Sunday, November 27, 2016

5 things that are worth the money

Unlike a lot of the other advice out there telling you to cut back on everything and live in a tree house until you die (“no burial costs needed when you let Mother Nature do her thing!”), I encourage people to spend extravagantly on the things you love – as long as you cut costs mercilessly on the things you don’t.

Today, 5 things that I think are worth the money. Then I want to hear from you.

1. Flowers. If you’ve ever bought flowers for someone from a run-of-the-mill florist, you know the difference between what you see and what your recipient gets. It’s like buying a Big Mac and getting a cardboard sandwich.

This is not a joke. See real reviews here.

The best flowers are from a site called Ode A La Rose. Yes, they’re expensive…and yes, they look even better than the photos and last forever. Save the site for a special occasion.

This bouquet costs $95 but is 100% worth the money.

If you’ve never bought flowers for someone…come on. At least go surprise your mom today.

2. Your phone and computer. Just buy the best and stop messing around. You use these things for hours every single day. If you’re trying to save $75 on 1GB of storage, you are going to hate yourself very soon. By the way, the key to buying the best is actually keeping it as long as you can.

Here’s how I did it with an old phone. By the way, this video is from 2008 so cut me some slack.


3. Books. I have a simple rule for books. In fact, it’s called Ramit’s Book-Buying Rule:

Ramit Sethi tweet
Get more tips like this on my Instagram & Twitter.

This is true for anything education-related. If I see a course and it costs $10, $2,000, even $25,000 – I don’t blink an eye. If I need to fly across the country to meet someone for coffee, I’m on a plane. Here’s how I set up my savings accounts to save for things like this.

Big thanks to my parents for teaching me this principle.


4. Extra phone chargers, pre-cut vegetables, and anything convenience-related. One of the best purchases I ever made was buying a second phone charger – one for my living room, one for my bedroom. For $29, I can feel happier every single day. Think about the little inconveniences in life that can be solved with less than $50 – you run out of Tupperware, or you have to do laundry every week because you run out of gym shorts, or you avoid eating celery because you have to cut/wash it. As long as you can afford it, spend the money, solve the problem, and move on.

5. Unforgettable experiences. I remember traveling and saying, “No, we shouldn’t book a tour from the hotel. It’s always a rip-off.” I ended up not doing the tour at all. I should have just booked the damn tour, even if it cost me an extra $50.

The older you get, the rarer it is to truly have a new, unforgettable experience. Most of the meals I have are forgettable – and I live in NYC. Most airplanes I travel on are the same.

So when I get the chance to experience something new – seeing a new show, or going to a cocktail class – I jump at it.

You probably won’t remember the extra 200 thread count sheets you got 5 years from now (btw if you think thread count is the way to measure sheets…do some homework).

But if you get the chance to go through an experience – a meal, a museum, even a weird night out with friends – those are the things you’ll never forget. It’s worth it.

Share your comments below.


P.S. If you want to know how I automatically save for these things, get the same system I use for my personal finances in Chapter 5 of my book (it’s less than $10 at Amazon).

Tucker Max talks to GrowthLab

5 things that are worth the money is a post from: I Will Teach You To Be Rich.

from I Will Teach You To Be Rich

14 Must-Have Browser Extensions for Scoring Big Deals on Cyber Monday

Whereas many people shop on Black Friday for the experience, Cyber Monday is more of a purist’s shopping day: It’s about the deals, and the deals only.

You’ve probably made sure your computer and Internet connection are up to the task, but what about your web browser?

Did you know there are a whole slew of FREE tools that can help you browse — and let’s be honest, shop — more securely and efficiently? They’re called browser extensions (think of them like apps for Chrome, Firefox and Safari), and they can do everything from find the best price to count down the minutes until a sale starts.

Here are 12 browser extensions to keep you secure, sane and on budget this Cyber Monday.

Browser Extensions to Keep You More Secure

With cyber attacks and stolen identities proliferating in the news, it’s important to take your security seriously while shopping online. These browser extensions should help.

1. LastPass

Smart Cyber Monday shoppers have their information saved on their favorite websites so they won’t miss out on any hot deals… But that does mean a lot of login info to remember.

Stop using your pet’s name for every password (thereby leaving your billing information vulnerable), and, instead, use LastPass to create and save strong passwords for each retailer.

2. SiteJabber

So you’ve spotted an awesome deal online — but you’ve never heard of the website. How do you know if it’s safe to give it your credit card information?

SiteJabber to the rescue. Using an easy red-yellow-green light system, it quickly shows you a website’s trustworthiness and level of customer service, based on reviews from their 700,000 users.

3. HTTPS Everywhere

In case you didn’t know, you’re only supposed to shop at sites that start with “https://”; the “s” stands for secure. Sometimes, though, sites have both secure and unsecure versions — and who are we to keep track?

HTTPS Everywhere ensures you’re on the secure version of every site, which helps protect you against surveillance and account hijacking.

4. Panic Button

You’re shopping for a watch for your husband. You have a million tabs open while you decide on the perfect style and best price. Then, all of a sudden, he walks in. Ah! What do you do?

Instead of freaking out and spilling your coffee all over the keyboard, just press the Panic Button. It hides all of your tabs with a single click — and best of all, saves them for easy shopping once he leaves the room.

Browser Extensions to Keep You Organized

The key to a successful holiday shopping season isn’t insider knowledge or crazy couponing; it’s staying organized.

We found a bunch of browser extensions that will keep you sane on Cyber Monday — or, really, any time of the year.

5. The Great Suspender

Speaking of all those tabs, are they taking up valuable memory and slowing down your computer? The Great Suspender unloads, suspends or parks your unused tabs — essentially putting them to sleep while you’re not using them — which will keep your computer up to speed on the big day.

Though this specific app is only available in Chrome, Firefox users can try Suspend Tab.

6. Cool Clock

Want to check a site every hour for new deals? Know of a deal that’s going live at a specific time? Don’t rely on your memory; use Cool Clock to set alarms, countdowns or hourly notifications. In Firefox, use Simple Timer.

7. Smile Always

Have you heard of AmazonSmile before? It’s a program that allows you to donate .5% of your eligible Amazon purchases to the charity of your choice. Only problem? You have to remember to sign in through the special portal, and nobody has time for that — especially on Cyber Monday.

The Smile Always extension automatically redirects regular Amazon pages through the portal, allowing you to effortlessly support your favorite cause. For Firefox users, there’s Smile Redirect; for Safari, AlwaysSmile.

8. Better History

You found the perfect price on a new KitchenAid… Only, you can’t remember what site it was on. It happens to the best of us.

Better History presents a comprehensive way to search through your history — and it also allows for easy deletion, in case you don’t want your kids seeing what presents you were looking at. Norwell History Tools is a similar extension for Firefox, as is for Safari.

9. StandApp

Unlike Black Monday when you’re out fighting the crowds, Cyber Monday involves a lot of sitting and waiting. Though the anticipation might get your blood pumping, all that sitting isn’t good for your health.

StandApp is a great everyday extension that reminds you to stand up for two minutes every 20 minutes. Non-Chrome users can download similar apps for Mac or iPhone, or simply set a timer.

Browser Extensions for Saving Money

The whole point of Cyber Monday shopping is saving money, right? If you’re nodding your head, these three browser extensions are not-to-be missed.

10. Piggy

If you only download browser extension, make it this one. When you’re ready to check out, all you have to do is click on the Piggy button, and it finds and applies the coupon code that saves you the most money. Even better, you’ll also earn cash-back rewards at more than 1,400 stores.

11. Coupons at Checkout

If you want a little more control over your coupon codes, try Coupons at Checkout. When it comes time to complete your purchase, the coupon code box turns red if the extension has found available coupons. Once you click in the box, it displays them for easy picking.

12. InvisibleHand

Like its name suggests, InvisibleHand works in the background while you’re shopping, only appearing when it’s found a cheaper price on the item you’re looking at. Bonus feature: When you Google a product, it also shows you the lowest real-time prices.

Get ready for Cyber Monday by installing (and familiarizing yourself with!) these browser extensions now. We’re certain they’ll help you make the most of this digital shopping holiday.

Your Turn: Do you have a favorite browser extension? Any you planning on using any of these on Cyber Monday?

Susan Shain, senior writer for The Penny Hoarder, is always seeking adventure on a budget. Visit her blog at, or say hi on Twitter @susan_shain.


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Saturday, November 26, 2016

5 Ways to Earn Back Your Cyber Monday Splurge… Without Leaving the Couch

It’s incredibly easy to spend money sitting in front of a computer screen, especially on Cyber Monday. No Black Friday lines, no painful exchange of actual cash — not even the depressing sound of swiping your credit card.

But it can be even easier to make some of that money back in the same sitting!

Passive income is a great way to bolster your discretionary funds any time of year, but particularly during the winter holidays, when Americans spend an annual $600 billion.

Here are some effortless ways to generate a little bit of extra padding for your wallet while you’re shopping on Cyber Monday.

1. Watch Videos on Swagbucks

I just earned one Swag Buck (SB) — equal to about one cent — by learning how to use a muffin tin to make prosciutto egg cups on Swagbucks.

I’ll even save money on brunch this weekend and get fancy at home without facing perturbed looks from the waiter when I order a mimosa, minus the orange juice.

Swagbucks’ video topics range from food to celebrity gossip and comedy. And, you don’t necessarily need to watch the videos — just run them in a background tab while you go about your Cyber Monday business.

You can even mute them if you’re not interested in lipstick color recommendations or what to make for dinner.

You can earn about 2 SB every 10 minutes. Once you accrue 100 SB, you’ve earned a $1 gift card to Amazon, Walmart or Target (though you can only redeem rewards once you’ve banked at least 300 SB).

It doesn’t sound like much, but think about how much time you spend in front of your computer. Free money is free money — and it adds up.

I even ran two Swagbucks videos in two different background tabs — and doubled my earnings! Just make sure your computer can keep up, and be sure to click over into the tab from time to time to ensure the videos are still playing.

You usually have to watch a collection of three to four videos to earn an SB or two; I had some issues with getting them to play automatically.

Swagbucks can save you money in lots of other ways, too. Check out our primer on all the ways to put Swagbucks to work for you, and be sure to shop through Swagbucks on Cyber Monday!

2. Share Your Surfing Info With Market Research Panels

Free cash? There’s an app for that. Several, actually.

If you’re willing to share anonymous information about the way you use your computer and mobile devices, you could earn some significant rewards for absolutely no effort.

Smart Panel

Once you take a three-minute survey to ensure you qualify, you can download Smart Panel’s app, which runs quietly in the background of your PC, tablet or smartphone, collecting anonymous information about your surfing habits.

You’ll earn $5 for qualifying, $10 once you’ve had the app installed for two weeks, and then $5 for every month installed thereafter. You can choose to redeem your rewards for Amazon gift cards — or just get cold, hard cash via Paypal.

Nielsen Mobile Panel

The Nielsen mobile app works similarly to Smart Panel, and is available for both Android and Apple mobile devices.

Once you qualify, install the app on your phone. You’ll earn up to $50 per year in rewards — some of which are Amazon and Starbucks gift cards.

Cross Media Panel

Formerly known as Google Screenwise Panel, this one pays out varying amounts depending on how many devices you link.

If you regularly use a computer and a smartphone, you’ll get $4 to sign up, then $2 each week you use your device afterward. As long as you’re over the age of 13, you just need a Google account and can use Chrome, Internet Explorer or Firefox.

Got a tablet, too? Lucky you! You get a $6 sign-up bonus and $3 in passive income every week.

Click here to get started. When you’re ready to cash out, you can choose from a number of super-useable gift cards, from Visa to Domino’s (which I might totally go for. Sometimes pizza is worth more than cash.)

Media Insiders Panel

Here’s another! With Media Insiders Panel, you’ll earn $5 per month, per device — and you can link up to three. Plus, you’ll get loyalty bonuses up to four times per year if you leave it installed.


Take the survey to find out if you qualify for this market research panel. It’s available for iPhones, Android devices and other devices, including tablets.

If you qualify and install it, you’re guaranteed to earn prizes, and you’ll be automatically entered in the “Weekly Winners” sweepstakes. Goodies given out include iPads, Kindles, digital cameras and more.

3. Let Viggle Listen In

Do you play music or watch TV in the background while you do your Cyber Monday shopping?

If you’re willing to share your info, Viggle pays you points when you allow it to listen in to your music or TV show. The app’s available for Android and Apple devices.

Users have cashed in their points for over $14 million in rewards to date, according to Viggle’s website. Choose from best-seller gift cards like Amazon, Best Buy and Sephora, or even once-in-a-lifetime experiences like a trip to see the finale of “The Voice”!

4. View Beautiful Ads on Your Android Lock Screen

Hey Android users: If you let any of these apps display ads on your smartphone, you’ll earn cash rewards just for using your phone. (Sorry, Apple fans; you can’t use any of these apps yet.)

They all work in about the same way: Install the app, let it populate your lock screen with visually appealing ads relevant to your interests, and rake in the cash.

Although your earnings are tied to unlocking your phone, these apps have algorithms to detect fraudulent usage — so locking and unlocking your phone all day won’t magically make you a millionaire.


Once you rack up $10, you can request your rewards deposit through Paypal. Check out the app here.


This app rewards you in points, which you trade for cash — about 2,500 points for $1.

The app store description says Fronto is trying to pay $20 to each user each month — not bad for something you literally just set and forget!


One hundred Slidejoy Carats equals $1, and you can get paid after you hit just 200 Carats. You can even choose to donate them directly to charity!

5. Search With Bing

Bing will pay you to use its web search, instead of a particularly doodly one you may use by default.

So when you’re scouring the Internet for the best Cyber Monday deals, make sure to do it through Bing Rewards. You can get $5 gift cards to vendors like Amazon, Chipotle and Starbucks.

Your Turn: Do you know any awesome ways to earn passive income on Cyber Monday?

Disclosure: We have a serious Taco Bell addiction around here. The affiliate links in this post help us order off the dollar menu. Thanks for your support!

Jamie Cattanach is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder and a native Floridian. She’s passionate about learning, literature, chocolate and finding ways to live the good life as cost-effectively as possible. You can wave hi to @jamiecattanach on Twitter.

The post 5 Ways to Earn Back Your Cyber Monday Splurge… Without Leaving the Couch appeared first on The Penny Hoarder.

from The Penny Hoarder

Friday, November 25, 2016

Giving Books for the Holidays? Get $10 Off Your Purchase This Weekend

We’re a bunch of bookworms here at The Penny Hoarder HQ.

We have a book club. We even have a spreadsheet of our favorite books on the off chance a co-worker can’t decide what to read next.

So we’re pretty excited about this Amazon deal: Spend $25 on books this weekend and get $10 off.

It’s probably the easiest sale you’ll score all weekend.

How to Get This Amazon Discount on Books

Amazon’s book prices are already rock-bottom, but this deal rewards those buying in bulk — either for yourself or to stock up on gifts for your family.

All you have to do is add at least $25 of print books to your Amazon cart.

Enter promo code HOLIDAYBOOK at checkout and you’ll see $10 of your tab vanish. Poof! Even cheaper books.

The offer is good until 3 a.m. ET on Nov. 28, which means the deal expires before Cyber Monday sales drop. But who knows what kind of surprises Amazon might have up its sleeve this weekend?

You can’t combine this discount with any other offers on the site, but you know how Amazon prices can change in a blink. It might be worth sticking all the books you want in your cart and sitting on this offer until Sunday afternoon.

Your Turn: What book are you planning to read next?

Disclosure: A toast to savings! Thanks for allowing us to place affiliate links in this post.

Lisa Rowan is a writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder.

The post Giving Books for the Holidays? Get $10 Off Your Purchase This Weekend appeared first on The Penny Hoarder.

from The Penny Hoarder