Internet http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/176/all en-US How the End of Net Neutrality Could Impact Your Wallet http://www.wisebread.com/how-the-end-of-net-neutrality-could-impact-your-wallet <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-the-end-of-net-neutrality-could-impact-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/sharing_your_details_has_never_been_easier.jpg" alt="Sharing your details has never been easier" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The net neutrality debate has been dominating headlines for some time now. A lot of people have trouble understanding all the fuss from either side of the political spectrum.</p> <p>First of all, net neutrality is the idea that internet service providers have to treat all network traffic the same &mdash; a bit is a bit, no matter where it started and where it ends up. This means that providers can't offer various levels of service for various kinds of traffic. Whether it's from Netflix or your neighborhood bird-watching blog, ISPs have to treat the traffic equally.</p> <p>Opponents of net neutrality tend to be telecommunications giants who saw the additional regulations imposed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the implementation of the <a href="https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-releases-open-internet-order" target="_blank">2015 Open Internet Order</a> as problematic. Proponents of the net neutrality rules including Google, Facebook, and Netflix largely supported those rules.</p> <p>But how did we even get to this debate?</p> <h2>How net neutrality came to be</h2> <p>In 2007, Comcast was told to stop blocking traffic from a file sharing service, BitTorrent. The FCC stepped in and accused Comcast of unfair business practices. Comcast sued, claiming the FCC didn't have the proper authority. Fast forward three years, and the courts agreed with Comcast.</p> <p>Back then, Comcast was accused of throttling traffic between person-to-person file-sharing services on their networks. Comcast explained that they were clamping down on the spread of pirated material. Some online communities were outraged, but the government didn't have the authority to make them stop. Comcast was free to operate as they saw fit.</p> <p>In another example, in 2012, AT&amp;T stopped iPhone users from making FaceTime calls unless they purchased a new shared data plan package. Customers with older data plans were out of luck. AT&amp;T claimed the video calling app would cause congestion on its networks. Opponents accused AT&amp;T of disrupting a service that would compete with their primary business &mdash; making phone calls.</p> <p>In 2015, new FCC commissioners and the Obama administration found a way to wrangle the authority needed by the FCC to weigh in when they felt broadband companies weren't using their power fairly. Thus net neutrality was born.</p> <p>As you know, 2016 ushered in a new Trump administration. With that, new FCC commissioners recently voted to put an end to the Order of Open Internet. Net neutrality has been relegated to the history books.</p> <p>Central to this debate is whether an internet service provider, or broadband company, should be treated as a public utility. If you agree, you believe it should be regulated by the FCC and forced to comply with rules aimed to ensure fairness. If you don't, you're in favor of letting the markets (i.e. consumers) decide and vote with their dollars, and were probably happy to see net neutrality go.</p> <p>I tend to think most of us are in the camp that wonders how these rules, regardless of which side of the argument you're on, will impact our lives personally.</p> <h2>How the end of net neutrality may affect your wallet</h2> <p>As with most things in the news, I often wonder how this will affect my life.</p> <p>The impact these changes will have may not be known for some time. If the FCC's long, storied history is any indication, these rulings will be challenged in court and the final outcome won't be settled for years. Public Knowledge and the National Hispanic Media Coalition, along with other public interest groups, have already announced plans to challenge the net neutrality changes in court.</p> <p>For now, we must rely on the experts to understand how the rule changes may impact our wallets. Some are predicting that broadband companies could limit access to certain content providers unless you pay for higher tier services. This means that you have a choice; do without high-speed access to your <em>Game of Thrones</em> weekly fix, or upgrade to a higher-priced internet package.</p> <p>We could also see higher costs passed on to us as content providers like Netflix try to ensure their customers retain the same level of access and enjoyment.</p> <p>If experts in favor of the changes are right, fewer regulations will encourage competition and that could bring the prices down while encouraging innovation.</p> <p>At this point, we're best served by keeping an eye on our expenses. If prices begin to rise to a point where your wallet is screaming <em>uncle</em>, shop around for alternative sources to supply your connection to the internet. And keep paying attention to how these changes may impact your wallet long after the debate has faded from the headlines.</p> <p>One thing is for sure: This issue is far from settled.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-the-end-of-net-neutrality-could-impact-your-wallet&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520the%2520End%2520of%2520Net%2520Neutrality%2520Could%2520Impact%2520Your%2520Wallet.jpg&amp;description=How%20the%20End%20of%20Net%20Neutrality%20Could%20Impact%20Your%20Wallet"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20the%20End%20of%20Net%20Neutrality%20Could%20Impact%20Your%20Wallet.jpg" alt="How the End of Net Neutrality Could Impact Your Wallet" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/toni-husbands">Toni Husbands</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-the-end-of-net-neutrality-could-impact-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-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/what-net-neutrality-means-for-your-wallet">What Net Neutrality Means For Your Wallet</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/technology-hacks-for-the-international-traveler">Technology Hacks for the International 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/3-sneaky-ways-identity-thieves-can-access-your-data">3 Sneaky Ways Identity Thieves Can Access Your Data</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-painless-ways-to-lower-your-cell-phone-bill">5 Painless Ways to Lower Your Cell Phone Bill</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-34-smart-ways-to-improve-your-social-media-presence">Flashback Friday: 34 Smart Ways to Improve Your Social Media Presence</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Financial News Technology data FCC Internet Net Neutrality open internet politics regulations restrictions streaming Thu, 04 Jan 2018 10:00:06 +0000 Toni Husbands 2082602 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Make Passive Income Online http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-make-passive-income-online <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-make-passive-income-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_working_on_a_laptop.jpg" alt="Woman working on a laptop" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The internet is responsible for many wonderful things, from letting you shop whenever and wherever you want, to the ability to view unlimited cat videos. And if you're savvy, the internet can also be a great place to develop income-producing assets for yourself.</p> <p>Income-producing assets are products you create or invest in that earn passive income. In essence, passive income allows you to earn money without having to do additional work after creating the asset. There are several ways you can do this online. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-ways-to-earn-money-online?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Surprising Ways to Earn Money Online</a>)</p> <h2>1. Sell a course or ebook</h2> <p>Everyone's an expert on something, right? And the world is full of people looking to learn. One income-producing idea is to develop an online course. People will pay to learn what you know about the best travel spots in Europe, how to be a better public speaker, and everything in between. There are multiple online platforms where you can host an e-course (though you will have to pay for most of them), or you can host the course through your own blog or social media channels. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-really-make-a-living-as-an-ebook-writer?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Can You Really Make a Living as an Ebook Writer?</a>)</p> <p>There are plenty of tutorial, video course, and ebook content creators out there generating a steady monthly income. How you design, develop, and create your course or ebook will be very dependent on what you teach, how you teach, and the best way for your readers to learn. This all requires some legwork upfront, but if you can get the ball rolling, your online book or course can continue generating passive income well into the future. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-made-400-in-10-days-by-selling-an-online-course-i-created?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How I Made $400 in 10 Days by Selling an Online Course I Created</a>)</p> <h2>2. Earn interest on a loan</h2> <p>If you have some cash to spare, you could earn a nice return by investing in peer to peer lending. Peer to peer lending removes financial institutions from the equation. With sites like Prosper or Lending Club, you can put up a sum of money &mdash; whether it's a few hundred dollars or a few thousand &mdash; to fund a personal or business loan yourself. Just like if they had worked with a bank, borrowers then pay the loan back with interest, which acts as a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-money-with-peer-to-peer-lending-service-prosper?ref=internal" target="_blank">passive income stream for you</a>. Most sites report lenders see a return of between six and seven percent. Note that each peer to peer lending site will have its own qualifications and terms and conditions, so do some research to find the best option for you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-peer-to-peer-investing-with-lending-club?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Everything You Need to Know About Peer-to-Peer Investing With Lending Club</a>)</p> <h2>3. Become an affiliate</h2> <p>Affiliate programs pay you in exchange for sending them customers via your website, blog, or social media channels. The best-known example of a popular affiliate program is Amazon, which pays &quot;Associates&quot; commissions of up to 10 percent.</p> <p>Here's how it works: Say you run a food blog where you showcase your favorite recipes. People who read your blog are likely interested in all things cooking: cookware, cookbooks, kitchen remodeling &mdash; you get the picture. If you include an Amazon affiliate link to a mixer you're using, for example, you'll earn money any time a visitor clicks through from your blog and makes that purchase. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-make-extra-money-blogging?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Easy Ways to Make Extra Money Blogging</a>)</p> <p>If you want to expand your affiliate partnerships beyond Amazon, you can join networks that connect you to companies looking for affiliates &mdash; ShareASale can help you do this. Also, if there is a particular company you would like to work with, check out their website. Usually at the very bottom of the page, in the footer bar, you'll find a link to learn about any affiliate program they might offer.</p> <h2>4. Use AdSense</h2> <p>AdSense, an advertising service run by Google, operates in a similar fashion to an affiliate program. To use AdSense, you'll also need to have a content site, YouTube channel, or blog with views. But rather than letting you promote or link to a specific item or brand, AdSense automatically places relevant ads on your site for readers to click through. These ads won't be random; they'll relate in some way to the type of content you normally post. You'll automatically earn money for views and clicks on your ad. The more views you get, the more money you can make. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-really-make-money-by-starting-a-blog?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Can You Really Make Money by Starting a Blog?</a>)</p> <h2>5. Sell your photos</h2> <p>Do you have a good eye for photography? Are friends and family always commenting how much they'd love one of your photos hanging on their wall? Take the hint! Build a portfolio storefront with sites like SmugMug or Zenfolio where fans of your photography can purchase prints. Many gallery sites do require paying for a monthly &quot;plan&quot; and may take a small commission, but their bottom tier packages are often fairly affordable at a few bucks per month. Many also have plugins that allow you to process print orders with high-quality photo labs and drop-ship directly to your customers. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/earn-extra-income-with-your-smartphone-camera?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Earn Extra Income With Your Smartphone Camera</a>)</p> <p>You could also sell your own photography to be used as stock photos. While there are many big-name stock photo agencies out there, such as Getty Images and Shutterstock, becoming a contributor often involves a lot of competition and a lengthy application process. Selling your stock photography on your own website allows you to set your own prices, licenses, and keep 100 percent of the earnings for yourself.</p> <p>The internet has opened up a world of opportunity for anyone to earn a little extra money. Think of what you're passionate about, what skills you have that someone might be willing to pay for, and create a revenue generating asset that will keep extra cash flowing into your budget. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-to-make-money-online-that-arent-scams?ref=seealso" target="_blank">13 Ways to Make Money Online That Aren't Scams</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-ways-to-make-passive-income-online&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Ways%2520to%2520Make%2520Passive%2520Income%2520Online.jpg&amp;description=5%20Ways%20to%20Make%20Passive%20Income%20Online"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Ways%20to%20Make%20Passive%20Income%20Online.jpg" alt="5 Ways To MakePassive Income Online" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/anum-yoon">Anum Yoon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-make-passive-income-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-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-make-amazon-pay-you">7 Ways to Make Amazon Pay 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/15-ways-to-make-money-outside-your-day-job">15 Ways to Make Money Outside Your Day Job</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-make-money-as-a-superfan">How to Make Money as a Superfan</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/3-online-affiliate-programs-that-can-make-you-extra-cash">3 Online Affiliate Programs That Can Make You Extra Cash</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/clear-out-that-clutter-15-places-to-sell-your-stuff">Clear Out That Clutter: 15 Places to Sell Your Stuff</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income ads affiliate programs assets bloggers eBooks Internet online online courses passive income peer to peer lending photography selling Wed, 27 Sep 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Anum Yoon 2025921 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Easy Ways to Declutter Your Digital Life http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-declutter-your-digital-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-easy-ways-to-declutter-your-digital-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/beautiful_woman_using_digital_tablet_at_cafe.jpg" alt="Beautiful woman using digital tablet at cafe" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all love our digital tools and apps, but without conscious oversight, those sacred internet spaces can quickly become cluttered. All that digital mess can outweigh the advantages of speedy communication. You can go off the grid altogether (but we know that's not really going to happen), or you can use these tips to keep your digital life under control.</p> <h2>1. Keep your email organized</h2> <p>Getting your email to the elusive Inbox Zero isn't necessarily the most productive use of your time. In fact, there's some controversy over whether you should waste time sorting and managing email, or if you should just read it and let it languish in your ever-expanding inbox.</p> <p>Here's what I know: When I open my inbox and see hundreds of emails in there, my brain thinks of each one as a task I need to complete. Maybe you aren't as sensitive to email stimulus. However, if a cluttered inbox makes you grumpy, getting to Inbox Zero can bring clarity and calm and make your email use more efficient.</p> <h3>Delete, delete, delete!</h3> <p>Take some time and go through those remaining emails in your inbox. Delete or archive the ones you no longer need. Then unsubscribe from the email lists and newsletters you know you no longer want.</p> <h3>Use helpful tools</h3> <p>You can use a service like <a href="https://unroll.me/" target="_blank">Unroll.me</a> to get your email subscriptions under control and unsubscribe to mass emails in bulk. However, be aware that Unroll.me <a href="http://lifehacker.com/unroll-me-the-email-unsubscription-service-has-been-c-1794593445" target="_blank">collects and sells anonymized user data</a>. Most third-party email services are collecting data of some kind (though not all are selling it). If you use one, do so with caution. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-kinds-of-emails-to-purge-from-your-inbox?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Kinds of Emails to Purge From Your Inbox</a>)</p> <h3>Use filters and folders</h3> <p>Once you have your inbox cleared and you're happily unsubscribing with a single click from mailing lists you no longer care about, you need to protect all that work. The emails will keep coming, after all.</p> <p>You can use filters, folders, and labels to organize your emails. Depending on which email service you use, of course, the options for organization will be slightly different. However, in most cases, you can use filters to sort your email via customized settings, such as a keyword in the subject or a specific sender.</p> <p>Create folders or use labels to organize emails by specific topic or context. For example, you could set up a filter to apply a &quot;Financial&quot; label to all emails from your bank or credit card issuer, and to any emails containing keywords such as &quot;Payment processing.&quot; Now all your financially related emails are sorted into one place, automatically. Or use a service like <a href="https://getorganizer.com/" target="_blank">Organizer</a> to do all that sorting and categorizing work for you.</p> <h2>2. Safeguard your passwords</h2> <p>Passwords. Ugh. So, you want to be secure and you don't want to get hacked, but you also can't remember a different password for every account you have, and you're not good at coming up with strong passwords. And writing down each username and password you create on a paper scrap which immediately disappears to wherever socks go is equally terrible.</p> <p>Use a password manager. You will thank me a million times over the next month as you click that handy button and let your secure password manager do the work. You don't have to be vulnerable and you also don't have to remember it all yourself.</p> <h3>Set up a password manager</h3> <p>My password manager of choice is <a href="https://www.lastpass.com/" target="_blank">LastPass</a>. It's easy to use, fully functional, and it's free. You can pay for a premium version which will sync across all devices. I did after several years of using the free version. It's worth every penny.</p> <p>The most difficult part of a password manager is the initial setup. You'll need to install your password manager, and then login to each account to save the information (and to update it with a secure password, as needed).</p> <p>If LastPass isn't for you, try <a href="https://1password.com/" target="_blank">1Password</a> or <a href="https://www.roboform.com/" target="_blank">RoboForm</a>.</p> <h2>3. Reduce your online accounts</h2> <p>How many online services have you signed up for, only to forget about them weeks later? The number is probably about as high as the email subscriptions you're finding in your now-clean inbox.</p> <p>Leaving outdated, unused accounts open is kind of annoying, and it can also be a security hazard. Especially if you used that old, easily hacked &quot;1234goteam&quot; password on an account you've forgotten; even more so if that account is linked to other online accounts.</p> <h3>Locate and eliminate</h3> <p>Who can remember all those old accounts? Not me. Probably not you. A service called <a href="https://www.deseat.me/" target="_blank">Deseat.me</a> can help &mdash; it's free and easy to use. Choose to login with Google or Outlook, then gaze in shock at the long list of accounts you have. (I had <em>189</em>!)</p> <h2>4. Clean up your social media presence</h2> <p>Whether you use social media to send invites to your kid's birthday party or to creep on your high school crush, you don't need clutter getting in the way.</p> <p>If you've gone through the process of finding and canceling outdated accounts, then you've already eliminated Myspace and Xanga. Now it's time to clean up the social media accounts you do use. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-clean-up-your-image-on-social-media?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Easy Ways to Clean Up Your Image on Social Media</a>)</p> <h3>Unfollow people on Facebook</h3> <p>Declutter your Facebook newsfeed by consciously controlling who you follow. You can do this individually by clicking on the top right corner of a post in your newsfeed, and select &quot;Unfollow.&quot; You can do this with people or group pages. To bulk unfollow, go to News Feed Preferences and click on the &quot;Unfollow people to hide their posts&quot; option. You'll see a list of all the people you currently follow; click on the ones you don't want to follow anymore.</p> <h3>Declutter Twitter and Snapchat</h3> <p>Twitter provides plenty of options for muting, unfollowing, and <a href="https://sproutsocial.com/insights/twitter-lists/" target="_blank">sorting Twitter users into lists</a> so you can declutter your timeline without missing out.</p> <p>You can also organize your Snapchat friends list so you see the most important people first.</p> <h2>5. Clean up your computer files</h2> <p>During your digital decluttering mission, let's not neglect the offline detritus. Your computer's file system probably needs a good cleaning. Start with your Downloads folder. Is it still holding every image, .pdf, and document you've downloaded in the last three and a half years? Is your Documents folder a mile-long list of every text-based file you've ever created?</p> <p>Let's fix this.</p> <h3>Set up a system</h3> <p>Before you can sort your files, you need to set up categories. It's going to be different for everyone, but it's a good idea to start by thinking of the main type of files you have, and how you can sort them into more manageable collections. For example, if you have hundreds of photos, you could create chronological folders and sort photos by year or by event. If you keep lots of documents, sort them by use: financial, work, writing, research, etc. The key is to create categories that are large enough to be high-level but small enough to be manageable.</p> <h3>Clean up your files</h3> <p>Before you start moving your files into your snazzy new folders, remove duplicate files.</p> <p>To keep your filing system in pristine shape, get in the habit of moving files where they belong as soon as you download and save them. If that seems like too much work, make a weekly habit of updating and organizing all newly acquired files.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-easy-ways-to-declutter-your-digital-life&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Easy%2520Ways%2520to%2520Declutter%2520Your%2520Digital%2520Life.jpg&amp;description=5%20Easy%20Ways%20to%20Declutter%20Your%20Digital%20Life"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Easy%20Ways%20to%20Declutter%20Your%20Digital%20Life.jpg" alt="5 Easy Ways to Declutter Your Digital Life" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-declutter-your-digital-life">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/flashback-friday-34-smart-ways-to-improve-your-social-media-presence">Flashback Friday: 34 Smart Ways to Improve Your Social Media Presence</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-sneaky-ways-identity-thieves-can-access-your-data">3 Sneaky Ways Identity Thieves Can Access Your Data</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-off-the-grid-is-a-lot-harder-than-you-think">Going Off the Grid Is a Lot Harder Than You Think</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-surprising-perks-and-some-drawbacks-of-paperless-billing">9 Surprising Perks (and Some Drawbacks) of Paperless Billing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-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> Lifestyle Technology declutter digital email get organized inbox Internet internet presence online password manager task manager Wed, 16 Aug 2017 08:00:07 +0000 Annie Mueller 2003614 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Trendy Destinations for Digital Nomads http://www.wisebread.com/7-trendy-destinations-for-digital-nomads <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-trendy-destinations-for-digital-nomads" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/studying_in_the_park.jpg" alt="Studying in the park" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The ranks of digital nomads &mdash; people who use technology to work remotely and travel &mdash; are growing. Every digital nomad has a different set of criteria when they are searching for their next destination. But high up on the list of requirements are usually low living costs, a strong community of like-minded people, and workable internet speeds. If you are on the lookout for somewhere to set up or continue your online activities, then look no further. These are the hottest digital nomad spots right now.</p> <h2>1. Chiang Mai, Thailand</h2> <p>Located in the north of Thailand, Chiang Mai is the smaller, laid-back older brother to the frenetic capital of Bangkok. Built around the remaining walls and moats of the old city, Chiang Mai has fostered a reputation as the digital nomad capital of South East Asia. It has an active community of digital nomads that use this city as a base for their business activities.</p> <p>The incredibly low cost of living in Chiang Mai is one of the main reasons so many people choose to set up here. Accommodation is readily available at low prices, with the average monthly rent for a furnished studio in a normal area coming in at just $197, and utility bills at around $32, according to Expatistan.</p> <p>High speed internet is easy to install in your property, and the average download speed is around 16.7 Mbps. Alternatively, there is a huge selection of co-working spaces around the city where you can meet with like-minded individuals, and lots of cafes and bars also have good Wi-Fi connections. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/learn-how-to-travel-forever-from-these-7-digital-nomads?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Learn How to Travel Forever From These 7 Digital Nomads</a>)</p> <h2>2. Phnom Penh, Cambodia</h2> <p>Cambodia is a relatively recent addition to the South East Asia tourist trail, and its capital Phnom Penh is leading the way. There's a growing community of digital entrepreneurs taking advantage of its continuing evolution, which has seen it rapidly modernizing over the past couple of decades.</p> <p>Because of the huge amount of development that is still ongoing here, it's relatively easy to secure newly built and furnished apartments on modern blocks. Despite this, living costs in Phnom Penh are still low. Expatistan lists the average rent for a furnished studio apartment at $392 and utilities at $61.</p> <p>Internet speeds average out at an unremarkable but respectable 6.6 Mbps, but mobile internet is very quick for the region if you need to tether. Co-working spaces are a relatively new phenomenon for Cambodia but there are lots of cafes, bars, and restaurants that accommodate people wanting to work. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-incredible-world-cities-you-can-afford?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Incredible World Cities You Can Afford</a>)</p> <h2>3. Medellin, Colombia</h2> <p>Colombia has grown massively in popularity over recent years as it continues its move away from its violent history. Now people are visiting for the untouched beaches, the vibrant culture, and the uber-modern cities that have quietly risen up throughout the country. No city has experienced a bigger transformation than Medellin, which has reinvented itself as one of South America's leading cities.</p> <p>Rental costs in Medellin are low considering how modern a city it is, with an apartment costing $297, but utilities for the month will set you back $132. Standards of accommodation can vary greatly, but it's possible to get quite a lot of bang for your buck depending on which area you settle in.</p> <p>Internet is generally reliable but slow throughout much of Colombia, with Medellin supposedly having the best services with speeds falling somewhere between five and 10 Mbps. Free Wi-Fi is widely available in cafes and bars and there are lots of high quality co-working spaces to choose from.</p> <h2>4. Buenos Aires, Argentina</h2> <p>Buenos Aires has a reputation as being the most &quot;European&quot; city in South America and is often referred to as the Paris of Latin America. This is largely thanks to its historic mix of Italian, Spanish, and German immigrants that helped shape the culture in so many ways, from the food to the architecture.</p> <p>Costs in Buenos Aires fluctuate a lot due to the unpredictable nature of the country's economy, but at present, rent will cost you about $476 and utilities will be around $86. Apartments here are generally quite large, as lots of them are in older buildings.</p> <p>Free Wi-Fi is available in many of the public spaces in Buenos Aires, including parks and squares. Internet speeds average at about 9.6 Mbps, though there is high-speed internet available. But beware, all services are prone to regular outages, which can be frustrating. Co-working spaces are a good solution, and though not plentiful, do manage to offer more reliable services. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-digital-nomads-can-save-for-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Digital Nomads Can Save for Retirement</a>)</p> <h2>5. Valparaiso, Chile</h2> <p>Valparaiso is a laid-back, bohemian port city famed for its colorful buildings and the outstanding street art that's visible around every corner. The city has seen plenty of modernizing development in recent years, though it's still slightly ramshackle in appearance,.</p> <p>The majority of the housing is in historic old buildings. Monthly rental prices average out at $358 for a furnished studio, with utilities adding an extra $80. Thanks to the city being built high into the hills, most apartments come with stunning views.</p> <p>Internet speeds in Chile are some of the fastest you'll find in South America, clocking in at a zippy average speed of 15.3 Mbps. You shouldn't find any connection issues whatsoever here.</p> <h2>6. Sofia, Bulgaria</h2> <p>Because one of the points on a remote worker's checklist is often cost, there aren't many cities in Europe that are hotbeds for digital nomads. But despite its burgeoning popularity, Bulgaria remains one of the cheapest destinations in that part of the world. Its capital Sofia is renowned for its young outlook and raucous night life, so it naturally attracts the &quot;work hard, play hard&quot; crowd.</p> <p>At $237 for monthly rent and just $54 for utilities per month, these are some of the cheapest living costs you will find anywhere in Europe. Being a former communist country, many of the apartment blocks aren't the prettiest to look at from the outside, but still have a good standard of decoration within.</p> <p>Internet here is reliable and fast, with download speeds averaging a smoking 60 Mbps. Wi-Fi is available in cafes and restaurants. There are free hot spots available all over the city as well, which you'll find in many parks, shopping malls, and train stations.</p> <h2>7. Mexico City, Mexico</h2> <p>Mexico, and particularly Mexico City, has something of a turbulent reputation, but it's worked hard to turn that around over recent years. Though it has a population of more than 21 million, it's cheap and easy to navigate, has a neighborhood to suit everyone, and an energetic, fun-loving vibe.</p> <p>Rental costs come in at around $496 per month plus $103 for utilities, but vary wildly depending on which area you choose within the city and how good your negotiating skills are in Spanish. Most accommodation here is a little bit old school, but has a certain charm about it.</p> <p>When it comes to telecoms, Mexico is pretty advanced and that extends to its internet speeds. At the top end, you can get up to an extremely rapid 50 Mbps high speed internet service. There are also dozens of excellent co-working spaces to choose from here, many with top notch facilities in great locations.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Trendy%20Destinations%20for%20Digital%20Nomads.jpg" width="300" height="449" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-trendy-destinations-for-digital-nomads">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/5-countries-where-you-can-retire-for-1000-a-month">5 Countries Where You Can Retire for $1,000 a Month</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-countries-where-you-dont-have-to-tip-at-restaurants">7 Countries Where You Don&#039;t Have to Tip at Restaurants</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/6-ways-to-slash-the-cost-of-wi-fi-when-you-travel">6 Ways to Slash the Cost of Wi-Fi When You Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-essentials-every-business-traveler-needs-to-pack">11 Essentials Every Business Traveler Needs to Pack</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-amazing-travel-destinations-you-thought-were-unaffordable">5 Amazing Travel Destinations You Thought Were Unaffordable</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Travel cities co-working countries digital nomads international Internet telecommute wi-fi working remotely Thu, 13 Jul 2017 08:30:15 +0000 Nick Wharton 1979039 at http://www.wisebread.com Technology Hacks for the International Traveler http://www.wisebread.com/technology-hacks-for-the-international-traveler <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/technology-hacks-for-the-international-traveler" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/french_woman_walking_in_paris_on_the_phone.jpg" alt="French woman walking in Paris on the phone" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When traveling around the world, knowing how to use technology in the right way can save you time, money, and headaches while you are on the road. We've compiled a list of a few of the best hacks that allow you to use your smartphone and other devices easily when you're on your next trip.</p> <h2>Unlock your phone</h2> <p>Your phone is likely one of the most important tools that you use while you are at home. You may rely on it daily for communication, navigation, social media, and personal banking, among other things.</p> <p>Using your regular cellphone plan abroad, however, can be pricey. Verizon, for example, charges $10 a day for you to use your plan outside of North America &mdash; meaning if you use it every day for a month, you could end up with a $300 bill.</p> <p>You can lower your costs significantly by using a cellular service provider in your destination country. For example, when I was living in France, a month of unlimited data and calling with Free Mobile cost just $20.</p> <p>To use a foreign carrier, you'll need to have your phone unlocked. Having an unlocked phone simply means that you can change your SIM card and get service from different carriers, as opposed to being stuck with one service provider that is locked to the phone.</p> <p>To unlock an existing phone, the first step is to ask your cellular service provider if it will unlock the phone for you. Most will, but you usually have to meet certain requirements, such as completing a two-year service plan if you signed up for one.</p> <p>Alternatively, if you travel a lot, the next time you're planning to buy a phone, you can buy one that is already unlocked. Unlocked Android phones can be purchased from Best Buy, and you can get unlocked iPhones from an Apple Store.</p> <p>If you already have a locked phone and your provider will not do unlock it for you, you can use one of the many shops that offer this type of service. In my experience, the price runs anywhere from $10 to $145, depending on the shop, the phone, and the carrier the phone is locked to. If you're going abroad, you can have it unlocked in your destination country, where it may be less expensive. For example, I found unlocking a phone in Mexico to be cheaper than doing it in the United States.</p> <h2>Buy a SIM card for cheap global coverage</h2> <p>Now that you have an unlocked phone, you'll need to purchase service by buying a SIM card at your destination. A SIM card is a small &quot;smartcard&quot; containing a chip that stores your mobile phone number, address book, and information on your cellular carrier and billing. You insert the SIM in your phone to get service from a certain provider.</p> <p>This means buying a SIM from, for example, France's Free Mobile will enable you to then buy coverage from them. You can usually buy a month's worth of service or prepay for minutes. You will get a new phone number and you can choose a plan depending on the quantity of data, calls, and messages you plan to use while abroad.</p> <p>A good data plan means that if you need to use the internet, you will no longer be reliant on a strong Wi-Fi connection. These plans are often just as fast as international phone plans offered by U.S. carriers &mdash; and they're often cheaper, too. In Argentina for example, Claro offers 50MB per day of data for one week for just 40 Argentinian pesos ($2.51 at the time of writing).</p> <p>Talk time is similarly inexpensive in many countries. When I was in Colombia, Claro offered 60 minutes of local talk time for 2,900 pesos, which equates to just 93 cents.</p> <h2>Tether with a personal hotspot</h2> <p>Once you've gotten your phone connected and you're able to take advantage of cheap data packages abroad, you can get your computer connected as well. You do this by &quot;tethering&quot; the computer to your phone's data connection via the phone's &quot;hotspot.&quot; Whether you need to work or you just want to upload some pictures of your trip, this can be a very useful trick for travelers.</p> <p>To get your connection going, you'll want to turn on your personal hotspot on your phone, which you'll find in your general settings, often in the same menu where your Wi-Fi connection is listed. From there, you'll turn the hotspot on so that it is searchable and viewable on other devices, in this case your computer. Some phones may have already created a password for you, or if it asks you to create one, make sure to select a strong password so others nearby you can't just jump onto your hotspot and use your data plan.</p> <p>Open your computer, click on your Wi-Fi connection, and you should see your phone appear as one of the hotspots. Enter the password and then you'll be able to surf the web from your computer, using the signal from your phone.</p> <p>You can also use your personal hotspot to give Wi-Fi access to a friend or travel partner if they don't happen to have a connection. They'll select your phone's hotspot from their list of Wi-Fi networks and enter the password.</p> <h2>Get secure access with a VPN</h2> <p>VPN stands for a virtual private network. I was introduced to VPNs when traveling recently to China. Using a VPN, I was able to access websites such as Facebook and Instagram, which the Chinese government blocks, as well as Netflix, which limits access to U.S. accounts in some countries.</p> <p>A VPN encrypts and reroutes your connection to the VPN provider's servers. It allows you to hide your IP address and your location; websites you're trying to access see the IP address and location of the VPN provider instead of your actual information. This helps when you're trying to access sites that geo-block access, such as Netflix.</p> <p>In addition, your local internet service provider won't be able to see which websites you're connecting to. It will only see that you're connecting to a VPN. That means you're more likely to get past government censors in the country where you're staying.</p> <p>Some VPNs are free, but they come with limited bandwidth. You're usually better off purchasing access for $5&ndash;$15 a month.</p> <h2>Use map apps offline</h2> <p>Google Maps is the king of smartphone navigation apps, and you can even use it when you don't have a cellular or Wi-Fi connection. It takes a little advance planning, as you'll need to open the map of the place you're going &mdash; say, Paris &mdash; while you're online. Once you've got the Paris map pulled up, type &quot;OK Maps&quot; into the search bar. You can then save the map for use when you're offline. The Google Maps app will even give you driving directions within the saved area when you're offline, though you can't get walking or transit directions.</p> <p>Other apps such as <a href="http://maps.me/" target="_blank">maps.me</a> let you download maps for a whole country. Maps.me also has a navigation feature that is entirely accessible offline once you've downloaded the map of your choice.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ftechnology-hacks-for-the-international-traveler&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FTechnology%2520Hacks%2520for%2520the%2520International%2520Traveler.jpg&amp;description=Technology%20Hacks%20for%20the%20International%20Traveler"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Technology%20Hacks%20for%20the%20International%20Traveler.jpg" alt="Technology Hacks for the International Traveler" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-gokee">Amanda Gokee</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/technology-hacks-for-the-international-traveler">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/how-the-end-of-net-neutrality-could-impact-your-wallet">How the End of Net Neutrality Could Impact Your Wallet</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-ways-to-avoid-expensive-phone-charges-when-traveling">5 Ways to Avoid Expensive Phone Charges When 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/once-in-a-lifetime-experiences-ive-earned-with-credit-card-rewards">Once-In-A-Lifetime Experiences I&#039;ve Earned With Credit Card Rewards</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-ways-to-slash-the-cost-of-wi-fi-when-you-travel">6 Ways to Slash the Cost of Wi-Fi When You Travel</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/is-unlimited-data-still-a-thing">Is Unlimited Data Still a Thing?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Technology Travel abroad cellphones data hotspots international travel Internet maps service providers smartphones unlocked phones vpn Mon, 29 May 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Amanda Gokee 1950842 at http://www.wisebread.com Flashback Friday: 34 Smart Ways to Improve Your Social Media Presence http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-34-smart-ways-to-improve-your-social-media-presence <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/flashback-friday-34-smart-ways-to-improve-your-social-media-presence" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_happy_phone_519863698.jpg" alt="Woman finding smart ways to improve social media presence" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Having a social media presence used to be optional, and only for the digital journalism world. But now, having a decent following seems like a requirement if you want to run a business, successfully share your art, and engage with others in your industry. Here's how to improve your social media presence.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/iStock_000033755744_Large.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-surprising-ways-social-media-stars-make-money?ref=fbf">5 Surprising Ways Social Media Stars Make Money</a> &mdash; Start by learning from the masters. Being a social media &quot;star&quot; is a thing, and they are making more money than most of us. Here are some of their best tricks.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-clean-up-your-image-on-social-media?ref=fbf">7 Easy Ways to Clean Up Your Image on Social Media</a> &mdash; Maybe you spent the first few years on Facebook posting keg party photos and trolling celebrities. Yeah, that's not a good look. If you need to do some cleanup, follow these easy steps.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/000071173689.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-stop-doing-on-social-media-by-30?ref=fbf">10 Things to Stop Doing on Social Media by 30</a> &mdash; Those bad social media habits need to be left behind, because tweets and photos don't always disappear, even after you delete them. Employers, family members, and potential romantic partners can see what you're doing, so you might want to act accordingly.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-finances-using-social-media?ref=fbf">How to Improve Your Finances Using Social Media</a> &mdash; Once your social media posts are nice and tidy, use this guide to start bringing in some money on the side. Because once you start gaining a following, it's actually pretty easy!</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/iStock_73433583_MEDIUM.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-earn-extra-income-with-twitter?ref=fbf">How to Earn Extra Income With Twitter</a> &mdash; Twitter is a great place to connect with people and brands directly. You can also use your account to make some extra money with sponsored tweets and other branded content.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jumpstart-your-job-search-with-instagram?ref=fbf">Jumpstart Your Job Search With Instagram</a> &mdash; Social media platforms can also aid you in your job search. Curate your feed and you might hashtag your way into a new gig!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-34-smart-ways-to-improve-your-social-media-presence">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/12-govt-social-media-accounts-you-should-follow">12 Gov&#039;t Social Media Accounts You Should Follow</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-one-social-media-micro-star-gets-lots-of-free-stuff">How I Scored Tons of Free Stuff By Building a Small Social Media Audience</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/6-ways-social-media-can-save-you-money">6 Ways Social Media Can Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-social-media-stars-who-earn-way-more-than-you">5 Social Media Stars Who Earn Way More Than You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-surprising-ways-social-media-stars-make-money">5 Surprising Ways Social Media Stars Make Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development Technology Facebook fbf flashback friday instagram Internet internet presence LinkedIn snapchat social media social media tips twitter Fri, 14 Apr 2017 08:30:08 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1927497 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Avoid a "Sweetheart Scam" http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-a-sweetheart-scam <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-avoid-a-sweetheart-scam" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-476845526.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to avoid a sweetheart scam" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The &quot;Sweetheart Scam&quot; is nothing new, but the internet and dating sites have made it much easier to pull off. Scammers scour online profiles and use their charm to convince the victim that it's love at first sight. Before they know it, they're handing over all their money and valuables. Then, the scammer moves on.</p> <p>The FBI reports that <a href="https://www.fbi.gov/audio-repository/news-podcasts-inside-sweetheart-scams.mp3/view" target="_blank">losses from sweetheart or dating scams</a> have doubled in the past 10 years to between $15,000 and $20,000 per victim.</p> <p>It's a horrible crime. But, you can use these tips to avoid it, or stop someone you know from getting taken in by this heinous con.</p> <h2>1. Try not to get involved with anyone right after a relationship</h2> <p>Be wary about getting involved with someone else soon after an ended relationship. The sweetheart scam preys especially on those who are divorced, widowed, or recently single.</p> <p>At this time, you're at your most vulnerable. You're emotionally unstable, and you may be craving the attention of a new partner. You are more likely to be open to suggestion. Scammers are superb at reading your emotional state and manipulating you. So, be aware of anyone who approaches you soon after a break up of any kind, and if money comes up, walk away.</p> <h2>2. Don't give money or valuables to anyone</h2> <p>You could have met the nicest person in the world. They seem kind and honest. They are charming. They tell you everything you want to hear. But, pretty soon after laying this groundwork, the requests come in for money and valuables.</p> <p>They're small at first. They may ask for a few bucks to help cover a phone bill until payday, and they promise to pay you back. However, the requests will only get bigger as they gain your trust. Before you know it, you're handing over hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars to someone because you genuinely think they love you. All they love is your cash. Once they have bled you dry, they'll move on. Don't give anyone money until you have a long, proven relationship, and know everything about them.</p> <h2>3. Research your new sweetheart<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Never take anyone at face value. The internet has given scammers an incredible resource. They can find images of people they want to look like, create fake websites, steal personal videos, and even create hundreds of phony friends.</p> <p>Even if everything is going great, do some digging. It doesn't hurt to do a background check; they're inexpensive and can give you a great deal of information. If you discover they have horrible credit and a history of bad debts and dubious deals, you may want to ask them about it. Do a reverse image search on their photos. Are they who they say they are? Are they insanely good looking? Check phone numbers. Check places like LinkedIn and Google+ to see if the information they have told you checks out. It never hurts to be too careful. If they're too good to be true, they probably are.</p> <h2>4. Talking on the phone isn't enough</h2> <p>There's nothing wrong with beginning a long-distance relationship, and for thousands of people every year, it works. But scammers love to operate over phones and emails. They'll refuse to show their real face, or meet in person. You've probably seen Catfish, the MTV show, and know how this goes. Fake photos, fake Facebook and Twitter profiles, sometimes even phony voices. Although seeing someone's face over a video call like Skype won't automatically protect you from a scam, it's a step in the right direction.</p> <p>If you get resistance, and a bunch of excuses, block this person. There is no reason someone cannot video chat in this day and age. Technology is dirt cheap, and even libraries have computers with webcams.</p> <h2>5. Find a safe place to meet and talk</h2> <p>If you want to avoid a sweetheart scam, meeting someone in person is essential. You'll get a much better impression of them face to face. So if you've reached the point where you're ready to meet, do it in a safe place. That is not your home, and it's definitely not their home.</p> <p>You are looking for a place that is well known to you, is occupied by people and/or staff, and has an easy way for you to leave. A public park is fine if it's during the day and plenty of people are around. But your best bet is usually a busy coffee shop or restaurant. These days, many bars and restaurants are staffed with people who know about the dangers of meeting people online. They may have notices posted in the bathrooms, providing code words that you can use to get you out of the situation.</p> <h2>6. Be wary of an early &quot;I love you&quot;</h2> <p>Do lightning-fast romances happen? Of course. Are two people meant to be together, and feel it the second they meet? Yes, sometimes. But the vast majority of people fall in love over time. You get to know the person intimately. You find out their flaws, and love them for every single one. You meet their family and friends. It's a process. If someone you meet blurts this out after a week or two, alarm bells should be ringing.</p> <h2>7. How's their grammar?</h2> <p>Many sweetheart scams originate in places like Nigeria, where English is a second language. Although technology like Google Translate helps to disguise this, you should pick up on mistakes that feel weird. This is not to say you should become a grammar Nazi, but if the texts and emails you get are worded in an odd way, with spelling errors most people wouldn't make, you may want to do some digging. Of course, talking on the phone, video chatting, and meeting in person would easily clear up this particular point of contention.</p> <h2>8. Listen to your friends and family</h2> <p>There's an expression that directly applies to sweetheart scams; you can't see the forest for the trees. When you become involved with someone, the heart rules the head for a while. You can get caught up in the other person so much, you don't see the obvious; that they're taking you for a ride.</p> <p>So, during this time, listen to your friends and family. At first, they may just give you subtle hints. But as you begin handing over money, they will usually raise the red flags and tell you to get out of the relationship. Don't ignore them. If they suspect your new love is not all he or she appears to be, take a step back. Do the research. They may be wrong, but if enough of them raise concerns, you should be worried.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-a-sweetheart-scam">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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-protect-yourself-from-predatory-lending">How to Protect Yourself From Predatory Lending</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-the-nasty-secret-of-the-craigslist-free-section">Beware, The Nasty Secret Of The Craigslist Free Section</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-sopa-and-how-will-it-affect-you-0">What Is SOPA, and How Will It Affect You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-easy-ways-to-protect-your-debit-card-from-skimmers">6 Easy Ways to Protect Your Debit Card From Skimmers</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/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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Technology con artists Internet manipulation online dating online relationships sweetheart scams theft warning signs Wed, 05 Apr 2017 08:30:12 +0000 Paul Michael 1921002 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Surprising Perks (and Some Drawbacks) of Paperless Billing http://www.wisebread.com/9-surprising-perks-and-some-drawbacks-of-paperless-billing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-surprising-perks-and-some-drawbacks-of-paperless-billing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-546178094.jpg" alt="Woman learning perks and drawbacks of paperless billing" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Back in 2001, paperless billing was still in its infancy, and I was a recent college graduate who was just getting started in the adult world. At the time, my car insurance provider offered me a discount if I signed up for online billing. The discount helped me overcome my reluctance to give up my paper statements and beloved check writing routine.</p> <p>The world of paperless billing has evolved a great deal since the first year of the new Millennium. Here are the pros and cons of using paperless billing today, and some suggestions for making sure the benefits always outweigh the costs.</p> <h2>1. Pro: Paperless Billing Is Better for the Environment</h2> <p>Switching from paper to online statements doesn't just save stamps, it's also an important way to help the environment. According to PayItGreen studies from 2010, if just 20% of American households switched from all-paper to <a href="http://www.lawconferencing.com/about/payitgreen.php" target="_blank">all-digital billing</a>, statements, and payments, the collective impact would be enormous. Such changes would include:</p> <ul> <li>Save 150,939,615 pounds of paper</li> <li>Save 1,811,275 trees</li> <li>Avoid producing almost two million tons of greenhouse gases</li> <li>Avoid creating more than a billion gallons of wastewater in the paper production process</li> <li>Avoid using over 100 million gallons of gas to mail payments</li> </ul> <h2>2. Pro: Companies Will Offer Incentives to Go Paperless</h2> <p>Since companies spend less on paper, stamps, and sorting when they do all billing and payment online, it can make a big difference in their bottom line to get as many customers on paperless billing as possible. They often will sweeten the suggestion to go paperless by offering customers some sort of incentive to switch over. In some cases, like my auto insurer back in 2001, you can expect a small discount. Other incentives might include a statement credit, a gift card, or even the opportunity to win a prize.</p> <h2>3. Pro: Paperless Billing Helps You Declutter</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clear-out-financial-clutter?ref=internal" target="_blank">Paper clutter</a> often seems to have a life of its own. Switching to paperless billing means you'll never misplace a bill in a pile of junk mail, nor will you ever accidentally shred or recycle an unpaid bill because it decided to hide in the pile of credit card solicitations on your desk.</p> <h2>4. Pro: You'll Be Better Protected From Identity Theft</h2> <p>It may offer the illusion of security to hold a paper bill in your hand, but that's not always the case. It's a piece of cake for mail thieves and dumpster divers to glean sensitive account information off a stolen bill they pinched from your mailbox or garbage. By the time you realize your identity has been compromised, you may have a real headache to deal with, and some financial damage to undo.</p> <p>Your emailed paperless statements will never show your full credit card or bank account information. Even if a scammer hacks their way into your inbox, they'd still have to hack their way into your bill provider's online account to access sensitive information. Prevent this by using a strong password that includes multiple characters as well as upper and lowercase letters.</p> <h2>5. Pro: Access Your Statements From Anywhere</h2> <p>If you receive a paperless bill, it doesn't matter where you are &mdash; if you have access to the Internet, you have access to your statement. If you're out of town for work or vacation, you won't have to worry about what vulnerable information is left sitting in the mailbox while you're away.</p> <h2>6. Con: Forgetting to Pay a Paperless Bill</h2> <p>When you ignore your snail mail, it tends to pile up, making it harder to forget that there may be something important in there. Email, on the other hand, is eminently easy to ignore &mdash; so your paperless utility bill can very easily go unnoticed.</p> <p>Similarly, even if you do stay on top of both your paper mail and email, you may not be ready to pay your bill the moment it arrives. If that's the case with a paper statement, you can always set the bill somewhere that you'll see it, to remind yourself to pay it at another time. It is much more difficult to flag your email to remind you to pay the bill, which means you may forget until after you've missed the due date.</p> <h3>The Fix: A Dedicated Email Account and Calendar Reminders</h3> <p>Create a dedicated email account just for all of your bills, and plan on checking this email regularly. In addition, create reminders in your calendar to prompt you to check your dedicated email account so you never miss a payment.</p> <h2>7. Con: Lost Passwords</h2> <p>Passwords are an important part of online security, but the fact that pretty much everything you do online must be password-protected means that the odds are stacked against you for remembering all of your passwords. Many people get around that problem by using the same password for everything &mdash; which can seriously compromise your security if any of the accounts you use gets hacked.</p> <p>Companies that offer paperless billing often require even more security from your password, such as needing a special character, a number, and a capital letter. This is understandable, but it makes it even more difficult for the average person to remember their password &mdash; and multiple incorrect guesses can sometimes get you locked out of the site.</p> <h3>The Fix: Create a Password Based on a Sentence</h3> <p>The secret to secure but memorable passwords is to start with a sentence that means something to you. For instance: &quot;I am waiting for the reincarnation of Elvis.&quot;</p> <p>Then substitute letters, numbers, and symbols for each of the words: I@w4troE</p> <p>With that as your base password, you could tailor it to each site so that you can still remember your passwords, but each site's password is slightly different. For instance, you might add letters and numbers that represent the site to the end of your base password.</p> <p>For Capital One 360, your password would become: I@w4troECO360</p> <p>Just jot down the original sentence somewhere you can find it. It will remind you of your password, and mean nothing to anyone else.</p> <h2>8. Con: Forgetting to Update Account Information</h2> <p>If you moved, you'd have to let your bill providers know and inform them of your new home address. Well, the same is true for your email when you receive paperless statements.</p> <p>Maybe you're about to lose access to a work or school email that was tied to your billing account, or you're about to shut down an old email that got swamped by hackers. If you forget to update this change in your online billing account settings, you could end up losing access altogether.</p> <h2>9. Con: Overdrafts From Automatic Payments</h2> <p>Many people who set up paperless billing also make the leap to automatic online payments. For anyone whose income is variable, or anyone who lives paycheck to paycheck, automatic bill payments can cause major headaches if you have insufficient funds in your account on the day that your payment is debited. This makes for something of a Catch-22, since many people in such a situation need the discount that an automatic payment provides, but the automation puts them in danger of overdraft every month.</p> <h3>The Fix: Ask for a Change of Payment Date</h3> <p>Most companies will allow their customers to request a specific payment date, particularly if they are using auto-pay options. If you deal with variable income or have trouble making it from one paycheck to the next, set up your automatic payments so that they are debited on the day your paycheck clears. If you have multiple bills that are auto-debited, you can stagger them through the month to coincide with your paydays.</p> <h2>Making Paperless Billing Work for You</h2> <p>Digital billing is here to stay, but it's far from a perfect system. Knowing which of the downsides are most likely to trip you up will allow you to plan ahead for the problems while you enjoy the benefits.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-surprising-perks-and-some-drawbacks-of-paperless-billing">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-sneaky-ways-identity-thieves-can-access-your-data">3 Sneaky Ways Identity Thieves Can Access Your Data</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-declutter-your-digital-life">5 Easy Ways to Declutter Your Digital Life</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/6-simple-financial-upgrades-you-can-make-during-breakfast">6 Simple Financial Upgrades You Can Make During Breakfast</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-finances-using-social-media">How to Improve Your Finances Using Social Media</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-apps-that-monitor-your-credit-for-you">7 Apps That Monitor Your Credit for You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Technology automatic payments bill pay email Internet online statements paperless billing passwords Mon, 06 Mar 2017 11:00:09 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1900129 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Things You Can Do Online Besides Watch Cat GIFs http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-you-can-do-online-besides-watch-cat-gifs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-things-you-can-do-online-besides-watch-cat-gifs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-484720224.jpg" alt="smart ways to kill time on the computer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>On the rare occasion that you have some free time, there are a variety of productive, frugal ways to browse the Internet &mdash; other than watching an endless stream of cat videos on YouTube. By taking advantage of your free time and getting the most out of your browsing, you can improve your life and achieve your goals more quickly. You can even save time and earn money along the way. Here are a few ways to wisely use your web time.</p> <h2>1. Review Your Finances</h2> <p>Check your online statements to balance your bank accounts and credit cards. This will help ensure that your budget is on track for the month. While you're at it, you can also pay your bills and check in on your investments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-tricks-to-consolidating-your-debt-and-saving-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Tricks to Consolidating Your Debt and Saving Money</a>)</p> <h2>2. Organize Your Computer</h2> <p>Organize the files on your computer so that you can be more productive at work. You can also run computer cleaners to clear away junk files, free up space, and even increase computer speed. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-computer-last-almost-forever-with-some-simple-tricks?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Make Your Computer Last (Almost) Forever With Some Simple Tricks</a>)</p> <h2>3. Take a Class</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-cheap-ways-to-increase-your-knowledge-and-earning-potential?ref=internal" target="_blank">Online classes</a> span an endless range of subjects. They can help you learn a new skill or explore a new hobby. You can even study for a certification in your field to advance your career and help you seek new employment. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-certifications-that-add-big-to-your-salary?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Certifications That Add Big to Your Salary</a>)</p> <p>Whether you want to learn something new or would like to improve your craft, anything can be accomplished with online courses. If you don't want to sign up for a course, consider finding an e-book that highlights your new skills. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-need-to-know-before-taking-online-classes?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Things You Must Know Before Taking an Online Class</a>)</p> <h2>4. Learn to Code</h2> <p>Not everybody can master coding, but if it's something that interests you, there are endless free resources to get you started. Spend some time on sites like <a href="https://www.codecademy.com/" target="_blank">Codecademy</a> during your free time if you'd like to build a website or learn to decipher code.</p> <h2>5. Learn a Language</h2> <p>Learn a new language with sites like <a href="https://www.duolingo.com" target="_blank">Duolingo</a>, which is free to use. Best of all, you'll feel like you're playing a game while you learn a new language. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-can-learn-a-new-language-just-use-one-of-these-3-apps?ref=seealso" target="_blank">You Can Learn a New Language</a>)</p> <h2>6. Learn to Speed Read</h2> <p>You can learn to speed read using free online apps like <a href="http://www.spreeder.com/" target="_blank">Spreeder</a>. This can save you time, help you read faster, and increase your productivity. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-cool-jobs-for-book-lovers?ref=seealso" target="_blank">17 Cool Jobs for Book Lovers</a>)</p> <h2>7. Network</h2> <p>Spend some time fixing up your LinkedIn page and reach out to colleagues and contacts. This can improve your working relationships and help you find a new job when you need one. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-minutes-to-a-linkedin-profile-that-gets-you-hired?ref=seealso" target="_blank">30 Minutes to a LinkedIn Profile That Gets You Hired</a>)</p> <h2>8. Write</h2> <p>Whether you are interested in writing articles, have a knack for poetry, or have considered starting your own blog, use your free time online to pursue your passion for prose. Best of all, you can even make some money in the process. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/22-websites-that-will-pay-you-to-write-for-them?ref=seealso" target="_blank">22 Websites That Will Pay You to Write for Them</a>)</p> <h2>9. Play Games and Watch Videos for Cash</h2> <p>While playing games on your computer might not seem productive, you can actually make money while doing so. Sites like <a href="http://swagbucks.7eer.net/c/27771/19503/799" target="_blank">Swagbucks</a> will give you points for playing games, watching videos, answering surveys, shopping online, and searching the Internet. You can later trade in your points for cash or gift cards. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-pays-more-online-surveys-or-the-gig-economy?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What Pays More: Online Surveys or the Gig Economy?</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-you-can-do-online-besides-watch-cat-gifs">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/life-without-tv">Life Without Television</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-the-nasty-secret-of-the-craigslist-free-section">Beware, The Nasty Secret Of The Craigslist Free Section</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/suze-orman-tells-us-to-pay-only-the-minimum-on-credit-cards-wait-what">Suze Orman Tells Us To Pay ONLY The Minimum On Credit Cards. Wait, What?!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-computers-ram-in-seconds-very-easy">Boost your computer&#039;s RAM in seconds. Very easy.</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/3-sneaky-ways-identity-thieves-can-access-your-data">3 Sneaky Ways Identity Thieves Can Access Your Data</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Technology blogging coding computer computer games emails finances free time Internet online classes Thu, 19 Jan 2017 10:30:32 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1876779 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Get Rid of Your Unwanted Gifts and Make Money Too http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-to-monetize-your-unwanted-gifts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-to-monetize-your-unwanted-gifts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-502527550.jpg" alt="make money from unwanted gifts" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's already 2017, which means it's time to take inventory and clean up. Got a few unwanted or duplicate presents for the holidays? Here are five ways to make money on the gifts you don't want.</p> <h2>Sell Clothing on ThredUp</h2> <p>Need something to do with your &quot;ugly christmas sweater&quot; from the work holiday party, or the pjs that are four sizes too big? If you're saddled with some brand new clothes you don't want, resell them on ThredUp &mdash; a site dedicated to clothing recycling and reuse. Sign up and send a batch of your clothing with their provided kit, and they will send you payment based on what they deem the clothing to be worth. You can even estimate <a href="https://www.thredup.com/p/cleanout-payout-estimator" target="_blank">what you might earn</a>. Soon, you can make some scratch to spend toward that cute unicorn pj onesie you really wanted.</p> <h2>Sell Toys and Games on eBay</h2> <p>Some sites stay the same for a reason. When it comes to toys, games, and other collectibles, you just can't beat eBay. It's where folks looking for a specific item are shopping. If you're stuck with a gigantic Power Rangers toy your kids don't want, or a third copy of <em>Big Bang Theory</em> Monopoly, it's easy to post them with a &quot;Buy It Now&quot; and/or an &quot;Make an Offer&quot; option. eBay even makes it easy to fill out the product form, as half the fields can be auto-filled based on the product. Take a photo and you're good to go.</p> <h2>Sell Books on Amazon Marketplace</h2> <p>Turns out everyone in your life only knows one thing about you, because everyone got you a copy of the newest <em>Peanuts</em> collection. You should definitely push off your other copies at <a href="https://services.amazon.com/selling/benefits.htm" target="_blank">Amazon Marketplace</a>. When one shops for books on Amazon, they can look at the section reading (for example), &quot;5 used and new starting at $2.46.&quot; People buy tons of books there, as you can usually get a really good deal on a used, but &quot;like new&quot; copy. Group together a crop of books you don't need, then simply sign up for an Amazon Marketplace account as an individual selling fewer than 40 items per month, so that you only have to pay 99 cents per item and a few other fees.</p> <h2>Sell Antiques and Appliances on Craigslist</h2> <p>Good old Craigslist is always there for when you need to get rid of something fairly quickly. Got some majorly heavy and space-consuming gifts from family you can't use? Post an ad for that awkward antique floor lamp, the racing bike gathering dust, or that huge pizza oven that you'll never bake with on Craigslist. It's easy and everyone knows how it works. No setting up an elaborate account, and there's minimal upkeep. The buyer comes to you to pick up the bulky item and then it's out of your life.</p> <h2>Sell Household Items on OfferUp</h2> <p>For miscellaneous presents from friends and family that you know will only gather dust, sell them while they're still new on <a href="https://offerupnow.com/howitworks/" target="_blank">OfferUp</a> for extra money. OfferUp attempts to make the Craigslist style of selling accessible and easy for the mobile phone generation. Snap a photo of the item, add details, and post. You can chat instantly with buyers within the app, which is especially helpful for those who dread getting emails and texts from random strangers on Craigslist.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-to-monetize-your-unwanted-gifts">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/9-gifts-that-wont-become-clutter">9 Gifts That Won&#039;t Become Clutter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-holiday-budget-anyone-can-follow">The Simple Holiday Budget Anyone Can Follow</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-smart-reasons-to-last-minute-holiday-shop">9 Smart Reasons to Last-Minute Holiday Shop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/regifting-a-simple-how-to-guide">Regifting: A Simple How-To Guide</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-tidy-up-your-finances-before-the-holidays">10 Ways to Tidy Up Your Finances Before the Holidays</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Shopping Christmas Christmas gifts exchange gifts gifts Holidays Internet presents regift regifting resale sell your stuff Fri, 06 Jan 2017 10:00:10 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1869197 at http://www.wisebread.com Going Off the Grid Is a Lot Harder Than You Think http://www.wisebread.com/going-off-the-grid-is-a-lot-harder-than-you-think <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/going-off-the-grid-is-a-lot-harder-than-you-think" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_farm_carrots_519737980.jpg" alt="Woman learning going off the grid is hard" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The term &quot;off the grid&quot; has taken on an expanded meaning of late. It used to be used in a literal fashion, to refer to disconnection from the grids supplying power, gas, water, and telephone services. Lately it's come to mean something broader: disconnecting from what whatever parts of &quot;the system&quot; seem objectionable to you.</p> <p>Some people want to disconnect from the financial system. Some people want to disconnect from the surveillance state. Some people want to disconnect from the globalized economy or industrial agriculture or consumerism. Any of these choices have both costs and benefits.</p> <p>Take a look at some of your options.</p> <h2>Off the Grid on the Low-Tech Path</h2> <p>To go fully off the grid is to become self-sufficient &mdash; to produce all the things you need for daily living. This is only sort-of possible. That is, the technology to produce everything you need to live is very low-tech indeed &mdash; pretty much everybody lived that way for the past 100,000 years &mdash; but there are two problems, one of which is insurmountable.</p> <h3>The Surmountable Problem: It's a Hard Way to Live</h3> <p>There are two historical routes along the low-tech path. The more recent is subsistence farmer.</p> <p>You can't just decide &quot;I'm going to be a subsistence farmer&quot; and expect to succeed at it. It takes capital (in the form of land and tools). It takes skills (that your grandfather may have had, but that you probably don't). And if you can acquire both of those things, it then takes long hours of year-round backbreaking work to eke out a meager existence.</p> <p>You can live at a much higher standard of living if you work for money (whether at a job or at your own small business) and then use that money to buy the things you need. Even if you don't make much money at all &mdash; part-time work at minimum wage, or whatever you can make as a freelancer at this or that &mdash; you're still going to be able to live as well as a subsistence farmer.</p> <p>Oh, the subsistence farmer will get better food. It doesn't get any fresher, more local, free-range, or organic than the stuff you grow yourself. The subsistence farmer also gets the huge satisfaction that comes from supplying your own needs with your own two hands. But if you really want to produce everything yourself, you're going to have to do without a lot.</p> <p>You have to make a lot of choices about how pure you want to be. Each thing you want to learn how to make yourself &mdash; nails, let's say &mdash; means another big investment in tools (forge, anvil) and skills, and another huge amount of work that you have to do to produce enough nails for a project. And each thing you decide not to make for yourself &mdash; cellphones, let's say &mdash; draws you into the money economy, meaning that you need to produce a surplus, so you have something to sell beyond what you need to live on.</p> <p>Although it would have been a lot easier in your grandfather's time (his parents had and could teach many of the skills that you're going to have to learn from YouTube videos), it's probably easier now than it was in the 1960s, when a lot of hippie types gave subsistence farming a serious try. At least you've got the YouTube videos.</p> <p>There is a lot of stuff out there to help, if you're serious about giving something like this a try. You might start with my review of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-the-self-sufficient-life-and-how-to-live-it">The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It</a> here on Wise Bread from a few years ago.</p> <p>Just for completeness, I should mention the even older low-tech path: The lifestyle of the hunter-gatherer.</p> <p>As a practical option, this one probably doesn't even exist. Virtually all the land that is suitable to support hunter-gatherers is more valuable for some other use, and so it has been taken for that use. (Hunter-gatherers couldn't win fights with farmers even before firearms were invented.)</p> <p>I suppose a wealthy person could buy a hunting preserve on a tract of land big enough to provide enough fish, game, and plants to support himself. If he did his hunting with primitive weapons and processed the carcasses with primitive tools (and kept to himself), he could probably get away with violating the rules on hunting seasons, fishing licenses, and the like. But it would just be a fantasy of living as a hunter-gatherer. As a landowner, he'd still be on the grid. (As a rich person, he'd no doubt be on the grid in all sorts of ways.)</p> <p>Having said all that, hunting and gathering are both useful as ways to improve whatever lifestyle choice you end up with. Anything you can take from the wild is something that you neither need to grow nor buy. I talk about that in my post <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/foraging-not-insane-useless-or-impossible">Foraging: Not Insane, Useless, or Impossible</a> and Andrea Karim has posts looking at <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hunt-fish-money-food">hunting and fishing for food</a> and at <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-food-in-your-yard-edible-weeds">gathering edible weeds</a>. (Of course those barely scratch the surface of what hunting and gathering can do to supplement your diet in modern times.)</p> <h3>The Insurmountable Problem: You're Still on the Grid</h3> <p>A farmer needs to own land, and all kinds of grid attachments come along with that. You have to pay your property taxes, so you have to earn some money, so you're probably going to have to file an income tax return as well. If you need to earn money you're probably going to have to be able to market your products, so you need a truck, which means even more money, and even more grid attachments (license, plates, safety inspections, dependence on foreign oil).</p> <p>There are other ways you can't get off the grid. The state is going to check and make sure your kids are getting a proper education. You can teach them yourself, but you need to be on-the-grid enough to do the paperwork. You need to have health insurance even if you don't want to avail yourself of modern medical care. Zoning regulations will affect how you can use your land. Federal marketing orders and agreements affect what crops you can grow, and the EPA regulates what you can do with wetlands on your property.</p> <p>Because of these issues (and a hundred more like them), I've become enamored of late by the possibility of a different sort of path to off-the-grid living.</p> <h2>Off the Grid on the High-Tech Path</h2> <p>If you accept the fact that there simply is no way to live completely off the grid &mdash; if you abandon the purity aspect of the notion &mdash; another option opens up: You can go off the grid <em>a la carte</em>, picking and choosing where connecting to the grid is worth the cost, and where disconnecting is the bigger win.</p> <p>The question you need to ask is &quot;<em>Why</em> do you want to live off the grid?&quot; If you understand the answer to that question, you can decide where to put your effort.</p> <h3>The Satisfaction of Providing for Your Own Needs</h3> <p>If this is what moves you, you can start right away. Think about what you need and start producing it.</p> <p>Food? An intensively worked suburban plot can provide a large fraction of all the food a family needs, but you can start with just a garden. If you can have chickens where you live, you can easily be <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/real-eggs">self-sufficient in eggs</a>. You can certainly raise a few rabbits and substantially augment your household meat supply.</p> <p>Clothing? Learn to sew. Learn to knit. Learn to weave. Learn to spin.</p> <p>Shelter? Look into the &quot;tiny house&quot; movement. (There are several <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-tiny-house-living-actually-save-you-money">tiny house articles</a> on Wise Bread.)</p> <p>Producing your own stuff is only sometimes cheaper than buying it, but stuff you produce yourself can also be better than what you can buy (once you get good at producing it).</p> <h3>The Safety and Security of Providing for Your Own Needs</h3> <p>One downside of &quot;the grid&quot; is that you're so terribly dependent on it. If the power goes out, you're sitting in the dark. If a backhoe takes out the wrong cable, you've got no landline (or no Internet, or no cable). If the water company starts piping in water that's contaminated with lead, you're drinking from bottles until they clean the system.</p> <p>You can replace most of these things in a grid-free fashion, although it often takes capital.</p> <p>You can put solar panels on your roof and produce your own electricity. If you live out in the country, you can drill your own well and pump up your own water. You can even set up a biodigester and produce your own methane gas (although it might be simpler to harvest the occasional tree and burn wood rather than gas).</p> <p>There's really no way to go grid-free for telephone and Internet, because the connection is the essence of the thing. But if you wanted to do it, the technical chops required to set up your own local network &mdash; one that covered your home or your neighborhood (or your walled compound) &mdash; is not beyond the capability of an ordinary person. Throw in some access points capable of establishing a meshing network and a server with ample disk space and you could offer folks very local networking that was completely independent of the larger grid, providing voice access to everyone within your local network and offering whatever you wanted to spin up on your server. (A local copy of Wikipedia wouldn't take up much room at all.)</p> <h3>The Morality of Providing for Your Own Needs</h3> <p>Things that you produce yourself can be produced in accordance with your own values.</p> <p>You can be confident that no produce from your own garden was harvested by poorly treated migrant labor. You can be confident that no garment that you sew yourself was made by slaves or prisoners. Eggs from your chickens can be cruelty-free, cage-free, free-range, and organic to exactly the extent that you choose &mdash; and will certainly be extremely local.</p> <p>Using power produced by your solar panels funds no overseas terrorist organization, drains no cash to money-center corporations, nor does it enrich the shareholders of the firms endangering our air and water with fracking, offshore drilling, or poorly maintained pipelines.</p> <p>Where morality is not implicated, you can choose to stay on the grid. I don't live in a tiny house: I live in a town house &mdash; but it's a town house owned by a cooperative that I'm a member of. In essence, I rent it from myself. It's on the grid, but it's very much in accordance with my values.</p> <p>Living large on a small budget makes it easy to live light on the planet, and that often goes hand-in-hand with high-tech, off-grid living.</p> <h3>The Flexibility of Providing for Your Own Needs</h3> <p>The technology of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/three-paths-to-being-a-digital-nomad">digital nomad</a> makes it possible to go off the grid in a very different way.</p> <p>On the one hand, the digital nomad needs regular (although not necessarily constant) access to the Internet. That's as grid-connected as can be.</p> <p>On the other hand, once you've arranged your life to allow you to be location-independent, you can be pretty indifferent to exactly which bits of the grid you choose to depend on, and you can shift around based on the circumstances of the moment.</p> <p>You can live out of a suitcase and laptop bag, using the power and Internet available wherever you happen to be.</p> <p>You can outfit an RV (or a van) with some solar panels and some batteries, add a few gigabytes of data to your cellular plan, and live and work anywhere you choose.</p> <p>You can connect to the grid, work for as long as seems appropriate, and then disconnect whenever you want.</p> <p>Being able to make these choices &mdash; and then make different choices when the circumstance (or your thinking) changes &mdash; is what I mean by the high-tech path to off-grid living.</p> <h2>High-tech or Low-tech, Capital Makes a Difference</h2> <p>There's a big trade off between <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-sufficiency-self-reliance-and-freedom">self-sufficiency and self-reliance</a>, and the more of what you need you can produce for yourself, the more options you have.</p> <p>The grid is part of this. Replacing it requires a lot of capital. Doing without means taking a hit to your standard of living. This means a lot of hard choices, but each additional chunk of capital can turn one more hard choice into an easy choice.</p> <p>I mentioned at the beginning that a subsistence farmer needs capital for land or tools. Many of the other strategies I've mentioned &mdash; such as getting your power from a solar array &mdash; involve substituting capital up front for monthly bills (and a reliance on the grid).</p> <p>There is the option of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-farewell-my-subaru">going big on capital</a>. If you've got enough money, you can be as local and off-grid as you want in sourcing your food, power, water, and so on.</p> <p>If you lack capital, you're going to have to pick and choose which aspects of grid you chose to unhook from. Or else, you're going to have to accept a very low standard of living indeed.</p> <p>In the end, it comes down to your values. Why do you want to live off the grid? What lifestyle choices support those reasons?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-off-the-grid-is-a-lot-harder-than-you-think">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/life-without-tv">Life Without Television</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-declutter-your-digital-life">5 Easy Ways to Declutter Your Digital Life</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/could-the-last-person-to-leave-america-please-turn-out-the-light">Could the last person to leave America please turn out the light.</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-digital-detox-how-and-why-to-do-it">The Digital Detox: How and Why to Do It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-the-end-of-net-neutrality-could-impact-your-wallet">How the End of Net Neutrality Could Impact Your Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Technology alternative living disconnecting Economy farming independence Internet off the grid self sufficient sustainability Thu, 15 Dec 2016 11:30:12 +0000 Philip Brewer 1850791 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Sneaky Ways Identity Thieves Can Access Your Data http://www.wisebread.com/3-sneaky-ways-identity-thieves-can-access-your-data <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-sneaky-ways-identity-thieves-can-access-your-data" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/computer_password_88375551.jpg" alt="Finding sneaky ways identity thieves can access data" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You just can't be too careful nowadays.</p> <p>From 2010 to 2015, identity thieves have stolen <a href="http://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/identity-theft-and-cybercrime">$112 billion</a> from U.S. consumers. A staggering 13.1 million victims of identify theft lost $15 billion in 2015 alone. To curb more cases of identity theft, more and more issuers of credit and debit cards are transitioning their clients to cards with chip technology. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-chip-credit-cards-make-life-easier?ref=seealso">4 Ways Chip Credit Cards Make Life Easier</a>)</p> <p>Still, there are plenty of methods for criminals to get a hold of your personal information. Let's review three more ways thieves can steal your identity and how to protect yourself against them.</p> <h2>1. Mailbox</h2> <p>Snail mail can be annoying in more ways that you think. While receiving paper copies of statements of your bank accounts, credit card accounts, retirement accounts, or investment accounts can save you the cost of printing them out yourself, keep in mind that it also opens the door for potential identity theft. For example, all it takes is a thief to get a hold of a bank account or credit card statement and try his luck changing your mailing address and requesting a replacement card. Don't let somebody go on a shopping spree with your hard-earned dollars!</p> <p>Another target inside your mailbox is any prefilled credit card or loan application. That little trash bin right next to the mailbox area in your apartment building is a gold mine for identity thieves.</p> <h3>How to Prevent It</h3> <p>The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) recommends you avoid leaving mail in your mailbox overnight or on weekends. If you plan to be away from home from three to 30 consecutive days, use the <a href="https://holdmail.usps.com/holdmail/">USPS Hold Mail Service</a> to schedule delivery of all mail on the day of your return.</p> <p>Also, make sure that you deposit any mail containing personal information only on U.S. Postal Service collection boxes and securely discard any letters of preapproved offers of credit. You also can opt out of unsolicited credit and insurance offers by calling 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or visiting <a href="http://www.optoutprescreen.com">www.OptOutPrescreen.com</a>.</p> <h2>2. Fake Public Wi-Fi</h2> <p>Whether struggling to keep your data usage within the limits of your existing phone data plan or trying to upload a perfect Instagram selfie during your trip to Italy, many of us can't resist the promise of free Internet from a public hot spot. Malicious hackers are aware of this and set up fake public Wi-Fi hot spots to lure users and steal their data.</p> <p>Main targets are commuters doing work and exposing valuable information, such as lists of clients, business expense accounts, and invoices. If you think getting your identity stolen is bad, imagine exposing that of your clients or coworkers to cyber criminals. And those hackers don't have to be anywhere close to you: They can be <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=3454066&amp;page=1">up to 100 feet</a> away and still get away with your identity.</p> <h3>How to Prevent It</h3> <p>Only activate your Wi-Fi port when you're about to connect to a known and secure Wi-Fi. Whenever possible, check the authenticity of a hot spot. For example, ask the reception desk attendant at a hotel or check billboards at a mall.</p> <p>When using public Wi-Fi connections, don't visit sites related to your personal finance. If you absolutely must use a public Wi-Fi for work, only do so by connecting through your company's Virtual Private Network (VPN) to encrypt all data during your session.</p> <h2>3. Email</h2> <p>You don't need to be a major celebrity for somebody to try hacking your email account. All it takes is the suspicion that you may have a lot of financial assets or are in the process of a major financial transaction, such as closing a mortgage, executing an estate, or applying for a student loan.</p> <p>While you may think that it takes really complicated hacking skills to decipher a password, the harsh reality is that most people use the simplest of passwords. According to a <a href="http://gizmodo.com/the-25-most-popular-passwords-of-2015-were-all-such-id-1753591514">list of over two million leaked passwords</a>, the top five passwords of 2015 were:</p> <ol> <li>123456</li> <li>password</li> <li>12345678</li> <li>Qwerty</li> <li>12345</li> </ol> <p>Internet uses don't learn from their mistakes: The top two most commonly used passwords of 2015 were also the top two of the list from the previous year. Even worse, nearly three out of four individuals <a href="https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/246902">use the same password</a> for multiple accounts. By unlocking your email password, hackers have a good chance of getting a hold of your other online accounts.</p> <h3>How to Prevent It</h3> <p>Microsoft recommends using passwords that:</p> <ul> <li>Are at least <a href="https://blogs.microsoft.com/microsoftsecure/2014/08/25/create-stronger-passwords-and-protect-them/">eight characters</a> in length;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Don't contain your username, real name, or company name;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Don't spell out complete words (sorry sports fans: football and baseball were #7 and #10 in the list of most commonly stolen passwords);<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Are significantly different from previous passwords; and<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Are different from passwords used on other websites.</li> </ul> <p>Also, don't use your email to store documents containing sensitive information, such as your social security number or credit card number. If you need to exchange such documents, do so through the encrypted online portal of your financial institution. You'll know it's encrypted when the URL bar shows a &quot;HTTPS.&quot;</p> <p>Finally, learn to identify the meanings of the potential types of padlocks that your web browser uses, such as the <a href="https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/how-do-i-tell-if-my-connection-is-secure">green and gray padlocks of Mozilla Firefox</a>.</p> <p>Better safe than sorry.</p> <p><em>Have you ever been a victim of identity theft?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-sneaky-ways-identity-thieves-can-access-your-data">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/what-is-your-auto-reply-email-telling-people-about-you">What Is Your Auto-Reply Email Telling People About You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-surprising-perks-and-some-drawbacks-of-paperless-billing">9 Surprising Perks (and Some Drawbacks) of Paperless Billing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-your-retirement-account-from-a-hack">How to Protect Your Retirement Account From a Hack</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-ways-to-slash-the-cost-of-wi-fi-when-you-travel">6 Ways to Slash the Cost of Wi-Fi When You Travel</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-signs-your-identity-was-stolen">9 Signs Your Identity Was Stolen</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Technology bank statements email free wi-fi identity theft Internet loan applications mail theft passwords protection scams security Thu, 01 Sep 2016 09:00:05 +0000 Damian Davila 1780042 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Improve Your Finances Using Social Media http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-finances-using-social-media <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-improve-your-finances-using-social-media" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_phone_text_94856801.jpg" alt="Woman learning how to improve finances using social media " title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Social media is about more than just looking at friends' baby photos, posting what you ate for dinner last night, and watching the most recent viral videos. It can actually help you improve your finances, land a new job, and reach your savings goals more efficiently. That's why we've found some of the best ways to improve your finances by getting the most out of social media. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-social-media-can-save-you-money?ref=seealso">6 Ways Social Media Can Save You Money</a>)</p> <h2>&quot;Friend&quot; Your Credit Cards and Bank</h2> <p>Add your credit card issuers and bank to your social media accounts by &quot;friending&quot; or following them. Large institutions usually offer deals to followers, so you can enjoy a lower APR, higher savings interest rate, or other money-saving promos. In fact, according to U.S. News, social media is often the first outlet that banks choose to <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2015/06/03/why-the-financial-services-industry-started-tweeting">share news about upcoming deals</a>.</p> <p>Social media is also possibly the best way to get in touch with customer service quickly, as it will allow you to get their attention more easily. Just make sure to keep your account information, address, and any other private information off the message boards and social media pages.</p> <h2>Enjoy Travel and Shopping Deals</h2> <p>There are endless travel and shopping deals available through social media. Retailers often choose social media as the first outlet to announce upcoming sales, so their friends and followers are able to take advantage of the biggest discounts first. Followers are frequently offered early deals, as well.</p> <p>You can find Twitter-specific deals that can save you on everything from rental cars and vacations to eating out and even buying gifts. Before going out to make any purchases, check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest to make sure there aren't any deals that you're missing. You can even check social media hashtags, such as #deal, to find the best deals in your area.</p> <h2>Share Goals</h2> <p>Many financial experts recommend sharing your financial goals online. By setting your goals early and sharing them with the people you love, it can help you articulate what you really want and hold you accountable to achieve your goals. In fact, research has shown that making <a href="http://www.fastcompany.com/3047432/work-smart/why-sharing-your-progress-makes-you-more-likely-to-accomplish-your-goals">public statements about goals</a> can help you achieve them more efficiently. However, you never want to reveal anything too personal, such as private information that fraudsters can use against you.</p> <h2>Get Money-Saving Tips</h2> <p>By following your favorite finance site on social media, you can find endless free money-saving tips and updates. You can also find forums and group discussions with unique money-saving ideas and encouragement from others. You can even find good financial and investment advice online.</p> <p>Seeing these tips on a daily basis on your social media pages can also be a good reminder each and every day to protect your hard-earned income. After all, we all need a reminder once in a while that we don't really need that new top or expensive latte in the morning.</p> <h2>Find a New Job</h2> <p>LinkedIn can be an invaluable tool when you're searching for a new job. You can apply for jobs directly through LinkedIn, perfect your resume, and even reach out to potential employers and former colleagues. Contacting them through Facebook or Twitter won't be as effective or as professional as contacting them through LinkedIn.</p> <p>With LinkedIn, once you have created a professional profile, employers and recruiters can even reach out to you with potential job offers. You can also join LinkedIn groups within your field so you are the first to know about potential opportunities. You can even add examples of your work, recommendations from current or previous coworkers, and any honors you've received to better build your online portfolio.</p> <h2>Make Connections</h2> <p>Networking through social media can result in better face-to-face communication, potential job offers, and endless contacts in your field. Simply following someone or sharing their social media posts can be a great first step in networking and making connections.</p> <h2>Build Your Brand</h2> <p>Whether you're promoting your personal business or services, or just want to build your reputation as the best in your field, posting on social media can be a great start. Just make sure to stay consistent so that you can reach as many followers as possible.</p> <h2>Research More Efficiently</h2> <p>Gone are the days of asking for financial suggestions from friends and coworkers. Whether you're looking for a new financial planner or would like information on which investments to make, you can find more information quickly through social media. With a simple social media search, you can find detailed research on the investment product or financial adviser you're interested in.</p> <p>You can also find suggestions for dentists and other service providers in your area through social media. This will ensure you get what you're looking for and don't waste money.</p> <h2>Sell Your Items</h2> <p>If you create and sell items privately, such as through Etsy, social media can be a great free platform for you to advertise your products or services. This can help you bring in more revenue, reach new customers, and show off your work to a limitless audience.</p> <h2>Make Some Extra Income</h2> <p>There are even ways to make some extra income using social media. If you have a large following, you can publish sponsored tweets or sign up for affiliate accounts, where you will receive your own unique link to earn some extra income when followers make purchases using that link. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-make-extra-money-using-social-media?ref=seealso">6 Ways to Make Extra Money Using Social Media</a>)</p> <p><em>Have you followed Wise Bread on social media yet? What are your best tips for improving your finances through social media? </em><em>Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-finances-using-social-media">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-goals-you-should-set-for-the-holidays">10 Money Goals You Should Set for the Holidays</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-a-spending-ban-can-help-and-hurt-you">Here&#039;s How a Spending Ban Can Help (and Hurt) You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-got-a-raise-now-what">You Got a Raise! Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-money-advice-youll-actually-listen-to">The Only Money Advice You&#039;ll Actually Listen To</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-ways-social-media-tricks-you-into-spending-more">8 Ways Social Media Tricks You Into Spending More</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Technology advice blogs deals extra money Internet job hunting promotions saving money selling shopping social media travel Mon, 25 Jul 2016 09:00:11 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1753337 at http://www.wisebread.com The 6 Monthly Telecom Bills You Can Negotiate http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-monthly-telecom-bills-you-can-negotiate <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-6-monthly-telecom-bills-you-can-negotiate" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_working_contract_000082844775.jpg" alt="Woman finding companies she should be negotiating a lower bill with" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Opening and paying the monthly bills is usually something we dread. This is especially true if you feel you&rsquo;re being gouged by your cable, phone, or wireless provider. But with just a little bit of knowledge on the proper way to call and negotiate a lower bill, you can easily save hundreds of dollars per year. Here are six telecom companies notorious for working with customers to lower their bill, along with some insider negotiation tips for each.</p> <h2>1. DirecTV</h2> <p>When it comes to negotiating a lower monthly bill with DirecTV, the first thing you have to do is analyze the competition, namely Dish Network. DirecTV is typically more expensive than Dish, which makes the &ldquo;competition is cheaper&rdquo; card great ammunition when making the phone call to DirecTV customer service. Find out what current specials Dish is offering and use those when explaining why you&rsquo;re considering leaving DirecTV. This will typically only work when you&rsquo;re not under contract, as they can&rsquo;t do much for you when you&rsquo;re locked into a specific rate for a set period of time.</p> <p>When making the call, tell the first person you speak with that you&rsquo;d like to cancel your service as it&rsquo;s more than you can afford right now. They&rsquo;ll then transfer you to the retention department, who are the folks who have the authority to actually lower your bill. Then explain why you&rsquo;re considering switching to Dish Network and be as specific as possible. In other words, tell them exactly what Dish is offering new customers and ask if they can meet it, or at the very least get close to it. Be polite and conversational in tone, and you&rsquo;ll be pleasantly surprised with the result of a lower monthly bill, in most cases.</p> <h2>2. Dish Network</h2> <p>Same drill with Dish Network. Tell the first person you speak with that you want to cancel your service, and they&rsquo;ll get you to the customer loyalty or retention department. When it comes to negotiating a lower monthly bill with Dish, it&rsquo;s important to understand that they&rsquo;re already lower in price than DirecTV. This means that in most cases, you can&rsquo;t say you&rsquo;re switching to DirecTV, because they&rsquo;re already cheaper.</p> <p>Instead, you should tell them you&rsquo;re considering <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-everyone-can-cut-cable-and-still-watch-what-they-love-even-sportsfans">cutting the cord entirely</a> by switching to an over-the-air HD antennae and cheap streaming options like Netflix and Hulu. These &ldquo;other&rdquo; options serve as excellent ammunition when talking to Dish. Stick to the facts, don&rsquo;t get emotionally involved, and remember that you can simply call back later if the person is having a bad day and not willing to work with you.</p> <p>Once you&lsquo;ve told them why you want to leave, they should offer you something to stay on as a loyal customer. You can also take the bull by the horns and start the conversation by asking for $15&ndash;$25 off your monthly bill depending on what package you subscribe to. You can also ask for a few free movie channels if that means more to you. Remember that they&rsquo;ve invested a lot to get and keep you as a customer, and are willing to throw you a bone to keep your business. Always be willing to take your business elsewhere if they can&rsquo;t come close to what you want. If you actually don&rsquo;t want to leave and they won&rsquo;t budge, you can always say you want to reconsider other options before canceling.</p> <h2>3. Comcast</h2> <p>I recently had an anonymous Comcast retention employee give me the scoop on what to say to get your bill lowered. She told me that the worst thing you can do is tell the rep that you&rsquo;re switching to a competitor. Instead, she said to tell them you want to stay with Comcast but can&rsquo;t afford your monthly bill and will have to switch to a streaming service if the bill can&rsquo;t be lowered. She even said that Sling TV was the best streaming option to use as ammunition. She said that in most cases this will work and get you up to 20% off your monthly bill, as that percentage is the biggest discount they can offer.</p> <p>Lastly, she told me not to ask to speak to a supervisor as that will typically only get you a call-back request that rarely happens. Plus, they are authorized to offer the same discounts as the retention employee, so it&rsquo;s not worth your time.</p> <h2>4. Verizon</h2> <p>Verizon can be a tricky company to convince to lower your bill. They have created a coverage map that beats the competition and they know that many customers are bluffing when playing the &ldquo;cancel card&rdquo; to try and negotiate a lower bill. Because of this, it&rsquo;s important that you do ample research on the competition before making the call. What are Republic Wireless, T-Mobile, and Straight Talk currently offering, and how long will it take you to recoup your money, in terms of savings, if you have to pay to get out of your Verizon contract?</p> <p>By having these numbers at your disposal when making the call, the Verizon rep will sense your seriousness and often offer you a lower rate in return. I recently did this and was able to secure $10 off my bill for 12 months. Not a huge savings, but I really didn&rsquo;t want to leave Verizon as I live in a rural area where Verizon is my only coverage option.</p> <h2>5. AT&amp;T Wireless</h2> <p>While you may not be able to negotiate a lower rate with AT&amp;T the old-fashioned way, you can get rid of services you don&rsquo;t need and look for little-known discounts. Start by analyzing your bill very carefully as AT&amp;T is notorious for sneaking in add-on services like AT&amp;T Navigator, Family Map, enhanced voicemail, and smart limits. If you don&rsquo;t use them, get rid of them immediately. Also, check to see if you&rsquo;re <a href="https://www.wireless.att.com/business/enrollment/">eligible for an employer discount</a>. Many organizations work directly with AT&amp;T to offer their employees a pretty sweet discount so be sure you&rsquo;re not missing out.</p> <h2>6. Time Warner Cable</h2> <p>Time Warner is notorious for raising your rate without informing you as to why. So once you get a rate you&rsquo;re happy with, be sure to keep it by calling them every 12 months. Simply call their customer service line, be polite, and get straight to the point by telling them you want to keep your low rate for another 12 months. If the operator is unwilling to extend your rate for another year, simply hang up and try back later. Be persistent and you&rsquo;ll eventually get an employee willing to work with you and help you keep your low rate for another year.</p> <p><em>What bills, if any, do you consistently try to&nbsp;</em><em>negotiate a lower rate on?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div align="center"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fthe-6-monthly-telecom-bills-you-can-negotiate&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FThe%206%20Monthly%20Telecom%20Bills%20You%20Can%20Negotiate.jpg&amp;description=The%206%20Monthly%20Telecom%20Bills%20You%20Can%20Negotiate" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/The%206%20Monthly%20Telecom%20Bills%20You%20Can%20Negotiate.jpg" alt="The 6 Monthly Telecom Bills You Can Negotiate" width="250" height="374" /></h2> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-monthly-telecom-bills-you-can-negotiate">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/10-little-words-that-will-get-you-the-best-price-every-time">10 Little Words That Will Get You the Best Price, Every Time</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-smart-things-you-can-do-with-your-finances-even-if-youre-broke">15 Smart Things You Can Do With Your Finances, Even if You&#039;re Broke</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-painless-ways-to-lower-your-cell-phone-bill">5 Painless Ways to Lower Your Cell Phone Bill</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/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master</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> Frugal Living bills cable Internet negotiating service providers wireless Mon, 09 May 2016 10:30:04 +0000 Kyle James 1699777 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Everyday Things That Are Surprisingly Awesome Investments http://www.wisebread.com/7-everyday-things-that-are-surprisingly-awesome-investments <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-everyday-things-that-are-surprisingly-awesome-investments" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/star_wars_legos_000019766199.jpg" alt="Learning which everyday things that are awesome investments" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Strapped for cash? You could be sitting on a small fortune that's hidden right under your nose. Find out what everyday things are surprisingly awesome investments, so you can start building your ordinary empire today. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-boring-investments-make-life-exciting?ref=seealso">4 Ways &quot;Boring&quot; Investments Make Life Exciting</a>)</p> <h2>1. Comic Books</h2> <p>It's not just first-issue Supermans, Spider-Mans, and Batmans that command big bucks. Other comic books and graphic novels &mdash; even contemporary titles, like first-printing Walking Dead #1, which is <a href="http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?ItemID=26643716&amp;gclid=CjwKEAiA58a1BRDw6Jan_PLapw8SJABJz-ZWQRwaCQ5Wx2-CCT08iALxyWKDvEVcFMe1O9O9xDR1-hoC4Lrw_wcB">listed for $15,000</a> on online retailer MyComicShop.com &mdash; can help you bring home some serious bacon.</p> <p>&quot;While everyone's heard stories of people cleaning out an attic to find comic books they sold at a hefty profit, it's not just the older books that are valuable,&quot; explains Vincent Zurzolo, co-owner of New York-based Metropolis Collectibles, the world's largest vintage comic book dealership, and ComicConnect, the largest online vintage comic auction house. &quot;Even comic books from the last 20 years are becoming more collectible. Some have jumped from just a few dollars each five years ago to $50 to $100 today. Smart investors are finding that they can make money off of this trend, but only if they treat it like they would any serious investment.&quot;</p> <p>Vincent and his partner, Stephen Fishler, hold five Guinness World Records for the most expensive comics and related collectibles ever sold.</p> <p>&quot;Once you jump into the comic book market, remember to protect your investment,&quot; he adds. Store books in a cool, dry place, such as a safe deposit box. Finally, use professional appraisers and consider purchasing insurance for your collection.&quot;</p> <p>A quick search of your comic's name and issue on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.comicconnect.com">ComicConnect</a> can help you gauge your comic's value.</p> <h2>2. LEGO Sets</h2> <p>Anybody who watches <a href="http://amzn.to/1Qnie5w">Pawn Stars</a>, <a href="http://amzn.to/1oluCws">Antiques Roadshow</a><em>,</em> and the like knows that some toys &mdash; particularly mid-century and earlier &mdash; are worth a bundle. But little did we know that one of the most popular toys on the planet today is accruing incredible value right under our noses.</p> <p>Late last year, it was revealed that Lego sets have appreciated in value better than numerous investments, most notably gold. Yes, <em>gold</em>.</p> <p>According to the U.K.-based Telegraph, &quot;Lego sets kept in pristine condition have <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/investing/11817380/Lego-a-better-investment-than-shares-and-gold.html">increased in value</a> 12% each year since the turn of the Millennium, with second-hand prices rising for specific sets as soon as they go out of production. Modern sets are performing even more strongly, with those released last year already selling on eBay for 36% more than their original price.&quot;</p> <p>In contrast, &quot;Those who invested in gold received a 9.6% annual gain over the past decade and a half, while those who went with a savings account generated 2.8%, according to investment company Hargreaves Lansdown.&quot;</p> <p>So which Lego sets are the most coveted? Star Wars, of course (at least currently), with the Ultimate Collector's Millennium Falcon bringing in the top value at more than $2,000, while the Death Star II and Imperial Star Destroyer are close behind at well above $1,000.</p> <h2>3. Birkin Bags</h2> <p>Just a couple weeks after Lego was reported to be a surprisingly good investment, news came that Herm├ęs' 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/the-6-monthly-telecom-bills-you-can-negotiate">The 6 Monthly Telecom Bills You Can Negotiate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/the-only-5-rules-you-need-to-know-about-investing-in-real-estate">The Only 5 Rules You Need to Know About Investing in Real Estate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tips-for-increasing-your-financial-literacy">Tips for Increasing Your Financial Literacy</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/are-you-wasting-68000-on-gas">Are You Wasting $68,000 on Gas?</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