibrates. When Gellman was interviewing applicants in his role at a previous employer, the ones who texted during the interview — yes, it really happened — were immediately disqualified.

If you have to wait before you’re called in, bring a magazine or a book to read that’s relevant to the industry.

“These kinds of things may seem kind of corny and stuck up,” Zimmerman says. “Well, that’s corporate America. That’s what they want.”

6. Treat Everyone With Respect

Two men at an office shake hands.

Smile and greet everyone you meet politely, from the receptionist to the CEO; your behavior very well may be reported to the hiring manager, especially if it’s disrespectful.

Never use profanity, even if your interviewer cusses a blue streak. Sit up straight and don’t fidget. If your interviewer takes or makes a phone call that interrupts the process, just wait patiently. If you complain or get angry, it will be game over.

“They’re trying to get a feel for how you’d be every day in [the] office,” Zimmerman says.

7. Show You’re Serious

Write down key points you want to get across so you don’t forget them, and store that piece of paper or notebook in a business-appropriate binder or folder so you can access it easily. Remove any extraneous items from your (clean) pocketbook or (polished) briefcase so you’re not rummaging around to find the essentials.

Bring at least half a dozen copies of your resume on quality paper (even if you sent it electronically) and, if applicable, a portfolio of your work. Not everyone may have had time to review your credentials. You’ll also want a functioning pen so you can jot down any questions you have for the interviewer.

Basic black-on-white business cards with a simple email address containing your name — and no cutesy monikers such as “iheartkittens” — are a nice touch.

“It’s a great way to symbolize, ‘I’m serious. I’m here to get this job. I’m ready to do business. I’m so excited for this opportunity,’” Zimmerman says.

8. Arrive Early

It’s a good idea to do a dry run of your trip to the interview site up to a week in advance, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the area or exact location. You’ll flub your chances if you’re late, so make sure you anticipate how much traffic you’ll encounter, where you’ll park and how long the door-to-door process will take.

Gellman says he made the mistake once of arriving only two minutes before the start of an interview on a windy day and didn’t notice that his hair was sticking up. It stayed that way for the entire interview, and nobody gave him a (drumroll) heads-up.

Allow enough time for unexpected glitches and for a stop in the restroom, where you should give your hair, face and clothes a final once-over. Be ready for show time 10 minutes before your appointment.

9. Write Thank-You Notes

Thank everyone who interviews you for their time. Then after the interview, hand write (or type) thank-you notes and send them out within 24 to 48 hours. Email is acceptable, but an old-fashioned mailed card will distinguish you.

Concentrate on the person who will be making the hiring decision, but if you interviewed with a panel or series of employees and want to send notes to more than one person, say something unique to each one, Gellman advises.

“It starts to build a relationship, demonstrates you’re making the extra effort, and you’re really interested,” he says. “It’s classy.”

Finally, line up references if you haven’t already provided them. You want to be ready if you’re asked for names.

10. Picture Yourself Succeeding

It’s the night before your moment of truth. You’ve done your research on how to prepare for a job interview. You’ve picked out the clothes you’ll wear. Your briefcase is packed. Now it’s time to relax.

Stand up straight and take some deep breaths. Envision yourself greeting your interviewer with confidence, warmth, good eye contact, a clear voice and a pleasantly firm handshake (no spraining the interviewer’s hand, please). Visualize yourself nailing the interview.

Then do something you enjoy to wind down. That may mean watching a fun movie, doing some light reading or taking a warm bath or shower.

Then, get to sleep early enough to feel rested in the morning.

“The fact that you got an interview means you’ve done something right,” Zimmerman says. “Relax. Eat a good breakfast and believe in yourself. And then it’s up to the universe.”

Susan Jacobson is an editor at The Penny Hoarder. Find her on Twitter @SusanJacobson44.

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 clinical trial results of a drug company can impact its stock price depending upon the outcome – and more so if it is a small-/mid-cap biopharma stock. A keen understanding of the target timeline of the clinical trials will help trade biotech stocks with some margin of safety around the catalyst events.
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These Jabra wireless workout earbuds are $30 off at Amazon

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If you’re one of those people who needs to listen to music while you work out, you know how important good earbuds are. They have to be able to keep up with your activity and stay secure in your ears while delivering high-quality sound.

Jabra Elite Active 65t wireless earbuds were made to fit your active lifestyle, and now through March 16, save $ 30 when you buy them at Amazon.

These earbuds feature a secure-fitting design that enhances in-ear stability when you’re active. The pair is also protected against sweat and dust and can track fitness and performance with an integrated motion sensor, so they’re ideal for workouts.  Read more…

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These Bluetooth earbuds sound so much better than they should for $15.99

Best-Selling Bluetooth Earbuds On Amazon

With more than 8,000 5-star customer reviews on Amazon, the Mpow Flame Bluetooth Headphones have been best-sellers for as long as we can remember. They offer outstanding sound quality, solid battery life of nearly 10 hours per charge, a great design, and IPX7 water-resistance. All that for around $ 25… how can you go wrong? Well, we suppose you can go wrong if you pay full price, and right now they’re on sale for $ 19.99. But wait! Use the special coupon code MP088AR3 at checkout and you’ll only pay $ 15.99. This deal is a new all-time low, and it won’t be around for very long.

Mpow Flame Bluetooth Headphones Waterproof IPX7, Wireless Earbuds Sport, Richer Bass HiFi Stere…: $ 15.99 (use code MP088AR3)

Here are the highlights from the product page:

  • IPX7 SWEATPROOF EARPHONES: Mpow IPX7 Water-resistant Nano-coating efficiently protects sport headphones from sweat and ensure more guaranteed life span, perfect for running, jogging, hiking, yoga, exercises, gym, fitness, travelling and etc. Everyday with Mpow is like a valentine’s day!
  • REDEFINE YOUR EARS IN RICHER RANGE: You may not get used to this earbuds with richer bass and mid at first if you used to use earbuds with flat or sharp sound. Thanks to the tuned driver, CSR chip and Bluetooth 4.1, you can get superb bass sound, as well as richer and crisp sound with Mpow earbuds at the furthest degree that in-ear & Bluetooth-compression items can achieve.
  • ENHANCED COMFORT & WEARABILITY: 1. We have improved the ear hooks to the proper hardness for snug fit. 2. Additionally come with a pair of memory-foam ear tips (adapt to ear canal to provide a perfect seal and snug fit to help keep your earbuds in place) and a cord clip, besides 3 pairs of regular ear tips in different sizes for your custom fit. 3. Suitable for normal size ears.
  • 1.5-HOUR QUICK CHARGE FOR 7-9 HOURS PLAYING: Improved lithium polymer battery brings up to 7-9 hours pleasure musically and socially with a quick charge of only 1.5 hours. It will show the remaining battery power of the headphones on the iOS Phone screen. Note: 1. Mpow Flame has 12V over-voltage hardware cut off, 1A over-current restored fuse to achieve safe charging. 2. Please use charging cable provided, or certified brand charging cable. 3. We don’t recommend using fast charging.
  • WHY WE RECOMMEND MPOW FLAME TO YOU: Mpow has been dedicated to produce Bluetooth headphones for many years, and we have a professional team of experts in this area. Mpow Flame not only gives you attractive & stylish look, but also provide IPX7 waterproof protection and richer bass to meet your practical needs. Every Mpow product includes a 45 days money back & 18-month warranty.

Mpow Flame Bluetooth Headphones Waterproof IPX7, Wireless Earbuds Sport, Richer Bass HiFi Stere…: $ 15.99 (use code MP088AR3)

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These are the clothes brands Prince George and Princess Charlotte love

Your complete guide to Royal baby fashion

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge iPads

With the new Royal baby set to be born any day now, we can imagine the Duchess of Cambridge has already stocked up on lots of cute children’s clothes, and there’s no doubt she will be returning to some of her favourite brands that she’s shopped for Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

Kate has famously always opted for traditional clothes, including lots of shorts for Prince George (there is a good reason for both of these, if you follow those links), and the general public loves it, with many items selling out as soon as the Royal children wear them (what Kate effect?).

So here’s your ultimate guide of the baby and children’s fashion brands Kate and William love the most, and where you can shop them.

G.H. Hurt & Son

The family owned brand saw a huge spike in visits to their site (and by huge, we mean 100,000 in less than 24 hours) when Princess Charlotte was presented to the world outside the Lindo Wing, swaddled in its traditional knitted shawl.

The Duchess Of Cambridge And Prince William royal baby Princess Charlotte

Photo: Rex

Shop now: Super-fine Merino Wool Christening Shawl for £54 from G.H.Hurt & Son

Cath Kidston

Prince George at Kensington Palace

Photo: Kensington Palace

Who can forget THAT picture of Prince George in his toy soldier tank top for his last official Christmas portrait before the arrival of Princess Charlotte (he was 17 months at the time)? The tank top was possibly one of the most popular Cath Kidston items ever, and has been re-issued in one form or other ever since.

Shop now: KIDS SWEATSHIRT for £13.50 from Cath Kidston

Rachel Riley

Check out Prince George's red shorts

Photo: Rex

British brand Rachel Riley is Kate’s go-to for traditional designs for George. He wore a smock shirt and red shorts for Princess Charlotte’s christening, prompting many comparisons with a similar outfit Prince William wore when he was a child.

Shop now: RACHEL RILEY Baby Boys Ivory Cotton Shortie for £75 from Children Salon

John Lewis

Princess Charlotte

Photo: Kensington Palace

To celebrate Princess Charlotte’s 2nd birthday, her parents released a pic of the tot wearing a pastel yellow Fairisle jumper from John Lewis, which obviously sold out instantly. A fashion influencer or what?

Shop now: John Lewis Cardigan, for £12 from John Lewis

Pepa & Co

The Spanish kidswear brand won Kate over with its pretty embroidered designs, and both Princess Charlotte and Prince George have a few of the brand’s clothes hanging in their Royal wardrobes. They both wore it to Pippa Middleton’s wedding, Prince George sported a whale jumper for an official 3rd birthday portrait, and Charlotte wore a pretty dress on her tour of Canada.

Photo: Rex

Prince George 3rd birthday photos

Photo: Rex

Shop now: TRADITIONAL HAND SMOCKED DRESS for £84 from Papa & Co

M&H

Remember that adorable picture of Princess Charlotte wearing a pie crust dress and playing with her cuddly toy? Yep, that was M&H.

Princess Charlotte First Baby Photo

Photo: Kensington Palace

Shop now: Smock dress for €35.95 from M&H

Amaia Kids

Prince George wore an Amaia jumper to meet his sister for the first time, and Princess Charlotte wore a pink dress for the Queen’s 90th birthday. She also wore an Amaia coat for her first day of school.

The Queen at 90

Photo: Rex

Photo: Kensington Palace

Shop now: Burgundy coat for £140 from Amaia Kids

My 1st Years

Remember that cute customised robe Prince George wore to meet President Obama? That was by My 1st Years. He teamed it with velvet slippers and silk pyjamas, and the internet did the rest. Cue 100,000 memes.

Prince George Obama

Photo: Rex

Shop now: My 1st Years Baby Personalised Prince Gingham Robe for £13

With Meghan and Harry about to become parents for the first time, we’re sure the new royal baby will have plenty of chic hand-me-downs to start off with.

We can’t wait to see.

The post These are the clothes brands Prince George and Princess Charlotte love appeared first on Marie Claire.

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Set Your Own Schedule as an Online English Teacher With These 7 Companies

When Micaela Hegarty lived in Sumter, South Carolina, she needed a way to pay the rent while she attended college online, but the local economy couldn’t provide.

Hegarty, 25, needed a flexible schedule to work around her classes, and the ability to take her work on the road. When she searched Indeed for jobs in her area, there weren’t many results. One listing did catch her eye, though: online English as a Second Language teacher. That gig would allow her to work from anywhere.

Hegarty doesn’t have a bachelor’s degree or any previous teaching experience. But she found a job anyway — and it paid more than $ 20 an hour.

“It was the highest-paid part-time job I’ve ever come across,” Hegarty said, “especially as a college student.”

ESL teachers are in high demand. To keep up, many online English education companies offer their teachers bonuses if they refer other teachers to their platform. And, overall, requirements to become an ESL teacher are low, especially if you want to teach English abroad.

Hegarty made the switch to in-person teaching in August 2018. She said her online experience helped her land a teaching job in South Korea through its government-run Teach and Learn in Korea program.

If you’re not feeling quite that adventurous yet, you can start to teach English online from the comfort of your home, just like Hegarty did.

Want to Teach English Online? Try These 7 Companies

A student looks at an online teacher on a laptop.

Most of the companies below focus on primarily Chinese grade schoolers, meaning teaching hours tend to be in the early mornings or late evenings for U.S. time zones. That’s perfect to supplement a 9-to-5 job.

Some companies prepare lessons and schedule the classes for you. Others use less structured methods — log on whenever you have the free time and get matched with a student on a chat-pairing system.

All of the companies below are listed with their Glassdoor ratings easily accessible. Because demand for English teachers is so high, there are a lot of less-than-reputable companies out there. As with any new gig, it’s important to vet each company to see which one will fit your schedule and income needs.

While required education and experience may vary by company, here are some things you will need for all online classes:

  • Erasable whiteboard and markers.
  • Props like charts, pictures, posters or stuffed animals.
  • A web camera.
  • A high-speed internet connection.
  • A computer, tablet or smartphone.

Once you’ve get those materials, you’re ready to start signing up and taking students.

(Note: Companies are listed in alphabetical order.)

Boxfish

Turn your spare time into a nice, crisp Andrew Jackson.

Since 2012, Boxfish has incorporated its English-language curriculum into middle and high schools across Beijing and now offers online English classes that are available all across China. According to its website, more than 5 million Chinese students use the online platform to learn English.

Boxfish provides all the course materials that teachers need to get started, so there’s minimal lesson prep.

There are three ways to rack up teaching time:

  • A prescheduled 25-minute class, ranging from one to four students.
  • An on-demand 25-minute class, where the teacher and student are automatically paired at random.
  • A one-minute feedback video response to a prerecorded student oral dictation.

Boxfish pays teachers $ 10 per 25 minutes. If your student is a no-show, you’ll still get $ 6 per class. (But if you fail to show up to a scheduled class twice, you’ll get the ax.)

All lessons can be conducted on a tablet or smartphone. So no computer is required, but a high-speed, stable internet connection is.

To qualify, you must have grown up in an English-speaking country and have a bachelor’s degree. Current accents that are in-demand are American, Australian, British and Canadian. An English teaching certification (aka TEFL or TESOL) is preferred, but not required.

Hourly Pay: $ 20.

Glassdoor Rating: 3.5 (out of five) stars.

Requirements: Native English fluency; a tablet, smartphone or computer with a web camera; high-speed internet and a bachelor’s degree.

Cambly

Don’t sweat it if you didn’t go to college. You can still teach English online without a degree (and in several countries, if you’re interested).

Cambly is unique in that it offers English tutoring sessions to students around the world, children and adults alike. For teachers, there’s no minimum amount of teaching time because the payment system works by the minute at a rate of 17 cents. In theory, it’s possible to earn up to $ 10.20 an hour.

While pay is notably less than other companies, Cambly is welcoming to new teachers of English as a Second Language without industry experience or a college education. Plus, the paychecks come weekly.

Creating a tutor profile is straightforward. To qualify, you’ll simply need a native level of English fluency, a computer with a webcam and a high-speed internet connection.

Once your profile is complete, students will be able to search you in an index of tutors.  The competition may make it hard to land lessons at first, but tutors can make themselves stand out by scheduling priority hours, which let students know who’s online and available to chat.

Hourly Pay: up to $ 10.20.

Glassdoor Rating: 4.2 (out of five) stars.

Requirements: Native English fluency, a computer with a web camera and a high-speed internet connection.

Gogokid

A young woman wearing headphones smiles as she looks at a laptop.

Depending on your qualifications, Gogokid is among the top-paying English teaching platforms on the web. While the job can be performed from anywhere, the positions are open only to Canadian and American citizens.

Teachers are given a base pay between $ 7 and $ 10 a class, depending on experience and their performance during mock lessons that are part of the prehiring interview process.

Classes are 25 minutes long, so it’s possible to knock out two within an hour. Teachers accrue ratings based on class quality and attendance that can bump their base pay 25% higher; pay can range from $ 14 to $ 25 an hour for teaching two classes.

Gogokid lays out the teacher-rating criteria, so there’s no guesswork involved. It also supplies the lessons and curriculum to cut down on prep time. But, as always, props are appreciated.

As with many teaching platforms, hours are based on China Standard Time. Students typically study English after their school day, so peak hours are on weekdays between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. China Standard Time and between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. on weekends, according to the Gogokid website.

Teaching with Gogokid requires a bachelor’s degree in any field. A certificate to teach English as a foreign language isn’t required, but it wouldn’t hurt (especially if you’re hoping for the maximum hourly rate of $ 25).

Hourly Pay: $ 14 to $ 25.

Glassdoor Rating: 3.9 (out of five) stars.

Requirements: A bachelor’s degree, a computer with a web camera, a headset and a 20 MBps high-speed internet connection.

Italki

Are you as interested in learning a new language as you are in teaching one?

Italki has more than 5,000 teachers who specialize in almost any language, the most popular being English.

Using an on-site search function, students can sift through an array of teachers, sorting by hourly rates, credentials and several other criteria.

Language teachers can create one of two profiles: professional teacher or community tutor. As the name implies, the professional teachers have a more formal background in language teaching, but native speakers who want to earn extra cash are welcome to host lessons as community tutors.

What distinguishes Italki from numerous other language-learning websites is that teachers can set their own hourly rates (between $ 4 and $ 80 an hour). There are no minimum or maximum hour limits, either.

Another unique feature to Italki is the ability for users to have language exchanges for free. (So if you want to practice your Korean, you can search for a Korean-language speaker who wants to learn English, and start talking.)

Similar to most freelance websites, Italki makes its money through service fees, which are currently 15% of the lesson cost, according to Italki’s terms of service. After each lesson, your pay accumulates on your profile until you request a withdrawal, which takes up to 10 days.

Since more than 5 million international students use Italki, schedules are a little more flexible because they aren’t based on one particular time zone.

Hourly Pay: $ 4 to $ 80.

Glassdoor Rating: 4.1 (out of five) stars.

Requirements: Native fluency in any language, a computer with a web camera and high-speed internet.

Qkids

A woman teaches children remotely using her laptop.

A big perk for most online English as a Second Language teachers is the ability to work from just about anyplace with a high-speed internet connection. However, with Qkids, ESL teachers are required to reside in the U.S. or Canada.

Regardless, there are several other unique aspects that make teaching English with Qkids worth your time if you plan on staying put in North America.

For example, Qkids does a lot of the scheduling work for you, and there’s no need to market yourself on the site like some other platforms require.

Teacher requirements are pretty flexible, too.

While the company prefers that teachers have previous teaching experience and certification, Hegarty didn’t have her bachelor’s degree (but was enrolled in college) when she taught with Qkids. She had no previous experience, nor a certification, and still earned $ 20 an hour. That’s because she received bonuses for performance and attendance on top of her base pay of $ 8 per lesson.

Like most similar sites, it’s possible to teach two lessons per hour, and those hours are likely to be in the early morning or late evenings, as the students — ages 4 to 12 — are based in China.

A minimum commitment to six hours (12 lessons) a week for six months is required to start teaching.

Hourly Pay: $ 16 to $ 22.

Glassdoor Rating: 4.3 (out of five) stars.

Requirements: Native English fluency, a residence in the U.S. or Canada, high-speed internet connection, a computer with a web camera and a minimum of six dedicated teaching hours per week.

Rosetta Stone

Rosetta Stone has been a mainstay in the language-learning world since 1992. While it’s best known for its educational software, it also dabbles in online tutoring.

At Rosetta Stone, the online English tutoring positions are considered part-time jobs. They provide more stability in terms of income because you’re guaranteed a certain amount of hours per week — usually between eight and 15, depending on the position. The company also offers its tutors bonus holiday pay and access to its 401(k) plan.

Regardless of location, all tutoring appointments are based on Eastern Standard Time (to avoid confusion, a spokeswoman said).

The trade-off, in comparison with some other platforms, is that you can’t teach on-demand hours at Rosetta Stone.

Another caveat is that the online tutoring positions are available only to U.S. residents with a bachelor’s degree or higher, but they are open to applicants nationwide. American and U.K. accents are welcome.

Hourly Pay: $ 15 to $ 22, according to Glassdoor.

Glassdoor Rating: 3.3 (out of five) stars.

Requirements: A U.S. residence, a bachelor’s degree, high-speed internet connection, a computer with a web camera and teaching availability on Eastern Standard Time.

VIPKid

A woman with a headset teaches remotely using her laptop.

In terms of Glassdoor rating, VIPKid is tied with other sites to make the list. But none comes close to the sheer number of reviews.

Since its founding in 2013, VIPKid has already amassed more than 1,200 anonymous Glassdoor reviews; most are overwhelmingly positive. Glassdoor recently rated it one of the “coolest companies for freelancers,” too.

The way VIPKid works is similar to all the other sites on the list: base pay for each lesson, two lessons per hour. The hours are also based on China Standard Time, as the students are Chinese grade schoolers. Minimal lesson prep is required. Its platform isn’t novel, but according to user reviews, it’s efficient and effective.

“I began working for VIPKid over a year ago because of its reputation of being one of the largest ESL companies in the market,” said Tim Gascoigne, a Canadian teacher who currently lives in Malaysia. “I found them to be the most reliable and consistent and knew people who worked for them already.”

To qualify, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in hand (sorry, college students), one or more years of relevant experience and must be able to commit to a six-month contract.

No TEFL certification is required, and teachers can reside anywhere in the world as long as there’s a stable internet connection.

Hourly Pay: $ 14 to $ 22.

Glassdoor Rating: 4.3 (out of five) stars.

Requirements: English fluency (non-native speakers allowed), a bachelor’s degree, a high-speed internet connection, a computer with a web camera and eligibility to work in the U.S. or Canada.

Adam Hardy is a staff writer on the Make Money team at The Penny Hoarder. He’s a Cambridge certified English language teacher, but he hasn’t yet tested his teaching chops online. Read his full bio here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.

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

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

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These European countries offer the best vacation homes

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If you’re the kind of person that loves to travel and explore the world but aren’t too fond of staying in a hotel, vacations homes could be right up your street. These are houses that are rented out by their owners for tourists and explorers alike to enjoy during their vacation. So, you get all of the home comforts you could possibly want, while also being away from your own house and the same ol’ views of your town. Europe is home to some of the most beautiful vacation homes, but have you ever wondered which one is the best?

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom may be small, but it’s one of the most varied destinations in Europe. Within just a short drive of each other, you can make your way to the beach, the countryside, the valleys, and the cities. This means that you can push the boundaries of your vacation home. You can opt for a quaint apartment in the city, or a humongous converted barn surrounded by fields and hills.

Portugal

Because so many people make their way to mainland Spain for their vacations, Portugal often gets overlooked. This means that there are beautiful and empty vacation homes that are just waiting for you to settle down in. Many of these homes offer endless views over the mountains and the ocean, and Portuguese houses are also praised for their architecture so you can get an art lesson at the same time!

France

With endless sunshine and some of the best food in the world, why wouldn’t you want to see what France has to offer in terms of vacation homes? Many of the best vacation rentals in this country are located outside of the city and in rural towns and villages. This way, you get to check out the medieval buildings, sip on a glass of wine or two, and have a dip in your own private pool.

Croatia

Croatia is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and offers visitors the chance to see this beauty in all of its glory. The coastline and the beaches are scattered around the whole country, which means you can often stumble upon something magical when you least expect it. The best part? The vacation homes in Croatia are normally traditional, quaint, and absolutely stunning.

Switzerland

If you’re a fan of skiing or just frolicking around in the white stuff, you definitely have to make your way into the mountains of Switzerland. While you can explore the gorgeous towns, cities, and villages, the best vacation homes in Switzerland can be found at high altitude. Yes, we’re talking incredible ski chalets and log cabins that are perfect for a winter away. Make sure you take a blanket and some firewood though because you’ll need it.

If you’re looking to venture across the world and see what Europe has to offer, there’s no need to worry about booking a hotel. After all, these countries all have incredible vacation homes for you to enjoy!

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The post These European countries offer the best vacation homes appeared first on Worldation.

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Where can you live for $50,000? Your paycheck goes a long way in these cities

If you’re struggling to make ends meet, you may be wondering if your address has anything to do with it. Let’s face it: There are some cities and locales where a dollar stretches further.

When it comes to affordable cities, there is research that says that $ 50,000 a year is the tipping point between feeling financially content and not.

And so the question you may ask yourself is “Where are the cities where I can live comfortably?”

Paycheck friendly places: Live comfortably off $ 50,000 in these affordable cities

New figures from financial site GoBankingRates show the top 10 cities where your paycheck would stretch the furthest.

To come up with the numbers, the site used such benchmarks such as the cost of groceries, taxes, rent, utilities and transportation. Let’s have a look:

Rank   City  State Affordability Index
10 Conley Georgia 67.82
9 Cusetta Georgia 68.07
8 Alexandria Indiana 68.68
7 Blackwell Oklahoma 69.83
6 Progreso Texas 70.63
5 Shamokin Pennsylvania 71.39
4 Holbrook Arizona 73.82
3 Federal Heights Colorado 90.40
2 Kermit Texas 98.23
1 Pecos Texas 100.00

You may be thinking that living in these cities is not in your future — and that’s OK. The key to having more money at the end of the month is to start saving (now).

Check out Clark’s Money Challenge: Here’s how to save $ 3,000 this year

And if you want to know how other consumers are getting out of debt, look no further!

Money expert Clark Howard and team have come up with a way to help you get out of debt by applying some positive peer pressure: We’ve set up a new Facebook group called Ditch Your Debt to give you the support you need to tackle those high balances.

More money-related articles you might like from Clark.com:

The post Where can you live for $ 50,000? Your paycheck goes a long way in these cities appeared first on Clark Howard.

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These 5 People Added up to 284 Points to Their Credit Scores by Making the Same Move

Everyone who’s saddled with bad credit has a unique story.

A man burdened with $ 6,000 in unpaid bills. A couple recovering from job loss and foreclosure. A woman who fell behind on payments while living abroad. A single mom with a terminally ill child. A young woman with so much debt she couldn’t even get a credit card.

One of the toughest parts about paying down debt and fixing your credit score is knowing where to begin.

To create a rebuilding plan, first you have to know what you’re dealing with.

Your credit report will give you this information. You can get a free copy of it once every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus — but they can be tough to decipher.

If you want to keep a closer eye on your credit, get your credit score and “credit report card” for free from Credit Sesame. This website breaks down exactly what’s on your credit report in layman’s terms, how it affects your score and what you should do about it.

Folks who’ve used it tell us it’s a lifesaver.

5 People Who Raised Their Credit Scores Using Credit Sesame

We spoke with five different people who’ve had profound problems with their credit. All five turned things around with Credit Sesame.

James Cooper: +277 Points

James Cooper knows all about having bad credit. As recently as 2017, his credit score was a lousy 524.

“I never had a credit card,” he says. “I had $ 6,000 worth of unpaid bills.”

He vowed to sort out his financial situation and fix his credit.

Although there are legitimate credit repair services, there are also shady ones that demand money upfront and promise way more than they can deliver. Then they’ll milk you for money until you wise up.

Cooper and a friend went through this ordeal with three companies. Then they found Credit Sesame, and the free credit monitoring service taught them how to fix their credit.

Cooper raised his score by 277 points — from 524 to 801 — over the six months from June to November 2017.

Inspired by his experience, now Cooper teaches high school students the importance of good credit.

Jerry Morgan: +120 Points

In 2008, the housing bubble burst. The three-bedroom home in New Port Richey, Florida, where Jerry Morgan and his wife, Vivienne, had lived for 10 years plunged into the foreclosure process.

Then Vivienne lost her job.

By 2017, the family’s financial situation started to look up again. So in September, Morgan decided to address his credit score.

“Frankly, with the experiences we have gone through, I was embarrassed to even check my score,” he said.

Before coming across Credit Sesame, Morgan hadn’t bothered to check his credit score in, well, quite a while. He says finally getting his finances on stable ground encouraged him to take a peek at this three-digit number.

Following recommendations from the service, he’s raised his score 120 points in six months.

Elisabeth Nyang: +168 Points

At the end of 2016, Elisabeth Nyang was in debt to the tune of $ 17,500 — a mix of credit card debt, overdue bills and lingering student loans. She found herself there after two years of living in China.

In China, where it’s difficult to send money to the U.S., Nyang fell behind on her payments. In hindsight, she admits, the difficulty in transferring money was just an excuse — out of sight, out of mind.

But when she decided to move back to the States, she knew she needed to get her finances back on track.

“I can’t live like that,” she remembers thinking.

Since signing up for Credit Sesame in January 2017, Nyang has paid off that $ 17,500 pile of debt and raised her score from 495 to 663. That’s a 168-point jump.

Melinda Smieja: + 284 Points

In 2005, Melinda Smieja’s 13-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor.

“So here I am a single mom, and my daughter gets sick,” she explains. “And I’m like, ‘What am I gonna do?’”

Between continuing to care for her younger daughter and moving from Seabeck, Washington, to Seattle to be near her 13-year-old’s medical care, she racked up credit card debt.

“I used [a credit card] for dinners, I used it for food,” she says. “For a place to stay. It got to the point where all of my credit cards were maxed out.”

Her credit score was down to 480 by the time she checked. And she’d racked up somewhere between $ 20,000 and $ 30,000 in debt on 11 credit cards.

In 2010, an email campaign led her to Credit Sesame, a new company (at the time) offering an easier way to monitor your credit history.

“It was something that I had been searching for [without realizing it],” Smieja explains.

It made her overwhelming situation manageable.

“I could look and I could say, ‘Okay, this is what’s all going on here. This is my debt. This is what’s happening. This is what’s making my credit [interest] high.’”

And she could finally tackle her debts, one at a time. The work wasn’t quick. It was slow and steady — but it paid off.

In 2016, for the first time, Smieja’s credit score hit 680, crossing the line of what lenders consider “good credit.” By late 2017, it was up to 764.

Dana Sitar: +68 Points

At 30, Dana Sitar’s history with credit cards, student loans and medical bills was pretty bad.

Student loan interest was piling up. Hospital bills were out to collection agencies. No one would give her a credit card. She landed a loan for a new car by the skin of her teeth. Her security deposits for car rentals and apartments were through the roof.

She wanted to fix it, but didn’t even know where to start.

Sitar, an editor for The Penny Hoarder, found Credit Sesame in 2016, and today, she’s breathing a little easier.

Credit Sesame, Sitar writes for The Penny Hoarder, is “answering all the questions swirling in my head, keeping me awake at night and threatening a panic attack every time I authorize a credit check.”

Since she started tracking her credit score with the app, she’s watched it rise — slowly but surely — by 68 points.

“Motivated by the easy access to my free credit report card through the app,” she says, “I haven’t been able to ignore my credit like I used to.”

Keep an Eye on Your Credit Score

Your credit score is important.

And why is that?

The better your score, the better deal you’ll get on a mortgage, car loan or credit card. We’re talking big money here.

To keep a closer eye on your credit, get your credit score and a credit report card for free from Credit Sesame.

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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These are the 7 main shoe trends you need to know for summer

With a new season around the corner, we’re starting to look at the main summer fashion trends to dictate our wardrobe for SS19. And whilst we’ve already got the main spring bag trends covered, we’re all for updating our shoe game too. After all, as Marilyn put it, ‘give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world’.

As ever, we’re looking to the catwalk for inspiration, so keep scrolling for the top shoe trends to invest in this season, as seen at Chloé, Prada and Jacquemus to name a few.

Neon shoes

spring summer shoe trends

It’s official, neon is back. While hints of bright coral, hot pink and flashy orange were spotted at the shows, lime green was the colour of choice, as dictated by Matthew Adams Dolan, Jeremy Scott and Christian Siriano.

Naked sandals

Never has a sandal been so covetable. Designers like Versace, Mary Katrantzou and Ports all sent their models down the catwalk in barely-there sandals that somehow make feed look extra sexy without deterring from the clothes. Look to The Row and Neous for great buys, and Topshop, Mango and Zara for high street equivalents.

Perspex heels

spring summer shoe trends

If you’re after a futuristic heel, then this trend is for you. Balmain, Chanel and Christian Dior have all designed boots, mules and court shoes with a simple perspex heel for SS19.

Scultpural heels

spring summer shoe trends

The maximalists amongst you will adore this trend, which was already big last summer thanks to Jacquemus (what trend didn’t he set?). Whilst last season was all about the wooden heel, this time round we’re injecting a bit of colour and metal in delicate shapes. Also look to Rejina and Balmain for inspiration.

Prim Mary Janes

Consider this the shoe equivalent of the lady bag trend. Miu Miu, Prada and Tom Ford have all re-imagined the Mary Jane (‘I thought it was an urban shoe myth!’) for the new season, in pastel shades with jewel clasp details, and classic black croc and white leather.

Kitten heels

The kitten heel is here to stay, and we’re backing the styles seen at Rejina Pyo, Christopher Kane and Tibi. This low heel is deceptively flattering, both on short and long legs.

Shoes with tassels

spring summer shoe trends

Festival season starts early with these tasseled numbers. At Longchamps they were on gladiator sandals, at Coach they adorned trainers and at Oscar de la Renta they were the finishing touch on classic heels. Who knew they were so versatile?

Scroll down to shop the best spring summer shoe trends.

The post These are the 7 main shoe trends you need to know for summer appeared first on Marie Claire.

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These 17 Tips Will Help Turn Your Job Interview Into a Job Offer

The job hunt can be a long and arduous process.

Sometimes it takes hundreds of applications before you hear back from any employers. And when you do, your work isn’t over. That was stage one. Now, you have to prepare for the (sometimes) dreaded job interview.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. We’re here to help. With the right preparation, you can turn that interview anxiety into excitement.

17 Essential Job Interview Tips

We’ve compiled the top tips from industry experts. We’ll walk you through exactly what to do before, during and after the interview. It doesn’t matter if this is your first job interview or your 40th, following these steps help you leave a positive impression on your soon-to-be employer.

What to Do Before an Interview

Businessman Reading Resume On Office Desk

Great, your interview is set for Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. Congratulations!

Use the time before then wisely. Unfortunately, you can’t just cruise in and claim your job. You’ll have to do some legwork to distinguish yourself from other applicants. Here’s what you need to do before your big day.

1. Research the Company

Having a solid understanding of the company is crucial. You don’t want to be caught fumbling basic information during the job interview.

You should spend some time on the company’s website to acquaint yourself with its mission statement, top clients, leadership and history.

Adequate preparation can help you feel better, too, according to Michelle Armer, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder.

“To help curb pre-interview jitters, interviewees should give themselves time in advance to prepare and build their confidence,” she says.

And if you’re still feeling anxious, Armer recommends giving yourself a pep talk, rehearsing your answers and listening to energetic music to keep your spirits high.

2. Reach Out to Alumni

To form a well-rounded opinion about an organization, it’s important to hear what its employees are saying. Yes, the company website is a good start, but that’s only one perspective.

Vipula Gandhi, managing partner at Gallup, says feedback from alumni is crucial to understanding a company’s culture before an interview. (Gandhi says her tips are based on more than a decade of experience interviewing candidates and not on Gallup’s research.)

One way to get unfiltered employee opinion is by checking the company’s Glassdoor reviews. Glassdoor is a job-search engine that aggregates anonymous employee opinions and rates companies from one to five stars based on the employees’ ratings. But don’t stop there.

Gandhi recommended using LinkedIn to get in direct contact with current and former employees. That way, you’ll have a clear understanding of the employee experience.

3. Clean Up Your Social Media

What you put on your LinkedIn profile is obviously fair game for HR.

But what about your Facebook and Instagram? Well, if you didn’t submit the social media accounts voluntarily, that could be a legal gray area. But some employers and recruiting agencies use them anyway to screen applicants.

Ben Brooks, CEO of Pilot, a career-coaching startup, says to make sure there aren’t any embarrassing photos of you that are publicly searchable.

“What does your social media say about you?” Brooks asks. “If someone looked at your profile for 10 seconds, what’s the interpretation? What are the three words they’re gonna say?”

Hopefully: You are hired.

4. Conduct a Dry Run and Mock Interview

Doing a complete dry run will make everything easier when the day of the interview comes.

And by dry run I mean driving to the site of the interview to figure out logistics like parking and traffic (or testing your webcam if it’s a virtual job interview) and enlisting a friend to do a mock interview with you.

Dana Sitar, an editor at The Penny Hoarder, compiled a list of the 20 most common interview questions, from the infamous “What are your weaknesses?” to softballs like “What are your hobbies?”

Having articulate responses to common questions will allow you to focus on being in the moment instead of feeling put on the spot.

5. Prepare Your Documents

Depending on your industry and the instructions of the application, documents you may need to prepare could include your resume, portfolio samples or any pre-tests the company may have assigned you.

Regardless of industry, you should bring a few extra resumes with you, just in case. You never know if all the people included in the interview had time to review your application thoroughly. Even if they did, having extra resumes on hand helps you look prepared.

It’s best to have these documents printed out and ready to go the night before. If you don’t have a printer or are having technical problems, stores like UPS, Office Depot and FedEx will allow you to print copies cheaply. There’s always your trusty local library, too.

6. Plan What to Wear

How you look in the interview is almost as important as your qualifications. Planning an outfit can be a delicate balancing act and yet another source of stress for some people.

You want to look sharp — but not pretentious or underdressed.

Richard South, corporate partnership program manager at Georgia Tech, coaches thousands of university students on best interview practices. He says to consider industry trends when choosing your outfit.

Interviewing at a business firm?

“Put on a suit,” South advises, noting that suits may be overkill for other industries.

Computer science or advertising fields might be more casual. The important part is not to guess.

Ideally, you’ve already reached out to alumni and talked about company culture. Asking them about attire is a great way to ensure your outfit is appropriate.

Once you’ve decided what to wear, set it out before you go to bed — pressed and wrinkle-free. It will save you the hassle in the morning.

7. Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Research? Check. Documents? Check. Outfit? Check.

Ticking all those boxes the night before will ease your mind and help you sleep. Try to get at least seven to nine hours of shut-eye to be on your A-game the next day.

And make sure that time frame is actual sleep time, not just time you spend lying in bed. It’s likely that you’ll be a little nervous, so give yourself an extra hour to fall asleep.

What to Do During an Interview

Close up of shaking hands after successful agreement.

Now is the time all that preparation and good sleep pays off. Try to stay mindful and relaxed. Don’t worry about rehearsing your answers. You’ve done that already. Be in the moment and you’ll come across more genuine and likeable.

8. Arrive Early — and Alone

General rule of thumb: 10 minutes early is considered on time, and on time is considered late.

Ten minutes is the sweet spot because you want to be early but not so early that they’re not yet expecting you.

And please, don’t bring your parent.

In a somewhat recent phenomenon, helicopter parents have started intervening in their kids’ job hunt.  

A recent survey from Robert Half showed that 69% of hiring managers either would not recommend or are annoyed at parental involvement during job interviews — from explicative phone calls that urge companies to hire their kid, to baked goods used to coax hiring managers.

9. Treat All Staff Respectfully

It doesn’t matter if you took the wrong exit off the interstate and then spilled coffee on your freshly pressed oxford that morning.

Do not get snarky or rude with anyone in or around the company — whether that’s the security guard in the lobby or someone you passed in the street.

For all you know, that could be Jen in accounting.

She doesn’t realize your stomach has possible second-degree burns; she just knows that you bumped into her and scoffed on your way into the office.

And guess who she’s going to tell after you leave? Your hiring manager.

10. Turn Your Job Experience into a Story

When the interviewer asks something along the lines of “So, tell me about yourself,” that’s your time to shine.

Nailing an interview isn’t about regurgitating your resume.

“It’s all about the stories and narrative you have,” Brooks says.

This is also a good opportunity to incorporate experience that wasn’t directly relevant to the job application but could pertain to your soft skills or personality.

Maybe you did an au pair program or studied abroad during college. If so, talk about your international experience.

Dr. Christine Farrugia was the deputy head of research for the Institute of International Education, where she led a study that examined the employability of alumni who studied abroad. She’s now the director of research initiatives at Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies.

According to Farrugia, the key is having an anecdote ready.

“The person interviewing you may not ask about it directly,” she says.

11. Ask the Right Questions

Interviews are two-way conversations, says Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at Spins, a retail-industry consulting firm.

“You also want to learn from the company if it will be a good fit for you,” she says. “Come prepared with questions that help you determine if you will get all that you need to be successful, not just a paycheck.”

This guide walks you through exactly what questions to ask during a job interview and why they’re useful.

Pro-tip: Ask, “Beyond the core job duties, what are the things you really want to accomplish and achieve with this role?”

Questions like that will not only impress the hiring manager, but will also give you a better understanding of how you’ll have an impact at the company.

There are plenty of areas to avoid asking about, too — like vacation time or basic information about the company.

“How smart your question is would define how the interviewer sees you,” Gandhi says.

12. Mind Your Body Language

Hiring managers pay keen attention to body language.

According to research from Robert Half, unspoken signals, such as eye contact, facial expressions, posture, handshake and fidgeting play an extremely important role into how you’re perceived during an interview.

Many of these cues aren’t intentional. They’re physical responses to how you’re feeling. So internally obsessing about your posture and facial expressions isn’t going to help much, either.

The point is, you should feel confident and relaxed — and those things stem from adequate preparation.

13. Vet Your Potential Manager

When you go into your interview, treat it like a date.

See if you are clicking with your manager. Think to yourself, “If I get this job, I’m going to spend much of my waking life with this person.”

Are they funny? Laid back? Knowledgeable? It’s crucial to understand what makes a good manager because a bad one can ruin a great job, and vice versa.

So don’t let the deciding factor be the salary or the prestige of the company.

“It’s all about the manager,” Gandhi says.

14. Don’t Speak Negatively About Past Employers

Inevitably, you will get a question along the lines of, “Why did you leave your past job?”

Your mind might flash back to all the times you were wronged, and you might be tempted to air some of those grievances. Just don’t.

It comes across as unprofessional. And the new company might think that if they hire you, it will someday be in one of your negative stories.

Instead, focus on talking about the challenges and opportunities of a new job — not the time your old boss took credit for the data you pulled at 2 a.m. to make deadline.

What to Do After an Interview

Graphic designer in the office

Before you bust out of the office to celebrate for a job well done, there are a few other things you should do to increase your chances of getting hired.

15. Ask to Tour the Office

Touring the office works in your favor for a couple of reasons.

First, it increases face time with your hiring manager and allows for some less formal banter as you make your rounds and introduce yourself to potential colleagues.

Beyond that, it allows you to see what’s really happening on the ground floor. As you walk through different pods or workspaces, take note of the office morale. Does everyone look stressed or excited?

If it’s around lunchtime, see if a lot of employees are eating at their desks. That could be a sign of being overworked.

If they say no to the tour, it’s not a deal-breaker. It’s possible that there isn’t enough time built into the interview to accommodate an office tour, but it never hurts to ask.

16. Establish Next Steps

Before you say your goodbyes, make sure to have a clear time frame of when you will hear back.

Nothing can be more frustrating than completing an interview and then feeling everything goes silent,” Haefner says.  “Ask the company where they are in the recruiting process… and who is best for you to follow up with for status updates.”

Asking about this outright saves you some guesswork, and you won’t be left pacing back and forth in your living room thinking, “It’s been one day. Why haven’t I heard anything? Shouldn’t they have sent an email? I’m going to call them. They probably hired someone else!”

When in reality, they likely have internal processes that you’re unaware of.

17. Send a Thank-You Note

Thank-you notes are a surefire way to distinguish yourself from other candidates. Hiring managers love them, and applicants often forget to send them.

In our Jobs Hunting 101 ecourse, we recommend sending them regardless of how the interview goes.

An email should suffice. Try to send it out within 24 hours of your interview, and make sure to separately thank everyone who interviewed you.

In your messages you should include:

  • A recap of the value you bring to the role.
  • Any small clarifications or points you didn’t mention during the interview.
  • Sincere gratitude and enthusiasm.

Avoid the temptation to copy and paste the same scripted message to everyone. That could backfire. Where possible, personalize it as best you can. Give it a little flair.

And if you really want brownie points, don’t send an email. Send a handwritten thank-you note.

Adam Hardy is a staff writer on the Make Money team at The Penny Hoarder. He lives off a diet of stale puns and iced coffee. Read his full bio here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.

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

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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These kickass high school girls are making wrestling history

Jessi Johnson started wrestling in the seventh grade, competing against the boys in her New Jersey schools. “I just like the aggression,” the scrappy blonde tells The Post. “It’s an individual sport, and it’s up to me how I do.” Now the 16-year-old Manalapan H.S. sophomore is about to make history: After finishing fourth last…
Living | New York Post

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Want to start your own business? These entrepreneurs will teach you how for less than $20.

TwitterFacebook

The term entrepreneur tends to evoke images of a tech bro who spends way too much time on LinkedIn, where he brags about being “CEO at Self-Employed” and writes quasi-philosophical posts about the #hustle. (See the Twitter account @StateofLinkedIn for real-life examples, if you dare.) 

That stereotype applies to a handful of self-starters, to be sure, but you probably won’t find them among Silicon Valley’s success stories. The entrepreneurs whose innovations and ideas have actually changed lives are too busy trying new things and dreaming big to spout vapid humblebrags on social media. If you somehow found a way to connect with them, you’d probably get some legitimately helpful tips on how to establish your own business.  Read more…

More about Business, Entrepreneurs, Mashable Shopping, Shopping List, and Shopping Stackcommerce


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They had abortions late in their pregnancies. These are their stories

Strangers have called them monsters, trolled them on social media and said their living children should be taken away. Their darkest moments are judged and politicized by figures who know nothing about them. They feel like involuntary pawns in an ugly, vicious game they didn’t ask to play.


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These actors have been controversially cast as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

And the internet isn’t happy

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are one of the most talked-about couples in the world, making news this past few months for their upcoming royal arrival, due in April.

But it wasn’t Meghan’s New York baby shower or the rumoured baby names that got the world talking about the royal couple this week.

Instead, it was the upcoming Lifetime TV show about their relationship, Harry & Meghan: Becoming Royal, or rather its casting, that became a talking point.

prince harry meghan markle

Credit: REX/Shutterstock

The sequel to last year’s Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance is set to tell the story of the couple’s first year of marriage, ‘pulling back the curtain to reveal the untold joys and challenges of life inside the Royal Family.

‘Beyond blending their families and cultures, Harry and Meghan’s core values are put to the test as they try to find the balance between honouring Royal tradition and staying true to their beliefs.’

But who is set to play the Duke and Duchess of Sussex?

Well, the actors have just been announced and the internet has a lot to say about it.

Meghan Markle is set to be played by Tiffany Marie Smith, known for her roles in Supernatural and Jane the Virgin and Prince Harry is set to be played by Charlie Field, seen before in Genius and Poldark.

‘Let us introduce you to the royal couple,’ Lifetime TV tweeted, before it was met by some controversial comments, mostly complaining that Charlie Field looked nothing like Prince Harry.

‘That doesn’t even look like Prince Harry though,’ one fan tweeted, while another wrote: ‘OMG! It’s worse than when they make a Madame Tussauds wax figure and it looks nothing like the actual person.’

Harry & Meghan: Becoming Royal will debut later this spring on Lifetime and we officially cannot wait.

The post These actors have been controversially cast as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle appeared first on Marie Claire.

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These states have been hit the hardest by America’s opioid epidemic

While there’s early evidence that the explosive rate of opioid deaths has started to slow, opioids killed more than 49,000 people in the United States in 2017, according to preliminary data. A new study reveals which part of the country has been affected the most by the ongoing epidemic.


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Bathe in glitter with these cosmic, iridescent bath bombs

Bathe in glitter with these cosmic, iridescent bath bombs


Bathe in glitter with these cosmic, iridescent bath bombs

If you’ve ever wanted to bathe in glitter, this is the DIY project for you. Cosmetic dye and soap glitter make these bath bombs iridescent and eye-catching, while almond oil gives them moisturizing power. As you soak in your otherworldly bath, a combination of Epsom salts and essential oils will take your mood into the cosmos. You’ll step out of the tub relaxed and luminous.

Watch the video to see how easy this DIY is and follow the instructions below.

Iridescent Bath Bombs

Materials:

1 cup baking soda
1/2 cup citric acid
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup Epsom salt
1 Tbsp. almond oil
1/2 tsp. essential oil (for scent)
1-2 Tbsp. water
Spray bottle
Soap dye (blue)
Spherical bath bomb molds
Paint brush
Power soap or cosmetic dye (purple, pink, yellow)
Soap glitter (or bio-degradable eco-glitter)

Instructions:

1. Add the dry ingredients (baking soda, citric acid, cornstarch, and Epsom salt) to a large bowl. Stir until combined.
2. Add the almond oil and essential oil. Stir to combine. You can also
stir with your hands.
3. Add water gradually with a spray bottle until the mixture sticks together.
4. Scoop the mixture into the mold and pack it down. Let dry overnight.
5. Carefully remove the bath bomb from the mold.
6. Using the paint brush, dust the bath bombs with powder soap dye.
7. Finish by brushing with soap glitter.

The post Bathe in glitter with these cosmic, iridescent bath bombs appeared first on HelloGiggles.

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Attention, Teachers: Need Cash This Summer? Try One of These 26 Side Gigs

While many of us dream of having the summer months off, some teachers prefer to use their vacations to earn extra cash.

According to a Penny Hoarder analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, the median salary for teachers (elementary, middle and secondary) is $ 51,000, and the starting salary comes in at $ 35,800. So it’s no surprise that one in 10 educators works a second job during the summer. Not only that, teachers are twice as likely to work a second job than people in any other occupation.

Working during the summer can help you keep your teaching skills sharp and can even help you learn a few new things — preferably with someone else footing the bill.

You’ll find no shortage of summer jobs for teachers or educators. Many of these opportunities will give you a modest income without a lengthy commitment. When the summer’s over, you can resume your day job without having to worry about quitting or keeping a second job.

Ready to find your new summer job?

Jobs That Will Keep You Teaching

Baseball team and their coach

For some teachers, summer is a time to get away from their regular day-to-day work. But for others, teaching is what gets them going in the morning. These jobs will bring in extra income while fulfilling that desire to keep teaching.

1. Teach English as a Second Language

Want to strengthen your teaching skills while earning extra money? Look for opportunities to tutor English as a second language (ESL) students locally and online.

You can contact large corporations in your area that may relocate foreign employees to your city and inquire whether they need a freelance ESL tutor to help their staff brush up on their language skills. Or go online and connect with students all over the world through sites like GoFluent and QKids. One former public school teacher earned over $ 500 a week teaching English to Chinese students through VIPKID.

2. Offer Tutoring

School may be out for the summer for you, but that doesn’t mean students don’t still need a helping hand. If you just don’t get enough of teaching during the school year, tutor in your subject to make extra cash.  

If you want to offer in-person tutoring, start by spreading the word with your students’ parents during the school year so they know who to call when summertime rolls around. And of course, shamelessly publicize your tutoring skills to friends and family who have children. A great thing about tutoring is you can set your own rates, with tutors typically charging anywhere between $ 30 and $ 90 per hour, depending on the subject, according to Tutors.com.

And if you’d like to tutor without actually having to leave your house, consider online tutoring instead. There are a ton of websites that hire online tutors. Here are some of our favorite online tutoring companies.

3. Become a Test Prep Instructor

This is similar to tutoring, but with a little twist. As a test prep instructor, you can still flex those teaching skills but take a little break from teaching the same stuff you do during the regular school year.

Depending on your area of expertise and skill level, you can earn income over the summer helping students prepare for the ACT, SAT, LSAT, MCAT or GRE.

Again, you can simply spread the word through friends and family to tutor locally, which means you can set your own rates. Or you can turn to a national organization that is regularly hiring, such as Kaplan Test Prep, where tutors earn anywhere from $ 17 to $ 28 per hour, according to Glassdoor salaries.

4. Teach Abroad

Why limit your summer job search to the U.S.? You’ll find many great opportunities for teachers to work abroad during the summer months.

While paid short-term positions can be hard to come by, volunteer programs, especially those teaching English, are plentiful in certain regions of the world — plus, you’ll get to travel. Some programs will even pay for your expenses. Go Overseas lists a ton of volunteer teaching opportunities abroad.

5. Coach Youth Sports

Coaching youth sports during the summer is another opportunity that allows you to continue working with and instructing children — just in a different way from your regular job. Sure, it’s not teaching long division, but spending the summer imparting athletic and teamwork skills to children can be just as challenging and rewarding.

Plus, you get to watch kids run around playing sports, which is always adorable. A 6-year-old in an oversized, bobbling baseball helmet? Forget about it.

Check with your community recreation centers, churches and camps to find open jobs.

6. Work as a Nanny or Baby Sitter

Technically, this isn’t a teaching gig, but as a nanny or baby sitter you’ll still be working with children and informally teaching them along the way.

You can either find a regular full-time nanny job working for parents who prefer that to traditional day care or just pick up baby-sitting gigs here and there when you feel like making some extra cash.

Start by spreading the word through friends and family, and be sure to mention your teaching position so you have an edge over teenagers willing to do the job cheaply. You can also check out sites like Sittercity to find jobs in your community.

Online Summer Jobs for Teachers

Woman works from home with her cat

Looking for a summer gig that earns you some extra cash — but doesn’t require leaving the house? We’ve got you covered.

7. Sell Your Lesson Plans Online

I love opportunities to leverage what you already have for passive income. You’ve already done the work. Why not make the most of it?

Take those lesson plans and worksheets you created during the school year and upload them to a site like Teachers Pay Teachers. You will earn 60% to 85% on each sale of your education resources. And this is an opportunity that can continue to bring in additional income year-round without any extra work.

“I only sell digital products, so I don’t have to mail anything,” Meredith O’Neill, a middle school teacher who sells her resources on the site, told us in May 2017. “The sale and the transfer of my work happens automatically. The payment goes straight to my PayPal account after TPT takes its cut. It’s extremely easy once your store is created and your work is loaded.”

8. Write and Edit Resumes

If you’ve got writing skills, you can earn extra cash writing and editing resumes. For some (read: a lot) of us, crafting a resume is like pulling teeth, and people are willing to fork out funds for a final product they feel will help them land a job.

This is a good summer job to pursue if you’re interested in part-time work that you can pick up on your own time.

Your personal network is a good place to start, and your teaching background will give you an edge. You can also list your services on freelance platforms such as Upwork, Thumbtack and Fiverr.

Fiverr user Charmaine Pocek started writing resumes and cover letters for $ 5 a piece. Within six years, she was charging $ 30 to $ 800 for her services and has since earned over $ 2 million through the site, according to Fiverr.   

If you’re interested but need a little refresher on resume writing, check out this step-by-step guide.

9. Work as a Website Tester

You probably already spend a good amount of time browsing the internet and using phone apps, so why not get paid for it? Companies want to know how users interact with their websites and what can be done to make them more user-friendly.

All you have to do is browse and navigate websites and then provide honest feedback. You won’t get rich testing websites — expect to earn between $ 5 and $ 10 for each test.

UserTesting pays $ 10 for every 20 minute test; UserFeel pays $ 10 for every 10-20 minute test; and User Test pays around $ 10 per review.

10. Look Into Work-From-Home Jobs

You spend the school year commuting, so consider spending the summer earning extra income from the comfort of your own home. You’d be amazed how many companies are regularly hiring work-from-home employees, and with such a broad selection you can find an opportunity that fits your skill set.

Customer service, copy editing, travel consulting, coding, part-time, full-time, seasonal, freelance: Honestly, the internet is your oyster. You can start with with our Work-From-Home jobs portal to find a gig.

And if you’ve never forayed into the remote work life before, take some time to go over our work-from-home guide. It covers topics such as insurance, scams, taxes and how to find a job that fits your lifestyle.

Summer Jobs in the Great Outdoors

Hardy Bender, 26, steers a raft on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho.

It’s summertime and you probably spend the rest of year cooped up in a classroom. Why not spend your months off in the great outdoors and earning extra cash at the same time?

11. Camp Counselor

If you love fresh air and sunshine, consider getting a job at a summer camp.

Writer Amanda Simkin spent three summers working at a summer camp during her eight years of teaching. “Working at a summer camp is a great supplemental job because sometimes you just want to get away from the classroom and interact with kids in a more fun-focused and laid-back way,” she explains.

Here’s how she recommends you find a job. “I learned about openings through word of mouth, but nowadays you can use social media, such as park district websites, Facebook, even Craigslist to find openings,” she says. You can also check with your local YMCA, community organizations and churches.

12. Local Tour Guide

Know all of the hot spots and hidden gems in your city or neighborhood? Then consider becoming a local tour guide. It’s a great way to enjoy the weather, the scenery and good company (hopefully) while earning extra cash.

Another neighborhood-based gig that’s similar to becoming a tour guide is Yelp’s community ambassador program. The company hires people in each city to host events, partner with local organizations and act as an online moderator. It’s a flexible gig, usually 15 to 20 hours per week.

13. Whitewater Raft Guide

This is the perfect job if you want to work in the great outdoors but you’re also looking for an adventure. But be warned: The job is intense and physically-demanding. It also requires long hours and certain qualifications, depending on your state.

Hiring for river guides really amps up around June and July, and recreational hiring in general grows an average of 68% in the U.S. around this time, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The river-rafting season typically runs from June to September, making this a perfectly complementary job for teachers looking to earn a summer income. In fact, Idaho river guide Hardy Bender says a lot of guides seek out teaching jobs purely so they can have the summers off to hit the river.

14. Lifeguard

Like river guiding, this summer job for teachers gives you the perks of getting paid to enjoy the water and sunshine but in a more controlled environment.

Summer is the busy season, so check with city-operated pools, recreation centers, water parks and country clubs for seasonal lifeguarding jobs. Or if you’re blessed enough to live on the water, you can spend the summer working on the beach.

The pay for lifeguards varies depending on your location, skill level and employer, but you can earn anywhere from $ 9 to $ 25 per hour, according to Glassdoor salaries. Just remember, there are certain certifications and training to complete before you can get that telltale red suit and whistle.

15. Dog Walker

Honestly, who doesn’t want to get paid to hang out with dogs in their spare time? Well, maybe cat people… but they don’t count.

Start by offering your services to friends and family who don’t have the summers off. They may jump at the chance for someone to take their beloved pups out for a walk on long work days.

You can also sign up for Rover.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And if you don’t want to just stick to dog walking, you can expand your services and become a full-blown pet sitter — check this out for more information.

Jobs That Offer a Change of Pace

Terence Michael is a Hollywood producer who also makes extra income as an Airbnb super host.

Maybe you want a summer job that breaks away from the standard tutoring gig. Here are some options all across the board, we’re sure at least one will catch your eye.

16. Drive for Uber or Lyft

If you want to make some extra cash without committing to a full-blown job, driving for Uber or Lyft is a legitimate option. Demand for ride-sharing has been growing like crazy, and it shows no signs of slowing down. To be eligible, you’ll need to be at least 21 years old with a year of driving experience, pass a background check and own a car made in 2007 or later.

We talked to Paul Pruce, who had been driving full-time with Lyft for over a year and earning $ 750 a week as a driver.

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

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

17. Rent Out Your Driveway

No one wants to worry about feeding a meter while on vacation. If you live near an event center or stadium, rent out your driveway using sites and apps like JustPark or MonkeyParking — or go old school and simply post a “Parking” sign in front of your house. You may only earn $ 20 per day, but $ 20 is $ 20.

18. List Extra Space in Your House

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

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

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

Here are some of his tips:

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

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

19. Rent Out Your Car

If you put Uber and Airbnb together and mix them up, the result is renting out your car for extra money. You’re earning extra income from your car, but in the passive way you rent out an extra room — you just have to be cool with strangers driving your car around.

One service to start with is Get Around. When signing up, you’ll list your car and its availability —plus, all cars on Getaround include primary insurance during rentals. Another to check out is TravelCar, a service that allows you to rent out your car while you’re on vacation.

20. Host Trivia

Consider yourself a “Jeopardy!” nut? Combine your love for trivia, wealth of teaching knowledge and ability to command a room to become a part-time trivia contest host. After all, coming up with a set up trivia questions isn’t too far off from crafting a quiz for your students.

Check with your local restaurants and bars to see whether they’re in need of a trivia host. Sure, you might find yourself working only one night a week, but it’s a fun way to flex your brain muscles and earn extra money.

This math teacher in Florida told us he earns $ 125 per week hosting trivia (and he also offers tips on how to do your best Alex Trebek impersonation).

21. Rent Out Baby Gear

Renting out baby supplies — what will they think of next? There seems to be a rental service for just about everything these days, and this one is great for anyone who can get behind earning some extra cash off of that unused baby stuff taking up storage space.

Companies like BabyQuip allow traveling families to rent strollers, car seats, cribs and other baby items instead of lugging around their own gear. So if you have baby equipment you’re not using, you can list it for rental.

Manuela Madrid, a stay-at-home mom in Brandon, Florida works less than 12 hours per month renting out her gear through BabyQuip, and earns between $ 120 and $ 180 with each fulfillment. BabyQuip users keep 80% of each reservation fee, but 100% of each delivery fee.

You can sign up for BabyQuip here, or check out these other options: Babies Getaway, goBaby and Traveling Baby Company.

22. Officiate Youth Sports Games

Aside from coaching, another way to get involved in youth sports over the summer is by officiating games. Plus, officiating gives you the involvement in local youth sports without having to offer as much commitment that coaching would demand.

One option is working as a youth baseball umpire, a gig that can earn you upwards of $ 50 per game, which are usually less than two hours long. Aside from directly reaching out to youth sport programs, you can reach out to your local umpire association to inquire about open positions.

Summer Jobs if You Want Some Me Time

Young man working in a start up office.

Look, if you want to spend your summer months catching up on some much needed alone time, we definitely don’t blame you. But that doesn’t mean you still can’t earn some extra money along the way.

23. Write Book Reviews

Here’s a dream scenario: Spend your summer months getting paid to stay curled up with a good book. Freelance book reviewing won’t give you J.K Rowling-level finances, but it’s a great way to earn extra cash while doing something you love — and were probably going to do all summer anyway.

How much you can earn will vary depending on the publisher and your skill level, but you can typically look to earn anywhere from $ 5 to $ 100 per review. Plus, you’ll probably get the book for free. Score!

Here are some reputable websites and publishers that will actually pay you for book reviews.

24. House Sitter

If your summer months are going to be spent picking up odd jobs and side hustles, house sitting will fit into your schedule quite nicely — and it’s a great opportunity for some alone time.

Whether you’re spending the night in the home or just stopping in for a short while each day to bring in the mail, house sitting is a pretty easy way  to put extra pennies in your pocket.

Sure, you can go through friends and family, but the chances of that avenue offering paid gigs is slim. Check out professional sites that can connect you with potential clients in your area, like HouseSitter.com.

25. Transcriptionist

A transcription gig is perfect for teachers who just want to throw on a pair of noise-canceling headphones and block out the world for a bit.

You can typically find transcription jobs in three categories: general, medical and legal. Note that the latter two might require additional training or requirements, but that will depend on the employer.

Most transcription jobs are independent contract work, so you can set your own hours and work when you want. Just note that transcriptionists are usually paid by the audio hour, so the amount you earn in comparison to hours worked will depend on your transcription fee.

26. Deliver Food

We already talked about driving for Uber and Lyft, and this is kind of the same thing… except you don’t actually have to talk to people beyond the “Here’s your food, you’re welcome, bye.”

Working for food delivery services gives you the opportunity to pick up side-gig work when you feel like earning extra cash — while enjoying some me time. Uber Eats offers flexible food-delivery opportunities, as do GrubHub, Instacart and Shipt.

Kaitlyn Blount is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Angie Nelson has been a virtual assistant and serial blogger since 2007, when she took her future into her own hands and found a way to escape the corporate cubicle farm. Visit The Work at Home Wife to learn about more opportunities to earn an income while keeping your personal freedom.

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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Ditch your boring breakfast for these tasty global feasts

Nothing against omelets, yogurt or a classic bodega sandwich, but they’re not the only ways to start your day. Just look at other countries’ morning meals: In Korea, for example, brunch might mean a soothing bowl of broth, whereas in Israel, the first salad of the day hits the table at breakfast, not lunch. India…
Living | New York Post

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Kim Kardashian Slams Theory She’s Selling Her Looks to Fashion Nova Ahead of Time: ‘I Don’t Support What These Companies Are Doing’ [Video]

Kim Kardashian has been accused of selling her high-end designer looks to fast-fashion brands like Fashion Nova to make a profit — but the reality star says that’s not the case.

Earlier this week, Kim wore a vintage one-of-a-king Mugler dress. The following day, a knock-off version appeared on Fashion Nova’s website with a waitlist ready for purchase.

According to Kim, Fashion Nova (and other fast-fashion retailers) simply work fast in effort to capitalize on what she wore.

There’s a twist though — days before Kim wore the dress, a Fashion Nova model posted pictures of herself at a photo shoot for the knock-off version. The photos on the screen appear to be labeled labeled ‘Kim Dress.’

 

View this post on Instagram

 

UPDATE: See stories for a screenshot of the date of the Capture One session (it’s labeled 02-14-19). Fashion Nova Mugler knockoff shot 4 days before Kim wore it on 02/18/19. Kim, you’ll never fess up to your sneaky lil collaborations, but we got all the receipts ?. • ????????? At some point recently, a fast fashion photo shoot happened featuring a vintage Mugler dress that @kimkardashian just happened to wear on Sunday night to the Hollywood Beauty Awards…and yes, it appears to be a real dress, not photoshop. Ahead of Fashion Nova releasing the dress at 9pm EST tonight, house model Yodit Yemane may or may not have accidentally leaked a story 2.5 hours earlier of photo options from her shoot featuring the Mugler replica. The file names were even labeled “Kim dress” while it’s now being called “Winning Beauty Cut Out Gown” lol. This begs the question: Did Fashion Nova whip up the dress overnight in their Los Angeles atelier after seeing Kim in it or is she peddling her vintage finds to mass retailers ahead of debuting them for a calculated, timely release? ????????? • ? : Getty • #kimkardashian #mugler #thierrymugler #manfredthierrymugler #bodycon #cutout #barelythere #strappy #straps #black #vintage #dress #velvet #fashionnova #wiwt #ootd #kuwtk #hollywood #beauty #kkwbeauty #kardashian #ecommerce #shady #smh #photoshoot #model #fashionmodel #dietprada

A post shared by Diet Prada ™ (@diet_prada) on

Still, Kim denies any relationship with Fashion Nova or any fast-fashion company and says she doesn’t support what they’re doing.

See her tweets below.

The post Kim Kardashian Slams Theory She’s Selling Her Looks to Fashion Nova Ahead of Time: ‘I Don’t Support What These Companies Are Doing’ [Video] appeared first on lovebscott – celebrity news.

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These 5 People Added up to 284 Points to Their Credit Scores by Making the Same Move

Everyone who’s saddled with bad credit has a unique story.

A man burdened with $ 6,000 in unpaid bills. A couple recovering from job loss and foreclosure. A woman who fell behind on payments while living abroad. A single mom with a terminally ill child. A young woman with so much debt she couldn’t even get a credit card.

One of the toughest parts about paying down debt and fixing your credit score is knowing where to begin.

To create a rebuilding plan, first you have to know what you’re dealing with.

Your credit report will give you this information. You can get a free copy of it once every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus — but they can be tough to decipher.

If you want to keep a closer eye on your credit, get your credit score and “credit report card” for free from Credit Sesame. This website breaks down exactly what’s on your credit report in layman’s terms, how it affects your score and what you should do about it.

Folks who’ve used it tell us it’s a lifesaver.

5 People Who Raised Their Credit Scores Using Credit Sesame

We spoke with five different people who’ve had profound problems with their credit. All five turned things around with Credit Sesame.

James Cooper: +277 Points

James Cooper knows all about having bad credit. As recently as 2017, his credit score was a lousy 524.

“I never had a credit card,” he says. “I had $ 6,000 worth of unpaid bills.”

He vowed to sort out his financial situation and fix his credit.

Although there are legitimate credit repair services, there are also shady ones that demand money upfront and promise way more than they can deliver. Then they’ll milk you for money until you wise up.

Cooper and a friend went through this ordeal with three companies. Then they found Credit Sesame, and the free credit monitoring service taught them how to fix their credit.

Cooper raised his score by 277 points — from 524 to 801 — over the six months from June to November 2017.

Inspired by his experience, now Cooper teaches high school students the importance of good credit.

Jerry Morgan: +120 Points

In 2008, the housing bubble burst. The three-bedroom home in New Port Richey, Florida, where Jerry Morgan and his wife, Vivienne, had lived for 10 years plunged into the foreclosure process.

Then Vivienne lost her job.

By 2017, the family’s financial situation started to look up again. So in September, Morgan decided to address his credit score.

“Frankly, with the experiences we have gone through, I was embarrassed to even check my score,” he said.

Before coming across Credit Sesame, Morgan hadn’t bothered to check his credit score in, well, quite a while. He says finally getting his finances on stable ground encouraged him to take a peek at this three-digit number.

Following recommendations from the service, he’s raised his score 120 points in six months.

Elisabeth Nyang: +168 Points

At the end of 2016, Elisabeth Nyang was in debt to the tune of $ 17,500 — a mix of credit card debt, overdue bills and lingering student loans. She found herself there after two years of living in China.

In China, where it’s difficult to send money to the U.S., Nyang fell behind on her payments. In hindsight, she admits, the difficulty in transferring money was just an excuse — out of sight, out of mind.

But when she decided to move back to the States, she knew she needed to get her finances back on track.

“I can’t live like that,” she remembers thinking.

Since signing up for Credit Sesame in January 2017, Nyang has paid off that $ 17,500 pile of debt and raised her score from 495 to 663. That’s a 168-point jump.

Melinda Smieja: + 284 Points

In 2005, Melinda Smieja’s 13-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor.

“So here I am a single mom, and my daughter gets sick,” she explains. “And I’m like, ‘What am I gonna do?’”

Between continuing to care for her younger daughter and moving from Seabeck, Washington, to Seattle to be near her 13-year-old’s medical care, she racked up credit card debt.

“I used [a credit card] for dinners, I used it for food,” she says. “For a place to stay. It got to the point where all of my credit cards were maxed out.”

Her credit score was down to 480 by the time she checked. And she’d racked up somewhere between $ 20,000 and $ 30,000 in debt on 11 credit cards.

In 2010, an email campaign led her to Credit Sesame, a new company (at the time) offering an easier way to monitor your credit history.

“It was something that I had been searching for [without realizing it],” Smieja explains.

It made her overwhelming situation manageable.

“I could look and I could say, ‘Okay, this is what’s all going on here. This is my debt. This is what’s happening. This is what’s making my credit [interest] high.’”

And she could finally tackle her debts, one at a time. The work wasn’t quick. It was slow and steady — but it paid off.

In 2016, for the first time, Smieja’s credit score hit 680, crossing the line of what lenders consider “good credit.” By late 2017, it was up to 764.

Dana Sitar: +68 Points

At 30, Dana Sitar’s history with credit cards, student loans and medical bills was pretty bad.

Student loan interest was piling up. Hospital bills were out to collection agencies. No one would give her a credit card. She landed a loan for a new car by the skin of her teeth. Her security deposits for car rentals and apartments were through the roof.

She wanted to fix it, but didn’t even know where to start.

Sitar, an editor for The Penny Hoarder, found Credit Sesame in 2016, and today, she’s breathing a little easier.

Credit Sesame, Sitar writes for The Penny Hoarder, is “answering all the questions swirling in my head, keeping me awake at night and threatening a panic attack every time I authorize a credit check.”

Since she started tracking her credit score with the app, she’s watched it rise — slowly but surely — by 68 points.

“Motivated by the easy access to my free credit report card through the app,” she says, “I haven’t been able to ignore my credit like I used to.”

Keep an Eye on Your Credit Score

Your credit score is important.

And why is that?

The better your score, the better deal you’ll get on a mortgage, car loan or credit card. We’re talking big money here.

To keep a closer eye on your credit, get your credit score and a credit report card for free from Credit Sesame.

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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Did You Flush Charmin Wipes or Use Dial Soap? These Class-Action Settlements are For You

Even though it may take years before a settlement is reached in a class-action lawsuit, the time frame to claim your share can fly by.

But if you purchased a Lenovo laptop that’s slow because of tracking software, a blouse at a Ross Dress for Less that had a misleading price-comparison label or Dial foaming liquid hand soap that promised to rid you of 99.9% of germs, you could be eligible for anywhere from a few cents to several hundred dollars.

Check out this month’s choice selection of class-action settlements that have deadlines approaching to see which ones align with purchases you’ve made.

Ross Stores “Compare at” Pricing

Did you purchase items at a Ross Dress for Less believing you were saving more money than you actually did?

Ross has agreed to a $ 4.85 million class-action settlement to resolve allegations that the store used deceptive pricing methods to convince customers they were getting a great deal.

Class members are customers who bought one or more items with a Ross price tag indicating a “compare at” price from any Ross store since June 20, 2011, and have not received a refund or credit for these purchases.

Plaintiffs allege the “compare at” price tags are not a true price comparison but are instead simply a reference price. They claim that this is not properly conveyed to the shopper.

Ross admits no wrongdoing by settling the lawsuit, but with the settlement, both parties avoid the risks and costs associated with continued litigation.

Class members may receive store credit in the form of a merchandise certificate or cash equal to 75% of the value of the merchandise certificate. No proof of purchase is required.

Click here now to file a claim, because this offer goes out of fashion (no more claims will be accepted after) May 31, 2019.

Lenovo Laptops Adware

If you bought a Lenovo laptop between Sept. 1, 2014, and Feb. 28, 2015, you could be eligible for a portion of an $ 8.3 million class-action settlement.

Plaintiffs allege several models of the non-Think-branded Lenovo laptops experienced inhibited performance capabilities because the company added a tracking software called VisualDiscovery by Superfish.

The software allegedly allowed Lenovo to monitor user activity to tailor advertisements to users.

Owners of the laptops also claim the monitoring of their online habits was an invasion of privacy.

Under the settlement, eligible class members include consumers who purchased certain non-Think-branded Lenovo laptops between Sept. 1, 2014, and Feb. 28, 2015. Models included in the settlement are:

  • G Series: G410, G510, G710, G40-70, G50-70, G40-30, G50-30 and G50-45.
  • U Series: U430P, U430Touch and U530Touch.
  • Y Series: Y40-70 and Y50-70.
  • Z Series: Z50-75, Z40-70 and Z50-70.
  • Flex Series: Flex2 14D, Flex2 15D, Flex2 14, Flex2 15, Flex2 15(BTM) and Flex 10.
  • MIIX Series: MIIX2-10 and MIIX2-11.
  • YOGA Series: YOGA2Pro-13, YOGA2-13, YOGA2-11BTM and YOGA2-11HSW.

A bar-code sticker should be located on the bottom of the laptop to indicate the machine’s model.

Class members may receive anywhere from $ 40 to $ 750 if they can provide proof of loss, such as receipts for expenses related to technical assistance or credit monitoring, with their claim form.

For more details on how to file a claim by the March 25, 2019, deadline, click here — even if you’re on your Lenovo laptop and the company might know you click.

Flagship Credit Acceptance Robocalls

Auto loan company Flagship Credit Acceptance LLC has agreed to a $ 4 million class-action settlement over alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

Class members include anyone who received a call from Flagship through a TCN, LiveVox or Aspect dialing system or artificial/prerecorded voice between May 5, 2013, and Sept. 18, 2018.

The TCPA prohibits telemarketing practices that make use of robocalls through autodialers or prerecorded messages.

Flagship admits no wrongdoing but has settled the lawsuit to avoid the costs of future litigation and the uncertainty of a trial verdict.

The TCPA allows eligible consumers to collect between $ 500 and $ 1,500 per violation, but the potential reward through the settlement will be determined by the number of valid claims submitted by the Feb. 25, 2019, deadline.

For more information and to submit your claim, click here.

NIBCO Plumbing Fixtures

If you have NIBCO PEX plumbing in your home that has leaked and caused water damage, you could be eligible for a portion of a $ 43.5 million class-action settlement.

Class members include consumers who have owned or occupied a building that contained NIBCO plumbing fixtures since Jan. 1, 2005, and either have costs from water damage or costs from repairing water damage that have not been reimbursed.

In addition, compensation will be available for six years after the start of the settlement to compensate homeowners for future property damage if it occurs.

Plaintiffs allege NIBCO PEX plumbing tubes, brass fittings and stainless steel clamps include a manufacturing defect that can result in potentially damaging water leaks.

Class members who file a claim with qualifying supporting documents may be able to receive between 25% and 70% of their monetary losses due to water damage.

Time, if not water, is running out. Click here for more information and to make a claim by the May 31, 2019, estimated deadline.

Charmin Freshmates Flushable Wipes

If you bought Charmin Freshmates flushable wipes, or any other Charmin pre-moistened wipes that said “flushable” on the label, between April 6, 2011, and Nov. 26, 2018, you might be eligible for a portion of a class-action settlement.

The Charmin Freshmates wipes plaintiffs allege that consumers incur financial injuries of at least a few hundred dollars when they have to hire a plumber to unclog sewer lines impaired by the collection of wipes.

Plaintiffs allege the wipes were falsely advertised as flushable and safe for septic systems, when in fact the wipes purportedly clog and damage sewage systems.

Class members who submit proof of purchase may receive a payout of up to $ 30. Those without proof of purchase may claim up to seven purchases.

Class members will receive 60 cents per package. Class members include consumers throughout the U.S., except for those in the state of New York.

If plumbing problems from Charmin flushable wipes have been a drain on your wallet, click here for more information on how to file a claim before the Feb. 28, 2019, deadline.

Dial Complete Foaming Liquid Hand Soap

Several lawsuits against Dial Complete foaming liquid hand soap have been resolved with a $ 7.4 million class-action settlement.

The lawsuits alleged marketing, advertising and sales violations by Dial, based on its use of active ingredient triclosan.

The false advertising claims include statements such as: “Kills 99.99% of germs encountered in household settings,” “no. 1 doctor recommended antibacterial liquid hand wash” and “kills more germs than any other liquid hand soap.”

Dial Corporation denies any wrongdoing, but both parties agreed to the class-action settlement to avoid the costs and risks of ongoing litigation.

Class members include consumers who purchased Dial Complete foaming liquid hand soap between Jan. 1, 2001, and Jan. 2, 2019

They will receive 27 cents per package for up to 30 packages without proof of purchase for a total of $ 8.10. Those who provide proof of purchase may receive 27 cents per package as settlement compensation for all packages purchased.

If, after subtracting all expenses from the settlement fund, the funds remaining are insufficient to pay all timely valid approved claims, then payments will be reduced proportionately on a pro-rata basis.

Don’t miss your chance to clean up with this settlement offer. Click here for details on submitting a claim by April 12, 2019.

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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Going bare-faced is scary, unless you follow these tips and tricks

Promotional feature with Oral-B

Pictured above: Beauty vlogger Estée Lalonde is the face of Oral-B’s #nofiltersmile campaign

In a world of FaceTune, Snapchat filters and over-contoured complexions, it’s time to start celebrating the au naturel. Let’s put barefaced beauty back in the spotlight and encourage more people to #nofiltersmile their selfies.

We know that showing the world a completely bare face can be daunting to some people; perhaps you’re struggling with blemishes, you wouldn’t be caught dead without concealer over your dark circles or maybe you just wish your teeth were a little bit whiter. We totally get it. However, there are some simple tricks that you can follow to help make you feel more confident in front of the camera.

1. GET THE FULL EIGHT

We know you’ve heard it before. But getting a good night’s sleep allows your body, mind and skin to rest, recuperate and repair. Avoid looking at your phone for an hour before bed, spritz your pillows and duvet with a lavender pillow mist and pop on an eye mask. You’ll wake up feeling a lot fresher, more revitalised and it will show on your face.

2. NAIL YOUR ROUTINE

If you want healthy looking skin you need to look after it properly. What does properly mean? It means cleansing every single day, then using a toner that’s suited to your skin type. If you don’t use a serum – introduce one now, it’ll supercharge your routine and help make your skin look lit from within. Once that’s done, follow with an SPF moisturiser for daytime protection. Repeat in the evening, but switch to a night cream that boosts the skin’s repair mode, like retinol.

3. DRINK, THEN DRINK SOME MORE

Another obvious step, but one that so often gets overlooked despite the benefits to your skin and health: drinking water. The NHS EatWell Guide recommends drinking between six and eight glasses a day, which is easy when it becomes a habit. Here’s a little tip: aim to drink two glasses when you’re having your breakfast, keep a glass on your desk and try to get through around four during the working day, then when you sit down to dinner try and drink two more, before finally ending with one before bed. Easy peasy. Your skin will thank you.

4. BE PICKY ABOUT WHAT YOU PUT IN YOUR MOUTH

Don’t just use any old toothpaste, use one that you’re actually going to benefit from. Oral-B’s 3D White Whitening Therapy Enamel Care Toothpaste is designed to remove surface stains and strengthen and nourish your enamel. The loss and weakening of enamel is what causes yellowing and stops you having a brighter, whiter smile.

5. WORK WITH WHAT YOU’VE GOT

They say the eyes are the window to the soul, so treat them with kindness and care and accentuate them. Get your eyebrows shaped at a brow bar and you’ll notice that your face is instantly framed. Curling your lashes opens up your eyes and makes them pop. Take down any puffiness with a cool flannel over your eyes for 15 minutes.

The post Going bare-faced is scary, unless you follow these tips and tricks appeared first on Marie Claire.

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Got Unused Baby Gear? Rent It Out With These Services to Make Extra Cash

Stay-at-home mom Manuela Madrid needed to make some extra money for her family, so she started searching Google for “jobs for stay-at-home moms” to see if anything seemed appealing. Eventually, a baby gear rental service called BabyQuip appeared in her results.

Services like BabyQuip allow families to rent strollers, car seats, cribs and other baby items when traveling instead of lugging around their own gear. Madrid, 37, who lives in Brandon, Florida, near Tampa, had collected baby equipment over the years while raising her two children, now ages 5 and 1. She decided after doing some research that listing her gear to rent would be perfect for her.

Madrid says on average she works less than 12 hours per month, getting two rental orders and earning between $ 120 and $ 180 with each fulfillment. So if you’re a parent with some baby equipment you’re not using, here’s what you need to know to become a baby-gear renter.

How Baby Gear Rental Services Work

A woman unloads a crib from her car

When a family places a rental order with a service like BabyQuip, a local provider — an independent contractor — receives the reservation request.

These orders vary in quantity and type of gear. Each reservation includes a delivery charge, and every item has a specific per-day rental rate. Madrid says a typical order consists of portable cribs and car seats, but it can also include strollers, high chairs and playpens.

On the day of the order, the provider loads up their car with the equipment and delivers it to a predetermined location such as an airport, hotel, Airbnb or private residence. Madrid says she helps set up more complex items, like cribs, if the renter or the Airbnb host is there. Otherwise, she leaves them at the front door or check-in desk.

At the end of the rental period, the provider collects the items and takes them home to be cleaned before the next rental.

Rafi Zait has witnessed the growth of the industry since founding Traveling Baby Company in 2004. Despite an uptick in awareness, he says many people still don’t know this service exists.

“The main reason is that unless you have (a) small children, and (b) [are] traveling somewhere, you’re not going to think about it,” says Zait, 48, who is now a Traveling Baby Company customer manager and company affiliate based in Los Angeles and Orange County, California.

Kristen Knorr was one of those people who didn’t know the industry existed until about a year ago. She discovered stroller rental services when researching websites in preparation for a family vacation to Disneyland. Space was limited in her family vehicle, so she opted to place a reservation and leave the stroller at their home in Provo, Utah.

When Knorr’s family arrived at their hotel near Disneyland, a double stroller from City Stroller Rentals was waiting for them at the front desk. “That was really great, and it was a better stroller than the one we had [at home],” she says.

Having the double stroller made a three-day Disney trip with a then 2 ½-year-old and a 9-month old easier. When it was time to drive back to Utah, Knorr left the stroller at the front desk for the baby-gear service to pick up. In the past, Knorr says, she would bring her own baby gear on trips but is now open to renting, especially when her family goes back to Disneyland in February.

What Are the Pay and Hours Like?

A woman sets up a crib

Madrid and Zait both say they earn 80% of each order, and their companies keep a 20% service fee.

Zait says there are many factors that go into how much someone can earn, such as the affiliate’s location, overall demand and competition. He says the business is busier during the summer and holidays, and order requests are higher in major cities and near popular tourist attractions.

An affiliate with Zait’s company can spend about three to four hours per average week delivering, picking up and cleaning the equipment and more than 10 hours a week during the holidays. A typical affiliate with his company can make between $ 800 and $ 1,200 per month.

Madrid says she receives an average of two orders per month and spends between eight and 12 hours fulfilling orders around the Tampa Bay area. In addition to the 80% take on each reservation, she gets to keep 100% of the delivery fees.

Some Baby Gear Companies to Consider

Now that you know the basics of what to expect doing the job, here are some of the best baby gear companies to consider joining. These are companies with a national presence, but there are more companies out there. Zait says most of the industry consists of mom-and-pop providers that operate in smaller areas, such as a specific city. So also consider checking if there is a company in your area that may need extra help delivering gear.

Babies Getaway

Founded in 2012, Babies Getaway’s services are available in every city in the continental United States, according to its website. Click here to find out how to become a partner with the company. The application asks which city you wish to service, whether you have a secure location in which to store the equipment and how far you are willing to drive for deliveries.

BabyQuip

BabyQuip has providers in 48 states, plus Washington, D.C., and Canada. An initial sign-up fee of $ 100 covers your administrative expenses, general liability insurance and your first month of insurance coverage. Click here to sign up and learn more about BabyQuip.

goBaby

GoBaby began in New York City before expanding nationally in 2016. Now the company operates in 35 states, according to its website. Equipment owners snap pictures of their gear and list it on the goBaby marketplace for renters to reserve. Click here to find out more.

Traveling Baby Company

Traveling Baby Company currently operates in 30 locations in 15 states, plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Zait says people interested in becoming an affiliate can contact the company via email at info@travelingbaby.com or call 800-304-4866 to set up a phone interview.

Matt Reinstetle is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He covers side hustles and the gig economy. Follow him on Twitter @MattReinstetle.

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

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Don’t Be Ashamed of Your Money. These 13 Tools Are Here to Help

No one likes being judged. Especially when it comes to personal finance.

I’m keenly aware of my budgetary state, so having someone totally judge me for it — and not offer constructive advice — is the worst.

Yes, I understand I need to stash more into my emergency savings. And I know I shouldn’t have spent $ 5 on that latte. And investing… that makes me nervous.

But just help me; don’t chastise me.

That’s why I’ve rounded up some personal finance advisers — and some money management apps  — that’ll help you get your money in order.

And they’ll do it without a single shred of judgment.

And, perhaps even better, without an ounce of conversation.

1. Earn a 100x the Normal Interest Rate

Operating everything out of one checking account can make your finances muddy and contribute undue stress to your money management — and make you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing.

To simplify, open a second account for a dedicated purpose. One of our favorites is the Aspiration Account — there are no monthly fees, and you’ll earn up to 100 times the interest rate of other banks.

This online-only account comes with a debit card and free ATMs, so you can easily access your money when you need it.

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

  • Automatically deposit a portion of your income into your existing bank account, and use that to cover basic expenses like rent and bills.
  • Deposit what’s left into your Aspiration Account to use for fun stuff, like eating out, shopping or going on vacation.

2. Take a Deep Breath and Check Your Credit Score

A chalkboard with the number '610' written on it.

Your credit score is important. The better your score, the better deal you’ll get on a mortgage, car loan or credit card. We’re talking big money here.

Even if you’re not buying a house anytime soon, a lousy credit score means you’ll get hit with a high security deposit whenever you rent a car or move into a new apartment.

But did you know your credit score could be inaccurate? One out of five credit reports have an error, according to a study by the Federal Trade Commission.

To keep a closer eye on your credit, get your credit score and a “credit report card” for free from Credit Sesame. It breaks down exactly what’s on your credit report in layman’s terms, how it affects your score and how to address it.

Because it simplifies everything, you should be able to spot any errors. For instance, if you find an “unpaid” credit card that you know you paid, or a bill in collections you know never existed, you can dispute the incorrect information and raise your credit score.

James Cooper, a motivational speaker, raised his credit score 277 points using Credit Sesame. Now he talks to high school students about the importance of having good credit and uses what he’s learned through Credit Sesame as a blueprint for his lessons.

“We want to touch the Z Generation,” Cooper says “We’re not in the business of fixing credit. We want to get to you before you have to fix your credit.”

3. Play Scratch-offs to Your Heart’s Content (It’s Free!)

man and woman scratching lotto tickets and drinking wine

There’s something so satisfying about those gas station scratch-off tickets, but it’s better to avoid them because, well, that’s not Penny Hoarding.

Instead, try scratching for free using an app called Lucktastic. Each day, it releases a new assortment of digital scratch-off tickets. Lucktastic says instant wins range from $ 1 to $ 10,000. You can also earn tokens that you can exchange for free gift cards to retailers including Amazon, Walmart, Kohl’s, Sephora and more.

The app is supported by advertising, which allows it to keep the payouts high and the games free. For more info, check out our full review.

4. Use This to Bust Your Debt

Shot of a young couple going through paperwork together on the sofa at home

Once you fall behind, you may find yourself getting crushed by credit card interest rates north of 20%. You’ll never catch up that way. You’re spending so much on interest, you’ll never pay off your balances.

If you’re financially treading water like this, it might be worth consolidating and refinancing your debt.

By refinancing an existing loan, you’re taking out a totally new loan, which comes with new terms and (ideally) a lower interest rate. By consolidating your existing loans, you lump all your debt into one big payment, so you’re only making one payment and dealing with one interest rate per month.

Make sense but don’t know where to start? Credible is an online marketplace that offers consumers personalized loan offers. It’s best for borrowers who have good credit scores (think: around 640 or higher), and it lets you quickly compare rates without visiting a bunch of sites.

Rates start at 5.99%, and you can check yours by entering a loan amount here ($ 500 to $ 40,000) and comparing your personalized options in under 90 seconds.

5. Stop Deleting Your Emails

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

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

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

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

6. Share What’s in Your Fridge

A young woman standing in front of an open refrigerator holds a bowl of salad in one hand and a plate of fried chicken in the other.

Remember the Nielsen company? The one that’s always tracked TV ratings? Well, now it wants to know what’s in your fridge.

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

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

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

7. Stop Overpaying for Monthly Bills

A man and woman sit on a bedroom floor together. A laptop sits on her lap, while he lays on a pillow holding up paperwork.

On the phone with your cell phone or internet provider, trying to haggle a lower monthly bill?

Go ahead and hang up. (We know you’re probably listening to crappy music while sitting on hold, anyway.)

Download TrueBill, an app that’ll negotiate your bills, cancel unwanted subscriptions and refund your bank fees.

After downloading the app, create an account and link your bank account and/or credit cards. Turn on the bill negotiation and outage protection features. Boom. TrueBill is already searching for potential refunds — it might get you a refund even when you didn’t know an outage occurred.

On average, Truebill customers get $ 12 in credits off their cable bills each month.

The app will also remind you of all those sneaky subscriptions you’ve signed up for through the years, so you can cancel what you don’t use and reclaim your monthly budget.

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

8. Earn Money Every Time You Swipe Your Credit Card

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

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

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

There’s no annual fee, and the cash-back rewards don’t expire. We checked Credible’s annual rewards calculator, and it estimates $ 417 in annual rewards based on our spending habits.* (You can enter your unique spending habits and see what you’d earn, too.)

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

9. Save Money Mindlessly

String tired around finge

Saving money is tough. So what if you could do it in a way where you wouldn’t even notice?

Digit makes that possible.

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

Additionally, savers will receive a 1% bonus every three months.

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

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

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

10. Earn Cash Back for That 3rd Bottle of Wine (and for the Shoes You Ordered After Drinking It)

Little boy saving coin in a money jar

Look, it’s been a long week, and you just want to unwind with a glass of wine. Or three. We can’t promise the clerk won’t give you some side eye after your third such shopping trip — but you can have the last laugh.

Two of our favorite apps will actually get you cash back when you buy booze — and other stuff you might need on a week like this…

  • Ibotta will pay you cash for taking pictures of your grocery store receipts. Before heading to the store, search for items on your shopping list within the Ibotta app. When you get home, snap a photo of your receipt and scan the items’ barcodes. It’s free to download, and you’ll get a $ 10 sign-up bonus after uploading your first receipt.
  • Ebates is a cash-back site that rewards you nearly every time you buy something online. For example, Ebates gives you 10% cash-back on online purchases at Walmart. Plus, you’ll get a free $ 10 gift card to Walmart for giving the site a try.

11. Play the Slots — and Bank $ 5 for Your Savings Account

woman using phone

Are you more of the “sit at home and play video games” type of person but you’re making yourself read this because you’re determined to get this adulting thing down?

The folks who created Long Game have you covered with a game that’s fun and helps you achieve your financial goals.  

As you save and accomplish missions you’ll earn coins to play mini games for cash prizes! We’re talking the classics, like slot machines, scratch-offs and spin-to-win wheels.

Penny Hoarder Carson Kohler uses Long Game to save money. Every two weeks, it sneaks $ 5 out of her bank account and rewards her with coins.

In two months, she’s saved $ 35.70, just by playing games on her phone. Plus, her winnings amount to a gain of about 2% — way higher than interest on any other savings account she has.

Once you link your bank account, you’ll earn 300 coins, so you can start playing while you wait for payday. 

12. Invest Like a Woman

Businesswomen looking at fabric samples on presentation board.

Traditional investing companies have never really considered the fact that women statistically get paid less, yet live longer. That’s why Sallie Krawcheck, a former Wall Street CEO and an adamant proponent of women’s financial power, founded Ellevest.

It’s an investing platform designed for women, by women and in support of other women. It uses a unique algorithm designed to help you better plan for the future.

Once you sign up for free, Ellevest will issue you a free personalized investment plan. Plus, if you sign up before Dec. 31 through The Penny Hoarder, you’ll get a $ 25 bonus in your Ellevest account.*

Ellevest’s “digital” plan is designed to be accessible. There’s no minimum balance, and you’ll pay an annual fee of 0.25% of your assets under management to Ellevest. For context, that’s $ 25 on a $ 10,000 account.

It’ll make you feel good about your future — and not so judged.

13. Manage Your Credit Card Payments in One Place

women hands getting cash in a bank teller

Carrying more than one credit card balance can feel a bit like herding cats. Just when you think you have one under control, you realize you’ve let a different one slip away.

High interest rates and late fees can make it feel like you’ll never get those bills under control.

That’s where Tally comes in. It’s a simple app that lets you store and manage your credit card payments in one place, optimizing the amounts and times.

Simply download the app, scan in your credit cards, and if you qualify (with a minimum credit score of around 675), Tally will give you a line of credit with an interest rate between 7.9% and 19.9%* and use the lower interest rate to make managing your payments easy.

No more missed payments. Lower interest rates. All in one place. And don’t worry, Tally uses bank-level security, so your information is safe.

Tally is currently available in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

*Your APR (which is the same as your interest rate) will depend on your credit history and varies with the market based on Prime Rate. Accurate as of July 2018.

*The Ellevest The Penny Hoarder promotional offer is valid from July 25, 2018 to December 31, 2018 for the first 1,000 new clients of Ellevest who enter through this designated landing page. Clients who enroll and fund their non-retirement account will receive $ 25 added to their highest priority goal in their Ellevest account. Clients who enroll and fund their retirement account will receive a $ 25 Amazon gift card which can be redeemed by visiting www.amazon.com. Please review Amazon.com Gift Card Terms and Conditions prior to redemption. Ellevest is not responsible for lost Amazon Gift Cards. Ellevest’s processing time for depositing $ 25 into a client’s Ellevest account or delivery of a $ 25 Amazon gift card may be up to 60 days.

**Annual Rewards amounts will change based on the amounts you enter. The monthly spending category names and definitions may vary among issuers, and categories may not align one-to-one.

Carson Kohler (carson@thepennyhoarder.com) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s a big fan of gentle reminders.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nope? Then sell it.

Where to Sell Used Clothes

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

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

Uptown Cheapskate

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

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

Buffalo Exchange

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

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

Clothes Mentor

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

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

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

Plato’s Closet

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

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

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

Style Encore

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

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

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

Once Upon a Child

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

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

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

Local Consignment Shops

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

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

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

How to Get the Most Cash From Your Clothes

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

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

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

Clean and Fold Your Clothes

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

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

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

Use a Nice Basket or Hamper to Carry Your Clothes

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

Trash, right? Not clothes.

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

Check for Damage or Pit Stains

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

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

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

Sell Your Clothes Often

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

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

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

Adam Hardy is a staff writer on the Make Money team at The Penny Hoarder. He believes in the life-changing magic of selling all most of your things. Read his full bio here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.

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

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

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If You Fall in One of These 4 Categories, You Should Buy Postage Now

Every time I mention I need to buy stamps, someone always scoffs, “Who uses stamps anymore?”

But every time I go to the post office, I end up in a line six or eight deep.

Mailing stuff is still big business. But it’s about to get a little more expensive.

This month, prices are going up from 50 cents to 55 cents cents per stamp.

Penny Hoarders know what this change means: The best time to buy postage is right now.

Why You Should Buy Stamps This Week

Unless you’re looking for a special edition postage stamp, most stamps are now labeled “Forever” instead of with a monetary value; you can use them regardless of the fluctuating price of stamps.

On Sunday, Jan. 27, the price for those Forever stamps will increase 5 cents. Here are the mailing price changes you need to know:

  • Letters (1 oz.): 50 cents to 55 cents
  • Letters (metered 1 oz.): 47 cents to 50 cents
  • Small Priority flat-rate box: $ 7.20 to $ 7.90
  • Medium Priority flat-rate box: $ 13.65 to $ 14.35
  • Large Priority flat-rate box: $ 18.90 to $ 19.95
  • Large APO/FPO flat-rate box: $ 17.40 to $ 18.45
  • Regular flat-rate Priority envelope: $ 6.70 to $ 7.35
  • Legal flat-rate Priority envelope: $ 7.00 to $ 7.65
  • Padded flat-rate Priority envelope: $ 7.25 to $ 8.00

If you fall into one of these categories, you should probably get in line to buy stamps or Priority postage right now:

1.You Actually Send Letters

If you buy a book of 20 stamps this week, you’ll pay $ 10. Next week, a book of stamps will cost $ 11. Five cents per stamp doesn’t seem like much, but think about how many letters you mail in an average year. If it’s more than 20 — people who still pay rent by mail, sing it with me — it’s worth stocking up now and saving a buck per book.

2. You Sell on Etsy, eBay or Another Online Platform

If you sell anything online, you’ll probably see a small increase in the cost of mailing each package. A cent here or there? No big deal. But over the course of a year, the increase can mean hundreds in additional business costs.

Make plans now to adjust your prices to account for the postage increase. Then, buy whatever supplies you can before the price goes up on stamps or Priority flat-rate postage.

3. You’re Getting Married

There is a little good news — at least for those hearing wedding bells: The single-piece additional ounce price will be reduced from 21 cents to 15 cents. So a 2-ounce stamped letter, such as a typical wedding invitation, will cost less to mail, decreasing from 71 cents to 70 cents.

But you’re probably putting stamps on the invitation-response cards. And the save-the-dates. And all those thank-you cards you’re totally going to write within three months of the wedding.

I’m not saying you have to send all those items to have a fun wedding celebration. I’m just saying that if you plan to mail any of them, you’re about to pay a bit more.

4. You Want to Make Some Extra Cash

Did you know you can buy and sell unused postage stamps on eBay? Buy a bunch at 50 cents each now and sell them later as the price continues to increase. Bonus tip: Don’t just buy whatever stamp the guy behind the counter offers you. Ask for the cool stamps that collectors or letter-writing fanatics might be looking for later. Your profits may be small, but a small profit is way better than no profit.

What’s Up With All the Price Changes on Stamps? They’re Just Stamps

The price changes are actually more calculated than you might think.

In 2014, the U.S. Postal Service got permission to raise stamp prices by 3 cents (from 46 cents to 49 cents) for a two-year period. The hike was essentially a fundraiser for the Postal Service, which doesn’t receive any government funding — thus you still receive your mail during a government shutdown. Instead, it makes all its money off us mailing things.

Stamp prices are typically tied to the rate of inflation, so when the two-year special increase expired in spring of 2016, stamp prices dropped back to 47 cents — which was in accordance with the inflation rate.

This month’s increase is just another turn in the inflation game.

Lisa Rowan is a senior writer and on-air journalist at The Penny Hoarder.

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

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

The Penny Hoarder

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Check Out All These Bright, Bold, And Beautiful Looks From The Red Carpet At The 2019 SAG Awards

25th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards - Arrivals

Source: Gregg DeGuire / Getty

Red carpet season is in full effect and the 2019 Screen Actors Guild Awards and the red carpet was surprisingly refreshing! Beautiful feathered gowns and interesting accessories brought delight to what, frankly, has been a bore of a season. Celebrities came out dressed in bolder looks or feminine frocks showing of beauty, hair, and the uniqueness of our Blackness. This is a gallery worth clicking through. Share with us your favorite looks at the end!

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Celebrate the Long-Awaited Weekend With These 91 Online Sales

Congrats on making it through another week! We honestly deserve a medal for making it to Friday, but a very full glass of rosé and some retail therapy will do. So start pouring and treat yourself to the 91 online sales below. Happy hunting!  Abercrombie & Fitch: Up to 70% off sale; extra …

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These destinations are straight out of fairytales

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Many of us grew up reading fairytale stories, but never believed we could actually visit many of the places in those stories. Little did we know, there are plenty of places in the world that look like they have come straight from a fairytale – these are just some of them.

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park – China

Movie fans might want to take a trip to China if they want to see what the world of Avatar looks like in real life. That’s because it’s said that James Cameron used the landscape as inspiration for his world, Pandora. Amazingly, this is not only China’s first national park but is also the home to the 3,540-foot tower named Avatar Hallelujah Mountain.

Bagan – Myanmar

The area of Bagan is filled with temples that look as though they have been plucked straight out of a fairytale and scattered throughout the land. The mist often surrounding the buildings only adds to the intrigue of this mystical place. The best bit? There are so many ways to explore Bagan including hiking around the area or taking a hot air balloon trip.

Hoh Rainforest – U.S.A.

Believe it or not, but tucked away in Washington is one of the best surviving rainforests of the country. In fact, the Hoh Rainforest can see anywhere between 140 and 170 inches of rain each year. There are two trails that wind within the trees, and some visitors may even be lucky enough to see a group of elk grazing amongst the fairytale landscape.

The Giant’s Causeway – Northern Ireland

This area of coastline would be right at home in a story thanks to the hexagonal rocks that lie tucked next to each other between the land and the sea. Volcanic activity from thousands of years ago is the reason behind the formations, and now creates one of the most beautiful sights in the land. Folklore states the columns were formed none other than the giant, Finn MacCool.

Vaadhoo Island – Maldives

Of course, many of us have seen the picturesque landscape that is the Maldives, but it’s the Sea of Stars found off the coast of Vaadhoo Island that makes it even more breathtaking. The bioluminescent marine plankton emits a glowing light whenever they are disturbed and create a show that almost looks like the entire night’s sky under the sea.

The tulip fields – Holland

Team miles of colorful tulips with fairytale windmills all across the country and you might just find yourself wondering if you could still be on planet Earth. As if that wasn’t enough, Holland is known for its love of bicycles and trams which can be a far cry from the loud engines of cars that many of us are used to around the rest of the world.

We never knew there were so many breathtaking places all around the world. In fact, you might have to pinch yourself if you need a reminder that you’re still on Earth and haven’t been transported to a fairytale destination straight out of the storybooks. Perhaps it’s time to start exploring all these magical lands?

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The post These destinations are straight out of fairytales appeared first on Worldation.

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Artificial intelligence is coming for these types of jobs

Robots aren’t replacing everyone, but a quarter of US jobs will be severely disrupted as artificial intelligence accelerates the automation of existing work, according to a new Brookings Institution report. Thursday’s report from the Washington think tank says roughly 36 million Americans hold jobs with “high exposure” to automation — meaning at least 70 percent…
Technology News & Reviews | New York Post

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50 days. Check out these brand new character posters, and see…

50 days. Check out these brand new character posters, and see Marvel Studios’ “Captain Marvel” in theaters March 8th! Get tickets now: www.fandango.com/CaptainMarvel

Marvel Entertainment

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Find your favorite Toy Story toys, apparel, , collectibles and more in the Toy Story Character Shops at the online Disney Store.

Someone forgot to tell Philips Hue to end all these Cyber Week deals on Amazon

Philips Hue Sale On Amazon

Oops! Black Friday and Cyber Week are long gone but no one told Philips Hue that, because the company is still offering all sorts of great deals on Amazon. Some pricing is the same as Cyber Week and some is a bit higher, but you can still save a bunch of money on several of Philips Hue’s most popular smart lighting products. Examples of some of the deals include $ 7 off Philips Hue Single Premium Multicolor A19 Smart Bulbs, $ 10 off the insanely popular Philips Hue LED LightStrip Plus, and $ 7 off the Philips Hue Go portable smart lamp. Check out all the deals bellow.

Philips Hue Single Premium Smart Bulb

  • VOICE ACTIVATED: The Philips Hue White and Color A19 Light Bulb works with Alexa for voice control (smart hub required , Alexa device and hub sold separately). For the full Hue experience and to take advantage of voice activation purchase the Philips Hue Hub (Model: 458471). Search “Philips Hue Hub” or “B016H0QZ7I” to find this product on Amazon.
  • LIMITLESS POSSIBILITIES: Choose from 16 million colors to instantly change the look and atmosphere of your room or control you smart lights with your voice device. Requiring the Philips Hue Hub (sold separately) for the full Hue experience.
  • TAKE CONTROL: Control your Philips Hue color lights with your voice using Alexa, Apple HomeKit, or Google Assistant. Pair it for home automation with your existing Nest or Samsung SmartThings system.
  • EASY INSTALLATION: To install, simply screw in the smart bulbs into your desired light location, download the Hue mobile app and pair your Hue hub. Control smart-bulb-equipped lamps and overhead hue lights via the Philips Hue App. Ideal for your favorite ceiling fan lights, floor lamps, table lamps, pendant lights, and more throughout your smart home.
  • EXPAND YOUR SMART HOME: Easily expand your lighting system with smart accessories (sold separately), such as a Hue Dimmer Switch, Hue Tap, or Hue Motion Sensor.

Philips Hue Single Premium Smart Bulb, 16 million colors, for most lamps & overhead lights, Hub…: $ 43.04

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance LightStrip Plus

  • MAXIMUM COMPATIBILITY: Pair your Hue smart bulbs with any voice or Smart Home assistant. Works with Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Homekit, Microsoft Cortana, SmartThings, IFTT. Hub required, Alexa device and hub sold separately). For the full Hue experience and to take advantage of voice activation purchase the Philips Hue Hub.. Search “Philips Hue Hub” to find this product on Amazon.
  • HASSLE-FREE CONNECTIVITY: Smart Lights that won’t clog up your Wi-Fi network. Control up to 50 Hue lights on one Hue Hub without adding a Wi-Fi extender or extra router
  • HOW TO USE: Install the flexible 80-inch LightStrip under bars, bed frames, or cabinets, with included adhesive tape. Trim it to the perfect size with the included cut marks. Extend your Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus up to 33 feet by adding the 40 inch Hue Lightstrip Extension to cover larger surfaces and enable wider applications”
  • ULTIMATE ENTERTAINMENT EXPERIENCE: Sync your Hue lights with Gaming, Music and Movies using your PC via the Hue Sync app
  • NEXT-LEVEL AUTOMATION: Hue is a Smart Lighting system that remembers your light routines and timers, even when your Wi-Fi goes down
  • CONTROL LIGHTING FROM ANYWHERE: Take your Smart Light control using your mobile device with you when you travel. Control lights, edit routines and set timers even when you’re away from home
  • INDUSTRY STANDARD: Philips Hue is the only smart lighting product with Energy Star certification and its smart light bulbs last up to 22 years.
  • LIMITLESS POSSIBILITIES: Philips Hue works with the most Voice Assistant and Premium smart home brands. Connect your Hue lights with Nest, Logitech, Razer Gaming, and Xfinity (download for free on Meethue.com)

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance LightStrip Plus Dimmable LED Smart Light (Compatible with…: $ 79.95

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance E12 Decorative Candle

  • VOICE CONTROL: The Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Smart Bulb Candle works with Alexa for voice control (Philips Hue Hub required, Alexa smart device and hue hub sold separately). For the full Hue experience and to take advantage of voice activation purchase the Philips Hue Hub (Model: 458471). Search “Philips Hue Hub” or “B016H0QZ7I” to find this product on Amazon.
  • SCHEDULE YOUR OWN CUSTOM LIGHTING SCENES: With wireless control on your smartphone or tablet, choose the perfect smart light setting for any mood or activity such as reading or relaxing, concentrating, or energizing. This is the perfect way to personalize your smart home.
  • MAXIMUM FLEXIBILITY: Requiring the Philips Hue Hub (sold separately) for the full hue smart lighting experience, this E12 LED smart light is designed to fit candelabra lamps in nightlights, chandeliers, and more.
  • EASY INSTALLATIN: Install the smart light as you would install an ordinary bulb, pairing it with the Philips Hue Hub. Install your Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Candle easily into your smart home.
  • EXPAND YOUR ECOSYSTEM: Easily expand your smart lighting system with Hue accessories (sold separately), such as a Hue Dimmer Switch, Hue Tap, or Hue Motion Sensor. Pair it for home automation with your existing smart home devices like Nest or SmartThings system.

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance E12 Decorative Candle 6W Equivalent Dimmable LED Smart Bul…: $ 45.99

Philips Hue Go White and Color Portable Dimmable LED Smart Light Table Lamp

  • VOICE CONTROL: The Philips Hue Go White and Color Portable Smart Light Table Lamp works with Alexa smart home devices for voice control (hue hub required, Alexa smart device and hub sold separately). For the full Hue experience and to take advantage of voice activation purchase the Philips Hue Hub (Model: 458471). Search “Philips Hue Hub” or “B016H0QZ7I” to find this product on Amazon.
  • LIMITLESS POSSIBILITIES: The wireless, portable and rechargeable Hue Go lasts up to 3 hours without needing a charge. Control through the Hue home automation system or via the on-product button. Customize your own personal light show on the go, capable of 16 million colors and shades of white light.
  • EASY AND CONVENIENT: Control your Philips Hue Go even without your smart device at hand. Activate smart light settings directly by pressing the button on the product. Or connect with the Hue Hub (sold separately) to control with the Philips Hue App.
  • EXPAND YOUR ECOSYSTEM: Expand your smart lighting system with Hue accessories (sold separately) such as a Hue Dimmer switch, Hue Tap, or Hue Motion Sensor.
  • SMART HOME DEVICE COMPATIBILIITY: Control your Philips Hue lights with your voice using smart home devices like Alexa, Apple HomeKit, or Google Assistant. Pair it for home automation with your existing Nest or Samsung SmartThings system.

Philips Hue Go White and Color Portable Dimmable LED Smart
Light Table Lamp (Compatible with Am…
: $ 72.99

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 60W Equivalent LED Smart Bulb Starter Kit

  • VOICE ACTIVATED: The Philips Hue White and Color Starter Kit works with Alexa for voice control (smart hub required and included, Alexa device sold separately).
  • LIMITLESS POSSIBILITIES: Choose from 16 million colors and shades of white to turn your everyday smart lighting into an extraordinary experience. Hue color lights are controlled remotely with your smartphone or tablet, create custom scenes and unleash your creativity.
  • TAKE CONTROL: Voice control for your smart home: Control your Philips Hue lights with your voice using Alexa, Apple HomeKit, or Google Assistant. Pair it for home automation with your existing Nest or Samsung SmartThings system.
  • LASTS A LIFETIME: 25000 hours of life. To install, simply screw in the smart bulbs into your desired light location, download the Hue mobile app and pair your Hue hub. Control smart-bulb-equipped lamps and overhead hue lights via the Philips Hue App. Ideal for your favorite ceiling fan lights, floor lamps, table lamps, pendant lights, and more throughout your smart home.
  • EXPAND YOUR SMART HOME: Easily expand your smart lighting system with accessories (sold separately), such as a Hue Dimmer Switch, Hue Tap, or Hue Motion Sensor.

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 60W Equivalent LED Smart Bulb Starter Kit (4 A19 Bulbs…: $ 171.77

BGR Top Deals:

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Someone forgot to tell Philips Hue to end all these Cyber Week deals on Amazon originally appeared on BGR.com on Wed, 23 Jan 2019 at 10:52:33 EDT. Please see our terms for use of fe