smartphones http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/424/all en-US These Apps Turn Saving Money Into a Game — Are They Worth It? http://www.wisebread.com/these-apps-turn-saving-money-into-a-game-are-they-worth-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/these-apps-turn-saving-money-into-a-game-are-they-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/woman_surprised_phone_598171710.jpg" alt="Woman turning money saving into a game" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you have two dollars in your hand, do you save it or buy a scratch-off lottery ticket? We all know that the sensible choice is to put that money right in the bank. But the reality is, at today's anemic interest rates, saving is boring. The chance of winning a prize is exciting.</p> <p>What if you could have both the long-term financial benefit of saving, and the momentary thrill of getting a chance to win a prize? Combining responsible behavior and fun is the idea behind a crop of products and services that gamify saving money.</p> <p>Let's look at the pros and cons of some of these prize-linked savings products, which allow users the chance to win money without risking any of their own.</p> <h2>1. Long Game</h2> <p>At first, <a href="https://www.longgame.co/" target="_blank">Long Game</a> sounds like the same humdrum routine. It offers a savings account that you link to your regular checking account; money you transfer to savings earns 0.1 percent interest. But here's where it gets good: Long Game rewards you for depositing money into savings with &quot;coins.&quot; You can use your coins to buy virtual lottery tickets, and the prizes are either real cash or more coins.</p> <p>One nice feature of Long Game is that it doesn't charge fees. Another aspect, which could be either a feature or a drawback, depending on your interests, is that you have to actually play games, like spinning a wheel, to win money. Personally, I don't have the time for such games and would rather get automatic entries, but for people like my grandmother who play fake online slots just for fun, this could be a plus.</p> <h2>2. Wal-Mart MoneyCard</h2> <p>Walmart's MoneyCard was already a popular way for low-income, unbanked workers to store their paycheck and pay bills. Now, it's also billing itself as a savings vehicle, with a feature called Vault that allows users to set aside money that can't be spent on purchases (unless you transfer that money back out of the Vault). Recently, Wal-Mart debuted the <a href="https://www.walmartmoneycard.com/account/prizesavings" target="_blank">Prize Savings program</a> for MoneyCard, which gives card users chances to win up to $1,000 each month. The more money you keep in the Vault, the more chances you get to win.</p> <p>This program differs from Long Game in several notable ways: One, you don't need a separate bank account to participate &mdash; MoneyCard functions as a bank account replacement. Two, money in the Vault does not earn interest. Three, MoneyCard charges several fees: a $5 monthly fee, $3&ndash;$4.95 to put money on the card, and a $2.50 fee to get cash at an ATM. Fourth, you don't have to enter the drawing &mdash; putting the money in your Vault enters you automatically.</p> <h2>3. SaveUp</h2> <p>Link your savings and debt-bearing accounts to <a href="https://www.saveup.com/" target="_blank">SaveUp</a>, and you'll be rewarded with credits not just for saving money, but also for paying down debt. The credits can be used to buy virtual lotto tickets for cash prizes, including $50 weekly drawings and a monthly chance at a $2 million &quot;super jackpot.&quot;</p> <p>SaveUp is free to join. As with Long Game, you have to actively play to win; entries are not automatic.</p> <h2>4. Save to Win</h2> <p>The only nonprofit on this list, <a href="http://www.savetowin.org/" target="_blank">Save to Win</a> rewards credit union members with weekly and monthly prize drawings; the more you deposit, the more entries you get. Prizes vary by state but generally start at $25 and can go into the thousands.</p> <p>Save to Win is currently available at select credit unions in 13 states. Once you're enrolled in Save to Win, entry is automatic, so you don't need to remember to play the game.</p> <h2>5. Tip Yourself</h2> <p>This one is not a prize-linked program, but another gamified approach to saving money. <a href="https://www.tipyourself.com/" target="_blank">Tip Yourself</a> encourages users to transfer money from their checking account into a virtual &quot;tip jar&quot; as a reward for performing a desirable activity. The &quot;tip jar&quot; is a non-interest-paying account.</p> <p>It's an interesting idea for combining savings and self-motivation. I can imagine using Tip Yourself to save for a trip or a small goal like a spa pedicure; every time you exercise, you could reward yourself by moving some money to the trip or spa fund. It doesn't cost money to make the transfer. However, since the tip jar doesn't pay interest, it seems like you would be better off setting up a money market account linked to your checking account for saving toward a goal; most banks offer that option.</p> <h2>The take-away</h2> <p>The majority of these apps share a common drawback: To use them, you have to share your bank account information, which could put your account at risk if the company gets hacked. It also calls your financial privacy into question; if you plan to use any of these, study the company's privacy policy before taking the plunge.</p> <p>Several of these apps encourage users to keep savings in accounts that don't pay interest. Even though current interest rates are low, that makes little sense to me.</p> <p>If you are a member of a credit union that offers it, using the nonprofit Save to Win is a no-brainer. It won't take you any extra time to play, and it doesn't appear that you'd sacrifice security or privacy to do so. For the rest of these apps, carefully weigh the value of your privacy, security, and any financial costs against the chance of winning before committing.</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/these-apps-turn-saving-money-into-a-game-are-they-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/everyones-using-spare-change-apps-are-they-really-worth-it">Everyone&#039;s Using Spare Change Apps — Are They Really 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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-apps-that-actually-pay-you-to-shop">8 Apps That Actually Pay You to Shop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-couponing-apps">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</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-find-the-savings-strategy-that-works-for-you">How to Find the Savings Strategy That Works For You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Technology apps fees games prizes rewards saving money smartphones winning money Fri, 09 Jun 2017 09:00:10 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1960490 at http://www.wisebread.com Technology Hacks for the International Traveler http://www.wisebread.com/technology-hacks-for-the-international-traveler <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/technology-hacks-for-the-international-traveler" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/french_woman_walking_in_paris_on_the_phone.jpg" alt="French woman walking in Paris on the phone" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When traveling around the world, knowing how to use technology in the right way can save you time, money, and headaches while you are on the road. We've compiled a list of a few of the best hacks that allow you to use your smartphone and other devices easily when you're on your next trip.</p> <h2>Unlock your phone</h2> <p>Your phone is likely one of the most important tools that you use while you are at home. You may rely on it daily for communication, navigation, social media, and personal banking, among other things.</p> <p>Using your regular cellphone plan abroad, however, can be pricey. Verizon, for example, charges $10 a day for you to use your plan outside of North America &mdash; meaning if you use it every day for a month, you could end up with a $300 bill.</p> <p>You can lower your costs significantly by using a cellular service provider in your destination country. For example, when I was living in France, a month of unlimited data and calling with Free Mobile cost just $20.</p> <p>To use a foreign carrier, you'll need to have your phone unlocked. Having an unlocked phone simply means that you can change your SIM card and get service from different carriers, as opposed to being stuck with one service provider that is locked to the phone.</p> <p>To unlock an existing phone, the first step is to ask your cellular service provider if it will unlock the phone for you. Most will, but you usually have to meet certain requirements, such as completing a two-year service plan if you signed up for one.</p> <p>Alternatively, if you travel a lot, the next time you're planning to buy a phone, you can buy one that is already unlocked. Unlocked Android phones can be purchased from Best Buy, and you can get unlocked iPhones from an Apple Store.</p> <p>If you already have a locked phone and your provider will not do unlock it for you, you can use one of the many shops that offer this type of service. In my experience, the price runs anywhere from $10 to $145, depending on the shop, the phone, and the carrier the phone is locked to. If you're going abroad, you can have it unlocked in your destination country, where it may be less expensive. For example, I found unlocking a phone in Mexico to be cheaper than doing it in the United States.</p> <h2>Buy a SIM card for cheap global coverage</h2> <p>Now that you have an unlocked phone, you'll need to purchase service by buying a SIM card at your destination. A SIM card is a small &quot;smartcard&quot; containing a chip that stores your mobile phone number, address book, and information on your cellular carrier and billing. You insert the SIM in your phone to get service from a certain provider.</p> <p>This means buying a SIM from, for example, France's Free Mobile will enable you to then buy coverage from them. You can usually buy a month's worth of service or prepay for minutes. You will get a new phone number and you can choose a plan depending on the quantity of data, calls, and messages you plan to use while abroad.</p> <p>A good data plan means that if you need to use the internet, you will no longer be reliant on a strong Wi-Fi connection. These plans are often just as fast as international phone plans offered by U.S. carriers &mdash; and they're often cheaper, too. In Argentina for example, Claro offers 50MB per day of data for one week for just 40 Argentinian pesos ($2.51 at the time of writing).</p> <p>Talk time is similarly inexpensive in many countries. When I was in Colombia, Claro offered 60 minutes of local talk time for 2,900 pesos, which equates to just 93 cents.</p> <h2>Tether with a personal hotspot</h2> <p>Once you've gotten your phone connected and you're able to take advantage of cheap data packages abroad, you can get your computer connected as well. You do this by &quot;tethering&quot; the computer to your phone's data connection via the phone's &quot;hotspot.&quot; Whether you need to work or you just want to upload some pictures of your trip, this can be a very useful trick for travelers.</p> <p>To get your connection going, you'll want to turn on your personal hotspot on your phone, which you'll find in your general settings, often in the same menu where your Wi-Fi connection is listed. From there, you'll turn the hotspot on so that it is searchable and viewable on other devices, in this case your computer. Some phones may have already created a password for you, or if it asks you to create one, make sure to select a strong password so others nearby you can't just jump onto your hotspot and use your data plan.</p> <p>Open your computer, click on your Wi-Fi connection, and you should see your phone appear as one of the hotspots. Enter the password and then you'll be able to surf the web from your computer, using the signal from your phone.</p> <p>You can also use your personal hotspot to give Wi-Fi access to a friend or travel partner if they don't happen to have a connection. They'll select your phone's hotspot from their list of Wi-Fi networks and enter the password.</p> <h2>Get secure access with a VPN</h2> <p>VPN stands for a virtual private network. I was introduced to VPNs when traveling recently to China. Using a VPN, I was able to access websites such as Facebook and Instagram, which the Chinese government blocks, as well as Netflix, which limits access to U.S. accounts in some countries.</p> <p>A VPN encrypts and reroutes your connection to the VPN provider's servers. It allows you to hide your IP address and your location; websites you're trying to access see the IP address and location of the VPN provider instead of your actual information. This helps when you're trying to access sites that geo-block access, such as Netflix.</p> <p>In addition, your local internet service provider won't be able to see which websites you're connecting to. It will only see that you're connecting to a VPN. That means you're more likely to get past government censors in the country where you're staying.</p> <p>Some VPNs are free, but they come with limited bandwidth. You're usually better off purchasing access for $5&ndash;$15 a month.</p> <h2>Use map apps offline</h2> <p>Google Maps is the king of smartphone navigation apps, and you can even use it when you don't have a cellular or Wi-Fi connection. It takes a little advance planning, as you'll need to open the map of the place you're going &mdash; say, Paris &mdash; while you're online. Once you've got the Paris map pulled up, type &quot;OK Maps&quot; into the search bar. You can then save the map for use when you're offline. The Google Maps app will even give you driving directions within the saved area when you're offline, though you can't get walking or transit directions.</p> <p>Other apps such as <a href="http://maps.me/" target="_blank">maps.me</a> let you download maps for a whole country. Maps.me also has a navigation feature that is entirely accessible offline once you've downloaded the map of your choice.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ftechnology-hacks-for-the-international-traveler&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FTechnology%2520Hacks%2520for%2520the%2520International%2520Traveler.jpg&amp;description=Technology%20Hacks%20for%20the%20International%20Traveler"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Technology%20Hacks%20for%20the%20International%20Traveler.jpg" alt="Technology Hacks for the International Traveler" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-gokee">Amanda Gokee</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/technology-hacks-for-the-international-traveler">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/once-in-a-lifetime-experiences-ive-earned-with-credit-card-rewards">Once-In-A-Lifetime Experiences I&#039;ve Earned With Credit Card Rewards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-unlimited-data-still-a-thing">Is Unlimited Data Still a Thing?</a></span> </div> </li> <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-to-avoid-expensive-phone-charges-when-traveling">5 Ways to Avoid Expensive Phone Charges When Traveling</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-slash-the-cost-of-wi-fi-when-you-travel">6 Ways to Slash the Cost of Wi-Fi When You Travel</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-free-wi-fi-at-airports-that-charge-for-internet-connections">How to Get Free Wi-Fi at Airports That Charge for Internet Connections</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Technology Travel abroad cellphones data hotspots international travel Internet maps service providers smartphones unlocked phones vpn Mon, 29 May 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Amanda Gokee 1950842 at http://www.wisebread.com Is Unlimited Data Still a Thing? http://www.wisebread.com/is-unlimited-data-still-a-thing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-unlimited-data-still-a-thing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-494831590.jpg" alt="Woman learning if unlimited data is still a thing" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Once upon a time, there were affordable unlimited data plans that allowed you to use all the data your heart desired. Nowadays, those plans seem like something out of a fairy tale. So, whatever happened to unlimited data, and what are the best options you can find today?</p> <h2>What Happened to Unlimited Data Plans?</h2> <p>Let's be honest; you use more smartphone data now than you did five years ago, right? We all do, and the carriers just can't keep up with our increased demands. According to Lowell McAdam, Verizon's CEO, &quot;If you allow unlimited usage, you just run out of gas.&quot; He says that unlimited plans <a href="https://www.cnet.com/news/verizon-ceo-unlimited-data-plans-just-arent-sustainable/" target="_blank">just aren't sustainable</a> in today's age of online videos and increased data usage. In short, carriers just don't have the spectrum required to carry the signals anymore.</p> <p>Verizon claimed that there were customers that were using over 100GB of data per month, which may be one of the reasons that they did away with the unlimited data plan altogether. Unless you are grandfathered into a plan with Verizon or AT&amp;T, these carriers no longer offer unlimited data plans to new customers.</p> <p>For several years, Sprint and T-Mobile were the only carriers offering unlimited data to new customers. In the past several weeks, both AT&amp;T and Verizon have re-entered the unlimited data game.</p> <h2>Your Data May Get Throttled</h2> <p>One thing that many unlimited data customers don't realize is that while you may have an unlimited data allowance, you won't necessarily receive high-speed data at all times. For instance, if your plan says &quot;Unlimited data (up to 23GB LTE),&quot; this means that you will only have 23GB of fast speed data. After that point, you will receive slower data speeds. Then, once the next cycle starts, you'll be back up to the highest speed. Most of the major carriers cap high-speed data at around 23GB per month.</p> <h2>Is Unlimited Actually a Good Deal?</h2> <p>Verizon found that the average customer actually only uses between 1-2GB of data per month, so it's important that you figure out exactly what you need before signing onto a plan with too little or too much data.</p> <p>Once you know how much data you realistically need each month, you can actually save money on your monthly plans. For instance, Verizon offers a plan for $50/month for 4GB of data. Even if you were grandfathered into the unlimited data plan, you'd still be spending $100. If you don't use more than 4GB of data, then you can save $35 per month just by switching to the 4GB plan.</p> <p>To find your data usage, go to Settings&gt;Cellular on an iPhone, or Settings&gt;Data Usage on an Android. Once you have this information, you can focus on finding the best cellphone plan for your requirements.</p> <h2>How to Control Costs</h2> <p>If you continually go over your data allowance every month, then you have two options: change your plan or stop using so much data. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to reduce your data usage, such as turning off automatic downloads, turning off Wi-Fi assist, and turning off high-quality music and video streaming. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-prevent-your-smartphone-from-wasting-data?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Ways to Prevent Your Smartphone From Wasting Data</a>)</p> <h2>How to Get the Right Data Plan for You</h2> <p>While you likely won't find unlimited plans with your cellphone carrier (without a catch), you can find the right plan based on tiered pricing models. If you can start a family plan, you can enjoy more data (or possibly an unlimited data allowance) shared among your family members. This can save your family quite a bit of money compared to individual plans. You may also want to consider a prepaid plan to keep your data usage in check. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-smart-way-to-pay-for-cell-phone-service?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Smart Way to Pay for Cellphone Service</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-unlimited-data-still-a-thing">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/5-smart-ways-to-save-on-smartphones">5 Smart Ways to Save on Smartphones</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/4-mobile-phone-upgrades-that-arent-worth-the-money">4 Mobile Phone Upgrades That Aren&#039;t Worth the 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/5-painless-ways-to-lower-your-cell-phone-bill">5 Painless Ways to Lower Your Cell Phone Bill</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/technology-hacks-for-the-international-traveler">Technology Hacks for the International Traveler</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> Budgeting Technology cellphone plans data data plans phone bill smartphones unlimited data Tue, 07 Mar 2017 10:31:27 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1904505 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Apps That Monitor Your Credit for You http://www.wisebread.com/7-apps-that-monitor-your-credit-for-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-apps-that-monitor-your-credit-for-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-512432890.jpg" alt="use these free apps to monitor your credit" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The <a href="http://www.fico.com/en/blogs/risk-compliance/us-credit-quality-continues-climb-will-level/">average FICO credit score</a> of U.S. consumers is 695, according to the latest data from the FICO company. If you think this number is encouraging, you'll also be glad to hear that 54.7% of Americans are able to score at least a 700!</p> <p>This data proves that it's very possible to improve your credit score. There's no excuse these days for not monitoring your credit. Credit score monitoring? There are apps for that! Let's review some of the best free and easy to use apps available for giving your credit score a boost.</p> <h2>1. Credit Karma</h2> <p>Claiming that you can sign up for a new account within two minutes, <a href="http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-2822544-10817209-1462225929000">Credit Karma</a>'s app offers free credit score tracking. Your score and list of reports are updated weekly. Credit Karma offers a credit report card, which breaks down every factor contributing to your credit score health, such as open credit utilization rate and average age of open credit lines, and helps you understand how your actions affect your credit score.</p> <p>Keep in mind that Credit Karma shows you a <a href="https://www.creditkarma.com/credit-scores">Vantage 3.0 credit score</a>, which isn't the same as a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fico-vs-fakes-are-you-getting-the-wrong-credit-score">FICO credit score</a>. The app allows you to track your credit score from TransUnion and Equifax (two of three main credit reporting bureaus, the third one is Experian). To learn more details about Credit Karma, take a look at <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-free-credit-score-monitoring-with-credit-karma">our review</a>.</p> <h2>2. Mint: Money Manager, Budget and Personal Finance</h2> <p>Besides being a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-free-debt-management-tools">free debt management tool</a>, Mint offers a free credit monitoring app that provides an easy-to-understand summary of how you can improve your credit score. The credit score provided under any of these apps is the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax.</p> <p>By connecting your bank accounts, credit cards, and investments accounts to your Mint account, you'll have a comprehensive picture of all of your finances, too.</p> <h2>3. Credit Sesame</h2> <p><a href="http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-2822544-12336153-1455123184000">Credit Sesame</a>'s app offers you a peek into your Experian National Equivalency Score (ENES). While the FICO credit score ranges from 300 to 850, the ENES ranges from 360 to 840.</p> <p>By using this alternate credit scoring model, Credit Sesame is able to perform a &quot;soft&quot; pull on your credit history and show you how much you owe, what your current interest rates are, and what your credit score is.</p> <p>Additionally, Credit Sesame offers you some refinancing options in partnership with Lending Club to pay off higher-interest debt. To help you understand whether or not this would be a good fit for you, Wise Bread took a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lower-interest-rates-with-credit-sesame-and-lending-club">closer look at Credit Sesame' services</a> and the steps of the loan process application process through Lending Club.</p> <h2>4. Credit.com</h2> <p>Credit.com is another option to access your Experian National Equivalency Score and Vantage 3.0 credit score at no cost. You'll receive a grade, ranging from A+ to F, for each one of the five factors affecting your credit score: payment history, debt usage, credit age, account mix, and number of inquiries.</p> <p>Through its visual aids and specific action items, this app allow you to spot credit blunders and understand how to fix them.</p> <h2>5. Experian</h2> <p>Since so many of these apps use the credit rating model from <a href="http://www.experian.com/consumer-products/credit-monitoring.html">Experian</a>, you may be wondering if you can just go straight to the source. Yes, you can! Through the app you'll monitor changes to your Experian credit profile and have the option to sign up for push notifications directly on your device whenever a change takes place. Your free Experian credit report is updated every 30 days.</p> <h2>6. TransUnion</h2> <p>The credit reporting bureau allows you to <a href="https://www.transunion.com/credit-monitoring">check your TransUnion credit report</a> from your smartphone. Similar to the FICO credit score, the <a href="http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2822544-12771108-1480442728000">TransUnion</a> credit score ranges from 300 to 850. Still, remember that the FICO and TransUnion credit score aren't the same.</p> <h2>7. CreditWise</h2> <p>CreditWise offers free credit monitoring services from Capital One. You don't need to be a Capital One customer to sign up for a new account. If you're an existing user of the Capital One CreditTracker service, you can use your existing username and password that you use at the CapitalOne.com site. Every week, this app will provide your TransUnion credit score. A differentiating factor of CreditWise is its credit simulator, which allows you to simulate ways to improve your TransUnion credit score.</p> <h2>The Bottom Line: Know Your Score!</h2> <p>FICO maintains a total of 28 different FICO scores, which are widely used by issuers of home, auto, and credit card loans. Remember that each one of these apps offers a free snapshot of a credit score based on a separate model and that snapshot is only for educational purposes. If you want to get the actual FICO credit score, you'll have to pay <a href="http://www.myfico.com/products/credit-score-monitoring-products/">at least $19.95 per month</a>.</p> <p>While the advice provided by any of these services can be valuable to improve your credit score, your potential lender may be working with a very different score than the one gleaned from an app. If you're working toward meeting the requirements for a mortgage or auto loan, ask your lender what credit score she's using. That way, you'll choose the app that can provide a more accurate estimate.</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/7-apps-that-monitor-your-credit-for-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-often-your-credit-score-gets-calculated">Here&#039;s How Often Your Credit Score Gets Calculated</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/once-bitten-twice-shy-what-is-credit-security-worth-to-you">Once Bitten Twice Shy: What is Credit Security Worth to You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-read-a-credit-report">How to Read a Credit Report</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/what-the-new-credit-card-formula-means-for-your-wallet">What the New Credit Card Formula Means for Your Wallet</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/these-apps-turn-saving-money-into-a-game-are-they-worth-it">These Apps Turn Saving Money Into a Game — Are They Worth It?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Technology apps credit karma credit monitoring credit score Equifax Experian fico mint smartphones TransUnion Tue, 06 Dec 2016 12:00:17 +0000 Damian Davila 1848172 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Apps That Actually Pay You to Shop http://www.wisebread.com/8-apps-that-actually-pay-you-to-shop <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-apps-that-actually-pay-you-to-shop" 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_shopping_000086939113.jpg" alt="Woman using apps that pay her to shop" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all know &quot;there's an app for that.&quot; Usually we're referring to apps that make our lives a little bit easier somehow. But what if there were a bunch of apps out there that'll actually <em>pay </em>you to shop? Whether it be through earning cash back by purchasing stuff we'd be buying anyways, or simply paying you to snap a pic of your receipt, these apps all have the potential to help you earn some significant money. What's more helpful than that?</p> <h2>1. Swagbucks</h2> <p><a href="http://swagbucks.7eer.net/c/27771/19503/799">Swagbucks</a> is a cash back app with a twist &mdash; namely it focuses on surveys as its primary business model. You download the app, pick a survey to complete, and earn &quot;Swagbucks&quot; when you complete it. The cool thing about the surveys is they tell you exactly how long they will take to complete, and the number of Swagbucks you'll earn. For example, a six-minute survey will give you 50 Swagbucks and the questions are very simple, opinion-based questions. Earn 500 Swagbucks and you'll be eligible for a $5 gift card from Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart or Target. Sitting in the doctor's office waiting room, or maybe at the DMV, complete a Swagbucks survey or two, and before you know it, you'll be treating yourself to a free Venti Frappuccino.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cool-convenient-cash-11-easy-ways-to-make-money-online?utm_source=wisebraed&amp;utm_medium=seealso2&amp;utm_campaign=article">How to Make Money Online Without Even Trying</a></p> <h2>2. iBotta</h2> <p>While already on the radar screen of most frugal shoppers,&nbsp;<a href="https://ibotta.com/r/jcsgjbv">iBotta</a> is a terrific way to earn cash at the grocery store. Cash back takes the form of &quot;rebates,&quot; and you simply unlock rebates on specific items before you head to the grocery store. Items that often have rebates available include such staples as milk, eggs, yogurt, and butter. Then when you return home, just scan the receipt with the iBotta app and your rebates, once verified, go straight to your account balance. When your iBotta account reaches $10, you can request payment via PayPal or Venmo. The app is terrific way to supplement traditional paper coupons and double your savings in many cases.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-cash-back-sites-to-earn-you-thousands-per-year?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso2&amp;utm_campaign=article">Earn Thousands Per Year With These Cash Back Sites</a></p> <h2>3. ShopKick</h2> <p>The&nbsp;<a href="https://www.shopkick.com/">ShopKick</a> app rewards you with free gift cards for doing the shopping you'd be doing anyways. It works by giving you reward points, known as &quot;kicks,&quot; just for walking into stores like Walmart, Target, Starbucks, Best Buy, and even at your local grocery store. Then when you buy something from the store, you earn even more kicks. Earn enough kicks, and you'll get rewarded with free gift cards to the store of your choosing. Surprisingly, it doesn't take much to earn things like a $5 Starbucks gift card. You'll also be kept updated with new coupons and deals at your favorite stores so you can save even more. An insider tip to quickly add up kicks is to follow&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/SHOPkick">ShopKick on Facebook</a> as they update their feed with new ways to earn free kicks.</p> <h2>4. Mobee</h2> <p><a href="http://www.mobeeapp.com/">Mobee</a> touts themselves as a &quot;fun, new way to make money on your phone.&quot; Once downloaded to your smartphone, the app works by displaying &quot;missions&quot; in your local area that pay you money to complete. The missions are displayed on a map allowing you to quickly see which ones you can easily perform on your next shopping trip. The idea is that you're going to be there anyways, so why not earn a couple bucks in the process?</p> <p>For example, your local Starbucks might have a mission that requires you to answer a few questions about your visit. Most missions give you 250&ndash;750 points and a $5 Starbucks gift card is available after about 500 points. Earn 2,500 points at Walmart and trade your points in for a $25 gift card. I was happily surprised to see the points required to earn gift cards were very reasonable, making this app worth a look.</p> <h2>5. Receipt Hog</h2> <p><a href="http://receipthog.com/">Receipt Hog</a> allows you to cash-in on your shopping receipts. Unlike cash back apps like iBotta, Receipt Hog lets you earn rewards by scanning your receipt from ANY store and it doesn't matter what items you purchased. Once you earn 1,000 points, you'll be eligible for a $5 Amazon gift card or $5 sent directly to your PayPal account. You'll earn 50&ndash;100 points per receipt making a free $5 pretty easy to obtain. I've been using this app for a few months and have already earned $25 in Amazon gift cards with very little effort.</p> <h2>6. Loot!</h2> <p>The folks at&nbsp;<a href="http://earn.loot-app.com/">Loot!</a> have created an app that lets you earn rewards by sharing, typically via social media, recent experiences with a particular brand or retailer. These experiences often require you to snap a picture to share, but not always. For example, you might be asked to snap a picture of a movie you're viewing and share it on Facebook, or perhaps share a print advertisement for a particular product via Twitter. These tasks typically pay in the $0.50 to $1.75 range.</p> <p>You can also earn $0.05 for a Twitter and Facebook &quot;shout out&quot; on specific products and brands that Loot! is currently promoting. The app automatically links your social media accounts making it a simply process to perform a shout out.</p> <h2>7. Gigwalk</h2> <p>When you're out-and-about, on a shopping trip, or simply taking a stroll through town, use the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gigwalk.com/">Gigwalk app</a> to earn some extra cash by completing small tasks. A couple &quot;gig&quot; examples include $10 for taking a dog on a walk or $4 for taking a picture of a store display. The closer you live to a large metropolitan area, the more gigs will be available to you. While the app is appealing as a cool way to earn a few extra bucks, the negative reviews of the app revolve around not enough gigs available and a waiting period for approval that often exceeds a week. But it definitely has potential and is worth being on your radar screen.</p> <p>See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/find-a-side-gig-at-these-4-best-micro-jobs-sites?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso2&amp;utm_campaign=article">Find a Side Gig at These 4 Best Micro-Jobs Sites</a></p> <h2>8. Field Agent</h2> <p>Somewhat similar to Gigwalk,&nbsp;<a href="https://app.fieldagent.net/">Field Agent</a> pays you to do small jobs in your local area. The biggest difference between the two apps is that Field Agent is more shopping-focused and has &quot;jobs&quot; at locations like Costco, RiteAid, Safeway, and Marshalls. Jobs are first come first serve, pay between $2 and $15, and must be accomplished within two hours of accepting. An example of a past Costco job was an &quot;egg audit,&quot; which for $7, required you record the egg sizes, egg prices, and count the number of egg products in the warehouse. An easy $7 in your pocket if you're on your way to Costco anyways. Similar to Gigwalk, the closer you live to a metropolitan area, the more jobs will be available to you via the app.</p> <p>Free for&nbsp;<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/US/app/field-agent/id364946558">iOS</a> and&nbsp;<a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.fieldagent">Android</a>.</p> <p><em>How do you use your smartphone to earn a little extra money?</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%2Falternative-wedding-ideas-for-big-savings&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%2520Apps%2520That%2520Actually%2520Pay%2520You%2520to%2520Shop.jpg&amp;description=8%20Apps%20That%20Actually%20Pay%20You%20to%20Shop"></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/u5180/8%20Apps%20That%20Actually%20Pay%20You%20to%20Shop.jpg" alt="8 Apps That Actually Pay You to Shop" 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/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-apps-that-actually-pay-you-to-shop">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/30-cash-back-sites-to-earn-you-thousands-per-year">30+ Cash Back Sites to Earn You Thousands Per Year</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-10-best-couponing-apps">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</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/these-apps-turn-saving-money-into-a-game-are-they-worth-it">These Apps Turn Saving Money Into a Game — Are They Worth It?</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-more-apps-that-pay-you-to-shop">6 More Apps That Pay You to Shop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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> Shopping Technology apps gift cards groceries ibotta online shopping rewards smartphones swagbucks Fri, 27 May 2016 10:30:04 +0000 Kyle James 1717319 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Free Debt Management Tools http://www.wisebread.com/6-free-debt-management-tools <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-free-debt-management-tools" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_using_smartphone_000040508552.jpg" alt="Woman using free debt management tools" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The average American looks at his or her phone <a href="http://time.com/4147614/smartphone-usage-us-2015/">46 times every day</a>.</p> <p>That number is even higher among U.S. Millennials: individuals in the 18&ndash;24 age bracket and the 25&ndash;34 age bracket check their mobile devices 74 and 50 times per day, respectively. With all this time spent on their smartphones, Americans can leverage their devices to improve their personal finances at no extra cost. Additionally, there are some key tools that allow you to corroborate the data that you gather from those apps.</p> <p>Here are six free smartphone apps or tools to track debt management.</p> <h2>1. ReadyForZero</h2> <p>Since 2011, ReadyForZero has helped individuals to track their debts and pay down those debts. Available for <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/readyforzero-pay-off-debt/id524834938?mt=8&amp;uo=4">Apple</a> and <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.readyforzero">Android</a> devices, this app enables you to link all of your debts, including student loans, credit cards, and mortgages, to create a personalized payoff plan and track your progress. Once you have connected all of your accounts, you'll be able to keep tabs on how much you have paid off and how much you still have remaining.</p> <p>The nicest feature about ReadyForZero is the immediate gratification of tracking your daily and monthly progress, including the interest that you save over time. ReadyForZero partners with TransUnion to provide you with free access to your&nbsp;<a href="http://thescore.vantagescore.com/article/98">VantageScore&reg; 3.0</a> credit score.</p> <h2>2. Mint: Money Manager, Budget, and Personal Finance</h2> <p>On top of helping you track your debts, the Mint app enables you to gather all of your financial information into one place. Besides your debt accounts, you can connect your bank and investment accounts to get a full snapshot of your financial standing at all times.</p> <p>The main draw of Mint is its budget feature, which allows you to create monthly budgets and track how much you have left for each category, such as gas, groceries, and education. If you provide your social security number, the app allows you to track your credit score with Equifax. The app is available for <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Intuit-Mint-com-Personal-Finance/dp/B004T2P7MQ">Amazon</a>, <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mint-personal-finance/id300238550?mt=8">Apple</a> (designed for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch), and <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mint&amp;hl=en">Android</a> devices.</p> <h2>3. Prosper Daily</h2> <p>Formerly known as BillGuard, the Prosper Daily app is an alternative to Mint. Besides tracking your spending and credit, Prosper Daily focuses on protecting your credit cards against fraud and unfair charges. For example, the app can use location-based technology to alert you when your credit or debit card is used at a store or AMT when you're not there. If you provide your social security number, the app allows you to track your credit score with TransUnion. Prosper Daily is available for <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/app/id602710567?mt=8">Apple</a> and <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.billguard.android&amp;hl=en">Android</a> devices.</p> <h2>4. AnnualCreditReport.com</h2> <p>No matter what app you use to track your debt and credit score, you should corroborate that data against your official credit report once a year. Through <a href="http://www.annualcreditreport.com/">AnnualCreditReport.com</a>, you can request your free credit report every 12 months from each credit reporting company (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax). This report allows you to verify that you only have accounts and loans that you recognize on file.</p> <p>Since your credit report may affect your mortgage rates, credit card approvals, credit scores, and apartment requests, you should be on the lookout for potential inconsistencies, such as accounts that you didn't open, addresses of employers that you didn't work for, or information that should no longer be on your credit report, such as an over 10-year old bankruptcy.</p> <p>If you find an error, you can dispute it by reporting it to the credit reporting bureaus online, by mail, or by phone.</p> <p>Keep copies of your initial dispute letter and supporting documents, and communications with the credit reporting bureaus.</p> <h2>5. Compound Interest Calculator</h2> <p>When you're trying to pay down debt faster, you want to maximize how much interest you're gaining so that you can make additional payments towards your debts whenever possible. This <a href="http://www.thecalculatorsite.com/finance/calculators/compoundinterestcalculator.php">compound interest calculator</a> allows you to work out the compound interest on your savings and investments, including a breakdown of monthly interest gains and the option to list regular monthly deposits or withdrawals.</p> <h2>6. Check Deposit App From Your Bank</h2> <p>Many Americans opt to have their bi-weekly or monthly salary checks directly deposited to their checking or saving accounts. However, every now and then you may receive an additional paper check, such as a dividend payout from an investment account, a lucky windfall from your aunty for your birthday, or a check from a class action.</p> <p>In those instances, you could skip the trip to the bank by using the mobile deposit app from your bank to deposit checks in your account. For example, my credit union allows me to make deposits directly into my checking, saving, or money market accounts using a &quot;check snap&quot; mobile deposit account. Such an app is useful to save time making deposits and helps boost monthly payments to your financial obligations. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-good-reasons-to-choose-a-credit-union-instead-of-a-bank?ref=seealso">9 Good Reasons to Choose a Credit Union Instead of a Bank</a>)</p> <p>Make sure to check applicable rules, such as signing the back of your check and writing a disclaimer that check is for mobile deposit only, technical requirements, and processing times.</p> <p><em>What are other free apps or software to track debt management?</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/6-free-debt-management-tools">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/the-5-millennial-money-apps-everyone-should-use">The 5 Millennial Money Apps Everyone Should Use</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-5-best-apps-for-busy-working-parents">The 5 Best Apps for Busy Working Parents</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-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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-couponing-apps">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</a></span> </div> </li> <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-make-budgeting-fun-no-really">7 Apps That Make Budgeting Fun — No Really!</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking Technology apps calculators debt tracking mobile deposit money management smartphones websites Tue, 26 Apr 2016 10:00:13 +0000 Damian Davila 1696223 at http://www.wisebread.com The 10 Best Couponing Apps http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-couponing-apps <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-10-best-couponing-apps" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_shopping_000064962297_0.jpg" alt="Couple finding great apps for finding coupons " title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Couponing seems like a great idea. After all, who wouldn't want to save money when they shop, dine out, or enjoy activities in their area? However, tales of extreme couponing can scare many people. Most of us don't have the time and energy it takes to cut out, organize, and actually use coupons.</p> <p>Fortunately, there are a number of great apps that can help you find the best coupons and deals in your area, and we've rounded them up below.</p> <h2>1. The Coupons App</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.thecouponsapp.com/">Coupons App</a> is a popular download for retail savings. The app offers coupons and deals, updated daily. You can find discounts on everything from food to gas, at all your favorite restaurants and popular retail stores. You can also search directly for deals from your favorite store, or you can scan a barcode and search for deals on that particular product using the built-in barcode reader.</p> <p>Along with providing coupons to your favorite restaurants and stores, the app can also help you find the most affordable gas in your area. Most reviewers find that this is an important part of their everyday life, and agree that if there's only one coupon app to download, this is the one.</p> <h2>2. SnipSnap</h2> <p><a href="http://www.snipsnap.it/">SnipSnap</a> claims to have the largest collection of store coupons of any app. It is the first app to scan, save, and redeem print coupons from your mobile phone. SnipSnap is perfect for anyone who receives a lot of physical coupons because it can help you keep track of your paper coupons. You simply save any printed coupon to your phone and show the cashier your phone at checkout to take advantage of the savings.</p> <p>The large database of coupons also holds tens of thousands of deals for all your favorite stores. The app will even remind you to use the coupons and warn you as the expiration dates approach. You can also keep track of how much money you've saved with the savings tracker.</p> <h2>3. Coupons.com</h2> <p><a href="http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-2822544-10395834-1398363531000">Coupons.com</a> offers some of the best deals on groceries and everyday items. It also makes it easy to access deals on the go. You can choose to have coupons emailed to you, added to your store loyalty card or Passbook app to scan at checkout, or you can print them from your mobile device.</p> <h2>4. Grocery IQ</h2> <p>Also from Coupons.com, <a href="http://www.groceryiq.com/">Grocery IQ</a> specializes in grocery coupons. Once you create your supermarket list, the app will match items with applicable coupons. You will have access to the same impressive inventory of coupons from the Coupons.com app, so you can receive your discounts through e-mail, by printing them, or by scanning them to your store loyalty card or Passbook app.</p> <h2>5. SavingStar</h2> <p><a href="http://savingstar.ojrq.net/c/27771/16897/758">SavingStar</a> works differently than other coupon apps. Rather than enjoying discounts every time you shop, the money you save will add up in your SavingStar account. Once you hit $5 in savings, you can choose to have the money deposited to your bank, deposited to your PayPal account, in the form of a gift card, or you can have it donated to the Conservation Group of American Forests. This means that every time you shop online, in-store, and for groceries, you can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cool-convenient-cash-11-easy-ways-to-make-money-online?ref=internal">earn cash back</a> at the same time. There are typically about 30 deals available at any given time.</p> <h2>6. RetailMeNot</h2> <p><a href="http://www.retailmenot.com/">RetailMeNot</a> offers the very best location-based deals. With deals from more than 50,000 retailers available, you'll find an incredible assortment of coupons and promo codes for anything you may be shopping for, both online and in-store. You can quickly find the right deals by location, category, popularity, and more. You can even save a list of your favorite establishments to create personalized offers.</p> <h2>7. Groupon</h2> <p><a href="http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-2822544-10861379-1424728017000">Groupon</a> searches your local area for the best deals. Whether you are new in town or want to get to know your neighborhood better, this is a great app to help you get more from the area, without breaking your budget. You can quickly buy and redeem vouchers on your phone to take advantage of massive discounts, oftentimes up to 90% savings.</p> <h2>8. Amazon Local</h2> <p><a href="http://local.amazon.com/?tag=wisbre03-20">Amazon Local</a> helps you find the best local deals online. Whether you are looking for a spa, need to hire moving services, or just want to enjoy a night out, this app can help you find the deals you are looking for. Along with deals from your favorite service providers, restaurants, and retail stores, you can also find the latest local and travel deals and free coupons. You can even view your appointments and reservations all within the app.</p> <h2>9. CardStar</h2> <p><a href="http://www.cardstar.com/">CardStar</a> is unique because it offers a simple way to increase your savings. It works by consolidating your membership and rewards cards into a single app. This means you don't need to worry about carrying your loyalty cards around in your wallet or on a keychain any longer. Once you instantly load your cards, you can simply scan the barcode at your favorite store to take advantage of your loyalty cards and access deals and coupons from your favorite merchants. The app works with 1,500 retailers, so you can easily find all of your store loyalty cards, or even add new ones yourself. Using this in combination with your other couponing apps can save you even more.</p> <h2>10. Ibotta</h2> <p><a href="https://ibotta.com/r/jcsgjbv">Ibotta</a> offers big cash back opportunities every time you shop. The offers change weekly, and if you buy the select items, you simply upload your grocery receipt and receive cash in return. Once you reach the threshold amount, you can receive a transfer to your PayPal or Venmo account, or you can select from a number of gift cards. Earn real cash and rewards, not just points.</p> <p><em>What are your favorite apps for coupons? Do you have any other ways of saving money when you shop? Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-couponing-apps">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/the-6-shopping-mistakes-keeping-you-from-a-great-deal">The 6 Shopping Mistakes Keeping You From a Great Deal</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-social-media-can-save-you-money">6 Ways Social Media Can Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-save-money-this-year-without-clipping-a-coupon">6 Smart Ways to Save Money This Year (Without Clipping a Coupon)</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-apps-that-actually-pay-you-to-shop">8 Apps That Actually Pay You to Shop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-shopping-apps-thatll-actually-save-you-money-in-2016">The 8 Shopping Apps That&#039;ll Actually Save You Money in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping Technology apps coupons deals discounts saving money smartphones Thu, 24 Sep 2015 21:00:22 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1567497 at http://www.wisebread.com The 8 Best Ways to Stream TV and Movies for Free http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-best-ways-to-stream-tv-and-movies-for-free <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-8-best-ways-to-stream-tv-and-movies-for-free" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_holding_tablet_000024578966.jpg" alt="Woman finding best ways to stream tv and movies for free" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;Cutting the cord&quot; to cable and satellite TV seems to be everyone's dream these days. However, getting rid of your cable bill often only makes sense if you can find cheap (or free) replacements for your viewing habits. Fortunately, cord-cutters have some pretty amazing free &mdash; and totally legal &mdash; streaming options available to them. While many of these are still fairly unknown services, they can provide some terrific options for your viewing needs. Here are eight streaming services worth checking out.</p> <h2>1. Crackle</h2> <p>Owned by Sony,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.crackle.com/">Crackle</a> has an excellent selection of free streaming movies, TV shows, and original content. If you have a smartphone, tablet, smart TV, PlayStation 3 or 4, or current Xbox, you can stream Crackle content for free. Current top movies include <em>Joe Dirt</em>, <em>Click</em>, and <em>Underworld,</em> while popular TV shows include <em>Seinfeld</em>, <em>The Shield</em>, and <em>Damages</em>. The original content available on Crackle is what gets it on my list; popular programs include <em>Sports Jeopardy</em> with Dan Patrick, and the highly acclaimed series <em>The Ropes</em> produced and directed by Vin Diesel.</p> <h2>2. Hulu</h2> <p><a href="http://www.hulu.com/">Hulu</a> is by far the most recognizable service on my list, and for good reason. While they have a premium service that will cost you $7.99 per month, their free content is pretty darn amazing as well, and worth a look. As I type this, I'm watching last night's <em>The Daily Show </em>for free, without commercials. Other network programming that you can watch for free (eight days after they air), includes <em>Once Upon a Time</em>, <em>Modern Family</em>,<em> Nashville</em>, and <em>The Mindy Project</em>. It's also worth noting that they offer a free 30-day trial.</p> <h2>3. PopcornFlix.com</h2> <p>While&nbsp;<a href="http://www.popcornflix.com/">PopcornFlix.com</a> has hundreds of movies and TV series available for free streaming (most of which you'd never heard of), they make my list simply for their awesome selection of kids' titles and &quot;general family&quot; viewing. A few that immediately caught my eye include Jim Henson's <em>Mee-Shee</em>, <em>Jack and the Beanstalk</em>, <em>Benii</em>, and <em>School of Life</em> starring Ryan Reynolds. Supported devices include Android phones, Apple devices, Roku players, Samsung Smart TV's, and Xbox consoles.</p> <h2>4. MoviesFoundOnline.com</h2> <p>The movies tend to be indie classics along with some cult favorites, but it's the variety of TV shows available for streaming that makes <a href="http://moviesfoundonline.com/">MoviesFoundOnline.com</a> stand out from the crowd. A few examples include <em>The Lucy Show</em>, <em>Mr. Bean</em>, <em>BattleBots</em>, and stand-up comedy acts from Robin Williams and Zach Galifianakis. Watch shows on their website, as they do not have an app available for mobile viewing yet.</p> <h2>5. RetroVision</h2> <p>If you're a big fan of classic TV shows like <em>Bonanza</em>, <em>Alfred Hitchcock Presents</em>, <em>Star Trek</em>, or <em>Dragnet</em>, you'll want to give&nbsp;<a href="http://retrovision.tv/">RetroVision</a> a solid look. Many of these classic shows are hard to find on DVD, or regular cable, making RetroVision a pretty cool and valuable service. Supported devices are limited, and thus requires you to view via your computer or with their free Google Chrome app.</p> <h2>6. Watch Documentary</h2> <p>The name&nbsp;<a href="http://watchdocumentary.org/">Watch Documentary</a> pretty much sums up what's offered. They stream over 9,000 free high-quality documentaries for your viewing pleasure. A few of their currently popular documentaries include <em>Planet Earth</em>, <em>Roger &amp; Me</em> by Michael Moore, <em>From the Earth to the Moon </em>by Tom Hanks, and <em>The U</em> by ESPN. While they allow viewing from any computer or Android device, they currently do not have an app for Apple products.</p> <h2>7. SnagFilms</h2> <p>The folks at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.snagfilms.com/">SnagFilms</a> differentiate themselves by specializing in over 5,000 indie films and what they term &quot;hidden movie treasures.&quot; A few of their current favorites include cult classics like <em>Heavy Metal Parking Lot</em>, <em>Murder on Flight 502</em>, and <em>The Boogey Man</em>. You can stream content via their iOS or Android app, Kindle, smart TV, computer, or Xbox 360.</p> <h2>8. Yidio</h2> <p><a href="http://www.yidio.com/">Yidio</a> is a popular streaming service that allows you to search and watch TV shows and movies &quot;across Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and hundreds of other providers in one place.&quot; While they do have free stand-alone content available, the power of Yidio is shown when you pair it with a Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime subscription. Essentially they pull all content available into one handy interface to make searching and viewing a breeze. Yidio is compatible with iOS, Android, and smart TVs.</p> <p>The amount of free content available online for free streaming is truly remarkable. If you're on the fence about removing cable or satellite from your monthly bills, these resources are definitely worth a look. It's easy to make an argument that a combination of several of these free services can easily satisfy your family's TV and movie needs.</p> <p><em>Have you used any of these streaming services after cutting the cord to cable? If so, what's your favorite?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-best-ways-to-stream-tv-and-movies-for-free">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tricks-for-a-better-netflix-experience">6 Tricks for a Better Netflix Experience</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/never-pay-for-a-redbox-dvd-rental-again">Never Pay for a RedBox DVD Rental Again</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-great-movies-about-money">25 Great Movies About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-watch-movies-in-the-theater-for-free">How to Watch Movies in the Theater for Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternatives-to-cable-tv-that-will-keep-you-entertained">8 Alternatives to Cable TV That Will Keep You Entertained</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment cable free tv movies smartphones streaming Tue, 25 Aug 2015 17:00:29 +0000 Kyle James 1530585 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Life Mistakes You Need to Stop Making by 30 http://www.wisebread.com/5-life-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making-by-30 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-life-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making-by-30" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000047196720.jpg" alt="Couple learning life mistakes to stop making by 30" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Thinking about the big 30th birthday benchmark? I certainly am! Some habits we get away with in our 20s are not so flattering later in life. Here are the five things you need to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making-by-30">stop doing by age 30</a>.</p> <h2>1. Maxing Out Credit Cards</h2> <p>When you got that first credit card fresh out of high school, you thought, whoa, $500 is so much money! A few weeks later, you learned how few dollars that really was, and by then you were maxed out. It's a lesson that we would ideally learn once, pay it down, and move on, but many of us don't. Start learning <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/oops-i-maxed-out-my-credit-cards-now-what">how to manage your debt</a> and resolve to keep a balance of no more than 20%&ndash;30% of your credit limit.</p> <h2>2. Avoiding Doctors</h2> <p>When you're 23, you still boast a high metabolism and strong immune system, so you can't possibly get sick, right? This is a lie every young person believes throughout their 20s to get out of paying for health care. Whether you get into a car accident or you need to treat certain communicable diseases, you need a doctor. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act and the limited benefits some employers offer, it's easier than ever to find a low-cost plan that will cover you in case of an emergency. If you're a lucky person who's still under his/her parents' plan, use it before you lose it! Here's how to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/simple-ways-to-get-the-healthcare-you-need-without-overspending">get the care you need</a> without spending too much.</p> <h2>3. Keeping All Funds in One Account</h2> <p>When you first start out as an adult, banking is something you do when you absolutely need to: paying bills, making transfers, informing the bank you lost your debit card at a bar again. Direct deposit dumps your check into the checking account, and so it stays there &mdash; until you drain it dry three days before payday. Start thinking about your other banking options. Tweak that direct deposit to send 10% of your checks to you savings account, and don't touch it. Afraid you will touch it anyway? <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-high-yield-cds">Look into CDs</a> (certificates of deposit) and mutual funds as a way to make a fraction of your earned income grow over time. This can work as your emergency fund or a nest egg for later.</p> <h2>4. Getting Sucked Into Your Phone</h2> <p>This is hard for Millennials. On one hand, we want to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-i-like-my-flip-phone-the-5-smartphone-effects">use our phones</a> a lot because all our stuff is there! On the other hand, it causes a big social rift between us and elder generations &mdash; including the Gen Xers and Boomers, who are still mostly in charge of hiring us for jobs. This means you must have an &quot;offline mode&quot; switch: Know when you're in the clear to play Neko Atsume on your iPhone, and know when it's time to silence the phone and keep it stowed away (not on the table face-up). It's not only to appease our parents; it's also to help us be more human by staying present to others in real time and charming to be around.</p> <h2>5. Putting Off Your Education</h2> <p>Around 40% of college enrollees (both community and university) end up dropping out before earning a degree, and that's only of those who actually apply and enroll to a college &mdash; most people in the U.S. do not have a college degree. Think about that if you are struggling to scrape together enough to live on your own comfortably &mdash; the bottom rung is too crowded. College is still indisputably the key to success, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-college-degrees-with-the-highest-roi">especially for these majors</a>. If you're still putting off that degree to jumpstart your career, now is the time. Make your 30s an age of well-earned prosperity.</p> <p><em>What habits will you finally break when you turn 30?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-life-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making-by-30">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-successful-30-somethings-do">9 Things Successful 30-Somethings Do</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/science-says-you-dont-need-a-standing-desk-after-all-you-only-need-this">Science Says You Don&#039;t Need a Standing Desk, After All -- You Only Need This</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-use-the-holiday-quiet-time-to-boost-your-career">How to Use the Holiday Quiet Time to Boost Your Career</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/its-the-21st-century-why-is-your-money-stuck-in-the-20th">It&#039;s the 21st Century — Why Is Your Money Stuck in the 20th?</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/review-of-the-money-mammals-dvd-for-children">Review of The Money Mammals DVD for Children</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks 30s education finance Health job security millennials smartphones Thu, 13 Aug 2015 11:00:30 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1521832 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Technologies We Wish Were Never Invented http://www.wisebread.com/8-technologies-we-wish-were-never-invented <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-technologies-we-wish-were-never-invented" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/selfie_stick_000052027808.jpg" alt="Girls using technology we wish were never invented" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Remember when we couldn't wait for the future? It was gonna be awesome&hellip;with a capital AWE. Flying cars, hover boards, robot maids, and automated everything would make our lives easier, happier, shinier.</p> <p>Except that didn't happen. We got some of those things for sure, but many of the futuristic enhancements and conveniences that we thought were going to change our lives for the better have revealed themselves to have very dark sides &mdash; or at least unfavorable consequences.</p> <p>What are they? Take a look at a few of my picks for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-interesting-ways-technology-can-help-you-buy-a-home">technologies</a> that we wish were never invented, then add your own in the comments section below.</p> <h2>1. Mobile Phones</h2> <p>There's no denying that mobile phones have innumerable benefits &mdash; like being able to call for help in an instant &mdash; but our reliance on our mobiles increasingly has become a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.webmd.com/children/news/20140819/children-cell-phones">detriment to our health</a> and relationships, the latter of which has spawned a term of its own known as &quot;technoference.&quot; This problem has only exponentially increased with the advent of smartphones. And perhaps that's where the real issue lies. We didn't have so many mobile phone-related problems when we were using phones like the now-primitive StarTAC or Razr.</p> <p>Do you even remember those? Those phones served one purpose &mdash; to make and receive calls (and maybe play a very bare-bones game or two). Nowadays our mobile phones are essentially tiny, quite powerful computers in our pockets that give us too much 24/7 access to almost everything in our lives, and we can't seem to peel our faces away. There's probably no turning back from this downward spiral &mdash; until, of course, Mother Nature gets fed up and decides to flip the switch &mdash; but this&nbsp;<a href="http://gawker.com/short-film-about-smartphone-overuse-is-smart-poignant-1189811144">short film about smartphone overuse</a> exists to put the state our lives in perspective until then.</p> <h2>2. Texting</h2> <p>With mobile phones came a host of other technologies that became even more popular with the introduction of smartphones. Texting, or short messaging service (SMS), is one of them. And while I'm an avid texter myself &mdash; it's quick, easy, and efficient &mdash; I also can recognize how my reliance on SMS has affected my desire for other forms of communication, specifically voice calls. Now I send calls to voicemail because I can't be bothered &mdash; and I know I'm not alone.</p> <p>I'll totally text you back after I listen to it, though. So I guess there's that.</p> <h2>3. Online Dating</h2> <p>When online dating first became a thing, we had limited technology to upload or send a dozen selfies; there was no such thing as sexting; and it was still a time in our culture when folks liked to get together one-on-one to hang out and get to know each other better.</p> <p>Fast forward 15 years and this &quot;swipe right, swipe left&quot; world we live in leaves much to be desired, as we're more likely to hook up with someone we find attractive to feed our need for immediate gratification (a collective personality disorder that many of us suffer from as a result of all this technology) than choose to spend quality time together &mdash; because what for when there's somebody else waiting for you with the flick of a finger?</p> <h2>4. Video Games</h2> <p>I'm not a gamer. Never have been, and never will be, which is perhaps why I don't understand the draw or benefit of video games. Aside from pure entertainment value, what purpose do video games serve? To waste time? To&nbsp;<a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/get-psyched/201401/violent-video-games-decrease-self-control">psychologically damage users</a>? To <a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110517151253.htm">make kids overweight</a>? Of course, all of those arguments have a rebuttal &mdash; and perhaps they're perfectly valid (i.e. video games can be used for learning, and there are video games to help people get fit) &mdash; but overwhelmingly most video gamers are not spending their time playing Reader Rabbit or wobbling on the Wii Fit.</p> <h2>5. Selfies and Selfie Sticks</h2> <p>Love my selfies! Everybody with whom I'm connected on social media will tell you that I'm no stranger to a sunny-day (or bathroom) selfie, but, like my affinity for texting, I'm self-aware enough to recognize that this kind of incessant narcissism isn't healthy. Quite frankly, I fear that it may lead to self-image problems down the road &mdash; specifically as I start aging more rapidly &mdash; but, then, isn't that justification that I should get in all the beautiful, tight-skinned selfies while I can?</p> <p>As for the selfie stick, well, that's only perpetuating the selfie craze (though admittedly, I love my selfie stick, too), causing people to put themselves in danger in the pursuit of the perfect selfie. People are hanging off cliffs and buildings (seriously!) and in the middle of busy streets, and the issue is posing enough of a problem in Los Angeles that there are sidewalk murals scattered around West Hollywood urging selfie takers to stay out of the road. Because &mdash; splat!</p> <h2>6. Fracking</h2> <p>Unless you've been living under bedrock for the past few years, you've heard about fracking (also known as hydraulic fracturing) &mdash; the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground to release natural gas and petroleum. It's a hot-button issue, especially during election season as it pits profit makers against environmentalists due to the potential dangers fracking poses to the planet and human beings. The debate sometimes gets so heated that veteran news anchors lose their heads and start <a href="http://www.salon.com/2015/06/08/fox_news_host_gets_schooled_on_fracking_and_angrily_orders_his_guest_off_the_show/">kicking guests off the air</a> for having a difference of opinion. Very professional.</p> <p>Still, studies that have been conducted are iffy at best &mdash; even the <a href="http://arstechnica.com/science/2015/06/epas-draft-of-four-year-fracking-study-finds-no-inherent-water-risks/">latest released by the EPA </a>leaves room for error &mdash; and the long-term effects of the practice may not be discovered until it's too late. Paging Erin Brockovich!</p> <h2>7. Robo Calls</h2> <p>Yep, we've become so lazy as a society that live people can't even call you at dinnertime to annoy you anymore. Now we have pre-recorded robocalls to inform you about the prize you've won, the credit card for which you qualify, or the candidate for whom you should be voting. There's absolutely nothing redeeming about robocalls &mdash; unless it's a case study on how to effectively waste resources in the United States &mdash; but at least you don't have to feel bad about hanging up the phone as soon as you hear&nbsp;<a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/08/19/listen-to-michelle-duggars-anti-anti-discrimination-robocall/">Michelle Duggar on the other end</a>.</p> <h2>8. Nuclear Weapons</h2> <p>As a result of their invention, civilization as we know it rests in the hands of a few powerful world leaders who could decide to end it all with the press of a few buttons...</p> <p>And you thought this article was just going to be about smartphones.</p> <p><em>What are some technologies you wish were never invented? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-technologies-we-wish-were-never-invented">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/8-apps-that-actually-pay-you-to-shop">8 Apps That Actually Pay You to Shop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-apps-that-monitor-your-credit-for-you">7 Apps That Monitor Your Credit for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-couponing-apps">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-digital-detox-how-and-why-to-do-it">The Digital Detox: How and Why to Do It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-social-media-from-ruining-your-vacation">How to Keep Social Media From Ruining Your Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Technology annoying fracking inventions selfies smartphones texting Wed, 08 Jul 2015 11:00:11 +0000 Mikey Rox 1477321 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Avoid Expensive Phone Charges When Traveling http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-avoid-expensive-phone-charges-when-traveling <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-avoid-expensive-phone-charges-when-traveling" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_taking_selfie_000051919134.jpg" alt="Woman avoiding international roaming and phone charges" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>So, you're planning that long-anticipated international vacation, and you're eager to get away from it all. Guess what? You're probably still going to need phone service. Here are five easy ways to avoid roaming and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-minimize-cell-phone-charges-when-you-travel-abroad">phone charges</a> while traveling abroad.</p> <h2>1. Use Your Provider's International Pass</h2> <p>This may be surprising: Your mobile carrier might have a great international package that, if compared to only using international data when you need it, is a much better deal. Without a special international package you could be paying several dollars per megabyte of data &mdash; which these days feels like nothing &mdash; so it adds up fast!</p> <p>T-Mobile is known for having a really good <a href="http://www.t-mobile.com/International/RoamingOverview.aspx?tp=Inl_Tab_RoamWorldwide">international mobile passport </a>that has converted some smartphone users who can't bear to part with their email or social media when away. Ask your carrier. With some haggling, you might even be able to bring down already-incurred charges if you buy the package last-minute.</p> <h2>2. Turn Off Data Roaming</h2> <p>When data roaming is &quot;on&quot; in the U.S., it simply makes use of any cell towers in the area, which is usually of no extra cost to the user. However, once you go outside the U.S., your carrier knows right away you're abroad, and the charges from international cell towers start to rack up immediately.</p> <p>Learn how to do it correctly.</p> <ul> <li>With an iPhone, go to &quot;Settings,&quot; then turn off &quot;Airplane Mode.&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>On Android phones, select Wireless &amp; Networks &gt; Mobile Networks &gt; uncheck Data Roaming.</li> </ul> <p>This will ensure you won't incur extra roaming charges. You can still run Wi-Fi while on Airplane Mode. A bonus benefit? Your phone's battery will last longer because it's not using as much power on data &mdash; more juice to take photos!</p> <h2>3. Do a SIM Card Swap</h2> <p>The classic SIM card swap still works, especially if you don't have an iPhone. The drawback to this, of course, is that you also get a new phone number temporarily until you put your original SIM card back. If this works for you, it's the easiest way to get full use of your phone while overseas.</p> <p>If you have a GSM unlocked phone and want to buy a prepaid SIM card, a company called Telestial Passport has a <a href="http://www.telestial.com/view_product.php?ID=MSIM-PP02#none">good SIM card</a> meant for lots of data usage.</p> <h2>4. Use Facebook Messenger</h2> <p>All your friends are on Facebook all day anyway, right? Another great alternative to using phone service, Facebook Messenger makes itself most useful when traveling internationally. Use the app to communicate with your colleagues, traveling buddies, or friends and family back home.</p> <p>Download the instant messaging app well in advance and make sure you are Facebook friends with everyone you need to contact while abroad.</p> <h2>5. Try Google Voice</h2> <p>Deciding to go the &quot;Airplane Mode with Wi-Fi where available&quot; route? Google Voice and Google Hangouts will be huge boons to your trip. <a href="https://www.google.com/voice/b/0/rates">Google Voice</a> is an almost entirely free method to call any phone domestically and internationally &mdash; it's only one cent to call the U.S. from anywhere.</p> <p>Google Hangouts, formerly known as Google Chat, is a great way to touch base with coworkers and friends. Nearly everyone is on Gmail and Hangouts, so it's very easy to find someone to IM instead of texting. Download the app well before your trip to give yourself enough time get used to it.</p> <p><em>How else do you avoid international phone and roaming charges?</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%2F5-ways-to-avoid-expensive-phone-charges-when-traveling&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%20Ways%20to%20Avoid%20Expensive%20Phone%20Charges%20When%20Traveling.jpg&amp;description=%205%20Ways%20to%20Avoid%20Expensive%20Phone%20Charges%20When%20Traveling" 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/u5180/5%20Ways%20to%20Avoid%20Expensive%20Phone%20Charges%20When%20Traveling.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/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-avoid-expensive-phone-charges-when-traveling">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/technology-hacks-for-the-international-traveler">Technology Hacks for the International Traveler</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pay-your-bills-and-5-other-things-you-must-do-before-you-leave-on-vacation">Pay Your Bills and 5 Other Things You Must Do Before You Leave on Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-to-know-before-retiring-abroad">9 Things to Know Before Retiring Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-simple-ways-to-take-stunning-travel-photos">8 Simple Ways to Take Stunning Travel Photos</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/everything-you-need-to-know-about-frequent-flyer-miles">Everything You Need to Know About Frequent Flyer Miles</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Travel bills data international roaming smartphones Thu, 04 Jun 2015 13:00:09 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1439308 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Modern Life Skills Everyone Should Master http://www.wisebread.com/15-modern-life-skills-everyone-should-master <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-modern-life-skills-everyone-should-master" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_tech_skills_000042638902.jpg" alt="Woman with basic tech skills needed for everyday life" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's 2015, people! That means there's no excuse not to learn these 15 basic tech skills that will save you money, time, and embarrassment when talking to more tech-savvy know-it-alls.</p> <h2>1. Use Uber and Lyft</h2> <p>Taxis are expensive, and not every city has a fast and expansive public transit system. That's why <a href="https://www.uber.com/">Uber</a> and <a href="https://www.lyft.com/">Lyft</a> are great alternatives, especially when you plan to drink.</p> <h2>2. Make a Basic Website</h2> <p>You never know when you might need to have your own website, and if you're a freelancer, it's a must. With platforms like <a href="http://squarespace.com/">Squarespace</a> and <a href="http://wix.com/">Wix</a>, it's never been easier (or cheaper) to make your own website.</p> <h2>3. Set-Up Online Banking</h2> <p>Are you still going to the bank to check balances and move money around? That's insane. It's about time you enrolled in online banking at your institution. It's as easy as going to your bank's website, clicking on &quot;online banking,&quot; and following the instructions.</p> <h2>4. Update Your Facebook Privacy Settings</h2> <p>Don't want just anyone to see your private posts? It's time to learn how to <a href="https://www.facebook.com/help/325807937506242/">edit your privacy settings</a> on social networks, especially Facebook.</p> <h2>5. Transfer Money Instantly</h2> <p>At this point, Western Union and other traditional money wire companies are useless. Every bank offers transfers within their banking app, and it's instant when transferring within the same bank. Failing that, <a href="https://www.paypal.com/us/webapps/mpp/mobile-apps">PayPal's new app</a> is simpler than ever.</p> <h2>6. Operate Bluetooth Accessories</h2> <p>Want to use all the cool new speakers, keyboards, mouses, headphones, and more? You will need to master the Bluetooth connection. Here's how to do it for <a href="http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/add-a-bluetooth-enabled-device-to-your-computer">Windows</a>, <a href="https://support.apple.com/kb/PH13704?locale=en_US">Mac</a>, <a href="http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/smartphones/get-the-most-out-of-bluetooth-on-an-android-device/">Android</a>, and <a href="https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201205">iPhone</a>.</p> <h2>7. Edit a Smartphone Photo</h2> <p>Are you one of those people who uploads your photos sideways or too dark? There's no excuse! Most mobile phones allow for you to crop, rotate, adjust brightness or contrast, and more, all with a couple finger taps. Want to get creative? Try some cool photo editing apps.</p> <h2>8. Comparison Shop With Barcodes</h2> <p>Out shopping and want to check prices elsewhere? A great cheat is to use the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&amp;docId=1000645111">Amazon app</a>, which uses your phone's camera to scan barcodes. It will show you the same product and its Amazon price. <a href="http://www.google.com/shopping">Google Shopping</a> is also helpful when on a computer.</p> <h2>9. Crowdsource Information</h2> <p>Learn the art of the ask. Sometimes you don't have the time or enough prior knowledge of something to Google it, and that's when asking your friends comes in. Being able to ask your social network for their expertise is clutch in this modern age.</p> <h2>10. Invest Your Own Money</h2> <p>Why hire someone to take over your money management when you can day trade and manage your investments online? If you're putting off saving for retirement, it has never been easier to start. Learn more about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-cheap-easy-ways-to-invest-your-first-1000">how to start saving</a>.</p> <h2>11. Upgrade Your Email</h2> <p>Email is still a very important part of work and personal communication, but issues like cluttered inboxes, unsynced calendars, non-replies, and copious newsletters make email frustrating. There are plenty of extremely useful email plug-ins to increase your productivity!</p> <h2>12. Google Better</h2> <p>Everyone knows about using quotes and the plus and minus while searching, but did you know about the tip calculator? What about reverse image search? Polish your Google prowess with these <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/tech/Things-You-Can-Do-Google-35330843#photo-35330843">key search hacks</a> to get the results you're looking for.</p> <h2>13. Use Siri</h2> <p>&quot;Siri&quot; (or &quot;Cortana,&quot; or &quot;Google&quot;) as a tool can seem silly and time consuming, so many people don't use her. However, there are some instances in which she's indispensable, such as sending text messages and making calls in the car. There are tons of other <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/13-cool-things-siri-can-do-for-you-2014-8?op=1">cool things Siri can do</a>, too.</p> <h2>14. Use GPS Apps</h2> <p>If you're still printing out maps before you leave the house, it's time to stop. GPS has come a long way. (Remember those old Garmin GPS machines you had to buy back in the 00s that worked poorly?) <a href="https://maps.google.com/">Google Maps</a> is the best, but <a href="https://www.waze.com/">Waze</a> is excellent for those looking to snake their way out of traffic or avoid highways. You can save locations, pre-plan trips, and add new locations with voice-control while driving.</p> <h2>15. Troubleshoot Your Wi-Fi</h2> <p>You don't need an IT person to fix your Wi-Fi. Computers have made it extra easy to troubleshoot a connection. Check your laptop's network settings and <a href="http://www.computershopper.com/feature/ten-fast-fixes-for-wi-fi-problems">troubleshoot your Wi-Fi</a> on your own. When all else fails, you can always reset your router! Another hack: many smartphones can be used as a Wi-Fi hotspot. Simply go to your phone's general settings, to networks, then tap &quot;use as hotspot&quot; and follow the password directions.</p> <p><em>What modern life skill do you think everyone should master?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-modern-life-skills-everyone-should-master">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-couponing-apps">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</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-apps-that-actually-pay-you-to-shop">8 Apps That Actually Pay You to Shop</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/these-apps-turn-saving-money-into-a-game-are-they-worth-it">These Apps Turn Saving Money Into a Game — Are They Worth It?</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/these-5-apps-can-fix-your-finances">These 5 Apps Can Fix Your Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-skills-that-will-be-obsolete-soon">9 Skills That Will Be Obsolete Soon</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Productivity Technology apps email life skills online banking smartphones social networks Tue, 21 Apr 2015 13:00:21 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1392289 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Mobile Phone Upgrades That Aren't Worth the Money http://www.wisebread.com/4-mobile-phone-upgrades-that-arent-worth-the-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-mobile-phone-upgrades-that-arent-worth-the-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/girl_phone_000039037532.jpg" alt="Girl realizing she has mobile phone plan she doesn&#039;t need" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The old adage says &quot;If you buy what you don't need, you'll need what you can't buy.&quot;</p> <p>When you have a mobile phone, you're already shelling out some serious coin every month. The average U.S. <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/6-reasons-your-phone-bill-keeps-rising/">monthly phone bill</a> ranges from $120 to $148. So, there's no need to pay for additional features you don't really need.</p> <p>Consider avoiding these four costly plan upgrades.</p> <h2>1. International Long Distance</h2> <p>Unless it's an absolute emergency, it just doesn't make sense to make international calls using your mobile phone's plan. For example, as an AT&amp;T subscriber, I would pay $2.19 per minute if I were to call to a landline in Ecuador, or $2.37 per minute if I were to call a wireless number.</p> <p>While paying $5 per line to upgrade to <a href="https://www.att.com/shop/wireless/international/long-distance.html?tab=1">AT&amp;T World Connect</a> lowers my calling rates to Ecuador ($0.35 per minute to landlines and $0.53 per minute to wireless), it is still not worthwhile. Without paying any additional fees, I can call any landline or mobile in Ecuador for $0.15 per minute, by signing up for a Skype subscription. I'd decrease my calling cost to landlines in Ecuador to as little as $0.075 per minute.</p> <p>You could also leverage smartphone apps, such as <a href="http://line.me/en/">Line</a>, <a href="http://www.tango.me">Tango</a>, or <a href="http://www.viber.com/en/">Viber</a>, that allow you to make international calls for free. Or, buy an international calling card with good rates for the country that you're trying to call. The point is that there are much more affordable options than upgrading for an international long distance feature.</p> <h2>2. Frequent Equipment Upgrades</h2> <p>T-Mobile Jump, AT&amp;T Next, and Verizon Edge offer variations of the same idea: Instead of committing to a single phone model for two years, you can upgrade to the latest model as soon as you want. No matter your phone carrier, if you have a frequent upgrade plan, you pay a monthly fee based on the full price of your selected phone (cost of service is separate).</p> <p>From a purely financial perspective, frequent equipment upgrade plans often aren't worth the money. For example, you could <a href="http://lifehacker.com/are-early-upgrade-plans-worth-it-1369868915#">save close to $650</a> by sticking to a two-year plan with AT&amp;T, instead of going with a frequent upgrade plan for two years. Similar savings scenarios happen with Verizon ($600) and T-Mobile ($340). (Note: Sprint retired its <a href="http://support.sprint.com/support/article/Learn_more_about_Sprint_One_Up/35e890a8-cbab-4cc4-99a7-91b0bc533e35?INTNAV=LP:Support:01102014:oneup&amp;ECID=vanity:oneup">One Up upgrade plan</a> on January 9, 2014). The premium that you pay for the &quot;convenience&quot; of having the latest model is too high and something that you don't really need.</p> <h2>3. International Data Plan</h2> <p>I get it, I really do.</p> <p>Just like many Millennial travelers, I believe that a trip isn't a trip without posting a few vacation pics for my friends to view. About 69% of Millennial travelers use some form of <a href="https://www.yahoo.com/travel/millennials-travel-survey-113198011097.html">social media during vacations</a>.</p> <p>Most service providers provide international data plans starting at 100MB. For example, <a href="http://www.att.com/shop/wireless/international/roaming.html">AT&amp;T's 120MB data plan</a> is $30, and <a href="http://www.verizonwireless.com/landingpages/global-roaming/">Verizon's 100MB data plan</a> is $25. The problem is that a 100MB allowance doesn't go very far. Consider how much data some common activities consume.</p> <ul> <li>Emailing a single high-resolution photo is 2MB to 5MB.</li> <li>Doing a 10-minute video call is about 24MB.</li> <li>Visiting 50 web pages equals about 10MB.</li> <li>Completing 30 social media posts with photos is roughly 10MB.</li> <li>Downloading 10 songs is 40MB.</li> </ul> <p>You could burn through 100MB of data in a single day. And that's assuming that you're keeping track of all of your data use. If you unintentionally left on the auto-push feature of your smartphone for all apps, you could easily burn through most of the data in just a couple of hours.</p> <p>Instead of buying an international data plan, take the following steps when traveling abroad (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-minimize-cell-phone-charges-when-you-travel-abroad?ref=seealso">How to Minimize Cell Phone Charges When Traveling Abroad</a>):</p> <ul> <li>Use the Wi-Fi from your hotel or from other reliable sources;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Plan ahead with smartphone map apps, such as <a href="http://www.ulmon.com">Ulmon Maps</a> and <a href="http://osmand.net">OsmAnd</a>, which can work without an Internet connection;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Keep your phone in airplane mode as much as possible to prevent data use;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Prevent automatic upload of media.</li> </ul> <h2>4. Tethering</h2> <p>Sharing your data connection with all your other devices sounds like an awesome deal. However, the reality is that mobile tethering has several drawbacks:</p> <ul> <li>Most cellular carriers will require you to pay an additional fee or upgrade to a minimum MB plan to be able to tether through your device.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>There is no cellular carrier that will let you tether any device with an unlimited plan. You have to downgrade to a paid data plan, and figure out which one makes financial sense.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You have a data cap when tethering, often ranging from 2GB to 5GB. Depending on your data use, you may incur overages and their corresponding expensive fees.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Tethering is major drain to any mobile's battery life.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Many users report that their Internet connection freezes when the phone receives a text or call.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You're always trading off something when you're tethering. Tether via Wi-Fi, and your phone's battery drains quickly. Tether via USB, and only your computer can connect to the Internet. Tether via Bluetooth, and your connection gets very slow.</li> </ul> <p>This is why that tethering fee is something that you don't really need. Imagine if your home Internet provider would try to charge you for plugging an additional device to your home connection. You would probably tell your Internet company that they're crazy. If you really need a hotspot on the go for work purposes, you're better off investing in a mobile hotspot. That way you won't have to compromise for subpar service.</p> <p><em>What are some mobile plan upgrades that aren't worth the money?</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/4-mobile-phone-upgrades-that-arent-worth-the-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-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/is-unlimited-data-still-a-thing">Is Unlimited Data Still a Thing?</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/buying-a-new-smartphone-without-extending-your-contract">Buying a New Smartphone Without Extending Your Contract</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternatives-to-cable-tv-that-will-keep-you-entertained">8 Alternatives to Cable TV That Will Keep You Entertained</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-apps-will-help-you-finally-organize-your-money">These 5 Apps Will Help You Finally Organize Your 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/the-10-best-couponing-apps">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Technology data plans long distance mobile smartphones tethering upgrades Fri, 17 Apr 2015 15:00:07 +0000 Damian Davila 1388408 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Important Reasons You Need to Cut Back on Screen Time http://www.wisebread.com/10-important-reasons-you-need-to-cut-back-on-screen-time <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-important-reasons-you-need-to-cut-back-on-screen-time" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/girls_on_phones.jpg" alt="young girls on their cellphones" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Screen time. You know, all those hours you spend in front of your computer at work? Plus the time on your cell phone at lunch, and the TV you watch before you go to bed. It all adds up.</p> <p>Unfortunately, research seems to show some significant negative effects of all the time we spend in front of our screens. While this is still a nascent field of academic study &mdash; we simply haven't had access to these devices for long enough to know exactly how they affect us &mdash; there seem to be some compelling reasons to make the effort to look at something other than a screen.</p> <h2>1. It's Bad for Your Health</h2> <p>Being in front of a screen is almost always sedentary behavior (unless, I suppose, you're on the treadmill). Because of this, it correlates with things like lower fitness levels and undesirable body composition.</p> <p>Turn this around by choosing something active rather than watching TV or playing video games in your spare time. You don't have to kill yourself at the gym; you can take a walk, work on a project at home, or even garden.</p> <h2>2. It Hinders Your Brain's Performance</h2> <p>Kids do better in school when they have less screen time. Researchers aren't yet sure why this is true, but it probably has to do with the ways that technology teaches the brain to function. If you want to perform well in situations that involve memorization or problem solving (which are tasks that many kids perform in school), limit your screen time.</p> <h2>3. It Lowers Your Ability to Process Nonverbal Cues</h2> <p>When people are taken away from their screens, they seem to better <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563214003227">process nonverbal cues</a>. It makes sense that when you are mostly interacting with actual people, you get better at understanding emotional things they're trying to communicate.</p> <p>Processing nonverbal cues well means that you're less likely to make awkward social mistakes, and also means that you might have more opportunities for social interaction and have an easier time making new friends.</p> <h2>4. It Messes Up Your Sleep</h2> <p>When teenagers have more than four hours of screen time per day, and especially when they use their screens in the hour before going to bed, they have trouble falling asleep. This can lead to a sleep deficit of up to two hours each night!</p> <p>If you're not sleeping well, you will not only feel tired the next day, but it can hinder your performance at work or in school. It's worth the effort to use your screen less and get a little more rest.</p> <h2>5. It Reduces Your Ability to Plan Ahead</h2> <p>People who spend a lot of time in front of screens, and especially those who play video games a lot, have a <a href="https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mental-wealth/201402/gray-matters-too-much-screen-time-damages-the-brain">loss of brain volume</a> in their frontal lobes. If this happens to you, it lowers your ability to do a lot of things, among them the ability to plan ahead.</p> <p>Most of us need to make plans in our daily lives. We plan everything from where to go to lunch tomorrow, to how much money we can spend this weekend, to what we want to do on vacation next year. It's important to have the healthiest frontal cortex that you can, in order to perform these tasks well.</p> <h2>6. It Makes Impulse Control Harder</h2> <p>If you spend so much time in front of a screen that you get addicted to being online, there are all sorts of negative effects. One of these is that you lose the ability to <a href="http://www.psyn-journal.com/article/S0925-4927%2812%2900029-7/abstract">control your impulses</a>. This means that you will be more likely to do things like spending money whenever you see something that you want, overeating on things that look good to you, and making hasty decisions that could negatively affect your future.</p> <h2>7. It Inhibits Communication Skills</h2> <p>People who spend more time online, especially young people, are more likely to <a href="http://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/health/article/1513555/beware-negative-effects-too-much-screen-time-children">struggle with communication</a>. It seems that people who learn how to interact with others in online contexts don't necessarily develop the skills to interact outside of those specific structures. If interpersonal communication is important to you or part of your job, you will likely reap rewards if you spend less time in front of your screen.</p> <h2>8. It Can Make You Depressed</h2> <p>People who spend a lot of time in front of screens, specifically while watching TV, have a higher <a href="http://fit.webmd.com/teen/recharge/article/teens-screen-time?page=2#2">incidence of depression</a> than those who choose to do other things with their time.</p> <p>There are likely multiple reasons for this. If you choose to watch TV rather than interact with people, loneliness could cause the depression. TV also gives an unrealistic portrayal of how life should be and what you should look like, and comparing that to your real life can bring you down. Finally, TV can be violent and scary (and that's just the news!), which can lead people to an overall negative view of the world.</p> <h2>9. It Leads to Antisocial Behavior</h2> <p>When kids watch a lot of TV, they are more likely to have problems with <a href="http://www.everydayhealth.com/kids-health/0219/too-much-tv-leads-to-antisocial-behavior-in-kids-study-finds-7591.aspx">antisocial behavior</a> at some time in their lives. Note that this doesn't mean that they are necessarily antisocial as kids, but that this behavior can manifest as they grow older. Researchers aren't sure how time in front of the television leads to this behavior, but the correlation is strong enough that it seems like good motivation for limiting screen time for anyone.</p> <h2>10. It Means You're Almost Always Multitasking</h2> <p>When you're in front of a screen, you're usually multitasking. This means that a lot of screen time can lead to some of the same <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fallacy-of-multitasking?ref=seealso">negative effects of multitasking</a>, like a lack of focus or an inability to remember things because your brain is overstimulated. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-simple-way-to-make-multitasking-actually-work?ref=seealso">The Simple Way to Make Multitasking Actually Work</a>)</p> <p>If you must use a screen, try to do just that. Then, when you're done, move onto whatever you need to do next and leave the screen behind. Do one thing at a time so you can focus and remember.</p> <p><em>Do you choose to limit your screen time? What positive effects have you noticed?</em></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/10-important-reasons-you-need-to-cut-back-on-screen-time">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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-mobile-phone-upgrades-that-arent-worth-the-money">4 Mobile Phone Upgrades That Aren&#039;t Worth the 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/5-ways-social-media-saved-someones-life">5 Ways Social Media Saved Someone&#039;s Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-digital-detox-how-and-why-to-do-it">The Digital Detox: How and Why to Do It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-free-debt-management-tools">6 Free Debt Management Tools</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Technology screen time smartphones television video games Thu, 19 Mar 2015 11:00:09 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1347472 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Ways to Save on the Latest Smartphones http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-ways-to-save-on-the-latest-smartphones <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-ways-to-save-on-the-latest-smartphones" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/smartphone-cafe-494181221-small.jpg" alt="smartphone cafe" title="smartphone cafe" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some fantastic articles on ways to save on the latest smartphone, ways to save at school, and cool car hacks you should try.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2014/09/08/how-to-save-on-a-new-smartphone/">7 Ways to Save on the Latest Smartphones</a> &mdash; To save on the latest smartphones, trade in your old phone and wait a few months to buy the latest model released. [Money Talks News]</p> <p><a href="http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/smarrealistic-ways-save-money-wont-ruin-college-fun.html">Smart Ways to Save Money at School Without Ruining Your College Fun &mdash; or Going Hungry</a> &mdash; Not taking more than 4 years to graduate and taking advantage of student discounts can help you save money at college. [Bargaineering]</p> <p><a href="http://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Car-Hacks-35664947">19 Insanely Cool Car Hacks You Should Try Out</a> &mdash; Did you know hanging a shoe organizer on the back of your seat in your car can help you keep your car organized? [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://www.kiplinger.com/article/spending/T059-C011-S001-5-reasons-you-hate-flying-and-what-to-do-about-it.html">5 Reasons You Hate Flying and What to Do About It</a> &mdash; If you hate flying because of baggage fees, opt to fly with JetBlue or Southwest. [Kiplinger]</p> <p><a href="http://www.mainstreet.com/article/the-best-and-worst-states-to-retire">The Best and Worst States to Retire</a> &mdash; Orlando is one of the best cities to retire in, as is Scottsdale. [MainStreet]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.creditsesame.com/blog/when-a-relative-steals-your-identity/">When a Relative Steals Your Identity</a> &mdash; If a relative steals your identity, request copies of your credit report to find out how much damage has been done. [Credit Sesame]</p> <p><a href="http://angelashelton.com/8-steps-to-write-your-book/">8 Steps to Write and Publish Your Book</a> &mdash; Unsure how to start writing your book? Try creating an outline that lists questions your book will answer. [Angela Shelton]</p> <p><a href="http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/2014/09/the-new-retirement-rule.html">The New Retirement Rule?</a> &mdash; What do you think of the new retirement rule that states that you should save 15% of your pay for 30 years? [Free Money Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://onecentatatime.com/when-money-is-everything-how-to-financially-prepare-for-divorce/">When Money Is Everything: How to Financially Prepare for Divorce</a> &mdash; When you are going through a divorce, find a lawyer and be prepared to divide up assets. [One Cent at a Time]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/7-ways-to-be-a-leader-in-healthy-living">7 Ways to Be a Leader in Healthy Living</a> &mdash; To be a leader in healthy living, be organized and start early. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-ways-to-save-on-the-latest-smartphones">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-sites-that-will-pay-for-your-old-iphone">5 Sites That Will Pay for Your Old iPhone</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-apps-that-actually-pay-you-to-shop">8 Apps That Actually Pay You to Shop</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-5-best-waterproof-laptop-cases">The 5 Best Waterproof Laptop Cases</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-battery-phone-cases">The 5 Best Battery Phone Cases</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-couponing-apps">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping best money tips iPhone save smartphone smartphones technology Mon, 15 Sep 2014 19:00:04 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1207214 at http://www.wisebread.com