Internet http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/176/all en-US Flashback Friday: 34 Smart Ways to Improve Your Social Media Presence http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-34-smart-ways-to-improve-your-social-media-presence <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/flashback-friday-34-smart-ways-to-improve-your-social-media-presence" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_happy_phone_519863698.jpg" alt="Woman finding smart ways to improve social media presence" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Having a social media presence used to be optional, and only for the digital journalism world. But now, having a decent following seems like a requirement if you want to run a business, successfully share your art, and engage with others in your industry. Here's how to improve your social media presence.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/iStock_000033755744_Large.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-surprising-ways-social-media-stars-make-money?ref=fbf">5 Surprising Ways Social Media Stars Make Money</a> &mdash; Start by learning from the masters. Being a social media &quot;star&quot; is a thing, and they are making more money than most of us. Here are some of their best tricks.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-clean-up-your-image-on-social-media?ref=fbf">7 Easy Ways to Clean Up Your Image on Social Media</a> &mdash; Maybe you spent the first few years on Facebook posting keg party photos and trolling celebrities. Yeah, that's not a good look. If you need to do some cleanup, follow these easy steps.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/000071173689.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-stop-doing-on-social-media-by-30?ref=fbf">10 Things to Stop Doing on Social Media by 30</a> &mdash; Those bad social media habits need to be left behind, because tweets and photos don't always disappear, even after you delete them. Employers, family members, and potential romantic partners can see what you're doing, so you might want to act accordingly.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-finances-using-social-media?ref=fbf">How to Improve Your Finances Using Social Media</a> &mdash; Once your social media posts are nice and tidy, use this guide to start bringing in some money on the side. Because once you start gaining a following, it's actually pretty easy!</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/iStock_73433583_MEDIUM.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-earn-extra-income-with-twitter?ref=fbf">How to Earn Extra Income With Twitter</a> &mdash; Twitter is a great place to connect with people and brands directly. You can also use your account to make some extra money with sponsored tweets and other branded content.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jumpstart-your-job-search-with-instagram?ref=fbf">Jumpstart Your Job Search With Instagram</a> &mdash; Social media platforms can also aid you in your job search. Curate your feed and you might hashtag your way into a new gig!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-34-smart-ways-to-improve-your-social-media-presence">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-social-media-can-save-you-money">6 Ways Social Media Can Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-social-media-stars-who-earn-way-more-than-you">5 Social Media Stars Who Earn Way More Than You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-surprising-ways-social-media-stars-make-money">5 Surprising Ways Social Media Stars Make Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/social-media-and-identity-theft-in-2010">Social Media and Identity Theft in 2010</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/social-media-an-easy-source-of-coupons">Social Media: An Easy Source of Coupons</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development Technology Facebook fbf flashback friday instagram Internet internet presence LinkedIn snapchat social media social media tips twitter Fri, 14 Apr 2017 08:30:08 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1927497 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Avoid a "Sweetheart Scam" http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-a-sweetheart-scam <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-avoid-a-sweetheart-scam" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-476845526.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to avoid a sweetheart scam" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The &quot;Sweetheart Scam&quot; is nothing new, but the internet and dating sites have made it much easier to pull off. Scammers scour online profiles and use their charm to convince the victim that it's love at first sight. Before they know it, they're handing over all their money and valuables. Then, the scammer moves on.</p> <p>The FBI reports that <a href="https://www.fbi.gov/audio-repository/news-podcasts-inside-sweetheart-scams.mp3/view" target="_blank">losses from sweetheart or dating scams</a> have doubled in the past 10 years to between $15,000 and $20,000 per victim.</p> <p>It's a horrible crime. But, you can use these tips to avoid it, or stop someone you know from getting taken in by this heinous con.</p> <h2>1. Try not to get involved with anyone right after a relationship</h2> <p>Be wary about getting involved with someone else soon after an ended relationship. The sweetheart scam preys especially on those who are divorced, widowed, or recently single.</p> <p>At this time, you're at your most vulnerable. You're emotionally unstable, and you may be craving the attention of a new partner. You are more likely to be open to suggestion. Scammers are superb at reading your emotional state and manipulating you. So, be aware of anyone who approaches you soon after a break up of any kind, and if money comes up, walk away.</p> <h2>2. Don't give money or valuables to anyone</h2> <p>You could have met the nicest person in the world. They seem kind and honest. They are charming. They tell you everything you want to hear. But, pretty soon after laying this groundwork, the requests come in for money and valuables.</p> <p>They're small at first. They may ask for a few bucks to help cover a phone bill until payday, and they promise to pay you back. However, the requests will only get bigger as they gain your trust. Before you know it, you're handing over hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars to someone because you genuinely think they love you. All they love is your cash. Once they have bled you dry, they'll move on. Don't give anyone money until you have a long, proven relationship, and know everything about them.</p> <h2>3. Research your new sweetheart<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Never take anyone at face value. The internet has given scammers an incredible resource. They can find images of people they want to look like, create fake websites, steal personal videos, and even create hundreds of phony friends.</p> <p>Even if everything is going great, do some digging. It doesn't hurt to do a background check; they're inexpensive and can give you a great deal of information. If you discover they have horrible credit and a history of bad debts and dubious deals, you may want to ask them about it. Do a reverse image search on their photos. Are they who they say they are? Are they insanely good looking? Check phone numbers. Check places like LinkedIn and Google+ to see if the information they have told you checks out. It never hurts to be too careful. If they're too good to be true, they probably are.</p> <h2>4. Talking on the phone isn't enough</h2> <p>There's nothing wrong with beginning a long-distance relationship, and for thousands of people every year, it works. But scammers love to operate over phones and emails. They'll refuse to show their real face, or meet in person. You've probably seen Catfish, the MTV show, and know how this goes. Fake photos, fake Facebook and Twitter profiles, sometimes even phony voices. Although seeing someone's face over a video call like Skype won't automatically protect you from a scam, it's a step in the right direction.</p> <p>If you get resistance, and a bunch of excuses, block this person. There is no reason someone cannot video chat in this day and age. Technology is dirt cheap, and even libraries have computers with webcams.</p> <h2>5. Find a safe place to meet and talk</h2> <p>If you want to avoid a sweetheart scam, meeting someone in person is essential. You'll get a much better impression of them face to face. So if you've reached the point where you're ready to meet, do it in a safe place. That is not your home, and it's definitely not their home.</p> <p>You are looking for a place that is well known to you, is occupied by people and/or staff, and has an easy way for you to leave. A public park is fine if it's during the day and plenty of people are around. But your best bet is usually a busy coffee shop or restaurant. These days, many bars and restaurants are staffed with people who know about the dangers of meeting people online. They may have notices posted in the bathrooms, providing code words that you can use to get you out of the situation.</p> <h2>6. Be wary of an early &quot;I love you&quot;</h2> <p>Do lightning-fast romances happen? Of course. Are two people meant to be together, and feel it the second they meet? Yes, sometimes. But the vast majority of people fall in love over time. You get to know the person intimately. You find out their flaws, and love them for every single one. You meet their family and friends. It's a process. If someone you meet blurts this out after a week or two, alarm bells should be ringing.</p> <h2>7. How's their grammar?</h2> <p>Many sweetheart scams originate in places like Nigeria, where English is a second language. Although technology like Google Translate helps to disguise this, you should pick up on mistakes that feel weird. This is not to say you should become a grammar Nazi, but if the texts and emails you get are worded in an odd way, with spelling errors most people wouldn't make, you may want to do some digging. Of course, talking on the phone, video chatting, and meeting in person would easily clear up this particular point of contention.</p> <h2>8. Listen to your friends and family</h2> <p>There's an expression that directly applies to sweetheart scams; you can't see the forest for the trees. When you become involved with someone, the heart rules the head for a while. You can get caught up in the other person so much, you don't see the obvious; that they're taking you for a ride.</p> <p>So, during this time, listen to your friends and family. At first, they may just give you subtle hints. But as you begin handing over money, they will usually raise the red flags and tell you to get out of the relationship. Don't ignore them. If they suspect your new love is not all he or she appears to be, take a step back. Do the research. They may be wrong, but if enough of them raise concerns, you should be worried.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-a-sweetheart-scam">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-yourself-from-predatory-lending">How to Protect Yourself From Predatory Lending</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-the-nasty-secret-of-the-craigslist-free-section">Beware, The Nasty Secret Of The Craigslist Free Section</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-sopa-and-how-will-it-affect-you-0">What Is SOPA, and How Will It Affect You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-making-these-8-risky-password-mistakes">Stop Making These 8 Risky Password Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-surprising-ways-your-identity-can-be-stolen">18 Surprising Ways Your Identity Can Be Stolen</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Technology con artists Internet manipulation online dating online relationships sweetheart scams theft warning signs Wed, 05 Apr 2017 08:30:12 +0000 Paul Michael 1921002 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Surprising Perks (and Some Drawbacks) of Paperless Billing http://www.wisebread.com/9-surprising-perks-and-some-drawbacks-of-paperless-billing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-surprising-perks-and-some-drawbacks-of-paperless-billing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-546178094.jpg" alt="Woman learning perks and drawbacks of paperless billing" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Back in 2001, paperless billing was still in its infancy, and I was a recent college graduate who was just getting started in the adult world. At the time, my car insurance provider offered me a discount if I signed up for online billing. The discount helped me overcome my reluctance to give up my paper statements and beloved check writing routine.</p> <p>The world of paperless billing has evolved a great deal since the first year of the new Millennium. Here are the pros and cons of using paperless billing today, and some suggestions for making sure the benefits always outweigh the costs.</p> <h2>1. Pro: Paperless Billing Is Better for the Environment</h2> <p>Switching from paper to online statements doesn't just save stamps, it's also an important way to help the environment. According to PayItGreen studies from 2010, if just 20% of American households switched from all-paper to <a href="http://www.lawconferencing.com/about/payitgreen.php" target="_blank">all-digital billing</a>, statements, and payments, the collective impact would be enormous. Such changes would include:</p> <ul> <li>Save 150,939,615 pounds of paper</li> <li>Save 1,811,275 trees</li> <li>Avoid producing almost two million tons of greenhouse gases</li> <li>Avoid creating more than a billion gallons of wastewater in the paper production process</li> <li>Avoid using over 100 million gallons of gas to mail payments</li> </ul> <h2>2. Pro: Companies Will Offer Incentives to Go Paperless</h2> <p>Since companies spend less on paper, stamps, and sorting when they do all billing and payment online, it can make a big difference in their bottom line to get as many customers on paperless billing as possible. They often will sweeten the suggestion to go paperless by offering customers some sort of incentive to switch over. In some cases, like my auto insurer back in 2001, you can expect a small discount. Other incentives might include a statement credit, a gift card, or even the opportunity to win a prize.</p> <h2>3. Pro: Paperless Billing Helps You Declutter</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clear-out-financial-clutter?ref=internal" target="_blank">Paper clutter</a> often seems to have a life of its own. Switching to paperless billing means you'll never misplace a bill in a pile of junk mail, nor will you ever accidentally shred or recycle an unpaid bill because it decided to hide in the pile of credit card solicitations on your desk.</p> <h2>4. Pro: You'll Be Better Protected From Identity Theft</h2> <p>It may offer the illusion of security to hold a paper bill in your hand, but that's not always the case. It's a piece of cake for mail thieves and dumpster divers to glean sensitive account information off a stolen bill they pinched from your mailbox or garbage. By the time you realize your identity has been compromised, you may have a real headache to deal with, and some financial damage to undo.</p> <p>Your emailed paperless statements will never show your full credit card or bank account information. Even if a scammer hacks their way into your inbox, they'd still have to hack their way into your bill provider's online account to access sensitive information. Prevent this by using a strong password that includes multiple characters as well as upper and lowercase letters.</p> <h2>5. Pro: Access Your Statements From Anywhere</h2> <p>If you receive a paperless bill, it doesn't matter where you are &mdash; if you have access to the Internet, you have access to your statement. If you're out of town for work or vacation, you won't have to worry about what vulnerable information is left sitting in the mailbox while you're away.</p> <h2>6. Con: Forgetting to Pay a Paperless Bill</h2> <p>When you ignore your snail mail, it tends to pile up, making it harder to forget that there may be something important in there. Email, on the other hand, is eminently easy to ignore &mdash; so your paperless utility bill can very easily go unnoticed.</p> <p>Similarly, even if you do stay on top of both your paper mail and email, you may not be ready to pay your bill the moment it arrives. If that's the case with a paper statement, you can always set the bill somewhere that you'll see it, to remind yourself to pay it at another time. It is much more difficult to flag your email to remind you to pay the bill, which means you may forget until after you've missed the due date.</p> <h3>The Fix: A Dedicated Email Account and Calendar Reminders</h3> <p>Create a dedicated email account just for all of your bills, and plan on checking this email regularly. In addition, create reminders in your calendar to prompt you to check your dedicated email account so you never miss a payment.</p> <h2>7. Con: Lost Passwords</h2> <p>Passwords are an important part of online security, but the fact that pretty much everything you do online must be password-protected means that the odds are stacked against you for remembering all of your passwords. Many people get around that problem by using the same password for everything &mdash; which can seriously compromise your security if any of the accounts you use gets hacked.</p> <p>Companies that offer paperless billing often require even more security from your password, such as needing a special character, a number, and a capital letter. This is understandable, but it makes it even more difficult for the average person to remember their password &mdash; and multiple incorrect guesses can sometimes get you locked out of the site.</p> <h3>The Fix: Create a Password Based on a Sentence</h3> <p>The secret to secure but memorable passwords is to start with a sentence that means something to you. For instance: &quot;I am waiting for the reincarnation of Elvis.&quot;</p> <p>Then substitute letters, numbers, and symbols for each of the words: I@w4troE</p> <p>With that as your base password, you could tailor it to each site so that you can still remember your passwords, but each site's password is slightly different. For instance, you might add letters and numbers that represent the site to the end of your base password.</p> <p>For Capital One 360, your password would become: I@w4troECO360</p> <p>Just jot down the original sentence somewhere you can find it. It will remind you of your password, and mean nothing to anyone else.</p> <h2>8. Con: Forgetting to Update Account Information</h2> <p>If you moved, you'd have to let your bill providers know and inform them of your new home address. Well, the same is true for your email when you receive paperless statements.</p> <p>Maybe you're about to lose access to a work or school email that was tied to your billing account, or you're about to shut down an old email that got swamped by hackers. If you forget to update this change in your online billing account settings, you could end up losing access altogether.</p> <h2>9. Con: Overdrafts From Automatic Payments</h2> <p>Many people who set up paperless billing also make the leap to automatic online payments. For anyone whose income is variable, or anyone who lives paycheck to paycheck, automatic bill payments can cause major headaches if you have insufficient funds in your account on the day that your payment is debited. This makes for something of a Catch-22, since many people in such a situation need the discount that an automatic payment provides, but the automation puts them in danger of overdraft every month.</p> <h3>The Fix: Ask for a Change of Payment Date</h3> <p>Most companies will allow their customers to request a specific payment date, particularly if they are using auto-pay options. If you deal with variable income or have trouble making it from one paycheck to the next, set up your automatic payments so that they are debited on the day your paycheck clears. If you have multiple bills that are auto-debited, you can stagger them through the month to coincide with your paydays.</p> <h2>Making Paperless Billing Work for You</h2> <p>Digital billing is here to stay, but it's far from a perfect system. Knowing which of the downsides are most likely to trip you up will allow you to plan ahead for the problems while you enjoy the benefits.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-surprising-perks-and-some-drawbacks-of-paperless-billing">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-sneaky-ways-identity-thieves-can-access-your-data">3 Sneaky Ways Identity Thieves Can Access Your Data</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-financial-upgrades-you-can-make-during-breakfast">6 Simple Financial Upgrades You Can Make During Breakfast</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-finances-using-social-media">How to Improve Your Finances Using Social Media</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-making-these-8-risky-password-mistakes">Stop Making These 8 Risky Password Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-34-smart-ways-to-improve-your-social-media-presence">Flashback Friday: 34 Smart Ways to Improve Your Social Media Presence</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Technology automatic payments bill pay email Internet online statements paperless billing passwords Mon, 06 Mar 2017 11:00:09 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1900129 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Things You Can Do Online Besides Watch Cat GIFs http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-you-can-do-online-besides-watch-cat-gifs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-things-you-can-do-online-besides-watch-cat-gifs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-484720224.jpg" alt="smart ways to kill time on the computer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>On the rare occasion that you have some free time, there are a variety of productive, frugal ways to browse the Internet &mdash; other than watching an endless stream of cat videos on YouTube. By taking advantage of your free time and getting the most out of your browsing, you can improve your life and achieve your goals more quickly. You can even save time and earn money along the way. Here are a few ways to wisely use your web time.</p> <h2>1. Review Your Finances</h2> <p>Check your online statements to balance your bank accounts and credit cards. This will help ensure that your budget is on track for the month. While you're at it, you can also pay your bills and check in on your investments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tricks-to-consolidating-your-debt-and-saving-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Tricks to Consolidating Your Debt and Saving Money</a>)</p> <h2>2. Organize Your Computer</h2> <p>Organize the files on your computer so that you can be more productive at work. You can also run computer cleaners to clear away junk files, free up space, and even increase computer speed. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-computer-last-almost-forever-with-some-simple-tricks?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Make Your Computer Last (Almost) Forever With Some Simple Tricks</a>)</p> <h2>3. Take a Class</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-cheap-ways-to-increase-your-knowledge-and-earning-potential?ref=internal" target="_blank">Online classes</a> span an endless range of subjects. They can help you learn a new skill or explore a new hobby. You can even study for a certification in your field to advance your career and help you seek new employment. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-certifications-that-add-big-to-your-salary?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Certifications That Add Big to Your Salary</a>)</p> <p>Whether you want to learn something new or would like to improve your craft, anything can be accomplished with online courses. If you don't want to sign up for a course, consider finding an e-book that highlights your new skills. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-need-to-know-before-taking-online-classes?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Things You Must Know Before Taking an Online Class</a>)</p> <h2>4. Learn to Code</h2> <p>Not everybody can master coding, but if it's something that interests you, there are endless free resources to get you started. Spend some time on sites like <a href="https://www.codecademy.com/" target="_blank">Codecademy</a> during your free time if you'd like to build a website or learn to decipher code.</p> <h2>5. Learn a Language</h2> <p>Learn a new language with sites like <a href="https://www.duolingo.com" target="_blank">Duolingo</a>, which is free to use. Best of all, you'll feel like you're playing a game while you learn a new language. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-can-learn-a-new-language-just-use-one-of-these-3-apps?ref=seealso" target="_blank">You Can Learn a New Language</a>)</p> <h2>6. Learn to Speed Read</h2> <p>You can learn to speed read using free online apps like <a href="http://www.spreeder.com/" target="_blank">Spreeder</a>. This can save you time, help you read faster, and increase your productivity. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cool-jobs-for-book-lovers?ref=seealso" target="_blank">17 Cool Jobs for Book Lovers</a>)</p> <h2>7. Network</h2> <p>Spend some time fixing up your LinkedIn page and reach out to colleagues and contacts. This can improve your working relationships and help you find a new job when you need one. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-minutes-to-a-linkedin-profile-that-gets-you-hired?ref=seealso" target="_blank">30 Minutes to a LinkedIn Profile That Gets You Hired</a>)</p> <h2>8. Write</h2> <p>Whether you are interested in writing articles, have a knack for poetry, or have considered starting your own blog, use your free time online to pursue your passion for prose. Best of all, you can even make some money in the process. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them?ref=seealso" target="_blank">22 Websites That Will Pay You to Write for Them</a>)</p> <h2>9. Play Games and Watch Videos for Cash</h2> <p>While playing games on your computer might not seem productive, you can actually make money while doing so. Sites like <a href="http://swagbucks.7eer.net/c/27771/19503/799" target="_blank">Swagbucks</a> will give you points for playing games, watching videos, answering surveys, shopping online, and searching the Internet. You can later trade in your points for cash or gift cards. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-pays-more-online-surveys-or-the-gig-economy?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What Pays More: Online Surveys or the Gig Economy?</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-you-can-do-online-besides-watch-cat-gifs">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/life-without-tv">Life Without Television</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-the-nasty-secret-of-the-craigslist-free-section">Beware, The Nasty Secret Of The Craigslist Free Section</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/suze-orman-tells-us-to-pay-only-the-minimum-on-credit-cards-wait-what">Suze Orman Tells Us To Pay ONLY The Minimum On Credit Cards. Wait, What?!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-34-smart-ways-to-improve-your-social-media-presence">Flashback Friday: 34 Smart Ways to Improve Your Social Media Presence</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternatives-to-cable-tv-that-will-keep-you-entertained">8 Alternatives to Cable TV That Will Keep You Entertained</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Technology blogging coding computer computer games emails finances free time Internet online classes Thu, 19 Jan 2017 10:30:32 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1876779 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Get Rid of Your Unwanted Gifts and Make Money Too http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-to-monetize-your-unwanted-gifts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-to-monetize-your-unwanted-gifts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-502527550.jpg" alt="make money from unwanted gifts" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's already 2017, which means it's time to take inventory and clean up. Got a few unwanted or duplicate presents for the holidays? Here are five ways to make money on the gifts you don't want.</p> <h2>Sell Clothing on ThredUp</h2> <p>Need something to do with your &quot;ugly christmas sweater&quot; from the work holiday party, or the pjs that are four sizes too big? If you're saddled with some brand new clothes you don't want, resell them on ThredUp &mdash; a site dedicated to clothing recycling and reuse. Sign up and send a batch of your clothing with their provided kit, and they will send you payment based on what they deem the clothing to be worth. You can even estimate <a href="https://www.thredup.com/p/cleanout-payout-estimator" target="_blank">what you might earn</a>. Soon, you can make some scratch to spend toward that cute unicorn pj onesie you really wanted.</p> <h2>Sell Toys and Games on eBay</h2> <p>Some sites stay the same for a reason. When it comes to toys, games, and other collectibles, you just can't beat eBay. It's where folks looking for a specific item are shopping. If you're stuck with a gigantic Power Rangers toy your kids don't want, or a third copy of <em>Big Bang Theory</em> Monopoly, it's easy to post them with a &quot;Buy It Now&quot; and/or an &quot;Make an Offer&quot; option. eBay even makes it easy to fill out the product form, as half the fields can be auto-filled based on the product. Take a photo and you're good to go.</p> <h2>Sell Books on Amazon Marketplace</h2> <p>Turns out everyone in your life only knows one thing about you, because everyone got you a copy of the newest <em>Peanuts</em> collection. You should definitely push off your other copies at <a href="https://services.amazon.com/selling/benefits.htm" target="_blank">Amazon Marketplace</a>. When one shops for books on Amazon, they can look at the section reading (for example), &quot;5 used and new starting at $2.46.&quot; People buy tons of books there, as you can usually get a really good deal on a used, but &quot;like new&quot; copy. Group together a crop of books you don't need, then simply sign up for an Amazon Marketplace account as an individual selling fewer than 40 items per month, so that you only have to pay 99 cents per item and a few other fees.</p> <h2>Sell Antiques and Appliances on Craigslist</h2> <p>Good old Craigslist is always there for when you need to get rid of something fairly quickly. Got some majorly heavy and space-consuming gifts from family you can't use? Post an ad for that awkward antique floor lamp, the racing bike gathering dust, or that huge pizza oven that you'll never bake with on Craigslist. It's easy and everyone knows how it works. No setting up an elaborate account, and there's minimal upkeep. The buyer comes to you to pick up the bulky item and then it's out of your life.</p> <h2>Sell Household Items on OfferUp</h2> <p>For miscellaneous presents from friends and family that you know will only gather dust, sell them while they're still new on <a href="https://offerupnow.com/howitworks/" target="_blank">OfferUp</a> for extra money. OfferUp attempts to make the Craigslist style of selling accessible and easy for the mobile phone generation. Snap a photo of the item, add details, and post. You can chat instantly with buyers within the app, which is especially helpful for those who dread getting emails and texts from random strangers on Craigslist.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-to-monetize-your-unwanted-gifts">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-gifts-that-wont-become-clutter">9 Gifts That Won&#039;t Become Clutter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-holiday-budget-anyone-can-follow">The Simple Holiday Budget Anyone Can Follow</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/regifting-a-simple-how-to-guide">Regifting: A Simple How-To Guide</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-smart-reasons-to-last-minute-holiday-shop">9 Smart Reasons to Last-Minute Holiday Shop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-on-christmas-shopping-with-this-clever-gift-card-strategy">Save on Christmas Shopping With This Clever Gift Card Strategy</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Shopping Christmas Christmas gifts exchange gifts gifts Holidays Internet presents regift regifting resale sell your stuff Fri, 06 Jan 2017 10:00:10 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1869197 at http://www.wisebread.com Going Off the Grid Is a Lot Harder Than You Think http://www.wisebread.com/going-off-the-grid-is-a-lot-harder-than-you-think <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/going-off-the-grid-is-a-lot-harder-than-you-think" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_farm_carrots_519737980.jpg" alt="Woman learning going off the grid is hard" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The term &quot;off the grid&quot; has taken on an expanded meaning of late. It used to be used in a literal fashion, to refer to disconnection from the grids supplying power, gas, water, and telephone services. Lately it's come to mean something broader: disconnecting from what whatever parts of &quot;the system&quot; seem objectionable to you.</p> <p>Some people want to disconnect from the financial system. Some people want to disconnect from the surveillance state. Some people want to disconnect from the globalized economy or industrial agriculture or consumerism. Any of these choices have both costs and benefits.</p> <p>Take a look at some of your options.</p> <h2>Off the Grid on the Low-Tech Path</h2> <p>To go fully off the grid is to become self-sufficient &mdash; to produce all the things you need for daily living. This is only sort-of possible. That is, the technology to produce everything you need to live is very low-tech indeed &mdash; pretty much everybody lived that way for the past 100,000 years &mdash; but there are two problems, one of which is insurmountable.</p> <h3>The Surmountable Problem: It's a Hard Way to Live</h3> <p>There are two historical routes along the low-tech path. The more recent is subsistence farmer.</p> <p>You can't just decide &quot;I'm going to be a subsistence farmer&quot; and expect to succeed at it. It takes capital (in the form of land and tools). It takes skills (that your grandfather may have had, but that you probably don't). And if you can acquire both of those things, it then takes long hours of year-round backbreaking work to eke out a meager existence.</p> <p>You can live at a much higher standard of living if you work for money (whether at a job or at your own small business) and then use that money to buy the things you need. Even if you don't make much money at all &mdash; part-time work at minimum wage, or whatever you can make as a freelancer at this or that &mdash; you're still going to be able to live as well as a subsistence farmer.</p> <p>Oh, the subsistence farmer will get better food. It doesn't get any fresher, more local, free-range, or organic than the stuff you grow yourself. The subsistence farmer also gets the huge satisfaction that comes from supplying your own needs with your own two hands. But if you really want to produce everything yourself, you're going to have to do without a lot.</p> <p>You have to make a lot of choices about how pure you want to be. Each thing you want to learn how to make yourself &mdash; nails, let's say &mdash; means another big investment in tools (forge, anvil) and skills, and another huge amount of work that you have to do to produce enough nails for a project. And each thing you decide not to make for yourself &mdash; cellphones, let's say &mdash; draws you into the money economy, meaning that you need to produce a surplus, so you have something to sell beyond what you need to live on.</p> <p>Although it would have been a lot easier in your grandfather's time (his parents had and could teach many of the skills that you're going to have to learn from YouTube videos), it's probably easier now than it was in the 1960s, when a lot of hippie types gave subsistence farming a serious try. At least you've got the YouTube videos.</p> <p>There is a lot of stuff out there to help, if you're serious about giving something like this a try. You might start with my review of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-the-self-sufficient-life-and-how-to-live-it">The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It</a> here on Wise Bread from a few years ago.</p> <p>Just for completeness, I should mention the even older low-tech path: The lifestyle of the hunter-gatherer.</p> <p>As a practical option, this one probably doesn't even exist. Virtually all the land that is suitable to support hunter-gatherers is more valuable for some other use, and so it has been taken for that use. (Hunter-gatherers couldn't win fights with farmers even before firearms were invented.)</p> <p>I suppose a wealthy person could buy a hunting preserve on a tract of land big enough to provide enough fish, game, and plants to support himself. If he did his hunting with primitive weapons and processed the carcasses with primitive tools (and kept to himself), he could probably get away with violating the rules on hunting seasons, fishing licenses, and the like. But it would just be a fantasy of living as a hunter-gatherer. As a landowner, he'd still be on the grid. (As a rich person, he'd no doubt be on the grid in all sorts of ways.)</p> <p>Having said all that, hunting and gathering are both useful as ways to improve whatever lifestyle choice you end up with. Anything you can take from the wild is something that you neither need to grow nor buy. I talk about that in my post <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/foraging-not-insane-useless-or-impossible">Foraging: Not Insane, Useless, or Impossible</a> and Andrea Karim has posts looking at <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hunt-fish-money-food">hunting and fishing for food</a> and at <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-food-in-your-yard-edible-weeds">gathering edible weeds</a>. (Of course those barely scratch the surface of what hunting and gathering can do to supplement your diet in modern times.)</p> <h3>The Insurmountable Problem: You're Still on the Grid</h3> <p>A farmer needs to own land, and all kinds of grid attachments come along with that. You have to pay your property taxes, so you have to earn some money, so you're probably going to have to file an income tax return as well. If you need to earn money you're probably going to have to be able to market your products, so you need a truck, which means even more money, and even more grid attachments (license, plates, safety inspections, dependence on foreign oil).</p> <p>There are other ways you can't get off the grid. The state is going to check and make sure your kids are getting a proper education. You can teach them yourself, but you need to be on-the-grid enough to do the paperwork. You need to have health insurance even if you don't want to avail yourself of modern medical care. Zoning regulations will affect how you can use your land. Federal marketing orders and agreements affect what crops you can grow, and the EPA regulates what you can do with wetlands on your property.</p> <p>Because of these issues (and a hundred more like them), I've become enamored of late by the possibility of a different sort of path to off-the-grid living.</p> <h2>Off the Grid on the High-Tech Path</h2> <p>If you accept the fact that there simply is no way to live completely off the grid &mdash; if you abandon the purity aspect of the notion &mdash; another option opens up: You can go off the grid <em>a la carte</em>, picking and choosing where connecting to the grid is worth the cost, and where disconnecting is the bigger win.</p> <p>The question you need to ask is &quot;<em>Why</em> do you want to live off the grid?&quot; If you understand the answer to that question, you can decide where to put your effort.</p> <h3>The Satisfaction of Providing for Your Own Needs</h3> <p>If this is what moves you, you can start right away. Think about what you need and start producing it.</p> <p>Food? An intensively worked suburban plot can provide a large fraction of all the food a family needs, but you can start with just a garden. If you can have chickens where you live, you can easily be <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/real-eggs">self-sufficient in eggs</a>. You can certainly raise a few rabbits and substantially augment your household meat supply.</p> <p>Clothing? Learn to sew. Learn to knit. Learn to weave. Learn to spin.</p> <p>Shelter? Look into the &quot;tiny house&quot; movement. (There are several <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-tiny-house-living-actually-save-you-money">tiny house articles</a> on Wise Bread.)</p> <p>Producing your own stuff is only sometimes cheaper than buying it, but stuff you produce yourself can also be better than what you can buy (once you get good at producing it).</p> <h3>The Safety and Security of Providing for Your Own Needs</h3> <p>One downside of &quot;the grid&quot; is that you're so terribly dependent on it. If the power goes out, you're sitting in the dark. If a backhoe takes out the wrong cable, you've got no landline (or no Internet, or no cable). If the water company starts piping in water that's contaminated with lead, you're drinking from bottles until they clean the system.</p> <p>You can replace most of these things in a grid-free fashion, although it often takes capital.</p> <p>You can put solar panels on your roof and produce your own electricity. If you live out in the country, you can drill your own well and pump up your own water. You can even set up a biodigester and produce your own methane gas (although it might be simpler to harvest the occasional tree and burn wood rather than gas).</p> <p>There's really no way to go grid-free for telephone and Internet, because the connection is the essence of the thing. But if you wanted to do it, the technical chops required to set up your own local network &mdash; one that covered your home or your neighborhood (or your walled compound) &mdash; is not beyond the capability of an ordinary person. Throw in some access points capable of establishing a meshing network and a server with ample disk space and you could offer folks very local networking that was completely independent of the larger grid, providing voice access to everyone within your local network and offering whatever you wanted to spin up on your server. (A local copy of Wikipedia wouldn't take up much room at all.)</p> <h3>The Morality of Providing for Your Own Needs</h3> <p>Things that you produce yourself can be produced in accordance with your own values.</p> <p>You can be confident that no produce from your own garden was harvested by poorly treated migrant labor. You can be confident that no garment that you sew yourself was made by slaves or prisoners. Eggs from your chickens can be cruelty-free, cage-free, free-range, and organic to exactly the extent that you choose &mdash; and will certainly be extremely local.</p> <p>Using power produced by your solar panels funds no overseas terrorist organization, drains no cash to money-center corporations, nor does it enrich the shareholders of the firms endangering our air and water with fracking, offshore drilling, or poorly maintained pipelines.</p> <p>Where morality is not implicated, you can choose to stay on the grid. I don't live in a tiny house: I live in a town house &mdash; but it's a town house owned by a cooperative that I'm a member of. In essence, I rent it from myself. It's on the grid, but it's very much in accordance with my values.</p> <p>Living large on a small budget makes it easy to live light on the planet, and that often goes hand-in-hand with high-tech, off-grid living.</p> <h3>The Flexibility of Providing for Your Own Needs</h3> <p>The technology of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/three-paths-to-being-a-digital-nomad">digital nomad</a> makes it possible to go off the grid in a very different way.</p> <p>On the one hand, the digital nomad needs regular (although not necessarily constant) access to the Internet. That's as grid-connected as can be.</p> <p>On the other hand, once you've arranged your life to allow you to be location-independent, you can be pretty indifferent to exactly which bits of the grid you choose to depend on, and you can shift around based on the circumstances of the moment.</p> <p>You can live out of a suitcase and laptop bag, using the power and Internet available wherever you happen to be.</p> <p>You can outfit an RV (or a van) with some solar panels and some batteries, add a few gigabytes of data to your cellular plan, and live and work anywhere you choose.</p> <p>You can connect to the grid, work for as long as seems appropriate, and then disconnect whenever you want.</p> <p>Being able to make these choices &mdash; and then make different choices when the circumstance (or your thinking) changes &mdash; is what I mean by the high-tech path to off-grid living.</p> <h2>High-tech or Low-tech, Capital Makes a Difference</h2> <p>There's a big trade off between <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-sufficiency-self-reliance-and-freedom">self-sufficiency and self-reliance</a>, and the more of what you need you can produce for yourself, the more options you have.</p> <p>The grid is part of this. Replacing it requires a lot of capital. Doing without means taking a hit to your standard of living. This means a lot of hard choices, but each additional chunk of capital can turn one more hard choice into an easy choice.</p> <p>I mentioned at the beginning that a subsistence farmer needs capital for land or tools. Many of the other strategies I've mentioned &mdash; such as getting your power from a solar array &mdash; involve substituting capital up front for monthly bills (and a reliance on the grid).</p> <p>There is the option of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-farewell-my-subaru">going big on capital</a>. If you've got enough money, you can be as local and off-grid as you want in sourcing your food, power, water, and so on.</p> <p>If you lack capital, you're going to have to pick and choose which aspects of grid you chose to unhook from. Or else, you're going to have to accept a very low standard of living indeed.</p> <p>In the end, it comes down to your values. Why do you want to live off the grid? What lifestyle choices support those reasons?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-off-the-grid-is-a-lot-harder-than-you-think">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/life-without-tv">Life Without Television</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-34-smart-ways-to-improve-your-social-media-presence">Flashback Friday: 34 Smart Ways to Improve Your Social Media Presence</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternatives-to-cable-tv-that-will-keep-you-entertained">8 Alternatives to Cable TV That Will Keep You Entertained</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/looking-on-the-bright-side-how-to-find-a-silver-lining-in-the-current-financial-crisis">Looking On The Bright Side: How to Find A Silver Lining In The Current Financial Crisis</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-a-sweetheart-scam">How to Avoid a &quot;Sweetheart Scam&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Technology alternative living disconnecting Economy farming independence Internet off the grid self sufficient sustainability Thu, 15 Dec 2016 11:30:12 +0000 Philip Brewer 1850791 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Sneaky Ways Identity Thieves Can Access Your Data http://www.wisebread.com/3-sneaky-ways-identity-thieves-can-access-your-data <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-sneaky-ways-identity-thieves-can-access-your-data" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/computer_password_88375551.jpg" alt="Finding sneaky ways identity thieves can access data" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You just can't be too careful nowadays.</p> <p>From 2010 to 2015, identity thieves have stolen <a href="http://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/identity-theft-and-cybercrime">$112 billion</a> from U.S. consumers. A staggering 13.1 million victims of identify theft lost $15 billion in 2015 alone. To curb more cases of identity theft, more and more issuers of credit and debit cards are transitioning their clients to cards with chip technology. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-chip-credit-cards-make-life-easier?ref=seealso">4 Ways Chip Credit Cards Make Life Easier</a>)</p> <p>Still, there are plenty of methods for criminals to get a hold of your personal information. Let's review three more ways thieves can steal your identity and how to protect yourself against them.</p> <h2>1. Mailbox</h2> <p>Snail mail can be annoying in more ways that you think. While receiving paper copies of statements of your bank accounts, credit card accounts, retirement accounts, or investment accounts can save you the cost of printing them out yourself, keep in mind that it also opens the door for potential identity theft. For example, all it takes is a thief to get a hold of a bank account or credit card statement and try his luck changing your mailing address and requesting a replacement card. Don't let somebody go on a shopping spree with your hard-earned dollars!</p> <p>Another target inside your mailbox is any prefilled credit card or loan application. That little trash bin right next to the mailbox area in your apartment building is a gold mine for identity thieves.</p> <h3>How to Prevent It</h3> <p>The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) recommends you avoid leaving mail in your mailbox overnight or on weekends. If you plan to be away from home from three to 30 consecutive days, use the <a href="https://holdmail.usps.com/holdmail/">USPS Hold Mail Service</a> to schedule delivery of all mail on the day of your return.</p> <p>Also, make sure that you deposit any mail containing personal information only on U.S. Postal Service collection boxes and securely discard any letters of preapproved offers of credit. You also can opt out of unsolicited credit and insurance offers by calling 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or visiting <a href="http://www.optoutprescreen.com">www.OptOutPrescreen.com</a>.</p> <h2>2. Fake Public Wi-Fi</h2> <p>Whether struggling to keep your data usage within the limits of your existing phone data plan or trying to upload a perfect Instagram selfie during your trip to Italy, many of us can't resist the promise of free Internet from a public hot spot. Malicious hackers are aware of this and set up fake public Wi-Fi hot spots to lure users and steal their data.</p> <p>Main targets are commuters doing work and exposing valuable information, such as lists of clients, business expense accounts, and invoices. If you think getting your identity stolen is bad, imagine exposing that of your clients or coworkers to cyber criminals. And those hackers don't have to be anywhere close to you: They can be <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=3454066&amp;page=1">up to 100 feet</a> away and still get away with your identity.</p> <h3>How to Prevent It</h3> <p>Only activate your Wi-Fi port when you're about to connect to a known and secure Wi-Fi. Whenever possible, check the authenticity of a hot spot. For example, ask the reception desk attendant at a hotel or check billboards at a mall.</p> <p>When using public Wi-Fi connections, don't visit sites related to your personal finance. If you absolutely must use a public Wi-Fi for work, only do so by connecting through your company's Virtual Private Network (VPN) to encrypt all data during your session.</p> <h2>3. Email</h2> <p>You don't need to be a major celebrity for somebody to try hacking your email account. All it takes is the suspicion that you may have a lot of financial assets or are in the process of a major financial transaction, such as closing a mortgage, executing an estate, or applying for a student loan.</p> <p>While you may think that it takes really complicated hacking skills to decipher a password, the harsh reality is that most people use the simplest of passwords. According to a <a href="http://gizmodo.com/the-25-most-popular-passwords-of-2015-were-all-such-id-1753591514">list of over two million leaked passwords</a>, the top five passwords of 2015 were:</p> <ol> <li>123456</li> <li>password</li> <li>12345678</li> <li>Qwerty</li> <li>12345</li> </ol> <p>Internet uses don't learn from their mistakes: The top two most commonly used passwords of 2015 were also the top two of the list from the previous year. Even worse, nearly three out of four individuals <a href="https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/246902">use the same password</a> for multiple accounts. By unlocking your email password, hackers have a good chance of getting a hold of your other online accounts.</p> <h3>How to Prevent It</h3> <p>Microsoft recommends using passwords that:</p> <ul> <li>Are at least <a href="https://blogs.microsoft.com/microsoftsecure/2014/08/25/create-stronger-passwords-and-protect-them/">eight characters</a> in length;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Don't contain your username, real name, or company name;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Don't spell out complete words (sorry sports fans: football and baseball were #7 and #10 in the list of most commonly stolen passwords);<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Are significantly different from previous passwords; and<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Are different from passwords used on other websites.</li> </ul> <p>Also, don't use your email to store documents containing sensitive information, such as your social security number or credit card number. If you need to exchange such documents, do so through the encrypted online portal of your financial institution. You'll know it's encrypted when the URL bar shows a &quot;HTTPS.&quot;</p> <p>Finally, learn to identify the meanings of the potential types of padlocks that your web browser uses, such as the <a href="https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/how-do-i-tell-if-my-connection-is-secure">green and gray padlocks of Mozilla Firefox</a>.</p> <p>Better safe than sorry.</p> <p><em>Have you ever been a victim of identity theft?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-sneaky-ways-identity-thieves-can-access-your-data">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-surprising-perks-and-some-drawbacks-of-paperless-billing">9 Surprising Perks (and Some Drawbacks) of Paperless Billing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-your-auto-reply-email-telling-people-about-you">What Is Your Auto-Reply Email Telling People About You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-making-these-8-risky-password-mistakes">Stop Making These 8 Risky Password Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-keep-your-private-info-private">10 Ways to Keep Your Private Info Private</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-weird-ways-to-keep-you-and-your-stuff-safe">7 Weird Ways to Keep You and Your Stuff Safe</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Technology bank statements email free wi-fi identity theft Internet loan applications mail theft passwords protection scams security Thu, 01 Sep 2016 09:00:05 +0000 Damian Davila 1780042 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Improve Your Finances Using Social Media http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-finances-using-social-media <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-improve-your-finances-using-social-media" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_phone_text_94856801.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to improve finances using social media " title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Social media is about more than just looking at friends' baby photos, posting what you ate for dinner last night, and watching the most recent viral videos. It can actually help you improve your finances, land a new job, and reach your savings goals more efficiently. That's why we've found some of the best ways to improve your finances by getting the most out of social media. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-social-media-can-save-you-money?ref=seealso">6 Ways Social Media Can Save You Money</a>)</p> <h2>&quot;Friend&quot; Your Credit Cards and Bank</h2> <p>Add your credit card issuers and bank to your social media accounts by &quot;friending&quot; or following them. Large institutions usually offer deals to followers, so you can enjoy a lower APR, higher savings interest rate, or other money-saving promos. In fact, according to U.S. News, social media is often the first outlet that banks choose to <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2015/06/03/why-the-financial-services-industry-started-tweeting">share news about upcoming deals</a>.</p> <p>Social media is also possibly the best way to get in touch with customer service quickly, as it will allow you to get their attention more easily. Just make sure to keep your account information, address, and any other private information off the message boards and social media pages.</p> <h2>Enjoy Travel and Shopping Deals</h2> <p>There are endless travel and shopping deals available through social media. Retailers often choose social media as the first outlet to announce upcoming sales, so their friends and followers are able to take advantage of the biggest discounts first. Followers are frequently offered early deals, as well.</p> <p>You can find Twitter-specific deals that can save you on everything from rental cars and vacations to eating out and even buying gifts. Before going out to make any purchases, check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest to make sure there aren't any deals that you're missing. You can even check social media hashtags, such as #deal, to find the best deals in your area.</p> <h2>Share Goals</h2> <p>Many financial experts recommend sharing your financial goals online. By setting your goals early and sharing them with the people you love, it can help you articulate what you really want and hold you accountable to achieve your goals. In fact, research has shown that making <a href="http://www.fastcompany.com/3047432/work-smart/why-sharing-your-progress-makes-you-more-likely-to-accomplish-your-goals">public statements about goals</a> can help you achieve them more efficiently. However, you never want to reveal anything too personal, such as private information that fraudsters can use against you.</p> <h2>Get Money-Saving Tips</h2> <p>By following your favorite finance site on social media, you can find endless free money-saving tips and updates. You can also find forums and group discussions with unique money-saving ideas and encouragement from others. You can even find good financial and investment advice online.</p> <p>Seeing these tips on a daily basis on your social media pages can also be a good reminder each and every day to protect your hard-earned income. After all, we all need a reminder once in a while that we don't really need that new top or expensive latte in the morning.</p> <h2>Find a New Job</h2> <p>LinkedIn can be an invaluable tool when you're searching for a new job. You can apply for jobs directly through LinkedIn, perfect your resume, and even reach out to potential employers and former colleagues. Contacting them through Facebook or Twitter won't be as effective or as professional as contacting them through LinkedIn.</p> <p>With LinkedIn, once you have created a professional profile, employers and recruiters can even reach out to you with potential job offers. You can also join LinkedIn groups within your field so you are the first to know about potential opportunities. You can even add examples of your work, recommendations from current or previous coworkers, and any honors you've received to better build your online portfolio.</p> <h2>Make Connections</h2> <p>Networking through social media can result in better face-to-face communication, potential job offers, and endless contacts in your field. Simply following someone or sharing their social media posts can be a great first step in networking and making connections.</p> <h2>Build Your Brand</h2> <p>Whether you're promoting your personal business or services, or just want to build your reputation as the best in your field, posting on social media can be a great start. Just make sure to stay consistent so that you can reach as many followers as possible.</p> <h2>Research More Efficiently</h2> <p>Gone are the days of asking for financial suggestions from friends and coworkers. Whether you're looking for a new financial planner or would like information on which investments to make, you can find more information quickly through social media. With a simple social media search, you can find detailed research on the investment product or financial adviser you're interested in.</p> <p>You can also find suggestions for dentists and other service providers in your area through social media. This will ensure you get what you're looking for and don't waste money.</p> <h2>Sell Your Items</h2> <p>If you create and sell items privately, such as through Etsy, social media can be a great free platform for you to advertise your products or services. This can help you bring in more revenue, reach new customers, and show off your work to a limitless audience.</p> <h2>Make Some Extra Income</h2> <p>There are even ways to make some extra income using social media. If you have a large following, you can publish sponsored tweets or sign up for affiliate accounts, where you will receive your own unique link to earn some extra income when followers make purchases using that link. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-make-extra-money-using-social-media?ref=seealso">6 Ways to Make Extra Money Using Social Media</a>)</p> <p><em>Have you followed Wise Bread on social media yet? What are your best tips for improving your finances through social media? </em><em>Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-finances-using-social-media">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-got-a-raise-now-what">You Got a Raise! Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-a-spending-ban-can-help-and-hurt-you">Here&#039;s How a Spending Ban Can Help (and Hurt) You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-34-smart-ways-to-improve-your-social-media-presence">Flashback Friday: 34 Smart Ways to Improve Your Social Media Presence</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-of-the-coolest-sayings-about-saving">10 of the Coolest Sayings About Saving</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-simple-negotiating-trick-puts-money-in-your-pocket">This Simple Negotiating Trick Puts Money in Your Pocket</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Technology advice blogs deals extra money Internet job hunting promotions saving money selling shopping social media travel Mon, 25 Jul 2016 09:00:11 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1753337 at http://www.wisebread.com The 6 Monthly Telecom Bills You Can Negotiate http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-monthly-telecom-bills-you-can-negotiate <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-6-monthly-telecom-bills-you-can-negotiate" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_working_contract_000082844775.jpg" alt="Woman finding companies she should be negotiating a lower bill with" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Opening and paying the monthly bills is usually something we dread. This is especially true if you feel you&rsquo;re being gouged by your cable, phone, or wireless provider. But with just a little bit of knowledge on the proper way to call and negotiate a lower bill, you can easily save hundreds of dollars per year. Here are six telecom companies notorious for working with customers to lower their bill, along with some insider negotiation tips for each.</p> <h2>1. DirecTV</h2> <p>When it comes to negotiating a lower monthly bill with DirecTV, the first thing you have to do is analyze the competition, namely Dish Network. DirecTV is typically more expensive than Dish, which makes the &ldquo;competition is cheaper&rdquo; card great ammunition when making the phone call to DirecTV customer service. Find out what current specials Dish is offering and use those when explaining why you&rsquo;re considering leaving DirecTV. This will typically only work when you&rsquo;re not under contract, as they can&rsquo;t do much for you when you&rsquo;re locked into a specific rate for a set period of time.</p> <p>When making the call, tell the first person you speak with that you&rsquo;d like to cancel your service as it&rsquo;s more than you can afford right now. They&rsquo;ll then transfer you to the retention department, who are the folks who have the authority to actually lower your bill. Then explain why you&rsquo;re considering switching to Dish Network and be as specific as possible. In other words, tell them exactly what Dish is offering new customers and ask if they can meet it, or at the very least get close to it. Be polite and conversational in tone, and you&rsquo;ll be pleasantly surprised with the result of a lower monthly bill, in most cases.</p> <h2>2. Dish Network</h2> <p>Same drill with Dish Network. Tell the first person you speak with that you want to cancel your service, and they&rsquo;ll get you to the customer loyalty or retention department. When it comes to negotiating a lower monthly bill with Dish, it&rsquo;s important to understand that they&rsquo;re already lower in price than DirecTV. This means that in most cases, you can&rsquo;t say you&rsquo;re switching to DirecTV, because they&rsquo;re already cheaper.</p> <p>Instead, you should tell them you&rsquo;re considering <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-everyone-can-cut-cable-and-still-watch-what-they-love-even-sportsfans">cutting the cord entirely</a> by switching to an over-the-air HD antennae and cheap streaming options like Netflix and Hulu. These &ldquo;other&rdquo; options serve as excellent ammunition when talking to Dish. Stick to the facts, don&rsquo;t get emotionally involved, and remember that you can simply call back later if the person is having a bad day and not willing to work with you.</p> <p>Once you&lsquo;ve told them why you want to leave, they should offer you something to stay on as a loyal customer. You can also take the bull by the horns and start the conversation by asking for $15&ndash;$25 off your monthly bill depending on what package you subscribe to. You can also ask for a few free movie channels if that means more to you. Remember that they&rsquo;ve invested a lot to get and keep you as a customer, and are willing to throw you a bone to keep your business. Always be willing to take your business elsewhere if they can&rsquo;t come close to what you want. If you actually don&rsquo;t want to leave and they won&rsquo;t budge, you can always say you want to reconsider other options before canceling.</p> <h2>3. Comcast</h2> <p>I recently had an anonymous Comcast retention employee give me the scoop on what to say to get your bill lowered. She told me that the worst thing you can do is tell the rep that you&rsquo;re switching to a competitor. Instead, she said to tell them you want to stay with Comcast but can&rsquo;t afford your monthly bill and will have to switch to a streaming service if the bill can&rsquo;t be lowered. She even said that Sling TV was the best streaming option to use as ammunition. She said that in most cases this will work and get you up to 20% off your monthly bill, as that percentage is the biggest discount they can offer.</p> <p>Lastly, she told me not to ask to speak to a supervisor as that will typically only get you a call-back request that rarely happens. Plus, they are authorized to offer the same discounts as the retention employee, so it&rsquo;s not worth your time.</p> <h2>4. Verizon</h2> <p>Verizon can be a tricky company to convince to lower your bill. They have created a coverage map that beats the competition and they know that many customers are bluffing when playing the &ldquo;cancel card&rdquo; to try and negotiate a lower bill. Because of this, it&rsquo;s important that you do ample research on the competition before making the call. What are Republic Wireless, T-Mobile, and Straight Talk currently offering, and how long will it take you to recoup your money, in terms of savings, if you have to pay to get out of your Verizon contract?</p> <p>By having these numbers at your disposal when making the call, the Verizon rep will sense your seriousness and often offer you a lower rate in return. I recently did this and was able to secure $10 off my bill for 12 months. Not a huge savings, but I really didn&rsquo;t want to leave Verizon as I live in a rural area where Verizon is my only coverage option.</p> <h2>5. AT&amp;T Wireless</h2> <p>While you may not be able to negotiate a lower rate with AT&amp;T the old-fashioned way, you can get rid of services you don&rsquo;t need and look for little-known discounts. Start by analyzing your bill very carefully as AT&amp;T is notorious for sneaking in add-on services like AT&amp;T Navigator, Family Map, enhanced voicemail, and smart limits. If you don&rsquo;t use them, get rid of them immediately. Also, check to see if you&rsquo;re <a href="https://www.wireless.att.com/business/enrollment/">eligible for an employer discount</a>. Many organizations work directly with AT&amp;T to offer their employees a pretty sweet discount so be sure you&rsquo;re not missing out.</p> <h2>6. Time Warner Cable</h2> <p>Time Warner is notorious for raising your rate without informing you as to why. So once you get a rate you&rsquo;re happy with, be sure to keep it by calling them every 12 months. Simply call their customer service line, be polite, and get straight to the point by telling them you want to keep your low rate for another 12 months. If the operator is unwilling to extend your rate for another year, simply hang up and try back later. Be persistent and you&rsquo;ll eventually get an employee willing to work with you and help you keep your low rate for another year.</p> <p><em>What bills, if any, do you consistently try to&nbsp;</em><em>negotiate a lower rate on?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div align="center"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fthe-6-monthly-telecom-bills-you-can-negotiate&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FThe%206%20Monthly%20Telecom%20Bills%20You%20Can%20Negotiate.jpg&amp;description=The%206%20Monthly%20Telecom%20Bills%20You%20Can%20Negotiate" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/The%206%20Monthly%20Telecom%20Bills%20You%20Can%20Negotiate.jpg" alt="The 6 Monthly Telecom Bills You Can Negotiate" width="250" height="374" /></h2> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-monthly-telecom-bills-you-can-negotiate">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-little-words-that-will-get-you-the-best-price-every-time">10 Little Words That Will Get You the Best Price, Every Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-you-can-do-online-besides-watch-cat-gifs">9 Things You Can Do Online Besides Watch Cat GIFs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/life-without-tv">Life Without Television</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-good-money-habits-that-will-keep-you-out-of-debt">11 Good Money Habits That Will Keep You Out of Debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living bills cable Internet negotiating service providers wireless Mon, 09 May 2016 10:30:04 +0000 Kyle James 1699777 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Everyday Things That Are Surprisingly Awesome Investments http://www.wisebread.com/7-everyday-things-that-are-surprisingly-awesome-investments <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-everyday-things-that-are-surprisingly-awesome-investments" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/star_wars_legos_000019766199.jpg" alt="Learning which everyday things that are awesome investments" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Strapped for cash? You could be sitting on a small fortune that's hidden right under your nose. Find out what everyday things are surprisingly awesome investments, so you can start building your ordinary empire today. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-boring-investments-make-life-exciting?ref=seealso">4 Ways &quot;Boring&quot; Investments Make Life Exciting</a>)</p> <h2>1. Comic Books</h2> <p>It's not just first-issue Supermans, Spider-Mans, and Batmans that command big bucks. Other comic books and graphic novels &mdash; even contemporary titles, like first-printing Walking Dead #1, which is <a href="http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?ItemID=26643716&amp;gclid=CjwKEAiA58a1BRDw6Jan_PLapw8SJABJz-ZWQRwaCQ5Wx2-CCT08iALxyWKDvEVcFMe1O9O9xDR1-hoC4Lrw_wcB">listed for $15,000</a> on online retailer MyComicShop.com &mdash; can help you bring home some serious bacon.</p> <p>&quot;While everyone's heard stories of people cleaning out an attic to find comic books they sold at a hefty profit, it's not just the older books that are valuable,&quot; explains Vincent Zurzolo, co-owner of New York-based Metropolis Collectibles, the world's largest vintage comic book dealership, and ComicConnect, the largest online vintage comic auction house. &quot;Even comic books from the last 20 years are becoming more collectible. Some have jumped from just a few dollars each five years ago to $50 to $100 today. Smart investors are finding that they can make money off of this trend, but only if they treat it like they would any serious investment.&quot;</p> <p>Vincent and his partner, Stephen Fishler, hold five Guinness World Records for the most expensive comics and related collectibles ever sold.</p> <p>&quot;Once you jump into the comic book market, remember to protect your investment,&quot; he adds. Store books in a cool, dry place, such as a safe deposit box. Finally, use professional appraisers and consider purchasing insurance for your collection.&quot;</p> <p>A quick search of your comic's name and issue on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.comicconnect.com">ComicConnect</a> can help you gauge your comic's value.</p> <h2>2. LEGO Sets</h2> <p>Anybody who watches <a href="http://amzn.to/1Qnie5w">Pawn Stars</a>, <a href="http://amzn.to/1oluCws">Antiques Roadshow</a><em>,</em> and the like knows that some toys &mdash; particularly mid-century and earlier &mdash; are worth a bundle. But little did we know that one of the most popular toys on the planet today is accruing incredible value right under our noses.</p> <p>Late last year, it was revealed that Lego sets have appreciated in value better than numerous investments, most notably gold. Yes, <em>gold</em>.</p> <p>According to the U.K.-based Telegraph, &quot;Lego sets kept in pristine condition have <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/investing/11817380/Lego-a-better-investment-than-shares-and-gold.html">increased in value</a> 12% each year since the turn of the Millennium, with second-hand prices rising for specific sets as soon as they go out of production. Modern sets are performing even more strongly, with those released last year already selling on eBay for 36% more than their original price.&quot;</p> <p>In contrast, &quot;Those who invested in gold received a 9.6% annual gain over the past decade and a half, while those who went with a savings account generated 2.8%, according to investment company Hargreaves Lansdown.&quot;</p> <p>So which Lego sets are the most coveted? Star Wars, of course (at least currently), with the Ultimate Collector's Millennium Falcon bringing in the top value at more than $2,000, while the Death Star II and Imperial Star Destroyer are close behind at well above $1,000.</p> <h2>3. Birkin Bags</h2> <p>Just a couple weeks after Lego was reported to be a surprisingly good investment, news came that Hermés' popular Birkin bags also held up well against traditional investments &mdash; outpacing both the S&amp;P 500 and the price of gold in the last 35 years.</p> <p>Scarcity is the leading factor in the bags' huge hikes &mdash; they're not advertised and there's still a six-year wait list &mdash; though you will have to put out a decent chunk of change for the initial investment (they start at about $12,000). If you've got that kind of capital for a handbag, however, you could walk away a winner in a few years. According to Time magazine, the annual return on a Birkin was 14.2%, compared to the S&amp;P average of 8.7% a year and gold's 1.5%.</p> <h2>4. Art</h2> <p>If you're one of the lucky ducks who owns a building that Banksy has tagged, or you were in the right place at the right time when he sold nearly a quarter-million dollars worth of art for $60 a pop in Central Park a few years ago, you're sitting pretty &mdash; but he's not the only artist whose work is worth much more than canvas it's on. In fact, you might have a sizable payday hanging on your walls right now.</p> <p>Personally, I invest in art &mdash; mostly local artists where I live. I don't buy based on their success (most of the artists whose work I purchase are unknown), but rather I make my decision on what piques my interest and catches my eye. I then follow their careers to stay educated about my investments.</p> <p>And it's a wise habit to practice, says Mallory Greene, community manager at Wealthsimple.</p> <p>&quot;If you don't think buying art is a good way to make money, there are some pretty fancy numbers that argue otherwise,&quot; she explains. &quot;Consider the case of the artist Jacob Kassay. Kassay is known for making beautiful photo-mirrors by painting canvases with reflective metallic paint. The result is affecting, producing an eerie, crude reflection of the viewer. One of his paintings sold for about $4,000 at a gallery in New York City. That sounds expensive until you consider that nine months later the painting sold at auction for $150,000. That, if you're keeping score, is a return of 3,650%.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Wine</h2> <p>Here's a sobering fact: You could be drinking your retirement fund away as you read this.</p> <p>While you probably won't be able to sail off into the sunset by selling off that case of Barefoot Merlot, you may have better luck focusing your investment on wines that come from specific regions, particularly Bordeaux, Champagne, Tuscany, Burgundy, and the Rhone.</p> <p>Forbes magazine reports, &quot;While the four latter regions are gaining in popularity, the Bordeaux region continues to serve as the <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/northwesternmutual/2013/12/03/sip-it-or-cellar-it-the-basics-of-wine-investing/#6f04884f76f7">gold standard for wine investors</a>. According to wine trading platform Cavex, two cases of Chateau Mouton Rothschild 2005 &mdash; an iconic wine from the Bordeaux region of France &mdash; recently traded for &pound;4,100 GBP (about $6,566 USD). Meanwhile, four cases of the Burgundy wine Ponsot Morey St. Denis Alouettes 2009 went for a more modest &pound;275 GBP (about $440 USD).&quot;</p> <p>Greene provides more context.</p> <p>&quot;The London International Vintners Exchange (a.k.a. the Liv-ex) indices have dramatically outperformed the S&amp;P 500 and the FTSE over the last decade and a half,&quot; she says. &quot;And how often have you enjoyed an ETF with a braised leg of lamb? The main reason to invest in wine is because it's fun.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Internet Domains</h2> <p>Last fall, ex-Google employee Sammy Ved did the nearly impossible: He purchased Google.com during a <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2016/1/29/10868404/google-reveals-how-much-it-paid-the-guy-who-bought-google-com">momentary lapse in domain ownership</a> by Google itself. He only owned it for about a minute before Google recognized its snafu and reversed the transaction. Google offered to pay Ved a reward of $6,006.13 (which spells out Google numerically), which it then doubled when Ved said he'd donate the money to charity. How nice.</p> <p>Alas, there's no provision that says you have to be so altruistic if you're ever in a similar position, which isn't all that uncommon. In fact, the truth is you can purchase any domain that's available, hold onto it, and hope that somebody with deep pockets wants and needs it someday.</p> <p>Digital marketing and social media strategist Brad Hines says that registering words like, a newly coined word or expression, as a .com domain name is an in-plain-sight investment that people overlook all the time.</p> <p>&quot;Domain names have an enormous aftermarket,&quot; he explains. &quot;A brief glance at a website like <a href="http://www.dnjournal.com/domainsales.htm">DnJournal</a> shows that average sales of domain names start at $3,000. And 100% of these domain names start as initial registrations at any domain name registrar &mdash; GoDaddy, 1&amp;1, NameCheap, etc. &mdash; where they tend to register for $10 to $15.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Registering domain names has low barriers to entry, so it's competitive, yes, but reading things like trade journals and niche blogs can help keep you ahead of words that are not in public fashion yet,&quot; Hines continues. &quot;I've done this for 15 years.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Sports Memorabilia</h2> <p>Remember when you were growing up and you found a rookie in your pack of baseball cards? Well, you should've held on to it, as it could've made your 20-somethings a little less ramen-reliant. Moreover, you'd really be living large if you had it signed by somebody like Mickey Mantle, Cal Ripken Jr., or Albert Pujols &mdash; because authentic autographed memorabilia is where it's at!</p> <p>According to the Upper Deck blog, authentic autographed memorabilia, like a Wilson basketball featuring Kevin Durant's signature, or bat signed by Ken Griffey Jr., can command top dollar at auction.</p> <p>If you're new to the memorabilia investing game &mdash; or want to get started, like, stat! &mdash;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cnbc.com/id/39444167">consider these rules</a> shared by CNBC.</p> <p><em>What ordinary things do you own that are worth a pretty penny? I'd love to hear about them in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-everyday-things-that-are-surprisingly-awesome-investments">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-monthly-telecom-bills-you-can-negotiate">The 6 Monthly Telecom Bills You Can Negotiate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-rules-you-need-to-know-about-investing-in-real-estate">The Only 5 Rules You Need to Know About Investing in Real Estate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-you-can-do-online-besides-watch-cat-gifs">9 Things You Can Do Online Besides Watch Cat GIFs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/life-without-tv">Life Without Television</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-smart-things-to-do-with-25">10 Smart Things to Do With $25</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Investment appreciation art comic books Internet legos sports memorabilia wine worth money Thu, 18 Feb 2016 11:30:03 +0000 Mikey Rox 1658151 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Things You Should Never Do on LinkedIn http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-should-never-do-on-linkedin <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-things-you-should-never-do-on-linkedin" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/linkedin_000038175350.jpg" alt="Learning things you should never do on LinkedIn" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>How dialed in is your LinkedIn profile? As the world's most successful social business network (at last count, the site had 380 million members across more than 200 countries and territories), LinkedIn has become synonymous with online career-building. And with such a mind-boggling reach, it's worth making sure you're not <em>locked out</em>. Here are seven things you should never do on LinkedIn.</p> <h2>1. Confuse It With Facebook</h2> <p>The distinctions are obvious to most, but some lump all social media tools together in a bucket marked &quot;anything goes.&quot; Don't be one of these people.</p> <p>LinkedIn connections, messages, and posts should be reserved for building your professional network, joining groups of people who share your interests, expanding your career skills and knowledge, and learning about new work opportunities. Don't use it for a casual social interaction, posting office party selfies, or anything else that might turn a potential employer off.</p> <h2>2. Send a Standard Connection Request</h2> <p>If you're interested enough to make a connection on LinkedIn, take a moment to do it with a personal message. Remember, be professional and polite. If you've met, remind the person of your affiliation; if not, briefly explain your interest in connecting.</p> <h2>3. Pick the Wrong Pic</h2> <p>A great photo is an important way to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-your-linkedin-profile-noticed-with-a-few-attention-grabbing-tweaks">get your LinkedIn profile noticed</a>. But skip the one that includes your husband, your kids, your friends, or the family pet. Also, make sure the photo is clear, professional, and relatively recent (no vintage glamour shots, please).</p> <h2>4. Write Wrong</h2> <p>LinkedIn is a continuous online snapshot of who you are professionally. And just as there's an art to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-write-a-resume-12-steps-to-your-next-job">writing a great resume</a>, there's an art to crafting great content on LinkedIn. Even though it's a social media site, grammatical errors on LinkedIn can immediately cast you in bad light. Proofread every word you write; even quick status updates and link introductions should be polished and perfect.</p> <h2>5. Solicit Recommendations</h2> <p>Soliciting recommendations from previous employers and co-workers is tricky. First of all, never overwhelm new connections with a recommendation request right away. Second, don't spam your entire network with requests. Be tactical and tactful; only reach out to those with whom you have (or have had) a strong professional relationship. And keep in mind, people are more likely to respond to requests that are simple and easy. Explain the specific skill sets you're hoping to emphasize on LinkedIn and then politely request a recommendation &mdash; once and only once.</p> <h2>6. Ignore Your Privacy Settings</h2> <p>Privacy on a professional networking site is an essential feature for obvious reasons. If you're currently employed, but actively looking for your next opportunity, you'll naturally want to maintain a certain level of discretion. If you're engaged in a job search, customize your privacy settings so your boss can't see what you're up to. You can find LinkedIn's privacy options by scrolling over the small version of your profile photo in the upper right hand of the homepage. Navigate to &quot;Privacy &amp; Settings&quot; and make the necessary adjustments.</p> <h2>7. Be Passive</h2> <p>Active users make LinkedIn a vibrant community and a valuable tool. Be part of it by updating your status a couple of times each week. Updates on promotions and professional pursuits or links to events keep things fresh and gives potential employers a reason to reach out to you. Joining groups, sharing articles, and growing your network are other important ways to show you're more than just a lurker.</p> <p>Today, learning to use social media effectively is a big part of professional <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/networking-basics-for-regular-people">networking basics</a>. With some time, attention, and discipline, LinkedIn can become a powerful career-building tool&hellip; just as long as you don't post those glamour shots.</p> <p><em>Have you found a job through a LinkedIn connection? What tips do you have for other LinkedIn users?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-should-never-do-on-linkedin">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-to-use-social-media-in-business">13 Ways to Use Social Media in Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-someone-to-accept-your-linkedin-invitation">How to Get Someone to Accept Your LinkedIn Invitation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-34-smart-ways-to-improve-your-social-media-presence">Flashback Friday: 34 Smart Ways to Improve Your Social Media Presence</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-freelancers-and-telecommuters-can-make-friends-and-network">11 Ways Freelancers and Telecommuters Can Make Friends and Network</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-online-tools-to-help-you-land-a-job">5 Online Tools to Help You Land a Job</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building business connections Internet LinkedIn networking resumes social media Mon, 28 Sep 2015 09:00:32 +0000 Kentin Waits 1568938 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Craziest Groupon Deals http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-craziest-groupon-deals <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-craziest-groupon-deals" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_on_internet_000029608360.jpg" alt="Couple finding craziest Groupon deals online" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Nobody likes to pay full price.</p> <p>That's why everybody jumped on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-groupon-refund-when-a-company-closes">Groupon</a> when it first came out with all of its crazy-cheap deals, and many of us still keep coming back. From dinners at fancy places to open bar catamaran cruises, Groupon seems to offer everything under the sun &mdash; at a steep discount.</p> <p>But if you think that bikini waxes are the wildest thing that Groupon offers, think again. Here are the five craziest Groupon deals ever. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-ensure-you-use-your-groupons-and-other-daily-deals?ref=seealso">How to Ensure You Use Your Groupons and Other Daily Deals</a>)</p> <h2>1. Bedtime Tuck-In</h2> <p>Parents have been warning their kids about stranger danger for a long time. Ben Kobold wanted you to dismiss all that advice and let him give you or the recipient of this Groupon &quot;deal&quot; the <a href="http://www.groupon.com/deals/ben-kobold-tuck-in">most amazing bedtime tuck-in</a>. Not only will Ben use his &quot;summer-breeze-like&quot; voice to sing you a lullaby, but he will also monitor your body temperature and breathing rate.</p> <p>Priced at $100, this bedtime tuck-in deal would seem a prank. However, Groupon has established that <a href="https://www.groupon.com/deals/ben-kobold-tuck-in/discussion">this deal wasn't a joke</a> and that Ben Kobold was an actual Groupon employee (he's a writer). Such level of professionalism must have been very reassuring for the two people that bought this crazy deal!</p> <h2>2. Serial-Killer Walking Tour</h2> <p>There are creepy deals, and then there are truly scary ones. A Milwaukee company caused the rage of several local residents by offering a 90-minute Jeffrey Dahmer (a.k.a. the Milwaukee Cannibal) tour for two. For $25 (deal was valued at $60), you and your guest would tour the exact streets in which cannibalistic serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer picked up seven of his victims.</p> <p>Even though two decades have passed since Dahmer was arrested, his memory still haunts the neighborhood. It wasn't long until the Dahmer's hunting grounds &quot;deal&quot; caught the attention of the local and national news and Groupon was forced to <a href="http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/03/02/groupon-pulls-deal-for-serial-killer-walking-tour/">take down the sale</a> from its website. Despite the pull-plug from Groupon and the outcry from the Milwaukee community, the tour company was still legally allowed to fulfill its 15 sold tours.</p> <h2>3. DVD Signed by Leonardo DiCaprio Impersonator</h2> <p>When you are offering a travel package that includes...</p> <ul> <li>Round-trip airfare from any city in the continental U.S. to the nearest city of the resting place of the Titanic;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>One-night stay at a comfy hotel;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>11-night stay at a cruise ship;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Exploration of the Titanic shipwreck aboard a deep-ocean vessel;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Admission to a series of lectures from experts on the Titanic; and<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>A long list of Titanic-related activities,</li> </ul> <p>...why in the world would you make a Titanic-movie DVD signed by a <a href="http://www.groupon.com/pages/titanic">Leonardo DiCaprio impersonator</a> the main selling point of this package? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-groupon-getaways-a-good-idea?ref=seealso">Are Groupon Getaways a Good Idea?</a>)</p> <p>To be fair, he's a professional impersonator. But, heck with a price tag of $12,500 for this deal, you would expect at least the Leo impersonator would be around to recreate the famous &quot;I'm the king of the world&quot; scene!</p> <h2>4. Role as Movie Extra</h2> <p>In 2014, Robert Downey, Jr. made $75 million, while Sandra Bullock earned $50 million. Dreaming of landing such big paychecks one day, several individuals kick off their careers by playing extras in over 1,800 movies released in the U.S.</p> <p>And all of those extras get paid!</p> <p>So, why in the world would you pay <a href="http://www.bestofneworleans.com/blogofneworleans/archives/2012/05/04/groupon-invites-you-to-pay-to-be-a-movie-extra">$149 for a Groupon deal</a> to become a movie extra? This &quot;deal&quot; in New Orleans was called out faster than you can say &quot;Lights, camera, action!&quot; The Office of the Mayor of New Orleans clearly states that if you follow the rules, you'll get <a href="http://www.filmneworleans.org/for-the-local-community/becoming-an-extra/">paid for your work</a> as an extra.</p> <h2>5. Kilogram of Onions</h2> <p>Groupon operates in close to 50 countries, including India. One of Groupon India's most successful deals to date is Rs. 9 (roughly $0.15) for a <a href="http://www.groupon.co.in/deals/shopping/Groupon-India-Onion/408055">kilo of onions</a>.</p> <p>With the price of kilo of onions at about Rs. 100 at the time of the deal, this crazy Groupon deal was able to sell 3,000 kilograms of onions in just 44 minutes. The heavy demand caused the site to crash. Once the site was back up, Groupon India sold a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/10/groupon-india--onion_n_3896180.html">total of 8,000 kilos of onions</a> during the two-day sale.</p> <p>Onions are a major staple in Indian cuisine and are used in a wide variety of dishes, including the one recommended by Groupon India, onion pakora.</p> <p><em>What is the craziest Groupon deal that you ever bought?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-craziest-groupon-deals">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-get-the-best-deals-on-groupon">7 Ways to Get the Best Deals on Groupon</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-best-deals-coupons-sites">50 Best Deals and Coupon Sites</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-shopping-apps-thatll-actually-save-you-money-in-2016">The 8 Shopping Apps That&#039;ll Actually Save You Money in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-you-should-never-buy-on-groupon-or-livingsocial">5 Things You Should Never Buy on Groupon or LivingSocial</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-social-media-can-save-you-money">6 Ways Social Media Can Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping coupons deals groupon Internet Tue, 14 Jul 2015 11:00:15 +0000 Damian Davila 1484674 at http://www.wisebread.com Make an Extra $200 a Year Just By Doing This Online http://www.wisebread.com/make-an-extra-200-a-year-just-by-doing-this-online <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/make-an-extra-200-a-year-just-by-doing-this-online" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_on_tablet_000063417699.jpg" alt="Woman earning $200 by searching the internet" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>How'd you like to earn $100 to $200 a year just for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-silly-internet-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making-today">searching the Internet</a>? Are you &quot;Binging&quot; yet? That is, have you joined the <a href="http://bing-rewards.evyy.net/c/27771/89275/2168">Bing Rewards program</a>, and are you using Bing as your search engine? If not you're missing out on free money.</p> <p>The&nbsp;<a href="http://bing-rewards.evyy.net/c/27771/89275/2168">Bing Rewards</a> program pays people to use the Bing search engine. They award credits (points) which can be redeemed for rewards such as gift cards to Amazon, Starbucks, Applebee's, Fandango, GameStop, iTunes, and more. You can also use the credits to get Hulu Prime, or Xbox Live memberships, or donate your credits to charity.</p> <p>Participating in the Bing Rewards program is simple and only takes a couple of minutes a day. To make sure you're getting the most out of the program consider the following eight tips below.</p> <h2>1. Max Out Your Points and Go Mobile, Too</h2> <p>Max out the number of credits you can earn each day and receive $100 to $200 a year in free rewards. When you join Bing Rewards you'll be able to earn a certain amount of credits per day. It seems most people earn 15 credits per day searching on their computer or tablet.</p> <p>Regardless of how many credits you can earn by Binging on your computer or tablet, everyone can earn an additional 10 credits a day by downloading the Bing search engine app on their mobile devices. Add these credits to those earned by searching on your computer and tablet and you're looking at a few extra dollars each month.</p> <h2>2. Bing Every Day</h2> <p>If you want to earn $100 or more a year in free gift cards or other goodies, make sure to use the Bing search engine every day. Sounds easy, right? It is, especially if you use a computer or tablet a lot. Plus, it only takes a few minutes. But here's the thing: Because there is a limit to how many credits you can earn each day (between 15 and 45), it can also feel a bit tedious, too &mdash; like it takes an eternity to earn enough points to do anything with. This leads some people to give up, cash in points for smaller rewards, or use the Bing search engine sporadically.</p> <p>To combat this, many people default their homepage to Bing or download the toolbar to make it easier to remember to use it when searching. That can help, but it's just as important to do it every day. My suggestion is to search for 60 days without thinking about cashing out. Take that pressure off of yourself. Once the time has passed, you'll be more satisfied with the amount of credits you have to work with to get some bigger rewards.</p> <h2>3. Get to Gold Level Status</h2> <p>Why is this important? Because once you hit Gold level, you receive a discount on many of the rewards available, thus increasing the value of your credits. Here's how it works. When you first join Bing Rewards you are a regular &quot;member&quot; as you search and get credits. Once you accrue 200 credits, you are promoted to Silver status, and receive a one-time 50 credit bonus. You also have to redeem some points for something before moving onto Gold level. Choose something small, like a sweepstakes entry, so you keep as many credits as possible for bigger rewards. Continue Binging until you hit Gold level, <strong>which is when you hit a total of 700 credits.</strong></p> <p>Now get ready for discounts on certain rewards. For instance, non-Gold level members redeem 525 credits for a $5 Starbucks gift card, while Gold level members pay 475 credits for the same $5 card. That 50 credit difference adds up over time and can make a difference in your yearly reward earnings. To maintain Gold level status and remain eligible for the discount, you must earn 150 search credits per month. This is very easy to do in a few days if you are maxing out your searches.</p> <h2>4. Don't Forget About the Bonus Credits</h2> <p>Bing offers bonus credits practically every day, and they come in various forms. Sometimes they'll offer double points for a day (or a week or a month), or points for answering trivia questions, or for checking out a product or story they are sponsoring. The credits add to your freebie bottom line and all you have to do is check your Bing rewards dashboard each day that you search to see what's available.</p> <h2>5. Know the Value of Your Credits</h2> <p>How much are Bing credits worth? I like to think of each credit being valued at roughly one cent each. Bing awards a credit for every two searches performed up to the max allotted each day. So one penny is earned for every two search queries. Converting it in this way helps me evaluate the relative value of the rewards available for redemption.</p> <p>For instance, if I wanted to redeem my points for a $5 Amazon gift card it would cost me 525 credits if I were not a Gold level member. This translates to paying $5.25 for a $5 gift card. Not a bad deal considering it's free. But, if I wait until I am at Gold level, that same $5 Amazon gift card could be mine for 475 Bing credits, or $4.75. Getting a $5 gift card for $4.75 is more like it! Sure the difference is only a quarter, but it adds up over time.</p> <p>Some rewards are bad even if you are a Gold member. For instance, to get a $5 Tango gift card (Tango is a company that offers gift cards to numerous retailers like Home Depot, Williams Sonoma, Target, and more) you'd have to redeem 575 credits. That's the discounted Gold level price! Hmm. Paying $5.75 for a $5 gift card? I think I'll pass. Speaking of passing&hellip;</p> <h2>6. Always Bypass the Sweepstakes Entries</h2> <p>Bing has some wonderful sweepstakes opportunities. At any given time Bingers can win cash, all expenses paid trips to sporting events, computers, and more, all for the price of a few Bing Rewards credits. Don't do it! It's not that the sweepstakes aren't legit. They are. It's just that the odds of winning are so tiny that you're throwing your credits away. I mean, sure Bing offers fabulous prizes, but they are saving money in the end because the more people who enter the sweepstakes the less Bing has to pay out in reward redemptions. Yeah, I'm tempted to enter every now and again, but I think I'll keep my 35 cents, I mean credits.</p> <h2>7. Consider Binging With Someone</h2> <p>You know the saying &quot;Two heads are better than one?&quot; Well the same can be said for Binging. Bing Rewards allows up to five members of the same household to join and earn rewards. While that means free stuff for everyone, there are times when doubling up can increase your spending power. For instance, my husband and I like Groupon because we live in an area where there a lot of offers to places we frequent anyway. Since a $5 Groupon can be had for 470 credits ($4.70) as a Gold member, we'll redeem a number of those, wait until there is a $10 off coupon, and get our deal for free with a discount!</p> <h2>8. Refer Your Friends</h2> <p>Any good rewards program has a referral program, right? Bing is no different. When you refer people to Bing Rewards and they join, you earn referral credits once they hit Silver status (earn 200 credits).</p> <p>The Bing Rewards program is probably the simplest, lowest effort rewards program out there. But is it worth it? You spend a few minutes a day doing what you're already doing on your computer, tablet, or mobile device. It's almost silly not to do it.</p> <p><em>Do you Bing? </em><a href="http://bing-rewards.evyy.net/c/27771/89275/2168"><em>Sign up today</em></a><em>!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kim-owens">Kim Owens</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-an-extra-200-a-year-just-by-doing-this-online">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-own-a-domain-name-that-s-worth-a-fortune">Do You Own a Domain Name That’s Worth a Fortune?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-free-stuff-by-eating-cereal-drinking-soda-and-watching-tv">Get Free Stuff by Eating Cereal, Drinking Soda, and Watching TV</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-earn-extra-income-while-christmas-shopping">8 Ways to Earn Extra Income While Christmas Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">The Best Cash Back Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-make-good-money-from-airbnb">5 Easy Ways to Make Good Money From Airbnb</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income bing Internet rewards search engines Thu, 04 Jun 2015 17:00:18 +0000 Kim Owens 1439324 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Powerful Ways to Protect Your Money From Cyber Theft http://www.wisebread.com/6-powerful-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-cyber-theft <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-powerful-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-cyber-theft" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_stolen_identity_000023163541.jpg" alt="Man finding ways to protect his money from cyber theft" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Since 2013, cyber criminals have been pulling off what amounts to the largest bank heist in history &mdash; hitting at least 100 banks across the globe. During this two-year period, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/cyber-crime-you-re-the-mark">cyber criminals</a> released malicious software targeting bank employees that allowed them to infiltrate bank security systems. The undetected malware resulted in the theft of $1 billion stolen directly from banks.</p> <p>Cyber attackers like these and others are at large, and while there's nothing you can do to stop attacks on financial institutions, there are measures you can take to protect yourself and ensure the financial data you share over the Internet is kept safe. Don't compromise your financial transactions. Take these steps to keep cyber thieves at bay and keep your money safe.</p> <h2>1. Use a Separate Computer for Financial Transactions</h2> <p>One of the safest measures you can take to protect your finances is to use a designated computer when accessing investment accounts. Cyber criminals steal your information using programs that only you can give them access to &mdash; when you click on an infected download, advertisement, e-mail, photo, or attachment.</p> <p>Use a designated device like the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/b/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;node=2858603011&amp;pf_rd_i=google%20chromebook&amp;pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_p=2079390022&amp;pf_rd_r=1B11JC1SF66HF33CWNEC&amp;pf_rd_s=desktop-auto-sparkle&amp;pf_rd_t=301&amp;qid=1432218150&amp;ref=spks_0_0_2079390022&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=CVEJDSJLFEM472K6">Google Chromebook</a> that only connects to Internet. They're inexpensive &mdash; around $200 &mdash; and are a good option for managing your finances online.</p> <h2>2. Install Malware Scanners</h2> <p>Install an Internet security program, like Kaspersky Internet Security Safe Money Technology, to clean up your machine and systematically scan and remove potential new threats before they corrupt your system.</p> <h2>3. Use Unique Usernames and Passwords</h2> <p>Create highly unique usernames and passwords, and change them periodically. Choose a password with six or more characters comprised of both upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. And as an added precaution, make a habit of changing your password every 60&ndash;90 days.</p> <h2>4. Monitor Transactions</h2> <p>It's a wise decision to sit down every so often and review your financial statements for errors or suspicious activity. Try to do so at least once a month, even if you have not initiated a transaction and don't expect activity on your account.</p> <h2>5. Get Security Alerts</h2> <p>Sign-up for security alerts &mdash; receive notifications when there's unusual activity for a wide variety of activities, including wire transfers, new-account setups, foreign transactions, and changes in bill payee information.</p> <h2>6. Use Two-Factor Authentication</h2> <p>In addition to your username and password, some major financial institutions offer two-factor authentication, which prompts you to enter an additional verification code when accessing your accounts. Choose this option whenever it's available.</p> <p><em>How do you protect your money from cyber theft?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-powerful-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-cyber-theft">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-a-sweetheart-scam">How to Avoid a &quot;Sweetheart Scam&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-bitcoin-still-a-thing">Is Bitcoin Still a Thing?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-the-nasty-secret-of-the-craigslist-free-section">Beware, The Nasty Secret Of The Craigslist Free Section</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-rid-of-and-avoid-late-fees">How to Get Rid of and Avoid Late Fees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-a-teenager-started-a-multi-million-dollar-online-business-with-a-parrot">How a Teenager Started A Multi-Million Dollar Online Business with a Parrot. UPDATED</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Banking cyber criminals Internet online theft Mon, 01 Jun 2015 17:00:11 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1437167 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Hacks to Speed Up Your Browser http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-hacks-to-speed-up-your-browser <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-hacks-to-speed-up-your-browser" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_slow_internet_000054555610.jpg" alt="Woman learning hacks to speed up her browser" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on hacks to speed up your browser, simple ways to build a life you enjoy, and how to become more confident.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.lazymanandmoney.com/10-hacks-to-speed-up-your-browser/">10 Hacks to Speed Up Your Browser</a> &mdash; Many websites have moved away from Adobe Flash; disabling Flash when you don't need it will speed up your browser immensely. Use an add-on to turn Flash on and off with a click of a button. [Lazy Man and Money]</p> <p><a href="http://www.adaringadventure.com/life-coaching/3-simple-ways-to-build-a-life-you-enjoy">3 Simple Ways To Build A Life You Enjoy</a> &mdash; Narrowing down your options will help you make smart decisions that increase your enjoyment and eliminate what isn't important to you. [A Daring Adventure]</p> <p><a href="http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/20-secret-ways-build-confidence/">20 Secret Ways to Build Your Confidence</a> &mdash; Avoid people who make you feel small or unworthy. You don't need them in your life! [Pick The Brain]</p> <p><a href="http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/blog/3-counterintuitive-secrets-about-earning-more/">3 counterintuitive secrets about earning more</a> &mdash; The customers you attract from lowering your prices tend to be more work and are harder to please. [I Will Teach You To Be Rich]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Child-Safe-All-Purpose-Cleaner-34882330">Pet- and Child-Safe All-Purpose Cleaner</a> &mdash; Tea-tree oil + water = a safe and powerful eco-friendly cleaner! [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://money.cnn.com/2015/05/20/retirement/safe-retirement-savings/index.html">3 steps to a safer retirement stash</a> &mdash; Start with a portfolio so you can see exactly what you own. [CNN Money]</p> <p><a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2015/05/19/the-tax-mistake-that-could-hurt-you-now-or-next-year/">The tax mistake that could hurt you now or next year</a> &mdash; You can adjust your withholding at any time of the year, but the sooner you get it done, the more of an impact it'll have on your taxes. [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="http://www.mydollarplan.com/tips-for-a-great-summer-vacation/">4 Tips for a Great Summer Vacation</a> &mdash; Give the hotel or resort a call to see if they have any specials that aren't advertised on the website, and to see what their customer service is like. [My Dollar Plan]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thecentsiblelife.com/2015/05/7-frugal-easy-non-food-party-favor-ideas/">7 Frugal + Easy Non-Food Party Favor Ideas</a> &mdash; You can find bubbles in affordable party packs. Print your own labels to customize this fun party favor! [The Centsible Life]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/10-signs-you-could-be-pregnant">10 Signs You Could Be Pregnant</a> &mdash; Early signs of pregnancy can look like cold symptoms, stress, or PMS, but if you experience multiple items on this list, it may be time for a doctor's visit. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-hacks-to-speed-up-your-browser">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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