Technology http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8130/all en-US 3 TV Must-Haves Once You Cut the Cable Cord http://www.wisebread.com/3-tv-must-haves-once-you-cut-the-cable-cord <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-tv-must-haves-once-you-cut-the-cable-cord" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-618335432.jpg" alt="Woman getting TV must-haves after cutting cable cord" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Is it time for you to join in on the cord cutting movement? You know that you're only watching a few channels out of the hundreds that you're paying for. And cutting the cord on your cable bill will undoubtedly be good for your budget. But can you still watch the shows you love? Yes. You'll be surprised at the variety of options you have without paying for hundreds of channels you don't use.</p> <p>Here's a basic breakdown of the great options you have available when <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cutting-the-cable-cord-has-more-than-financial-benefits" target="_blank">cutting the cable cord</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-everyone-can-cut-cable-and-still-watch-what-they-love-even-sportsfans?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Cut Cable and Still Watch What You Love</a>)</p> <h2>An HD antenna</h2> <p>The first option to consider when you're ready to cut the cord is an HD antenna that you can install in your home. Here are a few of your best options.</p> <h3>Mohu Leaf 50 Indoor Antenna</h3> <p>For about $50, you can pick up a <a href="http://amzn.to/2mK3syc" target="_blank">Mohu Leaf</a> and depending on where you live, score a bunch of HD channels for free. The Leaf has a 50-mile range and can be placed indoors on a window or bookcase shelf. To figure out how many free HD channels you can get at your home, visit <a href="https://nocable.org/hd-antenna-coverage-map" target="_blank">NoCable.org</a> and enter your address.</p> <h3>Antennas Direct 50 Clearstream Eclipse</h3> <p>If you're cutting the cord from DishNetwork or DIRECTV, the <a href="http://amzn.to/2nYk9XL" target="_blank">Antennas Direct 50</a> is a great alternative. This is due to the fact that you can install the antenna directly onto your abandoned satellite dish, or a wall or window indoors, making installation really easy. You can then connect the antenna to the existing infrastructure of your home and start watching free HD channels immediately.</p> <h3>Mohu Sky 60 Antenna</h3> <p>If you live in more of a rural area, especially with mountains and hills, the Leaf probably won't get you many free channels. So instead, check out the <a href="http://amzn.to/2mJUaCe" target="_blank">Mohu Sky 60</a>, which should be attic- or roof-mounted and will offer a much better solution. For example, I live 10 miles out of town with hills in every direction. The Leaf gives me only two HD channels, while the Sky 60 gives me six HD channels including FOX, CBS, and ABC.</p> <h2>A subscription to a streaming service</h2> <p>For the rest of the TV shows and movies you've come to depend on through your cable or satellite service, choose among these affordable streaming services.</p> <h3>Netflix</h3> <p>A Netflix streaming account starts at $7.99 per month, or $9.99 per month if you want HD quality. While you won't pick up cable channels with Netflix, you will pick up a ton of original programming as well as thousands of movies, TV shows, and documentaries. Besides viewing on your TV, you can also access all of Netflix's programming on your tablet, computer, or smartphone.</p> <h3>Prime Streaming</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2nbqHCb" target="_blank">Prime Streaming</a> is available free to all Amazon Prime members. Prime membership costs $99 per year and gets you access to thousands of titles, including popular TV shows and movies. You can also use Amazon's streaming service to rent or buy current TV shows and new movies to view immediately. You can also pay an additional fee to get access to HBO, Cinemax, Starz, and Showtime. Plus, get access to special programming like animé, foreign dramas, and more, as add-on services.</p> <h3>Hulu</h3> <p>If you're interested in streaming the current season of your favorite TV shows, get Hulu. For $7.99 per month, you can stream many of the current shows that won't be available on Netflix until next year. Movies are also available on Hulu.</p> <h3>DIRECTV NOW Streaming</h3> <p>Just recently DIRECTV introduced a streaming option to try and capture a new customer base and it actually looks promising. For $35 a month, you can stream live TV from over 120 channels plus over 10,000 on-demand titles. With the cheapest DIRECTV satellite package coming in at about $55, this is a solid alternative if you don't want to give up your satellite options.</p> <h3>HBO Now</h3> <p>For $14.99 per month, you can access HBO's original shows, documentaries, and their movie selection, without having a cable subscription. This is the main difference between Now and HBO Go &mdash; which you're only able to access with cable.</p> <h3>Livestream</h3> <p>There still aren't many streaming options for sports programming, but Livestream is one of the few available at the moment. This app allows you to stream live events through your Chromecast, Roku, or Apple TV. The app is free and you can also use it on your iPhone or Android device.</p> <h3>Sling TV</h3> <p>If you're one of the many who hasn't cut the cord because of a lack of streaming sports options, Sling TV just might be for you. Sling TV is the first true internet-only alternative to a traditional cable package. For only $20/mo, you can get the Sling TV Orange package which includes ESPN, TBS, and CNN plus about 25 other popular channels.</p> <h2>A streaming device</h2> <p>Using streaming services doesn't mean you can only watch on your computer. There are some nifty devices that allow you to stream these shows to your TV, so you can sit back and still enjoy shows and movies on your big screen TV. Most newer TVs have the required USB port that the streaming sticks and players directly connect to. On older TVs without a USB port, you might be able to use an HDMI-to-USB adapter cord, but it depends on your HDMI setup in the back of your TV.</p> <h3>Amazon Fire TV Stick</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2n2eKzv" target="_blank">The Amazon Fire TV Stick</a> plugs into the back of your TV and lets you immediately start streaming. Of course, you need a Wi-Fi connection in your home, too. The Fire TV Stick is compatible with all of the popular subscription services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video, as well as free streaming options like YouTube.</p> <h3>Roku Streaming Stick</h3> <p>The <a href="http://amzn.to/2n2Dl7u" target="_blank">Roku Stick</a> stands out from the Fire TV stick in the number of apps available, as well as a convenient search feature. The Roku Stick actually searches across all streaming services to find you the exact program you're looking for.</p> <h3>Chromecast</h3> <p>This is Google's streaming device, and it also uses your Wi-Fi connection to stream music and videos on your TV. The main difference with Chromecast compared to the options above is that there's no remote. You use your phone, iPad, or laptop computer to control your programming.</p> <h3>Apple TV</h3> <p>Much like the two options above, Apple TV comes equipped with all the video/streaming apps you could ever need. Apple TV has over 1,600 of them, and the video quality is outstanding. It also connects to your iTunes library so you can seamlessly access your favorite music on your TV.</p> <h3>Gaming consoles</h3> <p>If you're a gamer, you might not need a streaming device at all, because new gaming consoles come equipped with a streaming interface. Nintendo Wii, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, and PS4 are all gaming consoles that are able to stream TV through their wireless connection, so you can download the streaming apps (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc.) and watch your favorite shows and movies through your console.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-tv-must-haves-once-you-cut-the-cable-cord">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-netflix-and-hulu-to-play-on-your-tv">How to Get Netflix and Hulu to Play on Your TV</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/cutting-the-cable-cord-has-more-than-financial-benefits">Cutting the Cable Cord Has More Than Financial Benefits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/life-without-tv">Life Without Television</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/five-quick-remote-control-hacks-to-save-you-time-and-money">5 Quick Remote Control Hacks to Save You Time and 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/8-alternatives-to-cable-tv-that-will-keep-you-entertained">8 Alternatives to Cable TV That Will Keep You Entertained</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Technology antenna cable cable bill getting rid of cable netflix satellite streaming services tv Tue, 28 Mar 2017 09:30:33 +0000 Kyle James 1917303 at http://www.wisebread.com 18 Surprising Ways Your Identity Can Be Stolen http://www.wisebread.com/18-surprising-ways-your-identity-can-be-stolen <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/18-surprising-ways-your-identity-can-be-stolen" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-629293194.jpg" alt="surprising ways your identity can be stolen" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most people have already been victims of the most basic forms of identity theft &mdash; having fraudulent charges on your credit card. Those even less lucky have been victimized in more aggressive ways, with criminals obtaining medical care, working, and flying in our names.</p> <p>Unwinding that mess can take years and thousands of dollars. The effect is exacerbated by the fact that the crime doesn't generally stop with the one person who stole your information. Credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, and other data gets packaged and sold on the underground Internet so that different people all over the world could be impersonating you at the same time.</p> <p>&quot;It's a pain. It does cause a lot of stress,&quot; said Lindsay Bartsh, of San Rafael, California, who said that straightening out a web of fraudulent medical bills, flights, job applications, and credit applications took every minute of her free time for a year.</p> <p>How does it happen? Here's a look at both the most common ways thieves steal our data, as well as some of the newest ploys to watch out for.</p> <h2>1. Mail Theft</h2> <p>Bartsh believes this time-honored tactic is how her personal information got out into the criminal underworld. An expected W-2 tax form never arrived. Assuming it was stolen, it would have given thieves a wealth of information, such as Social Security number and workplace.</p> <h2>2. Database Hacks</h2> <p>When a large corporation gets hacked, the effect can be widespread. When the U.S. government's <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/federal-eye/wp/2015/07/09/hack-of-security-clearance-system-affected-21-5-million-people-federal-authorities-say/?utm_term=.af013608cbff" target="_blank">Office of Personnel Management was breached</a>, some 22 million people had their personal information exposed. (I was one of the many who received a warning about this, because I had a writing contract with a government agency.)</p> <h2>3. Malicious Software</h2> <p>If you have a virus on your computer, you may suffer more than a slowdown or a system crash. Some malicious programs that spread as viruses record every keystroke you type, allowing thieves to find out your online banking username and password. These programs can infect your mobile phone as well as your computer.</p> <h2>4. Search Engine Poisoning</h2> <p>This is a sneaky way of tricking people into giving up their own personal data, or getting malicious software onto a person's computer. The criminals create a fake website similar to a real one, or that could plausibly be a real one.</p> <p>One tactic is for you to click through to the fake site and try to buy a product, entering your credit card or debit card number. Another way they try to get you is for you to unknowingly download information-stealing software onto your computer.</p> <p>Where does the search engine part come in? These criminals manipulate Google and other search engines' algorithms to get their phony sites ranked high in search listings, leading users to believe they must be legit. Fortunately, Google has made progress in preventing this in recent years, but it still happens.</p> <h2>5. Phishing</h2> <p>Phishing is a term that broadly means &quot;fishing&quot; for personal information through a variety of common social interactions &mdash; so-called &quot;social engineering.&quot; The most common phishing attack happens when you get an email that looks like it came from your bank or another legitimate company. It may come with an alarming subject line, such as &quot;overdraft warning&quot; or &quot;your order has shipped.&quot; When you click a link in the email, you may see a login screen identical to your normal login, which will trick you into entering your username and password. You could also be asked for more identifying details, such as Social Security number and account number.</p> <p>Fortunately, banks have put some countermeasures into place to fight phishing. You can also protect yourself by not responding directly to incoming messages. If you get an email that looks like it's from your bank, type your bank address into your browser instead of clicking the link, sign in, and check your account's message center. Or just call your bank's customer service number.</p> <h2>6. Phone Attacks</h2> <p>The Internal Revenue Service has been warning for several years that <a href="https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/scam-phone-calls-continue-irs-identifies-five-easy-ways-to-spot-suspicious-calls" target="_blank">scammers are calling people claiming to be the IRS</a>, either claiming that they have a refund due or owe money. Fishing for information via the phone is also known as &quot;vishing,&quot; as in, &quot;voice phishing.&quot;</p> <p>If they're taking the refund tactic, they'll probably ask for your bank account number or other personal info, supposedly in order to send you your refund. If they say you owe, they may ask for a credit or debit card number, or worse, try to get a payment in a way that's not traceable or refundable, like through a prepaid debit card.</p> <p>This kind of scam is also known as &quot;pretexting,&quot; and the really good scammers make it seem realistic by having some basic info about you on hand before they call, like your address and date of birth, which are pretty easy to find online.</p> <h2>7. Text Attacks</h2> <p>In another twist on phishing, &quot;smishing,&quot; or SMS phishing, sends you a text message encouraging you to click a link that will either trigger the download of malicious software or direct you to input personal information.</p> <h2>8. Fake Wi-Fi Hotspot</h2> <p>Also known as an &quot;evil twin&quot; hotspot, this is a Wi-Fi connection setup in a public place, like a cafe, with a name that leads you to believe it was provided by someone trustworthy, like the cafe owner. The evil twin Wi-Fi hotspot really connects you to the Internet, just like a legit connection. The difference is, the evil twin is provided by a hacker, who uses specialized software to eavesdrop on information you're sending out &mdash; like your bank password or Social Security number &mdash; or to direct you to a malicious website like those described above.</p> <p>When a hacker interrupts your attempt to access a legitimate website and steals the data you're trying to send, it's called a &quot;<a href="https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Man-in-the-middle_attack" target="_blank">man in the middle attack</a>.&quot;</p> <h2>9. Dumpster Diving</h2> <p>Another low-tech but very effective method is simply pawing through recycling bins, looking for discarded credit card offers, bills, medical records, and other paperwork that could have personal information on it. Not only can identity thieves hit you at home, they could also search dumpsters outside of medical offices, schools, and banks.</p> <h2>10. Workplace Theft</h2> <p>A U.S. Department of Justice survey of convicted identity thieves found that a third of them <a href="https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/219122.pdf" target="_blank">accessed victims' information through their jobs</a>. The criminals worked for mortgage companies or at government agencies such as the Department of Motor Vehicles, where they had access to treasure troves of client information. Others lifted information from job applications.</p> <p>Back in 2000, just one guy was responsible for stealing 33,000 people's credit reports at his credit industry help desk job. He sold the reports to thieves who, according to news reports, used the information to steal up to $100 million.</p> <h2>11. Burglary</h2> <p>When someone breaks into your home or car, it may not be the loss of your jewelry, cash, or laptop that hurts the most. If they find your credit cards, Social security card, or tax returns &mdash; or get such information off a stolen computer &mdash; you could be in for severe identity theft.</p> <h2>12. Pickpocketing</h2> <p>Another old-fashioned crime that has thrived in the era of high-tech data theft, pickpocketing nowadays commonly leads directly to identity theft. In fact, a major ID theft ring busted 10 years ago targeted crowded events to steal wallets and convert the information inside to valuable dossiers of information, which they would later resell.</p> <h2>13. Mobile Phone Theft</h2> <p>If you have authorized your phone to make payments on your behalf, saved passwords for banking and retail sites, or saved other personal data on it, having the device stolen could cost you a lot more than the replacement cost. Phones that aren't password- or fingerprint-protected are most vulnerable.</p> <h2>14. Mobile Phone Account Hijacking</h2> <p>Another form of ID theft targeting phones happens when someone gets ahold of your account information and uses it to <a href="https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/identity-theft-mobile-phone" target="_blank">order a new phone or line</a>, with the bill going to you.</p> <h2>15. Shoulder Surfing</h2> <p>This technique involves watching over someone's shoulder as they enter a password at the ATM, or using a camera to steal the information from farther away. This could also be a tactic for getting someone's phone password before physically stealing the phone.</p> <h2>16. Skimming</h2> <p>This nefarious technique involves stealing credit or debit card information with a card reader that may look just like a legitimate card reader. Skimming devices have been found at gas station pumps, on ATMs, and at retail store registers. Or, waiters in restaurants can put your card through a skimmer when they take it to the back to finalize your bill.</p> <h2>17. Friend and Family Theft</h2> <p>Also known as &quot;familiar fraud,&quot; this crime happens when the ID thief is your child, your parent, even your spouse. Sadly, it's not uncommon for parents to abuse the identities of their own minor children in order to get credit. In a <a href="https://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/587/the-perils-of-intimacy?act=0#play" target="_blank">disturbing story broadcast on <em>This American Life</em></a>, Rachel Rosenthal couldn't figure out how her identity thief kept catching up with her, no matter how many accounts she closed &mdash; until she realized that the thief lived in her own home and had access to all her mail and documents. It was her boyfriend, who had been &quot;helping&quot; her financially, with money he withdrew from <em>her</em> bank account.</p> <p>Often, these crimes take place in the context of real relationships, where one party happened to turn on the other party. But there are also crooks out there who look for partners specifically to steal their identities, especially on dating sites and social media.</p> <h2>18. Social Engineering Targeting Companies</h2> <p>You don't have to work for a credit agency or mortgage bank to get customer information if you are skilled enough to trick employees into giving it to you. Thieves may call an airline, posing as a secretary who needs her boss's trip information, or call a company pretending to represent a client or supplier. A friendly fast talker may be able to get employees to skip security protocols and give out information they shouldn't. Every call the thief makes is a little easier, armed with the information from the last call</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/18-surprising-ways-your-identity-can-be-stolen">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/phishing-scams-continue-to-plague-social-media-sites">Phishing Scams Continue to Plague Social Media Sites</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-keep-your-private-info-private">10 Ways to Keep Your Private Info Private</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-ssn-can-now-be-accurately-guessed-using-date-and-place-of-birth">Your SSN Can Now Be Accurately Guessed Using Date and Place of Birth</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-panic-do-this-if-your-identity-gets-stolen">Don&#039;t Panic: Do This If Your Identity Gets Stolen</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-your-own-identity-what-to-do-when-yours-is-stolen">Get Your Own Identity! What to do when Yours is Stolen</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs Technology hijacking identity identity theft phishing skimming stolen identity tech news Wed, 08 Mar 2017 11:00:10 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1905168 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Smart Ways to Save on Smartphones http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-ways-to-save-on-smartphones <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-smart-ways-to-save-on-smartphones" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-538872884.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Phones and phone service plans are an almost inescapable part of modern society. Every few years, we must choose a new cell phone and a new service plan to invest in. It's a modern necessity that can take up a huge chunk of our monthly expenses.</p> <p>Don't worry, there are several strategies that can help save you money on this necessity. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-smart-way-to-pay-for-cell-phone-service?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Smart Way to Pay for Cell Phone Service</a>)</p> <h2>1. Repair the Phone You've Got</h2> <p>Do you have a glitchy or damaged phone? Tired of dealing with it? Don't sign up for a new phone just yet. Nearly every town has one or two smartphone repair shops that might be able to fix your phone.</p> <p>The diagnostic tests to determine if the problem can be fixed are typically free. The actual repairs can run anywhere from $50 to $150 depending on the device, the problem, and the store. That's still expensive, but it might be worth it if it prevents the need to purchase another $300 to $700 phone.</p> <h2>2. Sell Back Old Devices</h2> <p>If you determine it's time for a new cell phone, don't just throw the device in the trash. Many businesses have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sites-that-will-pay-for-your-old-iphone?ref=internal" target="_blank">cell phone trade-in programs</a>.</p> <p>What exactly are trade-in programs? You sell the devices that are <em>not</em> currently being financed by a carrier or business to the store for cash. That's cash you can use to purchase your next phone. How much money you will receive is based on the following factors:</p> <ul> <li>The phone type;</li> <li>The phone's ability to power on;</li> <li>If the phone has cracks on the screen.</li> </ul> <p>The following stores have trade-in programs: Gazelle, Amazon, uSell, Best Buy, Walmart, EcoATM, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile.</p> <p>You might also want to check out Trade-Up programs from various cell phone carriers and stores. Trade-Up programs allow you to trade in your old phone and put the money directly toward your next phone purchase.</p> <h2>3. Don't Purchase Phones Directly From Cellphone Carriers</h2> <p>Amazon, eBay, Best Buy, and even Costco (pretty much any store other than the traditional phone carriers) can offer cheaper smartphone options. You should shop around to see if you can find new, used, or refurbished phones for a cheaper price.</p> <p>If you find a phone, you should check that the phone will be compatible with the cellular provider you use. (Some smartphones are locked to only work with certain providers.)</p> <h2>4. Purchase an Unlocked Smartphone</h2> <p>Why purchase an unlocked phone? Unlocked phones have the following benefits:</p> <ul> <li>They're available at a variety of stores;</li> <li>They aren't tied to one particular phone provider;</li> <li>They can be slightly cheaper;</li> <li>They allow the use of your phone on international trips;</li> <li>You're able to leave a provider and take your phone with you.</li> </ul> <p>If you decide to purchase an unlocked new, refurbished, or used smartphone, you need to keep in mind that you will most likely need to either purchase or receive a SIM card from a store or the cellular provider you opt to use.</p> <p>Cell phone companies have different plans for unlocked phones. These plans typically have monthly payments like more traditional phone plans. Or, you can opt to just purchase pre-paid SIM cards from stores like Amazon and Best Buy.</p> <h2>5. Choose the Best Plan for You</h2> <p>Don't just sign onto the first provider you stumble across. You should check out a wide variety of plans before signing up. Consider your usage habits. Don't automatically sign up for the cheapest plan not knowing how much data you use each month. You'll be in for budget-breaking overage charges. But don't just sign up for the unlimited plan, either, just to have a safety net from possible overage charges. The only thing worse than paying for using too much data, is paying for data you'll never use.</p> <p>Plan comparison sites can help you get a general sense of how much various phone providers cost. Two sites that can help you determine which provider offers the best plans are <a href="http://www.myrateplan.com/" target="_blank">MyRatePlan.com</a> and <a href="https://www.whistleout.com/" target="_blank">WhistleOut.com</a>.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/samantha-stauf">Samantha Stauf</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-ways-to-save-on-smartphones">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-apps-that-make-budgeting-fun-no-really">7 Apps That Make Budgeting Fun — No Really!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-apps-for-busy-working-parents">The 5 Best Apps for Busy Working Parents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/is-unlimited-data-still-a-thing">Is Unlimited Data Still a Thing?</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-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money">10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Technology cell plan Cell service money phone phone bill saving money smartphone unlimited data Wed, 08 Mar 2017 10:30:37 +0000 Samantha Stauf 1905167 at http://www.wisebread.com Is Unlimited Data Still a Thing? http://www.wisebread.com/is-unlimited-data-still-a-thing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-unlimited-data-still-a-thing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-494831590.jpg" alt="Woman learning if unlimited data is still a thing" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Once upon a time, there were affordable unlimited data plans that allowed you to use all the data your heart desired. Nowadays, those plans seem like something out of a fairy tale. So, whatever happened to unlimited data, and what are the best options you can find today?</p> <h2>What Happened to Unlimited Data Plans?</h2> <p>Let's be honest; you use more smartphone data now than you did five years ago, right? We all do, and the carriers just can't keep up with our increased demands. According to Lowell McAdam, Verizon's CEO, &quot;If you allow unlimited usage, you just run out of gas.&quot; He says that unlimited plans <a href="https://www.cnet.com/news/verizon-ceo-unlimited-data-plans-just-arent-sustainable/" target="_blank">just aren't sustainable</a> in today's age of online videos and increased data usage. In short, carriers just don't have the spectrum required to carry the signals anymore.</p> <p>Verizon claimed that there were customers that were using over 100GB of data per month, which may be one of the reasons that they did away with the unlimited data plan altogether. Unless you are grandfathered into a plan with Verizon or AT&amp;T, these carriers no longer offer unlimited data plans to new customers.</p> <p>For several years, Sprint and T-Mobile were the only carriers offering unlimited data to new customers. In the past several weeks, both AT&amp;T and Verizon have re-entered the unlimited data game.</p> <h2>Your Data May Get Throttled</h2> <p>One thing that many unlimited data customers don't realize is that while you may have an unlimited data allowance, you won't necessarily receive high-speed data at all times. For instance, if your plan says &quot;Unlimited data (up to 23GB LTE),&quot; this means that you will only have 23GB of fast speed data. After that point, you will receive slower data speeds. Then, once the next cycle starts, you'll be back up to the highest speed. Most of the major carriers cap high-speed data at around 23GB per month.</p> <h2>Is Unlimited Actually a Good Deal?</h2> <p>Verizon found that the average customer actually only uses between 1-2GB of data per month, so it's important that you figure out exactly what you need before signing onto a plan with too little or too much data.</p> <p>Once you know how much data you realistically need each month, you can actually save money on your monthly plans. For instance, Verizon offers a plan for $50/month for 4GB of data. Even if you were grandfathered into the unlimited data plan, you'd still be spending $100. If you don't use more than 4GB of data, then you can save $35 per month just by switching to the 4GB plan.</p> <p>To find your data usage, go to Settings&gt;Cellular on an iPhone, or Settings&gt;Data Usage on an Android. Once you have this information, you can focus on finding the best cellphone plan for your requirements.</p> <h2>How to Control Costs</h2> <p>If you continually go over your data allowance every month, then you have two options: change your plan or stop using so much data. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to reduce your data usage, such as turning off automatic downloads, turning off Wi-Fi assist, and turning off high-quality music and video streaming. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-prevent-your-smartphone-from-wasting-data?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Ways to Prevent Your Smartphone From Wasting Data</a>)</p> <h2>How to Get the Right Data Plan for You</h2> <p>While you likely won't find unlimited plans with your cellphone carrier (without a catch), you can find the right plan based on tiered pricing models. If you can start a family plan, you can enjoy more data (or possibly an unlimited data allowance) shared among your family members. This can save your family quite a bit of money compared to individual plans. You may also want to consider a prepaid plan to keep your data usage in check. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-smart-way-to-pay-for-cell-phone-service?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Smart Way to Pay for Cellphone Service</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-unlimited-data-still-a-thing">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-ways-to-save-on-smartphones">5 Smart Ways to Save on Smartphones</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-mobile-phone-upgrades-that-arent-worth-the-money">4 Mobile Phone Upgrades That Aren&#039;t Worth the Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-painless-ways-to-lower-your-cell-phone-bill">5 Painless Ways to Lower Your Cell Phone Bill</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-apps-will-help-you-finally-organize-your-money">These 5 Apps Will Help You Finally Organize Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-apps-for-busy-working-parents">The 5 Best Apps for Busy Working Parents</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Technology cellphone plans data data plans phone bill smartphones unlimited data Tue, 07 Mar 2017 10:31:27 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1904505 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Surprising Perks (and Some Drawbacks) of Paperless Billing http://www.wisebread.com/9-surprising-perks-and-some-drawbacks-of-paperless-billing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-surprising-perks-and-some-drawbacks-of-paperless-billing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-546178094.jpg" alt="Woman learning perks and drawbacks of paperless billing" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Back in 2001, paperless billing was still in its infancy, and I was a recent college graduate who was just getting started in the adult world. At the time, my car insurance provider offered me a discount if I signed up for online billing. The discount helped me overcome my reluctance to give up my paper statements and beloved check writing routine.</p> <p>The world of paperless billing has evolved a great deal since the first year of the new Millennium. Here are the pros and cons of using paperless billing today, and some suggestions for making sure the benefits always outweigh the costs.</p> <h2>1. Pro: Paperless Billing Is Better for the Environment</h2> <p>Switching from paper to online statements doesn't just save stamps, it's also an important way to help the environment. According to PayItGreen studies from 2010, if just 20% of American households switched from all-paper to <a href="http://www.lawconferencing.com/about/payitgreen.php" target="_blank">all-digital billing</a>, statements, and payments, the collective impact would be enormous. Such changes would include:</p> <ul> <li>Save 150,939,615 pounds of paper</li> <li>Save 1,811,275 trees</li> <li>Avoid producing almost two million tons of greenhouse gases</li> <li>Avoid creating more than a billion gallons of wastewater in the paper production process</li> <li>Avoid using over 100 million gallons of gas to mail payments</li> </ul> <h2>2. Pro: Companies Will Offer Incentives to Go Paperless</h2> <p>Since companies spend less on paper, stamps, and sorting when they do all billing and payment online, it can make a big difference in their bottom line to get as many customers on paperless billing as possible. They often will sweeten the suggestion to go paperless by offering customers some sort of incentive to switch over. In some cases, like my auto insurer back in 2001, you can expect a small discount. Other incentives might include a statement credit, a gift card, or even the opportunity to win a prize.</p> <h2>3. Pro: Paperless Billing Helps You Declutter</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clear-out-financial-clutter?ref=internal" target="_blank">Paper clutter</a> often seems to have a life of its own. Switching to paperless billing means you'll never misplace a bill in a pile of junk mail, nor will you ever accidentally shred or recycle an unpaid bill because it decided to hide in the pile of credit card solicitations on your desk.</p> <h2>4. Pro: You'll Be Better Protected From Identity Theft</h2> <p>It may offer the illusion of security to hold a paper bill in your hand, but that's not always the case. It's a piece of cake for mail thieves and dumpster divers to glean sensitive account information off a stolen bill they pinched from your mailbox or garbage. By the time you realize your identity has been compromised, you may have a real headache to deal with, and some financial damage to undo.</p> <p>Your emailed paperless statements will never show your full credit card or bank account information. Even if a scammer hacks their way into your inbox, they'd still have to hack their way into your bill provider's online account to access sensitive information. Prevent this by using a strong password that includes multiple characters as well as upper and lowercase letters.</p> <h2>5. Pro: Access Your Statements From Anywhere</h2> <p>If you receive a paperless bill, it doesn't matter where you are &mdash; if you have access to the Internet, you have access to your statement. If you're out of town for work or vacation, you won't have to worry about what vulnerable information is left sitting in the mailbox while you're away.</p> <h2>6. Con: Forgetting to Pay a Paperless Bill</h2> <p>When you ignore your snail mail, it tends to pile up, making it harder to forget that there may be something important in there. Email, on the other hand, is eminently easy to ignore &mdash; so your paperless utility bill can very easily go unnoticed.</p> <p>Similarly, even if you do stay on top of both your paper mail and email, you may not be ready to pay your bill the moment it arrives. If that's the case with a paper statement, you can always set the bill somewhere that you'll see it, to remind yourself to pay it at another time. It is much more difficult to flag your email to remind you to pay the bill, which means you may forget until after you've missed the due date.</p> <h3>The Fix: A Dedicated Email Account and Calendar Reminders</h3> <p>Create a dedicated email account just for all of your bills, and plan on checking this email regularly. In addition, create reminders in your calendar to prompt you to check your dedicated email account so you never miss a payment.</p> <h2>7. Con: Lost Passwords</h2> <p>Passwords are an important part of online security, but the fact that pretty much everything you do online must be password-protected means that the odds are stacked against you for remembering all of your passwords. Many people get around that problem by using the same password for everything &mdash; which can seriously compromise your security if any of the accounts you use gets hacked.</p> <p>Companies that offer paperless billing often require even more security from your password, such as needing a special character, a number, and a capital letter. This is understandable, but it makes it even more difficult for the average person to remember their password &mdash; and multiple incorrect guesses can sometimes get you locked out of the site.</p> <h3>The Fix: Create a Password Based on a Sentence</h3> <p>The secret to secure but memorable passwords is to start with a sentence that means something to you. For instance: &quot;I am waiting for the reincarnation of Elvis.&quot;</p> <p>Then substitute letters, numbers, and symbols for each of the words: I@w4troE</p> <p>With that as your base password, you could tailor it to each site so that you can still remember your passwords, but each site's password is slightly different. For instance, you might add letters and numbers that represent the site to the end of your base password.</p> <p>For Capital One 360, your password would become: I@w4troECO360</p> <p>Just jot down the original sentence somewhere you can find it. It will remind you of your password, and mean nothing to anyone else.</p> <h2>8. Con: Forgetting to Update Account Information</h2> <p>If you moved, you'd have to let your bill providers know and inform them of your new home address. Well, the same is true for your email when you receive paperless statements.</p> <p>Maybe you're about to lose access to a work or school email that was tied to your billing account, or you're about to shut down an old email that got swamped by hackers. If you forget to update this change in your online billing account settings, you could end up losing access altogether.</p> <h2>9. Con: Overdrafts From Automatic Payments</h2> <p>Many people who set up paperless billing also make the leap to automatic online payments. For anyone whose income is variable, or anyone who lives paycheck to paycheck, automatic bill payments can cause major headaches if you have insufficient funds in your account on the day that your payment is debited. This makes for something of a Catch-22, since many people in such a situation need the discount that an automatic payment provides, but the automation puts them in danger of overdraft every month.</p> <h3>The Fix: Ask for a Change of Payment Date</h3> <p>Most companies will allow their customers to request a specific payment date, particularly if they are using auto-pay options. If you deal with variable income or have trouble making it from one paycheck to the next, set up your automatic payments so that they are debited on the day your paycheck clears. If you have multiple bills that are auto-debited, you can stagger them through the month to coincide with your paydays.</p> <h2>Making Paperless Billing Work for You</h2> <p>Digital billing is here to stay, but it's far from a perfect system. Knowing which of the downsides are most likely to trip you up will allow you to plan ahead for the problems while you enjoy the benefits.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-surprising-perks-and-some-drawbacks-of-paperless-billing">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-sneaky-ways-identity-thieves-can-access-your-data">3 Sneaky Ways Identity Thieves Can Access Your Data</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-simple-financial-upgrades-you-can-make-during-breakfast">6 Simple Financial Upgrades You Can Make During Breakfast</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-finances-using-social-media">How to Improve Your Finances Using Social Media</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/life-without-tv">Life Without Television</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternatives-to-cable-tv-that-will-keep-you-entertained">8 Alternatives to Cable TV That Will Keep You Entertained</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Technology automatic payments bill pay email Internet online statements paperless billing passwords Mon, 06 Mar 2017 11:00:09 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1900129 at http://www.wisebread.com Organize 8 Key Areas of Your Life With These 17 Smart Apps http://www.wisebread.com/organize-8-key-areas-of-your-life-with-these-17-smart-apps <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/organize-8-key-areas-of-your-life-with-these-17-smart-apps" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-540566958.jpg" alt="Woman organizing her life with smart apps" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's no doubt the phone in your pocket is a great time killer while in a crowded waiting room, but the truth is that smartphones are actually amazing little tools that can really improve your productivity &mdash; both personally and professionally. Here are eight tasks you can do on your phone, with the help of 17 apps, that will help you organize your life and even boost your savings account with almost no effort on your part. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-productivity-apps-for-really-busy-people-like-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Great Productivity Apps for Really Busy People Like You</a>)</p> <h2>Track Your To-Do List</h2> <p>Skip the Post Its, notepads, and notes scribbled on napkins. Take your pick of task management apps, depending on how simple or robust you'd like it. Some will integrate with your calendar while others can be shared with friends and family. Find the one that will keep you on task and ditch the pen and paper for good.</p> <h3>1. Wunderlist</h3> <p><a href="https://www.wunderlist.com/" target="_blank">Wunderlist</a> allows you to create to-do lists, set due dates and reminders, and even assign to-dos for others.</p> <h3>2. Todoist</h3> <p><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/todoist-todo-list-for-organizing-work-and-errands/id572688855?mt=8" target="_blank">Todoist</a> manages all of your projects &mdash; both personal and professional. You can also seamlessly manage all your tasks and events from any device.</p> <h3>3. Any.do</h3> <p><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/any-do-to-do-list-calendar-reminders-tasks/id497328576?mt=8" target="_blank">Any.do</a> lets you link your calendar and to-do lists, so you always know what's coming up. You can set reminders for both so you never lose track of deadlines again.</p> <h2>Log Your Time</h2> <p>Have you ever wondered how much time you waste every day on things like social media or TV? The first step to managing your time effectively is understanding how your time is currently being spent, and where it's being wasted. Use a time tracker app to determine where your time is going. Some apps will work in the background, automatically gathering data on where you spend your time, whereas others allow you to manually select activities.</p> <h3>4. Awesome Time Logger</h3> <p><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/awesome-time-logger-free/id663656917" target="_blank">Awesome Time Logger Free</a> features an intuitive interface that allows you to quickly track and log your time throughout the day and get custom reports that you can use to improve productivity.</p> <h3>5. My Hours</h3> <p><a href="https://myhours.com/#features" target="_blank">My Hours</a> works as a stop watch, tracking time you spend on each task. The app also allows you to assign billing to hours if you are a freelancer or contractor.</p> <h3>6. Toggl</h3> <p>While <a href="https://toggl.com/features" target="_blank">Toggl</a> is an ideal time tracker for teams, it's also great for individuals seeking an easy way to track time spent on tasks and bill accordingly.</p> <h2>Take Notes</h2> <p>There are few things more frustrating than needing to jot something down, and not having a pen and paper to do so. But luckily, this is 2017, and you no longer need traditional writing tools to record your thoughts. Note taking apps have moved way beyond just allowing you to type a few words on a file. Some allow you to create useful filing systems, set reminders, collaborate and share with others, and include everything from links to photos to screenshots.</p> <h3>7. Evernote</h3> <p><a href="https://evernote.com/" target="_blank">Evernote</a> lets you create full project to-do lists that can be shared across multiple platforms.</p> <h3>8. Google Keep</h3> <p><a href="https://keep.google.com/u/0/" target="_blank">Google Keep</a> allows you to take quick notes, add lists, photos, and voice memos to track your every thought. Seamless integration with Google Docs makes it easy to turn those quick notes into longer documents.</p> <h2>Organize Your Projects</h2> <p>You're busy. I'm busy. We're all endlessly busy. Sometimes we don't even know where to start, when to stop, and how much to do. Use time management apps that will allow you to schedule your tasks throughout your day.</p> <h3>9. Trello</h3> <p><a href="https://trello.com/platforms" target="_blank">The Trello</a>&nbsp;app helps you create &quot;boards&quot; for all the projects you're currently working on and lets you easily add notes, to-do lists, photos, videos, and even customized workflows for your projects.</p> <h3>10. Asana</h3> <p><a href="https://asana.com/" target="_blank">Asana</a> lets you track projects from start to finish, and easily chat with project collaborators as you go along.</p> <h2>Protect Your Passwords</h2> <p>In an era of cyber security breaches and identity thieves running amok with personal information, protecting passwords has become serious business. You want to make sure your passwords don't all match, are not easy to guess, and are updated frequently enough to protect yourself from data hacks. But you also need a way to remember or access all those secure passwords! There's an app for that.</p> <h3>11. Keeper</h3> <p><a href="https://keepersecurity.com/" target="_blank">Keeper</a>&nbsp;creates, organizes, and auto-fills strong passwords on your behalf for all your accounts.</p> <h3>12. LastPass</h3> <p><a href="https://www.lastpass.com/" target="_blank">LastPass</a> keeps all of your precious passwords in one safe space, and alerts you to any duplicate passwords that may put you at risk for being hacked.</p> <h2>Control Your Documents</h2> <p>Even after signing up for paperless delivery for all our accounts, we still can't escape the daily receipts, business cards, and other documents that we end up collecting on a daily basis. Use an app to quickly scan and file these away.</p> <h3>13. Shoeboxed</h3> <p><a href="https://www.shoeboxed.com/" target="_blank">Shoeboxed</a>&nbsp;lets you scan receipts and business cards, track mileage, and even send expense reports with receipt images attached.</p> <h2>Save Effortlessly</h2> <p>If you've made it a financial priority to build up your savings accounts in 2017, you know it can take time and due diligence to make it happen. Personal finance apps help you manage your money, pay your bills on time, and also effortlessly save money.</p> <h3>14. Acorns</h3> <p><a href="https://www.acorns.com/" target="_blank">Acorns</a> automatically funds your savings for you by rounding up your purchases and adding the change to your Acorns savings account. They'll even invest the &quot;change&quot; for you so you can potentially make much more than what your savings account is currently paying. (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> <h3>15. Digit</h3> <p><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/digit-save-money-automatically-without-a-budget/id1011935076?mt=8" target="_blank">Digit</a> is the perfect savings sidekick. Once you link the app to your checking account, Digit analyzes your spending and sets aside small amounts of cash to save. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-a-robot-called-digit-really-help-you-save-more?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Can a Robot Called Digit Really Help You Save More?</a>)</p> <h2>Schedule Appointments</h2> <p>Tired of having to open up your calendar each time a meeting request comes in via email or text? Integrate your emails and even your text messages with your favorite calendar app to see everything in one place.</p> <h3>16. Gyst</h3> <p>Quickly determine potential meeting dates with <a href="http://gystapp.com/" target="_blank">Gyst</a>, both with friends and business colleagues by linking your text messages and emails with your calendar.</p> <h3>17. Handle</h3> <p><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/handle-to-do-list-inbox-and-calendar-management/id766063605?mt=8" target="_blank">Handle</a> does just what it says and handles your life by linking your emails, to-do lists, and calendar, so you always know what's expected of you and where you need to be.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/organize-8-key-areas-of-your-life-with-these-17-smart-apps">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-dumb-little-productivity-killers-you-need-to-stop-doing-today">10 Dumb Little Productivity Killers You Need to Stop Doing Today</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-apps-for-busy-working-parents">The 5 Best Apps for Busy Working Parents</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-dumb-places-you-re-leaving-your-money">6 Dumb Places You’re Leaving Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-organizing-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Easy Organizing Changes You Can Make Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Organization Technology apps apps you need organization productivity smartphone apps tech news time management Fri, 03 Mar 2017 10:30:38 +0000 Kyle James 1901984 at http://www.wisebread.com 20 Ways Amazon's Alexa Can Make Your Life Easier http://www.wisebread.com/20-ways-amazons-alexa-can-make-your-life-easier <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-ways-amazons-alexa-can-make-your-life-easier" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-577940288.jpg" alt="Learning ways Amazon&#039;s Alexa makes life easier" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>World, meet Amazon's Alexa. Alexa is a personal assistant that comes with the <a href="http://amzn.to/2lDJtCe" target="_blank">Amazon Echo Dot</a>, <a href="http://amzn.to/2mlm34q" target="_blank">Echo Tap</a>, and <a href="http://amzn.to/2li4vWa" target="_blank">Echo devices</a>. It works similarly to Siri and can be the assistant you never knew you needed.</p> <h2>What Can Alexa Do?</h2> <p>The smart wireless speaker offers a number of valuable services through Alexa that can really make your life easier. By simplifying daily tasks with Alexa, you can get out the door faster and focus on more important things.</p> <p>With more than <a href="http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=176060&amp;p=RssLanding&amp;cat=news&amp;id=2201509&amp;utm_source=Triggermail&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_campaign=Post%20Blast%20%28bii-iot%29:%20Google%27s%20self-driving%20car%20project%20is%20losing%20out%20to%20competito" target="_blank">3,000 available skills</a>, it can take some time to determine which skills are right for your needs. That's why we've highlighted some of the best ways to use Alexa to streamline your life.</p> <h3>1. Check the Traffic and Weather</h3> <p>By being able to check the traffic and weather with ease, you can better prepare for the day ahead.</p> <h3>2. Manage Your Calendar</h3> <p>You can edit your calendar and get reminders of upcoming events with voice commands. You can also create tasks on your favorite to-do app.</p> <h3>3. Find Your Phone</h3> <p>If you've lost your phone, <a href="http://amzn.to/2l81dnv" target="_blank">TrackR</a> will help you find it. Simply instruct Alexa to find your phone or ring your phone so you can quickly determine its location.</p> <h3>4. Set a Timer or Alarm</h3> <p>Along with quickly checking the time, you can also set a timer or alarm on the device. You can also set your phone to ring anytime the alarm goes off.</p> <h3>5. Play Music</h3> <p>You can play a song through Alexa or connect to a paid music service like Spotify. You can even instruct it to play certain types of music (such as, &quot;Alexa, play Christmas music&quot;) to perfectly set the mood.</p> <h3>6. Get the News</h3> <p>Alexa can read the news or your favorite audiobook to you. She can also answer questions so you can always stay informed.</p> <h3>7. Find Local Hotspots</h3> <p>Alexa can help you find local businesses or restaurants based on Yelp reviews. This can help you get more acquainted with your new neighborhood in no time.</p> <h3>8. Control the Lights</h3> <p>If you have smart lights, you can use Alexa to turn them on and off with your voice.</p> <h3>9. Control the Thermostat</h3> <p>If you have a smart thermostat (like a <a href="http://amzn.to/2l81Jlo" target="_blank">Nest thermostat</a>), Alexa can adjust the temperature via voice command.</p> <h3>10. Control Your GE Appliances</h3> <p>Once you've connected your GE appliances, you can tell Alexa to do things like preheat the oven when you're ready to cook a meal.</p> <h3>11. Control Your Smart Devices</h3> <p>Once you connect your smart devices (like your TV), you can start controlling them with Alexa. You can turn on the TV, launch Netflix, change the channel, and more. Companies like Ford, Hyundai, and LG have also released smart home appliances, cars, phones, and other electronics that can connect with Alexa to further simplify your life. With the <a href="http://amzn.to/2lLGlGu" target="_blank">Automatic car adapter</a> addition, you can even track information on your car, such as how much you drove and when you'll need gas.</p> <h3>12. Improve Home Safety</h3> <p>With Alexa, you can lock your doors or turn your home security system on.</p> <h3>13. Update Your Shopping List</h3> <p>By being able to verbally edit your shopping list, you'll never have to worry about forgetting anything again.</p> <h3>14. Buy Something</h3> <p>Of course, you can instruct Alexa to purchase something and she will complete the order on Amazon for you.</p> <h3>15. Order a Ride</h3> <p>You can connect your device with apps like Uber or Lyft to request a ride.</p> <h3>16. Plan a Trip</h3> <p>You can quickly plan and track a trip through the Kayak skill. Who needs a personal assistant when Alexa can do the hard work for you?</p> <h3>17. Find Recipes</h3> <p>Alexa connects to Food Network, My Chef, and All Recipes to help you find the perfect recipes for food or cocktails, so you can plan a tasty meal on the fly.</p> <h3>18. Order Food</h3> <p>Some food companies, like Domino's, have partnered with the Amazon Echo, allowing you to do things like reorder your most recent order, send a new order, or track your current order. You'll always know where your pizza is.</p> <h3>19. Get Fit</h3> <p>Simply instruct Alexa to start a seven-minute workout and she will walk you through the routine. Now, you'll never have an excuse to skip a workout again. You can also connect your Fitbit to better monitor your fitness. And you can get detailed nutritional information from the Food Tracker skill to more efficiently monitor your calorie intake.</p> <h3>20. Connect With Amazon Prime</h3> <p>If you have Amazon Prime, then Alexa makes it seamless for you to take advantage of all the services you are paying for with your subscription, so you get the best value for the money with Prime music, two-day shipping, and a lot more.</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/20-ways-amazons-alexa-can-make-your-life-easier">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/organize-8-key-areas-of-your-life-with-these-17-smart-apps">Organize 8 Key Areas of Your Life With These 17 Smart Apps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/life-without-tv">Life Without Television</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/going-off-the-grid-is-a-lot-harder-than-you-think">Going Off the Grid Is a Lot Harder Than You Think</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Technology AI Amazon Amazon Alexa personal assistant robot butler robots Siri tech gadgets tech news Tue, 28 Feb 2017 10:31:29 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1900048 at http://www.wisebread.com Pay with a Selfie: How Safe Are the New Ways to Pay? http://www.wisebread.com/bots-chips-and-selfies-how-safe-are-the-new-ways-to-pay <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/bots-chips-and-selfies-how-safe-are-the-new-ways-to-pay" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-512291874.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In 2016, more than half of all <a href="https://consumerist.com/2016/06/08/ups-survey-online-shopping-has-surpassed-in-store-buying-for-the-first-time/" target="_blank">purchases in the U.S.</a> were made online instead of at a brick-and-mortar store. From selfie-payments to Facebook Messenger bots, there is now a long list of unusual ways that you can pay the water bill or complete your grocery run for the week.</p> <p>But how safe are these new ways to pay? Let's take a closer look at how some of these new payment methods work, and what you can do to make them even safer.</p> <h2>1. Facebook Messenger Bots</h2> <p>Colorado-based <em>fintech </em>company BillHero was the first to leverage a Facebook Messenger chat bot to pay bills via chat commands. Later on in September 2016, Facebook enabled all of the 34,000 plus developers on the platform to support payments. The social media giant is working with several players in the credit card industry and fintech, including Visa and Braintree, to process all types of payment options.</p> <p>By opening the gates, Facebook allowed U.S. customers to complete a wide range of other transactions and purchases on Facebook Messenger. In a nutshell: The chat bot lets you know about a product that you might be interested in, and provides a &quot;buy now&quot; button. When you click it, it takes you to a checkout screen with your shipping information and payment method for you to review. Boom! Just like that, you're ready to pay.</p> <h3>But Is It Safe?<strong> </strong></h3> <p>Well, Facebook Messenger payment bots are covered by the same level of security as all other Facebook products. All transactions using a Facebook chat bot are encrypted or processed through a trusted third-party payment processor, such as PayPal or Stripe, to protect your payment information, such as your card number or CVV. Also, transaction confirmations from a bot will restrict your information, such as only showing the last four digits of your credit card number.</p> <h3>How to Make It Safer</h3> <p>Your first line of defense starts with your Facebook password. Facebook recommends building a password that has at least six characters and is a complex combination of numbers, letters, and punctuation marks. When a password isn't strong enough, the app will let you know. Also, make your Facebook password different from those you use for your online banking, investing, or retirement savings accounts. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-sneaky-ways-identity-thieves-can-access-your-data?ref=seealso" target="_blank">3 Sneaky Ways Identity Thieves Can Access Your Data</a>)</p> <p>A second tactic is to <a href="https://www.facebook.com/help/162968940433354?helpref=faq_content" target="_blank">turn on login alerts</a> so that you receive an automated alert when someone tries logging in to your Facebook account from an unrecognized device or browser. A third is to <a href="https://www.facebook.com/help/610199629080802?helpref=faq_content" target="_blank">require a password or PIN</a> whenever sending money or making payments in Facebook Messenger.</p> <h2>2. MasterCard Selfie Payments</h2> <p>Speaking of passwords, MasterCard believes that they cause too much hassle and presents the option to pay with a selfie. The &quot;selfie pay&quot; technology was first tested in the Netherlands, the U.S., and Canada and will be rolled out gradually across the world throughout 2017.</p> <p>Through a smartphone app, shoppers can confirm a purchase by taking a selfie and letting the facial recognition software verify their identity. According to MasterCard, 71% of users rated &quot;selfie pay&quot; highly during trials.</p> <h3>But Is It Safe?<strong> </strong></h3> <p>To prevent somebody from just holding up a picture of you and getting away with a $1,000 shopping spree, the app requires you to snap the picture after you blink or shake your head. Then, the app compares the selfie with stored algorithms of your face to identify you. During the trials, 73% of users believed that &quot;selfie pay&quot; will reduce fraud and 90% of them would use it in the future.</p> <h3>How to Make It Safer</h3> <p>Since &quot;selfie pay&quot; is still in the process of being rolled out, there's little that we can do as of right now. If taking selfies isn't your cup of tea, MasterCard also plans to provide a fingerprint confirmation option with the app and is currently testing voice and cardiac rhythm recognition.</p> <h2>3. Amazon Dash Buttons</h2> <p>Connected to your home's Wi-Fi, the <a href="http://amzn.to/2iTpixh" target="_blank">Amazon Dash Button</a> allows you to reorder many of your favorite products with a simple click. To set up each Amazon Dash Button, you'll need to download the Amazon app on your Android or Apple device, connect the Dash Button to Bluetooth, and also enter your Wi-Fi information. Some Dash Buttons don't support Bluetooth connection, and use your smartphone's Wi-Fi connection or speakers instead.</p> <p>Currently, the button is only available for Amazon Prime members, costs $4.99, and provides you with a $4.99 credit after your first order. There are hundreds of products to choose from including Charmin, Doritos, Greenies Dog Treats, and Red Bull! Once you click the button, an indicator light will turn green when your order is successfully placed, or red if there was a problem.</p> <h3>But Is It Safe?<strong> </strong></h3> <p>A device that connects seamlessly to your Wi-Fi, smartphone, and Amazon account &mdash; what could go wrong? While there are plenty of folks that have hacked their own button to do anything from <a href="https://medium.com/@ecaron/why-i-stopped-hacking-the-amazon-dash-button-and-learned-to-solder-84386a38bbd1#.wmcfdj5do" target="_blank">turning on lamps remotely</a> to <a href="https://medium.com/@brody_berson/hacking-amazon-s-5-dash-button-to-order-domino-s-pizza-9d19c9d04646#.j6d2iycep" target="_blank">ordering pizza</a> with one click, there are currently no reports of malicious hackers tapping into another person's Amazon Dash Buttons.</p> <h3>How to Make It Safer</h3> <p>Turn on the &quot;order protection&quot; feature on your Dash Button to prevent a new order from being placed until your prior order is delivered. This way you can prevent your spouse or son from tripling an order of detergent on the same day.</p> <p>Consider turning on the email notifications of your Amazon orders so that you can cancel any orders that you don't recognize.</p> <p>And it should go without saying, but set a strong password for your Wi-Fi and update that password at least once a year.</p> <h2>4. Chip Cards</h2> <p>No other new form of payment has generated more discontent from American consumers. From the confusion about swiping or inserting, to the awkward conversation with cashiers while waiting for your card to be processed, there is a list of reasons these metallic chips are considered an annoyance by many.</p> <p>However, the reality is that chip cards are far from being a new way to pay. They have been reducing fraud in over 130 nations around the world for several years. So, the U.S. is just playing catch-up. As of April 2016, Visa had issued <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2016/04/19/some-major-merchants-see-dip-counterfeit-fraud-thanks-chip-cards-visa-says/83194722/" target="_blank">roughly 265 million</a> U.S. chip-enabled credit and debit cards, and MasterCard had upgraded about 70% of its U.S. debit and credit cards to the chip format.</p> <h3>But Is It Safe?<strong> </strong></h3> <p>The evidence clearly indicates that chip-enabled cards reduce fraud. Visa has reported that among the U.S. merchants who were suffering the most instances of card fraud at the end of 2014, those that began accepting chip debit and credit cards saw instances of card fraud fall 18.3% as of the fourth quarter of 2015. On the other hand, some of the U.S. merchants who opted not to upgrade payment terminals to process chip cards experienced an increase in instances of card fraud of 11.4% for the same period. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-chip-credit-cards-make-life-easier?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Ways Chip Credit Cards Make Life Easier</a>)</p> <h3>How to Make It Safer</h3> <p>Simple: Opt to use your chip-enabled cards over those without a chip, and choose merchants with chip-enabled payment terminals over those who are still holding out. As with everything else, strength comes in numbers. Only when chip cards have become the norm across the nation can we all reap the enhanced security benefits of chip technology.</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/bots-chips-and-selfies-how-safe-are-the-new-ways-to-pay">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/your-ssn-can-now-be-accurately-guessed-using-date-and-place-of-birth">Your SSN Can Now Be Accurately Guessed Using Date and Place of Birth</a></span> </div> </li> <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/6-surprising-ways-your-smartphone-can-keep-you-and-your-family-safe">6 Surprising Ways Your Smartphone Can Keep You and Your Family Safe</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-apple-watch-apps-thatll-save-you-money">8 Apple Watch Apps That&#039;ll Save You Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-dumb-places-you-re-leaving-your-money">6 Dumb Places You’re Leaving Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Technology Amazon apps bots buying chip cards Facebook fraud payment methods safety selfie Fri, 17 Feb 2017 10:31:16 +0000 Damian Davila 1890386 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Tools and Gadgets Your Smartphone Can Replace http://www.wisebread.com/7-tools-and-gadgets-your-smartphone-can-replace <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-tools-and-gadgets-your-smartphone-can-replace" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-519709446.jpg" alt="Woman using smartphone to replace tools and gadgets" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Cameras, phones, GPS devices &mdash; we all know about those. But did you know that your smartphone can replace a wide range of esoteric tools and devices? From the scientific calculator to the credit card reader to the remote control, here is a list of tools and gadgets you can replace with your smartphone.</p> <h2>1. Math Software</h2> <p>Yes, your smartphone already comes with a calculator and a scientific calculator. However, those calculators will give you little help when facing the challenges of a quadratic equation, system of linear equations, or inequality with absolute value. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-useful-genius-math-tricks-that-are-actually-easy?ref=seealso" target="_blank">11 Useful, Genius Math Tricks That Are Actually Easy</a>)</p> <p>This is where <a href="http://photomath.net" target="_blank">Photomath</a> comes in, allowing you to snap a pic of virtually any type of math problem. The app then solves that problem for you, and showing you step-by-step instructions. Think of this app as one of those bulky Texas Instruments calculators on steroids! And the best part is that downloading the app is free.</p> <h2>2. Check Deposit Machine</h2> <p>It's Saturday, you just got that $600 check that you've been waiting for, and there's no way you can get to the bank before closing time. You also have no clue how close the next ATM that accepts check deposits is. Instead, you could endorse your check, add a note &quot;for mobile deposit only,&quot; snap a pic of it, and receive up to $200 the next business day.</p> <p>As early as 2009, many banks around the country have issued a smartphone app that allows account holders to do mobile check deposits. Most financial institutions make the <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2014/10/pros-and-cons-of-mobile-check-deposit/index.htm" target="_blank">first $200</a> of a mobile check deposit available for withdrawal the next business day, and the rest of the funds available on the second or third day for withdrawal. Contact your financial institution for more details and applicable rules.</p> <h2>3. Thermal Imaging Camera</h2> <p>Drafty windows are one of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-sneaky-home-money-pits-that-sap-your-savings?ref=internal" target="_blank">sneaky home money pits</a> that sap your savings. Hiring a contractor to check this out for you can cost you hundreds before even starting to fix the problem. The <a href="http://amzn.to/2kVxsKK" target="_blank">Flir One Thermal Imager</a> is a device that turns your smartphone into a thermal imaging camera, allowing you to find drafty windows and other poorly insulated spots.</p> <p>While you'll have to invest about $250 in a Flir One Thermal Imager, you can quickly make back that money by lowering your energy bill by <a href="https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=home_sealing.hm_improvement_methodology" target="_blank">up to 10%</a> per year and taking advantage of rebates and special offers from Energy Star products used in your insulation projects.</p> <h2>4. Credit Card Reader</h2> <p>Since about <a href="http://www.bankrate.com/finance/consumer-index/financial-security-charts-0514.aspx" target="_blank">40% of Americans</a> carry less under $20 in cash on them and 9% of them carry no cash at all, you shouldn't be surprised that it is even harder nowadays to get your friends and relatives to pay you back that $15 they owe you.</p> <p>But you do know that your debtors have a debit or credit card laying around! So, leverage a credit card reader from <a href="https://www.paypal.com/us/webapps/mpp/credit-card-reader" target="_blank">PayPal</a> or <a href="https://squareup.com/reader" target="_blank">Square</a> and start accepting card payments on your smartphone. While the two companies mail you the first credit card reader for free, PayPal and Square charge 2.7% and 2.75% per U.S. debit or credit card swipe, respectively. Paying up to $0.41 for having your $15 today instead of in two months isn't a bad deal at all.</p> <p>Got no Internet connection? No problem, Square's app allows you to collect payment as long as you reconnect to the web within <a href="http://squareup.com/help/us/en/article/5095-process-payments-with-offline-mode" target="_blank">72 hours</a> from the time of the card swipe.</p> <p>And if you want to forgo the phone attachment, you can also choose from several apps that allow users to transfer money to each other directly. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-mobile-payment-tools-you-should-start-using-today?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Mobile Payment Tools You Should Start Using Today</a>)</p> <h2>5. Car Diagnostic Tool</h2> <p>As cars are becoming smarter, they all provide much more information than you think. With the <a href="http://amzn.to/2kOSE2k" target="_blank">Automatic Pro</a>, you can connect to just about any car's standard diagnostics (OBD-II) port and unlock the data in your car's onboard computer. Most cars manufactured since 1996 have this port and are compatible with the Automatic Pro (here's the <a href="https://www.automatic.com/cars/" target="_blank">full list</a>).</p> <p>By investing about $130, you'll become a &quot;car whisperer&quot; and pay zero fees for unlimited monitoring. As a bonus, the Automatic Pro connects to many apps, such as Expensify and Freshbooks for invoicing mileage driven.</p> <h2>6. Level</h2> <p>How many times have you needed a level to hang a frame, mount a TV, or adjust the height of a table? A bubble level can cost you anywhere from $5 to $50 at your local or big box hardware store. Not to mention that you have to drive there, stand in line, and drive back, delaying your start time by up to a couple of hours to start that home project.</p> <p>Instead, you could download a free level smartphone app, such as <a href="https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.androgames.level&amp;hl=en" target="_blank">Bubble Level</a> for Android devices or <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/app/id293621500" target="_blank">iHandy Carpenter</a> for Apple devices, and get to work right away.</p> <h2>7. Universal Remote</h2> <p>At my home, we used to have a separate remote for the DVD player, the TV, the cable box, and the air conditioner. That was until we discovered that a smartphone can connect to many electronics and home appliances through its built-in infrared (IR) blaster.</p> <p>While there are many universal remote controller apps out there, <a href="http://peel.com" target="_blank">Peel</a> gets top marks because it connects your smartphone to TVs, set-top boxes, DVD players, entertainment portals such as Roku and Apple TV, audio systems, and home appliances such as air conditioners and heaters. You can download Peel for free, but you may need to purchase the <a href="http://amzn.to/2kVySoq" target="_blank">Pronto 360-degree IR blaster</a>, depending on the connectivity options of devices that you want to control.</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-tools-and-gadgets-your-smartphone-can-replace">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/earn-extra-income-with-your-smartphone-camera">Earn Extra Income With Your Smartphone Camera</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/organize-8-key-areas-of-your-life-with-these-17-smart-apps">Organize 8 Key Areas of Your Life With These 17 Smart Apps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-you-must-immediately-do-after-losing-your-smartphone">8 Things You Must Immediately Do After Losing Your Smartphone</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-siri-can-be-your-personal-finance-assistant">9 Ways Siri Can Be Your Personal Finance Assistant</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-cell-phone-app-thats-saving-me-a-smal-fortune">The Cell Phone App That&#039;s Saving Me A Small Fortune</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Technology Android apps you need iPhone modern technology smartphone smartphone apps tech gadgets tools Thu, 16 Feb 2017 10:30:27 +0000 Damian Davila 1892849 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Best USB-Powered Fans http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-usb-powered-fans <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-usb-powered-fans" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/usb_computer_fan_486869346.jpg" alt="Using the best usb-powered fan while working" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A USB-powered fan is incredibly convenient and useful. It can cool the air around you and improve ventilation, whether you're working in the library or using it by the pool (with a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-power-banks">power bank</a>).</p> <h2>What Is a USB-Powered Fan?</h2> <p>A USB-powered fan is a small, portable USB cord-connected cooling device that can be easily moved from place-to-place and charged using the included USB cord. With the USB cord, you can power your fan using your laptop, computer, or an external power bank.</p> <p>These convenient, compact fans won't necessarily replace your favorite fan. Instead, they are ideal for the home, office, or on your travel adventures. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-fans?ref=seealso">The 5 Best Fans</a>)</p> <h2>Top 5 USB-Powered Fans</h2> <h3>OPOLAR Mini USB Table Desk Personal Fan</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2lqvXR4"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/opolar.jpg" width="178" height="200" align="right" alt="" /></a>An Amazon's Choice product, the <a href="http://amzn.to/2lqvXR4">OPOLAR Mini USB Table Desk Personal Fan</a> is quiet, free-angle adjustable, and lightweight. The high-quality metal fan is sturdy, powerful, and produces a soft breeze. The compact fan is ideal for use anywhere and won't take up space. It can be charged with the included USB cable using your laptop, power bank, or adapter. It is an Amazon best-seller and has more than 1,100 five-star reviews on Amazon. It is also backed by a one-year replacement for product defect for your added peace of mind.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2lqvXR4"><em>Currently $13.99 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>ARCTIC Breeze Mobile USB-Powered Portable Fan</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2koLRLM"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/arctic.jpg" width="108" height="245" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://amzn.to/2koLRLM">ARCTIC Breeze Mobile, USB-Powered Portable Fan</a> offers a high air flow. The slim, lightweight fan features a space-saving design. It is virtually silent thanks to low-noise blades, which quietly move air at 1700 rpm. The flexible, adjustable gooseneck directs the breeze to blow exactly where you want it. Simply plug it into your laptop or PC, portable USB power source, or external cooling solution for your game console. This is available in a wide range of colors and designs. It is an Amazon best-seller and has more than 1,500 five-star reviews on Amazon. The durable fan is built to last and is backed by a two-year limited warranty for your added peace of mind.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2koLRLM"><em>Currently $7.99 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>iMBAPrice USB-MFAN USB Mini Desktop Fan</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2lqy2MT"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/imbaprice.jpg" width="200" height="195" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://amzn.to/2lqy2MT">iMBAPrice USB-MFAN USB Mini Desktop Fan</a> is the ideal basic USB desk fan. The quiet fan has a simple switch for easy usage. It features adjustable direction, so you can get a strong, steady stream of air directed exactly where you want it. It is available in plastic or metal. It is an Amazon best-seller and has more than 900 five-star reviews on Amazon.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2lqy2MT"><em>Currently $7.20 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Thermaltake Mobile Fan II External USB Cooling Fan</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2kKqnKs"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/thermaltake.jpg" width="245" height="199" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://amzn.to/2kKqnKs">Thermaltake Mobile Fan II External USB Cooling Fan</a> features a VR knob and is ideal for cooling you, your electronics, or your game console. It blows a good amount of air and is very quiet. It is powered by a one-touch retractable USB power cord cable box. It is available in three colors and two sizes. It is an Amazon best-seller and has more than 1,000 five-star reviews on Amazon.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2kKqnKs"><em>Currently $12.99 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Honeywell Turbo On-the-Go Personal Fan</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2lmHzbX"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/honeywell_2.jpg" width="175" height="200" align="right" alt="" /></a>The portable <a href="http://amzn.to/2lmHzbX">Honeywell Turbo On-the-Go Personal Fan</a> folds into the carrying/hanging handle for easy transport and storage. It features one speed, produces a small amount of white noise, and features an adjustable tilt head. The lightweight fan produces a good amount of air, which you can feel from three feet away. It can be carried, hung, or stood up on a flat surface. It can be powered with four AA batteries (not included), the included USB connector, or an electric adapter (not included). It is an Amazon best-seller and has outstanding online reviews. It is also backed by a one-year limited warranty for your added peace of mind.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2lmHzbX"><em>Currently $12.34 on Amazon</em></a></p> <p>And those are our recommendations for the best USB-powered fans. As always, be sure to check <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-calendar">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-usb-powered-fans">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/the-5-best-4k-televisions">The 5 Best 4K Televisions</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-electronics-wipes">The 5 Best Electronics Wipes</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-power-surge-protectors">The 5 Best Power Surge Protectors</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-fans">The 5 Best Fans</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-ceiling-fans">The 5 Best Ceiling Fans</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Shopping Technology 5 best computer fans fans laptop product reviews shopping usb fans usb-powered fans Thu, 09 Feb 2017 10:00:13 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1889421 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Apps That Pay You to Workout http://www.wisebread.com/6-apps-that-pay-you-to-workout <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-apps-that-pay-you-to-workout" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_workout_phone_536139771.jpg" alt="Woman using apps that pay her to workout" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of the most popular New Year's resolutions every year is to get fit and lose weight. Unfortunately, it's also one of the most broken resolutions as well. Perhaps if there was more of a financial reward tied to getting in shape, it would be easier, or maybe if there was a way to stay more accountable. Fortunately, there exist some highly clever smartphone apps that will help you with both. Here are six of the most popular apps that will actually pay you to workout and help keep you accountable in the process.</p> <h2>1. PACT</h2> <p>The free <a href="http://www.pactapp.com/" target="_blank">PACT app</a> is a clever healthy living smartphone app that keeps you accountable, both in terms of diet and exercise. The app works by allowing you to make weekly &quot;pacts&quot; with yourself to either eat healthier or exercise more.</p> <p>Once your pacts are set, you choose how much money you'll pay other PACT members if you don't reach them. On the flipside, if you do reach your pacts, you get paid by other members. So essentially you make money by staying healthy and you get paid by the members who don't. You might only make a few dollars a week, but the app keeps you accountable and makes for easy goal setting. Plus, it lets you connect to other popular health apps like RunKeeper, Fitbit, MapMyRun, and MyFitnessPal.</p> <h2>2. DietBet</h2> <p>The <a href="https://www.dietbet.com/" target="_blank">DietBet app</a> is a fun way to track your weight loss goals, stay accountable, and tap into your competitive side. Essentially the app let's you join &quot;Games,&quot; pay a small entry fee, and compete against other motivated folks to try and lose a certain percentage of weight in a specific amount of time. Win the game and you'll split the pot with all the other winners.</p> <h2>3. Healthy Wage</h2> <p>The <a href="https://www.healthywage.com/" target="_blank">Healthy Wage app</a> is similar to DietBet, with a couple important differences. While you get paid by winning weight loss challenges, the app focuses more on the user creating challenges with friends and family as well as corporate challenges. The challenges make for a fun way to track your progress and interact with others who are also trying to develop a healthier lifestyle.</p> <p>You can join up to 10 challenges at one time, as well as simply create personal challenges that'll keep you accountable. You pony up some money, join the challenges that interest you, and try to win some substantial bucks. Refer friends to the challenge and your winnings grow substantially.</p> <h2>4. Charity Miles</h2> <p>If you're looking to get into shape and are the type who regularly gives money to your favorite charities, then the <a href="http://www.charitymiles.org/" target="_blank">Charity Miles app</a> is worth a look. The app essentially donates money to <a href="https://charitymileshelp.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/214937668-Who-are-your-Charity-Partners-" target="_blank">the charity of your choice</a> any time you &quot;walk, run, bike, skip, dance or any human-centered activity.&quot; By using your smartphone's GPS, Charity Miles can easily track your movement and track your activity. The more you move, the more money your charity receives.</p> <p>Sound too good to be true? Charity Miles is completely legit and pays out via corporate sponsors like Humana, Johnson &amp; Johnson, and Chobani.</p> <h2>5. WellCoin</h2> <p>The folks at <a href="https://www.wellcoin.com/" target="_blank">WellCoin</a> have developed a mobile app that gives you rewards points for doing healthy things. From sleeping seven hours a night, to drinking plenty of water, to going for a jog, you'll earn WellCoins for doing all of the above. Earn enough coins and you can redeem them for workout gear, healthy food, and even exercise classes in your area. The app is a great tool to help keep you accountable throughout the day.</p> <h2>6. FitCoin</h2> <p>The <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-fitcoin/id1008898705" target="_blank">FitCoin app</a> is another fun way to earn rewards with your Fitbit or any fitness tracker supported by the Apple Health app on your iPhone. Once the app is synced to your fitness tracker, you simply start burning calories by walking, jogging, or hitting the gym, and start earning &quot;FitCoins&quot; for your efforts. Your burned calories turn into FitCoins which can be redeemed in the FitCoin boutique for cool stuff like Amazon gift cards.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-apps-that-pay-you-to-workout">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-fitness-gadgets-actually-worth-the-money">5 Fitness Gadgets Actually Worth the 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/the-ultimate-green-workout">The Ultimate &quot;Green&quot; Workout</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cheap-exercise-tools-for-a-killer-workout">10 Cheap Exercise Tools for a Killer Workout</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/ready-to-buy-some-exercise-equipment-read-this-first">Ready To Buy Some Exercise Equipment? Read This First.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-7-exercises-are-scientifically-proven-to-increase-happiness">These 7 Exercises Are Scientifically Proven to Increase Happiness</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Health and Beauty Technology apps exercise fitness get fit get in shape get paid to workout Health iPhone workout Tue, 07 Feb 2017 10:30:37 +0000 Kyle James 1887741 at http://www.wisebread.com Solving the World's Problems Could Win You Millions http://www.wisebread.com/solving-the-worlds-problems-could-win-you-millions <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/solving-the-worlds-problems-could-win-you-millions" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-492846156.jpg" alt="Woman solving the world&#039;s problems and winning millions" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>How are your problem-solving abilities? Do you regularly come up with ingenious ways to make life better? Are you and your close friends the kind of people who, when they put their minds together, can accomplish anything?</p> <p>If you're nodding yes to all these questions, you could well bag a huge prize (some are $1 million or more) for solving one of these super hard problems.</p> <h2>1. The Water Abundance Challenge ($1.5 Million Grand Prize)</h2> <p>Can you create water from thin air? That's the problem put before you on this challenge, which has a massive jackpot prize of $1.5 million. The reasons behind the competition are scary. Half of the global population lives in areas where water tables are rapidly falling, and by 2025, it is estimated that 1.8 billion people will live in areas affected by water scarcity.</p> <p>However, there is a solution. Well, a possible one. There are over three quadrillion gallons of untapped water in the Earth's atmosphere. That's enough water to meet the needs of every person on the planet for a whole year, <em>if </em>someone can figure out a way to extract the water from the air in an energy efficient way. And that's the real challenge. The solution must extract a minimum of 2,000 liters of water from the atmosphere per day, using 100% renewable energy, at a cost of no more that two cents per liter.</p> <p>Clean water, from the atmosphere, using renewable energy, with minimal costs. That's quite the challenge, and the reason the prize pot is so big. Registration closes on March 15, 2017, so if you have the chops to take this problem on, <a href="http://water.xprize.org/about/overview" target="_blank">get your entry in</a> as soon as possible.</p> <h2>2. NASA 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge ($1.1 Million and $1.4 Million Prizes)</h2> <p>This problem centers around making a 3D printed habitat for a NASA astronaut. If you've seen the movie <em>The Martian</em>, you'll know how important a dependable, lightweight living environment is to a NASA crew member. The advent of 3D printing has led to a whole new direction for innovation in this area. And now you could be a part of it.</p> <p>The big hurdle you will have to get over is raw materials. Rather than bringing them on the mission (which adds weight and cost to the project), the idea here is to &quot;print&quot; a habitat using the local indigenous materials, or recycled materials. As you can imagine, if the habitat is to be based on the moon, or Mars, that does not leave you with a lot of options.</p> <p>Phase 1 of this contest is already over, but you can still register for Phases 2 and 3 of the challenge. Each brings a substantial prize to the winning design.</p> <p>Phase 2, known as the Structural Member Competition, focuses on material technologies needed to create and build the habitat. Phase 3 is the actual printing and building of the scaled habitat design. Both offer over $1 million to the winner, so if this kind of engineering problem is your thing, <a href="http://www.bradley.edu/sites/challenge/description/" target="_blank">you should get started ASAP</a>.</p> <h2>3. Wearable Alcohol Biosensor ($200,000 First Prize)</h2> <p>Alcoholism, and alcohol-related problems, are a major cause for concern in the United States. A report published in 2014 showed that the top 10% of alcohol drinkers consume an average of <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/09/25/think-you-drink-a-lot-this-chart-will-tell-you/?utm_term=.de52bf918239" target="_blank">74 drinks every week</a> (that's more than 10 drinks per day). That's over two bottles of wine every day, or three 24-can cases of beer per week.</p> <p>Knowing the severity of the problem, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism wants to help Americans get off their booze addiction. So, they have issued a challenge, with a top prize of $200,000.</p> <p>You are being tasked to create the prototype of a sleek, unobtrusive, noninvasive, wearable, real-time blood alcohol monitor. Imagine a smartwatch that gives you an instant read of your blood alcohol content, or perhaps some kind of digital patch or piece of jewelry. This would become a self-monitoring device that people can use to chart their alcohol use, and something the local doctor can use as a reliable indicator of alcohol use (and abuse).</p> <p>If you have something in mind, get over to this site <a href="https://niaaa.nih.gov/challenge-prize" target="_blank">before May 15, 2017</a> and submit your prototype. You could win a lot of money, and save a lot of lives.</p> <h2>4. Women's Safety Challenge ($1 Million Grand Prize)</h2> <p>The statistics behind this challenge are terrifying. Globally, one in three women have faced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. Geographically, it can be much worse in some areas. In New Delhi, a 2012 study revealed that 92% of women experience some form of sexual violence in public spaces. And despite the growth of technology, including smartphones and wearables, the statistics are not changing. Although most of us carry a communication device, it's not helping the problem.</p> <p>The challenge here is to use modern technology that will help keep women and communities safe. How can devices like smartphones, coupled with a community of people ready to help, create a network that protects women from the dangers of society? The winning solution will autonomously and inconspicuously trigger an emergency alert, transmitting information to a network of responders, all within 90 seconds and at an annual cost of U.S. $40 or less.</p> <p>This is something that can have a real impact on your own community, and the world. You can <a href="http://safety.xprize.org/about/overview" target="_blank">read more about the challenge</a>, and the prize.</p> <h2>5. The Medical Treatment Free Time Challenge ($20,000 Top Prize)</h2> <p>Hopefully, you never have to be the beneficiary of the solution to this challenge. It is based around the amount of time that some people have to spend basically sitting idle while they receive medical treatments. A typical example of this would be kidney dialysis, which requires patients to sit still for around four hours, three times per week. But as the challenge states, this is for anyone receiving medical treatment that has free time to spare while undergoing the procedure.</p> <p>Instead of reading a book, listening to music, or watching TV, what could the patient do that is more beneficial to his or her recovery? Could this time be better spent doing something that actively helps in the treatment itself, or something that works to better the attitude and outlook of the patient?</p> <p>If these questions are already getting your mind to work overtime, <a href="https://www.innocentive.com/ar/challenge/9933817" target="_blank">take a look at the details</a>. You will have to register for free, but it could be well worth it for you, and the people your solution helps.</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/solving-the-worlds-problems-could-win-you-millions">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-surprising-ways-a-3d-printer-can-save-you-money">5 Surprising Ways a 3D Printer 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/your-ssn-can-now-be-accurately-guessed-using-date-and-place-of-birth">Your SSN Can Now Be Accurately Guessed Using Date and Place of Birth</a></span> </div> </li> <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-ultimate-list-of-hangover-cures">The Ultimate List of Hangover Cures</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/bots-chips-and-selfies-how-safe-are-the-new-ways-to-pay">Pay with a Selfie: How Safe Are the New Ways to Pay?</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-one-website-everyone-needs-to-read-apart-from-wb-of-course">The one website everyone needs to read (apart from WB of course)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Technology 3d printing alcohol engineering grand prizes medicine problem solving safety science water Thu, 02 Feb 2017 10:30:35 +0000 Paul Michael 1878110 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Best Electronics Wipes http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-electronics-wipes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-electronics-wipes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_nails_phone_470384984.jpg" alt="Woman using best electronic wipes to clean phone" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In today&rsquo;s world of touch screens, your smartphone, tablet, and electronics can get much dirtier, much more quickly. Fortunately, electronics wipes offer the perfect solution to effectively clean dust, dirt, grease, grime, makeup, smudges, and fingerprints off your screens.</p> <p>Electronics wipes make it easier than ever to quickly, safely clean your electronic screens. By regularly cleaning your screens, they will look new again and allow you to see the picture more clearly. Smooth surfaces also allow for optimal stylus response. When there are smudges on your screens, it can also cause you to strain your eyes more, which can take a toll on your vision. With electronics wipes, you can conveniently clean your screens with no risk of damage to your valuable devices.</p> <h2>What Are Electronics Wipes?</h2> <p>Electronics wipes are soft, nonabrasive wet wipes designed specifically for cleaning electronics surfaces. They can be used on smartphones, computer screens, televisions, and any other electronics surfaces. It&rsquo;s important to first remove all abrasives from the surface, so you don&rsquo;t scratch your screens while you&rsquo;re trying to clean them. After you gently wipe your screens clean, you can simply throw the used wipe away.</p> <h2>Top 5 Electronics Wipes</h2> <h3>Windex Screen Cleaner Wipes</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2kfCizn"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/windez.jpg" width="132" height="245" align="right" alt="" /></a>Amazon&rsquo;s Choice for electronics wipes, the <a href="http://amzn.to/2kfCizn">Windex Screen Cleaner Wipes</a> work perfectly for computers, televisions, smartphones, glasses, LCD screens, smartphones, and all electronic screens. They can also be used on game stations, remotes, glass, and metal for a better value. The antistatic cloths quickly and gently remove dust, fingerprints, and smudges. The advanced cleaning formula cleans safely and easily without leaving any residue, lint, or streaks behind. The resealable pouch will keep the wipes moist for longer. They are recommended by Influenster and have great online reviews.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2kfCizn"><em>Currently $8.21 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>iCloth Screen Cleaning Wipes</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2kU24so"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/icloth.jpg" width="176" height="245" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://amzn.to/2kU24so">iCloth Screen Cleaning Wipes</a> are individually packaged and guaranteed to stay moist. The premium pre-moistened cloths work to quickly clean all electronics, including smartphones, tablets, computers, cameras, and glasses with no drips, streaks, or film. The nonwoven aerospace-grade wipes are extremely soft and low-linting. They safely and easily trap and lift off dirt, fingerprints, makeup, and grease, so your electronics and optical screens can provide maximum clarity. The purified water-based formula contains some isopropyl alcohol (not harmful ethyl alcohol), which iCloth claims is safe for use on all screens, sensitive optics, and specialty coatings.</p> <p>The 100-pack of individually-sealed cleaning wipes are convenient to carry in your purse, car, backpack, or travel bag. They have outstanding reviews, including more than 600 five-star reviews on Amazon, and are backed by a money-back guarantee.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2kU24so"><em>Currently $22.49 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>3m Electronic Equipment Cleaning Wipes</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2kTKIeW"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/3m.jpg" width="133" height="245" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://amzn.to/2kTKIeW">3m Electronic Equipment Cleaning Wipes</a> are perfect for use on all electronics and delicate surfaces, including LCD screens, laptops, phones, computers, and DVDs. They will keep your expensive equipment clean and dust-free, so they can work optimally and provide you with a better value. The pre-moistened, antistatic, nonabrasive, unscented wipes come in an easy-dispense canister, so they&rsquo;ll stay moist for longer.</p> <p>These are frequently recommended online and have great reviews. If you&rsquo;d rather have something that you can use over and over, consider the <a href="http://amzn.to/2jU1U42">3M High Performance Cloth</a>.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2kTKIeW"><em>Currently $11.47 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Weiman E-tronic Wipes</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2jVzQjd"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/weiman.jpg" width="101" height="245" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://amzn.to/2jVzQjd">Weiman E-tronic Wipes</a> safely clean all electronics, including televisions, keyboards and monitors, laptops, tablets, and cellphones. The quick-drying, antistatic wipes remove dust, fingerprints, and dirt. They leave a streak-free shine so you can enjoy a clearer picture on all your screens. The convenient dispenser will keep the wipes moist, so you get a better value. This is backed by the Good Housekeeping seal and has great online reviews.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2jVzQjd"><em>Currently $7.99 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Endust Pop-Up Anti-Static Non-Streak Wipes</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2kQaftx"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/endust.jpg" width="102" height="245" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://amzn.to/2kQaftx">Anti-Static, Non-Streak Endust Wipes</a> will clean most electronics quickly and safely. However, they aren&rsquo;t ideal for LCD or plasma screens. The pop-up container keeps the soft, nonabrasive, ammonia-free wipes moist for a better value. The moisture evaporates in seconds so you can use your clean electronics again in no time. These are frequently recommended online and have great reviews.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2kQaftx"><em>Currently $9.52 on Amazon</em></a></p> <p>And those are our recommendations for the best electronics wipes. As always, be sure to check <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-calendar">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-electronics-wipes">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-power-surge-protectors">The 5 Best Power Surge Protectors</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-usb-powered-fans">The 5 Best USB-Powered Fans</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-4k-televisions">The 5 Best 4K Televisions</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-selfie-sticks">The 5 Best Selfie Sticks</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> Home Shopping Technology 5 best cleaning electronic wipes electronics product reviews shopping technology Wed, 01 Feb 2017 10:00:15 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1884773 at http://www.wisebread.com The 5 Best Power Surge Protectors http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-power-surge-protectors <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-power-surge-protectors" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/624683910.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Power surges can naturally occur when there is a spike in the electrical current. This can fry any electronics plugged into the outlet in a fraction of a second. Even smaller power fluctuations and electromagnetic line noise can disrupt equipment settings, burn the components, shorten equipment life, and result in data loss.</p> <p>Fortunately, with an affordable surge protector, you can prevent a future problem with your electrical current. Best of all, by turning off the surge protectors every night (or when they aren&rsquo;t in use), you can easily save money on your electric bills.</p> <h2>What Is a Surge Protector?</h2> <p>A surge protector is a device designed to protect your computers, electronics, and home theater equipment in the event of a storm, power surge, wiring faults, or transient voltage. It keeps your equipment safe by dispersing excess voltage away from power and data lines.</p> <p>Don&rsquo;t wait any longer to start protecting your devices against power spikes and fluctuations. All you have to do is plug the surge protector into your wall outlet and connect your devices to keep them safe from power surges. By protecting your electronics with an affordable surge protector, you can save yourself hundreds or even thousands in damage later on, in the event of lightning, an outage, or a power surge.</p> <h2>Top 5 Surge Protectors</h2> <h3>Belkin 12-Outlet Power Strip Surge Protector</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2jo25XB"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/belkin.jpg" width="113" height="245" align="right" alt="" /></a>Amazon&rsquo;s #1 best-seller in power strips, the <a href="http://amzn.to/2jo25XB">Belkin 12-Outlet Power Strip Surge Protector</a> features six regular surge-protected outlets and six BlockSpace surge-protected outlets for larger adapters. It has a 3940-Joule energy rating and features an eight-foot heavy-duty power cord, coaxial cable protection to safeguard cable box/satellite connections, and a detachable cord management clip for cable organization.</p> <p>It has sliding safety covers and damage-resistant housing for long-term durability and protection from fire, impact, rust, dents, and scratches. The power filtration minimizes unwanted line noise and electromagnetic interference. It also has a 'Protected' indicator light that turns green to let you know that your equipment is secure, and a 'Not-Grounded' indicator light that turns red to warn you when your outlet is not properly grounded. The slender, space-saving design and right-angle plug allow it to fit easily in tight spaces or behind furniture.</p> <p>Belkin is the leader in surge protection, so you can count on this to work well. It is also backed by a Lifetime Warranty and $300,000 Connected Equipment Warranty for your added peace of mind. It is one of the &ldquo;most wished for&rdquo; items on Amazon and is recommended by Digital Trends. It has outstanding online reviews, including more than 5,200 five-star reviews on Amazon. The <a href="http://amzn.to/2k1gMAQ">Belkin 12-Outlet Advanced Power Strip Surge Protector</a> is also an Amazon best-seller. For more convenience, consider the <a href="http://amzn.to/2joboGT">Belkin 12-Outlet Pivot-Plug Power Strip Surge Protector</a>.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2jo25XB"><em>Currently $19.48 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>AmazonBasics Surge Protector Power Strip</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2k1vF6p"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/amazon%20basics.jpg" width="220" height="195" align="right" alt="" /></a>Amazon&rsquo;s #1 best-seller in power protection products, the <a href="http://amzn.to/2k1vF6p">AmazonBasics Six-Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip</a> has a slim, sleek design and two keyhole slots on the back for wall mounting. This two-pack of six-outlet surge protector power strips features a transformer outlet and a two-foot power cord. It also features a red &quot;protected&quot; LED indicator and a second light in the on/off switch to show the surge-protector power strip is turned on. Each one features a 200-Joule, three-line surge suppression rating.</p> <p>This is available in black or white. It is recommended by Digital Trends and has outstanding online reviews, including more than 500 five-star reviews on Amazon. The <a href="http://amzn.to/2jo7tKa">AmazonBasics Surge Protector Power Strip, 790 Joule</a> is also on the Amazon College Checklist.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2k1vF6p"><em>Currently $10.70 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Tripp Lite Surge Protector Power Strip</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2kh1F3N"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/tripp%20lite.jpg" width="129" height="245" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://amzn.to/2kh1F3N">Tripp Lite Surge Protector Power Strip</a> features six right-angle outlets and a transformer outlet. It has 1080-Joules of surge suppression, a four-foot power cord, and two keyhole mounting slots, so you can easily wall-mount it. The green diagnostic LED alerts you of surge protection status. It also filters out disruptive line noise, preventing it from affecting your equipment and helping to ensure peak performance.</p> <p>This is available in a range of sizes, so you can find the perfect one for your home. It is backed by a lifetime warranty against damage due to surges and comes with $25,000 of Ultimate Lifetime Insurance for your added peace of mind. It is an Amazon best-seller and is commonly recommended online. It also has outstanding online reviews, including more than 800 five-star reviews on Amazon.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2kh1F3N"><em>Currently $9.26 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>APC SurgeArrest Performance Surge Protector Power Strip</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2jcStvh"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/apc.jpg" width="245" height="134" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://amzn.to/2jcStvh">APC SurgeArrest Performance Surge Protector Power Strip with Phone, Network Ethernet and Coaxial Protection</a> has 11 outlets with six spaced for large box plugs. The 3020-Joules surge protector includes cord management straps, telephone/DSL cable, a coaxial connection to protect any device that uses a standard cable TV input, and sliding safety covers to protect the outlets from dust. The LED lights indicate proper functioning and can notify you of potential problems. The professional-grade surge protector has an eight-foot cord with 180-degree rotation and right-angle plug for added flexibility. It can also be mounted to the wall.</p> <p>This also includes a lifetime warranty and $100,000 Equipment Protection Policy for added peace of mind. It is recommended by Digital Trends, The Wirecutter, and Lifehacker. It has outstanding online reviews, including more than 1,000 five-star reviews on Amazon.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2jcStvh"><em>Currently $28.47 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>CyberPower Surge Protector Outlet Swivel</h3> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2j3xoIL"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/cyberpower.jpg" width="185" height="245" align="right" alt="" /></a>The <a href="http://amzn.to/2j3xoIL">CyberPower Surge Protector</a> has 1200-Joules of surge protection, a noise filter to block unwanted line noise, and a convenient wall tap design. The professional-grade surge protector features six surge protected swivel outlets and two USB charging ports, which allow you to conveniently charge your smartphone and tablet. It also has green LED &quot;Protected&quot; and &quot;Grounded&quot; indicators.</p> <p>This is backed by a Limited Lifetime Warranty and $75,000 Connected Equipment Warranty for your added peace of mind. It is an Amazon best-seller and has great online reviews.</p> <p><a href="http://amzn.to/2j3xoIL"><em>Currently $15.94 on Amazon</em></a></p> <p>And those are our recommendations for the best power surge protectors. As always, be sure to check <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-calendar">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-power-surge-protectors">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-electronics-wipes">The 5 Best Electronics Wipes</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-usb-powered-fans">The 5 Best USB-Powered Fans</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-selfie-sticks">The 5 Best Selfie Sticks</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-4k-televisions">The 5 Best 4K Televisions</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> Home Shopping Technology 5 best outlet power strip product reviews shopping surge protectors technology Wed, 25 Jan 2017 10:00:14 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1880351 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Times Buying the Extended Warranty Makes Sense http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-buying-the-extended-warranty-makes-sense <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-times-buying-the-extended-warranty-makes-sense" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-498187364.jpg" alt="sometimes the extended warranty makes sense" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Every time you make a big-ish purchase &mdash; like a TV, home appliance, or automobile &mdash; you're offered the extended warranty. The extended warranty covers repair beyond the manufacturer's warranty expiration date, usually by a couple years, but it requires an additional fee. Most of us turn down this option on TVs and appliances as these items rarely break down before we're ready to upgrade. But it's wise to consider opting for the extended warranty in certain situations. Take a look at these five times buying the extended warranty actually makes sense.</p> <h2>1. Lawn and Garden Equipment</h2> <p>If you've ever owned lawn equipment &mdash; like a mower or a weed whacker (especially a weed whacker!) &mdash; you know how sensitive these machines can be. After all, they're sucking up dirt, grass, leaves, and all kinds of debris, which not only dulls the parts faster than other machinery, but the debris can become lodged in places it shouldn't be, thus causing the need for repair. Another reason these machines are prone to breaking down after a year or two of use is because they burn combustive fuel &mdash; the process of which degrades the parts over time.</p> <p>Bryan Clayton, CEO of an on-demand lawn service called GreenPal, explains why an extended warranty for these types of products makes economic sense.</p> <p>&quot;When you take a $400 push mower to your local repair shop, the cost to repair it can exceed the cost of buying a new unit. The extended warranty for a new push mower usually runs about 10% to 15% of the cost of the unit, and if you plan on keeping it three to five years, it almost always pays off,&quot; he says. &quot;For instance, the self-propelled drive mechanism of most Honda push mowers will go out after a year and a half to two years of use, and to repair or replace the drive will cost in excess of $300 with parts and labor; an extended warranty will cover you when this occurs.&quot;</p> <p>As is the case with any extended warranty, be sure to keep all paperwork and receipts that pertain to the machinery. You'll get the work done faster without any pushback since you can readily prove it.</p> <h2>2. Cars</h2> <p>Two years ago, I purchased a used 2009 Volkswagen with about 75,000 miles on it. For the first year, everything was fine. This year, however, it seems like anything that could go wrong with this vehicle has gone wrong. Since August, I've had to replace all four tires, the mechanism that opens the driver's side door, the power-steering rack, and the serpentine belt. The car is in the shop every other week for something new it seems, and the repairs have cost me thousands of dollars.</p> <p>Of course, I opted out of the extended warranty when it was offered, because I'm an idiot and I didn't want to spend the extra money. But in hindsight, I should have loosened my wallet. It would have saved me a lot of stress and unexpected expense.</p> <p>Auto sales and leasing consultant Matt Tuers says, &quot;Extended warranties from car dealers are big profit centers, but in many cases these products can save consumers a lot of money. This is especially true as modern vehicles comprise more and more intricate and expensive components and electronics. If you are planning to keep your newly purchased vehicle for longer than is covered by the factory warranty &mdash; in terms of years or mileage &mdash; these extended warranties can pay for themselves.&quot;</p> <p>A typical manufacturer's warranty on a new vehicle covers the first three to four years, so if you plan to unload the car in less than four years, skip the extended option. If you plan to keep it until it decides it doesn't want to take you anywhere anymore, however, splurge for the additional coverage.</p> <p>Purchasing an extended warranty for my vehicle would have only cost a few hundred dollars more, and I'm definitely kicking myself now.</p> <h2>3. Your &quot;New&quot; Used Home</h2> <p>If you're moving into a house with existing appliances, a home warranty may be a good idea to cover what's already there, like refrigerators and water heaters. You don't know what kind of wear and tear the appliances went through before you arrived, and you may not know how old they are or receive any of the previous owner's warranty information. Everything should be up to par at inspection, but you'll feel like a sucker if something goes on the fritz right after you move in. Besides, you have plenty of other expenses when buying a new home. The last thing you need is to replace an appliance you thought was in good working condition.</p> <h2>4. Home Improvement Projects</h2> <p>Last year I had my home re-sided, and the company that completed the work offered a warranty that covered the length of time I plan to stay in this house, so I opted out of any extended coverage. If you're planning any home improvements projects &mdash; like replacing your windows &mdash; anytime soon, however, and you plan to stick around for awhile, you should absolutely inquire about extended or lifetime warranties. These warranties are often built into the cost of the products, which may make them a bit more expensive than their competitors, so do your due diligence when comparing brands and what's offered.</p> <h2>5. Computers and Laptops</h2> <p>For the most part, computers and laptops hold their own. They're reliable devices, but there's a chance you could get one that's just a little off or crashes before you expected it. Case in point: The hard drive of my Mac crashed a few years ago, costing me about $300 in repairs &mdash; and they couldn't recover my lost data! I couldn't afford to purchase a new laptop at that time, so I had to submit to the repairs. But if I had purchased an extended warranty, I could have rested a little easier knowing that I didn't have to pay out of pocket for what seemed to me like a manufacturing defect. If you plan to purchase the extended warranty on a computer, plan to spend about 10% to 20% of the price of the device. Anything higher than that and you're paying too much.</p> <h2>A Note About Extended Warranties on Credit Cards</h2> <p>Most credit cards offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-advantage-of-free-extended-warranty-from-your-credit-card-issuer?ref=internal">free extended warranties</a> on your purchases. Look at your card agreement or call up your issuer. Find the credit card that offers the best policy on extended warranties (some cards have a lower per-claim maximum dollar amount, or lower threshold for extending the warranty) and use that for your next big ticket item.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-buying-the-extended-warranty-makes-sense">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. 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