Internet http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/176/all en-US Here's How to Monetize Your Unwanted Gifts 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-5"> <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/save-on-christmas-shopping-with-this-clever-gift-card-strategy">Save on Christmas Shopping With This Clever Gift Card Strategy</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Shopping Christmas Christmas gifts exchange gifts gifts Holidays Internet presents regift regifting resale sell your stuff Fri, 06 Jan 2017 10:00:10 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1869197 at http://www.wisebread.com Going Off the Grid Is a Lot Harder Than You Think http://www.wisebread.com/going-off-the-grid-is-a-lot-harder-than-you-think <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/going-off-the-grid-is-a-lot-harder-than-you-think" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_farm_carrots_519737980.jpg" alt="Woman learning going off the grid is hard" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The term &quot;off the grid&quot; has taken on an expanded meaning of late. It used to be used in a literal fashion, to refer to disconnection from the grids supplying power, gas, water, and telephone services. Lately it's come to mean something broader: disconnecting from what whatever parts of &quot;the system&quot; seem objectionable to you.</p> <p>Some people want to disconnect from the financial system. Some people want to disconnect from the surveillance state. Some people want to disconnect from the globalized economy or industrial agriculture or consumerism. Any of these choices have both costs and benefits.</p> <p>Take a look at some of your options.</p> <h2>Off the Grid on the Low-Tech Path</h2> <p>To go fully off the grid is to become self-sufficient &mdash; to produce all the things you need for daily living. This is only sort-of possible. That is, the technology to produce everything you need to live is very low-tech indeed &mdash; pretty much everybody lived that way for the past 100,000 years &mdash; but there are two problems, one of which is insurmountable.</p> <h3>The Surmountable Problem: It's a Hard Way to Live</h3> <p>There are two historical routes along the low-tech path. The more recent is subsistence farmer.</p> <p>You can't just decide &quot;I'm going to be a subsistence farmer&quot; and expect to succeed at it. It takes capital (in the form of land and tools). It takes skills (that your grandfather may have had, but that you probably don't). And if you can acquire both of those things, it then takes long hours of year-round backbreaking work to eke out a meager existence.</p> <p>You can live at a much higher standard of living if you work for money (whether at a job or at your own small business) and then use that money to buy the things you need. Even if you don't make much money at all &mdash; part-time work at minimum wage, or whatever you can make as a freelancer at this or that &mdash; you're still going to be able to live as well as a subsistence farmer.</p> <p>Oh, the subsistence farmer will get better food. It doesn't get any fresher, more local, free-range, or organic than the stuff you grow yourself. The subsistence farmer also gets the huge satisfaction that comes from supplying your own needs with your own two hands. But if you really want to produce everything yourself, you're going to have to do without a lot.</p> <p>You have to make a lot of choices about how pure you want to be. Each thing you want to learn how to make yourself &mdash; nails, let's say &mdash; means another big investment in tools (forge, anvil) and skills, and another huge amount of work that you have to do to produce enough nails for a project. And each thing you decide not to make for yourself &mdash; cellphones, let's say &mdash; draws you into the money economy, meaning that you need to produce a surplus, so you have something to sell beyond what you need to live on.</p> <p>Although it would have been a lot easier in your grandfather's time (his parents had and could teach many of the skills that you're going to have to learn from YouTube videos), it's probably easier now than it was in the 1960s, when a lot of hippie types gave subsistence farming a serious try. At least you've got the YouTube videos.</p> <p>There is a lot of stuff out there to help, if you're serious about giving something like this a try. You might start with my review of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-the-self-sufficient-life-and-how-to-live-it">The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It</a> here on Wise Bread from a few years ago.</p> <p>Just for completeness, I should mention the even older low-tech path: The lifestyle of the hunter-gatherer.</p> <p>As a practical option, this one probably doesn't even exist. Virtually all the land that is suitable to support hunter-gatherers is more valuable for some other use, and so it has been taken for that use. (Hunter-gatherers couldn't win fights with farmers even before firearms were invented.)</p> <p>I suppose a wealthy person could buy a hunting preserve on a tract of land big enough to provide enough fish, game, and plants to support himself. If he did his hunting with primitive weapons and processed the carcasses with primitive tools (and kept to himself), he could probably get away with violating the rules on hunting seasons, fishing licenses, and the like. But it would just be a fantasy of living as a hunter-gatherer. As a landowner, he'd still be on the grid. (As a rich person, he'd no doubt be on the grid in all sorts of ways.)</p> <p>Having said all that, hunting and gathering are both useful as ways to improve whatever lifestyle choice you end up with. Anything you can take from the wild is something that you neither need to grow nor buy. I talk about that in my post <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/foraging-not-insane-useless-or-impossible">Foraging: Not Insane, Useless, or Impossible</a> and Andrea Karim has posts looking at <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hunt-fish-money-food">hunting and fishing for food</a> and at <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-food-in-your-yard-edible-weeds">gathering edible weeds</a>. (Of course those barely scratch the surface of what hunting and gathering can do to supplement your diet in modern times.)</p> <h3>The Insurmountable Problem: You're Still on the Grid</h3> <p>A farmer needs to own land, and all kinds of grid attachments come along with that. You have to pay your property taxes, so you have to earn some money, so you're probably going to have to file an income tax return as well. If you need to earn money you're probably going to have to be able to market your products, so you need a truck, which means even more money, and even more grid attachments (license, plates, safety inspections, dependence on foreign oil).</p> <p>There are other ways you can't get off the grid. The state is going to check and make sure your kids are getting a proper education. You can teach them yourself, but you need to be on-the-grid enough to do the paperwork. You need to have health insurance even if you don't want to avail yourself of modern medical care. Zoning regulations will affect how you can use your land. Federal marketing orders and agreements affect what crops you can grow, and the EPA regulates what you can do with wetlands on your property.</p> <p>Because of these issues (and a hundred more like them), I've become enamored of late by the possibility of a different sort of path to off-the-grid living.</p> <h2>Off the Grid on the High-Tech Path</h2> <p>If you accept the fact that there simply is no way to live completely off the grid &mdash; if you abandon the purity aspect of the notion &mdash; another option opens up: You can go off the grid <em>a la carte</em>, picking and choosing where connecting to the grid is worth the cost, and where disconnecting is the bigger win.</p> <p>The question you need to ask is &quot;<em>Why</em> do you want to live off the grid?&quot; If you understand the answer to that question, you can decide where to put your effort.</p> <h3>The Satisfaction of Providing for Your Own Needs</h3> <p>If this is what moves you, you can start right away. Think about what you need and start producing it.</p> <p>Food? An intensively worked suburban plot can provide a large fraction of all the food a family needs, but you can start with just a garden. If you can have chickens where you live, you can easily be <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/real-eggs">self-sufficient in eggs</a>. You can certainly raise a few rabbits and substantially augment your household meat supply.</p> <p>Clothing? Learn to sew. Learn to knit. Learn to weave. Learn to spin.</p> <p>Shelter? Look into the &quot;tiny house&quot; movement. (There are several <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-tiny-house-living-actually-save-you-money">tiny house articles</a> on Wise Bread.)</p> <p>Producing your own stuff is only sometimes cheaper than buying it, but stuff you produce yourself can also be better than what you can buy (once you get good at producing it).</p> <h3>The Safety and Security of Providing for Your Own Needs</h3> <p>One downside of &quot;the grid&quot; is that you're so terribly dependent on it. If the power goes out, you're sitting in the dark. If a backhoe takes out the wrong cable, you've got no landline (or no Internet, or no cable). If the water company starts piping in water that's contaminated with lead, you're drinking from bottles until they clean the system.</p> <p>You can replace most of these things in a grid-free fashion, although it often takes capital.</p> <p>You can put solar panels on your roof and produce your own electricity. If you live out in the country, you can drill your own well and pump up your own water. You can even set up a biodigester and produce your own methane gas (although it might be simpler to harvest the occasional tree and burn wood rather than gas).</p> <p>There's really no way to go grid-free for telephone and Internet, because the connection is the essence of the thing. But if you wanted to do it, the technical chops required to set up your own local network &mdash; one that covered your home or your neighborhood (or your walled compound) &mdash; is not beyond the capability of an ordinary person. Throw in some access points capable of establishing a meshing network and a server with ample disk space and you could offer folks very local networking that was completely independent of the larger grid, providing voice access to everyone within your local network and offering whatever you wanted to spin up on your server. (A local copy of Wikipedia wouldn't take up much room at all.)</p> <h3>The Morality of Providing for Your Own Needs</h3> <p>Things that you produce yourself can be produced in accordance with your own values.</p> <p>You can be confident that no produce from your own garden was harvested by poorly treated migrant labor. You can be confident that no garment that you sew yourself was made by slaves or prisoners. Eggs from your chickens can be cruelty-free, cage-free, free-range, and organic to exactly the extent that you choose &mdash; and will certainly be extremely local.</p> <p>Using power produced by your solar panels funds no overseas terrorist organization, drains no cash to money-center corporations, nor does it enrich the shareholders of the firms endangering our air and water with fracking, offshore drilling, or poorly maintained pipelines.</p> <p>Where morality is not implicated, you can choose to stay on the grid. I don't live in a tiny house: I live in a town house &mdash; but it's a town house owned by a cooperative that I'm a member of. In essence, I rent it from myself. It's on the grid, but it's very much in accordance with my values.</p> <p>Living large on a small budget makes it easy to live light on the planet, and that often goes hand-in-hand with high-tech, off-grid living.</p> <h3>The Flexibility of Providing for Your Own Needs</h3> <p>The technology of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/three-paths-to-being-a-digital-nomad">digital nomad</a> makes it possible to go off the grid in a very different way.</p> <p>On the one hand, the digital nomad needs regular (although not necessarily constant) access to the Internet. That's as grid-connected as can be.</p> <p>On the other hand, once you've arranged your life to allow you to be location-independent, you can be pretty indifferent to exactly which bits of the grid you choose to depend on, and you can shift around based on the circumstances of the moment.</p> <p>You can live out of a suitcase and laptop bag, using the power and Internet available wherever you happen to be.</p> <p>You can outfit an RV (or a van) with some solar panels and some batteries, add a few gigabytes of data to your cellular plan, and live and work anywhere you choose.</p> <p>You can connect to the grid, work for as long as seems appropriate, and then disconnect whenever you want.</p> <p>Being able to make these choices &mdash; and then make different choices when the circumstance (or your thinking) changes &mdash; is what I mean by the high-tech path to off-grid living.</p> <h2>High-tech or Low-tech, Capital Makes a Difference</h2> <p>There's a big trade off between <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/self-sufficiency-self-reliance-and-freedom">self-sufficiency and self-reliance</a>, and the more of what you need you can produce for yourself, the more options you have.</p> <p>The grid is part of this. Replacing it requires a lot of capital. Doing without means taking a hit to your standard of living. This means a lot of hard choices, but each additional chunk of capital can turn one more hard choice into an easy choice.</p> <p>I mentioned at the beginning that a subsistence farmer needs capital for land or tools. Many of the other strategies I've mentioned &mdash; such as getting your power from a solar array &mdash; involve substituting capital up front for monthly bills (and a reliance on the grid).</p> <p>There is the option of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-farewell-my-subaru">going big on capital</a>. If you've got enough money, you can be as local and off-grid as you want in sourcing your food, power, water, and so on.</p> <p>If you lack capital, you're going to have to pick and choose which aspects of grid you chose to unhook from. Or else, you're going to have to accept a very low standard of living indeed.</p> <p>In the end, it comes down to your values. Why do you want to live off the grid? What lifestyle choices support those reasons?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-off-the-grid-is-a-lot-harder-than-you-think">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <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/8-alternatives-to-cable-tv-that-will-keep-you-entertained">8 Alternatives to Cable TV That Will Keep You Entertained</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-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/4-ways-millennials-are-changing-marriage">4 Ways Millennials Are Changing Marriage</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-digital-detox-how-and-why-to-do-it">The Digital Detox: How and Why to Do It</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Technology alternative living disconnecting Economy farming independence Internet off the grid self sufficient sustainability Thu, 15 Dec 2016 11:30:12 +0000 Philip Brewer 1850791 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Sneaky Ways Identity Thieves Can Access Your Data http://www.wisebread.com/3-sneaky-ways-identity-thieves-can-access-your-data <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-sneaky-ways-identity-thieves-can-access-your-data" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/computer_password_88375551.jpg" alt="Finding sneaky ways identity thieves can access data" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You just can't be too careful nowadays.</p> <p>From 2010 to 2015, identity thieves have stolen <a href="http://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/identity-theft-and-cybercrime">$112 billion</a> from U.S. consumers. A staggering 13.1 million victims of identify theft lost $15 billion in 2015 alone. To curb more cases of identity theft, more and more issuers of credit and debit cards are transitioning their clients to cards with chip technology. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-chip-credit-cards-make-life-easier?ref=seealso">4 Ways Chip Credit Cards Make Life Easier</a>)</p> <p>Still, there are plenty of methods for criminals to get a hold of your personal information. Let's review three more ways thieves can steal your identity and how to protect yourself against them.</p> <h2>1. Mailbox</h2> <p>Snail mail can be annoying in more ways that you think. While receiving paper copies of statements of your bank accounts, credit card accounts, retirement accounts, or investment accounts can save you the cost of printing them out yourself, keep in mind that it also opens the door for potential identity theft. For example, all it takes is a thief to get a hold of a bank account or credit card statement and try his luck changing your mailing address and requesting a replacement card. Don't let somebody go on a shopping spree with your hard-earned dollars!</p> <p>Another target inside your mailbox is any prefilled credit card or loan application. That little trash bin right next to the mailbox area in your apartment building is a gold mine for identity thieves.</p> <h3>How to Prevent It</h3> <p>The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) recommends you avoid leaving mail in your mailbox overnight or on weekends. If you plan to be away from home from three to 30 consecutive days, use the <a href="https://holdmail.usps.com/holdmail/">USPS Hold Mail Service</a> to schedule delivery of all mail on the day of your return.</p> <p>Also, make sure that you deposit any mail containing personal information only on U.S. Postal Service collection boxes and securely discard any letters of preapproved offers of credit. You also can opt out of unsolicited credit and insurance offers by calling 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or visiting <a href="http://www.optoutprescreen.com">www.OptOutPrescreen.com</a>.</p> <h2>2. Fake Public Wi-Fi</h2> <p>Whether struggling to keep your data usage within the limits of your existing phone data plan or trying to upload a perfect Instagram selfie during your trip to Italy, many of us can't resist the promise of free Internet from a public hot spot. Malicious hackers are aware of this and set up fake public Wi-Fi hot spots to lure users and steal their data.</p> <p>Main targets are commuters doing work and exposing valuable information, such as lists of clients, business expense accounts, and invoices. If you think getting your identity stolen is bad, imagine exposing that of your clients or coworkers to cyber criminals. And those hackers don't have to be anywhere close to you: They can be <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=3454066&amp;page=1">up to 100 feet</a> away and still get away with your identity.</p> <h3>How to Prevent It</h3> <p>Only activate your Wi-Fi port when you're about to connect to a known and secure Wi-Fi. Whenever possible, check the authenticity of a hot spot. For example, ask the reception desk attendant at a hotel or check billboards at a mall.</p> <p>When using public Wi-Fi connections, don't visit sites related to your personal finance. If you absolutely must use a public Wi-Fi for work, only do so by connecting through your company's Virtual Private Network (VPN) to encrypt all data during your session.</p> <h2>3. Email</h2> <p>You don't need to be a major celebrity for somebody to try hacking your email account. All it takes is the suspicion that you may have a lot of financial assets or are in the process of a major financial transaction, such as closing a mortgage, executing an estate, or applying for a student loan.</p> <p>While you may think that it takes really complicated hacking skills to decipher a password, the harsh reality is that most people use the simplest of passwords. According to a <a href="http://gizmodo.com/the-25-most-popular-passwords-of-2015-were-all-such-id-1753591514">list of over two million leaked passwords</a>, the top five passwords of 2015 were:</p> <ol> <li>123456</li> <li>password</li> <li>12345678</li> <li>Qwerty</li> <li>12345</li> </ol> <p>Internet uses don't learn from their mistakes: The top two most commonly used passwords of 2015 were also the top two of the list from the previous year. Even worse, nearly three out of four individuals <a href="https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/246902">use the same password</a> for multiple accounts. By unlocking your email password, hackers have a good chance of getting a hold of your other online accounts.</p> <h3>How to Prevent It</h3> <p>Microsoft recommends using passwords that:</p> <ul> <li>Are at least <a href="https://blogs.microsoft.com/microsoftsecure/2014/08/25/create-stronger-passwords-and-protect-them/">eight characters</a> in length;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Don't contain your username, real name, or company name;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Don't spell out complete words (sorry sports fans: football and baseball were #7 and #10 in the list of most commonly stolen passwords);<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Are significantly different from previous passwords; and<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Are different from passwords used on other websites.</li> </ul> <p>Also, don't use your email to store documents containing sensitive information, such as your social security number or credit card number. If you need to exchange such documents, do so through the encrypted online portal of your financial institution. You'll know it's encrypted when the URL bar shows a &quot;HTTPS.&quot;</p> <p>Finally, learn to identify the meanings of the potential types of padlocks that your web browser uses, such as the <a href="https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/how-do-i-tell-if-my-connection-is-secure">green and gray padlocks of Mozilla Firefox</a>.</p> <p>Better safe than sorry.</p> <p><em>Have you ever been a victim of identity theft?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-sneaky-ways-identity-thieves-can-access-your-data">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/phishing-scams-continue-to-plague-social-media-sites">Phishing Scams Continue to Plague Social Media Sites</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-weird-ways-to-keep-you-and-your-stuff-safe">7 Weird Ways to Keep You and Your Stuff Safe</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/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> </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-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-social-media-can-save-you-money">6 Ways Social Media Can Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-frugal-living-skills-i-wish-my-parents-would-have-taught-me">8 Frugal Living Skills I Wish My Parents Would Have Taught Me</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-money-secrets-of-the-amish">9 Money Secrets of the Amish</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-money-lessons-we-can-learn-from-gilmore-girls">6 Money Lessons We Can Learn From &quot;Gilmore Girls&quot;</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-of-the-coolest-sayings-about-saving">10 of the Coolest Sayings About Saving</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> <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/15-ways-to-prevent-your-smartphone-from-wasting-data">15 Ways to Prevent Your Smartphone From Wasting 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/heres-how-to-monetize-your-unwanted-gifts">Here&#039;s How to Monetize Your Unwanted Gifts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/life-without-tv">Life Without Television</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/easy-budgeting-for-first-time-singles">Easy Budgeting for First Time Singles</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living bills cable Internet negotiating service providers wireless Mon, 09 May 2016 10:30:04 +0000 Kyle James 1699777 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Everyday Things That Are Surprisingly Awesome Investments http://www.wisebread.com/7-everyday-things-that-are-surprisingly-awesome-investments <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-everyday-things-that-are-surprisingly-awesome-investments" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/star_wars_legos_000019766199.jpg" alt="Learning which everyday things that are awesome investments" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Strapped for cash? You could be sitting on a small fortune that's hidden right under your nose. Find out what everyday things are surprisingly awesome investments, so you can start building your ordinary empire today. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-boring-investments-make-life-exciting?ref=seealso">4 Ways &quot;Boring&quot; Investments Make Life Exciting</a>)</p> <h2>1. Comic Books</h2> <p>It's not just first-issue Supermans, Spider-Mans, and Batmans that command big bucks. Other comic books and graphic novels &mdash; even contemporary titles, like first-printing Walking Dead #1, which is <a href="http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?ItemID=26643716&amp;gclid=CjwKEAiA58a1BRDw6Jan_PLapw8SJABJz-ZWQRwaCQ5Wx2-CCT08iALxyWKDvEVcFMe1O9O9xDR1-hoC4Lrw_wcB">listed for $15,000</a> on online retailer MyComicShop.com &mdash; can help you bring home some serious bacon.</p> <p>&quot;While everyone's heard stories of people cleaning out an attic to find comic books they sold at a hefty profit, it's not just the older books that are valuable,&quot; explains Vincent Zurzolo, co-owner of New York-based Metropolis Collectibles, the world's largest vintage comic book dealership, and ComicConnect, the largest online vintage comic auction house. &quot;Even comic books from the last 20 years are becoming more collectible. Some have jumped from just a few dollars each five years ago to $50 to $100 today. Smart investors are finding that they can make money off of this trend, but only if they treat it like they would any serious investment.&quot;</p> <p>Vincent and his partner, Stephen Fishler, hold five Guinness World Records for the most expensive comics and related collectibles ever sold.</p> <p>&quot;Once you jump into the comic book market, remember to protect your investment,&quot; he adds. Store books in a cool, dry place, such as a safe deposit box. Finally, use professional appraisers and consider purchasing insurance for your collection.&quot;</p> <p>A quick search of your comic's name and issue on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.comicconnect.com">ComicConnect</a> can help you gauge your comic's value.</p> <h2>2. LEGO Sets</h2> <p>Anybody who watches <a href="http://amzn.to/1Qnie5w">Pawn Stars</a>, <a href="http://amzn.to/1oluCws">Antiques Roadshow</a><em>,</em> and the like knows that some toys &mdash; particularly mid-century and earlier &mdash; are worth a bundle. But little did we know that one of the most popular toys on the planet today is accruing incredible value right under our noses.</p> <p>Late last year, it was revealed that Lego sets have appreciated in value better than numerous investments, most notably gold. Yes, <em>gold</em>.</p> <p>According to the U.K.-based Telegraph, &quot;Lego sets kept in pristine condition have <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/investing/11817380/Lego-a-better-investment-than-shares-and-gold.html">increased in value</a> 12% each year since the turn of the Millennium, with second-hand prices rising for specific sets as soon as they go out of production. Modern sets are performing even more strongly, with those released last year already selling on eBay for 36% more than their original price.&quot;</p> <p>In contrast, &quot;Those who invested in gold received a 9.6% annual gain over the past decade and a half, while those who went with a savings account generated 2.8%, according to investment company Hargreaves Lansdown.&quot;</p> <p>So which Lego sets are the most coveted? Star Wars, of course (at least currently), with the Ultimate Collector's Millennium Falcon bringing in the top value at more than $2,000, while the Death Star II and Imperial Star Destroyer are close behind at well above $1,000.</p> <h2>3. Birkin Bags</h2> <p>Just a couple weeks after Lego was reported to be a surprisingly good investment, news came that Hermés' popular Birkin bags also held up well against traditional investments &mdash; outpacing both the S&amp;P 500 and the price of gold in the last 35 years.</p> <p>Scarcity is the leading factor in the bags' huge hikes &mdash; they're not advertised and there's still a six-year wait list &mdash; though you will have to put out a decent chunk of change for the initial investment (they start at about $12,000). If you've got that kind of capital for a handbag, however, you could walk away a winner in a few years. According to Time magazine, the annual return on a Birkin was 14.2%, compared to the S&amp;P average of 8.7% a year and gold's 1.5%.</p> <h2>4. Art</h2> <p>If you're one of the lucky ducks who owns a building that Banksy has tagged, or you were in the right place at the right time when he sold nearly a quarter-million dollars worth of art for $60 a pop in Central Park a few years ago, you're sitting pretty &mdash; but he's not the only artist whose work is worth much more than canvas it's on. In fact, you might have a sizable payday hanging on your walls right now.</p> <p>Personally, I invest in art &mdash; mostly local artists where I live. I don't buy based on their success (most of the artists whose work I purchase are unknown), but rather I make my decision on what piques my interest and catches my eye. I then follow their careers to stay educated about my investments.</p> <p>And it's a wise habit to practice, says Mallory Greene, community manager at Wealthsimple.</p> <p>&quot;If you don't think buying art is a good way to make money, there are some pretty fancy numbers that argue otherwise,&quot; she explains. &quot;Consider the case of the artist Jacob Kassay. Kassay is known for making beautiful photo-mirrors by painting canvases with reflective metallic paint. The result is affecting, producing an eerie, crude reflection of the viewer. One of his paintings sold for about $4,000 at a gallery in New York City. That sounds expensive until you consider that nine months later the painting sold at auction for $150,000. That, if you're keeping score, is a return of 3,650%.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Wine</h2> <p>Here's a sobering fact: You could be drinking your retirement fund away as you read this.</p> <p>While you probably won't be able to sail off into the sunset by selling off that case of Barefoot Merlot, you may have better luck focusing your investment on wines that come from specific regions, particularly Bordeaux, Champagne, Tuscany, Burgundy, and the Rhone.</p> <p>Forbes magazine reports, &quot;While the four latter regions are gaining in popularity, the Bordeaux region continues to serve as the <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/northwesternmutual/2013/12/03/sip-it-or-cellar-it-the-basics-of-wine-investing/#6f04884f76f7">gold standard for wine investors</a>. According to wine trading platform Cavex, two cases of Chateau Mouton Rothschild 2005 &mdash; an iconic wine from the Bordeaux region of France &mdash; recently traded for &pound;4,100 GBP (about $6,566 USD). Meanwhile, four cases of the Burgundy wine Ponsot Morey St. Denis Alouettes 2009 went for a more modest &pound;275 GBP (about $440 USD).&quot;</p> <p>Greene provides more context.</p> <p>&quot;The London International Vintners Exchange (a.k.a. the Liv-ex) indices have dramatically outperformed the S&amp;P 500 and the FTSE over the last decade and a half,&quot; she says. &quot;And how often have you enjoyed an ETF with a braised leg of lamb? The main reason to invest in wine is because it's fun.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Internet Domains</h2> <p>Last fall, ex-Google employee Sammy Ved did the nearly impossible: He purchased Google.com during a <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2016/1/29/10868404/google-reveals-how-much-it-paid-the-guy-who-bought-google-com">momentary lapse in domain ownership</a> by Google itself. He only owned it for about a minute before Google recognized its snafu and reversed the transaction. Google offered to pay Ved a reward of $6,006.13 (which spells out Google numerically), which it then doubled when Ved said he'd donate the money to charity. How nice.</p> <p>Alas, there's no provision that says you have to be so altruistic if you're ever in a similar position, which isn't all that uncommon. In fact, the truth is you can purchase any domain that's available, hold onto it, and hope that somebody with deep pockets wants and needs it someday.</p> <p>Digital marketing and social media strategist Brad Hines says that registering words like, a newly coined word or expression, as a .com domain name is an in-plain-sight investment that people overlook all the time.</p> <p>&quot;Domain names have an enormous aftermarket,&quot; he explains. &quot;A brief glance at a website like <a href="http://www.dnjournal.com/domainsales.htm">DnJournal</a> shows that average sales of domain names start at $3,000. And 100% of these domain names start as initial registrations at any domain name registrar &mdash; GoDaddy, 1&amp;1, NameCheap, etc. &mdash; where they tend to register for $10 to $15.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Registering domain names has low barriers to entry, so it's competitive, yes, but reading things like trade journals and niche blogs can help keep you ahead of words that are not in public fashion yet,&quot; Hines continues. &quot;I've done this for 15 years.&quot;</p> <h2>7. Sports Memorabilia</h2> <p>Remember when you were growing up and you found a rookie in your pack of baseball cards? Well, you should've held on to it, as it could've made your 20-somethings a little less ramen-reliant. Moreover, you'd really be living large if you had it signed by somebody like Mickey Mantle, Cal Ripken Jr., or Albert Pujols &mdash; because authentic autographed memorabilia is where it's at!</p> <p>According to the Upper Deck blog, authentic autographed memorabilia, like a Wilson basketball featuring Kevin Durant's signature, or bat signed by Ken Griffey Jr., can command top dollar at auction.</p> <p>If you're new to the memorabilia investing game &mdash; or want to get started, like, stat! &mdash;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cnbc.com/id/39444167">consider these rules</a> shared by CNBC.</p> <p><em>What ordinary things do you own that are worth a pretty penny? I'd love to hear about them in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-everyday-things-that-are-surprisingly-awesome-investments">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/heres-how-to-monetize-your-unwanted-gifts">Here&#039;s How to Monetize Your Unwanted Gifts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-booze-teaches-us-about-money">What Booze Teaches Us About Money</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-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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/life-without-tv">Life Without Television</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Investment appreciation art comic books Internet legos sports memorabilia wine worth money Thu, 18 Feb 2016 11:30:03 +0000 Mikey Rox 1658151 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Things You Should Never Do on LinkedIn http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-should-never-do-on-linkedin <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-things-you-should-never-do-on-linkedin" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/linkedin_000038175350.jpg" alt="Learning things you should never do on LinkedIn" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>How dialed in is your LinkedIn profile? As the world's most successful social business network (at last count, the site had 380 million members across more than 200 countries and territories), LinkedIn has become synonymous with online career-building. And with such a mind-boggling reach, it's worth making sure you're not <em>locked out</em>. Here are seven things you should never do on LinkedIn.</p> <h2>1. Confuse It With Facebook</h2> <p>The distinctions are obvious to most, but some lump all social media tools together in a bucket marked &quot;anything goes.&quot; Don't be one of these people.</p> <p>LinkedIn connections, messages, and posts should be reserved for building your professional network, joining groups of people who share your interests, expanding your career skills and knowledge, and learning about new work opportunities. Don't use it for a casual social interaction, posting office party selfies, or anything else that might turn a potential employer off.</p> <h2>2. Send a Standard Connection Request</h2> <p>If you're interested enough to make a connection on LinkedIn, take a moment to do it with a personal message. Remember, be professional and polite. If you've met, remind the person of your affiliation; if not, briefly explain your interest in connecting.</p> <h2>3. Pick the Wrong Pic</h2> <p>A great photo is an important way to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-your-linkedin-profile-noticed-with-a-few-attention-grabbing-tweaks">get your LinkedIn profile noticed</a>. But skip the one that includes your husband, your kids, your friends, or the family pet. Also, make sure the photo is clear, professional, and relatively recent (no vintage glamour shots, please).</p> <h2>4. Write Wrong</h2> <p>LinkedIn is a continuous online snapshot of who you are professionally. And just as there's an art to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-write-a-resume-12-steps-to-your-next-job">writing a great resume</a>, there's an art to crafting great content on LinkedIn. Even though it's a social media site, grammatical errors on LinkedIn can immediately cast you in bad light. Proofread every word you write; even quick status updates and link introductions should be polished and perfect.</p> <h2>5. Solicit Recommendations</h2> <p>Soliciting recommendations from previous employers and co-workers is tricky. First of all, never overwhelm new connections with a recommendation request right away. Second, don't spam your entire network with requests. Be tactical and tactful; only reach out to those with whom you have (or have had) a strong professional relationship. And keep in mind, people are more likely to respond to requests that are simple and easy. Explain the specific skill sets you're hoping to emphasize on LinkedIn and then politely request a recommendation &mdash; once and only once.</p> <h2>6. Ignore Your Privacy Settings</h2> <p>Privacy on a professional networking site is an essential feature for obvious reasons. If you're currently employed, but actively looking for your next opportunity, you'll naturally want to maintain a certain level of discretion. If you're engaged in a job search, customize your privacy settings so your boss can't see what you're up to. You can find LinkedIn's privacy options by scrolling over the small version of your profile photo in the upper right hand of the homepage. Navigate to &quot;Privacy &amp; Settings&quot; and make the necessary adjustments.</p> <h2>7. Be Passive</h2> <p>Active users make LinkedIn a vibrant community and a valuable tool. Be part of it by updating your status a couple of times each week. Updates on promotions and professional pursuits or links to events keep things fresh and gives potential employers a reason to reach out to you. Joining groups, sharing articles, and growing your network are other important ways to show you're more than just a lurker.</p> <p>Today, learning to use social media effectively is a big part of professional <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/networking-basics-for-regular-people">networking basics</a>. With some time, attention, and discipline, LinkedIn can become a powerful career-building tool&hellip; just as long as you don't post those glamour shots.</p> <p><em>Have you found a job through a LinkedIn connection? What tips do you have for other LinkedIn users?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-should-never-do-on-linkedin">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-to-use-social-media-in-business">13 Ways to Use Social Media in Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-someone-to-accept-your-linkedin-invitation">How to Get Someone to Accept Your LinkedIn Invitation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-online-tools-to-help-you-land-a-job">5 Online Tools to Help You Land a Job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-high-paying-jobs-that-didnt-exist-10-years-ago">9 High-Paying Jobs That Didn&#039;t Exist 10 Years Ago</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/15-simple-networking-tricks">15 Simple Networking Tricks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building business connections Internet LinkedIn networking resumes social media Mon, 28 Sep 2015 09:00:32 +0000 Kentin Waits 1568938 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Craziest Groupon Deals http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-craziest-groupon-deals <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-craziest-groupon-deals" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_on_internet_000029608360.jpg" alt="Couple finding craziest Groupon deals online" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Nobody likes to pay full price.</p> <p>That's why everybody jumped on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-groupon-refund-when-a-company-closes">Groupon</a> when it first came out with all of its crazy-cheap deals, and many of us still keep coming back. From dinners at fancy places to open bar catamaran cruises, Groupon seems to offer everything under the sun &mdash; at a steep discount.</p> <p>But if you think that bikini waxes are the wildest thing that Groupon offers, think again. Here are the five craziest Groupon deals ever. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-ensure-you-use-your-groupons-and-other-daily-deals?ref=seealso">How to Ensure You Use Your Groupons and Other Daily Deals</a>)</p> <h2>1. Bedtime Tuck-In</h2> <p>Parents have been warning their kids about stranger danger for a long time. Ben Kobold wanted you to dismiss all that advice and let him give you or the recipient of this Groupon &quot;deal&quot; the <a href="http://www.groupon.com/deals/ben-kobold-tuck-in">most amazing bedtime tuck-in</a>. Not only will Ben use his &quot;summer-breeze-like&quot; voice to sing you a lullaby, but he will also monitor your body temperature and breathing rate.</p> <p>Priced at $100, this bedtime tuck-in deal would seem a prank. However, Groupon has established that <a href="https://www.groupon.com/deals/ben-kobold-tuck-in/discussion">this deal wasn't a joke</a> and that Ben Kobold was an actual Groupon employee (he's a writer). Such level of professionalism must have been very reassuring for the two people that bought this crazy deal!</p> <h2>2. Serial-Killer Walking Tour</h2> <p>There are creepy deals, and then there are truly scary ones. A Milwaukee company caused the rage of several local residents by offering a 90-minute Jeffrey Dahmer (a.k.a. the Milwaukee Cannibal) tour for two. For $25 (deal was valued at $60), you and your guest would tour the exact streets in which cannibalistic serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer picked up seven of his victims.</p> <p>Even though two decades have passed since Dahmer was arrested, his memory still haunts the neighborhood. It wasn't long until the Dahmer's hunting grounds &quot;deal&quot; caught the attention of the local and national news and Groupon was forced to <a href="http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/03/02/groupon-pulls-deal-for-serial-killer-walking-tour/">take down the sale</a> from its website. Despite the pull-plug from Groupon and the outcry from the Milwaukee community, the tour company was still legally allowed to fulfill its 15 sold tours.</p> <h2>3. DVD Signed by Leonardo DiCaprio Impersonator</h2> <p>When you are offering a travel package that includes...</p> <ul> <li>Round-trip airfare from any city in the continental U.S. to the nearest city of the resting place of the Titanic;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>One-night stay at a comfy hotel;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>11-night stay at a cruise ship;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Exploration of the Titanic shipwreck aboard a deep-ocean vessel;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Admission to a series of lectures from experts on the Titanic; and<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>A long list of Titanic-related activities,</li> </ul> <p>...why in the world would you make a Titanic-movie DVD signed by a <a href="http://www.groupon.com/pages/titanic">Leonardo DiCaprio impersonator</a> the main selling point of this package? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-groupon-getaways-a-good-idea?ref=seealso">Are Groupon Getaways a Good Idea?</a>)</p> <p>To be fair, he's a professional impersonator. But, heck with a price tag of $12,500 for this deal, you would expect at least the Leo impersonator would be around to recreate the famous &quot;I'm the king of the world&quot; scene!</p> <h2>4. Role as Movie Extra</h2> <p>In 2014, Robert Downey, Jr. made $75 million, while Sandra Bullock earned $50 million. Dreaming of landing such big paychecks one day, several individuals kick off their careers by playing extras in over 1,800 movies released in the U.S.</p> <p>And all of those extras get paid!</p> <p>So, why in the world would you pay <a href="http://www.bestofneworleans.com/blogofneworleans/archives/2012/05/04/groupon-invites-you-to-pay-to-be-a-movie-extra">$149 for a Groupon deal</a> to become a movie extra? This &quot;deal&quot; in New Orleans was called out faster than you can say &quot;Lights, camera, action!&quot; The Office of the Mayor of New Orleans clearly states that if you follow the rules, you'll get <a href="http://www.filmneworleans.org/for-the-local-community/becoming-an-extra/">paid for your work</a> as an extra.</p> <h2>5. Kilogram of Onions</h2> <p>Groupon operates in close to 50 countries, including India. One of Groupon India's most successful deals to date is Rs. 9 (roughly $0.15) for a <a href="http://www.groupon.co.in/deals/shopping/Groupon-India-Onion/408055">kilo of onions</a>.</p> <p>With the price of kilo of onions at about Rs. 100 at the time of the deal, this crazy Groupon deal was able to sell 3,000 kilograms of onions in just 44 minutes. The heavy demand caused the site to crash. Once the site was back up, Groupon India sold a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/10/groupon-india--onion_n_3896180.html">total of 8,000 kilos of onions</a> during the two-day sale.</p> <p>Onions are a major staple in Indian cuisine and are used in a wide variety of dishes, including the one recommended by Groupon India, onion pakora.</p> <p><em>What is the craziest Groupon deal that you ever bought?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-craziest-groupon-deals">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-get-the-best-deals-on-groupon">7 Ways to Get the Best Deals on Groupon</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-shopping-apps-thatll-actually-save-you-money-in-2016">The 8 Shopping Apps That&#039;ll Actually Save You Money in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-you-should-never-buy-on-groupon-or-livingsocial">5 Things You Should Never Buy on Groupon or LivingSocial</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-best-deals-coupons-sites">50 Best Deals and Coupon Sites</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping coupons deals groupon Internet Tue, 14 Jul 2015 11:00:15 +0000 Damian Davila 1484674 at http://www.wisebread.com Make an Extra $200 a Year Just By Doing This Online http://www.wisebread.com/make-an-extra-200-a-year-just-by-doing-this-online <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/make-an-extra-200-a-year-just-by-doing-this-online" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_on_tablet_000063417699.jpg" alt="Woman earning $200 by searching the internet" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>How'd you like to earn $100 to $200 a year just for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-silly-internet-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making-today">searching the Internet</a>? Are you &quot;Binging&quot; yet? That is, have you joined the <a href="http://bing-rewards.evyy.net/c/27771/89275/2168">Bing Rewards program</a>, and are you using Bing as your search engine? If not you're missing out on free money.</p> <p>The&nbsp;<a href="http://bing-rewards.evyy.net/c/27771/89275/2168">Bing Rewards</a> program pays people to use the Bing search engine. They award credits (points) which can be redeemed for rewards such as gift cards to Amazon, Starbucks, Applebee's, Fandango, GameStop, iTunes, and more. You can also use the credits to get Hulu Prime, or Xbox Live memberships, or donate your credits to charity.</p> <p>Participating in the Bing Rewards program is simple and only takes a couple of minutes a day. To make sure you're getting the most out of the program consider the following eight tips below.</p> <h2>1. Max Out Your Points and Go Mobile, Too</h2> <p>Max out the number of credits you can earn each day and receive $100 to $200 a year in free rewards. When you join Bing Rewards you'll be able to earn a certain amount of credits per day. It seems most people earn 15 credits per day searching on their computer or tablet.</p> <p>Regardless of how many credits you can earn by Binging on your computer or tablet, everyone can earn an additional 10 credits a day by downloading the Bing search engine app on their mobile devices. Add these credits to those earned by searching on your computer and tablet and you're looking at a few extra dollars each month.</p> <h2>2. Bing Every Day</h2> <p>If you want to earn $100 or more a year in free gift cards or other goodies, make sure to use the Bing search engine every day. Sounds easy, right? It is, especially if you use a computer or tablet a lot. Plus, it only takes a few minutes. But here's the thing: Because there is a limit to how many credits you can earn each day (between 15 and 45), it can also feel a bit tedious, too &mdash; like it takes an eternity to earn enough points to do anything with. This leads some people to give up, cash in points for smaller rewards, or use the Bing search engine sporadically.</p> <p>To combat this, many people default their homepage to Bing or download the toolbar to make it easier to remember to use it when searching. That can help, but it's just as important to do it every day. My suggestion is to search for 60 days without thinking about cashing out. Take that pressure off of yourself. Once the time has passed, you'll be more satisfied with the amount of credits you have to work with to get some bigger rewards.</p> <h2>3. Get to Gold Level Status</h2> <p>Why is this important? Because once you hit Gold level, you receive a discount on many of the rewards available, thus increasing the value of your credits. Here's how it works. When you first join Bing Rewards you are a regular &quot;member&quot; as you search and get credits. Once you accrue 200 credits, you are promoted to Silver status, and receive a one-time 50 credit bonus. You also have to redeem some points for something before moving onto Gold level. Choose something small, like a sweepstakes entry, so you keep as many credits as possible for bigger rewards. Continue Binging until you hit Gold level, <strong>which is when you hit a total of 700 credits.</strong></p> <p>Now get ready for discounts on certain rewards. For instance, non-Gold level members redeem 525 credits for a $5 Starbucks gift card, while Gold level members pay 475 credits for the same $5 card. That 50 credit difference adds up over time and can make a difference in your yearly reward earnings. To maintain Gold level status and remain eligible for the discount, you must earn 150 search credits per month. This is very easy to do in a few days if you are maxing out your searches.</p> <h2>4. Don't Forget About the Bonus Credits</h2> <p>Bing offers bonus credits practically every day, and they come in various forms. Sometimes they'll offer double points for a day (or a week or a month), or points for answering trivia questions, or for checking out a product or story they are sponsoring. The credits add to your freebie bottom line and all you have to do is check your Bing rewards dashboard each day that you search to see what's available.</p> <h2>5. Know the Value of Your Credits</h2> <p>How much are Bing credits worth? I like to think of each credit being valued at roughly one cent each. Bing awards a credit for every two searches performed up to the max allotted each day. So one penny is earned for every two search queries. Converting it in this way helps me evaluate the relative value of the rewards available for redemption.</p> <p>For instance, if I wanted to redeem my points for a $5 Amazon gift card it would cost me 525 credits if I were not a Gold level member. This translates to paying $5.25 for a $5 gift card. Not a bad deal considering it's free. But, if I wait until I am at Gold level, that same $5 Amazon gift card could be mine for 475 Bing credits, or $4.75. Getting a $5 gift card for $4.75 is more like it! Sure the difference is only a quarter, but it adds up over time.</p> <p>Some rewards are bad even if you are a Gold member. For instance, to get a $5 Tango gift card (Tango is a company that offers gift cards to numerous retailers like Home Depot, Williams Sonoma, Target, and more) you'd have to redeem 575 credits. That's the discounted Gold level price! Hmm. Paying $5.75 for a $5 gift card? I think I'll pass. Speaking of passing&hellip;</p> <h2>6. Always Bypass the Sweepstakes Entries</h2> <p>Bing has some wonderful sweepstakes opportunities. At any given time Bingers can win cash, all expenses paid trips to sporting events, computers, and more, all for the price of a few Bing Rewards credits. Don't do it! It's not that the sweepstakes aren't legit. They are. It's just that the odds of winning are so tiny that you're throwing your credits away. I mean, sure Bing offers fabulous prizes, but they are saving money in the end because the more people who enter the sweepstakes the less Bing has to pay out in reward redemptions. Yeah, I'm tempted to enter every now and again, but I think I'll keep my 35 cents, I mean credits.</p> <h2>7. Consider Binging With Someone</h2> <p>You know the saying &quot;Two heads are better than one?&quot; Well the same can be said for Binging. Bing Rewards allows up to five members of the same household to join and earn rewards. While that means free stuff for everyone, there are times when doubling up can increase your spending power. For instance, my husband and I like Groupon because we live in an area where there a lot of offers to places we frequent anyway. Since a $5 Groupon can be had for 470 credits ($4.70) as a Gold member, we'll redeem a number of those, wait until there is a $10 off coupon, and get our deal for free with a discount!</p> <h2>8. Refer Your Friends</h2> <p>Any good rewards program has a referral program, right? Bing is no different. When you refer people to Bing Rewards and they join, you earn referral credits once they hit Silver status (earn 200 credits).</p> <p>The Bing Rewards program is probably the simplest, lowest effort rewards program out there. But is it worth it? You spend a few minutes a day doing what you're already doing on your computer, tablet, or mobile device. It's almost silly not to do it.</p> <p><em>Do you Bing? </em><a href="http://bing-rewards.evyy.net/c/27771/89275/2168"><em>Sign up today</em></a><em>!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kim-owens">Kim Owens</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-an-extra-200-a-year-just-by-doing-this-online">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-earn-extra-income-while-christmas-shopping">8 Ways to Earn Extra Income While Christmas Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-own-a-domain-name-that-s-worth-a-fortune">Do You Own a Domain Name That’s Worth a Fortune?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-free-stuff-by-eating-cereal-drinking-soda-and-watching-tv">Get Free Stuff by Eating Cereal, Drinking Soda, and Watching TV</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-cash-back-credit-cards">5 Best Cash Back Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-ways-to-meet-a-rewards-card-minimum-spending-requirement">5 Smart Ways to Meet a Rewards Card Minimum Spending Requirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income bing Internet rewards search engines Thu, 04 Jun 2015 17:00:18 +0000 Kim Owens 1439324 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Powerful Ways to Protect Your Money From Cyber Theft http://www.wisebread.com/6-powerful-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-cyber-theft <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-powerful-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-cyber-theft" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_stolen_identity_000023163541.jpg" alt="Man finding ways to protect his money from cyber theft" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Since 2013, cyber criminals have been pulling off what amounts to the largest bank heist in history &mdash; hitting at least 100 banks across the globe. During this two-year period, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/cyber-crime-you-re-the-mark">cyber criminals</a> released malicious software targeting bank employees that allowed them to infiltrate bank security systems. The undetected malware resulted in the theft of $1 billion stolen directly from banks.</p> <p>Cyber attackers like these and others are at large, and while there's nothing you can do to stop attacks on financial institutions, there are measures you can take to protect yourself and ensure the financial data you share over the Internet is kept safe. Don't compromise your financial transactions. Take these steps to keep cyber thieves at bay and keep your money safe.</p> <h2>1. Use a Separate Computer for Financial Transactions</h2> <p>One of the safest measures you can take to protect your finances is to use a designated computer when accessing investment accounts. Cyber criminals steal your information using programs that only you can give them access to &mdash; when you click on an infected download, advertisement, e-mail, photo, or attachment.</p> <p>Use a designated device like the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/b/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;node=2858603011&amp;pf_rd_i=google%20chromebook&amp;pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&amp;pf_rd_p=2079390022&amp;pf_rd_r=1B11JC1SF66HF33CWNEC&amp;pf_rd_s=desktop-auto-sparkle&amp;pf_rd_t=301&amp;qid=1432218150&amp;ref=spks_0_0_2079390022&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=CVEJDSJLFEM472K6">Google Chromebook</a> that only connects to Internet. They're inexpensive &mdash; around $200 &mdash; and are a good option for managing your finances online.</p> <h2>2. Install Malware Scanners</h2> <p>Install an Internet security program, like Kaspersky Internet Security Safe Money Technology, to clean up your machine and systematically scan and remove potential new threats before they corrupt your system.</p> <h2>3. Use Unique Usernames and Passwords</h2> <p>Create highly unique usernames and passwords, and change them periodically. Choose a password with six or more characters comprised of both upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. And as an added precaution, make a habit of changing your password every 60&ndash;90 days.</p> <h2>4. Monitor Transactions</h2> <p>It's a wise decision to sit down every so often and review your financial statements for errors or suspicious activity. Try to do so at least once a month, even if you have not initiated a transaction and don't expect activity on your account.</p> <h2>5. Get Security Alerts</h2> <p>Sign-up for security alerts &mdash; receive notifications when there's unusual activity for a wide variety of activities, including wire transfers, new-account setups, foreign transactions, and changes in bill payee information.</p> <h2>6. Use Two-Factor Authentication</h2> <p>In addition to your username and password, some major financial institutions offer two-factor authentication, which prompts you to enter an additional verification code when accessing your accounts. Choose this option whenever it's available.</p> <p><em>How do you protect your money from cyber theft?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-powerful-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-cyber-theft">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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-a-teenager-started-a-multi-million-dollar-online-business-with-a-parrot">How a Teenager Started A Multi-Million Dollar Online Business with a Parrot. UPDATED</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-rid-of-and-avoid-late-fees">How to Get Rid of and Avoid Late Fees</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lock-bumping-your-home-isnt-safe">Lock bumping - your home isn&#039;t safe</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-the-nasty-secret-of-the-craigslist-free-section">Beware, The Nasty Secret Of The Craigslist Free Section</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-mugged">How To Get Mugged</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Banking cyber criminals Internet online theft Mon, 01 Jun 2015 17:00:11 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1437167 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Hacks to Speed Up Your Browser http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-hacks-to-speed-up-your-browser <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-hacks-to-speed-up-your-browser" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_slow_internet_000054555610.jpg" alt="Woman learning hacks to speed up her browser" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some great articles on hacks to speed up your browser, simple ways to build a life you enjoy, and how to become more confident.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.lazymanandmoney.com/10-hacks-to-speed-up-your-browser/">10 Hacks to Speed Up Your Browser</a> &mdash; Many websites have moved away from Adobe Flash; disabling Flash when you don't need it will speed up your browser immensely. Use an add-on to turn Flash on and off with a click of a button. [Lazy Man and Money]</p> <p><a href="http://www.adaringadventure.com/life-coaching/3-simple-ways-to-build-a-life-you-enjoy">3 Simple Ways To Build A Life You Enjoy</a> &mdash; Narrowing down your options will help you make smart decisions that increase your enjoyment and eliminate what isn't important to you. [A Daring Adventure]</p> <p><a href="http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/20-secret-ways-build-confidence/">20 Secret Ways to Build Your Confidence</a> &mdash; Avoid people who make you feel small or unworthy. You don't need them in your life! [Pick The Brain]</p> <p><a href="http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/blog/3-counterintuitive-secrets-about-earning-more/">3 counterintuitive secrets about earning more</a> &mdash; The customers you attract from lowering your prices tend to be more work and are harder to please. [I Will Teach You To Be Rich]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Child-Safe-All-Purpose-Cleaner-34882330">Pet- and Child-Safe All-Purpose Cleaner</a> &mdash; Tea-tree oil + water = a safe and powerful eco-friendly cleaner! [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://money.cnn.com/2015/05/20/retirement/safe-retirement-savings/index.html">3 steps to a safer retirement stash</a> &mdash; Start with a portfolio so you can see exactly what you own. [CNN Money]</p> <p><a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2015/05/19/the-tax-mistake-that-could-hurt-you-now-or-next-year/">The tax mistake that could hurt you now or next year</a> &mdash; You can adjust your withholding at any time of the year, but the sooner you get it done, the more of an impact it'll have on your taxes. [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="http://www.mydollarplan.com/tips-for-a-great-summer-vacation/">4 Tips for a Great Summer Vacation</a> &mdash; Give the hotel or resort a call to see if they have any specials that aren't advertised on the website, and to see what their customer service is like. [My Dollar Plan]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thecentsiblelife.com/2015/05/7-frugal-easy-non-food-party-favor-ideas/">7 Frugal + Easy Non-Food Party Favor Ideas</a> &mdash; You can find bubbles in affordable party packs. Print your own labels to customize this fun party favor! [The Centsible Life]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/10-signs-you-could-be-pregnant">10 Signs You Could Be Pregnant</a> &mdash; Early signs of pregnancy can look like cold symptoms, stress, or PMS, but if you experience multiple items on this list, it may be time for a doctor's visit. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-hacks-to-speed-up-your-browser">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/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-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/8-alternatives-to-cable-tv-that-will-keep-you-entertained">8 Alternatives to Cable TV That Will Keep You Entertained</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-free-wi-fi-at-airports-that-charge-for-internet-connections">How to Get Free Wi-Fi at Airports That Charge for Internet Connections</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Technology best money tips Internet Fri, 22 May 2015 18:00:08 +0000 Amy Lu 1432465 at http://www.wisebread.com What Net Neutrality Means For Your Wallet http://www.wisebread.com/what-net-neutrality-means-for-your-wallet <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-net-neutrality-means-for-your-wallet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/net_neutrality_000039464264.jpg" alt="man learning about what net neutrality means for his wallet" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Just like water and electricity, Internet service is now essentially considered a public utility following the passage of new <a href="http://www.fcc.gov/openinternet">net neutrality rules</a> by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Depending on which camp your views are aligned with, this is either a positive step toward ensuring equal Internet access for everyone, or a bad move that could bring about over-regulation by the government.</p> <p>But, love it or hate it, net neutrality has arrived. And while a drawn-out court battle over the FCC decision will likely delay any real changes to your nightly Netflix consumption, we figure it's worth exploring how net neutrality could eventually impact your wallet.</p> <h2>American Consumers Could Face a Tax Increase of $11 Billion &mdash; Or Zero</h2> <p>According to a Progressive Policy Institute study, net neutrality rules could generate $11 billion in new taxes if regulators apply the existing fees on your telephone bill to your Internet bill.</p> <p>&quot;If these fees are already on the books and Internet service gets reclassified as a public utility, it makes it easier for these state and local authorities to argue [Internet service] should be subject to the same fees,&quot; said Hal Singer, one of the PPI study authors.</p> <p>Some experts, however, say it's unlikely that your Internet bill would reflect your <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/02/net-neutrality-taxes-mike-lee-fact-check">telephone bill fees</a>. Your phone bill, for example, most likely includes a charge for the local emergency 911 service, something that's totally inapplicable to your Internet usage. Following this school of thought, many pro-net neutrality scholars claim the new rules won't lead to any tax increase, while others say it will probably lead to a relatively small tax hike somewhere in the ballpark of $4 billion. PPI's number is already scaled back from its <a href="http://www.progressivepolicy.org/slider/outdated-regulations-will-make-consumers-pay-broadband/">original $15 billion estimate</a>, an indication of just how unstable these early projections are.</p> <h2>Potential Job Cuts in Telecom Industries</h2> <p>A New York University study found that net neutrality could cost the U.S. economy $62 billion and <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/technology/content/jun2010/tc20100616_751009.htm">eliminate half a million jobs</a> over the next five years. This is based on the notion that the new regulations would reduce broadband providers' incentive to invest in high-speed network infrastructure by shrinking their opportunity to bring in revenue.</p> <p>&quot;There will be follow-on effects in the whole ecosystem,&quot; said Bret Swanson, who co-authored the NYU study. &quot;A diminution of investment by the big infrastructure companies will reduce network capacity, new services, and investment by all the ecosystem companies.&quot;</p> <p>But not everyone agrees. For example, the chief technology officer for Sprint, the third-largest U.S. wireless carrier and a proponent of stricter net neutrality rules, has publically said that neither Sprint nor its competitors would <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/11/us-sprint-corp-internet-neutrality-idUSKBN0LF00720150211">reduce investment</a> in light of increased regulation. &quot;Our competitors are going to continue to invest so they are representing a situation that won't play out,&quot; Stephen Bye told Reuters.</p> <p>Clearly, the jury's still out on exactly how much net neutrality will cost consumers like you. Keep your eye on this important new policy and its developments.</p> <p><em>Do you expect the new rules to help your budget &mdash; or hurt it? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-net-neutrality-means-for-your-wallet">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-prevent-your-smartphone-from-wasting-data">15 Ways to Prevent Your Smartphone From Wasting 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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternatives-to-cable-tv-that-will-keep-you-entertained">8 Alternatives to Cable TV That Will Keep You Entertained</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Financial News Technology bills Internet job cuts Net Neutrality tax increases Wed, 01 Apr 2015 09:00:15 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1359630 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Silly Internet Mistakes You Need to Stop Making Today http://www.wisebread.com/10-silly-internet-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-silly-internet-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-browsing-internet-tablet-Dollarphotoclub_72732966.jpg" alt="woman browsing tablet" title="woman browsing tablet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The Internet is a wonderful thing:</p> <ul> <li>It allows you to videochat with grandma in real time.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>It gives you free access to the <a href="http://archive.org/details/library_of_congress">Library of Congress</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>It empowers you to do financial transactions without visiting the bank.</li> </ul> <p>However, it can also make you spend three hours watching <a href="http://www.lolcats.com">LOLCats</a>. Make smart use of your web access and avoid these 10 little Internet mistakes.</p> <h2>1. Taking Notes on Your Computer</h2> <p>All computer makers are trying to convince us that their products are the &quot;next big thing.&quot; However, pen and paper still beat any digital device at <a href="http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/releases/take-notes-by-hand-for-better-long-term-comprehension.html">taking notes for better long-term comprehension</a>.</p> <p>Studies show that when people take notes on laptops, they tend to <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/05/to-remember-a-lecture-better-take-notes-by-hand/361478/">transcribe what they're hearing without thinking about the actual content</a>. Note takers that write longhand are better at remembering the content because they have to process the content.</p> <p>This doesn't mean that you have to give up on all digital devices. You can get the best of both worlds by using a tablet that allows you to write longhand and keep a digital copy of your notes.</p> <h2>2. Reading Too Much Email</h2> <p>Email is a major time thief. It steals around <a href="http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/high_tech_telecoms_internet/the_social_economy">13 hours from your week</a> every week. If you were to gain back just five hours out of those 13 spent on checking email and allocate them to every workday, you would be able to accomplish more every workday.</p> <p>Try one or more of these tricks to reduce your time spent on email.</p> <ul> <li>Gmail users, install the <a href="http://inboxpause.com/">Inbox Pause plugin</a> to pause new emails arriving to your inbox and avoid distractions.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Reduce the number of times you check email a day and use <a href="http://fourhourworkweek.com/2007/03/22/how-to-check-e-mail-twice-a-day-or-once-every-10-days/">smart autoresponders to ask people to accept your policy</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Avoid setting up meeting times over email. How many &quot;Re:re:re:re:fw:re:fw:re: Meeting time&quot; emails do you answer per day? Pick up the phone or walk over to your co-worker's cubicle, and get it done.</li> </ul> <h2>3. Not Keeping a List of Action Items</h2> <p>Don't be like <a href="http://youtu.be/yvbsJ8brtN4">Alice in Wonderland</a>: If you don't know where are you are going, it doesn't really matter which way you go. And that's how you end up stuck in Twitter, Instagram, or Words with Friends all day. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-time-saving-hacks-from-the-worlds-busiest-people?ref=seealso">11 Time Saving Hacks From the World's Busiest People)</a></p> <p>You need to be aware of what needs to get done <em>today</em>. The most productive people in the world, including Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and celebrity chef Bobby Flay, map out what they want to accomplish every day. This list forces you to focus and get stuff done.</p> <p>Keep your list in front of you throughout the day and you'll keep those Internet distractions in check.</p> <h2>4. Spending Too Much Time Online</h2> <p>Go out and play. Why?</p> <ul> <li>Turns out that <a href="http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-internet-habits-say-about-mental-health/">using the Internet in excess</a> is related to having depressive tendencies. <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Quickly switching between websites <em>decreases</em> your ability to experience emotions as you get used to chasing instant gratification.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Too much online chatting and emailing decreases your ability to pick up on verbal and body cues in real life conversations.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Rely too much on Google and you'll develop <a href="http://www.edudemic.com/google-memory/">decreased memory capabilities</a>.</li> </ul> <p>Take the time to unplug. Your body, mind, and social life will thank you.</p> <h2>5. Following an Ex Online</h2> <p>Let. It. Go.</p> <p>There's a good reason why you broke up with that person, even if you may have forgotten it! Social media provide us an &quot;opportunity&quot; to keep tabs on our exes, but there's nothing good that will come out of it.</p> <p>A study reveals that <a href="http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/cyber.2012.0125">Facebook-stalking your ex</a> leads to a variety of negative feelings, sexual desire, longing for your ex, and lower personal growth. The more that you check on your old flame online, the harder it is for your to move on.</p> <h2>6. Replacing Your Doctor With WebMD</h2> <p>Medical sites, such as WebMD.com and MDAdvice.com, are great for gathering information. However, those sites shouldn't replace your doctor.</p> <p><a href="http://jscms.jrn.columbia.edu/cns/2007-03-13/tracy-medicalparanoia.html">Doctors across the country</a> report that their patients are arriving at false diagnoses based on those sites and often taking the wrong course of action. Remember that the Internet is a tool and, as such, it can't make up for years and years of study and professional experience.</p> <p>It is okay to use medical advice sites as research tools &mdash; it's not ok to use those sites to self-diagnose. False diagnoses create unnecessary anxiety and may cause physical harm to your loved ones or yourself. Seek the advice of a certified health professional.</p> <h2>7. Making Private Information Public</h2> <p>If anybody can find online&hellip;</p> <ul> <li>Your birth date;</li> <li>The name of your first pet;</li> <li>The name of the street of your first home;</li> <li>Your mother's maiden name; or</li> <li>The make and model of your first car&hellip;</li> </ul> <p>&hellip;then you're increasing the chances of somebody hacking your online accounts.</p> <p>Software giant Microsoft found that strangers have a 13% chance of <a href="http://research.microsoft.com/pubs/79594/oakland09.pdf">guessing the answers to security questions</a> within five attempts. The more information about yourself that you make available online, the greater the chance strangers (not just rocket-scientist hackers!) will get a hold of your online accounts.</p> <h2>8. Using the Same Password for Everything</h2> <p>Up to <a href="https://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2013/04/23/users-same-password-most-websites/">55% of Internet users the same password</a> for their most visited websites.</p> <p>The password to your Instagram account can't be the same as the one for your online banking. One leads to your pictures, the other one to your money. Your life savings deserve better protection than &quot;password123.&quot; It seems like common sense, but, unfortunately, the <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-25-most-common-passwords-of-2013/">top three passwords of 2013</a> were &quot;123456,&quot; &quot;password,&quot; and &quot;12345678.&quot;</p> <p>Create strong passwords by using at least eight characters, including numbers, applying CamelCase, and avoiding full words. Also, update your passwords on a regular basis.</p> <h2>9. Posting Inappropriate Things on Social Media</h2> <ul> <li>A <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/id/29796962/ns/technology_and_science-tech_and_gadgets/">job applicant lost a big job opportunity because of a dumb tweet</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>A <a href="http://www.georgianewsday.com/news/61845-teacher-ashley-payne-fired-for-posting-picture-of-herself-holding-beer-on-facebook.html">high school teacher was fired</a> for posting pics showing alcohol consumption on Facebook.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>An university professor was fired due to some <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/lara-logan-attacked-nir-rosen-twitter-2011-2">outlandish remarks on Twitter</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>A nurse was fired from a hospital for posting an <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Health/video/nurse-fired-instagram-post-24464137">ER photo on Instagram</a>.</li> </ul> <p>Think twice before you post anything on social media, it may cost you your job. Make sure to check your employer's policies on use of social media, even during non-work hours.</p> <h2>10. Not Updating Settings for In-App Purchases</h2> <p>Free is not always free. Some free apps may cost more than you think.</p> <ul> <li>A 15-year old boy spent <a href="http://www.ign.com/articles/2014/10/03/boy-spends-over-46000-in-free-to-play-game">over $46,000 in app-purchases in a game</a>.</li> <li>A 5-year old boy spent <a href="http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1550535">$2,550 in the game Zombies vs Ninja</a>.</li> <li>A free virtual game in the Amazon Appstore had <a href="http://www.pcworld.com/article/2452920/amazon-allowed-kids-to-spend-millions-on-inapp-purchases-ftc-says.html">one-time in-app purchases of up to $99.99</a>.</li> </ul> <p>There are so many in-app purchases out there that in 2014 Apple agreed to settle with the FTC charges for kid's in-app purchases without parental consent by paying a <a href="http://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2014/01/apple-inc-will-provide-full-consumer-refunds-least-325-million">minimum of $32.5 million</a> to those affected.</p> <p>Prevent any unintentional charges from your children (or yourself!) to your credit card from in-app purchases by updating these settings on your smartphone:</p> <ul> <li>Require a password for all in-app purchases;</li> <li>Create a strong password (see #8 in this list);</li> <li>Lock the screen of your phone with a password (if you have small children);</li> <li>Create a separate profile on your down device for your children (if available); and</li> <li>Educate your children about when it's ok to make in-app purchase.</li> </ul> <p><em>What are the worst Internet mistakes you've made? Share them in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-silly-internet-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making-today">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-finances-using-social-media">How to Improve Your Finances Using Social Media</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-twitter-updates-that-are-making-you-look-dumb">6 Twitter Updates That Are Making You Look Dumb</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-prevent-your-smartphone-from-wasting-data">15 Ways to Prevent Your Smartphone From Wasting 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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-high-paying-jobs-that-didnt-exist-10-years-ago">9 High-Paying Jobs That Didn&#039;t Exist 10 Years Ago</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development Technology embarrassing Internet social media technology Wed, 10 Dec 2014 12:00:08 +0000 Damian Davila 1265969 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Slash the Cost of Wi-Fi When You Travel http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-slash-the-cost-of-wi-fi-when-you-travel <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-slash-the-cost-of-wi-fi-when-you-travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/airport-laptop-177027865-small.jpg" alt="laptop airport" title="laptop airport" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you spend most of your time either at home or at the office, you probably take your Wi-Fi signal for granted. Then when you travel, suddenly connecting to a Wi-Fi network becomes a privilege. Sometimes you can enjoy it for free; at other times you have to pay high premiums for it. But with a little bit of planning, you can get free or cheap Wi-Fi almost anywhere. Here's how. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <h2>Look for Free Hotel Wi-Fi</h2> <p>Many hotels have wisened up to the fact that Wi-Fi is a necessity for many travelers. Some hotels choose to use this information to charge a fee for Wi-Fi use and earn a short-term profit; others choose to provide the service for free and get long-term business.</p> <p>When you book a hotel, pay attention to the amenities included. Some hotels charge for Wi-Fi access by the hour or by the night, so it can get expensive quickly. Even if you have to pay a higher nightly rate for a hotel with free Wi-Fi, it may be worth the price.</p> <h2>Join a Hotel Loyalty Program</h2> <p>Some hotel loyalty programs provide free Wi-Fi for members. Depending on the hotel chain, you may have to accumulate a minimum number of points, stay a minimum number of nights, or acquire a certain elite status to enjoy this perk. Some programs only require you to join for free to get free Wi-Fi. For example, Omni Resorts &amp; Hotels and InterContinental Hotels Group both charge Wi-Fi fees, but let even basic members of their loyalty programs enjoy it for free.</p> <h2>Download Before You Leave Home</h2> <p>Travel involves a lot of idle time, like when you're waiting for a boarding call or sitting on a plane. If you only need Wi-Fi for entertainment, you can avoid Wi-Fi fees at airports and on planes by downloading videos and reading materials ahead of time. You may even be able to get some work done offline using only Microsoft Office programs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-keep-your-laptop-safe-when-traveling?ref=seealso">10 Ways to Keep Your Laptop Safe While Traveling</a>)</p> <p>I personally like to use digital maps to find my way when I travel. Because I don't always have a data connection, Google Maps' offline features often come in handy. I simply load the part of the map I need when I have Wi-Fi connection, then have Google Maps save it on my smartphone.</p> <h2>Tether to Your Smartphone</h2> <p>If you travel to a domestic location where you're not charged any roaming fees, make full use of your smartphone data connection. Before you travel, check if your smartphone supports tethering, which allows other devices to connect to your phone's data network. It's a bit like having your own little Wi-Fi router.</p> <p>All you have to do is enable tethering on your phone, then use your other device to find and connect to the phone's Wi-Fi network. Don't forget to contact your phone provider before you travel to find out if there are any extra fees to use this feature.</p> <p>If you travel abroad, you may still be able to tether a device to your phone, but the roaming fees may make it so expensive that you'd be better off paying for the hotel Wi-Fi. Look into using a local SIM card in an unlocked phone to enjoy local tethering rates.</p> <h2>Get a USB Modem</h2> <p>If you travel a lot, you can consider getting a dedicated device to connect to the Internet. One option is a USB modem, which is a compact stick that plugs into your laptop or tablet. You usually have to install special software on your device to use a USB modem, but it's portable and easy to use after your first time connecting to the Internet with it.</p> <p>You also need a data plan to use a USB modem, but it could be cheaper than what hotels charge if you travel within the country. If you travel abroad, you may be able to save some money by getting a local data plan.</p> <h2>Get a Mobile Hotspot</h2> <p>A mobile hotspot works in a similar way as a USB modem. Known as &quot;Mi-Fi,&quot; this device is usually more robust than just a smartphone or a USB modem, with a longer-lasting battery and the ability to connect multiple devices at once. It's also not necessary to install special software to connect to the Internet with a Mi-Fi. You can probably get a Mi-Fi device for free or at a deep discount if you sign up for a data plan contract.</p> <h2>Find Free Public Wi-Fi</h2> <p>If none of the above options seem practical for you, there are often public Wi-Fi networks you can use.</p> <p>Coffee shops are your best bet, but more and more businesses are offering free Wi-Fi access. You may be able to get free Wi-Fi at fast food restaurants, grocery stores, bookstores, and even gas stations. Just look for a Wi-Fi sign at the entrance.</p> <p>Public spaces in big cities may also provide free Wi-Fi access. For example, Taipei has free public Wi-Fi at train stations, libraries, hospitals, malls, and even some commercial and residential areas. Research your travel destination beforehand to see if the local government provides this service and where.</p> <p><em>Where do you go for Wi-Fi access when you travel? Please share your connection in comments!</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this Post? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-ways-to-slash-the-cost-of-wi-fi-when-you-travel&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%20Ways%20to%20Slash%20the%20Cost%20of%20Wi-Fi%20When%20You%20Travel.jpg&amp;description=6%20Ways%20to%20Slash%20the%20Cost%20of%20Wi-Fi%20When%20You%20Travel" 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></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Ways%20to%20Slash%20the%20Cost%20of%20Wi-Fi%20When%20You%20Travel.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/deia-b">Deia B</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-slash-the-cost-of-wi-fi-when-you-travel">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/how-to-get-free-wi-fi-at-airports-that-charge-for-internet-connections">How to Get Free Wi-Fi at Airports That Charge for Internet Connections</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-minimize-cell-phone-charges-when-you-travel-abroad">How to Minimize Cell Phone Charges When You Travel Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-save-on-smartphone-costs-while-traveling">8 Ways to Save on Smartphone Costs While Traveling</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-apps-for-the-tech-challenged-traveler">7 Apps for the Tech-Challenged Traveler</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Technology Travel free wi-fi Internet SIM card smartphone wi-fi Wed, 02 Jul 2014 11:00:05 +0000 Deia B 1151054 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Tools That Stop Computer Distractions and Help You Stay on Task http://www.wisebread.com/6-tools-that-stop-computer-distractions-and-help-you-stay-on-task <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-tools-that-stop-computer-distractions-and-help-you-stay-on-task" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/social-media-5334833-small.jpg" alt="woman using laptop" title="woman using laptop" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It&#39;s hard to focus while working on a computer. With social networks, internet calls, instant messages, pop ups, and email notifications, distractions can occur every few seconds. And what&#39;s worse &mdash; even if you&#39;re not using a computer, they can still distract you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-areas-where-you-can-eliminate-distractions">6 Areas to Eliminate Distractions</a>)</p> <p>According to a <a href="http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/parenting/back-to-school/laptops-in-class-lowers-students-grades-canadian-study/article13759430/">Canadian study</a> of students using laptops in a classroom, not only did the students using the computers receive lower grades, but students seated <em>near</em> computers also received lower grades.</p> <p>The bottom line is that in order to stay focused, you need to make a conscious effort. Luckily, there several websites and applications dedicated to helping you maintain focus and improve productivity while working on a computer. Here are six to get you started. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-stay-focused-at-work">How to Stay Focused at Work</a>)</p> <h2>1. Simpleology</h2> <p><a href="http://www.simpleology.com/">Simpleology</a> is an easy-to-use online productivity tool. While there are several different &mdash; and initially overwhelming &mdash; features, the following three provide the biggest bang for your buck:</p> <p><strong>Browser Bodyguard</strong></p> <p>Is Facebook getting in the way of your productivity? Join the club. But with Simpleology&#39;s Browser Bodyguard you can &quot;block&quot; your access to these sites with the click of a button.</p> <p><strong>Simpleology Browser Add-on</strong></p> <p>With this simple Chrome extension you&#39;ll (almost) never get distracted again. When you&#39;re working and a distracting idea pops into your head (e.g., what to buy at the store, what you need to do tomorrow, etc.) simply type that into your browser bar and Simpleology saves it for your &quot;Start My Day&quot; box the following day. And speaking of which&hellip;</p> <p><strong>Start My Day</strong></p> <p>Each morning you empty your mind into Simpleology. Then you can review each idea/task (along with those you entered yesterday via the Browser Add-on) and choose which ones you&#39;ll get done today. While this seems like an obvious solution, the proof is in the pudding. It works. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-essential-life-hacks-that-will-save-you-time-in-the-morning">15 Hacks That Save You Time in the Morning</a>)</p> <p><strong>What you need to do:</strong> Create a <a href="http://www.simpleology.com/">Simpleology</a> account and download the Browser Add-on for either Chrome or Firefox. Note: To get the free version, <a href="http://support.constructzero.com/">send a support request</a>, and they&#39;ll set you up.</p> <h2>2. Evernote</h2> <p><a href="http://evernote.com/">Evernote</a> lets you quickly and easily &quot;remember everything across all the computers, phones and tablets you use&quot; by saving notes, images, web pages, emails, and just about anything else into one central location. You can create to-do lists, training documents, study notes &mdash; the list is endless. There is also another similar app called <a href="http://getpocket.com/">Pocket</a>.</p> <p><strong>What you need to do: </strong>Sign up for <a href="http://evernote.com/">Evernote</a> (free), and either download the software to your computer or get the Chrome extension. <a href="http://evernote.com/evernote/guide">Watch the guides</a> to get started.</p> <h2>3. Inbox Pause</h2> <p>Gmail is great, but seeing a neverending flood of emails is distracting. While an obvious solution would be to close your email, you may need to refer to previous emails to ensure your tasks get done.</p> <p>Enter <a href="http://inboxpause.com/">Inbox Pause</a>, a simple Chrome Extension which allows you to pause incoming mail with the click of a button. Simply pause your inbox, answer your existing emails, and move on to your next task.</p> <p><strong>What you need to do:</strong> Install the <a href="https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/inbox-pause/illgajkjilbddcllilfobfbbgmlfkkeh?hl=en">Chrome extension</a> (free).</p> <h2>4. Timers</h2> <p>The <a href="http://pomodorotechnique.com/">Pomodoro Technique</a> is a famous time management technique that involves the use of timers to enhance your focus. (Fun fact: it was named after the tomato shaped Pomodoro kitchen timer. &quot;Pomodoro&quot; means tomato in Italian.)</p> <p>The technique is simple and powerful. Choose your task, set the timer for 25 minutes, and work on that task for 25 minutes. At the end of 25 minutes, take a break for 3-5 minutes (regardless of whether or not you finished your task). Then continue working.</p> <p>While kitchen timers work, you can easily install a timer on your browser.</p> <p><strong>What you need to do:</strong> Read up on <a href="http://pomodorotechnique.com/get-started/">the technique</a> and Install a timer for <a href="https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/timer/hepmlgghomccjinhcnkkikjpgkjibglj?hl=en">Chrome</a> or<a href="https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/simple-timer/"> Firefox</a>.</p> <h2>5. LastPass</h2> <p>Trying to remember passwords is a hassle. Having to look up passwords or click &quot;Forgot my password&quot;and setting up a new one is a waste of time.</p> <p>Enter <a href="https://lastpass.com/">LastPass</a> &mdash; a website that saves your usernames and passwords, then automatically fills them in the next time you visit a website. The best part is that your passwords are stored online and are encrypted; you can access your passwords from any computer and your details are secure allowing you to share passwords with other people (co-workers, contractors, friends, and family) without giving them your actual password. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-choose-a-better-password">How to Choose a Great Password</a>)</p> <p><strong>What you need to do:</strong> Sign up for a <a href="https://lastpass.com/">LastPass</a> account and install the browser extensions.</p> <h2>6. Music</h2> <p>So what&#39;s the <a href="http://lifehacker.com/5365012/the-best-sounds-for-getting-work-done">best music for getting work done</a>? Here are some good selections for when you need to focus:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Classical:</strong> Load up your <a href="http://www.pandora.com">Pandora</a> with classical composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, and Fryderyk Chopin (what I&#39;m listening to now).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Ambient:</strong> Brian Eno is known as the pioneer of ambient music, but newer artists such as The Orb and Aphex Twin produce great background music.</li> </ul> <p>If you really need to focus, consider using <a href="https://www.focusatwill.com">Focus@Will</a>, a &quot;new neuroscience based music service that helps you focus, reduce distractions and retain information when working, studying, writing and reading. The technology is based on hard science and proven to be extremely effective at extending your attention span.&quot;</p> <p>Even though the internet is full of distractions, you don&#39;t have to play the victim. Use these six tools to help you maintain focus and improve your productivity. For more tools, see all <a href="https://chrome.google.com/webstore/category/app/7-productivity">the productivity apps</a> in Google Chrome.</p> <p><em>What tools help you maintain focus while working on a computer? Leave a comment below!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/darcie-connell">Darcie Connell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tools-that-stop-computer-distractions-and-help-you-stay-on-task">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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