Technology http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8130/0 en-US 5 Ways Being Late on Tech Trends Saves You Money http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-being-late-on-tech-trends-saves-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-being-late-on-tech-trends-saves-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/you_have_got_to_meet_me_at_the_sale.jpg" alt="You have got to meet me at the sale!" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Late adopters are not people who hate technology, think trends are evil, and spend their time sitting in candlelit rooms grumbling about the modernization of things that used to matter. Late adopters are a segment of the consumer population who don't feel the need to jump on a new tech or trend as soon as it's available. They wait. They eye before they try. They are also often the last to try, and they save money and get more value out of what they do decide to buy. Here's how you can, too.</p> <h2>1. Skip the newest version</h2> <p>People often think of late adopters in the context of new technology. Late adopters won't be in line for the latest iPhone, or fighting crowds for the newest smart home thermostat. Their willingness to wait means they avoid the premium prices that come with getting the newest thing, now.</p> <p>For example, older versions of the iPhone typically drop in price by $100 when Apple releases the newest version. Late adopters save that $100, at a minimum. Potentially, they can save more by buying a used phone in great condition from someone who can't wait. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-ways-to-save-on-smartphones?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Smart Ways to Save on Smartphones</a>)</p> <h2>2. Save time and data</h2> <p>Late adopters save by avoiding the time and money spent on buying relatively untested tech trends, or gadgets. Tech is a competitive industry; not all that launches will last. Early adopters who sign on for the latest service or product provided by a startup get the thrill of the new. They also get the hassle of the new: keeping up with continual upgrades, dealing with bugs, and having to move (or lose) their data when a service shuts down. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tech-life-8-reasons-why-you-shouldn-t-be-an-early-adopter?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Be an Early Adopter</a>)</p> <h2>3. Avoid premium pricing</h2> <p>The premium pricing concept translates to many industries beyond fashion. If you're set on having the newest designs, as soon as they're released, you'll pay more for it. This &quot;hunger marketing&quot; strategy creates a sense of urgency and scarcity, and many consumers buy into it. Literally.</p> <p>Late adopters avoid price markups by waiting before purchasing. That new fashion trend highlighted on the main display will be in the bargain bin in a few weeks, and the price will drop accordingly. The timeline might be a bit longer, but the same goes for new tech toys.</p> <h2>4. Wait on tech stocks</h2> <p>By waiting, you can benefit financially by avoiding trend-chasing, a common strategy in the stock market. Prices on &quot;trending&quot; stocks increase to a maximum, then fall, sometimes dramatically. If you chase those trends, purchasing as the trend is growing or peaking, you might overpay.</p> <p>Seasonal cycles and holidays in the stock market can favor late adopters, as well. Trading activity, and prices, follow predictable patterns. People who are willing to wait can buy and sell at the best time, rather than taking what they can get right away.</p> <h2>5. Evaluate your true necessities</h2> <p>Turns out, the necessities of life aren't always necessities. If you talk to the sales rep at your nearest baby goods warehouse, you'll get a long list of items that you simply must have. If you talk to a seasoned parent, you'll get a much shorter list: the essentials, and those daily-use items that save a parent's sanity more than a few times.</p> <p>Taking the late adopter approach for a new baby, or for family entertainment, or for your tween's wish list will help you filter it to a shorter, smarter list. Many things seem optimum and exciting when we first hear about them and when our friends all have them. The crystal-clear voice of experience will save you money if you give it enough time.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-being-late-on-tech-trends-saves-you-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-avoid-buying-electronics-youll-regret">5 Ways to Avoid Buying Electronics You&#039;ll Regret</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-pet-cameras">The 5 Best Pet Cameras</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/frugal-tip-do-not-spend-when-you-are-sad">Frugal Tip: Do Not Spend When You Are Sad</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-smart-alarm-clocks">The 5 Best Smart Alarm Clocks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-usb-powered-fans">The 5 Best USB-Powered Fans</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping Technology gadgets saving shopping spending tech Wed, 21 Jun 2017 08:31:12 +0000 Annie Mueller 1969595 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Best Smart Alarm Clocks http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-smart-alarm-clocks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-smart-alarm-clocks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man _alarm_clock_493442446.jpg" alt="Man using best smart alarm clocks to wake up" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Waking up is hard to do. That&rsquo;s why you need a smart alarm clock to help you sleep better and wake up more refreshed.</p> <h2>What is a smart alarm clock?</h2> <p>A smart alarm clock has features that can improve your wake-up routine. This bedside upgrade can help you get up on the right side of the bed every morning. Each intelligent alarm clock is different, so some will help you fall asleep while others track and promote better sleep cycles. Some even use lighting technology to help gently wake you up.</p> <h2>Top 5 smart alarm clocks</h2> <h3>WITTI BEDDI Smart Radio Alarm Clock</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2sy86q8" target="_blank"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/witti.jpg" width="245" height="184" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://amzn.to/2sy86q8" target="_blank">WITTI BEDDI Smart Radio Alarm Clock Speaker with Smart Home Integration</a> is a fully funded Kickstarter project with more than 20 features. It focuses on waking you up naturally, starting with a large sunrise-simulated wake-up light on the backside that slowly turns on and gradually brightens before your alarm clock sounds. Once the alarm is turned off, an automated voice can tell you the weather forecast and traffic updates. It can also generate white noise (with various sound settings) to help you sleep better.</p> <p>The app-enabled alarm clock and Bluetooth speaker integrates with apps like Uber, Spotify, Nest, and Phillips Hue. It is SmartHome ready, so it can play your favorite music, set your Nest, and even make your coffee. You can customize the three top smart alarm buttons with whichever services you like, so you can easily control smart devices around your home. This will allow you to automate tasks, so you can start your mornings off right and get out the door faster.</p> <p>It comes with two USB charging ports, so you can simultaneously charge your smartphone and tablet. The easy-to-use app-controlled alarm clock has auto time sync and allows you to set up to four different alarms for specific days of the week with your ideal alarm sound or music, alarm volume, and snooze duration. It is highly reviewed and recommended by countless sites like Business Insider, Digital Trends, Maxim, and CNET. The <a href="http://amzn.to/2tjWsf0" target="_blank">WITTI Design BEDDI Style Smart Alarm Clock</a> is another highly recommended option from the trusted brand.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2sy86q8" target="_blank"><em>Currently $83.99 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Philips Wake-Up Light With Colored Sunrise Simulation</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2syEdFZ" target="_blank"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/philips_2.jpg" width="212" height="245" align="right" alt="" /></a>If you&rsquo;re OK with spending a bit more on your new smart alarm clock, then you won&rsquo;t find better than the <a href="http://amzn.to/2syEdFZ" target="_blank">Philips Wake-Up Light With Colored Sunrise Simulation</a>. It uses a unique combination of natural light and sound that simulates a real sunrise, which stimulates your body to naturally, gradually wake up. Philips claims that 92% of users agree that it&rsquo;s easier to get out of bed with this, which can improve your mood in the morning and help you wake up more energized.</p> <p>Beginning 20-40 minutes before your chosen wake-up time, the light will come on and get gradually brighter. At your desired wake-up time, the sound will start and increases gradually using five natural sounds or FM radio. With 20 adjustable brightness settings, you can also use it as a convenient reading lamp, which slowly turns off, so you can fall asleep. The bedside light and sound dims to gently guide you to sleep. The display automatically dims itself when the bedroom gets dark and there&rsquo;s an intuitive dimming display for nighttime wake-ups.</p> <p>The sleek, modern design has a large, easy-to-read LED display, nonslip rubber feet, and convenient features like tap-to-snooze. It&rsquo;s cool to the touch, so it&rsquo;s safe for children. It is recommended by Digital Trends and has thousands of five-star reviews on Amazon. If you&rsquo;d prefer a cheaper option with fewer features, consider the <a href="http://amzn.to/2sZG4B0" target="_blank">Philips Wake-Up Light with Sunrise Simulation</a> instead.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2syEdFZ" target="_blank"><em>Currently $112.09 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Electrohome Projection Alarm Clock</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2tjCBMX" target="_blank"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/electrohome.jpg" width="245" height="230" align="right" alt="" /></a>Amazon&rsquo;s Choice for smart alarm clocks, the <a href="http://amzn.to/2tjCBMX" target="_blank">Electrohome Projection Alarm Clock</a> displays the indoor temperature, day, and date. It includes pre-programmable daily dual alarm options with weekend cancellation. You can wake up to the radio or an alarm buzzer. You can listen to your favorite music through the AUX input or with the built-in AM/FM radio with 20-station memory. The feature-rich alarm clock has a modern design and large LCD display. It includes an auto dimmer feature and snooze, sleep, and nap functions.</p> <p>It can project the time or temperature on the wall or ceiling. You can tilt it a full 180 degrees so you can clearly see the time, and with adjustable focus, the projected time will always remain crystal clear. The Advanced SelfSet technology automatically displays the correct time and date and restores all alarm settings after power outages.</p> <p>This is an Amazon best-seller and has more than 5,000 five-star reviews on Amazon. The <a href="http://amzn.to/2syX5Vd" target="_blank">Electrohome Alarm Clock Radio</a> are other highly recommended options from the trusted brand.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2tjCBMX" target="_blank"><em>Currently $29.99 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Emerson SmartSet Alarm Clock Radio</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2syKAZX" target="_blank"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/emerson.jpg" width="245" height="168" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://amzn.to/2syKAZX" target="_blank">Emerson SmartSet Alarm Clock Radio</a> can be programmed to operate on weekdays, weekends, or every day. With award-winning and patented SmartSet technology, the clock radio adjusts itself automatically for Daylight Saving Time and Leap Year, and maintains the correct time and alarm settings after power outages. The dual alarm displays the month and date and the LED display with dimmer control is easy to read in the dark. The digital tuning AM/FM radio also has a 20-station preset memory.</p> <p>This is available in two different colors. It is an Amazon best-seller and comes from the trusted Emerson brand. It also has hundreds of five-star reviews on Amazon.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2syKAZX" target="_blank"><em>Currently $10.85 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Homtime Multifunction Alarm Clock</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2rYI2mK" target="_blank"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/multifunction.jpg" width="245" height="198" align="right" alt="" /></a>Amazon&rsquo;s #1 best-seller in mechanical and windup alarm clocks, the <a href="http://amzn.to/2rYI2mK" target="_blank">Homtime Multifunction Alarm Clock</a> is a basic alarm clock with smart functions. It features an LCD large font display with four brightness levels for easy readability. It has dual USB charging ports and built-in surge protection so you can safely charge your phone and tablet simultaneously. It works with the AC power adapter or batteries, so it retains power and saves settings during outages. The indoor thermostat displays the room temperature on the front panel. It is easy to set with a large sliding wheel. It has a gradual-wake function with snooze options, which can fade your alarm in slowly with chord music.</p> <p>This is available in two colors. It is an Amazon best-seller and has outstanding reviews.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2rYI2mK" target="_blank"><em>Currently $33.99 on Amazon</em></a></p> <p>And those are our recommendations for the best smart alarm clocks. As always, be sure to check <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-calendar" target="_blank">Wise Bread's Buying Calendar</a> to learn when and how to buy just about anything!</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-5-best-smart-alarm-clocks">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-best-usb-powered-fans">The 5 Best USB-Powered Fans</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-selfie-sticks">The 5 Best Selfie Sticks</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-electronics-wipes">The 5 Best Electronics Wipes</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-bluetooth-trackers">The 5 Best Bluetooth Trackers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-instant-cameras">The 5 Best Instant Cameras</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping Technology 5 best alarm alarm clocks product reviews shopping smart alarm clocks snooze Wed, 14 Jun 2017 08:00:25 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1965876 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Surprising Ways to Earn Money Online http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-ways-to-earn-money-online <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-surprising-ways-to-earn-money-online" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/girl_with_a_laptop.jpg" alt="Girl with a laptop" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The internet isn't all about cats with attitude, hashtags on social media, and endless Reddit discussion threads. There are also plenty of ways &mdash; some a bit off the beaten path &mdash; to make money. Here are seven surprising ways you can earn money online.</p> <h2>1. Sell your photos</h2> <p>National Geographic estimated that every American took an average of 322 digital photos in 2015. If you can easily beat that number and have serious <em>photog</em> skills, you should consider uploading your photos to sites that pay you every time somebody wants to download and use your image. Sites such as <a href="https://www.smugmug.com/pro" target="_blank">SmugMug Pro</a>, <a href="https://submit.shutterstock.com/payouts" target="_blank">Shutterstock</a>, <a href="https://www.foap.com" target="_blank">Foap</a>, <a href="http://clashot.com" target="_blank">Clashot</a>, and <a href="https://workwithus.istockphoto.com/en" target="_blank">iStockphoto</a> allow you to submit your digital masterpieces for review or you can apply to become a paid contributor. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/earn-extra-income-with-your-smartphone-camera?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Earn Extra Income With Your Smartphone Camera</a>)</p> <h2>2. Complete microtasks</h2> <p>If you have some extra time on your hands, rather than scrolling through your Instagram feed, make a little money by writing 50-word product descriptions, transcribing audio, or making sure that uploaded photos don't contain sensitive material. Sites, such as <a href="https://www.crowdflower.com/contributors/" target="_blank">CrowdFlower</a> and <a href="https://www.mturk.com/mturk/help?helpPage=overview" target="_blank">Amazon's Mechanical Turk</a>, allow you to find single, self-contained tasks that provide a monetary reward. Initial tasks usually pay just a few cents, but once you obtain higher qualifications you can earn much more. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-earn-more-money-without-working-more-hours?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways to Earn More Money &mdash; Without Working More Hours</a>)</p> <h2>3. Create an online course</h2> <p>When you're really good at something and could teach it to anybody in your sleep, then you could earn passive income by creating a robust online course and receiving royalties every time that somebody watches your lessons or tutorials, or signs up to the service as a paid student. Some options to build on-demand courses are <a href="https://www.skillshare.com/teach" target="_blank">Skillshare</a> and <a href="https://teach.udemy.com" target="_blank">Udemy</a>.</p> <h2>4. Tutor in real time</h2> <p>Since some students learn better by doing, you also have the option to deliver live tutoring through the web. Sites like&nbsp;<a href="https://www.chegg.com/tutors/become-a-tutor/?from_header=1" target="_blank">Chegg Tutors</a> and <a href="https://www.tutor.com/apply" target="_blank">Tutor.com</a>&nbsp;are constantly looking for experienced tutors on a wide range of subjects at the high school and college levels. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-best-jobs-for-expats-and-travelers?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 3 Best Jobs for Expats and Travelers</a>)</p> <h2>5. Become a beta tester</h2> <p>Some people wait in line for hours to get the latest smartphone model or video game platform. If you're one of those, <a href="https://erlibird.com/beta-testers" target="_blank">ErliBird.com</a> offers you the opportunity to get a sneak peek and provide feedback on upcoming apps, websites, and products. Some assignments require ownership of a Windows PC, Mac, or other specific devices. Depending on your set of demographics and the needs from clients, the site provides up to five assignments per month, each one paying $10.</p> <h2>6. Be a virtual jury member</h2> <p>If you just can't wait for the day to be called for jury duty, you can increase your chances of becoming a juror by signing up for <a href="http://www.ejury.com/jurors_learn_about.html#paid" target="_blank">eJury.com</a>. Don't let the late '90s retro design fool you, this site is real and the Texas-based company has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Assignments depend on location and demand from attorneys in that area, so it may take a while for you to land an assignment. But when you do, expect a $5 to $10 payment via PayPal. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-to-make-money-online-that-arent-scams?ref=seealso" target="_blank">13 Ways to Make Money Online That Aren't Scams</a>)</p> <h2>7. Snap photos of help wanted signs</h2> <p>With the <a href="https://jobspotter.indeed.com" target="_blank">Job Spotter</a> app from job search engine Indeed.com, you can accumulate points by taking photos of local job signs with your smartphone camera. For about 30 seconds of your time, you can win <a href="https://jobspotter.indeed.com/points-guide?from=welcome_email&amp;uk=8336c51e345e9306" target="_blank">up to 150 points</a> for submitting a local job sign. Once you hit 100 points, you can turn that into a $1 in Amazon.com credit. If you're a frequent Amazon shopper, this is a pretty good deal for the amount of time that you have to invest.</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-surprising-ways-to-earn-money-online">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-make-money-doing-household-chores">4 Ways to Make Money Doing Household Chores</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/34-ways-to-come-up-with-the-rent-before-the-month-ends">34 Ways to Come Up With the Rent Before the Month Ends</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-i-make-800-on-month-on-ebay-selling-used-clothes">How I Make $800 on Month on eBay Selling Used Clothes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-earn-extra-money-with-your-car">7 Ways to Earn Extra Money With Your Car</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/13-businesses-your-tween-can-start">13 Businesses Your Tween Can Start</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Income Technology extra cash internet jobs making money saving money side gig side hustle work from home Mon, 12 Jun 2017 08:30:14 +0000 Damian Davila 1963761 at http://www.wisebread.com 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/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/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/10-fun-money-apps-for-kids">10 Fun Money Apps for Kids</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 Everyone's Using Spare Change Apps — Are They Really Worth It? http://www.wisebread.com/everyones-using-spare-change-apps-are-they-really-worth-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/everyones-using-spare-change-apps-are-they-really-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/shopping_woman.jpg" alt="Shopping woman" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Dad had one. His grandfather had one, too. And today, despite using credit cards for most transactions, I, too, have a change jar sitting on my dresser.</p> <p>As people shift from cash transactions to paying for everything with credit cards, debit cards, and even their phones, is the opportunity to invest &ldquo;spare change&rdquo; lost? Not if you try one of these <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/with-micro-investing-your-smartphone-pays-you?ref=internal" target="_blank">micro-investing apps</a> that purport to effortlessly grow your savings. Let's review some of the most popular apps, including their pros and cons.</p> <h2>1. Acorns</h2> <p><strong>What it does</strong>: After you link one or all of your credit cards to your account, <a href="https://www.acorns.com/">Acorns</a> rounds up each purchase to the nearest dollar and takes the difference from your checking account. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-i-learned-about-money-after-using-acorns?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Here's What I Learned About Money After Using Acorns</a>)</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: Free for college students for four years, $1 per month for others; 0.25 percent for accounts of $5,000 or more.</p> <p><strong>The good</strong>: Automatic saving is great because you don&rsquo;t have to remember to do it. Your investment account is auto-managed in ETFs (exchange-traded funds), so the money that grows there will feel like pennies from heaven.</p> <p>Partners including Jet, Airbnb, and Hulu have agreed to give Acorns users cash back, which they deposit straight into your account. Free money, people!</p> <p><strong>The bad</strong>: If you are only investing a few dollars a month, that $1 management fee could turn out to be an outrageously high percentage of your investment. Also, if your bank account tends to run low, the money this app withdraws could cause an overdraft and cost you a nasty fee.</p> <h2>2. Stash</h2> <p><strong>What it does</strong>: <a href="https://www.stashinvest.com/start-investing/wisebread">Stash</a> is simply an ETF investing app, but unlike stockbrokers who require a $1,000 or larger initial investment, Stash keeps the initial investment threshold at just $5. Pre-arranged portfolios have cute names like &ldquo;The Activist,&rdquo; to help people with no interest in financial jargon figure out what funds to buy. The Auto Stash feature will periodically transfer a predetermined amount of money from a linked bank account.</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: $1 per month for balances under $5,000; 0.25 percent per year after that (which starts at $12.50 per year for $5,000).</p> <p><strong>The good</strong>: If not knowing what to invest in or not having enough money to buy into a mutual fund was keeping you from investing, user-friendly Stash could be a good jump start. It could be a good way for kids or young adults to experiment with investing on a small scale.</p> <p><strong>The bad</strong>: As with Acorns, the $1 a month fee is actually quite expensive for small account balances. Then there&rsquo;s the question of whether you&rsquo;re getting good advice on what to invest in. The funds currently offered on Stash have a relatively high expense ratio, meaning that, market performance being equal, other funds might yield more money to the investor after fees. And Stash doesn&rsquo;t auto-balance your investments over time like other <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-trust-your-money-with-these-4-popular-financial-robo-advisers?ref=internal">robo-advisers</a>.</p> <p><strong>Special offer:</strong> Want $5 to get started? Use our referral link: <a href="https://www.stashinvest.com/start-investing/wisebread"><strong>Sign up for Stash and get $5 to start investing today!</strong></a></p> <h2>3. Qoins</h2> <p><strong>What it does</strong>: <a href="https://qoins.io/">Qoins</a> skims the &ldquo;change&rdquo; from transactions, and then uses that change to pay off debt. The company estimates that most people end up paying down an extra $40 in debt each month they use Qoins.</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: Quoins deducts $1.99 from each monthly payment sent out on your behalf. If your monthly total is less than $20, Quoins won&rsquo;t send out a debt payment and won&rsquo;t charge you; instead it will roll over your accumulated spare change into the next month&rsquo;s payment.</p> <p><strong>The good</strong>: If you&rsquo;ve got high-interest loans, you can probably save more in interest by chipping away at debt than you could earn from saving at today&rsquo;s low interest rates. And unlike investing, paying off debt is risk free.</p> <p><strong>The bad</strong>: Again, that fee is going to erode gains. Paying $500 extra each year on a student loan might save you $25 in interest, but the app costs nearly $24 a year to use. You could achieve the same benefit for free by setting your monthly automatic loan payment $40 higher.</p> <h2>4. Debitize</h2> <p><strong>What it does</strong>: Aiming to help people avoid credit card debt, <a href="https://debitize.com/">Debitize</a> links your checking account to your credit card and makes a checking withdrawal every time you make a credit card charge. Then it pays your monthly credit card bill with the money it withdrew. The end result is the ability to use a credit card like a debit card.</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: Free.</p> <p><strong>The good</strong>: At first it&rsquo;s hard to grasp the point of Debitize. I mean, if you want to pay for all your purchases at the time you make them, you could simply stick to a debit card, a choice millions of conservative spenders make.</p> <p>However, Debitize positions itself as a way for previous debit users to take advantage of all those rich credit card rewards out there, and build their credit score, while avoiding the risk of getting into credit card debt. I can imagine this as a training wheels program for people who have had trouble with credit card debt before. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <p><strong>The bad</strong>: To me, this service would add an unnecessary layer of complexity to life. It doesn&rsquo;t offer to increase my savings or cut my expenses, just to save me from myself by putting aside money to pay my bills.</p> <h2>5. Digit</h2> <p><strong>What it does</strong>: Instead of focusing on transactions, <a href="https://digit.co/">Digit</a> analyzes your checking account inflow and outflow. Every day that it judges you can afford to, it moves a little money from your checking to an FDIC-insured savings account.</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: $2.99 per month.</p> <p><strong>The good</strong>: Digit's &ldquo;no overdraft&rdquo; promise means that if a transfer causes your account to go negative, it&rsquo;ll cover the fee. It&rsquo;s also nice that Digit will allocate your savings toward goals of your choice, such as a rainy day fund or a new TV.</p> <p><strong>The bad</strong>: When you save and invest, your money is supposed to grow. But unless you&rsquo;re saving large amounts each month, your savings may shrink a bit with Digit. Digit is putting your money in a savings account on your behalf, and paying you a 1 percent annual &ldquo;savings bonus,&rdquo; broken into four quarterly payments &mdash; which is not a bad rate. But it also charges $2.99 per month. So if you invest $1,000 over the course of the year through Digit, you&rsquo;d earn $10 in interest, but pay $35.88 in fees.</p> <h2>6. Change</h2> <p><strong>What it does</strong>: <a href="https://gochange.co/intro/s/4?tk=AF78188" target="_blank">Change</a> monitors all your transactions and texts you with reminders and suggestions for wiser money management. For example, the app might point out how much you&rsquo;ve paid over the course of a year for a service you forgot you were signed up for.</p> <p>Change also offers &ldquo;auto saving&rdquo; which, like Digit, analyzes your account and transfers money it thinks you don&rsquo;t need to a separate account that pays you &ldquo;savings bonuses&rdquo; instead of interest. The standard bonus rate (like today&rsquo;s interest rates) is low at 3 percent, but you can increase your rate by referring friends to sign up for the auto-save service.</p> <p><strong>Cost</strong>: Free.</p> <p><strong>The good</strong>: Fans of the app appreciate getting insight that they would not have gleaned on their own. Unlike the other apps in this post, which focus on saving in small increments, Change is looking to change big picture and long-term behavior. Its impact on your savings efforts could be huge.</p> <p><strong>The bad</strong>: If you already get a lot of texts, having your phone start notifying you when you've spent too much money could be annoying.</p> <h2>The takeaway</h2> <p>One drawback to all of these accounts is that they focus on adding money to after-tax accounts. If you are earning income, you should really focus on contributing to your tax-advantaged retirement account. That said, if you&rsquo;re already paying into your retirement fund, one of these apps could be a way to contribute to a rainy day fund, or to chip away at debt.</p> <p>Another concern that applies to all of these apps is that you're inviting a second or third company to peruse and make use of your financial data, meaning that your privacy and the security of your accounts could be diminished. Of course, each app has reassurances on its website about how great its data security is, but hacks happen. Before handing over your account information to any service provider, make sure you understand how it plans to handle your data.</p> <p>Personally, I don&rsquo;t like paying fees. I don&rsquo;t dump my real change jar into one of those machines that charges a fee to turn it into folding money, and I wouldn&rsquo;t pay a monthly fee for a company to make micro-withdrawals from my checking account for me. Instead, I&rsquo;d be inclined to emulate their effect for free by setting my checking account to autodeposit a set amount of money into savings or an investment account.</p> <p>If you value novelty and convenience over a buck or three a month, and you have never invested before, any of these apps might help jump start your savings and investment career. If that&rsquo;s you, take one of them for a spin. But be sure to re-evaluate after six months or so to see if you&rsquo;re getting enough value from your monthly fee, or if you&rsquo;re ready to graduate to another form of saving and investing.</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/everyones-using-spare-change-apps-are-they-really-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/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-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/how-to-manage-your-money-no-budgeting-required">How to Manage Your Money — No Budgeting Required</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-millennial-money-habits-every-retiree-should-learn">6 Millennial Money Habits Every Retiree Should Learn</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Technology acorns apps cons debitize digit fees micro investing pros qoins saving money spare change stash Mon, 05 Jun 2017 08:30:13 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1957903 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-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/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 A Simple Guide to Buying The Best Travel Cameras http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-buying-the-best-travel-cameras <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/a-simple-guide-to-buying-the-best-travel-cameras" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tourist_woman_photographing_with_digital_camera_in_rome.jpg" alt="Tourist woman photographing with digital camera in Rome" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If one thing is true about buying a new camera for an upcoming trip, it's that there are plenty of choices. However, deciding among them can be overwhelming. The camera market is more than saturated and it can be hard to figure out which one of the available options is right for you and your travel style.</p> <p>One of the most important things to keep in mind is that the &quot;best&quot; camera is the one that will serve <em>your</em> needs best. Do you want to be able to use it underwater? Do you want to be able to take more professional looking photos by choosing settings manually? Deciding what factors are most important to you before you shop will help ensure that you pick a camera that is the best match for your needs.</p> <p>To help you make an informed decision, I've compiled this guide to some of the most popular travel cameras. As a professional videographer and photographer with more than five years of experience, I've found that the cameras below are the best in their class. My colleagues and I have used every one of them and recommend each for the categories listed.(See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-simple-ways-to-take-stunning-travel-photos?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Ways to Take Stunning Travel Photos</a>)</p> <p><span style="color: rgb(17, 17, 17); font-family: georgia; font-size: 1.5em; font-weight: normal;">For the adventurer</span></p> <p>Any active traveler knows that the tougher a camera is, the better. Chances are, your camera could be subjected to rain, snow, seawater, and lots of bumping around while you're climbing, sailing, diving, skiing, or just strolling around town. You need a rugged camera that can accompany you through it all.</p> <h3>Tough TG-5 by Olympus</h3> <p>The newest addition to Olympus' Tough lineup, the <a href="http://amzn.to/2q1g8mA" target="_blank">TG-5</a>, is currently available for pre-order and will soon hit the mass market. Priced at $450, you can drop this tough point-and-shoot from heights of up to seven feet, subject it to temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit, and dive with it to depths of 50 feet. It's also dustproof and crushproof. This rugged camera can survive pretty much any condition you subject it to, and still take great pictures. It renders colors vibrantly and includes art filters if you want an easy way to add Instagram-like effects to your photos. If you prefer to do more in-depth post-processing, the TG-5 also shoots stills in RAW mode. It shoots stunning video in Ultra HD 4K.</p> <p><strong>Pros:</strong> In addition to its durability, this camera can fit into your pocket easily (it measures 4.4 inches by 2.6 inches by 1.2 inches). It's also lightweight at just over half a pound.</p> <p><strong>Cons:</strong> As a point-and-shoot camera, the TG-5 has no manual mode. If you intend to only use your camera in automatic modes, then this isn't really a downside.</p> <h3>GoPro Hero5 Black</h3> <p>GoPros are excellent and durable cameras that allow you to take action photos and videos from a unique point of view. You can take GoPros on the ski slopes, to the sea, mountain biking, parasailing, and just about anywhere else without ever having to worry about damaging them. Their durability is one big draw, but users also praise their wide angle lenses, which allow you to capture more in one frame than a traditional camera.</p> <p>The easy <a href="http://amzn.to/2qBv26p" target="_blank">mounts you can buy</a> to accompany a GoPro allow you to shoot from your arm, a helmet, a bike, and so much more. These mounts secure the camera so you don't have to worry about losing it. You can focus on what you're doing while simultaneously preserving that moment for future viewing.</p> <p>The <a href="http://amzn.to/2rzrgaU" target="_blank">Hero5 Black</a>, the latest model, retails for about $400.</p> <p><strong>Pros:</strong> GoPros are great for extreme sports, but even the not-so-extreme traveler can benefit by using them to catch hands-free footage on the go. The body of the Hero5 Black is waterproof up to depths of 33 feet, meaning you no longer need a special casing to keep moisture out. You can shoot in 4K Ultra HD, and change settings with the touch-screen or by using voice commands. The Hero5 also features GPS, stereo audio, electronic image stabilization, and the ability to upload clips automatically to the cloud.</p> <p><strong>Cons:</strong> If you're going to be taking a lot of portraits or wildlife close-ups, a GoPro is probably not for you. The wide angle lens gives an immersive feeling to action shots, but also creates barrel distortion. The Hero5 comes with a linear field of view setting that allows you to shoot in a mode that corrects some of that distortion, but it's still not perfect.</p> <p>GoPro colors can also be a little flat. You can use the ProTune feature to help increase saturation a bit, but without some postproduction editing, you may be disappointed with the vibrancy of your images.</p> <p>One final thing to keep in mind is that the battery life of GoPros is notoriously short, lasting only about an hour-and-a-half when you're using the camera's GPS, electronic image stabilization, and Wi-Fi. You may want to purchase a <a href="http://amzn.to/2r07Mjq" target="_blank">backup battery</a>, which costs around $20.</p> <h2>For the instant gratification seeker</h2> <p>Digital photography pretty much spelled the death of Polaroid cameras and their instant-print ilk. Or so it seemed.</p> <p>These cameras have recently been staging a comeback, and some of them are small enough to be excellent for traveling. They allow you to instantly and effortlessly share your favorite shots with new friends that you've made on the go.</p> <h3>Fujifilm Instax Mini 8</h3> <p>The <a href="http://amzn.to/2pTwm5l" target="_blank">Fujifilm Instax Mini 8</a> is 4.6 inches by 4.7 inches by 2.7 inches, weighing 11 ounces before adding the batteries. That's not tiny, but it's smaller than some competing cameras. I prefer the Fujifilm brand because in my opinion, its cameras are more comfortable to hold and I've always liked Fujifilm's standard color grading in photos.</p> <p>The Instax Mini 8 sells for about $60. You'll need to buy the <a href="http://amzn.to/2q0DFnS" target="_blank">Instax Mini film</a> made specifically for these cameras.</p> <p><strong>Pros:</strong> The retro touch and the ability to get prints on the spot make these cameras instant fun. Want to make friends with locals wherever you go? Ask nicely to take their photo, then give them a copy from your Instax Mini. Kids especially appreciate the gift. You can also use the photos as souvenirs for yourself, or postcards for folks back home.</p> <p><strong>Cons:</strong> The image quality of the Instax Mini 8 doesn't match even most cellphone cameras, so don't buy it to capture beautiful landscapes. It's more of a fun, retro snapshot device.</p> <p>Another drawback is that instant film is notoriously expensive, so be prepared to spend around $13 for a twin-pack (10 exposures on each film cartridge). You'll want to stock up before you leave home, because you'd be surprised how fast you can go through 10 shots &mdash; especially if you're used to shooting pictures digitally. You'll also need a scanner if you plan to upload your snapshots online.</p> <h2>For the artist</h2> <p>If you want more control over your camera, you'll need a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera with a manual mode, so you can adjust the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO according to the light conditions and the elements you want to emphasize in your shot.</p> <h3>Canon EOS Rebel T6i</h3> <p>Canon's Rebel line of cameras are perfect entry-level DSLRs for travelers. They allow you to easily move between automatic and manual modes, giving you full control or easy point-and-shoot capability, depending on your mood and situation. This camera is easy to use and won't take up too much space, yet allows you to move closer to professional photography capabilities.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2pTlN2o" target="_blank">The T6i</a> boasts a 24.2 MP sensor for beautiful high-resolution shots, and a quick, accurate autofocus. The 3-inch touch-screen is fully articulating, making it perfect for vloggers who need to be the focus of their own shots. This particular model of Canon Rebel frequently finds itself on the list of best DSLR cameras and it's my favorite of the DSLR class 24 MP+ category.</p> <p><strong>Pros:</strong> Automatic modes make it easier to shoot near-pro quality images and video even if you haven't fully mastered shooting in manual yet. Additionally, this model includes a very handy wireless transfer capability that enables you to sync pictures from the camera directly to your phone or computer, so you can easily publish on the go.</p> <p>Canon's Rebel cameras are typically sold with a starter lens, and this one comes packaged with a EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM. In layman's terms, this lens has a great range of wide-angle through medium telephoto, image stabilization for sharper photos, and the stepping motor (STM) keeps autofocus smooth and quiet during video.</p> <p><strong>Cons:</strong> Weighing in at 18 ounces, this camera is one of the bigger and heavier ones we've included in this list, although it is still very portable. Its dimensions in inches are 5.10 by 3.93 by 3.07, and it costs about $670.</p> <h2>For the vlogger</h2> <p>If your main intention is video blogging, then the best vlogging camera currently on the market should be your choice.</p> <h3>Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II</h3> <p>You really can't beat this <a href="http://amzn.to/2q4bOST" target="_blank">compact $679 camera</a> for video. It's small enough to fit into a backpack pocket (4.2 inches by 2.4 inches by 1.7 inches, and weighing 11.2 ounces), which is nice for those who require some level of portability while traveling. It has a flip-up selfie screen for those perfect vlogging shots or selfie stills, and with its 1-inch image sensor it takes pretty nice photos, too.</p> <p><strong>Pros: </strong>Selfie flip-up screen. Beautiful colors. You can shoot images in RAW mode for in-depth editing in Lightroom or Photoshop, which is a feature still lacking in many compacts.</p> <p><strong>Cons: </strong>Barely pocketable. If they made it just a half inch narrower, this thing would slide in and out of your pants pocket with ease.</p> <p>The biggest con about the G7 X Mark II is the fact that there is no external mic port, which is a huge disadvantage for people who are serious about taking professional videos. Unfortunately, none of the best cameras in this class have an external mic port.</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%2Fa-simple-guide-to-buying-the-best-travel-cameras&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FA%2520Simple%2520Guide%2520to%2520Buying%2520The%2520Best%2520Travel%2520Cameras.jpg&amp;description=A%20Simple%20Guide%20to%20Buying%20The%20Best%20Travel%20Cameras"></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/A%20Simple%20Guide%20to%20Buying%20The%20Best%20Travel%20Cameras.jpg" alt="A Simple Guide to Buying The Best Travel Cameras" 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/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-buying-the-best-travel-cameras">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/caribbean-island-vacations-anyone-can-afford">Caribbean Island Vacations Anyone Can Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easy-way-to-save-up-a-big-travel-budget">The Easy Way to Save Up a Big Travel Budget</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-costly-flight-booking-mistakes-you-make-all-the-time">8 Costly Flight Booking Mistakes You Make All the Time</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-dslr-cameras">The 5 Best DSLR Cameras</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/earn-extra-income-with-your-smartphone-camera">Earn Extra Income With Your Smartphone Camera</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Technology Travel cameras photography photos product reviews trips vacations video vlogging Thu, 25 May 2017 08:30:14 +0000 Nick Wharton 1952959 at http://www.wisebread.com How I Scored Tons of Free Stuff By Building a Small Social Media Audience http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-one-social-media-micro-star-gets-lots-of-free-stuff <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-one-social-media-micro-star-gets-lots-of-free-stuff" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-529666142.jpg" alt="Social media star getting lots of free stuff" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We've all heard of social media stars, aka &quot;influencers,&quot; who can quit their day jobs and live off the free resort stays, paid Instagram posts, and endless swag provided by brands eager to advertise to a large digital audience. But what if you don't have a million followers on social media? Can you still reap material benefits?</p> <p>I spent the last four months building up a modest Instagram following in my spare time. It started as a hobby, but to my surprise, brands started offering me free stuff to review much sooner than I anticipated. I fall into the realm of the &quot;micro-influencer,&quot; which is a social media account with a few thousand followers, rather than a few hundred thousand. I currently get so many offers for free products that I can't possibly say yes to them all. You can get free stuff, too, with a few social media tips.</p> <h2>1. Find a niche</h2> <blockquote class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-version="7" style=" background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% - 2px); width:calc(100% - 2px);"><div style="padding:8px;"> <div style=" background:#F8F8F8; line-height:0; margin-top:40px; padding:50.0% 0; text-align:center; width:100%;"> <div style=" background:url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACwAAAAsCAMAAAApWqozAAAABGdBTUEAALGPC/xhBQAAAAFzUkdCAK7OHOkAAAAMUExURczMzPf399fX1+bm5mzY9AMAAADiSURBVDjLvZXbEsMgCES5/P8/t9FuRVCRmU73JWlzosgSIIZURCjo/ad+EQJJB4Hv8BFt+IDpQoCx1wjOSBFhh2XssxEIYn3ulI/6MNReE07UIWJEv8UEOWDS88LY97kqyTliJKKtuYBbruAyVh5wOHiXmpi5we58Ek028czwyuQdLKPG1Bkb4NnM+VeAnfHqn1k4+GPT6uGQcvu2h2OVuIf/gWUFyy8OWEpdyZSa3aVCqpVoVvzZZ2VTnn2wU8qzVjDDetO90GSy9mVLqtgYSy231MxrY6I2gGqjrTY0L8fxCxfCBbhWrsYYAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); display:block; height:44px; margin:0 auto -44px; position:relative; top:-22px; width:44px;">&nbsp;</div> </div> <p style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;"><a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BHnWxevh8p3/" style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none;" target="_blank">A post shared by Camilla (@gracefulfaceblog)</a> on <time style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;" datetime="2016-07-08T21:05:23+00:00">Jul 8, 2016 at 2:05pm PDT</time></p> </div> </blockquote> <script async defer src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js"></script><p>The easiest way to get active engagement from the social media community and attention from brands is by &quot;niching down&quot; in social-media parlance. Finding a small, but dedicated community focused on a niche hobby or product can help you grow the fastest. In my case, I started by focusing on Asian beauty products, which is a very focused, but growing part of the beauty industry. My followers are highly engaged and tight-knit, making any influence in this community incredibly valuable, especially for up-and-coming brands.</p> <p>If you'd like to get free swag from brands, it helps if the products you'd like to receive aren't overwhelmingly expensive. It's far more likely for a beauty, food, or clothing brand to send you some of their wares than expensive electronics brands, for instance. I see people with just 400 to 500 followers in my niche receiving free products.</p> <h2>2. Provide value</h2> <p>Providing reviews or tips to your followers can be one way to engage the community and keep them coming back for more. Even if your social media account is more aspirational and lifestyle-oriented, be sure to think about what you're offering that will keep people's attention, and what would make them likely to purchase the products you showcase.</p> <h2>3. Post regularly</h2> <blockquote class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-version="7" style=" background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% - 2px); width:calc(100% - 2px);"><div style="padding:8px;"> <div style=" background:#F8F8F8; line-height:0; margin-top:40px; padding:50.0% 0; text-align:center; width:100%;"> <div style=" background:url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACwAAAAsCAMAAAApWqozAAAABGdBTUEAALGPC/xhBQAAAAFzUkdCAK7OHOkAAAAMUExURczMzPf399fX1+bm5mzY9AMAAADiSURBVDjLvZXbEsMgCES5/P8/t9FuRVCRmU73JWlzosgSIIZURCjo/ad+EQJJB4Hv8BFt+IDpQoCx1wjOSBFhh2XssxEIYn3ulI/6MNReE07UIWJEv8UEOWDS88LY97kqyTliJKKtuYBbruAyVh5wOHiXmpi5we58Ek028czwyuQdLKPG1Bkb4NnM+VeAnfHqn1k4+GPT6uGQcvu2h2OVuIf/gWUFyy8OWEpdyZSa3aVCqpVoVvzZZ2VTnn2wU8qzVjDDetO90GSy9mVLqtgYSy231MxrY6I2gGqjrTY0L8fxCxfCBbhWrsYYAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); display:block; height:44px; margin:0 auto -44px; position:relative; top:-22px; width:44px;">&nbsp;</div> </div> <p style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;"><a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BIn_7CbB1bC/" style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none;" target="_blank">A post shared by Camilla (@gracefulfaceblog)</a> on <time style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;" datetime="2016-08-02T23:36:21+00:00">Aug 2, 2016 at 4:36pm PDT</time></p> </div> </blockquote> <script async defer src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js"></script><p>When your followers know you have new content coming regularly, they're more likely to seek it out and engage with your posts. Your followers will feel like they know you better. Brands will know that you post consistently, and are likely to follow through with reviewing or showcasing their products. This may differ based on the social media platform &mdash; you could post several times a day on Instagram without fatiguing your followers, for instance, whereas you may want to post less frequently on Facebook, YouTube, and other platforms.</p> <h2>4. Do your hashtag or keyword research</h2> <p>On Instagram and Twitter, make sure you're using targeted, effective hashtags. For other social media platforms such as YouTube and blogs, make sure you do your keyword research so your posts show up in Google search.</p> <h2>5. Create great visuals</h2> <blockquote class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-version="7" style=" background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% - 2px); width:calc(100% - 2px);"><div style="padding:8px;"> <div style=" background:#F8F8F8; line-height:0; margin-top:40px; padding:50.0% 0; text-align:center; width:100%;"> <div style=" background:url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACwAAAAsCAMAAAApWqozAAAABGdBTUEAALGPC/xhBQAAAAFzUkdCAK7OHOkAAAAMUExURczMzPf399fX1+bm5mzY9AMAAADiSURBVDjLvZXbEsMgCES5/P8/t9FuRVCRmU73JWlzosgSIIZURCjo/ad+EQJJB4Hv8BFt+IDpQoCx1wjOSBFhh2XssxEIYn3ulI/6MNReE07UIWJEv8UEOWDS88LY97kqyTliJKKtuYBbruAyVh5wOHiXmpi5we58Ek028czwyuQdLKPG1Bkb4NnM+VeAnfHqn1k4+GPT6uGQcvu2h2OVuIf/gWUFyy8OWEpdyZSa3aVCqpVoVvzZZ2VTnn2wU8qzVjDDetO90GSy9mVLqtgYSy231MxrY6I2gGqjrTY0L8fxCxfCBbhWrsYYAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); display:block; height:44px; margin:0 auto -44px; position:relative; top:-22px; width:44px;">&nbsp;</div> </div> <p style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;"><a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BRJxnPhgdF1/" style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none;" target="_blank">A post shared by Camilla (@gracefulfaceblog)</a> on <time style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;" datetime="2017-03-02T22:36:38+00:00">Mar 2, 2017 at 2:36pm PST</time></p> </div> </blockquote> <script async defer src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js"></script><p>If you want brands to be showcased on your account, you need to make their products look good. While you don't have to be a professional photographer, spend some time setting up your photos, and make sure they're clear, well-lit, and pleasing to the eye. Photo editing apps such as VSCO, Snapseed, and Facetune can help you create social media-ready photos without the need for professional photo-editing software. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-6-instragrammers-are-getting-rich-by-traveling-the-world" target="_blank">6 Instagrammers Getting Rich by Traveling the World</a>)</p> <h2>6. Focus on engagement</h2> <p>Social media isn't all a numbers game, contrary to popular opinion. You may only have a few hundred followers, but if you have a high proportion of your followers commenting and &quot;liking&quot; your posts, you show brands that your followers care about your opinions. To many brands, engagement counts as much as numbers, and in some cases, more. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-social-media-stars-who-earn-way-more-than-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Social Media Stars Who Earn Way More Than You</a>)</p> <h2>7. Be authentic</h2> <blockquote class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-version="7" style=" background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% - 2px); width:calc(100% - 2px);"><div style="padding:8px;"> <div style=" background:#F8F8F8; line-height:0; margin-top:40px; padding:50.0% 0; text-align:center; width:100%;"> <div style=" background:url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACwAAAAsCAMAAAApWqozAAAABGdBTUEAALGPC/xhBQAAAAFzUkdCAK7OHOkAAAAMUExURczMzPf399fX1+bm5mzY9AMAAADiSURBVDjLvZXbEsMgCES5/P8/t9FuRVCRmU73JWlzosgSIIZURCjo/ad+EQJJB4Hv8BFt+IDpQoCx1wjOSBFhh2XssxEIYn3ulI/6MNReE07UIWJEv8UEOWDS88LY97kqyTliJKKtuYBbruAyVh5wOHiXmpi5we58Ek028czwyuQdLKPG1Bkb4NnM+VeAnfHqn1k4+GPT6uGQcvu2h2OVuIf/gWUFyy8OWEpdyZSa3aVCqpVoVvzZZ2VTnn2wU8qzVjDDetO90GSy9mVLqtgYSy231MxrY6I2gGqjrTY0L8fxCxfCBbhWrsYYAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); display:block; height:44px; margin:0 auto -44px; position:relative; top:-22px; width:44px;">&nbsp;</div> </div> <p style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;"><a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BNyO9OSh1Ik/" style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none;" target="_blank">A post shared by Camilla (@gracefulfaceblog)</a> on <time style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;" datetime="2016-12-09T05:37:05+00:00">Dec 8, 2016 at 9:37pm PST</time></p> </div> </blockquote> <script async defer src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js"></script><p>Everyone on the social media scene harps on the importance of being authentic, but it isn't always easy when you're putting only your best photos and content out there on the internet. There's a fine line between appearing professional (and thus appealing to brands) and being approachable. Don't be afraid to share a little bit about yourself personally, but don&rsquo;t veer into the realm of too much information or negativity.</p> <p>It may seem a little odd to say this in an article about how to get free stuff, but don't be too focused on getting free stuff. Your followers can spot a mercenary attitude a mile away, and your account won't grow if it seems like it only exists to get freebies. I started my account to chronicle my hobby, not to get free products. The free swag was just a nice byproduct of being immersed in a great community.</p> <h2>8. Join influencer apps and networks</h2> <p>The Influenster app is probably the most well-known and popular influencer app, with broad categories such as food, haircare, home goods, beauty, and more. With this influencer network, you receive free samples to review on your social media accounts. The more followers you have, the more likely you are to receive samples regularly, though I started receiving products even when I only had a few hundred followers.</p> <p>I've also started using Brandbacker, an influencer network that allows you to apply to do brand campaigns in exchange for free products or sometimes paid opportunities.</p> <h2>9. Approach brands directly</h2> <blockquote class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-version="7" style=" background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% - 2px); width:calc(100% - 2px);"><div style="padding:8px;"> <div style=" background:#F8F8F8; line-height:0; margin-top:40px; padding:50.0% 0; text-align:center; width:100%;"> <div style=" background:url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACwAAAAsCAMAAAApWqozAAAABGdBTUEAALGPC/xhBQAAAAFzUkdCAK7OHOkAAAAMUExURczMzPf399fX1+bm5mzY9AMAAADiSURBVDjLvZXbEsMgCES5/P8/t9FuRVCRmU73JWlzosgSIIZURCjo/ad+EQJJB4Hv8BFt+IDpQoCx1wjOSBFhh2XssxEIYn3ulI/6MNReE07UIWJEv8UEOWDS88LY97kqyTliJKKtuYBbruAyVh5wOHiXmpi5we58Ek028czwyuQdLKPG1Bkb4NnM+VeAnfHqn1k4+GPT6uGQcvu2h2OVuIf/gWUFyy8OWEpdyZSa3aVCqpVoVvzZZ2VTnn2wU8qzVjDDetO90GSy9mVLqtgYSy231MxrY6I2gGqjrTY0L8fxCxfCBbhWrsYYAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); display:block; height:44px; margin:0 auto -44px; position:relative; top:-22px; width:44px;">&nbsp;</div> </div> <p style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;"><a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BSOpfAyAFlL/" style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none;" target="_blank">A post shared by Camilla (@gracefulfaceblog)</a> on <time style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;" datetime="2017-03-29T16:33:12+00:00">Mar 29, 2017 at 9:33am PDT</time></p> </div> </blockquote> <script async defer src="//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js"></script><p>Once you have a social media presence and have established your niche, it doesn't hurt to approach brands directly for free samples to showcase. You can approach brands via private message on social media, or look for their marketing or PR contacts via their websites. Send a concise, professional message, and tell them what value you bring to the table. Do you give really helpful, detailed reviews? Or beautiful photography? How can your content benefit the brand?</p> <p>Smaller brands are often willing to reach out to influencers with smaller followings, but you'd be surprised what response you might get (and the free goodies) if you reach out to larger brands who may have more of a marketing budget.</p> <h2>10. Be clear about expectations</h2> <p>It's exciting to get free products just for putting up a post on social media. Just be sure to set clear expectations, both for yourself and for brands you're working with, about just how much content you will create. Some brands expect you to create several posts across several different social media platforms in exchange for a free item. Others may be willing to send you the products with no strings attached and hope that you'll post something positive about them. It's best to be on the same page to begin with, and try to get it in writing, even if it's just a quick note via private message. And remember, you can always say no. Free products don't pay the bills, after all.</p> <p>Everyone wants a slice of the social media marketing pie these days, so if you're willing to create great content in exchange for free stuff, it's not too hard to do so. Many small influencers are able to support their hobby this way, without having to shell out too much of their own cash. And who knows, once you've mastered micro-influencer territory, you might even be able to turn your social media account into a paid side gig.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camilla-cheung">Camilla Cheung</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-one-social-media-micro-star-gets-lots-of-free-stuff">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-ways-social-media-can-save-you-money">6 Ways Social Media Can Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-34-smart-ways-to-improve-your-social-media-presence">Flashback Friday: 34 Smart Ways to Improve Your Social Media Presence</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-social-media-stars-who-earn-way-more-than-you">5 Social Media Stars Who Earn Way More Than You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/social-media-an-easy-source-of-coupons">Social Media: An Easy Source of Coupons</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-surprising-ways-social-media-stars-make-money">5 Surprising Ways Social Media Stars Make Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping Technology Facebook free goodies free stuff instagram side hustle snapchat social media social media following social media star twitter Mon, 22 May 2017 08:00:12 +0000 Camilla Cheung 1950344 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Have a Successful Skype or Video Job Interview http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-successful-skype-or-video-job-interview <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-have-a-successful-skype-or-video-job-interview" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-656378092.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all had a good laugh over the British journalist <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mh4f9AYRCZY" target="_blank">being upstaged by his kids</a> while trying to give a BBC video interview. All laughs aside, it did bring up an important subject: How do you conduct a great video interview for a new job?</p> <p>It's now possible to interview for positions all over the country, if not the world, using modern technology. It's also easy to get distracted or interrupted. If you're getting ready to jump online for your next interview, follow these steps for success.</p> <h2>1. Clean up the area</h2> <p>It's imperative that you have everything you need at hand before starting the video interview, including a clean home office. Organize your workspace thoroughly, clean the desk, and tidy up the room. You may look the part, but a messy, disorganized background can send red flags to the interviewer.</p> <p>If you really don't have the time or ability to clean up the space behind you, consider a backdrop. Something as simple as a plain bedsheet (nothing patterned or &quot;loud&quot;) hung from the ceiling can work. Black or gray works best, but as long as it doesn't distract, it will do the job.</p> <h2>2. Look directly into the camera</h2> <p>This cannot be emphasized enough &mdash; the camera lens should be treated like the eyes of the person interviewing you. If you don't focus your attention there, you're not making eye contact with the interviewer, and that can come across just as rude as if you were doing it face-to-face.</p> <p>There are a few steps you can take to make this easier. First, you could place something next to the camera, like a bright sticky note (you can even draw eyes on it as a reminder). Throughout the interview, that will prompt you to focus your gaze there.</p> <p>Another option is to turn off the webcam preview that shows you what your interviewer is looking at &mdash; you. It's in our nature to look at ourselves, and when we see that little window with our picture in it, our eyes immediately wander there. By turning that off, you'll be much more inclined to look at the camera.</p> <h2>3. Go to the bathroom first</h2> <p>It may sound like a no-brainer, but before you know it, you're shifting in your seat five minutes into a one-hour interview. This is not good. Not only will the interviewer pick up on how uncomfortable you are, but it will totally hamstring your performance. You won't be able to think clearly, your responses will be rushed, and you might even start sweating.</p> <p>Do yourself a favor: Go to the bathroom beforehand, even if you're not feeling the need. And don't drink a lot of water right before you start.</p> <h2>4. Keep the interview room off-limits</h2> <p>If there's one thing we can take from the poor journalist being interrupted by his kids, it's that he should have found a way to secure the room. If you have the ability to lock the door, do it. If you don't, consider putting a bolt on the door, or use something to block the entrance (as long as it isn't showing on camera).</p> <p>Take it a step further and ask the people you live with if they'd be willing to step out of the house when the interview is scheduled. Even if the room is secured, noises from outside the room can still be very distracting. Ideally, you want a quiet room in an empty house.</p> <h2>5. Do your homework</h2> <p>Just like any other interview, you need to have your ducks in a row. With a video interview, your facial expressions are actually more apparent, because that is all the interviewer will be focusing on. So, when you're stumped on a question, or struggling to find a reply, it will really show.</p> <p>To avoid that, spend time studying the company. Prepare a series of questions to ask the interviewer. Do a practice run with a friend or colleague. Make sure you know as much as you possibly can, and then, practice a great response for questions that really will stump you.</p> <h2>6. Check the equipment thoroughly</h2> <p>Any time anyone does something live, they fear gremlins in the works. Technological glitches are common, and they can happen to anyone. Life being what it is, they often happen at the worst possible times.</p> <p>So, do everything you can to test your equipment thoroughly the day before the interview. Make sure the camera is working, and focused. Check the microphone. Check the sound levels. Check the cables. Do a test run, record yourself, and play it back. By doing this a day before, you give yourself plenty of time to fix the issues without risking missing your interview.</p> <h2>7. Dress for success</h2> <p>A video interview is no excuse to wear casual clothing and look like you've just gotten out of bed. This is not a phone interview. You are presenting yourself to your potential employer, and you want to look the part.</p> <p>That means dressing for the occasion, and that can differ between industries. If you're in a corporate career, you'll need to dress for business. If it's a more creative profession, you can obviously be a little less formal, but you'll still need to look the part. And of course, you need to look fresh and camera-worthy. Hair, makeup, clean teeth, clean nails, the works. Treat this just like you'd treat a regular interview, and give yourself plenty of time to get ready.</p> <h2>8. Remember you're on camera</h2> <p>The interviewer can see you, and you can see them. But if you're sitting in front of a computer that doubles for your personal use, it can be easy to forget, and slip into a more comfortable position. Gradually, you may start to slouch, scratch your nose (or pick it &hellip; disaster), divert eye contact, or even start flicking through messages on your phone.</p> <p>If these things happened in a face-to-face meeting, you'd be hard pressed to finish the interview. You'd have blown it. It's just the same over video chat. The interviewer will feel insulted and disrespected, and you will have blown any chance of a follow up. If it helps, put a sign next to the camera that says &quot;Smile, you're on camera!&quot; It may sound silly, but it really makes a difference.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-successful-skype-or-video-job-interview">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-ways-to-make-a-good-first-impression-at-your-next-job-interview">13 Ways to Make a Good First Impression at Your Next Job Interview</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-you-should-ask-at-every-job-interview">5 Questions You Should Ask at Every Job Interview</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-did-wrong-at-your-last-job-interview">10 Things You Did Wrong at Your Last Job Interview</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-extreme-job-interview-tactics-that-worked">6 Extreme Job Interview Tactics That Worked</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/12-questions-to-ask-before-you-take-a-job-offer">12 Questions to Ask Before You Take a Job Offer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Job Hunting Technology conference call distractions Job Interview preparedness skype video chat video interview Mon, 15 May 2017 08:30:06 +0000 Paul Michael 1945044 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways Your Devices Are Spying on You http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-your-devices-are-spying-on-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-your-devices-are-spying-on-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-452268617.jpg" alt="your home devices are spying on you" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Microwave ovens aren't spying on us (yet), but plenty of other products seem to be. From smart TVs to tech toys for kids, there are a slew of common household items collecting data about our location, habits, and preferences &mdash; and some are more sinister than others. Here are some of the ways your possessions could be tracking your every move. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/careful-your-cc-may-be-sharing-this-private-info?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Your Credit Card May Be Sharing Your Private Info</a>)</p> <h2>1. Your TV might be bugged by the U.S. government</h2> <p>According to the latest dirt from WikiLeaks, the CIA has developed a covert hacking program that can transform your smart TV into a bug. Once your TV is hacked by the program, it has the ability to enter into a &quot;fake-off mode&quot; in which the TV appears to be off but is actually on and operating as a recording device. The program, known as &quot;Weeping Angel,&quot; uses the TV's speakers and camera to record what it hears and sees. Then it transmits these private living room conversations to the CIA server.</p> <h2>2. Your child's doll could be bait for a cyberattack</h2> <p>Cayla is a sweet-faced American-made doll with big, blue eyes and Bluetooth technology. Not only is Cayla adorable, she's also interactive. Everything Cayla hears gets transmitted to a voice recognition company that helps the doll to hold human-like conversations, much like the iPhone's Siri. Unfortunately, this technology also makes the doll a prime target for hackers. In Germany, where hidden microphones and cameras are illegal, the doll has been pulled from store shelves and government officials have ordered doll owners to confiscate the toy. In Norway, a consumer group has released a warning about the doll's vulnerabilities. Consumer complaints about Cayla have been filed in the U.S., though the doll remains on shelves in America and in several European countries.</p> <h2>3. Your shoes could help retailers figure out your age or social status</h2> <p>The British retail analysis firm Hoxton Analytics is pointing its facial recognition software to the ground. Instead of faces, the firm's technology records shoppers' feet as they walk in and out of participating retail outlets. The data is then analyzed to reveal a surprising amount of information, including specifics about a shopper's gender, age, and social class. It's all based on the shoes a person is wearing. According to Hoxton executives, the retail analysis technology can determine a person's gender based on his or her footwear with 80 percent accuracy. The company asserts that the marketing technology is much less invasive than scanning shoppers' faces, but its use has raised concerns among consumer advocate groups.</p> <h2>4. Your cell phone could be surveilling your every move</h2> <p>Cell site simulators, or stingrays, are commonly used by law enforcement agencies to geolocate the cell phone calls or text messages of criminal suspects and other persons of interest. The New York Police Department, for example, has used the stingray technology more than 1,000 times since 2008 to determine a person's location by monitoring their calls and texts. It's not only New Yorkers who are susceptible to this sort of secret surveillance. Stingrays are used by local police agencies across the nation, as well as the FBI and CIA. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-surprising-ways-your-identity-can-be-stolen?ref=seealso" target="_blank">18 Surprising Ways Your Identity Can Be Stolen</a>)</p> <h2>5. A hacker could infiltrate your baby monitor</h2> <p>If you use a baby monitor to keep a watchful eye over your child at night, know that a hacker could infiltrate the device in order to spy on your child. In a recent horror story, <a href="http://sfglobe.com/2016/01/06/stranger-hacks-familys-baby-monitor-and-talks-to-child-at-night/" target="_blank">a stranger hacked a baby monitor</a> in Washington state and used the device to communicate with a three-year-old child, as well as to track the movements of people in the room. The toddler's parents reportedly entered their child's room one night and heard a voice on the baby monitor saying, &quot;Wake up little boy, daddy's looking for you.&quot; The child had reportedly told his parents that he did not like the monitor because of the voice that spoke to him on it during the night. But it wasn't until the parents heard the voice for themselves that they understood what their child meant.</p> <h2>6. Your refrigerator could make you vulnerable to an email hack</h2> <p>Samsung's latest voice-controlled refrigerator can play music, stream movies, and sync your Google calendar onto a display screen. Sounds cool, right? But beware: Earlier models of the smart fridge have allowed hackers to break into its owner's email accounts. That's because previous security shortcomings have allowed hackers to access the refrigerator technology in order to steal users' Gmail login credentials. Here's the silver lining: Samsung's latest model hasn't had any reported hacking fiascos &mdash; not yet, anyway.</p> <h2>7. Your webcam could be recording you</h2> <p>If your webcam isn't password protected &mdash; or if the password is easy to hack &mdash; you could be under surveillance. Hackers around the globe are known to gain access to the webcams of strangers in order to peek into the private lives of their owners. There's even a creepy search engine that matches voyeuristic hackers with unsecured webcams, making it that much easier for devious internet users to violate the privacy of strangers.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-your-devices-are-spying-on-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-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/34-smart-ways-to-cut-your-electric-bill">34 Smart Ways to Cut Your Electric Bill</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/attempts-to-escape-the-clutches-of-online-data-aggregators">Attempts to Escape the Clutches of Online Data Aggregators</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-your-smartphone-saves-you-money">8 Ways Your Smartphone Saves You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-making-these-8-risky-password-mistakes">Stop Making These 8 Risky Password Mistakes</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-tools-and-gadgets-your-smartphone-can-replace">7 Tools and Gadgets Your Smartphone Can Replace</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Technology bugged devices government internet security privacy spying tech gadgets Tue, 18 Apr 2017 08:30:11 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1929794 at http://www.wisebread.com Stop Making These 8 Risky Password Mistakes http://www.wisebread.com/stop-making-these-8-risky-password-mistakes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/stop-making-these-8-risky-password-mistakes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_scared_internet_511483528.jpg" alt="Woman learning to stop making password mistakes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Elaborate passwords are a necessity in today's internet-obsessed world. Unfortunately, too many of us still rely on simple passwords that make us easy targets for hackers.</p> <p>A study by the online security provider Preempt found that <a href="https://blog.preempt.com/weak-passwords" target="_blank">35 percent of LinkedIn users</a> have exceptionally weak passwords that pose no challenge to hackers. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-surprising-ways-your-identity-can-be-stolen?ref=seealso" target="_blank">18 Surprising Ways Your Identity Can Be Stolen</a>)</p> <p>Want to boost your online security and keep your personal information safe from hackers? Then here are some key password mistakes to avoid.</p> <h2>1. You use the same password across various accounts</h2> <p>This is one of the biggest password mistakes too many of us make. We reuse passwords from site to site. It doesn't matter how complex these passwords are &mdash; whether they are an incomprehensible mess of lowercase letters, numbers, and uppercase letters. If you are using the same password at multiple sites, you are vulnerable. A hacker only has to crack this password once to access several of your accounts.</p> <h2>2. Your password is all numbers or all letters</h2> <p>One of the easiest ways to make your password more challenging to crack? Use a wide variety of characters, numbers, lowercase letters, uppercase letters, and even symbols such as your keyboard's dollar sign and asterisk.</p> <p>Never make your password all letters or all numbers. These are some of the easiest passwords to guess.</p> <h2>3. You don't mix up where you put those numbers</h2> <p>Maybe you take the next step and you do put numbers and letters in your password. Where you put those numbers matters, however. Too many of us simply put a string of numbers at the front or at the end of our passwords. If you want to create a stronger password, sprinkle numbers throughout it, and don't simply bunch them all together. Also, don't use obvious numbers, such as your street address, the year you were born, or the years during which your children were born.</p> <h2>4. You rely on short passwords</h2> <p>It's difficult to remember long, complicated passwords. But such passwords are also more difficult to crack. Don't create a password that's too short. Online security experts have different opinions on this, but keep your passwords at least 12 characters long, and you'll be a lot better off. The longer your password, the more work hackers have to do to guess it. Many might give up and go after less difficult passwords.</p> <h2>5. You follow well-known patterns</h2> <p>You might think you've created a complex password, one filled with letters, numbers, and symbols. But if your password follows certain well-known patterns, hackers can crack it with little effort, relying on password-cracking programs.</p> <p>Security consultant KoreLogic in 2014 studied the users at an anonymous Fortune 100 company. It found that about half of the users relied on five patterns to create their passwords. KoreLogic discovered, too, that 85 percent of the users at this company relied on just 100 common password patterns.</p> <p>What are the three most common patterns that KoreLogic uncovered? Users relied on one uppercase, five lowercase and then two digits, such as Pdregt45. They also relied on one uppercase letter, six lowercase letters and two digits, such as Tjiktrg39, and one uppercase letter, three lowercase letters and four digits, such as Pewy1476.</p> <p>When creating passwords, then, avoid these most common of patterns. Your password might seem perfectly random to you. Hackers won't see it the same way.</p> <h2>6. You start your password with an uppercase letter</h2> <p>Mixing upper- and lowercase letters in your passwords is a good idea. But don't start your password with an uppercase letter and then follow it with a string of letters that are all lowercase. Instead, randomly capitalize letters throughout your passwords.</p> <h2>7. You aren't careful with exclamation marks</h2> <p>Some sites might require passwords that include not just letters and numbers, but at least one symbol, too. Adding symbols can dramatically increase the complexity of your password. Just don't fulfill the symbol requirement by putting an exclamation point at the very end of your password. Too many users already do that, and it makes cracking your password an easier task.</p> <h2>8. You always place numbers next to each other, no matter where you put them</h2> <p>So, you avoid the common mistake of putting numbers only at the beginning and end of your passwords. That's good. But don't place numbers next to each other, either. Users have the habit of bunching numbers together in their passwords, no matter where they put them. This is another common mistake that makes your passwords easier to hack.</p> <h2>How to manage all these passwords</h2> <p>Following all the above tips poses one big problem: How are you supposed to remember all these random and long strings of numbers, letters, and characters?</p> <p>One way is to use a password manager, like LastPass, Dashlane, or 1Password. This allows you to store your passwords through their encrypted and secure system, so when you visit a site, your login credentials will be saved and you can login without needing to remember your password. Unless you have a superb memory or don&rsquo;t have very many online accounts, this is one of the safest ways to keep your passwords and have it easily accessible.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-making-these-8-risky-password-mistakes">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/3-sneaky-ways-identity-thieves-can-access-your-data">3 Sneaky Ways Identity Thieves Can Access Your Data</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-surprising-ways-your-identity-can-be-stolen">18 Surprising Ways Your Identity Can Be Stolen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-your-auto-reply-email-telling-people-about-you">What Is Your Auto-Reply Email Telling People About You?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/google-yourself-challenge-how-much-can-people-learn-about-you-online">Google Yourself Challenge: How Much Can People Learn About You Online?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/phishing-scams-continue-to-plague-social-media-sites">Phishing Scams Continue to Plague Social Media Sites</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Technology identity theft internet safety internet security login password protection passwords safe password Fri, 14 Apr 2017 08:30:13 +0000 Dan Rafter 1927496 at http://www.wisebread.com Flashback Friday: 34 Smart Ways to Improve Your Social Media Presence http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-34-smart-ways-to-improve-your-social-media-presence <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/flashback-friday-34-smart-ways-to-improve-your-social-media-presence" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_happy_phone_519863698.jpg" alt="Woman finding smart ways to improve social media presence" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Having a social media presence used to be optional, and only for the digital journalism world. But now, having a decent following seems like a requirement if you want to run a business, successfully share your art, and engage with others in your industry. Here's how to improve your social media presence.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/iStock_000033755744_Large.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-surprising-ways-social-media-stars-make-money?ref=fbf">5 Surprising Ways Social Media Stars Make Money</a> &mdash; Start by learning from the masters. Being a social media &quot;star&quot; is a thing, and they are making more money than most of us. Here are some of their best tricks.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-clean-up-your-image-on-social-media?ref=fbf">7 Easy Ways to Clean Up Your Image on Social Media</a> &mdash; Maybe you spent the first few years on Facebook posting keg party photos and trolling celebrities. Yeah, that's not a good look. If you need to do some cleanup, follow these easy steps.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/000071173689.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-stop-doing-on-social-media-by-30?ref=fbf">10 Things to Stop Doing on Social Media by 30</a> &mdash; Those bad social media habits need to be left behind, because tweets and photos don't always disappear, even after you delete them. Employers, family members, and potential romantic partners can see what you're doing, so you might want to act accordingly.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-finances-using-social-media?ref=fbf">How to Improve Your Finances Using Social Media</a> &mdash; Once your social media posts are nice and tidy, use this guide to start bringing in some money on the side. Because once you start gaining a following, it's actually pretty easy!</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/iStock_73433583_MEDIUM.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-earn-extra-income-with-twitter?ref=fbf">How to Earn Extra Income With Twitter</a> &mdash; Twitter is a great place to connect with people and brands directly. You can also use your account to make some extra money with sponsored tweets and other branded content.</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jumpstart-your-job-search-with-instagram?ref=fbf">Jumpstart Your Job Search With Instagram</a> &mdash; Social media platforms can also aid you in your job search. Curate your feed and you might hashtag your way into a new gig!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chrissa-hardy">Chrissa Hardy</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-34-smart-ways-to-improve-your-social-media-presence">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/heres-how-one-social-media-micro-star-gets-lots-of-free-stuff">How I Scored Tons of Free Stuff By Building a Small Social Media Audience</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-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/5-social-media-stars-who-earn-way-more-than-you">5 Social Media Stars Who Earn Way More Than You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-surprising-ways-social-media-stars-make-money">5 Surprising Ways Social Media Stars Make Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-silly-internet-mistakes-you-need-to-stop-making-today">10 Silly Internet Mistakes You Need to Stop Making Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development Technology Facebook fbf flashback friday instagram Internet internet presence LinkedIn snapchat social media social media tips twitter Fri, 14 Apr 2017 08:30:08 +0000 Chrissa Hardy 1927497 at http://www.wisebread.com 34 Smart Ways to Cut Your Electric Bill http://www.wisebread.com/34-smart-ways-to-cut-your-electric-bill <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/34-smart-ways-to-cut-your-electric-bill" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-531612106.jpg" alt="Finding smart ways to cut your electric bill" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I was pleasantly surprised to see that my February natural gas bill was only $65 &mdash; which isn't bad for heating an entire house during an Iowa winter. But my electric bill for the month was over $100. There must be some things I can do to use less electricity and lower my bill. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-youre-wasting-electricity-without-realizing-it?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Ways You're Wasting Electricity Without Realizing It</a>)</p> <p>One way to save money on your bill is to change your behavior and pay more attention to your usage of electricity &mdash; no investment required. Another way is to install some upgrades. These involve spending money on projects, and investments to improve the energy efficiency of your home and lower your utility bills every month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-anyone-can-go-solar-and-save-on-energy?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Ways Anyone Can Go Solar and Save on Energy</a>)</p> <p>Here are some smart things you can do to use less electricity and start saving money on your electric bill.</p> <h2>1. Turn off auxiliary heating devices</h2> <p>I was using a space heater to keep some plants warm, but this ran up my electric bill. I'll use more efficient <a href="http://amzn.to/2otBRFM" target="_blank">heating pads</a> instead.</p> <h2>2. Enjoy some nonelectric evenings</h2> <p>Every once in awhile, switch off the circuit breaker and have an evening with no electricity. Break out the flashlights, candles, books, and board games. You don't have to wait for Earth Hour to turn out the lights and save money on electricity.</p> <h2>3. Dry clothes outside</h2> <p>Weather permitting, you can hang laundry outside to dry instead of running an energy-intensive dryer.</p> <h2>4. Turn up central A/C temperature</h2> <p>Turn up your thermostat a few degrees to run your central air conditioner less.</p> <h2>5. Use someone else's electricity</h2> <p>Turn off the lights, appliances, and air conditioning at your house and go somewhere else. You could go to the library or work at a coffee shop.</p> <h2>6. Use your ceiling fans correctly</h2> <p>Run ceiling fans to make rooms comfortable with less energy than running A/C. Set the ceiling fan direction for the correct season &mdash; in summer, a ceiling fan should rotate counterclockwise when viewed from below.</p> <h2>7. Use fans, open windows</h2> <p>Use box fans or oscillating fans to cool occupied spaces and run central A/C less on hot days. Open windows at night to take advantage of cool air. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-fans?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Best Fans</a>)</p> <h2>8. Turn off unused lights</h2> <p>Get in the habit of turning off lights when leaving a room. It's easy enough to turn the lights back on if they are needed again.</p> <h2>9. Turn off unused electronics</h2> <p>Turn off computers, game consoles, and TVs when no one is using them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/hands-in-your-pocket-the-cost-of-standby-power-environmental-and-otherwise?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Cost of Standby Power</a>)</p> <h2>10. Run full loads</h2> <p>Run full loads in your dishwasher, clothes washer, and clothes dryer for maximum efficiency.</p> <h2>11. Use cold water</h2> <p>Reduce your use of hot water in your clothes washer, and select cold or warm water wash cycles instead whenever possible.</p> <h2>12. Run the clothes dryer at night</h2> <p>Run your clothes dryer and other energy intensive appliances at night if your electric utility provides an off-peak hours discount.</p> <h2>13. Clean lint trap on clothes dryer</h2> <p>Remove lint from the lint trap on your clothes dryer to maximize airflow and minimize energy use.</p> <h2>14. Turn off the dry cycle on your dishwasher</h2> <p>Instead of using a heated dry cycle, I simply open the dishwasher door and let dishes air dry.</p> <h2>15. Install LED light bulbs</h2> <p>I am replacing all of my incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs that provide great lighting and use a fraction of the electricity. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-energy-efficient-light-bulbs?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Energy Efficient Bulbs</a>)</p> <h2>16. Remove &quot;extra&quot; light bulbs</h2> <p>If a fixture has more light than you need, remove some of the bulbs so it will use less power.</p> <h2>17. Take advantage of water heater savings</h2> <p>Here are some ways to reduce electricity consumption for hot water:</p> <ul> <li>Lower the temperature setting on your hot water tank.</li> <li>Install an insulated jacket around the tank.</li> <li>Insulate the first six feet of hot water supply pipe.</li> </ul> <h2>18. Sleep outside</h2> <p>It gets cool outside at night, even during the summer. You can take advantage of this by turning off your air conditioning and sleeping outside in a tent or on a screened-in porch.</p> <h2>19. Remove underutilized appliances</h2> <p>If you have an extra freezer or refrigerator in your garage that doesn't have much in it, consider getting rid of it to save a few dollars worth of electricity every month.</p> <h2>20. Skip the blow dryer for your hair</h2> <p>Blow dryers are loud and use a lot of power. They also dry out your hair over time, so use a towel to dry your hair instead.</p> <h2>21. Use a toaster oven</h2> <p>Use a toaster oven to heat up small items such as a sandwich or slice of pizza instead of firing up the full-sized oven.</p> <h2>22. Choose a flashlight over a night light</h2> <p>I keep an LED flashlight next to my bed instead of trying to light large areas of the house with nightlights that use electricity all night long.</p> <h2>23. Charge your gadgets at work</h2> <p>If there are outlets handy at the office, you might as well charge your phone, tablet, and laptop there instead of at home. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-solar-chargers?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Solar Chargers</a>)</p> <h2>24. Use timers for holiday lights</h2> <p>I bought a digital timer to automatically turn my holiday lights off and on so they never run all night.</p> <h2>25. Change your furnace filter</h2> <p>You will get better airflow and spend less on central A/C if you change your furnace filter every few months.</p> <h2>26. Think broom, not vacuum cleaner</h2> <p>A broom is quiet and uses no electricity. I am trying to break my habit of reaching for the vacuum cleaner to clean up every mess in my shop.</p> <h2>27. Upgrade motion detectors</h2> <p>Install motion detectors on outside lights to prevent leaving lights on.</p> <h2>28. Install Energy Star appliances</h2> <p>Make energy efficiency a top criterion when selecting new appliances.</p> <h2>29. Choose a high efficiency A/C</h2> <p>If you have an older central A/C unit, you may be able to cut your cooling cost significantly by replacing it with a more energy efficient model.</p> <h2>30. Make sure you have insulated windows</h2> <p>Replace leaky or single pane windows with double or triple pane windows charged with inert gas to reduce A/C cost.</p> <h2>31. Install a programmable thermostat</h2> <p>You can install a <a href="http://amzn.to/2ovZP3h" target="_blank">programmable thermostat</a> to automatically adjust A/C temperature when no one is home.</p> <h2>32. Add solar panels</h2> <p>Install solar panels to generate your own electricity and drastically cut your electric bill. In some locations, you may even be able to sell any excess electricity that you generate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cut-your-electric-bill-with-solar-panels?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Cut Your Electric Bill With Solar Panels</a>)</p> <h2>33. Install a skylight or light pipe</h2> <p>If the sun is shining outside, you can bring free light in from outside using a skylight or light pipe.</p> <h2>34. Bicycle generator</h2> <p>You can generate your own electricity to run electronic devices and even some appliances by using a bicycle generator.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/34-smart-ways-to-cut-your-electric-bill">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-anyone-can-go-solar-and-save-on-energy">10 Ways Anyone Can Go Solar and Save on Energy</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-tools-and-gadgets-your-smartphone-can-replace">7 Tools and Gadgets Your Smartphone Can Replace</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-green-living-habits-thatll-save-you-every-month">12 Green Living Habits That&#039;ll Save You Every Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-your-smartphone-saves-you-money">8 Ways Your Smartphone Saves You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-long-does-it-take-to-break-even-with-solar-panels">How Long Does It Take to Break Even With Solar Panels?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Technology appliances electric bill electricity energy green living saving money tech gadgets Wed, 12 Apr 2017 08:30:15 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1925857 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Easy Ways to Clean Up Your Image on Social Media http://www.wisebread.com/7-easy-ways-to-clean-up-your-image-on-social-media <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-easy-ways-to-clean-up-your-image-on-social-media" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-515677550.jpg" alt="Woman learning easy ways to clean up her image on social media" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Cleaning up your social media account can improve your overall image and pay off big time. That's because more people are checking social media accounts now than ever before. In fact, according to the job search website CareerBuilder, 60 percent of employers admit to researching potential candidates through their social media profiles. As a safe bet, you should expect potential employers, college admissions offices, romantic partners, and even in-laws to Google your name and check your accounts. Here's how to clean up your internet presence in a pinch. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-stop-doing-on-social-media-by-30?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Things to Stop Doing on Social Media by 30</a>)</p> <h2>1. Check all accounts</h2> <p>Make sure that you hit all the important social media channels when you're cleaning up your online profile. You'll want to focus on your social media pages across the board, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Don't neglect one just because you don't think you have a lot of followers or haven't been on it for years.</p> <h2>2. View it publicly</h2> <p>Sign out of your social media accounts or login and &quot;view your profile as public&quot; to see what strangers can see. Sometimes your privacy settings aren't what you thought. Imagine a potential employer is visiting your social media page. Are you happy with the image you've created? Delete things that you're not comfortable with the world seeing.</p> <h2>3. Upload recent photos</h2> <p>You can improve your job prospects by making a good first impression right away. Post a recent photo of yourself and make sure your best self is highlighted. A professional looking headshot is best. If you can't afford to hire a photographer, have a friend take some shots in good lighting.</p> <h2>4. Showcase your talents</h2> <p>Update your LinkedIn profile with recent projects to showcase your talents, as well as information on your interests and skills. Add keywords to your profile so that it is more likely to show up in searches.</p> <h2>5. Get a domain</h2> <p>Consider getting your own domain and using it as a portfolio. Here, you can showcase your recent projects, skills, and links for further information on your work. Add this link to all of your social media pages. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-ways-a-personal-website-can-improve-your-life?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Surprising Ways a Personal Website Can Improve Your Life</a>)</p> <p>Having a social media presence and your own domain allows you to control what people see when they search for you online.</p> <h2>6. When in doubt, delete, delete, delete!</h2> <p>You'll want to clear away anything that interferes with the image you're trying to present. Consider erasing provocative photographs, controversial statements, and any posts that negatively refer to previous employers. Consider taking the time to go back several years. Some companies have interns whose job it is to go through candidates' social media pages and they're instructed to dig deep.</p> <h2>7. File a complaint when necessary</h2> <p>If there is embarrassing content that someone else has posted of you that you can't remove yourself, you may want to politely ask them to remove it. If there are items on your Facebook page that you can't remove yourself, you may want to contact Facebook Support or even <a href="https://support.google.com/legal/answer/3110420?visit_id=1-636250326555842646-111694048&amp;rd=2" target="_blank">submit a legal complaint to Google</a> in extreme cases.</p> <h2>Going forward</h2> <p>Just follow the general rule that if you don't feel comfortable with everyone at the office seeing what you're up to, don't include it on your social media accounts.</p> <p>Consider setting up different groups for your friends and followers, so that you can limit some of your activity to only the people you trust. Sometimes it's unavoidable to add a coworker or boss to your social media account, but you can limit your posts to specific groups of followers and friends.</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/7-easy-ways-to-clean-up-your-image-on-social-media">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/flashback-friday-34-smart-ways-to-improve-your-social-media-presence">Flashback Friday: 34 Smart Ways to Improve Your Social Media Presence</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-social-blunders-to-stop-making-by-30">10 Social Blunders to Stop Making by 30</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-snapchat-in-your-job-search">How to Use Snapchat in Your Job Search</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-web-presence-will-soon-be-more-valuable-than-your-credit-rating">Your Web Presence Will Soon Be More Valuable Than Your Credit Rating</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-social-media-can-save-you-money">6 Ways Social Media Can Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Technology dos and don'ts networking reputation social media social media etiquette social media tips Tue, 11 Apr 2017 08:30:14 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1925372 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Surprising Ways a Personal Website Can Improve Your Life http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-ways-a-personal-website-can-improve-your-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-surprising-ways-a-personal-website-can-improve-your-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-541288714.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The popular book <em>The Martian</em> became a best-seller in 2014, but started out as a series of blog posts by author Andy Weir on his personal website. Andy posted one chapter at a time, and got comments from readers as he posted new chapters. Eventually, he self-published an ebook which was later published in hardcover by Random House and became a big budget Hollywood movie starring Matt Damon. This example highlights some of the benefits you can get from having a personal website where you can publish anything you want in a way that anyone in the world can access.</p> <p>I started writing on a personal website about four years ago and have discovered a number of ways that having a personal website can be beneficial. It's useful for storing, organizing, and sharing all kinds of creative work such as writing, a personal journal, photos, sound recordings, video clips, and other information that you want to share with the world. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-a-side-hustle-can-advance-your-career?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Ways a Side Hustle Can Advance Your Career</a>)</p> <p>Here are some ways a personal website can improve your life.</p> <h2>1. It's a place to get creative</h2> <p>When I started my personal website, it had been years since I had done any creative writing. I realized that I could easily start a website and publish my writing immediately. That is both scary and exciting, but what did I have to lose?</p> <h2>2. It won't cost much (or anything at all)</h2> <p>It is possible to set up a professional website or blog at no cost at all. I set up a blog on the Blogger platform for free years ago and still use that today. If you want to spend a few dollars per month, you can get a custom domain name and add ecommerce features to support an online business.</p> <h2>3. It's an opportunity to make money</h2> <p>Once I started getting visitors to my website, I realized I could make money. I started selling advertising and placing affiliate marketing links on my site. Affiliate marketing links are links to products for sale that are related to the content on my website, and I get paid a commission if someone buys after clicking on that link. If you are willing and able to produce material that people are interested in reading, then you can make money on the side. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-really-make-money-by-starting-a-blog?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Can You Really Make Money by Starting a Blog?</a>)</p> <h2>4. It becomes a creative portfolio for you</h2> <p>My personal blog has provided a place to showcase my writing, and I have leveraged this to win some paid writing opportunities. Having your own website gives you a way to get those early publications of your work, which can lead to opportunities with other publishers. A portfolio of work is essential when you are seeking new assignments.</p> <p>You can post almost any type of creative work on a personal website: digital photos, artwork, audio book narration, video clips, crafts, and even technical projects. You can also add a resume, and provide contact information for those who may be interested in working with you. This can help boost your career in almost any field.</p> <h2>5. It helps you learn and practice coding</h2> <p>Although there are lots of graphical tools to create Web pages, I sometimes edit the HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) code or CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) code to make the page work how I want. By understanding a few simple principles, you can gain a deep understanding of how websites really work.</p> <p>I have also practiced coding on my website by making JavaScript calculators and publishing them on my blog. You can code the graphical interface with calculator buttons and write equations for the calculations with code that is embedded in a script on the page. This is a great way to practice and show off your coding skills in a way that people can use and appreciate.</p> <h2>6. You can get published today, no roadblocks</h2> <p>One of the best things about having your own website is that there are no rules. You can publish whatever you want with no censoring and no gatekeeper. You get to decide for yourself what can be published, even if no one else would publish it. This means that you can become a published writer immediately.</p> <h2>7. You get to perform for an audience</h2> <p>I remember how nervous I was to push the &quot;publish&quot; button the first few times when I was starting my website. I knew that anyone in the world would be able to read my posts and perhaps even comment or send me an email complaining about my content. Writing for an audience pushed me to do my best work, more so than writing in a notebook that no one else could see.</p> <h2>8. You learn how to become more visible on the internet</h2> <p>One of the fun parts about having your own website is looking at the stats to see how many people are visiting. Since you always want to have more visitors, it makes sense to learn how people are finding your website and try to boost your traffic. One strategy is to use SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to get more traffic from search results. Understanding SEO can be a valuable skill, both for your own website and as a consultant for other sites. With your own website, you have the opportunity to do experiments to try ideas out and learn what works to boost traffic.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-surprising-ways-a-personal-website-can-improve-your-life">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/7-surprising-ways-to-earn-money-online">7 Surprising Ways to Earn Money Online</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-make-800-on-month-on-ebay-selling-used-clothes">How I Make $800 on Month on eBay Selling Used Clothes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-make-money-doing-household-chores">4 Ways to Make Money Doing Household Chores</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/heres-how-one-social-media-micro-star-gets-lots-of-free-stuff">How I Scored Tons of Free Stuff By Building a Small Social Media Audience</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-earn-extra-money-with-your-car">7 Ways to Earn Extra Money With Your Car</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development Technology branding hobbies personal growth personal website self-promotion side gig side hustle website Fri, 07 Apr 2017 08:30:15 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1923219 at http://www.wisebread.com