04 Oct

Why You Should Start Investing for Your Kids Now

why you should start investing

Every parent has the dream of giving his or her child a better life than he or she had growing up. One valuable way to set your child up for a lifetime of success and less struggle is through investing for your kids now.

Raising a child is a difficult task and preparing him or her for a secure financial future is tough when all the lessons are theoretical. It is hard enough for an adult to imagine ten years down the line! Why not start the investment process for your kids as soon as possible and involve your child in the investing with you?

Investing as an Educational Tool

No matter the form of investment you choose for your child, the long-term effects net as a positive, even as you make it through ups and downs in the economy. This is especially true if you involve your child in the investment process. The biggest potential benefit to your child is as an educational tool.

Through a span of ten to fifteen years, your family is sure to experience financial ups and downs, stock market swings, and growth in your investment portfolio. When your child is next to you in the decision-making process, he or she understands that investing isn’t a magical way to build your money. Look at the statements, see where the money is, and work to explain basic concepts along the way. If money is tight, let your child understand why you are investing versus spending on luxury items. If the market is fluctuating, show the effect of a portfolio’s risk on investment. It teaches about risk management, following companies you believe in, and considering the effect of money when treated properly.

If you suffer a setback, this is also a valuable lesson in money, finance, and investing. A young person with a grasp on investing is set up for a successful financial future.

The Benefits of Investing for Your Child

Looking to invest for your child? Whether he or she is a baby now or is growing up quickly, investing sets your child up for a brighter future. Think about it this way – if you invest $4,000 on the day your child is born and let the money stay there and compound in interest, the money would grow to nearly a million dollars by the time your child is 65 years of age (assuming a 9% annual return). The impacts of an investment for your child includes:

  • Teaching him or her about sacrifice now for a payoff later
  • Providing a nest egg to start a life, whether it is with a spouse or a child
  • Get more from your money the earlier you start as interest compounds over an extended period
  • Making education more accessible because of a long-term investment portfolio
  • Teaching the basic principles of finance and investment
  • Encouraging a saving mentality with your child

What Does a Parent Experience from Investing in His or Her Child?

In a world of uncertainties, setting aside some money and letting it grow for your child’s future provides peace of mind. As a parent, you never know what will happen. The right way to prepare for the future, whether it is an expected or unexpected expense, is through investment. The pros a parent experiences when investing in his or her child include:

  • Peace of mind knowing your child is taken care of in case you are not around
  • Watch your money grow for a cause you are happy to fund
  • Giving your kid an initial investment to start his or her own life
  • Providing the basis for the better life, you dream of giving your child
  • Preparing for emergencies, illness, and other unforeseen circumstances
  • Allowing for the funding of exceptional opportunities for training or specialization in an area of talent or giftedness

What If the Money Isn’t Used as You Wish?

Parents often worry about the way a nest egg for a child will be spent in the long run. Will your child take the money and buy a nice new motorcycle once you are gone? There are a few ways to safeguard the money. Firstly, invest in an account specifically for educational funding.

Another tactic is to make the money accessible after your child reaches a certain age. At a certain point parents must trust the decision of a child and see the investment as money that is already spent.

If you are concerned about the long-term of your investment and how your child will use it, the best course of action is to speak with an estate attorney and financial planner. This safeguards the money for your child as well.

You don’t need a lot to kick off an investment fund for your child today. Get started now and you’ll be glad you did in ten years!

03 Oct

10 Biggest Things You’re Wasting Money On

things you're wasting money on

When looking to maximize your money and make the most of every dollar you earn, it is valuable to assess where all of your dollars go. In a world where you are constantly online and learning about new products, it is easy to get caught up in the “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality even if you don’t realize you are that way. Check out the ten biggest things you’re wasting money on and see if it is time to reassess your spending!

#1 Credit Card Interest

According to Value Penguin, credit card interest on cash back credit cards averages at 20.9%, and if you miss a payment, the penalty interest rate gets as high as 29.99% with some companies. A credit card debt of $1,000 at a rate of 20.9% and a repayment of $20 a month will take over nine years to pay off and will cost you $2,380.

When considered this way, think that credit card interest is just throwing money away that could be spent elsewhere. Credit card interest is a major waste of money. Decrease the money you pay in interest by increasing the amount of money you pay toward your balance.

#2 Going Out to Eat

Although going out to eat is convenient, it costs more than preparing meals at home. In the past few years, the inflation rate of the entire economy has been 1.4%, but the rate for restaurant prices has risen by 2.7%.

Decrease the number of times you go out to eat per week or month. Cutting one meal out per week for a family of four can save around $200 a month.  

#3 Cable or Digital TV

Cable bills can easily reach over $100 per month, and this doesn’t include a sports package. As of the year 2016 the average cable bill was $103 per month. Now there are more ways than ever to get access to television shows you love without overpaying.

Look into decreasing your bill by cutting channels or switching to digital streaming services like Netflix and Hulu.

#4 Car Payments

Car payments are an expensive cost for most Americans. Experian reports the average car payment is $483 a month. In some parts of the country, this amount is significant enough for a large portion of rent or mortgage payment. The best advice for reducing your debt is selling your vehicle and buying something used and in cash.

#5 Gym Memberships

Do you actually use your gym membership? Paying for a gym membership at the rate of $50 a month costs $600 annually. Be honest with yourself about how frequently you will use the membership and determine if the money is better spent elsewhere.

#6 Daily Luxury Purchases, like Coffee and Snacks

That coffee you get on the way to work every day, even if it costs $2, at 260 working days a year this is $520. Assess your lifestyle to determine if you are spending money on daily luxury purchases like a coffee, a soda, or even light snacks.

#7 Cell Phone Bill

It is all too common for Americans to accept their cell phone bills as a cost that cannot be changed. Instead of setting your phone on auto-pay, give them a call and talk about decreasing your bill. You might be able to cut out add-ons you don’t use, eliminate phone insurance, or work through line items in your bill.

#8 Online Purchases

With online consumer shopping increasing on an annual basis, you are likely participating in the purchasing culture. According to BigCommerce, the average amount spent online per year is $488. One way to decrease your online purchases is to never connect your debit card to your online account or activate one-click shopping on any website. This gives you time to ask yourself if the purchase is completely necessary.

#9 Luxury Upgrades to Everyday Items

Have you recently upgraded to a more expensive product that you use on a daily basis? It starts with upgrading your shampoo and conditioner, then leads into makeup, office supplies, and more. Ask yourself if the name-brand item is necessary when the more affordable option is just as good.

#10 Air Conditioning and Heating

While every part of the country is different, many Americans overpay for air conditioning and heating. By changing your indoor temperature by two degrees (two degrees hotter in the summer and two degrees cooler in the winter) decreases your bill and the system runs less. The right practices with your system has the potential to save hundreds per year.

Change One Step at a Time

While all of these changes won’t occur overnight, working on your spending can break habits of wasting money while increasing your bank account balance. Tackle these changes one-by-one, track your results, and experience the freedom of a bank account with an emergency fund!

05 Sep

How to Get Free Makeup Samples – Check Out These 6 Places

free makeup samples

There are few things people enjoy more than free samples. It could be free samples of food at the grocery store, a free preview of an upcoming movie, or anything in between. If you ask someone if they want a free sample of anything that may be the least bit useful to them, and they’ll say yes without hesitation.

Get a FREE Makeup Brush

One area in which receiving and collecting free samples is practically a science is with free makeup samples. Most people who care about their appearance like to keep plenty of makeup on hand. However, keeping a large stockpile of makeup to fit any occasion can be difficult, not to mention expensive.

One solution to this problem is to collect free makeup samples. Collecting free makeup is a great way to keep your supplies high without breaking the bank. Makeup samples are also a great way to test out new products before deciding that you like something enough to buy it. Free makeup samples may also be your ticket to some high-end beauty products that you can’t otherwise afford.

The key is knowing how to get free makeup. Once you’ve mastered where to go and what to do to get free beauty samples, you’ll have opened a Pandora’s Box of possibilities for yourself when it comes to looking your best and saving money at the same time.

What Are Free Makeup Samples?

There’s almost no limit as to what you might find and what might be available to you in free makeup samples. You may be able to find anything from everyday cosmetics like exfoliators and facial creams to blush and mascara. You should also have no trouble finding lipstick or skin care products. Even shampoo, lotion, and perfume may be given out as part of beauty samples.

Of course, exactly what you’ll receive as part of free samples can vary. Often times, you will receive travel-size bottles of various products, giving you a rather small amount of a product. Receiving full-sized bottles of certain products is not unheard of, particularly when it comes to haircare and skincare products.

Beyond that, it’s up to each particular company to decide what to include in a package of samples. They may include new products that aren’t yet available to the general public. They may also choose to include existing products that are already well known and popular. Of course, they may also include samples of excess products that are just laying around.

Why Companies Give Away Makeup for Free

The reasons why you’re able to get free samples of makeup may seem meaningless, but it’s important not to look a gift horse in the mouth. After all, there’s a method to the madness whenever a company decides to give away free stuff, regardless of what the product may be.

For makeup and cosmetics, in particular, samples can be produced to cheaply that it’s not a strain on the company to give away samples for free. They also know that many consumers of makeup prefer to try products before they buy them.

Thus, there is a belief that giving away free samples will ultimately lead to sales, which can be seen in many of the methods in which consumers can receive free makeup samples.

Makeup and cosmetics companies are also cognizant of public relations. Allowing consumers to receive free samples can benefit the image of a company. Most companies also believe that customers who are given free samples will help creative positive buzz about both specific products, including new products, as well as the company in general.

Giving out samples is also a way for companies to receive feedback about their products. With new products, in particular, customer feedback can prove invaluable for companies. Thus, several of the ways that consumers receive free samples come with the stipulation that they provide feedback and opinions on the product.

Finally, giving away free samples is a way to create brand loyalty. If a particular store or company gives you free samples, you are more likely to have a positive view of that brand. You may also be more likely to become a customer of that company and remain a customer for many years to come.

How to Get Free Makeup

The wonderful part about makeup freebies is that there are several ways you can go about getting free samples. Most people will focus on one or two of the following ways to get free makeup. But there’s nothing wrong with going a little overboard and using all of these methods to score free makeup samples.

In the Mail

This may be the easiest way to get makeup samples. Plus, it feels good to get something in the mail that isn’t a bill. Of course, you can’t just sit back and hope something comes for you in the mail. Instead, you have to be proactive and let companies know you wouldn’t hate it if they sent you stuff. Also, you have to let companies know where to send free samples by mail.

Claim FREE Makeup Brush

Typically, the first step is to visit the websites of cosmetics companies. Of course, just visiting the websites may only result in pop-up ads, which can be annoying. Once at the website, you’ll want to register your information, including your address, with the company. By doing this, you’ll end up on their mailing list whenever they send out free product samples.

Obviously, you’ll want to do this for all of your favorite beauty companies. But you don’t have to stop there. Do some Google searches and find some new or smaller cosmetics companies that you haven’t heard of yet. These companies may be more willing to send out free samples, believing that they have a chance of attracting your business.

A couple offers for makeup samples that we've found include this year-long beauty box subscription, these free Bath and Body Works samples, these free MAC samples, and our favorite: American Beauty Association's free makeup brush.

Some companies may offer potential customers a free trial of their products as a way to entice sales. For example, honest.com gives consumers a 7-day free trial of six of its best products. After testing the products for a week with no commitment necessary, you can decide whether or not you want to become a regular customer and have access to dozens of their beauty products.

It’s not unusual for companies to offer trials or samples, which can be a great way to receive free makeup in the mail. Taking this approach to getting free makeup will also help you learn about newer companies that are less established but still worth checking out because they often have new and creative ideas about makeup and cosmetics.

Another tactic to use to get free makeup samples by mail is to by searching for offers online and signing up for them. This may seem like a wild goose chase, but there are websites that keep track of existing offers, which makes them easy to find.

If you think you’re signing up for too many things, don’t fret. Not all of them will pan out, so odds are you won’t be overloaded with free samples, even though that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

One thing you should consider when signing up for all of these offers is to create a new email and use it solely for this purpose. You’ll receive plenty of free samples in the snail mail, but you’ll receive even more emails, and so you don’t want all of that stuff clogging up the inbox of your personal or professional email account.

At the Store

For free samples, it’s sometimes best to go straight to the source, which is the actual store. Virtually every store that sells makeup or cosmetics has free samples available to customers. The trick is knowing how to go about getting them. Sometimes it can be as simple as merely asking a salesperson, but not always.

For example, it helps if a salesperson recognizes you as a frequent customer; sales workers may only give out samples if they think it’ll lead to a sale later on. You have to make it seem like you may purchase something at some point. This is why it helps to ask for samples from stores where you have bought makeup before.

If you’re looking for samples in a new store, you may have to try a little harder to convince them you’re looking to buy. Try asking the salesperson for advice and be receptive to what they have to say. It may also help to mention that you have sensitive skin and prefer to try things ahead of time so you don’t have a bad reaction.

It’s also possible to pick up some free samples by attending an in-store event. Both cosmetics chains and department stores like to host special events or hold beauty classes, especially when they have new products they want to introduce. This can be a great way check out some of the latest beauty products and maybe go home with some free samples.

The salespeople at in-store events tend to be a little more willing to give away free samples on these occasions because they know only people who are serious about makeup and cosmetics are likely to attend. Even with a high-end line, they are likely to make sure everyone leaves with some free samples, making this a great opportunity to collect makeup and cosmetics samples.

Product Test Groups

If you’re feeling just a little adventurous, you may look into product testing as a way to get your hands on free makeup samples. In the past, there has been controversy surrounding makeup or cosmetics companies that test products on animals. Hosting product test groups or sending out samples to customers is a good way to avoid that.

More importantly, companies like Product Testing USA are looking for genuine feedback from consumers, and they’re willing to give out free samples in order to make that happen. If you don’t mind being the metaphorical guinea pig for new makeup products, you’ll be able to get your hands on plenty of free samples.

The key, of course, is knowing how to sign up for product testing. The first step is to search the websites of your favorite brands and look for a way to sign up for product testing. However, you should be aware that not every company operates this way. Some of the more prominent makeup brands won’t leave product testing up to everyday consumers.

Fortunately, a few Google searches should be able to direct you to several legitimate companies that do encourage average customers to participate in product testing. After signing up and submitting information about your demographics and consumer history, the company will send you products to test if they believe you’re part of the target audience for a product.

The lone caveat here is that you’ll have to fill out questionnaires and give the company an honest review of the product so that they can take that feedback and make any necessary changes. But as long as you’re fine spending a little bit of time giving your opinions, product testing can be a great way to get free makeup and cosmetics.

On Social Media

In recent years, social media has become a great way to pick up free makeup samples. The first step is to start following your favorite makeup and cosmetic companies on Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media sites you use. This is not only a way to keep up with the latest developments and product launches, but it can lead to free stuff.

It’s become common for companies to offer free samples, rebates, and contests for those who follow them on social media.

If you don’t follow these companies on social media, you may not hear about ways to get samples, test new products, or receive great discounts. If you don’t follow top brands on social media, you risk missing out on these opportunities to get free samples.

There are also accounts on Facebook and Twitter that share ways to get free stuff on a daily basis. Obviously, not everything posted pertains to makeup and cosmetics, but some of is bound to be something you’d like to try. This may not be the most efficient way to get free samples of makeup, but it’s not something that you’ll want to overlook.

Earn Them Online 

There are countless ways to earn free stuff on the Internet, including free samples of makeup and cosmetics. Even by doing things as simple as shopping online, web surfing, playing games, and taking surveys, things you would probably do anyway, you can earn cash, gift cards, or other types of rewards, including free samples from your favorite brands.

One of the best places to do this is swagbucks.com. Swagbucks has become one of the top rewards programs on the Internet. Once you sign up, just about everything you do on the Internet helps you to earn points that you can then turn into gift cards, cash, or other cool stuff. 

Swagbucks members are also privy to special offers and codes that can lead to free stuff. Also, aside from their regular Internet perusing leading to points, playing games and taking surveys can also have a significant payout at the end. If you’re looking to score free makeup and cosmetics, among other rewards, this is definitely an avenue worth checking out.

Get A Free Swagbucks Account

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Write the Company & Ask for Them

Let’s call this the direct approach. Instead of attending in-store events, taking part in product testing, filling out surveys or questionnaires, or scouring websites and social media for deals, sometimes all you have to do is write to a makeup or cosmetics company and ask for free samples. Of course, it’s not always as simple as asking “pretty, pretty please.”

The first step is to decide what companies you want to contact. You probably won’t be able to write a letter to every makeup company, but you may want to choose a handful or a dozen. Obviously, you’ll want to pick the companies that you like the most. However, a couple Google searches may also lead you to companies that are more likely to send you samples.

The next step is finding the company’s mailing address. Searching a company’s website for a “contact us” or “about us” page will likely lead you to the address. However, some companies may only provide an email address, which can also be a viable way to ask for samples.

However, large companies may have several email addresses, and so you have to find the correct one, which could be related to customer service or public relations.

Once you have the company identified and found the proper address, the next step is writing the actual letter. When writing the letter, it’s important to be as formal and professional as possible. You also want to compliment the company on their products and share how those products have had a positive impact on your life personally, being as specific as possible.

You then have to be careful about how you ask for samples. Try mentioning that you have been recommended a product by someone but would prefer to test it out before buying it. If you have a specific reason for wanting to test a product first, such as having sensitive skin, this will help your case and make the company more likely to send you something.

You may be more likely to receive a package of free samples if the company believes it will ultimately help them in the long run. If you review makeup or cosmetics for a blog or organization, they are more likely to send you something. Of course, you have to tell them about your blog or business to establish a level of credibility to make the company think that your review will benefit their business.

Finally, you should review your letter to double-check that it has a positive but professional tone with compliments directed and the company and its products. You should also check that you’ve asked for samples without seeming blatant or greedy. Once you’ve done that, send your letter and email and hope for the best.

Get Free Beauty Samples From Honest.com

25 Aug

Freeshipping.com Review – Can You Really Get 10% Cash Back?

freeshipping.com review

Freeshipping.com is an online shopping portal that claims to offer you 10% cash back on purchases, along with a host of other benefits. Is it too good to be true?

Let’s take a dive through the website to determine if freeshipping.com is legit or if it’s a scam.

What is FreeShipping.com and How Exactly Does It Work?

Freeshipping.com is a monthly subscription-based service offering unique, money-saving deals for online shoppers. It allows you to earn up to $1,000 in cash back, as well as up to $500 in shipping rebates per membership year.

The website offers access to over 1,000 popular retailers including Walmart, Target, Sephora, Macy’s, Nike, and much more. As a member, all you have to do is log into your freeshipping.com account, click through to your desired retailer, and then shop your heart out.

Once you place an order, your 10% cash back is automatically processed through your freeshipping.com account.

To get your rebate for your free shipping, you have to do a little extra work yourself. You need to manually upload a copy of your receipt to your freeshipping.com account. From there your rebate will be processed, and you will receive a check in the mail.

What Makes Them Unique?

What makes freeshipping.com so unique is the amount of deals and benefits they offer. Here are a few perks of signing up with freeshipping.com:

  • Free shipping (duh!). Ever needlessly add items to your shopping cart just to hit the free shipping mark? Freeshipping.com solves this issue. Many of their retailers offer free delivery at checkout. For those that don’t, you can claim rebates on those charges afterward.
  • Automatic 10% cash back. Get 10% cash back on every purchase with over 1,000 retailers, including places where you already shop, such as Walmart, Best Buy, Groupon, Sears, and much more. Wait, it gets better! Freeshipping.com increases the cash-back benefit to 20% at special times throughout the year.
  • Free return shipping. If free shipping isn’t enough, you are guaranteed unlimited free return shipping! Just print out a FedEx label from the freeshipping.com “Return Center,” slap it onto your package, and voila.
  • Instant price comparisons. The site comes equipped with enhanced search tools that instantly compare prices on items sold through retailers within their network. They’ll also show you special coupon offers to help you increase your savings.
  • The lowest price guaranteed. What happens if you buy something through freeshipping.com, but find a better deal on the same product elsewhere? Freeshipping.com will pay you back within 90 days, covering up to $100 of the price difference.
  • Exclusive coupon offers. Freeshipping.com offers exclusive coupons through their network of retailers.

Doesn’t it sound too good to be true? Sign up for an account here if you’d like to take hold of these fantastic offers.

Pricing

A free 7-day trial is available through freeshipping.com with full access to all of their benefits. After your free trial is over, the membership costs just $12.97 per month. If you’re a big online shopper, you may make your money back in just one purchase! Click here to get started with your free trial!

Public Perception (Other FreeShipping Reviews)

Freeshipping.com is highly praised by some, though there seems to be a lot of poor perception from the general public.

A lot of this has to do with failure to read the fine print or follow the rules of the website.

Many reviewers complain of the website not being clear with their prices or being charged a membership fee they didn’t know they signed up for. However, if you visit their “Free Trial” page, you will see this clearly written statement:

“Start your NO COST 7-day review with our compliments. If you decide not to continue your FreeShipping.com membership, simply log on to cancel during your review. Otherwise, we'll automatically extend FreeShipping.com benefits for just $12.97 a month, billed to the credit card you authorize. Your credit card will not be charged during your review period.”

Aside from pricing concerns, many reviewers say it doesn’t work, or they never received any cash back or rebates. The thing is, freeshipping.com only benefits certain people. It works well for those who: 1) do a lot of online shopping and 2) follow the rules of the system.

If you don't do enough online shopping, the monthly membership price is simply not worth it. It also only works if you follow the rules correctly. For example, you are only eligible for 10% cash back if you click through to the retailer of your choice through your freeshipping.com account, and complete your order using that same browser window.

Alternately, you have to do some of the work yourself. To claim your rebate, you must manually upload a copy of your receipt to your freeshipping.com account.

Other Alternatives

If you like the idea of freeshipping.com but are looking for something a bit different, here are some popular alternatives:

  • Amazon Prime – Amazon Prime offers free two-day delivery on eligible purchases as well as many other perks including unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows.
  • Swagbucks – Swagbucks has one of the best cash back rates in the industry! They pay you in points called “SBs” when you purchase from stores using their links. You can redeem your SBs towards coupons or gift cards.
  • Ebates – Ebates offers up to 25% cash back on over 1,200 stores. They send you a payment each quarter based on your earnings.
  • BeFrugal – With BeFrugal you can earn up to 30% cash back on more than 4,000 stores. Once your balance equals $25 or more you can request a payout.

What We Think – Is FreeShipping.com A Cashback Scam?

Freeshipping.com is certainly not a scam. We think freeshipping.com can be a great way to get paid for what you love to do: shop! We advise you to be sure to read all of the fine print, understand how it works, and determine if the monthly payments will be worth it for you.

FAQs

I saw “ic*freeshipping.com” on my credit card. What does that mean? Did I get scammed?

“IC *FREESHIPPING.COM” is the billing descriptor that is listed on your statement when you are charged a membership fee from freeshipping.com. If you have any questions about the bill, you can contact their Customer Service Department at their toll-free number: 1-800-869-5597. Alternately you can click here to fill out their online form. They are available seven days a week and insist they respond to all queries within 24 hours.

How do you cancel FreeShipping.com?

Log into your freeshipping.com account and click the “Help” tab. Then, click the “Cancel Membership” link and follow the instructions provided. Alternately, you can request to cancel your membership by calling their Customer Service toll free number: 1-800-869-5597, or send a cancellation request via email to CustomerService@FreeShipping.com. They will process your cancellation request immediately with no questions asked.

Is freeshipping.com safe?

Yes! Freeshipping.com is a safe, secure, and legitimate website. The site uses a secure server to protect your credit card information, and they are linked with over 1,000 reputable online retailers like Walmart, Best Buy, Lowes, and Etsy.  They also require members to be 18 years of age or older.

01 Aug

7 Make-or-Break Financial Topics To Discuss BEFORE You Tie The Knot

money with time clock

There's no getting around it. Money is a focal point in today's society! Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing, it is for you to decide. The main idea, although, is that Financial stability is the pedestal that allows you to essentially live the life you want and deserve.

Money struggles lead to sky-high levels of stress and anxiety for many people, which then bleeds into every sector of those peoples' lives. Marriages and relationships are unfortunately one of the most common things that are hindered by money.

According to Divorcesource.com, a 2009 study conducted by Jeffrey Dew, a professor at Utah State concluded, “One of the best indicators of marital discord is financial disagreements.”

Dew went on to say, “Couples who disagree about finances once a week are over 30 percent more likely to get divorced than couples that report disagreeing about finances a few times a month.”

This article goes on to explore 7 make-or-break financial topics (in no particular order) that are ABSOLUTELY necessary discuss with your partner before getting married.

Financial Communication

Effective communication with your partner is key in every part of your relationship, and money is no exception.

The first step to effective financial communication with your partner is determining how much you need to talk about money, and what money topics in specific are most important.

Ask each other the following questions (just a few examples):

  • Do you need to tell the other person if you’re spending a certain amount of money?
  • Do you want to meet weekly to go over your budget?
  • Do you want to have quarterly and yearly money evaluations?

Being on the same page is essential. You need to predetermine your financial priorities, and going one step further, you should determine what priorities you agree with. There may be things you do not agree on, and that is okay. You simply need to find some sort of solution or middle ground on the disagreement. Effective communication is the key to making things work smoothly.

You should not be hiding money secrets with your partner, because that is exactly what leads to disagreement, and potentially divorce.

It all starts with communication!

Financial Standing/Responsibilities

Before getting married, you should disclose your current financial standing and responsibilities to your partner. It is important to be honest and make sure you are not hiding any secrets, and as stressed before, that is not a road you want to go down!

Let's say you have thousands of dollars of credit card debt, for example, yet chose not to tell your partner. That debt could get in the way of the life your partner was expecting to live with you. It could affect your life goals, future plans, and your overall lifestyle.

You should tell them about your debt, credit score(s), student loans, assets, and essentially anything else. Honestly is a sign of maturity and an admirable trait that will go along with your partner. Your financial standing and responsibilities could potentially make or break your marriage, so do yourself a favor and simply tell the truth about your finances.

Financial Goals

You should always be open to discussing your short term and long term financial goals with your partner.

The following is a list of financial goals that you may want to discuss with your partner…

  • Savings goals
  • Spending goals
  • Buying a house
  • Investments
  • Insurance
  • Health care

Once you set goals as a couple, you can begin working towards them together. It will feel good to have something you are working towards.

Use your goals for everyday motivation to get where you want in life. Don't settle for anything less!

Bank Accounts

When you are married, are you and your partner going to have a joint bank account, or would you prefer seperate banks accounts?

Either way, this is something you should absolutely discuss before you get married.

If you and your partner do not predetermine your bank account situation, it could potentially lead to issues. Ask yourselves questions like these…

  • If you have separate bank accounts, can you trust each other with the freedom to do anything they please with your money?
  • If you have a joint bank account, what will it be like? Do you and your partner prefer a little bit of financial freedom?

Ask yourselves questions like these, and make the best decision with your partner.

Personal Spending Habits

Everybody has interests and hobbies that they spend their money on, so the best thing to do the remain on the same page with your partner is create a budget together.

Your budget, of course, will include things like bills and your other financial responsibilities, but it should also incorporate your personal spending habits.

You should be doing your absolute best to save as much as you can, but it is unrealistic to think that every dollar that is not allocating towards your financial responsibilities should be saved.

You should sit down with your partner, evaluate how much money is coming in, and determine how you can create a realistic budget that helps you save, yet still lets you do the things you love.

Often times, however, excessive spending leads to disagreements between couples.

Do you smoke cigarettes, drink, or gamble?

If so, do you tell your partner how much you are spending?

Whether you have the money or not, do not hide secrets from your partner. Simply be honest and tell the truth.

Children

Do you and your partner want kids in the future? This is probably something that you should discuss  before getting married.

First, you and your partner should sit down and decide if children are something you want.

Kids are a massive financial responsibility, so if decide that you want them, you absolutely have to spend a considerable amount of time forming a financial plan that allows you to do so.

Money Values

What does money mean to you? Ask yourself this question and do not be afraid to share the answer with your partner.

This is important to think about and discuss because money means different things to different people. Some people value money and their things more than personal relationships. Others are the exact opposite.

Money also makes people feel certain ways. It can lead to stress and anxiety, but it can also lead to happiness.

It is smart to talk about what money means to you and how it makes you feel. Hopefully, you are your partner are on the same page, and if not, you can work to understand each others' approach to money.

01 Aug

8 Financial, Honest, & REAL Reasons Why You Should Wait On Kids

parents with child

Having children is a beautiful thing, but it is so important, especially in today's society, to understand that kids come with responsibilities that you MUST be prepared for.

This article does not aim to shed a negative light upon having children, it does, although, stress the importance of understanding how much preparation you need to do prior to having a child.

The first thing that comes to mind is the financial implications that come with babies, but a child will take over almost every aspect of your personal life as well.

This article will provide a list of 8 reasons why you might want to rethink having a child until a little bit later in life. These points are in no particular order, NOT ordered based on importance.

Age Will Prepare You Mentally & Psychologically For A Drastic Lifestyle Change

Having a baby will change your life, and a radical lifestyle change is something that a lot of people struggle with and are simply not prepared for.

One of the best ways to prepare for a child is age, because age will equip you with the following personality traits and qualities…

  • Wisdom
  • Maturity
  • Mental & Psychological Clarity
  • Patience

In the snap of a finger, you must transition from everything being about yourself to everything being about your child. Wisdom, maturity, mental/psychological clarity, and patience all come with age and will make everything seem much more manageable.

Average Cost Of Raising A Child Is $241,080. What About Retirement?

Yes, the average cost of raising a child $241,080. Not a typo, before your child turns 18 or so, you will have paid close to $241,080 caring for them.

The main idea here is that children are a huge financial responsible that you absolutely must be prepared for. The following is a list that breaks down your biggest expenses based on the age of your child…

  • 0-12 months (Infancy)- Diapers
  • 12-36 months (Toddler)- Daycare
  • Ages 3-5 (Pre School)- Education & Health Care
  • Ages 5-10 (Elementary School)- Extracurricular Activities & Health Care
  • Ages 10-13 (Middle School)- Electronics & Food
  • Ages 13-18 (High School)- Sports Teams

And this is simply a broad overview. All of these are huge expenses, but it does not mean you will not have to pay for things in between.

Essentially, it is essential to make sure that you are financially stable, secure, and prepared for the massive financial responsibility that a child will bring into your life. If you are struggling to make ends meet as it is, without a child, do yourself a favor and wait until you are in a position to give your child everything that they deserve.

Adults With Kids Are More Likely To Struggle With Depression 

This may seem a bit abstract, considering that so many parents report how happy their children make them, which is the way it should be. The difference is that those people waited until the right time in life to have a child. Patience will bring you happiness.

If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. If you're not prepared for a child, you are not going to give it the life it deserves, and you are not giving yourself the life that you deserve.

That sounds pretty depressing to me.

The right time will come in your life, and you will know when that arrives.

You Won't Be Able To Take Advantage Of Your Youth

Without children, you have the freedom to do what you want. Your youth should be spent making new experiences and finding your own inner happiness. If you have hobbies that you enjoy, you should pursue them. If you want to go out with friends in your free time, you should absolutely do that.

A child can change everything. You may not have enough time and/or money to keep doing the things that bring you joy with a child in your life. All of your time and energy are probably going be spent doing things like changing diapers, waking up in the middle of the night to tend to your crying baby, or cleaning up after your child. Just a few examples of the MANY responsibilities you will have.

Moving & Traveling Won't Ever Be The Same With Kids

What if your job gives you a promotion, but requires that you move to another city? Without a child, this could potentially be an easy transition that allows you to better yourself and your career.

If you have a child, although, this may not be such an easy transition. You have to consider things like daycare, added living expenses, and where they might go to school. These are just a few of the many things you have to consider, because your child and it's life is now a priority of yours.

Also, vacation will not ever be the same. It will be more expensive, and more of an overall hassle. You can't just pick up, leave, and do whatever you want. You have to consider your child and your family.

Having a child and a family can get in the way of traveling. It will never be so simple.

Waiting Gives You Enough Time To Finish Studying/Establish A Career

Before having a child, wouldn't you like to finish studying and get a degree? You can take your degree and get yourself into a career that you are passionate about.

Maybe school is not for you, although, and that is okay! You can still build yourself up and  establish a career for yourself. That should be a priority. priority with or without a degree before you even consider having a child.

It is vital to have an established career that gives you financial stability before having a child.

You've Got To Be Selfish & Find Yourself In Your 20's!

Your 20's and maybe even your 30's should be spent finding yourself. If you have a child, when will you find time in your life to do the things that make you happy? As discussed before, a child can certainly bring you happiness at the right time of your life, you should also be able to achieve happiness by yourself. This makes you more of a well rounded person.

You are investing your time and your life to raising a child. Think about yourself, put yourself first, and focus on yourself!

Waiting Ensures That You Are With The Right Person

If you think you have found the love of your life and want to have child in your early 20's, you are not giving yourself much time to develop the relationship that you deserve to have. A child is a massive responsibility that can change everything between you and your partner.

Some people do not find the person that they want to spend the rest of their life with much later in life. If you have a child, you might feel like you have to commit to your partner for a long time in the best interest of your child.

While that is certainly selfless, there is nothing wrong with with waiting on children and using that time to develop a long lasting relationship. Once again, put yourself first and make sure you are in the perfect relationship and overall situation before committing to children.

Concluding Thoughts

Think about all of the priorities in your life, are you a position to devote your fro a family and children?

You've got to put yourself first! Putting yourself in the best position possible, establishing yourself both financially and personally will let you give everything that your future children and family deserve. That is a genuinely selfless act.

29 Jun

How to Save Money by Spending Less (And by Spending More)

how to save money

Whether we like it or not, money is essential to our livelihood and enjoyment. Money can also be one of the biggest stressors in a person’s life at one point or another. You’d probably like to know how to save money fast.

In addition, the final goal of saving money should be financial independence. What is financial independence, you might ask?

Peter Horsfield, founder of  peterhorsfield.com.au and certified senior financial advisor noted…

“Its the ability to fund your ideal quality of life without needing to trade your time to earn it, should you choose not to “work” any more. Passive investments pay dividends, distributions, interest etc.. Importantly maintaining financial independence requires your income from your investments grow more or in pace with the impact of inflation.”

He makes it very clear! You should know your purpose for saving money and have goals for yourself. Becoming financially independent will put you in a position to finally live the life you have been working to live.

In this article, we’ll illustrate some great ways to save money without sacrificing your daily needs or adding stress to your life. 

How to Save Money by Spending Less

Everyone knows that the best way to save money is to spend less, but it’s usually easier said than done. Monthly bills and other little purchases can add up quickly.

While many people assume that spending less results in eliminating the things you enjoy, there are ways to budget without cutting your fun or the essentials.

How to Save Money on Groceries

It’s easy to spend over a hundred dollars on groceries each week without trying, especially if you have a family. It can be difficult to make cuts to your grocery budget since food is a staple in our lives.

We have some helpful tips on how to save money on food and still buy the groceries you and your family loves.

Shop at Discount Grocery Stores

Want to buy the same amount of weekly groceries but want to see a significant savings? The answer may be simpler than you think. Start shopping at discount grocery stores. Discount grocery stores, like Aldi or Grocery Outlet, offer the same kind of quality that you’ll find at your regular grocery store but the prices are a fraction of the cost (40 to 70 percent off).

Discount stores usually have their own brand and the flavor and quality are comparable to similar brands. They often carry popular brand name items but charge less than what you may usually spend.

Use Coupons

Using coupons are an easy way to save a lot of money when you’re shopping for groceries. Start clipping coupons from the Sunday paper, go online and sign up for printable coupons, or take advantage of in-store coupons and specials.

Even if it doesn’t seem like it, using coupons on a regular basis can end up saving you a lot of money each month. You can also sign up for online programs that will send you free products, samples, and coupons. Sign up today! [“Lifescript Advantage Review”]

Don’t Shop When You’re Hungry

How many times have you shopped for groceries when you were hungry? You probably ended up spending way more money than you intended. When you’re hungry, it’s easy to load up your cart without thinking twice.

Try eating a light snack or meal before you go grocery shopping and you’re more likely to stick to your list and not impulse buy.

Make Meal Plans

Another way to avoid impulse buys at the grocery store is to prepare meal plans before you shop. Not only will it make your week of food prep easier but you’re less likely to add things to your cart that you don’t need. Want to save a little extra money?

Try to use the same ingredients in a few meals. Here are some great tips for making cheap meals at home.

Pack Your Lunches

Whether you eat lunch at the cafeteria at work or go out to lunch with your coworkers, your lunch costs can add up quickly. A simple (and healthy) way to save money is to start bringing your own lunch to work or school.

There are plenty of high-quality lunch containers and cooler bags that will keep your food fresh until lunchtime.

Plant a Garden

Did you know that gardening is a great activity for lowering stress and bonding with your family? It also provides the perfect opportunity to save money on food. If you don’t have a lot of space for a garden bed, try container gardening.

There’s nothing more satisfying and delicious than picking a sun-ripened tomato off of the vine or eating a salad of lettuce you picked from your garden.

How to Save Money on Subscriptions

If you’re like millions of other Americans, you probably have a few monthly subscriptions. Even if it’s $20 here and another $30 there, you may not realize how much money you’re spending (and could be saving) every month.

We have some helpful tips on keeping memberships and subscriptions but cutting costs.

Cancel Unused Memberships

If you talk to any financial expert, he or she will urge you to cancel any unused memberships. Many people have the best of intentions to attend the gym a few times a week but only get there a few times a month. Rather than wasting money on the gym or fitness club you rarely attend, find other ways to get active like bicycling or walking.

Life gets busy, but if you have a membership that you haven’t used in a few months. Cancel your subscription. You can always sign up again later if you decide you’ll use it.

Cut Out Cable

Cable television can be a huge waste of money, especially if you don’t watch t.v. often. A great way to enjoy television and movies without the headache of cable costs is to subscribe to services like Netflix or Hulu. The prices are just a fraction of the cost of most cable plans.

Save on Insurance Plans

Whether you have car, rental, or even pet insurance, it’s one of those things that are a “must have.” If you don’t have insurance, it may end costing you more in the future. Insurance plans can be expensive and if you suspect that you’re paying too much, shop around for other for cheaper plans.

Whenever possible, always get several quotes before committing to an insurance plan.

Get AAA and/or AARP

AAA (also known as “Triple A”) is an auto membership offers emergency roadside assistance, DMV services, various discounts, travel planning, insurance, and maps. AAA is a good investment if you travel a lot.

AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) is a membership program for adults 50 years of age and older. As a member of AARP, you can enjoy a variety of discounts for everything from movie tickets to online travel sites.

Get A Cheaper Cell Phone Plan

If you’ve had the same cell phone plan for years, there’s a good chance that you are unaware that cheaper cell phone plans may exist. Even if you’re satisfied with your phone plan, it never hurts to shop around for less expensive options.

Check to see what’s available to save some money each month. 

How to Save Money at Home

Saving money and spending less can start right at home. Rather than hiring professionals to do some tasks around the house, learn how to do them or utilize the skills you already have. There are many budget-friendly and easy things you could be doing at home to save a bundle each month; here are a few.

Save on Electricity

Most of us know that the best way to cut down our electricity costs is by turning off the lights when we’re not in a room, but it’s easy to forget. Post a few notes throughout the house as a reminder.

Once you get into the habit of shutting off the lights, you’ll see savings on your monthly electric bill.

Repair Instead of Buying New

Now and then, things in our homes break or need a little TLC. The easy “fix” would be to replace it with something new, but that often costs quite a bit of money.

While some things cannot (and should not) be repaired, there are many things that you can try to repair before you replace with something new. Watch a Youtube video or do a little research, you may surprise yourself with your ability to make-like-new.

Sell What You Have

Do you have a lot of clutter at home? Have you been meaning to get rid of stuff but haven’t? One of the most motivating factors behind clearing clutter is the opportunity to make money.

Every couple of months, go through your closet and your house and look for things you don’t use or wear anymore. If they are in good or new condition, you could either have a yard sale or try to sell them online.

Do Your Own Taxes

Tax season can be good and bad, depending on your finances. Even if you’re expecting a rebate, you still have to pay a hefty sum to your accountant. If your taxes aren’t too complicated, it may be easy and less expensive to do your own taxes with online services like TurboTax.

If you prefer to have your taxes done for you, it is beneficial to shop around and compare prices from services like TaxAct and TurboTax

How to Save Money Around the Holidays

The holidays can be a particularly expensive time of year. Whether you’re buying gifts or purchasing decorations, you may spend more than you can comfortably afford. We have some great tips on how to save money around the holidays without feeling like a “Scrooge” or going into debt.

Do Holiday Decor Shopping After the Holidays

One of the great things about holiday decor is that most decorations are “timeless” and can be used year after year. Holiday decorations can be expensive, especially if you’re planning to decorate the outside and inside of your home.

Rather than paying full price for holiday decorations, you’ll use season after season, why not shop for them after the holidays are over and everything is deeply discounted?

Shop on Black Friday

Black Friday is the most popular shopping day of the year, and it’s quite an experience. If you can handle big crowds of shoppers and early morning hours, Black Friday is too good to pass up. It’s a great opportunity to get all your holiday shopping done at once and save a ton of money, too.

Get Cheap Christmas Gifts

Keep in mind that cheap doesn’t mean that something is bad or poor quality. If you have a lot of friends and relatives to shop for at Christmas time, you’ll need to find some ways to save money. Keep in mind the following tips when searching for cheap Christmas gift ideas!

Look for sales, always check competitor’s prices, do a little research before buying, and be creative. A cheap gift can be thoughtful and budget-friendly. 

Do you ever give gift cards to your friends and family around the holidays? If so, places like  Cardpool and Cardcash sell discounted gift cards online. Gift cards often make great gifts!

Other Ways to Save Money

So far, we’ve given you some specific ways on how to save money, but there are much more. While some money saving ideas may work well for some, they may not be possible or applicable to someone else. We have some general ideas to help you save even more money and spend less. Anybody can use these general ideas. Whether you are interested in saving money in college, or if you are simply looking to save some money for retirement, we've got you covered. 

Buy Generic

It’s easy to get caught up in the popularity of brand name products. While you may have some favorites of your own, generic versions of most foods and other items are comparable (if not better). One of the best things about generic versions is that the cost is significantly cheaper. If you’re not a big fan of generic, start small.

Make a Budget

Whether you have $100 or $10, a budget is essential to saving money and having control of your finances. Many adults, who struggle with money issues, are simply spending way more than they have and have no budget. 

It’s never too late to look at all of your expenses and make a budget for yourself. Always revisit your budget a few times a year.

Choose What You’re Saving For

It can be difficult to scrimp and save if you have nothing to look forward to. With some of the savings you have from spending less, why not put it away for something fun? Want to go on a trip or buy a new bicycle? Setting aside some money each month for something you want or need is a great motivator. 

Quit Expensive Addictions

Addictions are expensive. Not only can they be hazardous to your physical and mental health (depending on the addiction) but they can put you in a poor financial state. First, you need to recognize that you have an addiction to tobacco or gambling (or something else).

Secondly, take advantage of free tools and resources that are designed to help people quit some of their most expensive addictions. Finally, if you need professional help, get it as it can save you money in the long run.

Make Your Own Beverages

Do you stop at your neighborhood coffee shop every morning or go through a six-pack of soda every day? While your beverage consumption may not seem like a big deal, you’re likely to save more and spend less if you make your own.

Invest in a SodaStream or an espresso machine to make some of your favorite beverages at home.

Buy Used Instead of New

Just because you want to save money and spend less, doesn’t mean you can never go shopping. Want a lamp for your living room or need a dress for a wedding? Rather than buying new, check out second-hand stores or consignment shops first. You may be surprised to find that most used items are practically new and in perfect condition.

How to Save Money By Spending More

We’ve spent a lot of time discussing ways to save money by spending less but there are ways to save money by spending money. Believe it or not, there are many things you can do, such a maintenance and preventative measures that will cost you money initially but save you a ton in the long run.

Pay Yourself First

Every month, you use your paycheck to pay for bills and other expenses. Many people forget to pay themselves every month, too. Whether you put money into your 401(k), your Roth IRA, or your savings account, the money will gain interest, and you’ll essentially be paying yourself.

Always take care of your expenses, but also make paying yourself an important expense, too.

Preventative Maintenance

Finding the time and spending money to get an oil change on your car or a routine maintenance checkup can be a hassle, especially if you need to find alternate transportation. Not only will regular maintenance on your car extend the life, but it will help decrease the likelihood of bigger (and more expensive) issues down the road.

Get a Smart Thermostat

Energy bills can be expensive, especially if you have an older an older thermostat or HVAC system as it can be hard to regulate the temperature. When you replace your thermostat with a smart thermostat, such as the Nest, it will learn your temperature preferences and make your heating and cooling run more efficiently, thus saving you money.

Buy in Bulk

Another great way to save money is spending a little more at once on bulk items. While it may seem more expensive, you’re saving money overall. When shopping in bulk, at places like Costco or Sam’s Club, you will want to do a little price comparing beforehand. Although many products are cheaper in bulk, be smart about what you buy. Too much and it may go to waste.

Buying a Fuel-Efficient Car

Who doesn’t want to spend less time filling up? More and more cars are fuel-efficient, and even though they may cost a bit more than some other vehicles, the savings are worth it, especially when you take road trips or commute often.

Install Solar Panels

If you’ve been thinking a lot about alternative energy, like solar panels, now is the time to start saving money (by spending money) on your energy bills.  The cost installing solar panels differs depending on where you live and how many you need, but the estimated cost for a 5w system is between $25,000 and $35,000.

Many utility companies will offer incentives, and you may be eligible for a subsidy that takes up to half off of the cost. Not only will solar panels cut costs on your energy bills but it will increase the value of your home as alternative energy is attracting homebuyers.

Tips on How to Stay Disciplined with Your Savings

We have given you a variety of tips on how to save money so now you have the tools to get you started. Saving money can be challenging and may sometimes feel like anything but rewarding. Expect to have tougher days (weeks or months) than others but be proud of every dollar you save.

Need some ideas to stay motivated? Make a vision board of all the things you want to be able to purchase or do with money that you have saved. Plan a special event or activity to do with your family. Treat yourself to something you love once a month. Anything that will keep you motivated.

The longer you save money and make financial changes, the easier it will become, and you can make it a good habit.

29 Jun

CardCash Review: Is it Worth the Cash?

Everyone likes to find ways to save money, especially at their favorite restaurants or when they go shopping at their favorite stores. There are many money saving deals online, but some of them may not be legitimate, and you could lose any money you spend on them. One of the many websites which promises to save people money when they go to their favorite restaurants or stores is CardCash.

What is CardCash and How Does It Work?

CardCash is a website that sells, buys or exchanges gift cards for major retailers and restaurant chains found across the country. Along with discounts on meals from major restaurants, shoppers can find discounts from retailers selling:

  • Shoes
  • Gas
  • Hotel Reservations
  • Movie Tickets
  • Clothing

While some of the discounts are small, sometimes as low as 0.3%, some businesses offer 35% or more on gift card purchases.  

Along with selling gift cards, CardCash also buys or exchanges unused cards. So, if you have a gift card in a wallet or drawer that’s been forgotten about and you no longer want it, you can sell or exchange it with the company. The site offers as much 92% of the value on unused gift cards. They can be sold for money or sellers can opt to exchange them for other gift cards.

To sell gifts cards, sellers can log onto the site, go to the sellers’ area and state which cards they have for sale. They will then be offered a price for their cards, which they can decline or accept. If the offer is accepted, the seller inputs the card information for verification and, after it has been verified, they will be paid or sent the gift cards they bought in exchange. The selling process is available online or cards being sold can be mailed in as well.

Cardcash Logo

Pricing

When you go onto Cardcash’s website, you can search gift cards for retailers and restaurants by either browsing their offerings, inputting the name of a company into the search box or by searching the categories. An image of a gift card will appear when searching for companies with whom you do business. The information displayed beneath the image provides the discount amount.

If you want to purchase the card, click on the image to see the face value of the gift card and its discounted price. For example, if you find a gift card for your favorite restaurant offering a 20% discount and the face value of the card is $25, then your price for the card is $20.

Unused gift cards sent in from sellers are also sold on the site at a discount. Many of the cards will have uneven balances on them because a seller may have used a portion of the original value. The company doesn't control the amounts on the card, but the value is shown before you make the purchase, so you know what to expect.

When you buy a card, you can either order a physical copy of it, which can take up to seven days to arrive by mail or opt for a printable eCard. You will receive an eCard within 24 hours in your email inbox. The site gives several options for paying for gift cards. They can be purchased with a credit card, through a Paypal account, or you can buy them with Bitcoin.

Click Here To Join Cardcash

Public Perception

To find out what customers think of their products or services, companies may take surveys and encourage their customers to post reviews or testimonials on their websites. Reviews can help others decide on whether to buy a product or do business with certain companies.

Well Rated Service

In general, the public perception regarding CardCash is favorable among those who have bought gift cards from the site. They enjoyed the savings offered by the cards, and most people received what they were promised. If there were issues, most reviewers stated they were quickly resolved by the customer service department.

Other reviewers liked the fact they could sell or trade their unused gift cards and that they were promptly paid for them. If you sell an unused gift card, you can either choose to be paid using a Paypal account or they will send you a check. It takes about six days to receive money via Paypal or 13 days to receive a check in the mail.

Click Here To Join Cardcash

How to Avoid Problems

Most of the negative reviews were regarding not having any balance or having a zero balance on the gift cards they received. Most of the people who complained of zero balances stated they called customer service and the problem was quickly resolved for them. The other problem was because customers had tried to use their cards outside of the 45-day guaranteed window.

CardCash guarantees the balance that was paid will be available on gift cards for 45-days. If you try to use it within that time and there is an issue, you can call them for help or a refund. However, some cards may no longer be valid after 45-days, so there will not be a balance available. Information about the 45-day guarantee is on their website, as well as in the information sent with the card, so you should read the fine print to avoid any problems.

How it Compares

There are several other websites which offer discounted gift cards for sell and which will buy unused ones.

Wins for Reliability

Review sites which have compared CardCash with other similar services have found them to be more reliable when it comes to delivering on their promises. When gift cards were ordered or sold, the site reviewers received the cards they bought quickly, and they could use them right away.

If they did come across problems, they were usually resolved by calling customer service. They were also paid quickly for the cards they sold, within six days or less, via Paypal.

As Fair as the Others

In comparison to other gift card sites, CardCash was judged as fair as the other sites regarding discounts and policies concerning buying and selling cards. The cards were sold for about the same amount as other sites offered and payments for the cards arrived promptly via Paypal. Their refund policies were the similar to other sites as well.

Better Customer Service Response

After contacting the customer service departments for other gift card sites, we found that CardCash's customer service department can be reached by telephone. However, some of the other companies’ customer service departments could only be reached via email.

They also provide answers regarding policies and they were able to resolve many issues right away. For instance, if there was a glitch that resulted in a zero balance on a card, they will search for and correct the problem so you can go shopping with the card you bought.

What We Think

After comparing CardCash with other online businesses selling gift cards, we found them to have the best gift card service.

Better Reliability

In comparison to other gift card websites, CardCash was more reliable because they quickly delivered on their promises. Any cards which were bought came quickly and had the balances available immediately. If they bought or traded for unused cards, they quickly paid for them through Paypal with the promised amount, minus a small Paypal fee.

Their customer service was also able to quickly resolve most issues, although not all the resolutions were favorable to the customer. Their policies regarding card purchases are easy to find because they are clearly visible on the website. Customers should know what to expect by reading the website and the information they receive after purchasing gift cards.

Good Customer Service

When customers had problems, they were able to contact someone in the customer service department to get help or answers to their issues. While the solution wasn't always in the reviewer's favor, most people reported they were quickly helped, and their issue was resolved. We found the customer service representatives to be helpful and polite in every situation.

Not Always Best Value

The discounts offered on gift cards are not always the best ones as there are sometimes deeper discounts on other websites. However, they don’t control the discount amounts because CardCash can only offer amounts allowed by the company whose gift cards they’re selling. However, their reliability, prompt delivery, and available services often make up for the difference in pay.

Coupons and Deals

In addition to the discounts CardCash offers on gift cards, you may be able to find coupons for additional savings on other websites. One such site, RetailMeNet.com, offers coupons for additional discounts on selected gift cards or they have sitewide discounts as well.

The site provides details on each offer when you click the drop down box, and they provide a coupon code to use on CardCash’s site for additional savings. You can check out their dedicated coupon page by clicking this link: https://www.retailmenot.com/view/cardcash.com.

Giving a gift card is a great way to thank someone for helping with a problem and saving money when you buy gift cards on CardCash is even better.

Click Here To Join Cardcash

29 Jun

Cardpool Review – Legit or Scam? Read this Before Joining

cardpool review

Gift cards make great gifts on many occasions, especially if you're giving someone a gift you don't know well. While gift cards can be bought in stores or restaurants where they will be redeemed, you don’t have to go out of your way to buy the ones you want. Instead, there are many gift card websites offering gift cards for major retailers at a discount, including Cardpool.

What is Cardpool?

Cardpool is a website which sells discount gift cards from a variety of major retail businesses across the country who sell clothing, shoes, or from movie theaters, hotels, and restaurants. Although some of the discounts on the cards are small, as little as 3%, other companies offer up to 35% off on the value of their cards.

Along with selling cards, the website also buys or exchanges unused gift cards. So, if someone finds a card they were given in their wallet, and they don't want to use it, they can go onto the website to sell it for cash or exchange it for another gift card. There is a list of the 150 retailers whose gift cards they will buy.

An unused gift card can be sold through the website, kiosks or sellers can take them to participating grocery or department stores to get cash back instantly. There is locations page link at the top of their website to find kiosks and participating stores. If sold through the website, they can choose to have Cardpool send them a check or email them an Amazon eCard.

To exchange an unused gift card for another one from the site, start the process of selling the card and, instead of choosing to be paid with a check, request a gift card. If you choose the Amazon eCard, you will get it within one business day via email. Checks will take between five and ten business days to arrive through the mail.

Cardpool Logo

Pricing

If you want to buy a gift card, go to the website and click “Buy Gift Cards” at the top of the page. You can search for cards by putting the name of the retailer in the search box, start by choosing the category of the gift or browse their offerings. When you see the image of the card you want, the discount percentage is listed below it.

Click on the card if you wish to buy it and the gift card’s value will be displayed along with the discounted price. For instance, if you decide to purchase a gift card from a shoe store with a $50 value and there a 10% discount on the card, you would pay $45 for it.

Get Up to 92% of Your Gift Card Balance

If you want to sell an unused card, you can get up to 92% of its value for it. To find out exactly how much you can sell the card for, go to “Sell Gift Cards” and input the name of the retailer and the card’s balance. Once they verify the amount, you will receive an offer. If you accept their offer for the card, you can choose to get paid via check or an Amazon eCard.

Offers Vary

The offers for buying unused gift cards vary because the exchange rates are determined by the retailer. While you may receive 92% back for one card, another may only offer 50% of the card's value. Of course, there is no obligation to accept an offer.

Click Here To Join Cardpool

What are People Saying?

Reading reviews and testimonials is a good way to decide whether to do business with a company. While reviews posted on Cardpool’s website, there are also reviews on independent sites.

Reviews are Polarized

The reviews regarding Cardpool’s services vary greatly from one-star to five-stars. One-star reviewers were very dissatisfied because their orders were canceled after giving out their credit card information or receiving the cards through the mail took much longer than anticipated. Several other reviewers had issues using the Amazon eCards they received in exchange for selling their gift cards. One reviewer claimed they spent several months trying to redeem one and was never successful.

Some are 5-Star Good

Some reviewers gave the company good ratings, up to five-stars, because they received their Amazon eCards or physical cards right away or were paid promptly for gifts card they sold. These reviewers didn’t have any problems with buying or selling gift cards through the website. One five-star reviewer stated they have dealt with Cardpool for years without any issues.

Accusations of being Con Artists

Many of the low reviews depict the company has having ripped them off because they hadn’t received the amount promised for their unused gift cards. Others think the company is just stealing credit card numbers and addresses because their orders for gift cards were canceled with no explanation after they had input their credit card number. Some reviewers complained about zero balances on the gift cards they received and getting no response from the company when contacted about the problem.

How it Compares

There are other websites which also offer gift cards for sell at a discount, as well as buys unused gift cards. These sites, including CashCard, offer almost the same services, with similar discounts on cards and cash back offers of up to 92% on unused gift cards. Probably the biggest difference between these two services are the options for buying cards.

The options for receiving the gift cards you bought are the same on Cardpool as they are on CardCash and other sites. You can wait for a physical card in the mail or receive a printable eCard via email. The printable eCards usually arrive within one business day, and you can go shopping with it right away.

However, CashCard offers more options for paying for gift cards bought on their website. While you can only use a credit card to purchase gift cards through Cardpool, CardCash allows you to pay with a credit card, through a Paypal account or with Bitcoin. These options make it more convenient for the seller, and they don't have to worry about giving out their credit card information.

One advantage Cardpool has over some of the other discount gift card websites is their one-year guarantee. While some companies only guarantee the card value for 45 days, they guarantee it will be available for one-year.  

If the buyer cannot redeem a card for the full balance within the year, they can contact customer service and ask for a refund. However, beyond the year, there may not be an available balance on the card to use.

What We Think

After examining Cardpool’s services and customer reviews, we concluded that while they provide a good service, they are sometimes slow to respond and their customer service department could be much better.

Good Concept

People like saving money, and being able to buy gift cards at a discount is enticing because you can save at places where you already shop or dine. Being about to sell unused gift cards for cash or other gift cards is also a good deal, especially if the unused card is from a store where you never shop. However, many reviewers had several problems getting the money they were promised in either check form or the Amazon eCard.

Not Executed Efficiently

While the concept is good, the execution doesn’t always work. Cardpool only offers one way to pay for gift cards, which is with a credit card. Many people do not like shopping with a credit card online, and some reviewers reported having their orders canceled after giving out their credit information. Also, when selling unused cards, customers only have the option of getting a check or an Amazon eCard in their email inbox.

Terrible Customer Service

One of the main problems with Cardpool is their customer service department is only available through email. Customers need to write them if they have questions about policies they cannot find answers to on the website or if they have a problem with a gift card they bought. It takes up to three days to get a response from their customer service department if you get one at all. Some reviewers reported it took weeks before getting help with their issue.

No Phone Number, Even in 2017

Even though Cardpool has been in business since 2009, they still do not have a telephone number customers can call to contact them. After eight years, their customer service department can only be reached via email, and they don’t even list the address for their headquarters on their “Contact Us” page. Not having a customer service telephone number in 2017 is unusual for customer oriented businesses, and it makes some people leery about doing business with them.

Coupons and Deals

Along with the discounts, they offer on gift cards, there are other ways to save when buying gift cards through Cardpool. If you go through this site, http://www.doctorofcredit.com/5-off-any-giftcard-at-cardpool-new-users-only-10-giftcard-for-less-than-5/, you can get $5 off on the purchase of a gift card for being a new user. There is a code offered on the site to get the $5 discount.

Click Here To Join Cardpool

28 Jun

MetroPCS Plans Compared and Reviewed

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Shopping for a cell phone plan that meets all your needs and wants can be a bit overwhelming at times. With so many options on the market, it can be difficult to weed through all the options and decide what’s best.

We’ve taken the hard work out of shopping around for a cell phone plan by comparing and reviewing MetroPCS plans. Take a look at our guide and decide which plan will work best for you and hopefully save you some money!

What is MetroPCS?

MetroPCS offers prepaid, no contract cell phone plans. If you’ve never used a prepaid plan, some of the benefits include no contract, only paying for the minutes you need, little to no loss of monthly minutes, and no fees if you terminate the plan early.

Special Features and Perks

Before you go ahead and sign up with the first cell phone company you come across, you need to do a little research, especially finding out about any special features or perks. What sets apart MetroPCS from similar companies?

Operates Under T-Mobile

Even though may have never heard of MetroPCS, you’ve probably heard of its parent company, T-Mobile, a popular and trusted provider across the U.S. T-Mobile is also known for having the fastest 4G LTE in the country.

So, what does this mean for you? MetroPCS users get to use T-Mobile’s nationwide network.

No Activation Fees

Anyone who has ever owned a cell phone knows that it’s never just as easy (or cheap) to get a cell phone. There are usually a lot of paperwork to fill out and additional costs; one of the expenses often includes an activation fee.

Depending on the provider, an activation fee can be anywhere from under $20 to $45, and it’s money you’ll never get back. When you get a Metro PCS plan, there are no activation fees for setting up an account.

You Can Bring Your Old Device

When you sign up for a cell phone plan, you’re often pressured to upgrade your device or buy a new one. One of the perks about MetroPCS is that you can bring your old device as long as it’s compatible. While the service plan supports most smartphones, you may want to check the compatibility before signing up.

Cons

If your device is not compatible and you need to buy a new smartphone, the major downside is that the phone selection is limited. While smartphones are always changing, MetroPCS may not have the brand or the model that you want to own.

Pricing

While the type of smartphone you want to own and talk on is important, the price of the plan is often the biggest priority. If you’re like most cell phone users, you want to find a plan that is affordable and reliable. The MetroPCS plans are as follows:

$30 Unlimited Talk, Text, and 2GB of Data

This plan has no annual contract, and the taxes and regulatory fees are included. It operates off of a 4G LTE T-Mobile Network and has a 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot. Other features include a Data Maximizer, WI-FI Calling, Caller ID, Call Waiting, and 3-Way Calling. You also receive voicemail, visual voicemail, premium directory assistance.

Not sure if 2GB of data is enough for your browsing needs? 2GB equals either 2 hours of video streaming or 100 hours of music streaming or 100 hours of social media

$40 for 3GB of Data

Just like the 2G MetroPCS plan, the 3GB plan has unlimited talk and text. This plan has no annual contract, and the taxes and regulatory fees are included. It operates off of a 4G LTE T-Mobile Network and has a 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot. Other features include a Data Maximizer, WI-FI Calling, Caller ID, Call Waiting, and 3-Way Calling.

You also receive voicemail, visual voicemail, premium directory assistance. Additionally, you can get the Music Unlimited feature. If you’re trying to determine whether or not 3GB will be enough data you can always use the MetroPCS usage calculator.

Some examples of usage include 5MB for each download (such as songs or apps), 249 KB per email when sending and receiving email messages, and 942 KB for each page you browse on the Internet.

3GB also equates to 4 hours of video streaming or 150 hours of music streaming or 150 hours of social media.

$50 for Unlimited Data

An unlimited data MetroPCS plan is a smart option for users who rely on their phone for everything from work emails to connecting with friends on social media and even gaming.

This unlimited talk and text plan has no annual contract, and the taxes and regulatory fees are included. It operates off of a 4G LTE T-Mobile Network and has a 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot. Other features include a Data Maximizer, WI-FI Calling, Caller ID, Call Waiting, and 3-Way Calling. You also receive voicemail, visual voicemail, premium directory assistance.

$60 Unlimited Data Plus a Hotspot

This plan, with unlimited talk and text, has no annual contract, and the taxes and regulatory fees are included. It operates off of a 4G LTE T-Mobile Network and has a 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot. Other features include a Data Maximizer, WI-FI Calling, Caller ID, Call Waiting, and 3-Way Calling. You also receive voicemail, visual voicemail, premium directory assistance.

Additionally, this plan has a hotspot feature. What’s the point in using a hotspot feature? Imagine having a meeting with coworkers and working on a project or getting together with a large group of phones where no WI-FI exists (or is working poorly).

With the 4G LTE Hotspot, you can create your own secure network and connect up to ten phones to your hotspot. A hotspot allows you to stay connected and browse securely.

Family Plans

One of the most attractive features of a cell phone plan is the option to get a plan for everyone in your family. Some providers offer family plans that ending up costing more than most want to spend and some don’t offer a family plan at all. MetroPCS offers affordable family plans.

$5 Discount per Added Line

Discounts can be a huge incentive and selling feature. With a MetroPCS plan, you receive a $5 discount for each line you add, and you can add up to five family members to the family plan. Even if $5 doesn’t seem like a lot, it’s a saving that adds up.

Customized Pricing

Do you only need 3GB of data but your daughter wants unlimited? The family plans at MetroPCS can be customized to fit your needs, so everyone is happy with their plan and still keeping it affordable.

For example, if you have a family of four, you can get two of the $30 plans and two of the $60 plans.

Additional Information

While we work hard to compare and review cell phone plans and give you all the information you need, you might want just a little more information. Here is a common question that some cell phone users have:

Is MetroPCS Nation Wide?

People that are interested in getting a MetroPCS plan often wonder if its coverage is nationwide. MetroPCS has about 99 percent of nationwide coverage and most of the areas without coverage on areas on the West Coast (although there is coverage on the West Coast, too).

If you want to find out about specific coverage, you can visit the MetroPCS website and take a check out the coverage map.

What The Public Says

A big part of research is reading what others have to say about a product or service. Before you settle on MetroPCS, you may want to read a few peer reviews of your own. There’s overwhelmingly positive feedback on the MetroPCS plan because it’s one of the few prepaid plans that offers family plans.

Some common complaints center around poor coverage and a being frustrated with the customer service they received. Some users experienced slower data speeds than they expected, especially since it works off of T-Mobile’s nationwide network.

Who is it For?

MetroPCS is a plan for people who don’t want to make a commitment to a long-term phone plan. It’s a good plan for people who want to use their own devices and need an affordable plan for the whole family.

Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a no-contract phone plan and can find and afford the phone you want, MetroPCS might be for you.