This week in deals: Macy's, Rocket Lawyer & more

Published: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 @ 10:46 AM
Updated: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 @ 10:46 AM

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Now that the Republican National Convention and the Democratic Convention are over, let's focus on how much money we can save.  Truth be told, a lot of people were tuning into the convention hoping for answers about their financial future.

If there is one thing we can do for ourselves, it's to be financially conscious.  And one way to go about it is to start changing our shopping habits.  Whether it's cutting back, using coupons or only shopping the sale and clearance sections, we ultimately have the power and choice on how we are going to spend our hard earned money.

To make things easier for you, I've compiled a list of the 5 best deals on our site this week.  We hope to make your shopping experience easier, save you time and ultimately empower you to take charge of your financial future.


Here are this week's top 5 deals:

Deal #1: I LOVE Macy's!  The reason I love them is that after you stack their sale prices with their coupons, you really get a great bargain.  Sometimes you leave feeling that you've somehow robbed them because of the low price you just scored (I've gotten almost 90% off in the Housewares and Apparel department before).  Right now, Macy's has a coupon for extra 20% off most departments sitewide.  Expires 09/16/2012.

Deal #2: Are you in need of a lawyer's advice or help?  Rocket Lawyer has a 50% discount on your first month's purchase until 09/30/2012.  This is a good way to get help when you need it with a network of on-call attorneys.  I'm thinking about making a purchase myself because I am receiving ridiculous or shall I call "fraudulent" tickets for parking in my driveway (and no my car is not hitting the sidewalk, pavement, garbage can, etc.).

Deal #3: It's that time of the year again when Payless offers Buy 1, Get 1 50% off on everything, except for their green tag items.  Every time this sale occurs, I stock up on everything from socks, shoes and even children's umbrellas.  They also sell a line of ballet slippers and tap shoes, so get your savings on!  Limited time offer.

Deal #4: Are you still on the hunt for some great deals on clothing, shoes, accessories and more from a name brand you trust?  Timberland has a coupon for 40% off everything sitewide.  This is the best deal I've seen for them, so use it or lose it!  Expires 9/17/2012.

Deal #5: Before thinking about your holiday binges, think about starting your new years resolutions early.  Don't wait until 2013 to get your weight and health in check.  Right now, save up to 40% off your plan with this coupon from Weight Watchers.  If you've been thinking about getting healthy, this is definitely the time to do it!  Expires 09/16/2012.

Here's to another week in "This week in deals."  Come back next week to see 5 more spectacular deals you don't want to miss!


11 social media posts that can hurt your career

Published: Sunday, July 16, 2017 @ 5:13 PM

Whether you’re looking for a job or already have one, things you’ve posted on social media can come back to haunt you.

A new national survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder found that 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates before hiring, up from 60% last year and 11% in 2006.

Nearly the same percentage of employers (69%) use online search engines like Google to research candidates.

Read more: 10 jobs to consider if you’re looking for a career change

What hiring managers are looking for on social media

The survey sampled more than 2,300 private sector hiring managers and HR professionals. What exactly are they looking for online? Here’s what the survey revealed:

  • Information that supports candidate’s qualifications (61%)
  • Professional online persona (50%)
  • What other people are posting about the candidate (37%)
  • Reason not to hire a candidate (24%)

According to the survey, more than half of employers have found content on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms that led them to eliminate a job candidate from consideration.

Here are the top 11 reasons why employers chose not to hire a candidate based on social media:

  1. Candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos or information
  2. Candidate posted information about them drinking or using drugs
  3. Candidate had discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion
  4. Candidate bad-mouthed their previous company or fellow employee
  5. Candidate lied about qualifications
  6. Candidate had poor communication skills
  7. Candidate was linked to criminal behavior
  8. Candidate shared confidential information from previous employers
  9. Candidate’s screen name was unprofessional
  10. Candidate lied about an absence
  11. Candidate posted too frequently

Think twice before deleting your accounts

Deleting posts that could get you into trouble is a good idea, but what about entire social media accounts? Not so fast. This survey revealed that 57% of employers are less likely to call someone in for an interview if they can’t find a job applicant online.

4 ways social media can get you hired

Your social media presence can also work to your advantage during a job search. More than 40% of employers reported that they’ve found content on a social networking site that prompted them to hire a candidate. These job candidates shared background information on social media that supported their professional qualifications, demonstrated great communication skills, portrayed a professional image and showed creativity.

Always ponder before you post

Once you get your new job, you still need to think carefully before you post anything on social media. More than a third of employers surveyed (34%) said they’ve found content online that caused them to reprimand or fire employees.

Google could help you find the perfect job

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How students can avoid common bank and credit card fees

Published: Sunday, July 02, 2017 @ 12:42 PM

Banking and credit card fees can be costly, especially for college students on a tight budget. But many of these fees can be avoided by knowing your bank’s policies, choosing the right bank account and using credit cards responsibly. Here’s how to avoid some common financial fees:

It pays to do your homework

There are two bank account fees that students and other consumers can easily avoid — maintenance fees and overdraft fees.

Maintenance fees are monthly fees — usually under $10 — for checking and savings accounts. Overdraft fees — an opt-in feature if you want the coverage — are charged when a purchase puts your account under $0. You can rack up multiple overdraft fees per day; the limit depends on your bank’s overdraft policy.

» The best ways to send money online — comparing Venmo, PayPal, Apple Pay and more

What to do: Many banks allow you to avoid monthly maintenance fees by maintaining a minimum balance in your account or by having a minimum monthly direct deposit. Each bank has its own rules for avoiding these fees, so check your bank’s policy for details. Some banks offer student checking accounts that waive the fees while you’re in school.

The median overdraft fee is $35, according to a new NerdWallet study, which analyzed the overdraft fees of 20 checking accounts affiliated with some of the largest universities in the U.S.

What to do: The fee can be avoided in a few ways. The first way is obvious: Don’t spend more than what you have in your account. Get in the habit of checking your account balance regularly, and set up text alerts for when your account falls below a certain balance.

You also can opt out of overdraft fees. By federal law, overdraft protection is opt-in, not automatic. So if you accidentally opted in, you can opt out of overdraft coverage; however, debit card transactions that would put your account in the negative would likely be rejected.

If you don’t have enough money in your account, some of your transactions — specifically bounced checks and online bill payments — may result in nonsufficient-funds, or returned-item, fees. They cost about the same as overdraft fees.

What to do: If your bank doesn’t measure up when it comes to fees, consider switching. Many students may get an account at their parents’ bank or sign up for the bank their school is affiliated with, but these aren’t necessarily the most cost-effective choices. Online banks and credit unions tend to have lower fees than larger banks, so they’re worth a look.

It helps to choose a good card and use it responsibly

There are three major credit card fees students can — and should — avoid: annual fees, late fees and cash-advance fees.

Annual fees are charged just for carrying the card, late fees incur when you don’t make at least your minimum payment by your due date, and cash advance fees are charged for short-term loans against your credit card.

According to the NerdWallet study, the average late-payment fee on student credit cards is $35. Avoiding these fees seems simple: Just don’t pay late. However, it can be difficult to keep track of due dates for all of your accounts, especially with a heavy course load and an active social life. If you tend to forget the due dates, set up automatic payments and make sure to have enough balance in your bank account.

» Woman's photo of son's hospital bill goes viral

What to do: An annual fee can be avoided by choosing a credit card without one. Most student credit cards don’t have annual fees, so you should have plenty of options. Just to be clear, however: Annual fees on credit cards aren’t inherently bad, but they make sense only if your spending is high enough so that the rewards you earn outweigh the fees you pay. Student expenses are usually low, so it would be hard to justify having a card with an annual fee.

Cash advances are expensive, both because of fees and interest charges. Cash advance fees generally are 2 to 5% of the amount of the loan, but some card issuers charge a flat dollar amount. Interest rates on cash advances are usually higher than on purchases. And the interest on advances starts accruing immediately; you don’t get a 25- to 30-day grace period like the one available for regular purchases.

Another downside of cash advances is the amount you can take out. Typically you’re limited to a few hundred dollars, so if you need cash on an ongoing basis, you quickly may have to take another advance — and pay another fee.

What to do: It may be cheaper to get a personal loan from a bank or to borrow money from a loved one.

Financial fees can be expensive on a student budget, but by using our tips, you could instead spend that money on the myriad fun things in college or save in an emergency fund.

Erin El Issa is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: Twitter: @Erin_El_Issa.

40 things you can do today to take control of your money

Published: Sunday, June 25, 2017 @ 12:27 PM

With a timeline and a list of goals to achieve, you may find that you’re capable of being much more disciplined that you thought!

You have to give up a few things if you want to add more freedoms to your life

The idea is to challenge yourself — make it a priority to focus on taking specific steps over the next few weeks to get your money back on track. The hardest part is just deciding to do it, because once you start making changes, you’ll become more motivated and more empowered with every new step you take.

It all starts with changing your mindset.

Getting control of your money is not about taking things away — it’s about adding freedoms to your life — both now and down the road.

A lot of people ignore their financial problems, or their finances in general, because they know they can’t afford to fix everything at once — or they simply just don’t know where to start.

So instead of trying to change everything all at once, start with small steps — small changes and milestones that will get you, and keep you, on the right track.

Making just a few smarter decisions each day can have a big impact on your future, because each step you take will give you more motivation to keep going. And it won’t take long for you to begin to see how all of those small steps are adding up to big progress!

To help you get started, we’ve rounded up a list of some easy things you can do each day to get your financial life back on track! So print this out and start checking items off the list — and before you know it, you’ll have a whole new outlook on not just your money, but your life!

40 ways to take control of your money

1. Cancel a subscription

If you want to get your money in order — both for the short term and the long term — take a look at all of your monthly subscriptions and figure out which ones you don’t really need. Cut at least one. Then next week or next month, cut another one. After a few months, you’ll start to see the difference in your accounts, allowing you to save more and develop better budgeting habits over time.

Here are a few examples of subscriptions you may be able to live without:

  • Gym membership: If you go to the gym every day, you may want to keep your membership. Go to the manager and ask about special offers to decrease what you’re paying. You can also shop around for better prices at other gyms — then take a better price offer to your current gym and ask for a decrease in your membership fee. Also check out these 8 ways to save on a gym membership.
  • TV: Here’s a list of several alternatives.
  • Magazine subscription
  • Other: Are there any monthly/annual subscriptions (like Netflix or Amazon Prime) that you can cut and share with someone in your family? By sharing the account, you cut the cost in half!

Read more: 21 ways to cut costs and save more

2. Lower a monthly bill

A lot of people don’t realize they can lower their existing monthly bills just by doing a little negotiating. Many people can even get their credit card interest rate lowered — just by asking!

Here’s more on how to lower your existing bills.

3. Increase your 401(k) contributions

Log on to your 401(k) or other retirement account online and increase the amount you’re contributing each year. A boost of just 1% is probably small enough that you won’t even notice the money gone when you get your next paycheck. And even just an extra 1% can add up to a lot of extra savings over time!

If you can’t do it online, make a note to call your plan provider tomorrow!

Read more: The #1 tip to maximize your 401(k) investments

4. Make your savings automatic

The best way to start saving more money is to make it automatic. By giving every dollar a purpose, you can avoid reaching the end of the month and having no clue where all your money went — including the money you intended to save.

Figure out how much money you can realistically save each month, after covering all your bills and other expenses, and then set up your direct deposit to have that amount sent directly to savings. That way you won’t be tempted to spend it, and if you absolutely need the money, you can access it pretty easily.

Read more: How to automate your savings

5. Check your credit reports

Many people don’t check their credit reports because they either don’t realize it’s a big deal or they don’t want to face what’s in it. Bad idea! The only way to improve your financial life is to know what’s going with it, so you can take steps to get back on track. Here’s why:

1. Mistakes

  • There could be errors on your report that you don’t know about — maybe you paid off a bill but your report shows that you didn’t.
  • You want to find any mistakes as soon as possible — so you can get them fixed and minimize the damage.

2. Old bills you never knew about or forgot about

  • Maybe you had a bill from a doctor or a retail store — and you moved, so you never got the bill.
  • Even it’s for a small amount, an old unpaid bill could be damaging your credit without you even realizing it.
  • If a bill is sent to collections, it stays on your credit report for 7 years — even after you pay it off.
  • It causes less damage to you over time, but it doesn’t go away for 7 years.
  • So even after you get things together, your credit could still suffer. So the sooner you start paying attention, the sooner you can get your credit on the right track

At, you can get a free copy of each of your credit reports once each year. In just a couple minutes, you can see everything that’s going on with your credit. But you can only do this once a year, because doing so more than once per year will ding your credit and cause your score to drop.

You can also monitor your credit for free with a service called Credit Karma, which pulls in your information and gives you a good idea of what’s going on with all your finances and anything that impacts your credit.

Here’s a guide on everything to know about your credit reports and scores.

6. Make an extra payment toward a debt

The average U.S. household is carrying more than $15,000 in credit card debt, according to a study by NerdWallet. And as that debt rolls over each month, the total amount owed continues to increase — sometimes by quite a lot each month — depending on the credit card’s interest rate.

Think about your situation: do you have any credit card debt or student loans hanging over your head? Those debt obligations can be big obstacles keeping you from reaching your financial goals. So the quicker you get it paid off, the quicker you will be able to truly start building wealth.

One thing you can do today is make just one extra payment toward a debt. While you may not be able to pay off the entire balance today, every little bit helps. Skip a splurge this week and use that money to pay extra toward your credit card bill or student loan debt. Put the extra money toward whichever debt has the highest interest rate — as that’s the debt that will end up costing you more money over time (the longer it sits there accruing interest, the more you’ll owe).

Paying an extra $100 toward debt, instead of wasting it on something you don’t need, will be more beneficial to your long-term financial goals by allowing you to become debt free sooner in life. Plus, the more you start to pay down debt, the quicker you’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel of getting it paid off.

7. Transfer a high-interest debt

If you have a big credit card bill that’s slamming you with high interest fees every month, transferring the balance could save you hundreds of dollars. By allowing you to transfer the debt to a credit card with 0% APR (annual percentage rate) for a certain number of months, these types of offers can help you pay off your debt in a timely manner — without having to pay interest. 

So if you have a credit card with a high interest rate, check out this list of great balance transfer options.

Once you transfer the debt, your payments will go a lot further without the high interest — which will cost you less money in the long run and also allow you to get it paid off quicker.

8. Find free money

Unclaimed money from bank accounts, insurance policies, rental and utility deposits, safe deposit boxes and other places could be hanging out there somewhere in your name. All you need to know is how to check and collect it without paying any fees.

It’s particularly easy if you have a unique last name. Simply go to and punch in your name to do a database search of available unclaimed funds across all states. With one click of your mouse, you can cover the entire spectrum of what’s available.

Please note that not every single state participates. If you live in a state that doesn’t participate with this free site, there’s one more option for you: This website is a clearinghouse for the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators.

Also, if you ever had an FHA home loan, HUD may be sitting on refund money for you. Go to and see if you’re in their refund database.

More ways to find free money in your name.

9. Reduce your student loan debt

Many people don’t realize that a big chunk —often the majority — of their monthly payments are probably going toward interest, depending on the interest rate and other factors (we’ll get to that). So even by paying hundreds of dollars each month, you may not even be making a dent in the total cost of your debt.

Student loan refinancing can be a great way to reduce your payments and decrease the total cost of your debt — while shrinking the time it takes to get it all paid off.

Here’s how to get started.

10. Shop for cheaper car insurance

It may be a pain, but taking a few minutes to sit down and shop around can end up saving you big bucks! Here’s where to look and how to start shopping for a better deal.

11. Reduce your utility bills

By making some basic tweaks around the house – like replacing your light bulbs – you can save a ton of money on your monthly bills! Here are 10 ways to get started.

12. Stop paying full price

For anything you buy today, find a coupon, a promo code or maybe an alternative option — whatever you do, just don’t pay full price! Once you start to realize all the different ways you save on things, you’ll rarely have to pay full price!

13. Check your bank statements daily

If you don’t check your statements daily, there could be fraudulent charges on your account without you even realizing it. Plus, it’s a good way to keep an eye on your spending and recognize any expenses you can cut!

14. Create stronger passwords

The easier your passwords are to hack, the easier it is for criminals to get their hands on your personal information — including your bank account. Each little piece of information that a scammer has about you can help them get access to your accounts.

Here’s how to make sure your passwords are strong and some free ways to safely keep them all in one place.

15. Get a cheaper cell phone plan

A recent survey found that most people are paying about twice as much as they have to each month for cell phone service. Why? Because they don’t make the effort to look for a cheaper plan.

You may be able to get the exact same place, or at least pretty close, for less money. Check out our guide to the best cell phone plans and deals here.

16. Invest spare change

There are some great apps available that now allow you to start investing with just a few bucks! Here’s a list of some of the best ones to consider.

17. Create a budget (or reevaluate your budget)

If you aren’t giving every dollar a purpose, you’re probably wasting more money than you realize.

Creating a budget will help you keep your spending on track. If you already have one, then take a good hard look at each area of spending and see if there are any categories where you can cut costs, which will free up more money for savings.

Check out our step-by-step guide on creating a budget that works for you.

18. Start tracking your spending

Making a mental note is not an efficient way to track your spending. If you want to actually stick to a budget, you need to track every dollar that comes in and every dollar that goes out.

And it can be a lot easier than it sounds. In fact, there are tons of apps that will do it for you. You can even get updates on your progress throughout the month — like if you get close to going over budget or get closer to paying off a debt!

Here’s more on how to start tracking your spending.

19. Eliminate a fee

There are so many fees out there these days, there’s likely at least one in your life that you can eliminate.

Investment fees: Do you know what you’re paying in investment fees? If you don’t, you need to find out — because a difference of just 1% can save you (or cost you) up to tens of thousands of dollars over time — maybe even more. Here’s a look at some low-cost investment options.

Checking account fees: How much are you paying in fees for your checking account? If it adds up to more than $0, consider these cheaper alternatives.

ATM fees: Do a quick search online or check your online bank account to find the nearest fee-free ATM in your area.

Here are 11 more fees you should never pay.

20. Shop with a grocery list

I take a list with me every time I go to the store — because if I don’t, I’ll forget the things I need and end up with a basket full of all the random things the grocery stores tempt you with throughout the whole place.

If you have a list, it’s a lot easier to avoid spending extra money. And these apps make it easy for you.

21. Start an emergency savings fund

According to a recent survey, more than 40% of Americans either experienced a major unexpected expense over the past 12 months or had an immediate family member who did.

And there’s one very easy way to minimize the damage — prepare for it

The best way to save for unexpected financial shocks is to have two separate emergency funds: a rainy day fund and an emergency fund.

  • A rainy day fund is money you might dip into every once in a while to cover an unexpected expense, like a medical bill.
  • An emergency fund is a bigger, longer-term savings fund. This money should be able to cover at least three to six months worth of living expenses in case you can’t work for a period of time, for whatever reason.

If you’re starting from scratch, these goals may seem impossible — but you can get there! At the very least, start by saving $1 a day — and then increase that amount as you can.

The best way to approach saving is to start with baby steps and then build up from there. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get started.

22. Shop at more than one grocery store

If you buy everything at the same store, chances are you’re paying way more than you have to on groceries.

You can save more than 30% simply by changing your routine. Check out non-traditional grocery stores like warehouse clubs, dollar stores, Aldi and Walmart for big savings on food and other items you frequently buy at the grocery store (at a higher price).

  • Grocery staples: Check out Aldi and Walmart
  • Organic: Try Trader Joe’s instead of Whole Foods
  • Bulk items: Warehouse clubs like Costco, Sam’s Club or BJ’s

Read more: Here’s a cost comparison of items at Aldi, Walmart & Kroger

23. Find an easy way to make extra cash

There are so many ways for pretty much anyone to make extra cash — whether it’s online or in your area.

Check out this list of 28 easy ways to make cash on the side.

24. Ask your credit card company for a lower interest rate

When it comes to monthly bills and companies you do business with, more often than not, you can negotiate a better — and cheaper — deal. The problem is most people don’t even ask, so they continue paying for something they could very likely get for less.

According to a survey by, nearly 90% of U.S. credit card holders who asked to have a late fee waived had their request granted. On top of that, 78% of those who asked for an interest rate reduction were successful in getting that request granted.

Bottom line: There’s no harm in asking! So make the call and see what you can get!

25. Go through the past six months of bank statements

Look for recurring costs that you don’t need or use and cancel them immediately. It’s easy to overlook small charges each month, but over time, they could be costing you a big chunk of cash.

26. Sell old stuff

Organizing your home can help relieve stress and get you into a better overall routine. Go through your clothes, electronics, old books and other items that you no longer use or need, and then sell what you can and donate the rest.

Here’s a list of ways to sell all of your old stuff for the most cash.

27. Review your credit card rewards

You may have built up some rewards without even realizing it! From cash back to airline miles, check your credit card rewards to see if there are any savings opportunities you can take advantage of.

28. Try using cash

If you’re having a hard time controlling your spending, try using cash. Split up your paycheck for each area of the budget and put the cash in separate envelopes. That will force you to budget based on the amount of cash you have left, rather than just swiping a card and continuing to overspend.

29. Try a no-spend week

Take a week and plan out your meals and anything else you may need. Then put the cards, cash, mobile wallet and any other spending mechanism away — and don’t spend a penny for a full week. You may be surprised by all the little things you’re used to buying that you don’t really need!

30. Download coupon apps

There are tons of free apps out there that can save you money — apps that offer instant deals and coupons for grocery stores and drugstores, and even some that actually pay you cash back just for shopping (to help you save, not spend more!).

Check out this list of 11 great apps to try.

31. Get valuable stuff for free

There are so many things you’ve become accustomed to paying for that you can actually get much cheaper or even free!

A few examples: Garden supplies, books, online courses, health care freebies and more. See the full list of easy ways to valuable things for free.

32. Set goals

When you know what you’re working toward, budgeting, saving and making changes to your lifestyle become a whole lot easier.

33. Start a savings challenge

Here’s a 12-week savings challenge that will leave you with an extra $1,000 in your pocket by the end!

34. Try something extreme — or unique

We recently asked our fans on Facebook about the most extreme or unique thing they’ve ever done to save money. And while some of the responses were even a little too extreme for us, there were plenty of great ideas! For example, any time you get a $5 bill in change, put it away in a savings jar until the end of the year — or some other specific date you set for yourself, when you can use the money to pay off a bill or put toward a vacation.

Check out the list of 61 unique ways to save money and challenge yourself to try at least one! 

35. Shop at a dollar store

From party supplies, clothing and socks, to cleaning supplies and household products. The dollar stores can save you big bucks on a variety of things you buy all the time! Here are a few examples:

36. Cook dinner at home

​According to a recent survey, among households with annual incomes of $75,000 or more, one-third live paycheck to paycheck, and 44% said lifestyle purchases, such as dining out and entertainment, were big hindrances to saving. Among millennials bringing home $75,000 or more, 71% confessed these expenses were stealing their savings.

Get into the habit of cooking at home more. The more you do it, the more you’ll save. Plus, a recent study found that eating at home will help you lose weight, too.

37. Create a will

Getting a will in place is one of the most crucial aspects of financial planning, but for whatever reason, most people don’t do it.

A new study found that 58% of adults say they don’t have a will in place. On top of that, 64% of parents with kids under the age of 18 have no formal estate plan at all.

If you don’t have children and have very little in the way of assets, that may be OK for you. But in pretty much any other situation, having a will is critical.

If you have children, you need a will for the simple fact that if you don’t have one, the state would decide who raises your kids if something were to happen to you. If there’s no document with written directive from you, that’s just how it goes.

If you don’t have kids but you are married — and don’t have a will in place — the state would decide how your money is allocated if something were to happen to you.

The same holds true if you and a partner are living together and aren’t married. In many cases, your partner will not be considered to inherit your estate unless you put it in writing.

Here’s a guide on cheap and easy ways to get a will in place.

38. Set up bill reminders

Automatic bill-pay can catch you off guard if you’re still trying to get control of your monthly budget. But you definitely do not want to ever pay a bill late — as late payments have a significant impact on your credit.

So to avoid overdrafting your accounts, just set reminders for yourself on your phone, tablet, calendar or wherever, for when each of your bills are due. And when that reminder pops up, pay the bill immediately so you don’t forget! If you tend to be forgetful or a little unorganized, check out these 6 tips to help you keep your money on track. 

39. Set up two-factor authentication on all online accounts

Criminals are finding new ways to con people out of money every day, and they’re using our everyday activities to try to catch us off guard — including social media, text messages, emails, phone calls and pretty much every other method of communication.

Any time you log in to any online account, whether it’s Amazon, your bank account or some other site that stores your personal information, criminals could be watching without you even realizing it. And any piece of information they can pick up about you could help give them access to what they’re really after — your money.

So it’s important to text extra steps to protect your information online and the information you access on your devices — and many sites now offer two-factor authentication to add in another layer of security.

Two-factor authentication (sometimes called two-step authentication) requires you to take an extra step to authenticate who you are when you sign in or when you are doing a transaction. It’s sometimes also referred to as two-step authentication.

The extra step just depends on the company or website, so it could be a unique code that’s texted to your cell phone or a unique password you have to give when authorizing anything over the phone. Whatever the extra step is, opt in for it! It’s another layer off security for you and your money! Here’s more on how it works and how to set it up.

40. Invest in a few things that will save you money over time

By investing a little extra money now on certain things, you can reduce a lot of extra expenses in your life — and save yourself some serious cash down the road.

A few examples include a reusable water bottle, programmable thermostat and LED light bulbs. See the full list here.

How to increase your income by reducing your expenses!

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More than 1/3 of Americans can't afford a $100 medical bill

Published: Sunday, June 18, 2017 @ 11:41 AM

It's bad enough when your day is derailed by an unexpected trip to the doctor, but it's even worse when you can't afford to pay the bill. Unfortunately, too many Americans find themselves in this position, according to a recent survey conducted by Ipsos for the healthcare transparency group Amino.

The survey found that 37% of Americans could not pay a medical bill of $100 or more without going into debt, and 19% of respondents could not pay anything at all towards a medical bill without incurring debt. In addition, 55% of respondents had received a medical bill that they could not pay with available funds.

The current insurance situation does not help anxiety levels. Almost three-quarters of survey respondents reported higher out-of-pocket healthcare costs within the last year. Anxiety is likely to increase as insurance companies increasingly pull out of the existing healthcare exchanges. Further, it is not clear what, if anything, will replace the current Obamacare guidelines. Consider that 10% of respondents reported that a significant medical bill is worse than a life-threatening illness. 

What can you do to lower anxiety and increase your ability to handle an unexpected medical expense? Knowledge and prevention are the keys. 

Know what your insurance covers and does not cover, especially with respect to your co-pays and coverage limits. To assess correctly how much money you need to set aside for medical expenses, try to figure out the average cost of a likely visit. Granted, medical expenses are hard to decipher even after you have received your bill – but it's important to have some concept of how much money basic procedures cost versus your risk of needing those procedures. 

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For example, the survey asked respondents to estimate the out-of-pocket medical costs associated with a broken arm. The median cost of $1,100 was widely underestimated. Only 7% guessed the amount correctly, while 46% of respondents underestimated the cost by at least half. 

If you have a suitable high-deductible healthcare plan, you may be able to pay into a health savings account (HSA) that allows you to put aside money for medical expenses on a tax-free basis. Only 32% of survey respondents currently contribute to an HSA. 

If an HSA is not an option for you, make some space in your budget for emergency medical expenses as if you were creating your own HSA. According to the survey, only 46% of Americans bother to budget $50 or more each month for healthcare purposes. Food, transportation, and debt payments all received higher priority among respondents. Without specifically dedicating funds to healthcare, you are very likely to find other uses for that cash – and even if you don't, $600 a year does not go very far in covering any medical emergency. 

Take advantage of all preventative medical care measures (checkups, etc.) that are covered by your employer and your insurance policy. People sometimes have a tendency to avoid doctors – 19% of survey respondents reported that their main method of avoiding high medical bills is to shun doctors altogether – but by not taking advantage of covered preventative care, you are asking for bigger expenses down the road. 

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Don't be like the 54% of the survey respondents who had received an unexpected medical bill in the past and were more likely to budget for their healthcare as a result. Start by budgeting a certain amount for healthcare emergencies over and above your known expenses like insurance premiums. Stick with that budget, and resist the temptation to stretch the definition of "emergency." That way, if a medical event does occur, you can concentrate on healing your broken body instead of your broken wallet.