Internet http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/176/all en-US 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-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/are-you-wasting-68000-on-gas">Are You Wasting $68,000 on Gas?</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/life-without-tv">Life Without Television</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/10-smart-things-to-do-with-25">10 Smart Things to Do With $25</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-real-value-of-forever-stamps">The Real Value of Forever Stamps</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/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-2 views-row-even"> <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-3 views-row-odd"> <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> <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/30-minutes-to-a-linkedin-profile-that-gets-you-hired">30 Minutes to a LinkedIn Profile That Gets You Hired</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-crucial-job-searching-steps-most-people-skip">6 Crucial Job Searching Steps Most People Skip</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-14"> <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/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-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/50-best-deals-coupons-sites">50 Best Deals and Coupon Sites</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/the-10-best-couponing-apps">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</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-6"> <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/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">5 Best Cash Back Credit Cards</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/6-great-retirement-jobs">6 Great Retirement Jobs</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-my-family-scores-free-travel-with-credit-cards">6 Ways My Family Scores Free Travel With Credit Cards</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-12"> <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-get-mugged">How To Get Mugged</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/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-4 views-row-even"> <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> <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/lock-bumping-your-home-isnt-safe">Lock bumping - your home isn&#039;t safe</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. 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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-free-wi-fi-at-airports-that-charge-for-internet-connections">How to Get Free Wi-Fi at Airports That Charge for Internet Connections</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/life-without-tv">Life Without Television</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-net-neutrality-means-for-your-wallet">What Net Neutrality Means For Your Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Technology best money tips Internet Fri, 22 May 2015 18:00:08 +0000 Amy Lu 1432465 at http://www.wisebread.com What Net Neutrality Means For Your Wallet http://www.wisebread.com/what-net-neutrality-means-for-your-wallet <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-net-neutrality-means-for-your-wallet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/net_neutrality_000039464264.jpg" alt="man learning about what net neutrality means for his wallet" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Just like water and electricity, Internet service is now essentially considered a public utility following the passage of new <a href="http://www.fcc.gov/openinternet">net neutrality rules</a> by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Depending on which camp your views are aligned with, this is either a positive step toward ensuring equal Internet access for everyone, or a bad move that could bring about over-regulation by the government.</p> <p>But, love it or hate it, net neutrality has arrived. And while a drawn-out court battle over the FCC decision will likely delay any real changes to your nightly Netflix consumption, we figure it's worth exploring how net neutrality could eventually impact your wallet.</p> <h2>American Consumers Could Face a Tax Increase of $11 Billion &mdash; Or Zero</h2> <p>According to a Progressive Policy Institute study, net neutrality rules could generate $11 billion in new taxes if regulators apply the existing fees on your telephone bill to your Internet bill.</p> <p>&quot;If these fees are already on the books and Internet service gets reclassified as a public utility, it makes it easier for these state and local authorities to argue [Internet service] should be subject to the same fees,&quot; said Hal Singer, one of the PPI study authors.</p> <p>Some experts, however, say it's unlikely that your Internet bill would reflect your <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/02/net-neutrality-taxes-mike-lee-fact-check">telephone bill fees</a>. Your phone bill, for example, most likely includes a charge for the local emergency 911 service, something that's totally inapplicable to your Internet usage. Following this school of thought, many pro-net neutrality scholars claim the new rules won't lead to any tax increase, while others say it will probably lead to a relatively small tax hike somewhere in the ballpark of $4 billion. PPI's number is already scaled back from its <a href="http://www.progressivepolicy.org/slider/outdated-regulations-will-make-consumers-pay-broadband/">original $15 billion estimate</a>, an indication of just how unstable these early projections are.</p> <h2>Potential Job Cuts in Telecom Industries</h2> <p>A New York University study found that net neutrality could cost the U.S. economy $62 billion and <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/technology/content/jun2010/tc20100616_751009.htm">eliminate half a million jobs</a> over the next five years. This is based on the notion that the new regulations would reduce broadband providers' incentive to invest in high-speed network infrastructure by shrinking their opportunity to bring in revenue.</p> <p>&quot;There will be follow-on effects in the whole ecosystem,&quot; said Bret Swanson, who co-authored the NYU study. &quot;A diminution of investment by the big infrastructure companies will reduce network capacity, new services, and investment by all the ecosystem companies.&quot;</p> <p>But not everyone agrees. For example, the chief technology officer for Sprint, the third-largest U.S. wireless carrier and a proponent of stricter net neutrality rules, has publically said that neither Sprint nor its competitors would <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/11/us-sprint-corp-internet-neutrality-idUSKBN0LF00720150211">reduce investment</a> in light of increased regulation. &quot;Our competitors are going to continue to invest so they are representing a situation that won't play out,&quot; Stephen Bye told Reuters.</p> <p>Clearly, the jury's still out on exactly how much net neutrality will cost consumers like you. Keep your eye on this important new policy and its developments.</p> <p><em>Do you expect the new rules to help your budget &mdash; or hurt it? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-net-neutrality-means-for-your-wallet">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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-free-wi-fi-at-airports-that-charge-for-internet-connections">How to Get Free Wi-Fi at Airports That Charge for Internet Connections</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/life-without-tv">Life Without Television</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-will-the-comcastnbc-merger-really-affect-you">How Will The Comcast/NBC Merger Really Affect You?</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/beware-the-nasty-secret-of-the-craigslist-free-section">Beware, The Nasty Secret Of The Craigslist Free Section</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Financial News Technology bills Internet job cuts Net Neutrality tax increases Wed, 01 Apr 2015 09:00:15 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1359630 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Silly Internet Mistakes You Need to Stop Making Today http://www.wisebread.com/10-silly-internet-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-silly-internet-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-browsing-internet-tablet-Dollarphotoclub_72732966.jpg" alt="woman browsing tablet" title="woman browsing tablet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The Internet is a wonderful thing:</p> <ul> <li>It allows you to videochat with grandma in real time.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>It gives you free access to the <a href="http://archive.org/details/library_of_congress">Library of Congress</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>It empowers you to do financial transactions without visiting the bank.</li> </ul> <p>However, it can also make you spend three hours watching <a href="http://www.lolcats.com">LOLCats</a>. Make smart use of your web access and avoid these 10 little Internet mistakes.</p> <h2>1. Taking Notes on Your Computer</h2> <p>All computer makers are trying to convince us that their products are the &quot;next big thing.&quot; However, pen and paper still beat any digital device at <a href="http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/releases/take-notes-by-hand-for-better-long-term-comprehension.html">taking notes for better long-term comprehension</a>.</p> <p>Studies show that when people take notes on laptops, they tend to <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/05/to-remember-a-lecture-better-take-notes-by-hand/361478/">transcribe what they're hearing without thinking about the actual content</a>. Note takers that write longhand are better at remembering the content because they have to process the content.</p> <p>This doesn't mean that you have to give up on all digital devices. You can get the best of both worlds by using a tablet that allows you to write longhand and keep a digital copy of your notes.</p> <h2>2. Reading Too Much Email</h2> <p>Email is a major time thief. It steals around <a href="http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/high_tech_telecoms_internet/the_social_economy">13 hours from your week</a> every week. If you were to gain back just five hours out of those 13 spent on checking email and allocate them to every workday, you would be able to accomplish more every workday.</p> <p>Try one or more of these tricks to reduce your time spent on email.</p> <ul> <li>Gmail users, install the <a href="http://inboxpause.com/">Inbox Pause plugin</a> to pause new emails arriving to your inbox and avoid distractions.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Reduce the number of times you check email a day and use <a href="http://fourhourworkweek.com/2007/03/22/how-to-check-e-mail-twice-a-day-or-once-every-10-days/">smart autoresponders to ask people to accept your policy</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Avoid setting up meeting times over email. How many &quot;Re:re:re:re:fw:re:fw:re: Meeting time&quot; emails do you answer per day? Pick up the phone or walk over to your co-worker's cubicle, and get it done.</li> </ul> <h2>3. Not Keeping a List of Action Items</h2> <p>Don't be like <a href="http://youtu.be/yvbsJ8brtN4">Alice in Wonderland</a>: If you don't know where are you are going, it doesn't really matter which way you go. And that's how you end up stuck in Twitter, Instagram, or Words with Friends all day. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-time-saving-hacks-from-the-worlds-busiest-people?ref=seealso">11 Time Saving Hacks From the World's Busiest People)</a></p> <p>You need to be aware of what needs to get done <em>today</em>. The most productive people in the world, including Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and celebrity chef Bobby Flay, map out what they want to accomplish every day. This list forces you to focus and get stuff done.</p> <p>Keep your list in front of you throughout the day and you'll keep those Internet distractions in check.</p> <h2>4. Spending Too Much Time Online</h2> <p>Go out and play. Why?</p> <ul> <li>Turns out that <a href="http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-internet-habits-say-about-mental-health/">using the Internet in excess</a> is related to having depressive tendencies. <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Quickly switching between websites <em>decreases</em> your ability to experience emotions as you get used to chasing instant gratification.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Too much online chatting and emailing decreases your ability to pick up on verbal and body cues in real life conversations.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Rely too much on Google and you'll develop <a href="http://www.edudemic.com/google-memory/">decreased memory capabilities</a>.</li> </ul> <p>Take the time to unplug. Your body, mind, and social life will thank you.</p> <h2>5. Following an Ex Online</h2> <p>Let. It. Go.</p> <p>There's a good reason why you broke up with that person, even if you may have forgotten it! Social media provide us an &quot;opportunity&quot; to keep tabs on our exes, but there's nothing good that will come out of it.</p> <p>A study reveals that <a href="http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/cyber.2012.0125">Facebook-stalking your ex</a> leads to a variety of negative feelings, sexual desire, longing for your ex, and lower personal growth. The more that you check on your old flame online, the harder it is for your to move on.</p> <h2>6. Replacing Your Doctor With WebMD</h2> <p>Medical sites, such as WebMD.com and MDAdvice.com, are great for gathering information. However, those sites shouldn't replace your doctor.</p> <p><a href="http://jscms.jrn.columbia.edu/cns/2007-03-13/tracy-medicalparanoia.html">Doctors across the country</a> report that their patients are arriving at false diagnoses based on those sites and often taking the wrong course of action. Remember that the Internet is a tool and, as such, it can't make up for years and years of study and professional experience.</p> <p>It is okay to use medical advice sites as research tools &mdash; it's not ok to use those sites to self-diagnose. False diagnoses create unnecessary anxiety and may cause physical harm to your loved ones or yourself. Seek the advice of a certified health professional.</p> <h2>7. Making Private Information Public</h2> <p>If anybody can find online&hellip;</p> <ul> <li>Your birth date;</li> <li>The name of your first pet;</li> <li>The name of the street of your first home;</li> <li>Your mother's maiden name; or</li> <li>The make and model of your first car&hellip;</li> </ul> <p>&hellip;then you're increasing the chances of somebody hacking your online accounts.</p> <p>Software giant Microsoft found that strangers have a 13% chance of <a href="http://research.microsoft.com/pubs/79594/oakland09.pdf">guessing the answers to security questions</a> within five attempts. The more information about yourself that you make available online, the greater the chance strangers (not just rocket-scientist hackers!) will get a hold of your online accounts.</p> <h2>8. Using the Same Password for Everything</h2> <p>Up to <a href="https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2013/04/23/users-same-password-most-websites/">55% of Internet users the same password</a> for their most visited websites.</p> <p>The password to your Instagram account can't be the same as the one for your online banking. One leads to your pictures, the other one to your money. Your life savings deserve better protection than &quot;password123.&quot; It seems like common sense, but, unfortunately, the <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-25-most-common-passwords-of-2013/">top three passwords of 2013</a> were &quot;123456,&quot; &quot;password,&quot; and &quot;12345678.&quot;</p> <p>Create strong passwords by using at least eight characters, including numbers, applying CamelCase, and avoiding full words. Also, update your passwords on a regular basis.</p> <h2>9. Posting Inappropriate Things on Social Media</h2> <ul> <li>A <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/id/29796962/ns/technology_and_science-tech_and_gadgets/">job applicant lost a big job opportunity because of a dumb tweet</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>A <a href="http://www.georgianewsday.com/news/61845-teacher-ashley-payne-fired-for-posting-picture-of-herself-holding-beer-on-facebook.html">high school teacher was fired</a> for posting pics showing alcohol consumption on Facebook.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>An university professor was fired due to some <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/lara-logan-attacked-nir-rosen-twitter-2011-2">outlandish remarks on Twitter</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>A nurse was fired from a hospital for posting an <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Health/video/nurse-fired-instagram-post-24464137">ER photo on Instagram</a>.</li> </ul> <p>Think twice before you post anything on social media, it may cost you your job. Make sure to check your employer's policies on use of social media, even during non-work hours.</p> <h2>10. Not Updating Settings for In-App Purchases</h2> <p>Free is not always free. Some free apps may cost more than you think.</p> <ul> <li>A 15-year old boy spent <a href="http://www.ign.com/articles/2014/10/03/boy-spends-over-46000-in-free-to-play-game">over $46,000 in app-purchases in a game</a>.</li> <li>A 5-year old boy spent <a href="http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1550535">$2,550 in the game Zombies vs Ninja</a>.</li> <li>A free virtual game in the Amazon Appstore had <a href="http://www.pcworld.com/article/2452920/amazon-allowed-kids-to-spend-millions-on-inapp-purchases-ftc-says.html">one-time in-app purchases of up to $99.99</a>.</li> </ul> <p>There are so many in-app purchases out there that in 2014 Apple agreed to settle with the FTC charges for kid's in-app purchases without parental consent by paying a <a href="http://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2014/01/apple-inc-will-provide-full-consumer-refunds-least-325-million">minimum of $32.5 million</a> to those affected.</p> <p>Prevent any unintentional charges from your children (or yourself!) to your credit card from in-app purchases by updating these settings on your smartphone:</p> <ul> <li>Require a password for all in-app purchases;</li> <li>Create a strong password (see #8 in this list);</li> <li>Lock the screen of your phone with a password (if you have small children);</li> <li>Create a separate profile on your down device for your children (if available); and</li> <li>Educate your children about when it's ok to make in-app purchase.</li> </ul> <p><em>What are the worst Internet mistakes you've made? Share them 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/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-silly-internet-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making-today">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/6-twitter-updates-that-are-making-you-look-dumb">6 Twitter Updates That Are Making You Look Dumb</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/7-apps-for-the-tech-challenged-traveler">7 Apps for the Tech-Challenged Traveler</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-save-on-smartphone-costs-while-traveling">8 Ways to Save on Smartphone Costs While Traveling</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/the-5-best-waterproof-laptop-cases">The 5 Best Waterproof Laptop Cases</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> Personal Development Technology embarrassing Internet social media technology Wed, 10 Dec 2014 12:00:08 +0000 Damian Davila 1265969 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Slash the Cost of Wi-Fi When You Travel http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-slash-the-cost-of-wi-fi-when-you-travel <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-slash-the-cost-of-wi-fi-when-you-travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/airport-laptop-177027865-small.jpg" alt="laptop airport" title="laptop airport" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you spend most of your time either at home or at the office, you probably take your Wi-Fi signal for granted. Then when you travel, suddenly connecting to a Wi-Fi network becomes a privilege. Sometimes you can enjoy it for free; at other times you have to pay high premiums for it. But with a little bit of planning, you can get free or cheap Wi-Fi almost anywhere. Here's how. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>Look for Free Hotel Wi-Fi</h2> <p>Many hotels have wisened up to the fact that Wi-Fi is a necessity for many travelers. Some hotels choose to use this information to charge a fee for Wi-Fi use and earn a short-term profit; others choose to provide the service for free and get long-term business.</p> <p>When you book a hotel, pay attention to the amenities included. Some hotels charge for Wi-Fi access by the hour or by the night, so it can get expensive quickly. Even if you have to pay a higher nightly rate for a hotel with free Wi-Fi, it may be worth the price.</p> <h2>Join a Hotel Loyalty Program</h2> <p>Some hotel loyalty programs provide free Wi-Fi for members. Depending on the hotel chain, you may have to accumulate a minimum number of points, stay a minimum number of nights, or acquire a certain elite status to enjoy this perk. Some programs only require you to join for free to get free Wi-Fi. For example, Omni Resorts &amp; Hotels and InterContinental Hotels Group both charge Wi-Fi fees, but let even basic members of their loyalty programs enjoy it for free.</p> <h2>Download Before You Leave Home</h2> <p>Travel involves a lot of idle time, like when you're waiting for a boarding call or sitting on a plane. If you only need Wi-Fi for entertainment, you can avoid Wi-Fi fees at airports and on planes by downloading videos and reading materials ahead of time. You may even be able to get some work done offline using only Microsoft Office programs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-keep-your-laptop-safe-when-traveling?ref=seealso">10 Ways to Keep Your Laptop Safe While Traveling</a>)</p> <p>I personally like to use digital maps to find my way when I travel. Because I don't always have a data connection, Google Maps' offline features often come in handy. I simply load the part of the map I need when I have Wi-Fi connection, then have Google Maps save it on my smartphone.</p> <h2>Tether to Your Smartphone</h2> <p>If you travel to a domestic location where you're not charged any roaming fees, make full use of your smartphone data connection. Before you travel, check if your smartphone supports tethering, which allows other devices to connect to your phone's data network. It's a bit like having your own little Wi-Fi router.</p> <p>All you have to do is enable tethering on your phone, then use your other device to find and connect to the phone's Wi-Fi network. Don't forget to contact your phone provider before you travel to find out if there are any extra fees to use this feature.</p> <p>If you travel abroad, you may still be able to tether a device to your phone, but the roaming fees may make it so expensive that you'd be better off paying for the hotel Wi-Fi. Look into using a local SIM card in an unlocked phone to enjoy local tethering rates.</p> <h2>Get a USB Modem</h2> <p>If you travel a lot, you can consider getting a dedicated device to connect to the Internet. One option is a USB modem, which is a compact stick that plugs into your laptop or tablet. You usually have to install special software on your device to use a USB modem, but it's portable and easy to use after your first time connecting to the Internet with it.</p> <p>You also need a data plan to use a USB modem, but it could be cheaper than what hotels charge if you travel within the country. If you travel abroad, you may be able to save some money by getting a local data plan.</p> <h2>Get a Mobile Hotspot</h2> <p>A mobile hotspot works in a similar way as a USB modem. Known as &quot;Mi-Fi,&quot; this device is usually more robust than just a smartphone or a USB modem, with a longer-lasting battery and the ability to connect multiple devices at once. It's also not necessary to install special software to connect to the Internet with a Mi-Fi. You can probably get a Mi-Fi device for free or at a deep discount if you sign up for a data plan contract.</p> <h2>Find Free Public Wi-Fi</h2> <p>If none of the above options seem practical for you, there are often public Wi-Fi networks you can use.</p> <p>Coffee shops are your best bet, but more and more businesses are offering free Wi-Fi access. You may be able to get free Wi-Fi at fast food restaurants, grocery stores, bookstores, and even gas stations. Just look for a Wi-Fi sign at the entrance.</p> <p>Public spaces in big cities may also provide free Wi-Fi access. For example, Taipei has free public Wi-Fi at train stations, libraries, hospitals, malls, and even some commercial and residential areas. Research your travel destination beforehand to see if the local government provides this service and where.</p> <p><em>Where do you go for Wi-Fi access when you travel? Please share your connection in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/deia-b">Deia B</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-slash-the-cost-of-wi-fi-when-you-travel">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-4"> <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-apps-for-the-tech-challenged-traveler">7 Apps for the Tech-Challenged Traveler</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/8-ways-to-save-on-smartphone-costs-while-traveling">8 Ways to Save on Smartphone Costs While Traveling</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-get-free-wi-fi-at-airports-that-charge-for-internet-connections">How to Get Free Wi-Fi at Airports That Charge for Internet Connections</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-minimize-cell-phone-charges-when-you-travel-abroad">How to Minimize Cell Phone Charges When You Travel Abroad</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/the-5-millennial-money-apps-everyone-should-use">The 5 Millennial Money Apps Everyone Should Use</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Technology Travel free wi-fi Internet SIM card smartphone wi-fi Wed, 02 Jul 2014 11:00:05 +0000 Deia B 1151054 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Tools That Stop Computer Distractions and Help You Stay on Task http://www.wisebread.com/6-tools-that-stop-computer-distractions-and-help-you-stay-on-task <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-tools-that-stop-computer-distractions-and-help-you-stay-on-task" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/social-media-5334833-small.jpg" alt="woman using laptop" title="woman using laptop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It&#39;s hard to focus while working on a computer. With social networks, internet calls, instant messages, pop ups, and email notifications, distractions can occur every few seconds. And what&#39;s worse &mdash; even if you&#39;re not using a computer, they can still distract you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-areas-where-you-can-eliminate-distractions">6 Areas to Eliminate Distractions</a>)</p> <p>According to a <a href="http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/parenting/back-to-school/laptops-in-class-lowers-students-grades-canadian-study/article13759430/">Canadian study</a> of students using laptops in a classroom, not only did the students using the computers receive lower grades, but students seated <em>near</em> computers also received lower grades.</p> <p>The bottom line is that in order to stay focused, you need to make a conscious effort. Luckily, there several websites and applications dedicated to helping you maintain focus and improve productivity while working on a computer. Here are six to get you started. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stay-focused-at-work">How to Stay Focused at Work</a>)</p> <h2>1. Simpleology</h2> <p><a href="http://www.simpleology.com/">Simpleology</a> is an easy-to-use online productivity tool. While there are several different &mdash; and initially overwhelming &mdash; features, the following three provide the biggest bang for your buck:</p> <p><strong>Browser Bodyguard</strong></p> <p>Is Facebook getting in the way of your productivity? Join the club. But with Simpleology&#39;s Browser Bodyguard you can &quot;block&quot; your access to these sites with the click of a button.</p> <p><strong>Simpleology Browser Add-on</strong></p> <p>With this simple Chrome extension you&#39;ll (almost) never get distracted again. When you&#39;re working and a distracting idea pops into your head (e.g., what to buy at the store, what you need to do tomorrow, etc.) simply type that into your browser bar and Simpleology saves it for your &quot;Start My Day&quot; box the following day. And speaking of which&hellip;</p> <p><strong>Start My Day</strong></p> <p>Each morning you empty your mind into Simpleology. Then you can review each idea/task (along with those you entered yesterday via the Browser Add-on) and choose which ones you&#39;ll get done today. While this seems like an obvious solution, the proof is in the pudding. It works. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-essential-life-hacks-that-will-save-you-time-in-the-morning">15 Hacks That Save You Time in the Morning</a>)</p> <p><strong>What you need to do:</strong> Create a <a href="http://www.simpleology.com/">Simpleology</a> account and download the Browser Add-on for either Chrome or Firefox. Note: To get the free version, <a href="http://support.constructzero.com/">send a support request</a>, and they&#39;ll set you up.</p> <h2>2. Evernote</h2> <p><a href="http://evernote.com/">Evernote</a> lets you quickly and easily &quot;remember everything across all the computers, phones and tablets you use&quot; by saving notes, images, web pages, emails, and just about anything else into one central location. You can create to-do lists, training documents, study notes &mdash; the list is endless. There is also another similar app called <a href="http://getpocket.com/">Pocket</a>.</p> <p><strong>What you need to do: </strong>Sign up for <a href="http://evernote.com/">Evernote</a> (free), and either download the software to your computer or get the Chrome extension. <a href="http://evernote.com/evernote/guide">Watch the guides</a> to get started.</p> <h2>3. Inbox Pause</h2> <p>Gmail is great, but seeing a neverending flood of emails is distracting. While an obvious solution would be to close your email, you may need to refer to previous emails to ensure your tasks get done.</p> <p>Enter <a href="http://inboxpause.com/">Inbox Pause</a>, a simple Chrome Extension which allows you to pause incoming mail with the click of a button. Simply pause your inbox, answer your existing emails, and move on to your next task.</p> <p><strong>What you need to do:</strong> Install the <a href="https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/inbox-pause/illgajkjilbddcllilfobfbbgmlfkkeh?hl=en">Chrome extension</a> (free).</p> <h2>4. Timers</h2> <p>The <a href="http://pomodorotechnique.com/">Pomodoro Technique</a> is a famous time management technique that involves the use of timers to enhance your focus. (Fun fact: it was named after the tomato shaped Pomodoro kitchen timer. &quot;Pomodoro&quot; means tomato in Italian.)</p> <p>The technique is simple and powerful. Choose your task, set the timer for 25 minutes, and work on that task for 25 minutes. At the end of 25 minutes, take a break for 3-5 minutes (regardless of whether or not you finished your task). Then continue working.</p> <p>While kitchen timers work, you can easily install a timer on your browser.</p> <p><strong>What you need to do:</strong> Read up on <a href="http://pomodorotechnique.com/get-started/">the technique</a> and Install a timer for <a href="https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/timer/hepmlgghomccjinhcnkkikjpgkjibglj?hl=en">Chrome</a> or<a href="https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/simple-timer/"> Firefox</a>.</p> <h2>5. LastPass</h2> <p>Trying to remember passwords is a hassle. Having to look up passwords or click &quot;Forgot my password&quot;and setting up a new one is a waste of time.</p> <p>Enter <a href="https://lastpass.com/">LastPass</a> &mdash; a website that saves your usernames and passwords, then automatically fills them in the next time you visit a website. The best part is that your passwords are stored online and are encrypted; you can access your passwords from any computer and your details are secure allowing you to share passwords with other people (co-workers, contractors, friends, and family) without giving them your actual password. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-choose-a-better-password">How to Choose a Great Password</a>)</p> <p><strong>What you need to do:</strong> Sign up for a <a href="https://lastpass.com/">LastPass</a> account and install the browser extensions.</p> <h2>6. Music</h2> <p>So what&#39;s the <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5365012/the-best-sounds-for-getting-work-done">best music for getting work done</a>? Here are some good selections for when you need to focus:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Classical:</strong> Load up your <a href="http://www.pandora.com">Pandora</a> with classical composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, and Fryderyk Chopin (what I&#39;m listening to now).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Ambient:</strong> Brian Eno is known as the pioneer of ambient music, but newer artists such as The Orb and Aphex Twin produce great background music.</li> </ul> <p>If you really need to focus, consider using <a href="https://www.focusatwill.com">Focus@Will</a>, a &quot;new neuroscience based music service that helps you focus, reduce distractions and retain information when working, studying, writing and reading. The technology is based on hard science and proven to be extremely effective at extending your attention span.&quot;</p> <p>Even though the internet is full of distractions, you don&#39;t have to play the victim. Use these six tools to help you maintain focus and improve your productivity. For more tools, see all <a href="https://chrome.google.com/webstore/category/app/7-productivity">the productivity apps</a> in Google Chrome.</p> <p><em>What tools help you maintain focus while working on a computer? Leave a comment below!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/darcie-connell">Darcie Connell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tools-that-stop-computer-distractions-and-help-you-stay-on-task">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/the-simple-way-to-make-multitasking-actually-work">The Simple Way to Make Multitasking Actually Work</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-easy-way-to-cure-chronic-procrastination-you-should-try-now">The Easy Way to Cure Chronic Procrastination You Should Try Now</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-reasons-you-cant-focus-and-how-to-fix-it-now">12 Reasons You Can&#039;t Focus — And How to Fix It Now</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/fifteen-minutes-of">Fifteen Minutes of ...</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/kill-boredom-with-these-34-fun-and-productive-projects">Kill Boredom With These 34 Fun and Productive Projects</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Productivity concentration distraction flow focus Internet productivity Tue, 08 Oct 2013 10:00:03 +0000 Darcie Connell 994620 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Save on Cable and Internet http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-save-on-cable-and-internet <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-save-on-cable-and-internet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tv-4829934-small.jpg" alt="watching tv" title="watching tv" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></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 awesome articles on ways to save on cable and internet, frugal birthday parties for kids, and steps before tying the knot.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://budgetandthebeach.com/2013/10/03/4-ways-to-save-on-cable-and-internet-without-losing-it/">4 Ways to Save on Cable and Internet Without Losing It</a> &mdash; Cutting extras off your cable and internet packages can help you save money. [Budget and the Beach]</p> <p><a href="http://www.frugalrules.com/frugal-birthday-parties-kids/">Frugal Birthday Parties for Kids</a> &mdash; To keep your child's birthday party frugal, check for group rates at potential venues. [Frugal Rules]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thefreefinancialadvisor.com/5-steps-to-take-before-getting-married/">5 Steps Before Tying the Knot</a> &mdash; Before you tie the knot, create a debt strategy with your fiance. [The Free Financial Advisor]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thedebtmyth.com/avoid-the-gift-of-holiday-debt/">Avoid the &quot;Gift&quot; of Holiday Debt</a> &mdash; Avoid the &quot;gift&quot; of holiday debt this holiday season by figuring out how much you can afford to spend, then sticking to that number. [The Debt Myth]</p> <p><a href="http://www.onesmartdollar.com/how-to-rise-to-the-top-of-your-game/">How to Rise to the Top of Your Game</a> &mdash; If you want to be successful, surround yourself with people who behave better than you so you drift in the same direction they are headed. [One Smart Dollar]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2013/10/03/6-steps-to-surviving-a-job-furlough/">6 Steps to Surviving a Job Furlough</a> &mdash; To survive a job furlough, record and tally your expenses daily. [Money Talks News]</p> <p><a href="http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/4-red-flags-indicating-bad-401k-plan.html">4 red flags of a bad 401(k) plan</a> &mdash; Does your 401(k) plan have too many choices? It may not be a good plan. [Bargaineering]</p> <p><a href="http://www.creditsesame.com/blog/6-money-mistakes-that-can-derail-your-marriage/">6 Money Mistakes That Can Derail Your Marriage</a> &mdash; Don't make the money mistake of trying to keep up with the Joneses. It can derail your marriage. [Credit Sesame]</p> <p><a href="http://kiplinger.com/article/spending/T007-C000-S002-why-frugality-is-liberating.html">Why Frugality is Liberating</a> &mdash; Frugality is liberating because it helps you be able to spend money on what you really want to spend money on. [Kiplinger]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/prenatal-diagnosis-planning-a-celebration-of-life-baby-shower">Prenatal Diagnosis: Planning a Celebration of Life Baby Shower</a> &mdash; If a friend of yours has received a bad prenatal diagnosis for their child, consider giving them a celebration of life baby shower. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-save-on-cable-and-internet">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-get-the-greenest-lawn-on-the-block-naturally">How to Get the Greenest Lawn on the Block — Naturally</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/secret-lawn-tonic-recipe-from-golf-course-groundskeeper">Secret Lawn Tonic Recipe From Golf Course Groundskeeper</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/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">10 Really Easy Ways to Unclog Drains</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/7-ways-to-decorate-an-apartment-without-losing-your-deposit">7 Ways to Decorate an Apartment Without Losing Your Deposit</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-habits-of-highly-frugal-people">7 Habits of Highly Frugal People</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home best money tips cable Internet saving Mon, 07 Oct 2013 09:48:03 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 994616 at http://www.wisebread.com What Is SOPA, and How Will It Affect You? http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-sopa-and-how-will-it-affect-you-0 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-is-sopa-and-how-will-it-affect-you-0" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3992988737_bebac07fb4_z.jpg" alt="SOPA " title="SOPA " class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="157" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You may have heard a lot of talk lately about SOPA (which stands for the Stop Online Piracy Act). It started out as whispers between people on the Internet, now it&rsquo;s getting major pushback from sites as large as AOL, Yahoo!, eBay, LinkedIn, Craigslist, and Reddit. And today, January 18<sup>th</sup>, many sites are planning to &ldquo;strike&rdquo; to show their disapproval of the bill, including Wikipedia, Imgur, and even the mighty Google. But what is SOPA? And if it passes in its current form, how will it change life as you know it? Here&rsquo;s a quick SOPA 101.</p> <p><em>[Please note, at the time of writing this article, some elements of the SOPA bill are supposedly being shelved. Many say this is simply a tactic to draw heat away from the subject, but nothing is concrete yet. And while SOPA may be going away, it may come back again under a different name. You can<a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/johngaudiosi/2012/01/16/obama-says-so-long-sopa-killing-controversial-internet-piracy-legislation/"> read more here</a>.</em>]</p> <h3>What Is SOPA? Here&rsquo;s a Very Simple Rundown</h3> <p>The Stop Online Piracy Act (bill H.R. 3261) was introduced by Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) to the House of Representative on October 26<sup>th</sup> 2011. The premise of the bill is that it will stop copyright infringement (pirated music, videos, games, and so on) with the use of massive penalties and criminal proceedings. These include prison terms (up to five years), website shutdowns, barring search engines from linking to sites, and cutting off payment methods like PayPal.</p> <p>On the surface, it seems like a good idea. I don&rsquo;t like piracy &mdash; I buy my movies on Blu-Ray, I pay for music, and I download games legally through sites like Steam. But if this were just about piracy, there wouldn&rsquo;t be such a huge uproar about it. The sad fact is, if this legislation is passed in its current state, it would be like stopping every ship from sailing in the oceans because 0.00001% of them are carrying illegal cargo. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-ways-to-listen-to-music-for-free-or-cheap">New, Legal Ways to Listen to Music for Free or Cheap</a>)</p> <h3>Is This the Same as PIPA?</h3> <p>No, although they are very much related and the consequences are similar. PIPA stands for the Protect IP Act, and was introduced way back in May of 2011. PIPA itself is a rehash of an older, failed legislation from 2010 called COICA (Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act).</p> <p>Like SOPA, PIPA gives U.S. corporations and the U.S. government enormous power over the Internet. With PIPA in place, they would have the power to force your Internet service providers (ISP) to block access to any websites &ldquo;they believe&rdquo; are infringing copyright. And as this is all a very grey area, the ISPs will always err on the side of extreme caution. Which equates to &ldquo;Oh, you don&rsquo;t like that? No worries, it&rsquo;s gone.&rdquo;</p> <p>But that&rsquo;s just the beginning. They could also forcibly remove advertising from those sites (their primary source of income), sue websites that link to them, and sue websites that have not done a good job of enforcing the strict new regulations.</p> <p>In a nutshell, so many websites are going to be so afraid of being sued, they will simply block content from almost every source. In conjunction with SOPA, it&rsquo;s a double-whammy that aims to give corporations and the government complete control of the Internet. Talk about Big Brother is watching you.</p> <h3>The Deeper Ramifications of SOPA</h3> <p>Unlike PIPA, which is more targeted, the building blocks of SOPA are very broad. It will make it possible to clamp down on an enormous chunk of the Internet, destroying the free exchange of information that has made the Internet what it is today. Many organizations, like The Guardian, are calling it &ldquo;The Great American Firewall.&rdquo;</p> <p>Sites like Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Reddit could cease to exist as you know them today. Right now, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides a safe harbor for these sites. They remove content if it is found to be infringing upon copyright. It&rsquo;s the honor system, and they honor it. But if SOPA passes, there will be no good faith system. Websites will be monitored and could be shut down instantly when an infringement occurs. No business could operate like that.</p> <p>And due to the far-reaching legal liabilities they are being opened up to, many popular sites could cease to exist, period. It just wouldn&rsquo;t be possible to monitor the kind of content they have coming in from millions of people, daily.</p> <p>Any type of content that is believed to be an infringement of copyright could result in court orders, fines, and jail time. At the very least, videos and images that you now have access to, even something as harmless as a link to a funny clip from the Golden Globes or a music video you like, could be immediately pulled due to copyright infringement.</p> <h3>So, What&rsquo;s the Worst That Can Happen?</h3> <p>Opponents to the bill, and there are many, say that this is going to destroy freedom of speech on the Internet and also sabotage the information superhighway that makes the Internet possible. That all sounds like pie-in-the-sky language without examples, so let&rsquo;s bring it down to Earth.</p> <p>Here are some possible outcomes of SOPA and PIPA, based on the language of the current bill:</p> <ul> <li>Posting clips of TV shows, movies, or music videos would be a criminal offense! So would sharing them. That would destroy sites like YouTube, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-make-facebook-productive">Facebook</a>, Twitter, Reddit, and many more. They would simply become a framework for &ldquo;officially licensed&rdquo; videos, and corporations cannot possibly provide the same amount of usable content that people all over the world can.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Streaming copyrighted content could put you behind bars for five years. So, if you stream ANYTHING on your own website that could be considered a copyright infringement, you&rsquo;re in big trouble. And remember, this is all open to interpretation. The song &quot;Happy Birthday to You&quot; is owned by Warner Music Group (they earn $2 million per year in royalties). Streaming a video of you singing to your one-year-old will be punishable by law. That&rsquo;s not a joke.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Karaoke videos and clips would also be illegal, as they are technically cover versions of songs that have a copyright.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Many thousands of jobs will be lost. With sites shutting down to avoid petty litigation and lawsuits, jobs will vanish in record time. The affect this could have on the economy, which is already in a rotten state, could be devastating.</li> </ul> <h3>What Can You Do to Stop SOPA and PIPA?</h3> <p>Vote with your dollars, and pressure your elected officials. <a href="http://theoriesofconspiracy.com/2011/11/list-of-major-companies-supporting-sopa.htm">There&rsquo;s a massive list of companies here that support the bill. </a>Stop buying their products and services. And then let people in government know how bad this will be. This is an election year, no one wants to get on the wrong side of voters.</p> <p>Hopefully, this will really go away and we can find another way to stop the real problem &mdash; genuine pirates who cost the movie, music, and television industries millions of dollars. But as sure as night follows day, they will adapt to any new legislation quickly and everything will be business as usual for them. It&rsquo;s us, the regular Joes, who will suffer.</p> <h3>Further Reading</h3> <ul> <li><a href="http://blog.reddit.com/2012/01/technical-examination-of-sopa-and.html">Reddit.com&rsquo;s technical examination of SOPA and PIPA</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBtr4aZtmrQ">SOPA explained in 2 minutes by The Guardian</a></li> <li><a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stop_Online_Piracy_Act">Stop Online Piracy Act - Wikipedia</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.theverge.com/2011/12/22/2648219/stop-online-piracy-act-sopa-what-is-it">The Verge &ndash; What is SOPA and How Does It Work?</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.1stwebdesigner.com/design/how-sopa-pipa-can-affect-you/">How SOPA Can Affect You</a>&nbsp;</li> </ul> <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/what-is-sopa-and-how-will-it-affect-you-0">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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-ssn-can-now-be-accurately-guessed-using-date-and-place-of-birth">Your SSN Can Now Be Accurately Guessed Using Date and Place of Birth</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/attempts-to-escape-the-clutches-of-online-data-aggregators">Attempts to Escape the Clutches of Online Data Aggregators</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-free-wi-fi-at-airports-that-charge-for-internet-connections">How to Get Free Wi-Fi at Airports That Charge for Internet Connections</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/life-without-tv">Life Without Television</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Technology Congress Internet Online piracy SOPA Wed, 18 Jan 2012 17:10:16 +0000 Paul Michael 869889 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways the Internet Is Hurting Your Finances http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-the-internet-is-hurting-your-finances <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-the-internet-is-hurting-your-finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/guy_on_computer.jpg" alt="Guy using a laptop" title="Guy using a laptop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="144" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Consumers can find a lot of places to put the blame for an ongoing bad financial situation, but not all are brave enough to point the finger at themselves. While the Internet does have the resources to help you fill in some blanks on money management, it can also be part of the reason you are not handling your finances as efficiently as you should be. Here are four ways the Internet can hurt your overall financial stability. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-finances-fragile">Are Your Finances Fragile?</a>)</p> <h2>1. Procrastination</h2> <p>Researchers have estimated that adults spend, on average, five hours a day surfing the web. This is five hours people could be using for other things, like updating their filing, reconciling a checkbook, or checking credit scores. Procrastination is often disguised by other excuses like &quot;I&rsquo;m too busy&quot; and &quot;I just don&rsquo;t have the time to keep up.&quot; Excuses are a part of the procrastination package. Sure, it&rsquo;s good to check your accounts online, but updating your Facebook with exciting hour-by-hour tidbits of your life when your financial house is in disorder may signal the need for reprioritizing your life.</p> <h2>2. Social Media Brags</h2> <p>Speaking of Facebook, you may not truly realize how your social media posts are affecting your money matters. Everyone from lenders to <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128464415">bill collectors</a> are using popular social media sites to see what you are up to these days, especially if you&rsquo;ve been hard to track down otherwise. Social media pages can reveal a lot about you to a lender and potential employers, so it is very wise to think before you type. If you are running late with bill payments but bragging about the new living room set you just paid $2,000 for, collection efforts may get a lot more aggressive. Don&rsquo;t be fooled by privacy settings you think will actually keep the world out of your business. People seeking information about you have a lot of resources these days.</p> <h2>3. Information Overload</h2> <p>Consumers who are perplexed by their own financial situation may turn to the Internet to get advice. While there is a ton of excellent, free information online that can make a difference in your money-management habits, since there is no one-size-fits-all solution, all this information can create a totally overwhelming situation and open the door, once again, for procrastinating.</p> <p>If you can fine-tune your research to specific topics within the personal finance world, though, you can find helpful information to use as a guide. Find a few reputable websites that cover the topics you feel you want to learn more about. Read a few posts to find a site with a style that suits your needs. You can also remove the Internet from the equation for awhile and take a course on personal finance basics, so you have the fundamentals to keep yourself on track. If there are no courses offered locally, consider meeting with a debt counselor to sort out your basic money management issues.</p> <h2>4. Impulse Buying</h2> <p>There are bargains galore on nearly any retail site you come across. The deals may be great, but these opportunities are often too hard to resist, leading consumers into impulse decisions and knee-jerk spending. While those new handbags or exclusive tool sets may be on clearance for a limited time only, the reality is you probably do not need them, can&rsquo;t afford them, or do not have the fortitude to close the window fast enough. Impulsive spending from the comfort of your own home is far too convenient &mdash; even if your budget says no, and even if you are already being swallowed by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-places-to-start-your-debt-management-crusade">debt problems</a>.</p> <p>The Internet can be a great go-to place for tips and information, but it is up to you to police your own Internet use in relation to your money matters. There is no technology that will perfect your financial stability without 100% participation from you.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tisha-tolar">Tisha Tolar</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-the-internet-is-hurting-your-finances">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-7"> <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-reasons-why-buying-groceries-online-is-great">3 Reasons Why Buying Groceries Online Is Great</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/there-is-no-tomorrow">There is no Tomorrow.</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/is-it-the-end-of-6-real-estate-commissions">Is It the End of 6% Real Estate Commissions?</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/do-you-love-money-or-hate-it-either-way-youre-sick">Do You Love Money or Hate It? Either Way, You&#039;re Sick.</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/9-financial-moves-you-will-always-regret">9 Financial Moves You Will Always Regret</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance impulse buying Internet online shopping procrastination Fri, 21 Oct 2011 16:03:49 +0000 Tisha Tolar 734755 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Alternatives to Cable TV That Will Keep You Entertained http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternatives-to-cable-tv-that-will-keep-you-entertained <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-alternatives-to-cable-tv-that-will-keep-you-entertained" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000009857559Small.jpg" alt="Couple watching TV" title="Couple watching TV" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>According to the <a href="http://www.smartmoney.com/spending/technology/how-to-watch-tv-and-movies-online-cheap-1298487553896/">SmartMoney</a>, nearly 144 million consumers watch videos online.</p> <p>A recent experiment by <a href="http://www.walletpop.com/2011/02/22/savings-experiment-cutting-the-cord-on-cable-tvs-pricey-bill/">WalletPop</a> revealed that &ldquo;for the price Americans pay for cable TV, they can enjoy a mini-vacation.&rdquo; Just how much are we spending for the convenience of cable? Comcast, for instance, costs about $552 a year &ndash; and that&rsquo;s just basic service; premium packages run more than $1,200 annually.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re looking for alternative ways to catch your favorite shows and movies without having to take out a second mortgage or find another roommate, consider these suggestions.</p> <h2>1. DVD Kiosks</h2> <p>I prefer <a href="http://www.redbox.com/">Redbox</a> over <a href="http://www.blockbusterexpress.com/">Blockbuster Express</a> for several reasons, the most important being that I hate Blockbuster. They&rsquo;ve been ripping off Americans for years, and I think they deserve to go out of business. Personal feelings aside, the DVD kiosk business is booming, mostly because it&rsquo;s nothing short of genius. You can&rsquo;t beat a one-dollar nightly rental &mdash; unless, of course, it&rsquo;s FREE. As often as I've frequented the kiosks over the years, I&rsquo;ve only paid for a handful of rentals thanks to sites like <a href="http://www.insideredbox.com/">Inside Redbox</a> and <a href="http://www.coupondad.net/">Coupon Dad</a>. When I get to the box, I do a search for coupon codes on my iPhone for that particular brand of kiosk; 9 times out of 10 I find a working code. Beware, however, of the hidden fees. The coupon-code rental is only free for the first night. If you don&rsquo;t return it within 24 hours, you&rsquo;ll be charged $1 per extra day it&rsquo;s out. Which, I assume, is how they can keep pushing out new promo codes and still make money. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/never-pay-for-a-redbox-dvd-rental-again">Never Pay for a Redbox DVD Rental Again</a>)</p> <h2>2. Network Websites</h2> <p>Sites like <a href="http://abc.go.com/">ABC.com</a>, <a href="http://www.nbc.com/">NBC.com</a>, and <a href="http://www.cbs.com/">CBS.com</a> are perfect for watching the shows you missed the night before. Shows are usually available the morning after they originally aired, so you can catch up on your lunch break or when there&rsquo;s nothing else on that you want to watch. I became a convert a couple years ago when &ldquo;Lost&rdquo; was still in new episodes. I had kickball on the night that it aired, which forced me to miss it. Luckily I didn&rsquo;t have to wait too long to get my fix.</p> <h2>3. Apps</h2> <p>ABC has an excellent app that mimics its website; the content is free and available the morning after a show originally airs. The downside is that ABC is really the only network with an app like this. HBO just launched an app, but you have to be a cable subscriber, which totally defeats the purpose of cutting the cable. Hopefully the basic networks will follow suit and the cable networks will offer a la carte options to purchase pay-as-you-go content on mobile devices.</p> <h2>4. Hulu</h2> <p><a href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-2822544-10932227">Hulu</a> has a similar premise as the individual network sites, except it consists of several networks providing content so you can watch many of your favorite shows in one place. One of the best things about Hulu that I&rsquo;ve found is that you can set subscriptions for some of your favorite programs. When they&rsquo;re available to view, you&rsquo;ll receive an e-mail letting you know. If you want even more content, you can purchase Hulu Plus, an advanced service that allows you to access content on mobile devices, but frankly I think it&rsquo;s a waste of money considering that most of the TV content it has is available for free on the respective network sites.</p> <h2>5. Netflix Streaming</h2> <p>I canceled my DVDs-in-the-mail subscription last year because the selection was lacking. I had either seen the available movies in the theater or they weren&rsquo;t available upon regular release because the kiosks got them first. I still have <a href="http://www.netflix.com">Netflix</a> streaming, however. It&rsquo;s great for a rainy day, or when you want to watch content from your iPhone or iPad. A monthly subscription for unlimited streaming &mdash; there&rsquo;s no extra charge for your hand-held devices &mdash; is only $7.99.</p> <h2>6. Amazon Instant Video</h2> <p>Directly competing with Netflix in the unlimited-streaming category, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Instant-Video/b?ie=UTF8&amp;node=16261631">Amazon recently launched its own streaming option</a> that includes over 5,000 commercial-free movies and TV shows available with an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-it-worth-paying-more-for-faster-shipping">Amazon Prime</a> membership, about $79 a year. When you do the math, it&rsquo;s cheaper than Netflix streaming, but the selection isn&rsquo;t as robust. In fact, Amazon has less than half the titles that Netflix boasts. Still, that&rsquo;s a pretty good selection.</p> <h2>7. Warpia StreamHD</h2> <p>A total game changer for the cutting-the-cable argument, <a href="http://www.warpia.com/warpia-wireless-pc-to-tv-stream-HD-swp120a.asp">Warpia StreamHD</a> ($169.99) allows users to wirelessly stream anything on a laptop or PC to the flatscreen. The USB-based device mirrors the computer screen without the mess of cords. The transmission shows up on the TV in 1080p resolution and 5.1 surround sound. The package comes with all the bells and whistles, including an HDMI cable and SPDIF cable. Warpia is compatible with Windows 7, Vista SP2, and XP SP3.</p> <h2>8. Apple TV</h2> <p>Many of my friends have converted to <a href="http://www.apple.com/appletv/">Apple TV</a>, and they rave about it. The box, which costs $99 with free shipping from Apple.com, gives you access to iTunes&rsquo; impressive library of titles, which vary in price; new-release HD movies are $4.99, SD movies are $3.99, and TV shows are $0.99. The box is also compatible with Netflix, and it allows users to stream content directly from their Mac or PC to the TV screen.</p> <p><em>Have you cut the cable? How are you saving money on media content? Let me know in the comments section 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/8-alternatives-to-cable-tv-that-will-keep-you-entertained">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-will-the-comcastnbc-merger-really-affect-you">How Will The Comcast/NBC Merger Really Affect You?</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/never-pay-for-a-redbox-dvd-rental-again">Never Pay for a RedBox DVD Rental Again</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-netflix-and-hulu-to-play-on-your-tv">How to Get Netflix and Hulu to Play on Your TV</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/five-quick-remote-control-hacks-to-save-you-time-and-money">5 Quick Remote Control Hacks to Save You Time and Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Entertainment Technology cable tv DVDs free tv Internet Fri, 06 May 2011 10:36:12 +0000 Mikey Rox 536678 at http://www.wisebread.com How Will The Comcast/NBC Merger Really Affect You? http://www.wisebread.com/how-will-the-comcastnbc-merger-really-affect-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-will-the-comcastnbc-merger-really-affect-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/Picture 8.png" alt="Comcast NBC Universal logo" title="Artist&#039;s rendering of Comcast/NBC Universal logo" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="179" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It&rsquo;s a deal that has been in the works for over a year, and it&rsquo;s finally going ahead. The FCC has approved the merger of NBC Universal with Comcast, meaning that the cable giant will now own 51% of NBC, and have stakes in CNBC, MSNBC, Bravo, Telemundo, and <a href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-2822544-10932227">Hulu</a>.</p> <p>When anyone sees news like this, they immediately starting thinking of a monopoly. &ldquo;This business is too big, and that&rsquo;s a bad thing&rdquo; is what I&rsquo;m hearing from many people around me. And as I work in the cable industry, I hear it a lot.</p> <p>But is this really something to lose sleep over? It&rsquo;s time to take a quick look at the questions people have, the facts, and the speculation, to see what this merger actually means to the general public. After all, AOL and Time Warner merged in 2000 and the world kept turning. But since then the Internet has become something of a necessity and this deal does impact that to some extent.</p> <h3>1. Will Prices Go Up?</h3> <p>That&rsquo;s the most common concern I hear, and it seems that it&rsquo;s the most common one floating around on the Internet. With a merger comes a giant company controlling costs and sticking it to all of us. And Comcast has not exactly had the best feedback when it comes to prices and raising rates. But the bottom line is that the FCC is ensuring that Comcast does not withhold any of its networks from other providers, such as Dish Network or DirecTV. It must also offer these networks at a reasonable cost.</p> <p>Plus, Comcast has stated that six out of every seven networks on its cable systems will have absolutely no affiliation with Comcast. What that means is that, for the time being, Comcast is not going to start pushing prices up on you because it could risk losing you to one of those other providers. That goes for the Internet, too. I see rates going up by the usual annual amount, but I do not see your bills doubling overnight. The fear of &ldquo;cord cutting&rdquo; and &ldquo;cord shaving&rdquo; (which means cutting complete or partial cable services) will keep everyone's prices in line. Well, for now at least.</p> <h3>2. Will Internet Access Be Affected?</h3> <p>I don&rsquo;t see it happening just yet, although Senator Al Franken and many others predict this is the end of net neutrality. Basically, the FCC has not given Comcast/NBC the kind of power to take control of the Internet, although who knows what could happen in the future. Yes, Comcast now owns <a href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-2822544-10932227">Hulu</a>, but that was already becoming a pay-service with the advent of <a href="http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-2822544-10932227">Hulu Plus</a>, which is home to many of the shows you want to watch anyway. I went to watch <em>V</em> online recently, but I missed the first episode of the new series, and it wasn&rsquo;t available on ABC&rsquo;s site. Comcast had nothing to do with that decision; it&rsquo;s just something that the networks themselves decide. In short, the FCC has stipulated that this merger must not result in unfair market prices. Even better, the merger means that Comcast must now offer affordable, stand-alone Internet access so that we, the viewers, can access videos without having to purchase cable TV. And that is a good thing.</p> <h3>3. Will Sports Channels Be Cheaper?</h3> <p>I don&rsquo;t care that much for sports channels, but I know millions of Americans do. And now the Comcast/NBC corporation can go up against Disney&rsquo;s ESPN, which has a monopoly on most sports, and bring prices down. It&rsquo;s very possible that you could see the cost of your sports packages taking a nose dive over the next year.</p> <h3>4. Will Only Comcast Subscribers Get NBC Shows?</h3> <p>You really shouldn&rsquo;t worry about missing <em>The Office</em>, <em>30 Rock</em>, <em>SNL</em>, <em>Biggest Loser,</em> or any of your other favorite NBC shows. Once again, the FCC has made it quite clear that Comcast must provide reasonable access to its shows for distribution by other providers. You will not see NBC disappear from your local channel lineup if you have Dish Network or DirecTV.</p> <h3>5. Will Comcast Subscribers Have a Hard Time Finding Non-NBC Shows?</h3> <p>This one&rsquo;s even more bizarre. Some people think that Comcast will favor its NBC shows and programming over shows not owned by Comcast. Well, imagine how many people would cancel Comcast if that happened? If you suddenly have a hard time finding your favorite shows because Comcast has buried them or made them tough to access, you&rsquo;ll leave. But just to make sure, rules have been put in place to ensure Comcast does not discriminate against video programming that it does not own. For the time being, your lineup should not be affected.</p> <p>Of course, I&nbsp;am not privy to the dealing going on inside the boardrooms of these huge companies, but I think it's a little too early to panic just yet.</p> <p><em>How do you feel about the merger? Worried? Are you cutting the cable anyway? Let us know.</em></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-will-the-comcastnbc-merger-really-affect-you">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-4"> <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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/i-finally-canceled-comcast-cable-before-it-hurt-more-than-my-wallet">I Finally Canceled Comcast Cable…Before It Hurt More Than My Wallet</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/cracking-the-infamous-mcdonalds-monopoly-game">Cracking the Infamous McDonalds Monopoly Game</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-netflix-and-hulu-to-play-on-your-tv">How to Get Netflix and Hulu to Play on Your TV</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/want-free-hbo-or-showtime-just-ask">Want Free HBO or Showtime? Just Ask.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Entertainment Financial News cable tv Comcast hulu Internet Monopoly Sat, 22 Jan 2011 02:31:40 +0000 Paul Michael 474632 at http://www.wisebread.com