security http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/3960/all en-US How to Sign Up for Global Entry http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sign-up-for-global-entry <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-sign-up-for-global-entry" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_waiting_for_flight_at_the_airport_lounge.jpg" alt="Woman waiting for flight at the airport lounge" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you travel a lot, you probably also stand in line a lot. You can rest your weary feet and make the whole travel process a lot more streamlined by signing up for the Global Entry program, especially if you plan on traveling abroad.</p> <p>Applying for Global Entry isn't rocket science, but it does take some work on your part before you travel. Here's how to do it.</p> <h2>What is the Global Entry program?</h2> <p>You might be familiar with the TSA Precheck program. It's run by the Transportation Security Administration and allows approved applicants to speed through domestic security checkpoints without removing their shoes, laptops, liquids, belts, or light jackets.</p> <p>The Global Entry program is the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's version of an expedited traveler program. If you have Global Entry status, you're entitled to all of the benefits of the TSA Precheck program, but you'll also get expedited entry through customs when traveling abroad. No more waiting in long U.S. customs lines, which means you can be on your way even sooner.</p> <h2>Why choose Global Entry over the TSA Precheck program?</h2> <p>On the surface, the TSA Precheck program seems like a better deal. It costs $85 to apply, whereas the Global Entry program is $100.</p> <p>However, for that extra $15, you can get access to all of the TSA Precheck benefits <em>plus </em>the extra Global Entry benefits, like being able to travel through customs much easier. Your approval for either program lasts for five years, so even if you don't have any plans to travel abroad right now, you may still be able to use these benefits in the future</p> <h2>How to get Global Entry for free</h2> <p>The $100 application fee for Global Entry may seem steep. But you can get it for free by using <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-that-offer-tsa-pre-check-and-global-entry-reimbursement?ref=internal" target="_blank">certain travel rewards credit cards</a>. All you have to do is charge the $100 fee to the credit card, and the charge will be wiped away through a statement credit. I paid for my application fee with an eligible credit card, and I received an automatic $100 statement credit right after making the purchase. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/travel-perks-you-didnt-know-your-credit-card-had?ref=seealso" target="_blank">12 Travel Perks You Didn't Know Your Credit Card Had</a>)</p> <h2>How do you apply for the Global Entry program?</h2> <p>You'll need to meet a few criteria to apply for the program. You must be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident, and you can't be convicted of or under investigation for a criminal offense.</p> <p>If you meet those qualifications, the next step is to apply for the Global Entry program. To do this you'll need to create an account with the <a href="https://goes-app.cbp.dhs.gov/goes/jsp/login.jsp;jsessionid=MGoJj6qp_0PE2OyaxVJkV2h8w2lXhoJU2UMHVAhfwqEh0Mk-LsX3!-1357168311" target="_blank">Global Online Enrollment System</a> (GOES). This will be your portal for all Global Entry-related communications throughout the application process and into the future.</p> <p>Once you create a GOES account, you can log in and complete an application for the Global Entry program. You'll need to have some information on hand: your passport, driver's license, and employment and residence history for the past five years. Be patient; the website still looks like it's from 1995. It took me about 38 minutes to complete my application. Finally, you'll need to pay a nonrefundable $100 application fee.</p> <p>Assuming everything checks out, you'll be granted a <em>conditional acceptance</em> into the program. The final step is actually going in to an <a href="https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry/enrollment-centers" target="_blank">enrollment center</a> for an in-person interview. These enrollment centers are often located at major airports, so check beforehand to see if you will actually be able to easily get to one for your interview.</p> <p>Apply far in advance of your next international trip. In busy areas, it can take weeks or even months to get an interview appointment. The good news is, a new program called Enrollment on Arrival is available at a select number of airports and allows you to do your interview as you arrive and clear U.S. Customs. However you arrange it, make sure to bring your passport and driver's license for the interview.</p> <h2>What happens if you're approved?</h2> <p>Congratulations! You'll be issued two things: a <em>known traveler number</em>, and a <em>Global Entry card</em>. Make sure you activate your Global Entry card through your GOES account within 30 days of receiving it.</p> <p>Then enter in your known traveler number when making airline reservations so you can take advantage of the program's features. You can use the TSA Precheck line to zip through security, and you can take advantage of Global Entry kiosks at <a href="https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry/locations" target="_blank">eligible international airports</a> to bypass the laborious customs re-entry procedures.</p> <p>If you're traveling by land, you can use your Global Entry card when coming back into the United States from Canada or Mexico, in conjunction with the NEXUS and SENTRI programs. SENTRI allows expedited clearance for preapproved travelers arriving in the U.S. from Mexico, and NEXUS does the same thing for travelers from Canada. Simply pop into the NEXUS lanes if you're coming back from Canada, or the SENTRI lanes if you're coming back from Mexico.</p> <h2>What are the limits of the Global Entry program?</h2> <p>Although the Global Entry program works very similarly to the TSA Precheck and NEXUS programs, there are some differences that could trip you up if you're not careful.</p> <p>TSA Precheck allows minors under 13 to accompany you without applying for the program themselves. Not so with Global Entry: If you have kids, <em>each</em> <em>one</em> will need to go through the whole application and interview process before they can use the Global Entry benefits</p> <p>If you renew your passport within the five-year Global Entry membership timeline, you'll need to remember to update your passport in your GOES account or you can't use the program.</p> <p>The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol is mute on whether your passengers need Global Entry cards or not if riding with you back into the U.S. through a NEXUS or SENTRI lane. However, to be on the safe side, it's best to assume they <em>do</em> need it, and to avoid these lanes if you're with non-Global Entry passengers.</p> <p>Applying for the Global Entry program sounds intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. All it takes is a little bit of time now so that you can save oodles of time later. After all, you've got better things to be doing than waiting around in lines all day.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-sign-up-for-global-entry&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Sign%2520Up%2520for%2520Global%2520Entry.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Sign%20Up%20for%20Global%20Entry"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Sign%20Up%20for%20Global%20Entry.jpg" alt="How to Sign Up for Global Entry" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lindsay-vansomeren">Lindsay VanSomeren</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sign-up-for-global-entry">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-travel-hacks-only-frequent-flyers-know">5 Smart Travel Hacks Only Frequent Flyers Know</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-money-moves-you-can-make-while-stuck-in-an-endless-tsa-line">6 Money Moves You Can Make While Stuck in an Endless TSA Line</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-ways-to-avoid-or-mitigate-flight-delays">9 Ways to Avoid or Mitigate Flight Delays</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/your-flight-was-canceled-now-what">Your Flight Was Canceled. Now What?</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/23-airport-hacks-to-remember-before-your-next-flight">23 Airport Hacks to Remember Before Your Next Flight</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel abroad air travel airports flying global entry international precheck security transportation security administration tsa Thu, 28 Sep 2017 08:31:05 +0000 Lindsay VanSomeren 2027474 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Ways to Keep Your Private Info Private http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-keep-your-private-info-private <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-to-keep-your-private-info-private" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-157397600.jpg" alt="Woman making sure her private info stays private" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In a world where so many of us share everything from the birth of a child to our weight loss goals on social media, privacy might seem like a moot point. But the reality is, growing identity theft threats make safeguarding personal details more important than ever.</p> <p>The good news is, there are simple things you can do to keep yourself safe. It is just about paying attention to where your personal information could leak out, and plugging the holes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/careful-your-cc-may-be-sharing-this-private-info?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Your Credit Card May Be Sharing Your Private Info</a>)</p> <h2>1. Destroy Unneeded Paper Documents</h2> <p>Any junk mail that contains a credit offer. Old documents with your signature, Social Security number, date of birth, or other identifying details. Old tax returns. Convenience checks from credit cards. These are some of the most sensitive items that you should never dispose of without shredding. Buy a <a href="http://amzn.to/2jwjGhw" target="_blank">crosscut shredder</a> or take your documents to a business shredder to destroy, or burn the paper in your fireplace.</p> <h2>2. Safeguard Your Mail</h2> <p>The <a href="https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/investigations/MailFraud/fraudschemes/mailtheft/TipThieves.aspx" target="_blank">U.S. Post Office recommends</a> that you pick up your mail promptly after delivery and always put the mail on hold if you go out of town. Some folks take it a step further by investing in a locking mailbox or renting a post office box away from their residence. Remember to protect outgoing mail as well, by dropping it into a secure mailbox or handing it to the carrier, instead of leaving it out for the carrier to pick up.</p> <h2>3. Be Wary of Online Forms</h2> <p>You may be asked for your name, email address, home address, phone number, date of birth, and other personal information many times a day on the Internet. And often, it's legitimate to share that information &mdash; for instance, when signing up for a food delivery service. But when asked for personal details, ask yourself who's behind the request &mdash; a reputable brand, or a company you've never heard of? Is the sign-up really necessary?</p> <h2>4. Don't Overshare on Social Media</h2> <p>First of all, know who you're sharing with when you post something on social media. On Facebook, you can choose to share a post with the public, with all your friends, or only a subgroup of friends. Personally, I don't know all the people I've accepted friend requests from very well. So most of the things I post &mdash; especially potentially compromising information such as an upcoming surgery or vacation &mdash; are only shared with a select group of close friends and relatives.</p> <p>Second, there are some things you don't want to share with anyone &mdash; not even relatives. Hundreds of thousands of people each year have their <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/2015/07/21/identity-theft-victims-may-know-the-culprit.html" target="_blank">IDs stolen by someone they know</a>. Never post a photo of personal documents, like a new passport or even a kid's report card. Beware of documents that may be visible in the background of snapshots, like that tax form stuck to your fridge with a magnet.</p> <h2>5. Conduct Periodic Audits of Your Online Info</h2> <p>This sounds complicated, but it's actually easy. First, Google your full name. Look yourself up on &quot;people search&quot; websites, especially <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2017/01/12/youve-probably-never-heard-of-this-creepy-genealogy-site-but-its-heard-all-about-you/?utm_term=.620bcefdccc0" target="_blank">FamilyTreeNow</a>, which allows people to search for personal data without paying or signing up for an account. A lot of the info you will find on these sites are public records, but that doesn't mean you want to make it easy for potential data thieves to aggregate all public info about you for free. Opt out of all such sites, which may take some time clicking around, but is worth it.</p> <h2>6. Be Suspicious of Everyone Who Handles Your Information</h2> <p>Your children's school and your doctor's office probably aren't out to rob you, so you might feel comfortable sharing any information they ask for. Here's the thing, though: Do you know if they're storing those documents securely or disposing of them properly when no longer needed? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-simple-ways-to-protect-yourself-from-medical-records-theft?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Simple Ways to Protect Yourself From Medical Records Theft</a>)</p> <p>One way to limit your exposure to this risk is to give as little information as possible. Yes, every school form might ask for your child's medical insurance ID, but is it really necessary? At the doctor's office, decline to write your Social Security number on paperwork. They don't need it on every piece of paper in your file.</p> <p>Another way to limit your exposure is to ask staff how papers are handled and secured, and to push for better safety in the likely event that there's room for improvement.</p> <h2>7. Keep Your Computer Clean</h2> <p>Logging onto bank, mortgage, and credit accounts to pay bills, check balances, and transfer money is incredibly convenient. It can also be incredibly dangerous if you do it on a compromised computer. Be wary of what you click, whether it's an app you download or a link or attachment in email, because if your computer gets a virus, it could do more than slow it down. Hackers can use such Trojan horses to slip a keystroke logging program onto your computer, recording everything you type, including usernames and passwords. Never log onto banking and other sensitive sites using public Wi-Fi connections.</p> <p>Besides avoiding clicking dodgy links and regularly scanning your computer for malware, you can safeguard your online banking data by regularly changing your passwords, and by making your passwords really hard to guess.</p> <h2>8. Limit What You Carry Around With You</h2> <p>Stealing your purse or wallet is another way thieves can get ahold of your private information. Don't carry anything more than you need &mdash; one or two credit cards and your driver's license should do. Leave your Social Security card at home. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-to-never-keep-in-your-wallet?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Things to Never Keep in Your Wallet</a>)</p> <h2>9. Opt Out of Junk Mail</h2> <p>You can sign up to <a href="https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0262-stopping-unsolicited-mail-phone-calls-and-email" target="_blank">stop credit and insurance companies</a> from sending you preapproved offers, which could be used to take out accounts in your name. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-remove-yourself-from-mailing-lists-and-eliminate-junk-mail?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Remove Yourself From Mailing Lists and Eliminate Junk Mail</a>)</p> <h2>10. Don't Get Caught by a Phisher</h2> <p>Beware of impostors asking for your bank password or other information. You may already know that if you get an alarming email purportedly from your bank, you can go straight to your bank website and log on, or call them, instead of clicking the link.</p> <p>But increasingly, phishers are reaching victims by phone as well. So many people have been tricked into installing malicious software or giving up credit card numbers by fake &quot;Microsoft tech support&quot; calls that <a href="https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/safety/online-privacy/avoid-phone-scams.aspx" target="_blank">Microsoft set up a page</a> warning the public about them. The Internal Revenue Service has set up a <a href="https://www.irs.gov/uac/irs-urges-public-to-stay-alert-for-scam-phone-calls" target="_blank">similar warning</a> about criminals who call posing as IRS agents and ask for money or personal data. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beware-these-6-phony-irs-calls-and-emails?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Beware These 6 Phony IRS Calls and Emails</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-keep-your-private-info-private">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/how-to-protect-your-retirement-account-from-a-hack">How to Protect Your Retirement Account From a Hack</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-elderly-loved-ones-from-financial-scams">How to Protect Elderly Loved Ones From Financial Scams</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-that-a-winning-notification-email-is-a-fake">6 Signs That a Winning Notification Email Is a Fake</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/dont-panic-do-this-if-your-identity-gets-stolen">Don&#039;t Panic: Do This If Your Identity Gets Stolen</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/phishing-scams-continue-to-plague-social-media-sites">Phishing Scams Continue to Plague Social Media Sites</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Consumer Affairs data emails identity theft malware personal information phishing phone calls scams security viruses Thu, 02 Mar 2017 11:00:09 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1898692 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Money Moves You Can Make While Stuck in an Endless TSA Line http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-you-can-make-while-stuck-in-an-endless-tsa-line <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-money-moves-you-can-make-while-stuck-in-an-endless-tsa-line" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_tsa_line_20741660.jpg" alt="Man making money moves in endless TSA line" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>At the airport closest to me, the TSA lines are legendary, especially during the holiday season. Last year, they were telling people to give themselves <em>an extra hour</em> before their flight, just to make sure they got through security on time. That's an extra hour on top of the usual hour or two recommended!</p> <p>I don't know about you, but I dread long lines. I spend the entire time thinking about what else I could be doing. Over the years, though, I've come up with ways to use my &quot;line time&quot; well. Here are a few things you can do to improve your financial life while waiting for TSA to get on the ball.</p> <h2>1. Start Using Mint</h2> <p><a href="http://mint.com">Mint</a> is a great way to track your finances. You sign up for an account, connect all of your bank, investment, and debt accounts, and it quietly tracks your overall financial situation. It allows you to look at spending, debt, and net worth automatically and with ease.</p> <p>This is a great thing to do if you're not really tracking your finances right now, or if you don't have a handle on your overall financial situation. Starting with the big picture is almost always a good idea, so that you know what is good and what is bad, right from the start.</p> <h2>2. Sign Up for Digit</h2> <p><a href="http://digit.co">Digit</a> is an online service that saves money for you. You connect the app to a bank account, and they track your spending. Based on what they find, they schedule automatic withdrawals to another account. They don't say much about their analysis algorithm, but people (myself included) claim that they don't notice or need the money that Digit removes from their accounts.</p> <p>If you're already saving, you probably don't need this tool. But if you forget to pay yourself first, this can be a great way to save without really thinking about it. And it's fun to watch your savings build up over time!</p> <h2>3. Check Your Credit</h2> <p>If you haven't looked at your free credit report in the last 12 months, you should. <a href="http://annualcreditreport.com">AnnualCreditReport.com</a> is the place to start. From there, you can enter identification information and view a report from each of the three credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. Check for incorrect information or credit cards/lines of credit that may have been opened fraudulently.</p> <p>Do make sure that you have a secure Internet connection before you start sharing sensitive personal information. If you aren't sure, add this to your To Do list and work on something else while you're in line.</p> <h2>4. Set a Financial Goal</h2> <p>What would you like your money to do for you? Do you want to travel? Maybe you need to buy a new car. Think about your wants and needs, and choose one or two financial goals for the next few months. Having a goal will help you focus, and it will make you more likely to do things like curb spending or follow through on a savings plan.</p> <p>Don't set too many goals, though. Picking one or two things to save for &mdash; maybe one practical thing and one that's fun &mdash; will give you plenty of motivation without the stress of feeling like your money has to go in too many different directions.</p> <h2>5. Choose a Charity</h2> <p>If you're like me, giving often falls by the wayside. It's not that I don't want to do it, but that I want to be responsible with it. If you want to make sure that any charity that gets your money is actually using it for their stated purposes, do your research while you stand in line.</p> <p>Start by going to your intended charity's website. Most of them will offer some sort of fiscal documentation. If you want to give to a smaller charity, you may need to give them a call and ask for it, instead.</p> <p>If you don't even know where to start giving, start with a simple Google search. Pick an issue that is important to you, and look for charities that target it. You can even limit your search to charities in your local area, if you're interested in volunteering or getting more involved.</p> <h2>6. Check Your Bills</h2> <p>Not sure how long you'll be in line? Pull up your latest credit card bills and glance through them. Make sure that you recognize all the charges and that, to the best of your knowledge, they are for the right amount. Many people find mistakes on their credit card bills, and you can always contact the company to have them fixed. That usually means more money in your pocket.</p> <p>If you don't recognize a charge but you aren't sure, flag it for later, when you can go through your receipts and figure out if it's correct. If you find something very concerning, call your credit company from the line. The sooner you can get in touch with them, the sooner you'll have your money back where it belongs.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? 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-money-moves-you-can-make-while-stuck-in-an-endless-tsa-line&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%20Money%20Moves%20You%20Can%20Make%20While%20Stuck%20in%20an%20Endless%20TSA%20Line.jpg&amp;description=6%20Money%20Moves%20You%20Can%20Make%20While%20Stuck%20in%20an%20Endless%20TSA%20Line" 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%20Money%20Moves%20You%20Can%20Make%20While%20Stuck%20in%20an%20Endless%20TSA%20Line.jpg" alt="6 Money Moves You Can Make While Stuck in an Endless TSA Line" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-you-can-make-while-stuck-in-an-endless-tsa-line">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-sign-up-for-global-entry">How to Sign Up for Global Entry</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/first-rule-of-financial-wins-avoid-losses">First Rule of Financial Wins: Avoid Losses</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/11-ways-to-prepare-for-your-best-black-friday">11 Ways to Prepare for Your Best Black Friday</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-every-new-college-student-should-make">7 Money Moves Every New College Student Should Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-apps-that-monitor-your-credit-for-you">7 Apps That Monitor Your Credit for You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Travel airports apps bills budgeting charity credit report digit free time mint money moves security tsa waiting in line Thu, 10 Nov 2016 10:30:29 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1830272 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-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/what-is-your-auto-reply-email-telling-people-about-you">What Is Your Auto-Reply Email Telling People About You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-surprising-perks-and-some-drawbacks-of-paperless-billing">9 Surprising Perks (and Some Drawbacks) of Paperless Billing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-your-retirement-account-from-a-hack">How to Protect Your Retirement Account From a Hack</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-ways-to-declutter-your-digital-life">5 Easy Ways to Declutter Your Digital Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-making-these-8-risky-password-mistakes">Stop Making These 8 Risky Password Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> </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 3 Great Home Gadgets That Can Save You Real Money http://www.wisebread.com/3-great-home-gadgets-that-can-save-you-real-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-great-home-gadgets-that-can-save-you-real-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_tablet_92297561.jpg" alt="Woman using great home gadgets that can save her real money" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Home automation is very popular right now. Some gadgets are very pricey and more cool than useful, while other home technologies can actually save you a lot of money. Many of these gadgets can control utility usage, be controlled wirelessly, and even interconnect with each other. Check out these technologies if you want to make your home smarter and also reduce your monthly bills.</p> <h2>Nest</h2> <p>One of my favorite devices to use is <a href="http://amzn.to/28PQY4p">Nest</a>, which is a smart thermostat. We first purchased Nest three years ago. It was easy to install, and we saw savings immediately. We saw enough savings that first summer to justify the cost of the device.</p> <p>Nest cooled and heated our home smarter, turning itself off if it didn't detect motion or if it was set to Away. The second year, our electric company offered incentives if customers had a Nest. We earned about $150 that summer just for allowing the electric company to have control over our Nest. They would simply have blackout hours which disabled Nest during high volume times. Usually, it was disabled for a few hours two to three times a month during the summer.</p> <p>When we lived in our one-story 1,800 square foot home, our electric bill was rarely over $100. It was usually about $150 in the summer months. This was mostly due to smart usage, a well-insulated home, and of course, Nest.</p> <p>Nest currently costs $249 through Amazon and is much more stylish and easier to use than a conventional thermostat. Depending on how excessively you use your air conditioning and heating, Nest could pay for itself in savings within a few months. Be sure to sign up for energy saving programs and rebates through your local electric company, too.</p> <h2>Rachio Sprinkler System</h2> <p>Rachio is a smart irrigation system that can be controlled through your phone. This irrigation system also connects with weather readings, so your sprinklers won't turn on when it's raining outside or when the rain is expected.</p> <p>Before investing in a smart irrigation system, our water bill was routinely about $110 per month, and we rarely watered our lawn. Since we pay our water every other month, it was always a nasty shock to see our bill over $200, since we thought we were being conservative with water (and our lawn didn't look great).</p> <p>The first smart irrigation system we bought helped reduce our water bill by $30&ndash;$40 right away. We then switched to the Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller when we moved two months ago and now have more lawn to water. Our water bills are still predicted to be $70&ndash;$75 per month, or $150 per billing cycle in the spring/summer months. They might be lower, but California has a few conservation surcharges added to each bill. The biggest difference is that with the use of the smart irrigation systems, our grass stays green, despite not using more water.</p> <p>The&nbsp;<a href="http://amzn.to/28PPXLn">8-Zone Rachio Smart Sprinkler</a> costs $199.99 and many water companies will give you a rebate. Be sure to check for <a href="http://rachio.com/#gallons-saved">local rebates</a> for the Rachio system. Even without a rebate, if the Rachio system saves you $30 each month, then you will have saved $360 for the entire year. Subtract the base cost of the Rachio from those savings, and you still pocket an extra $160 the first year of using Rachio.</p> <h2>Canary</h2> <p>While I think that home security systems are a great idea, they can be expensive. US News says, &quot;Most companies will offer installation specials as low as $99, but startup costs for all the equipment could <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2013/09/09/the-cost-of-keeping-your-home-safe">run between $600 to $1,200</a>.&quot; After these initial costs, the monthly monitoring costs average $30 a month. Even if you get free installation and pay a very low $30 a month for home security, you will still end up paying $360 a year.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/28PQjl4">Canary</a> is a good solution for tech-savvy individuals. The devices start at $166.94, and users can stream real time video in their home. Canary alerts your phone when it detects movement (there is an option to disable that feature when you come home). Once you get that mobile alert, you can instantly look through the camera and even sound a siren and alert the authorities. You can view the recordings for up to 24 hours, but if you need the video past that time, you will just have to pay a small fee.</p> <p>Best of all, you don't have to deal with a pushy salesperson or need to get it installed. I love that you don't have to rush to a keypad to disable the alarm, either. You just plug it in and connect it to your secure Wi-Fi.</p> <p>With the use of these three devices, I estimate that we save at least $1,000 a year. Not only do we save a good amount of money, but these three devices have made life much more convenient. If I want to check on my baby sitter and kids, I quickly check Canary. If I want to start cooling the house a few minutes before I get home, I just push a few buttons on my phone to activate Nest. If I want to change my watering schedule via Rachio, again, all I have to do is push a few buttons on the phone.</p> <p><em>What smart home technology do you use in your home?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F3-great-home-gadgets-that-can-save-you-real-money&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F3%2520Great%2520Home%2520Gadgets%2520That%2520Can%2520Save%2520You%2520Real%2520Money.jpg&amp;description=3%20Great%20Home%20Gadgets%20That%20Can%20Save%20You%20Real%20Money"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/3%20Great%20Home%20Gadgets%20That%20Can%20Save%20You%20Real%20Money.jpg" alt="3 Great Home Gadgets That Can Save You Real Money" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-great-home-gadgets-that-can-save-you-real-money">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/find-lost-keys-fast-with-a-teeny-tiny-tile">Find Lost Keys Fast With a Teeny Tiny Tile</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-apps-that-pay-you-to-workout">6 Apps That Pay You to Workout</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-11-best-parking-apps-for-your-city">The 11 Best Parking Apps for Your City</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-apps-that-monitor-your-credit-for-you">7 Apps That Monitor Your Credit for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-apps-that-actually-pay-you-to-shop">7 Apps That Actually Pay You to Shop</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Technology apps electric bills gadgets nest rebates security sprinklers thermostat water bill Thu, 30 Jun 2016 09:30:20 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1740458 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's What to Do Immediately After a Credit Card Breach http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-to-do-immediately-after-a-credit-card-breach <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-what-to-do-immediately-after-a-credit-card-breach" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/credit_card_phishing_000056442984.jpg" alt="Learning what to do after a credit card breach" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The new EMV credit cards (better known as &quot;chip&quot; or &quot;chip and pin&quot; cards) are supposed to significantly cut down on credit card fraud. But these new cards, embedded with computer chips, are far from foolproof. Most security experts say that criminals will now focus on online transactions, stealing consumers' information as they enter it into websites.</p> <p>&quot;If it gets too difficult to steal credit card information from transactions at the register, criminals will increasingly move online,&quot; said Tom Donlea, e-commerce director for Whitepages.&quot;The new EMV cards offer no protection to consumers who are shopping online.&quot;</p> <p>So, what should you do if your financial records are exposed in a credit card breach? Here are five steps you should take immediately after you discover that your credit card information has been compromised.</p> <h2>1. Close the Compromised Account</h2> <p>Once you discover that thieves have stolen your credit card information, immediately call your provider to close that account. This will stop thieves from using your card to make any additional fraudulent purchases.</p> <h2>2. Dispute Any Fraudulent Purchases</h2> <p>The federal Truth in Lending Act protects you from credit card purchases made without your permission. According to federal law, your credit card provider can only charge you a total of $50 for unauthorized purchases made with your card, no matter how many of these purchases thieves run up.</p> <p>There's no time limit on when you must report these disputed charges, either. If thieves are using your debit card, though, you do have to act quickly. To be eligible for the Truth in Lending Act's personal liability limit of $50, you must report your card lost, stolen, or breached within <em>two </em>business days.</p> <p>Once you call your card provider to report a fraudulent purchase, the financial institution will send you a document to fill out stating that you believe that the charges are fraudulent. Don't worry about having to argue with your provider. They will usually take your word. And most won't even charge you that $50 to which they are entitled.</p> <h2>3. Check Your Credit Card Statements Carefully</h2> <p>Study not only your current credit card statement, but past ones, too, for suspicious charges. You don't know how long thieves have been using your credit card to make unauthorized purchases. Check older statements for purchases that you don't remember making or that look unusual.</p> <p>You should be studying your statements carefully every month, of course. Being vigilant for suspicious purchases on your account is the best way to stop fraudulent activity quickly.</p> <h2>4. Alert the Three Credit Bureaus</h2> <p>Next, contact the three national credit bureaus &mdash; TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax &mdash; to inform them that your credit card information was compromised. The bureaus will then place a 90-day fraud alert on your credit reports. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-always-dispute-mistakes-on-your-credit-report">Should You Always Dispute Mistakes on Your Credit Report?</a>)</p> <p>This fraud alert will protect you against future unauthorized charges. That's because with the alert in place, creditors will take extra steps to make sure anyone opening an account in your name is actually you and not a fraudster.</p> <h2>5. Educate Yourself</h2> <p>You might never discover how thieves were able to gain access to your card information. But you can take steps to prevent future problems.</p> <p>Because so many criminals are turning to online fraud today, learn how to protect yourself when using the Internet. Don't open suspicious email messages, and never click on links when an email supposedly from your bank asks you to verify your information. These are usually scam emails.</p> <p>Only buy items online from trusted, legitimate retailers. And never use your credit card at a site that doesn't ask you to provide the three-digit security code that is usually printed on the back of your card. Sites that don't ask for this information aren't doing enough to protect you.</p> <p>There's little that you can do to protect yourself from a wide-scale data breach, such as those suffered in recent years by major retailers. But you can protect yourself from those scammers who target individual consumers. It just takes a bit of commonsense on your part.</p> <p><em>Have you ever had one of your credit accounts hacked? How did you respond?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-to-do-immediately-after-a-credit-card-breach">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/is-credit-monitoring-ever-worth-it">Is Credit Monitoring Ever Worth It?</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-stack-credit-card-rewards-to-earn-even-more">How to Stack Credit Card Rewards to Earn Even More</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/prepaid-cards-about-to-get-safer-and-better">Prepaid Cards About to Get Safer and Better</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-your-card-got-declined-and-how-to-fix-it">7 Reasons Your Card Got Declined (And How to Fix It)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-credit-is-safer-than-debit">4 Reasons Credit Is Safer Than Debit</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards chip cards credit card theft emv fraud online shopping security Mon, 01 Feb 2016 18:00:05 +0000 Dan Rafter 1646116 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Affordable Ways to Deter Burglars http://www.wisebread.com/6-affordable-ways-to-deter-burglars <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-affordable-ways-to-deter-burglars" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/surveillance_video_000015585918.jpg" alt="Learning of cheap ways to deter house intruders" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Burglaries are decreasing in the United States, which is good news for homeowners, though the victims who experienced the <a href="https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2014/november/crime-statistics-for-2013-released/crime-statistics-for-2013-released">1.9 million burglaries</a> in 2013 might not see the glass as half full.</p> <p>The average dollar loss per offense was $2,322 that same year. That number, along with the fact that <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-easy-ways-to-make-your-home-safer">protecting your home</a> with a home security system can <a href="https://usinsuranceagents.com/cheap-home-insurance">lower home insurance premiums</a>, may be enough to convince you to do something to deter intruders.</p> <p>Installing a home security system, however, can cost a few hundred dollars (along with $15 to $100 for monthly monitoring). So here are six cheaper alternatives.</p> <h2>1. Set Up a Home Camera Yourself</h2> <p>For about $150, you can buy a camera that you can set up yourself to record your front porch, for example, and save on your computer. The upfront cost may equal what you'd pay for a security system, but you avoid the monthly monitoring costs.</p> <p>Another option is to set up a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CWRXEVG/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00CWRXEVG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=VMD43IRA6GXM4KF6">fake video camera</a> or webcam as a deterrent to potential criminals. Seeing a few &quot;security cameras&quot; over the garage may be enough to cause them to move on. And if you want the cameras to work, there are all kinds of apps to turn a <a href="http://www.ugolog.com/pages/25-applications-to-turn-your-webcam-into-home-security-system">webcam into a security camera</a>.</p> <h2>2. Put a Home Security Sign Up</h2> <p>Just as with a non-working camera, you can put up a security company's sign in your yard stating that your home is being protected, but don't pay for the service.</p> <p>A generic <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DT8JLI2/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00DT8JLI2&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=DRPOKSZXCZJHZPPY">alarm system sign</a> sells online for less than $25, although experienced criminals may well recognize the knock-offs. (Less than scrupulous vendors sell signs from well-known security services on eBay and elsewhere, but this trick seems unfair to the security firms who provide actual services.) Again, the point is to make burglars think twice before trying to break into your home.</p> <h2>3. Install Motion Sensors</h2> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=motion%20sensor%20lights&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Amotion%20sensor%20lights&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=UIEK2HSFJNXEERC3">Motion sensor outdoor lights</a> are as cheap as $50, turning on whenever someone or something moves in front of them. Lighting the outside of a home is an easy deterrent for nighttime break-ins.</p> <h2>4. Leave the Radio On</h2> <p>If you're gone all day, leave a radio on so that anyone walking up to the house will hear it and think someone is inside. Leaving a small desk radio on for six hours costs an estimated <a href="http://www.duke-energy.com/pdfs/appliance_opcost_list_duke_v8.06.pdf">22 cents per month</a>.</p> <h2>5. Run a Fake TV</h2> <p>Burglars are looking for unoccupied homes, and a glowing TV screen is a sign that someone's home.</p> <p>For as little as $25, a small device called <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BTKGHDE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00BTKGHDE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=5O6AEGTHITP6432P">FakeTV</a> simulates the flickering light of real television. Close the curtains and from the outside, it looks like you're home watching TV. The device has a light sensor and timer, and uses the same amount of power as a night light.</p> <h2>6. Lock Your Doors</h2> <p>This is a simple tip, but one that many people may forget about once in awhile. Lock all doors and windows before going to sleep at night, and install deadbolts where you can. A chain lock on a door won't be enough to stop a determined intruder. A security door jam for a door or window can cost only $10 and should also be locked at night.</p> <p>Those are some of the cheapest ways to deter house intruders. If you really want something that makes noise when a burglar or anyone else comes to your house, consider getting a sometimes expensive but trustworthy burglar alarm: a dog. The barking may drive you crazy, but it can protect your home from burglars when you're away. And the mailman may even think twice before leaving you those pesky bills!</p> <p><em>Do you employ any of these or other cheap security tricks?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/aaron-crowe">Aaron Crowe</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-affordable-ways-to-deter-burglars">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-12"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-easy-ways-to-make-your-home-safer">15 Cheap, Easy Ways to Make Your Home Safer</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/10-safest-cities-in-america-from-natural-disasters">10 Safest Cities in America from Natural Disasters</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/are-you-giving-burglars-the-key-to-your-home">Are you giving burglars the key to your home?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-you-should-never-do-when-camping">7 Things You Should Never Do When Camping</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-frugal-ways-to-protect-your-home-during-the-holidays">7 Frugal Ways to Protect Your Home During the Holidays</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Home burglary intruders safety security surveillance Thu, 22 Oct 2015 21:16:53 +0000 Aaron Crowe 1593625 at http://www.wisebread.com Is Credit Monitoring Ever Worth It? http://www.wisebread.com/is-credit-monitoring-ever-worth-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-credit-monitoring-ever-worth-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_identity_theft_000000240734.jpg" alt="Man wondering if credit monitoring is ever actually worth it" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Should you pay for credit-monitoring &mdash; that identity theft protection service that promises to alert you whenever your card provider notices suspicious activity on your account?</p> <p>The short answer? Probably not. If you're proactive in monitoring and protecting your credit, you likely won't need these services. But in some cases, credit monitoring and identity theft alerts might make sense. Read on to learn about free alternatives to paid services, as well as when it actually makes sense to pay for them.</p> <h2>Free Credit-Monitoring Alternatives</h2> <p>You can already order one copy of each of your three credit reports &mdash; one each maintained by the three national credit bureaus Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion &mdash; every year at no charge from AnnualCreditReport.com.</p> <p>These credit reports will list the amount you owe on your credit card accounts, and all active and inactive credit card accounts in your name. It will also list any auto, mortgage, student, or other loans you are paying back, and how much you owe on these loans. A separate area of your credit report lists any negative judgments against you, such as bankruptcy filings, housing short sales, or foreclosures.</p> <p>You can study these reports to uncover any unusual financial activity in your name, such as credit card accounts that you don't ever remember opening. You can also look for missed or late auto loan or mortgage payments that you know you actually paid on time. You can then report this suspicious activity to the credit bureaus.</p> <p>Another place that offers free credit monitoring is your credit card. Many credit cards offer credit monitoring tools as well as access to your credit score each month. Check out the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-that-offer-free-credit-scores">best credit cards that offer free credit monitoring tools</a>.</p> <h2>How to Handle Fraud for Free</h2> <p>If you do think that someone has illegally taken out a credit card in your name, you can place a fraud alert with any or all of the three credit bureaus. Once you do this, you are entitled to a free copy of your three credit reports once every 90 days, which gives you even more ability to monitor your credit on your own. Filing a fraud alert is free, and lasts for 90 days. You can renew these alerts, again for free, as often as you'd like. This sort of protection renders identity theft and credit-monitoring services even more unnecessary.</p> <p>You can also spot fraudulent purchases on your existing credit card accounts without the help of add-ons. Just study your monthly credit card statement when it comes in the mail. Even better, log onto your credit card account every week to study the activity on your card. If you see a suspicious purchase, alert the provider of your card. Plus, many banks and credit card companies will proactively alert you of any suspicious activity &mdash; at no cost.</p> <p>Know, too, that you won't be responsible for a big bill even if someone uses your credit card to run up thousands of dollars in new purchases. Your liability for credit card fraud is capped at $50 maximum, no matter how many fraudulent purchases were made with your card. And most issuers of credit cards won't charge you anything if you report fraudulent purchases.</p> <h2>When It Makes Sense to Pay for Credit Monitoring</h2> <p>There is a caveat, though. If you don't take the time to order your credit reports, or if you pay your credit card bill each month without even glancing at the new purchases you made, paying for a program like credit-monitoring or identity theft protection <em>might </em>make sense.</p> <p>Yes, you can do everything that your credit card company offers on your own, at no charge. But if you know that you won't take the time to monitor your credit card accounts yourself? Then that small investment every month might make financial sense. This is especially true if you suspect ongoing fraud, or have several new credit-related activities on your report.</p> <p>Sure, in most cases, paying for monitoring doesn't make financial sense. But you know yourself best &mdash; if paying for credit monitoring will keep you best alerted to potential issues, it's an excellent investment in your financial health.</p> <p><em>Have you ever been a victim of identity theft or credit fraud?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-credit-monitoring-ever-worth-it">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-your-credit-after-the-equifax-breach">How to Protect Your Credit After the Equifax Breach</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/dont-panic-do-this-if-your-identity-gets-stolen">Don&#039;t Panic: Do This If Your Identity Gets Stolen</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/heres-what-to-do-immediately-after-a-credit-card-breach">Here&#039;s What to Do Immediately After a Credit Card Breach</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-your-retirement-account-from-a-hack">How to Protect Your Retirement Account From a Hack</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-protect-elderly-loved-ones-from-financial-scams">How to Protect Elderly Loved Ones From Financial Scams</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards credit monitoring credit reports fraud identity theft security Wed, 30 Sep 2015 21:01:10 +0000 Dan Rafter 1570316 at http://www.wisebread.com 31 Super Smart Travel Hacks http://www.wisebread.com/31-super-smart-travel-hacks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/31-super-smart-travel-hacks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_daughter_packing_000039949614.jpg" alt="Mom learning super smart travel hacks before next trip" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Since the dawn of exploration, travelers have been finding ways to simplify and streamline their adventures. Today, we call this &quot;travel hacking,&quot; and a few important tricks can save you a lot of time, space, and money. I've traveled the world with my wife since 2008 and we've saved thousands of dollars and a lot of time by using these 31 essential hacks that every traveler should know. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-hotel-hacks-from-professional-travelers?ref=seealso">25 Hotel Hacks From Professional Travellers</a>)</p> <h2>1. Get Theft-Proof Luggage</h2> <p>There are a ton of brands out there that offer theft-proof luggage. I have a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=numinous%20anti-theft&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Anuminous%20anti-theft&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=ZLT5MAJJVNVP6PCJ">Numinous Theft-Proof Backpack</a> which has anti-slash technology, puncture-proof lockable zippers, and a steel tie-down cable. This bag is like a portable safe, and it gives me peace of mind knowing that my valuables are secure while I'm on the road.</p> <h2>2. Use Packing Cubes</h2> <p>If you don't already have these things, I highly recommend picking some up. Simply put, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=packing%20cubes&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Apacking%20cubes&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=NU6VYS5SBZDAU5R3">packing cubes</a> are small, zippable compression squares that help to keep your backpack and luggage organized and compact. You can separate your tops, bottoms, and underwear into different sized cubes so that next time you're at the airport and you need to take out a t-shirt, you'll know exactly where to look.</p> <h2>3. Roll, Don't Fold</h2> <p>I first heard of this trick on the Oprah show a few years back, but it really works. Rolling your clothes can save a lot of space &mdash; and having them rolled and lined up in packing cubes (instead of folded and stacked on top of each other) allows you to better see your traveling wardrobe.</p> <h2>4. Protect Your Toothbrush With a Clothing Pin</h2> <p>Who knows what kind of nasty bacteria and particulate matter has accumulated on that hotel bathroom sink and counter!? According to a hotel sanitation study conducted by Katie Kirsch and a team from Purdue University and the University of South Carolina, the bathroom sink is one of the &quot;germiest&quot; surfaces in the hotel room. Her team claimed that the same sponges are sometimes used to clean the toilets and the counters. I'm really sorry to be the one to tell you, but this is why the <a href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/26880928998279779/">clothes pin toothbrush holder</a> is so important. Don't ever rest your toothbrush on the counter again!</p> <h2>5. Charge Your Device on the TV</h2> <p>Newer LCD and Plasma screens usually have a USB outlet on the rear console. If you've used up all of the outlets in your hotel, or you forgot to bring that little USB/AC wall adapter, the TV in your hotel room could save the day.</p> <h2>6. Pack the Boil Coil</h2> <p>I love this little thing and I wouldn't travel without it. Basically, it's a small heating coil that you can place in a metal bowl or mug to boil water. It can boil a cup of water in a little over a minute. The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000VK0DRY/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000VK0DRY&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=DPN2FUP7CDPOE3MV">boil coil</a> is perfect for coffee, noodle bowls, hard boiled eggs, and tea! (Maybe even pasta?)</p> <h2>7. Cook in the Coffee Machine</h2> <p>Did you know that the coffee machine in your hotel room can also be used as a mini vegetable steamer or porridge cooker? Simply place your desired grub in the carafe, add some water, and let it cook.</p> <h2>8. Put Your Valuables in an Empty Sunscreen Container</h2> <p>Next time you're at the beach, don't worry about leaving your valuables behind while you go for a swim. Just create this <a href="http://www.safewise.com/blog/hiding-plain-sight-6-sneaky-ways-keep-valuables-safe/">brilliant little hidden container</a> by cutting your sunscreen bottle in half and you can easily hide your iPhone, money, and wallet while you're out enjoying the waves.</p> <h2>9. Stay Fresh With Dryer Sheets</h2> <p>Stinky backpack? Toss in a Bounce sheet. Smelly dorm? Put a sheet on the fan or air conditioner. Nasty foot odor? You guessed it. Fill up your hikers with <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=dryer%20sheets&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=CHHOSX25ACKLE3I6">dryer sheets</a>. These things can freshen even the most unsavory of situations. Never travel without them.</p> <h2>10. Carry a Portable Home Theatre</h2> <p>The newest DLP technology has shrunk down to a size that travelers can actually pack. The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00QXS8L6I/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00QXS8L6I&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=YWDADU4JMIXHOOCB">RIF6</a> is a Rubix Cube-sized projector that can fit inside of an empty shoe in your backpack. All you need is a device and a white wall and you've got your own personal cinema.</p> <h2>11. Carry a VGA or HDMI Cord Instead</h2> <p>Don't want to buy the portable projector? Just carry a VGA or <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=hdmi%20cord&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Ahdmi%20cord&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=SCJN7PXJI4ZRJCG4">HDMI cord</a> so that you can hook your laptop up to the hotel room television.</p> <h2>12. Find Wi-Fi Passwords on Foursquare</h2> <p>This is a great hack to use when you stay at hotels and guest houses that are located in cities with lots of access points. Just search Foursquare comments for businesses around your hotel and you'll likely find that someone posted a Wi-Fi password near you. Help the community by posting passwords as you find them as well.</p> <h2>13. Plug a Drain With a Coin</h2> <p>Sometimes you just want to do a bit of laundry in your hotel room sink, but you didn't pack a plug or the plug you packed doesn't fit. Luckily, coins come in pretty much all sizes, so just dig into your wallet and pick out two that will fit the drain in your sink. Then wrap the first one in plastic, place it in the sink and put the other one on top to hold it down. Now you can fill up the sink and do your laundry!</p> <h2>14. Take a Picture of Your Travel Documents</h2> <p>It's always a good idea to carry your passport and important documents with you, but you also run the risk of losing them or having them stolen. Instead, take photos of them and keep them in your smartphone photo library. If a corrupt border guard asks for your documents, try to flash the screenshot rather than your actual passport. Also make sure to email the documents to yourself so you still have them, even if your smartphone is stolen.</p> <h2>15. Be a Signal Vulture</h2> <p>When you first arrive at a new destination, head into as many restaurants and cafes as you can, buy something small and get the Wi-Fi code. Hit up 10 to 20 places around your hotel and you'll soon have free Wi-Fi within a one mile radius.</p> <h2>16. Use Fishing Line Security</h2> <p>If you're sleeping on an overnight train or bus, you're probably not paying much attention to your bag. If you don't have theft-proof luggage from the first hack on this list, tie fishing line to your important luggage and attach the other end to your wrist. If anyone tries to take it, they won't notice the invisible line, but you'll wake up when your arm jerks. You can then stop them in their tracks.</p> <h2>17. Record YouTube</h2> <p>Sometimes you just want to save that favorite video or music playlist to watch or listen to during a flight or long bus ride, but you know you're not going to have Wi-Fi. Head to <a href="http://en.savefrom.net/">savefrom.net</a> and you can download your favorite vids and songs to watch or listen to later.</p> <h2>18. Hide Jewelry</h2> <p>Hide your beloved wedding ring and your favorite gold necklace in a Tylenol container instead of a Tiffany's box. No thieves are going to look in your first aid kit for a big score.</p> <h2>19. Practice the Secret Offline Google Maps Function</h2> <p>This is a very useful trick for those of us who don't want to spend money on data usage overseas. While you have Wi-Fi, open the Google Maps app on your smart device. Zoom into a map area that you know you'll want to look at later and then type &quot;okay maps&quot; into the search field. The app will then download that portion of the map for you to view later while offline.</p> <h2>20. Use Duct Tape to Fix Anything</h2> <p>This strong, sticky, grey adhesive can do so much for a traveler. Fix your broken shoes, seal up holes in window frames where creepy crawlers can enter, patch tears in your mosquito net, or temporarily cover a wound. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=duct%20tape&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Aduct%20tape&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=RBC77I6JHIF6XCF3">Duct tape</a> can do it all!</p> <p>And there's no need to pack a huge bulky roll: instead just ditch the ink portion of a ballpoint pen, roll about 10 feet of tape around the outer casing, and cut off the excess plastic bits on either end of the pen.</p> <h2>21. Call Your Credit Card Company and Bank Before Traveling</h2> <p>The last thing you want is to be in the middle of your vacation and suddenly you're cut off from all of your accounts. If your credit card provider or bank sees random charges from Timbuktu, they'll probably freeze your accounts, forcing you to call in and sometimes order a new card. Don't let this happen to you. Simply call them before departing and let them know where you'll be and for how long.</p> <h2>22. Carry an Empty Water Bottle at the Airport</h2> <p>I hate spending $3 for a bottle of water that can be bought for 50 cents anywhere else in the country. But airport security will take your bottle if it has any water in it. Instead of paying airport prices, carry an empty bottle through security and then fill it up from a fountain or at Starbucks on the other side. Stick it to those airport overcharges!</p> <h2>23. Clear Your Cache or Browse Privately When Booking Flights</h2> <p>This is just one of several <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-flight-booking-hacks-to-save-you-hundreds">flight booking hacks</a> I've got for you, but it's a goodie. Booking engines and airline websites store cookies in your browser so that they can jack up prices if they see you coming back to shop for the same flights over and over again. Clear your cache or browse &quot;incognito&quot; in Google Chrome (cmd-shift-n) to save yourself hundreds of dollars on airfare. (Ctrl-shift-n for PC Chrome users.)</p> <h2>24. Keep Your Collars Crisp With Your Belt</h2> <p>Roll up your belt and place it inside the collar of your favourite shirt to keep it from wrinkling and bending out of shape while in transit.</p> <h2>25. Seal Shampoo Containers With Shrink Wrap</h2> <p>Have you ever had your shampoo explode while in your luggage? It's a mess and the dyed liquid can potentially stain your cloths. To prevent this catastrophe, simply place some plastic wrap (or a Ziploc bag) over the opening and screw the lid on over top of it. Don't have cellophane wrap? Just tape the lids shut.</p> <h2>26. Ask Siri Your Flight Status</h2> <p>Hold the home button on your Apple smart device and say &quot;Check flight status for (your flight number)&quot; and Siri will list results with up-to-date information about your flight. If you don't have an Apple device, simply Google your flight number and you will see your flight info above the search results.</p> <h2>27. Put All Travel on Rewards Credit Cards</h2> <p>You might as well get some cashback and rewards from all of your travel purchases. Put your hotel rooms, restaurant bills, flights, and insurance on your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal">favorite travel rewards credit card</a> and earn some rewards for all of your purchases. Even better, use a card with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/smarter-security-and-no-foreign-transaction-fees-the-best-credit-cards-to-use-while-on-vacation?ref=internal">no foreign transaction fees</a> if you're abroad.</p> <h2>28. Get a Travel Debit Card</h2> <p>Some banks charge upwards of $5 for every transaction from international ATMs. Shop around and find an account that waives these fees so that you're not wasting money every time you withdraw cash overseas. In the U.S., the Charles Schwab debit system doesn't charge foreign ATM fees, while in Canada, the TD Canada Trust Select Service Account offers the same.</p> <h2>29. Ladies, Use the Diva Cup</h2> <p>If you're on a world trip, you're not going to want to carry a year's worth of pads or tampons in your bag, and in some countries it's hard to find tampons at all. Enter: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=diva%20cup&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Adiva%20cup&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=VS7LYZGR3VMDIQDS">The Diva Cup</a>. This little thing will save you a ton of space in your luggage and it is much better for the environment and for your body.</p> <h2>30. Get a Range Extender</h2> <p>Wi-Fi in hotels and hostels seldom reaches the private rooms or dorms, but with this handy <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=as_li_ss_tl?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;field-keywords=range%20extender&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Arange%20extender&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;url=search-alias%3Daps&amp;linkId=TNO5V2GNMQOCQFN4">range extender</a>, you can double the strength of the signal just by plugging it into a wall socket. It captures the signal from the router and magnifies it for you to use. It even has its own password so other people can't share the bandwidth with you unless you want them to.</p> <h2>31. Watch Inflight Movies on Budget Airlines</h2> <p>Carry a Ziploc bag big enough to fit your device and then clip the bag into the seat tray table in front of you. Hang the device down and voila! You have yourself an inflight movie, even when the plane lacks video on demand.</p> <p><em>Did you find any new and useful hacks in this post? I must have missed some! What easy tricks have you used to make your travels cheaper, safer, and more comfortable? Please share with us in the comments below.</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%2F31-super-smart-travel-hacks&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F31%20Super%20Smart%20Travel%20Hacks.jpg&amp;description=31%20Super%20Smart%20Travel%20Hacks" 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/u5180/31%20Super%20Smart%20Travel%20Hacks.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/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-super-smart-travel-hacks">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/do-these-9-things-now-to-make-holiday-air-travel-easier">Do These 9 Things Now to Make Holiday Air Travel Easier</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-things-you-should-always-pack-in-your-carry-on">8 Things You Should Always Pack in Your Carry-On</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-ways-families-can-travel-like-minimalists">7 Ways Families Can Travel Like Minimalists</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-simple-ways-to-travel-greener-that-could-save-you-money">8 Simple Ways to Travel Greener That Could 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/make-flying-easy-the-ultimate-carry-on-packing-list">Make Flying Easy: The Ultimate Carry-On Packing List</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel hotel rooms luggage organization packing tips security travel hacking wi-fi Mon, 28 Sep 2015 15:00:47 +0000 Nick Wharton 1570273 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Dangers of Mobile Banking — And How to Avoid Them http://www.wisebread.com/5-dangers-of-mobile-banking-and-how-to-avoid-them <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-dangers-of-mobile-banking-and-how-to-avoid-them" 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_000039409614_0.jpg" alt="Woman using her phone to manage mobile banking" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Managing your money has never been so easy. With the rise of mobile banking, paying your bills and checking your balance can be as simple as posting a photo to your Instagram feed. But there's a price to pay for the convenience of depositing checks from anywhere in the world with a simple click of your mobile camera. That price is the increased risk that your private data and access to your accounts could fall into the wrong hands.</p> <p>Banking fraud expert Julie Conroy warns, &quot;as additional people flock to the mobile channel and transactions multiply, the bad guys are paying attention and <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/slideshows/10-dangers-of-mobile-banking">deploying more attacks</a> against it.&quot;</p> <p>The best way to protect yourself, of course, is to know the risks. Read on for our guide to the dangers of mobile banking and foolproof tips on how to avoid them.</p> <h2>1. Wireless Networks Are Hacker-Friendly</h2> <p>Unlike websites, mobile apps don't <a href="http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0014-tips-using-public-wi-fi-networks#Mobile">properly encrypt information</a>, which means it's not a good idea to access your bank account via mobile app when you're on a public or otherwise unsecured Wi-Fi network. As computer science expert Ron Vetter explains, &quot;mobile banking apps are connected to wireless networks, and these networks are inherently insecure as they broadcast their messages into the open air.&quot;</p> <p>If you plan to use a mobile app to conduct a sensitive transaction, you're better off using a secure wireless network or your phone's data network. This will help reduce the risk of your private information being intercepted by a hacker or some other third party.</p> <h2>2. Poor Reception Means Poor Security</h2> <p>Even if you're diligent in accessing your mobile banking app on your phone's data network rather than a wireless network, the security of your financial information could still be at risk if your 4G or 3G data drops into a lower service range. Poor reception invites the chance that the data contained in your banking transaction could misfire and be intercepted by an unauthorized third party.</p> <h2>3. There's More at Stake If You Lose Your Phone</h2> <p>Studies show that nearly 40% of smartphone owners don't <a href="http://www.federalreserve.gov/econresdata/consumers-and-mobile-financial-services-report-201403.pdf">password protect</a> their devices. If any of those folks were to lose their phone, anyone could pick it up, log into their banking app, and access their money. Even if you do password protect your phone, you could still be putting yourself at risk by auto-saving your password. For optimal security, select &quot;no&quot; when any of your apps ask to remember your username and password. You can further help protect yourself from fraudsters who gain access to your phone by installing a remote-wiping application that allows you to <a href="http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2352755,00.asp">erase your phone's data</a> even when the device isn't physically in your possession.</p> <h2>4. You May Not Be Able to Access Newly Deposited Funds Right Away</h2> <p>Although you can deposit funds into your account instantly via a mobile banking app, there may be a longer lag than normal until you can access those funds.</p> <p>&quot;In many cases, [banks] will protect themselves against fraud by increasing the delay in the availability of funds, as compared to if you'd just deposit that check in an ATM or branch,&quot; Conroy says.</p> <h2>5. Fraudulent Apps May Deceive You</h2> <p>Mobile apps can cost you &mdash; even the free ones. <a href="http://securitywatch.pcmag.com/mobile-security/317083-mobile-threat-monday-malicious-banking-apps-and-crafty-copycats">Fraudulent apps</a> posing as your official banking institution are lurking throughout the app store, and if you unknowingly start using one, the app creators can access &mdash; and abuse &mdash; your private information. Download your app directly from your bank's website to avoid this scam. And if you use Android, set your security settings to abort installations from sources other than Google Play.</p> <p><em>Has your mobile banking security ever been compromised? How did you recover?</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/5-dangers-of-mobile-banking-and-how-to-avoid-them">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-keep-your-private-info-private">10 Ways to Keep Your Private Info Private</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-bank-stole-my-grocery-money">My Bank Stole My Grocery 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/citimortage-told-me-to-default-on-my-loan-if-i-want-their-help">CitiMortgage Told Me to Default on My Loan</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/31-super-smart-travel-hacks">31 Super Smart Travel Hacks</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-tips-to-save-you-from-an-atm-skimmer">10 Tips to Save You from an ATM Skimmer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking Consumer Affairs data mobile apps mobile safety networks security wi-fi Fri, 27 Mar 2015 17:00:08 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1359338 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Cheap, Easy Ways to Make Your Home Safer http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-easy-ways-to-make-your-home-safer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-cheap-easy-ways-to-make-your-home-safer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/deadbolt-door-Dollarphotoclub_44563535.jpg" alt="deadbolt door" title="deadbolt door" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Safety may not be the first thing you daydream about when picturing the home of your dreams. But your ability to insure, resell, or even just live comfortably in your home may be dependent on several safety and security factors. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/must-do-home-maintenance-that-saves-you-moneyand-might-save-your-family?ref=seealso">Must Do Home Maintenance</a>)</p> <p>Though some major structural flaws may require a larger budget, most home safety hacks can be accomplished with a sensible to-do list and at a modest cost. Here are some of the top tips for making your home more habitable for less money than you think.</p> <h2>Mitigate Mold</h2> <p>Mold, a potentially dangerous uninvited guest, can cause illness and decrease the value of a home quickly. Peter Jacobus, an agent for <a href="http://insurance-agency.amfam.com/NE/peter-d-jacobus/default.aspx">American Family Insurance</a>, tells homeowners to be proactive in their efforts to keep a home safe from this unwanted affliction.</p> <h3>1. Reduce Humidity</h3> <p>By keeping the level of moisture in your home below 40%, you can often outsmart mold. Avoid excessive dampness by using dehumidifiers in rooms that collect steam. An air-conditioner will perform this role in the summer.</p> <h3>2. Ventilate</h3> <p>In addition to reducing moisture, overall good airflow is key. Your home should have exhaust fans in both the kitchen and bathroom, for starters.</p> <h3>3. Paint With Care</h3> <p>By using an inexpensive mold inhibitor mixed into your paint, you can further protect your walls and ceilings against mold growth. (Products cost around $6 per packet and can be found at home home improvement stores.)</p> <h3>4. Skip the Carpet</h3> <p>Per square foot, carpet can be more expensive than other floor coverings and is never appropriate for moisture prone areas &mdash; like bathrooms.</p> <h2>Confuse Criminals</h2> <p>While no home can be 100% robbery-proof, some simple changes to your set-up can keep you clear of break-ins. Sadie Cornelius, Security Expert for <a href="http://www.asecurelife.com/">A Secure Life</a>, recommends some simple precautions and security upgrades.</p> <h3>5. Add Deadbolts</h3> <p>All outside facing windows and doors should have one. They don't have to be fancy &mdash; they just need to work!</p> <h3>6. Stash the Spare Key</h3> <p>Just don't put it outside. Fake planters, rocks, or other &quot;in plain sight&quot; hiding places are well-known by career criminals.</p> <h3>7. Invest in Motion Sensors</h3> <p>Just having some outside lights that flick on when they detect a visitor can spook away a thief. Motion lights start around $10, and can be found at most hardware stores.</p> <h3>8. Get a Peephole</h3> <p>They're not just useful for hotel rooms. Knowing who's outside from behind the safety of your door is a good idea!</p> <p>In addition, you're always wise to keep news of an empty house to yourself.</p> <h3>9. Skip Oversharing on Social</h3> <p>Please, no posts on Facebook about how much you're enjoying your vacation in Hawaii. Wait until you get back to post photos, and turn off location services from any apps that post on your behalf while you're gone.</p> <h3>10. Leave a Light On</h3> <p>Don't keep your home completely dark. Consider investing in a timer for your television to have some activity happening in the home during your prime time viewing hours.</p> <h2>Discourage Slips and Falls</h2> <p>Home safety is important for everyone who lives there, as well as visitors. Keeping injuries to a minimum isn't just important for the health of your family; it can keep insurance premiums low, too. National Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford, host of the nationally-syndicated TV and radio program, <a href="http://www.todayshomeowner.com/">Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford</a>, suggests a couple of fixes.</p> <h3>11. Create No-Slip Surfaces</h3> <p>Stairs, especially concrete entry stairs, can prove dangerous to visitors and family members alike. &quot;It's easy to add a self-adhesive anti-skid strip to the front flat edge of steps to provide traction,&quot; says Danny. Concrete porches and decks can benefit from a good paint or stain with some playground quality sand mixed in prior to applying.</p> <h3>12. Secure Handrails</h3> <p>After years of use, it's not uncommon for them to come loose or fall off completely. Using lag bolts or epoxy adhesive to put them back in place makes good sense and can prevent a serious fall.</p> <h2>Organize Maintenance Tasks</h2> <p>Homeownership can feel like a tremendous burden if you try to do all the necessary cleaning and repair tasks at once. Be proactive and lighten the financial load by scheduling safety-related tasks throughout the year.</p> <h3>13. Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors</h3> <p>Do this monthly, and replace batteries at least once a year.</p> <h3>14. Clean Lint From Your Clothes Dryer</h3> <p>This should be done at least once a year for the average user. (Our family of eight needs it done at least every few months, due to the number of loads we do, as well as the fact we own pets that shed.) Family Handyman has a great guide for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.familyhandyman.com/appliance-repair/washer-and-dryer-repair/dryer-lint-cleaning-tips/view-all">cleaning lint from dryers</a>, and you'll want to be sure to never run your dryer when you are not home!</p> <h3>15. Check Your Garage Door Sensor and Closures</h3> <p>With pets and kids in the house, keeping the heavy weight of a garage door in check is essential. Get tips for how to do this at the International Door Association's <a href="http://garagedoorcare.com/garage-door-safety.html">safety page</a>.</p> <p>All of the above tasks, as well as any other household to-dos can be easily planned and tracked with <a href="http://www.homezada.com/homeowners/home-maintenance">HomeZada's online app.</a> You can track your progress, save photos and notes, as well as store all of your maintenance records in case you ever sell your home.</p> <p><em>These are just 15 of many steps you'll likely take in your lifetime to secure your home and practice responsible living. What home safety tip did we forget? Which one is most important to your family?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-easy-ways-to-make-your-home-safer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-7"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-cheap-and-easy-fixes-that-make-your-house-look-amazing">25 Cheap and Easy Fixes That Make Your House Look Amazing</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-affordable-ways-to-deter-burglars">6 Affordable Ways to Deter Burglars</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/protect-your-home-and-family-from-fire-with-these-easy-safety-basics">Protect Your Home and Family From Fire With These Easy Safety Basics</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-safest-cities-in-america-from-natural-disasters">10 Safest Cities in America from Natural Disasters</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/selling-your-home-17-ways-to-prepare-your-house-for-inspection-success">Selling Your Home: 17 Ways to Prepare Your House for Inspection Success</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Real Estate and Housing home maintenance home safety safety security Mon, 02 Feb 2015 12:00:04 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1284262 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways Psychologists Say Saving Boosts Your Mental Health http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-psychologists-say-saving-boosts-your-mental-health <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-psychologists-say-saving-boosts-your-mental-health" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy-woman-piggy-bank-Dollarphotoclub_73644280.jpg" alt="young woman piggy bank" title="young woman piggy bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all know that saving consistently can do wonders for our bank accounts, but what about our minds and our moods? As those dollars add up, how do our personalities change? Our outlooks on life? Our stress levels?</p> <p>If your personal savings plan is gaining momentum, I bet you've noticed some unexpected benefits in other areas of life. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/frugal-factors-what-traits-do-most-savers-share?ref=seealso">What Traits Do Most Savers Share?</a>)</p> <p>Here are seven psychological benefits of saving regularly.</p> <h2>1. Discipline</h2> <p>A healthy bank balance doesn't happen by accident. We live in a virtual wonderland of consumer goods where every taste, inclination, or terrible idea can be indulged with a swipe or a click. Saving means swimming against the tide of stuff and having the discipline to say &quot;no&quot; more often than &quot;yes.&quot; And the wonderful thing is this: When we adopt effective <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-self-discipline-tricks-i-learned-from-the-marathon">self-discipline tricks</a>, the results can help us in nearly every part of life.</p> <h2>2. Peace of Mind</h2> <p>If being in debt or riding the edge of your budget has you stressed, then <a href="http://njaes.rutgers.edu/sshw/message/message.asp?p=Finance&amp;m=122">building a savings cushion</a> should bring you peace of mind, suggests Rutgers University. All savers may not be Zen masters, and there's a lot more to tranquility than a pile of cash, but establishing a healthy financial buffer sure doesn't hurt. Saving is a form of personal insurance and, after all, isn't peace of mind what insurance companies are selling?</p> <h2>3. Confidence</h2> <p>Successful saving builds confidence in at least two important ways. First, it reinforces the fact that you can really achieve something when you set your mind to it. And second, saving provides the capital to get things done when necessary. If that 1979 Bronco finally kicks it, you have the capital to buy a dependable replacement (or at least fund a healthy down payment). If your 30-year old furnace gives you the cold shoulder in the middle of a January blizzard, you don't have to kindle a campfire in the bathtub to stay warm. Isn't having the resources to act the ultimate confidence-builder? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/17-little-ways-to-feel-more-confident?ref=seealso">17 Little Ways to Feel More Confident</a>)</p> <h2>4. Assertiveness</h2> <p>Having a deeper and more authentic sense of confidence makes people more assertive. With the skills to save and the bank balance to prove it, you can channel healthy assertiveness when the occasion calls for it. Go after that promotion, ask that special someone out on a first date, or simply work toward your next set of personal goals with greater gusto.</p> <h2>5. Optimism</h2> <p>It's easy to be cynical when all your hard work barely floats you from one paycheck to the next. Research shows that saving <em>something</em> &mdash; no matter how small &mdash; can gradually build a sense of optimism. Watching a fledgling bank account grow helps us feel like we're working toward something greater and gives us the traction we need to find new ways to save more and save faster.</p> <h2>6. Compassion</h2> <p>Savers don't have a monopoly on compassion, of course, but saving can give us enough breathing room in our own financial lives to look around and see what others need. Saving regularly affords us the luxury of a clearer perspective &mdash; and that's often the seed of active compassion. It also gives rise to compassionate actions &mdash; such as having the means to donate to good causes or help others when they're in need.</p> <h2>7. Sense of Freedom</h2> <p>A high level of consumer debt is a lot like indentured servitude. Steep interest rates, late fees, the potential damage to credit (and all that can entail) can keep people toiling for years with very little to show for it. Being able to save regularly means you've at least tamed your debt enough to stash some cash &mdash; and cash is often an important part of being free. Spending less and saving more can help us embrace <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-freedoms-you-gain-by-spending-less">important freedoms</a> in our careers, our relationships, and where we choose to live. Without overstating it: If you feel cornered by any aspect of life, explore the transformative power of amassing some capital and then use it to launch yourself in a new direction.</p> <p>Sure, it might not be the cure for everything that ails you, but there are some very real psychological benefits to establishing and maintaining a savings routine. In fact, saving and frugality can be <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/men-why-frugal-is-sexy">downright sexy</a>. So, as you watch that bank balance grow, consider what other parts of your life are blossoming too.</p> <p><em>Do you save regularly? How has it improved your frame of mind and your sense of self? Share your story below.</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-ways-psychologists-say-saving-boosts-your-mental-health">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/10-ways-to-save-money-when-you-are-unemployed">10 Ways to Save Money When You Are Unemployed</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/4-ways-your-mind-can-make-you-rich">4 Ways Your Mind Can Make You Rich</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/change-jars-and-8-other-clever-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund">Change Jars and 8 Other Clever Ways to Build an Emergency Fund</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-nfls-5-most-frugal-players">The NFL&#039;s 5 Most Frugal Players</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting confidence psychology saving security Mon, 15 Dec 2014 16:00:10 +0000 Kentin Waits 1267802 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Weird Ways to Keep You and Your Stuff Safe http://www.wisebread.com/7-weird-ways-to-keep-you-and-your-stuff-safe <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-weird-ways-to-keep-you-and-your-stuff-safe" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3125086563_ea5a5a766a_z.jpg" alt="anti-vandal paint" title="anti-vandal paint" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We've got home security systems and car alarms and bike locks. Yet our belongings still get stolen from time to time. When the mainstream anti-theft devices just aren't cutting it, it may be time to get creative. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cant-afford-a-home-alarm-system-you-probably-already-have-one?ref=seealso">Can't Afford a Home Alarm System? You Probably Already Have One</a>)</p> <p>Read on for our roundup of the top seven outside-the-box things you can do to protect your assets.</p> <h2>1. Invest In Kidnap Insurance</h2> <p>So your beautiful blonde-haired, blue-eyed twenty-something is studying abroad in Colombia. And you're thrilled he's embarking on this eye-opening, cultural experience until you read that Colombia is a hot bed for kidnappings. We kid you not, one person was <a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/2013/0621/Kidnapping-in-Colombia-The-role-of-abductions-in-decades-long-conflict">kidnapped in Colombia on five</a> different occasions.</p> <p>What's a parent to do? You could put the kabosh on the trip and accept that you won't be receiving a Father of the Year Award &mdash; or you could purchase <a href="http://www.forbes.com/2009/06/11/kidnap-ransom-insurance-leadership-ceonetwork-ceos.html">kidnap insurance</a>. This type of highly unique travel insurance comes at a cost of several thousand dollars a year. Experts say the best plans cover not only a reward paid to informants who can provide tips that lead to an arrest, but also things like lost income, psychiatric expenses, and loss of fingers.</p> <p>Yes, we know, these aren't pleasant thoughts. The price tag isn't pleasant, either. But for journalists, business executives, and other frequent travelers, some form of kidnap and ransom protection may be a smart idea. A less expensive way to go about it is <a href="http://blog.brickhousesecurity.com/gps-blackberry/">The Executrac</a>, an app ($29.95 with a $19.95 monthly subscription) that turns any smartphone into a covert GPS tracker with a panic button.</p> <h2>2. Plan for Death When You Say, &quot;I Do&quot;</h2> <p>If you came to your end this very moment, what would happen to your family, your dog, your home, your internal organs, your online passcodes, and your social media accounts? Even if you're young and healthy, experts say it's all worth thinking about.</p> <p>Perhaps you want to commission <a href="http://www.lovedonesart.com/">artwork made with your ashes</a> blended in paint. Or, like Michael Jackson, <a href="https://www.everplans.com/blog/the-10-biggest-inheritances-ever-left-to-pets">maybe you want to leave $2 million to your pet chimpanzee</a> payable upon your death. Services like <a href="https://www.everplans.com/">Everplans</a> can help delineate such requests, starting with a free online personal will developer.</p> <p>The company's founders started creating the will developer as a young married couple concerned about the future. They recommend others start the process as soon as they begin to build their own family. It might seem premature, but the alternative to this kind of planning can be grim.</p> <h2>3. Channel Your Inner Kevin McCallister</h2> <p>When you'll stop at nothing to keep your belongings safe, it's time to implement the booby trap. The term was coined in 1850 and has been wreaking havoc on enemies, thieves, and otherwise unsuspecting victims ever since.</p> <p>In a modern day example, a Missouri homeowner fed up with pranksters driving their cars in his yard <a href="http://www.bnd.com/2014/07/20/3310581/off-the-beat-did-homeowner-go.html">buried a bed of nails in the ground</a> along the perimeter of his property. Tire tracks on the front lawn? Not on his watch.</p> <p>A word of warning: Some of these rigs can trigger police involvement, leading us to very cautiously recommend the booby trap, which is only sometimes legal. Please: be safe.</p> <h2>4. Paint It Neon</h2> <p>Investigators dealing with a rash of car battery thefts in Richmond County, Georgia two years ago recommended residents invest in a can of brightly colored paint. Car batteries &mdash; and other items whose value isn't tied to its outward appearance such as lawnmowers and construction equipment &mdash; can benefit from a coat of <a href="http://www.wfxg.com/story/19473021/investigators-working-to-prevent-vehicle-battery-thefts">high visibility paint that deters theft</a> and makes it easier for police to identify and return your item to you in the event that it does get stolen.</p> <h2>5. Make It Slippery</h2> <p>Got a problem with trespassers jumping the fence around your property? There's a paint for that. Aptly named <a href="http://www.decoratingwarehouse.co.uk/buy/paints&mdash;coatings/anti-graffiti-coatings/coo-var-anti-climb-paint&mdash;vandalene-/416">anti-vandal paint</a>, this slippery residue makes climbing near impossible when applied to fences, support beams, gutters, or gates. The paint, which can also be used to stop graffiti artists, is colorless, weather resistant, and <a href="http://www.anthonylatimerandson.co.uk/?page=antivandal_painting">it never dries</a>.</p> <h2>6. Strap a GPS Tracker On It</h2> <p>If Spot has a tendency to roam, it's not a bad idea to consider investing in a dog collar with GPS tracking capabilities. Embedded with mini GPS units, these collars can <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2012/04/how-to-track-a-lost-animal/index.htm">pinpoint your pet's exact location</a> should he stray from the yard. The <a href="http://www.whistle.com/gps/">WhistleGPS</a> (preorder for $129) tracks not only your pet's location, but all of his activities in an easy-to-use app on your smartphone. The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Garmin-Tracking-Unit-Discontinued-Manufacturer/dp/B004HFRA7A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1406467661&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=garmin+gtu-10">Garmin GTU 10</a> ($200) allows the pet owner to configure up to 10 &quot;geofences.&quot; If your dog crosses the boundary, you get a warning emailed to your account. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/find-lost-keys-fast-with-a-teeny-tiny-tile?ref=seealso">Find Lost Keys Fast With a Teeny Tiny Tile</a>)</p> <p>Dog collars aren't the only things that come GPS-equipped. The list of things you can track using this advanced location technology is endless &mdash; <a href="http://wallet.thetrackr.com/">wallet</a>, <a href="http://www.securusgps.com/eZoomGPSforAssets.aspx">speed boat</a>, <a href="http://bluetrackgpstrackers.co.uk/shop/gps-trackers/bluetrack-prime-1-gps-tracker/">luggage</a>. Kanye West, who is internationally known for taking things one step too far, allegedly installed a GPS tracker on Kim Kardashian's cell phone so he can <a href="http://au.ibtimes.com/articles/560194/20140724/kanye-west-stand-hearing-wife-s-ex.htm">keep track of his wife</a>.</p> <h2>7. Hide It With Camouflage</h2> <p>If you live in a wooded area, you can quite easily use <a href="http://camoclad.com/products/sheet-goods/">camouflage paneling</a> to conceal your storage sheds, vehicles, and boats. You can also hide your home. Even if you don't live in the forest, you can camouflage your living quarters in other ways to blend in with the natural surroundings. There's a home in Atlantic Beach, Florida, for example, that's <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qekezUcALys">built inside a sand dune</a>.</p> <p>Casa do Penedo in Portugal's Fafe Mountains is perhaps the ultimate example of covert housing. <a href="http://obviousmag.org/archives/2009/12/casa_rochedo.html">The home is made of four giant boulders</a>, giving it a rugged aesthetic that would probably be pleasing to the likes of Barney and Betty Rubble. There's no electricity, but there is a swimming pool and living room fireplace. Not bad for a house made of nothing but rock, right?</p> <p><em>Ever heard of a crazy, creative way to keep things safe? Let us know in comments below!</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/7-weird-ways-to-keep-you-and-your-stuff-safe">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/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/the-25-gadget-that-keeps-my-home-and-family-safe">The $25 gadget that keeps my home and family safe.</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/five-calls-you-can-make-now-to-save-hundreds-to-thousands-of-dollars">Five calls you can make now to save hundreds to thousands of dollars</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-cheap-and-easy-formulas-for-homemade-windshield-de-icer-plus-bonus-tips">3 Cheap and Easy Formulas for Homemade Windshield De-Icer (Plus Bonus Tips)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-ssn-can-now-be-accurately-guessed-using-date-and-place-of-birth">Your SSN Can Now Be Accurately Guessed Using Date and Place of Birth</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living General Tips Insurance insurance protection safety security Wed, 06 Aug 2014 15:00:05 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1175047 at http://www.wisebread.com New $100 Bill: Issue Date Set http://www.wisebread.com/new-100-bill-issue-date-set <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/new-100-bill-issue-date-set" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/new-100-image-cropped.jpg" alt="New $100 Bill" title="New $100 Bill" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>After years of production problems, the new $100 bill finally has a date of issue. It will start circulating on October 8th. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/video-on-how-to-spot-counterfeits">Video on How to Spot Counterfeits</a>)</p> <p>I wrote about the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-100-bill-unveiled">new $100 bill</a> back in 2010 when the Federal Reserve first announced that it would start circulating early the following year. But then a problem with the paper creasing caused an unacceptable proportion of defective notes, and the release was delayed. Last week, the Federal Reserve announced that these problems have been solved, and announced the new release date.</p> <p>I covered the new security features in considerable detail in my earlier post, but as security is of paramount importance in the $100, here's a quick rundown of the security features, new and old.</p> <h2>New Security Features</h2> <p>There are a lot of security features on the bill, but there are two obvious new ones.</p> <p><strong>3-D Security Ribbon</strong></p> <p>There's a broad blue band that runs down the middle of the note. It has images of bells that change to 100s and back, and move back and forth and up and down as the angle of the note changes.</p> <p><strong>Bell-in-the-Inkwell</strong></p> <p>Just to right of Franklin and the blue band, in the bottom half of the note, there's an image of a bell printed in color-shifting ink against a copper-colored background in the shape of an inkwell. Looked at head-on, the bell appears copper-colored and vanishes into the background. Shift the angle of the note and the color of the bell changes to green making it stand out against the background.</p> <h2>Old Security Features</h2> <p>The new $100 retains a number of the security features that the new U.S. currency has added over the past few years.</p> <p><strong>Portrait Watermark</strong></p> <p>Like all the bills larger than the $2, the new $100 has a watermark on the right-hand side. The watermark shows the same portrait as the face on the bill &mdash; in this case, Franklin. Hold the bill to the light to see it.</p> <p><strong>Security Thread</strong></p> <p>Like all the bills larger than the $2, there's a security thread. In the new $100 (like the old $100) it's to the left of the portrait and is printed with USA and 100. It glows pink when illuminated with UV light.</p> <p><strong>Color-Shifting 100</strong></p> <p>Like all the bills larger than the $5, the denomination in the lower-right corner is printed in color-shifting ink. Shift the angle of the bill to see the 100 change color from copper to green.</p> <p><strong>Raised Printing</strong></p> <p>Like all U.S. currency, the note is printed using a process called <em>intaglio</em> that leaves the ink on the surface of the paper, giving the note its distinctive texture.</p> <p><strong>Microprinting</strong></p> <p>Several places around the note there are words printed in letters too small to be reproduced by most copying technologies. Around Franklin's jacket collar it says &quot;The United States of America.&quot;</p> <p>Because those are the same as they were, you can go on following the same <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spot-counterfeit-money">procedures to spot counterfeit money</a> as before &mdash; you simply have the new security features as additional options.</p> <p>Bureau of Engraving and Printing has produced a bunch of material for businesses to use in training their employees who handle cash. Among other things, there's a fancy <a href="http://www.newmoney.gov/newmoney/flash/interactive100/index.html">interactive page with all the security features</a>.</p> <p>Find that, and a bunch of other materials, on their <a href="http://www.newmoney.gov/newmoney/default.aspx">full site on new U.S. currency</a>.&nbsp;</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/new-100-bill-issue-date-set">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/weird-money-facts-10-things-you-didnt-know-about-counterfeit-money">Weird Money Facts: 10 Things You Didn&#039;t Know About Counterfeit 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-world-currencies-that-took-a-hit-in-2016">8 World Currencies That Took a Hit in 2016</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-ways-the-canadian-dollar-decline-will-impact-your-wallet">5 Ways the Canadian Dollar Decline Will Impact Your Wallet</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-moves-you-can-make-while-stuck-in-an-endless-tsa-line">6 Money Moves You Can Make While Stuck in an Endless TSA Line</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/can-you-buy-your-way-out-of-the-rat-race">Can You Buy Your Way Out of the Rat Race?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance counterfeit money currency security Tue, 30 Apr 2013 09:37:01 +0000 Philip Brewer 973780 at http://www.wisebread.com The Second-Best Way to Make your Household More Secure http://www.wisebread.com/the-second-best-way-to-make-your-household-more-secure <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-second-best-way-to-make-your-household-more-secure" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/neighborhood-event-2.jpg" alt="Crowd at Neighborhood Event" title="Crowd at Neighborhood Event" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="143" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You already know the best way to make your household finances more secure: emergency fund, insurance, diversified investment portfolio, marketable skills. But once you're doing those things, you've got a choice to make: Do additional resources go toward more of the same, or do you opt instead to do something different?</p> <p>I vote for something different.</p> <p>The current conventional wisdom on household financial security is about two or three generations old. That list above would have made sense to someone back until about the 1920s or so. Before that, it would have seemed like a very weird list indeed. Ask someone from an earlier time what makes a household more secure and you'd have gotten a completely different answer.</p> <p>From the dawn of man until at least the industrial revolution, the best way to make your own household more secure would have been to <strong>boost the security of others around you</strong>. Even after the money economy came to dominate &mdash; even after the organizational structures of tribe and clan gave way to more modern structures &mdash; everyone would have understood that boosting the security of family members and friends in nearby households, would boost your own security.</p> <p>It would be your friends, neighbors, and relatives who would help out if a hailstorm ruined your crops, if a fire destroyed your home, if a relative got sick, if technological change made your job obsolete, if you got hurt and couldn't work, or if someone rich and powerful took a disliking to you.</p> <p>That's not so true any more. Although people would be pleased to have friends and relatives who would help out, most people figure that they'd better arrange things so that they're relying on formal, rather than informal structures: insurance companies, banks, brokerage firms, a college degree, the rule of law.</p> <p>In fact, people go beyond just preferring these structures &mdash; they look down on people who don't make use of them. And not just a little: Someone who has failed to avail themselves of these ordinary tools is scorned &mdash; treated as not worthy of support &mdash; because they haven't taken the ordinary, minimal steps to protect themselves.</p> <p>I see this a lot, reading the comments to my posts here. Many people, having made difficult sacrifices to provide security to their families, are bitter and put out when friends and relations who failed to do so need their support. Some commenters say they provide it and others say they won't (refusing to be enablers of their loved-one's self-destructive behaviors), but they're all pretty unhappy to be put in that position.</p> <p>Even so, after thinking about it a bit, I've about decided that the old ways have a lot to recommend them.</p> <p>That's not to say that people shouldn't buy insurance, establish an emergency fund, and avoid debt &mdash; that's just ordinary good sense. But at some point &mdash; a point that's reached pretty quickly once you take those basics steps &mdash; you add more security to your household by helping your friends and relations than you do by shoveling another few thousand dollars into your 401(k).</p> <p>There are two big reasons.</p> <p>First, it's yet <strong>another form of diversification</strong>. During hard times, when people are defaulting on their formal obligations, sometimes they can still make good on their informal ones.</p> <p>Second, <strong>legal obligations end at the boundary of your household</strong>. Your losses in a disaster &mdash; natural disaster, illness, stock market crash, job loss, disabling injury, lawsuit &mdash; are essentially unlimited. No amount of insurance can guarantee that you won't lose everything you own in a lawsuit. But no matter how far your assets fall short of covering what you owe, the court won't go after your friends, neighbors, or relatives to make up the difference.</p> <p>That means that a network of related households &mdash; parents, children, siblings, cousins &mdash; is much more secure than any single household, no matter how wealthy or well-insured.</p> <p>Of course, the nay-sayers aren't completely wrong when they worry that being too ready to support your relatives runs the risk of enabling improvident behavior, but that can be managed simply by paying attention. (Of course, this is easy for me to say, since my relatives are all doing pretty well.)</p> <p>This is not to say that spreading cash around your neighborhood is the place to start. Rather, start by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-dont-people-share-more">sharing stuff</a> that you don't use all the time or that you have more of than you need. If that works well, carry on by coordinating purchases of items that you'll be able to share going forward.</p> <p>Help out directly &mdash; carpool, run errands for one another, watch one another's kids.</p> <p>Set a good example of frugal, sustainable living.</p> <p>One of the most powerful ways to help &mdash; teaching one another skills &mdash; has largely fallen by the wayside, because everybody is too busy earning a living to be able to pick a new hobby. But learning how to garden, how to make stuff, how to fix things around the house makes everyone's household more stable. The more the skills spread among the people close to you, the more likely they'll be able to help you when you need help, and the less likely they'll be to need your help.</p> <p>Over the last few decades the conventional wisdom has turned against this sort of direct help. Instead, every adult has tended to shift into the paid labor market &mdash; meaning that there's no one home at your neighbor's to help you or to be helped. Paid work brings in money which lets people boost their security, but it's a brittle form of security. The older forms of extra security &mdash; friends and relations who care about your success and will help out when you need it &mdash; are much more resilient.</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/the-second-best-way-to-make-your-household-more-secure">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-a-family-members-finances-long-distance">How to Manage a Family Member&#039;s Finances Long Distance</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-protect-elderly-loved-ones-from-financial-scams">How to Protect Elderly Loved Ones From Financial Scams</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/dissecting-gift-guilt-when-does-receiving-a-gift-make-you-feel-bad">Dissecting &quot;Gift Guilt&quot; - When Does Receiving a Gift Make You Feel Bad?</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/when-should-you-say-no-to-those-who-want-to-borrow-money-from-you">When Should You Say No to Those Who Want to Borrow Money from You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-types-of-friends-who-are-costing-you-money">10 Types of Friends Who Are Costing You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance friends household neighbors relatives security Mon, 03 May 2010 13:00:04 +0000 Philip Brewer 56733 at http://www.wisebread.com