The Best Coupon Sites!

Whether you’re simply looking to save a few bucks on your groceries or are a seasoned coupon clipper, you’ll want to check out these coupon sites today!

  1. Rakuten

Formerly known as Ebates, Rakuten is a coupon and cashback site that is completely free and can earn you cashback on hundreds of websites. If you love to shop online, this is the site for you! With coupons and cashback, what more could you want? Simply install the Chrome browswer extension and get 1%-12% cashback, paid out to a PayPal account or via check, your choice!

  1. Ibotta

This coupon and cashback app saves you money when grocery shopping! By simply scanning your purchases into the app, watching short videos or leaving a comment on a product, you can earn cashback quickly!

  1. Swagbucks

This site offers printable coupons to use in-store, as well as cashback for online shopping! Each time you print a coupon, you earn Swagbucks! Redeem your Swagbucks for gift cards and earn more by watching videos, taking surveys and using it’s dedicated search engine.

  1. Groupon

Groupon helps you find deals for services, entertainment, and restaurants near you! You can also find some great travel deals, including accommodations, airfare, car rentals and more!

  1. com

Find coupons for in-store and online retailers with this great site! Coupons.com updates its coupons every month and allows you to earn cashback by linking your debit card to the site.

  1. SmartSource

SmartSource allows you to print off the same coupons that circulate in the Sunday newspaper.

  1. The Krazy Coupon Lady

The Krazy Coupon Lady is the epitome of savvy shopping! The site offers printable and online coupons, tons of information to teach you the coupon ropes, and notifies you of fantastic deals! If you want the most bang for your buck, this site is a must!

Join us next week for more great online shopping tips and education!

Managing Identity Theft

If you’ve been notified that your identity has been stolen, or discovered it on your own, there are steps you need to take to ensure that you’re not on the receiving end of the financial and legal backlash. Today we will break down the process and steps you need to take first!

 

Cancel Your Cards

If you haven’t already, you need to cancel your cards and have new ones issued. This will stop additional charges from racking up in your name.

 

File A Police Report

If you lost your wallet and someone has run up charges on your cards, you need to file a police report as soon as you realize what’s happened. The police can gather evidence and prove that you are not responsible for the charges.  The police report will be necessary proof for the bank or credit card issuer.

 

Notify Relevant Companies

Contact all companies that you have financial ties to, especially if you have autopay set up. You’ll need to change all your banking information to ensure your bills are still paid on time. No need to rack up additional fines and late fees on top of the stress of having your identity stolen.

 

File A Report With The FTC

Contact the Federal Trade Commission immediately. The FTC will help you make an identity theft report and a personal recovery plan based on your situation.

 

Fraud Alert

Place a fraud alert on your credit report. If you use a site like CreditKarma.com, they will have a guide to help you in the process. If you don’t, contact the federal credit bureaus individually.

 

Freeze Your Credit

Placing a freeze on your credit can ensure that your information cannot be used to take out credit lines in your name for a set amount of time. This will deter the identity thief from future attempts.

 

Reset Passwords

Do a deep dive on all of your online accounts, from social media and email to shopping and banking. Reset everything and create unique passwords for each individual site to ensure maximum security and lower the risk of future breaches.

 

By taking these steps quickly, you can minimize the amount of financial harm that can result from identity theft.

Building Generational Wealth

If you have children or want children, you’ve probably thought about generational wealth at one time or another. Unfortunately, around 75% of Americans are currently living paycheck to paycheck, and aspirations of generational wealth are pushed to the wayside in favor of simply attempting to make it to the end of the month without accruing overdraft fees or experiencing a financial emergency. As lockdowns ease and the world begins to reopen, employment will be more easily attained once again, offering more opportunities for stability. This means people can once again refocus on their financial goals. Read on for our practical tips to help you begin your journey to generational wealth.

Increase Your Income Streams

Whether you take up a side hustle or begin to invest in the stock market, you need to expand your income streams. Most millionaires have an average of 7 income streams. Once you establish an additional income stream, aside from your 9-5, it’s time to establish some passive income streams. This may mean writing an eBook, creating a webinar or launching a blog that is well monetized.

Educate Yourself

Continue building your skillsets, both financially and generally. The more varied your skillsets, the more opportunities you will have for increasing your income. Never stop learning, growing, and applying what you learn to your financial journey.

Live Below Your Means

Keeping money is just as important as making it. If you are hemorrhaging money each month, you won’t have the opportunity to invest that money. Living below your means means being intentional with your purchases, living frugally, and not trying to keep up with The Jones’. If generational wealth is your goal, you don’t need a McMansion or a Benz when your home in the suburbs and a used sedan can get the job done. It also means you ensure that you have emergency funds set aside to keep you afloat without having to access your investments.

Flesh Out Your Portfolio

Once you have your bases covered with a healthy emergency fund, passive and active income streams, and are living below your means, it’s time to focus on your investments and expand your portfolio. If you are not yet comfortable managing your own portfolio, visit a financial advisor or fund manager to get some guidance. If you’ve educated yourself and feel comfortable with managing your own investments, begin the process of expanding and diversifying your investments.

The Bottom Line

Generational wealth doesn’t have to be a pipe dream. With some strategy and hard work, you can ensure the financial security of your family for generations to come. By educating your children and instilling those same ethics, you can ensure that your wealth endures.

Join us next week for more education and insight to help you find your financial freedom!

Spring Cleaning Your Finances

Spring is upon us, and for many, that means throwing open the windows, dusting the rugs and doing some deep cleaning and decluttering. It’s also an opportunity to deep clean your finances! Here are some helpful tips to aid in the process of that spring cleaning spree you don’t want to forget.

 

Declutter

Channel Marie Kondo and do a deep dive on decluttering your home. Get rid of the clothes you haven’t worn for years, the gadgets and gizmos you have long forgotten the use for and make some money in the process! Tackle one room at a time and sort everything into piles; keep, sell, donate and trash. List the stuff you think will sell on sites like OfferUp, CraigsList, Facebook Marketplace. Almost everything else can be donated and your trash pile will likely be minimal. Be sure to keep your donation receipts so you can claim them as deductions next tax season.

 

Tackle the paper pile

Get rid of that beat up file cabinet and upload your most important documents. Back them up to the cloud and save them in an external hard drive so they’ll always be secure. You’ll likely free up a ton of space and staying organized will be a breeze. For vital documents like birth certificates and social security cards, invest in a portable fireproof safe. If it’s not valuable enough for the safe, it’s not worth keeping a physical copy of. Make sure you shred your documents after you’ve uploaded them to ward off identity theft.

 

Financial Goal Benchmark Check

If you set personal finance goals at the beginning of the year, now might be the time to check in and check your progress. If you are coming up short and not where you want to be, you can take this time to reevaluate your budget, spending habits and goals.

 

Trim the fat

Apps like Truebill and Trim are the perfect tool to use while decluttering your finances. The apps will track your finances and notify you of subscriptions that are draining your funds so that you can cancel them easily and quickly.

 

Check your credit

It’s recommended that you check your credit at least a few times a year so that you can identify and resolve any discrepancies quickly. Take a few minutes and browse your recent history for any suspicious transactions.

 

Happy Cleaning!

Mitigating the Effects of Eviction

The eviction moratoriums put in place during 2020 will soon be coming to an end, which means millions of Americans may soon be facing homelessness and the repercussions of eviction. Having an eviction on your record can bar you from finding housing and damage your credit score, creating even more barriers to finding your footing again after such a turbulent year. Here are some ways you can mitigate the effects of eviction.

 

Pay Off Judgements

If you have been evicted and the judge placed a monetary judgement against you, pay it off as quickly as possible. Though an eviction won’t show up on your credit report, it will show up on other consumer reports that property management companies tend to run. Your credit score will be impacted by unpaid collections accounts and can make it harder to secure loans or even get a credit card.

 

Pay Rent

Even if you are “renting” space on your auntie’s couch and only chipping in on the utilities, create a record of all payments made and the informal rental agreement. This can be vital for demonstrating responsibility to potential future landlords.

 

Build Goodwill

Pay back your previous landlord as quickly as possible. When you show good faith and put things to rights with your previous landlord, you may be able to get them to remove derogatory marks on your credit report. You may also request a letter of reference from the landlord that will go a long way with future landlords.

 

Gainful Employment

If you lost your home due to unemployment, the first thing you want to focus on is getting a job. Most landlords want 3 months proof of employment. They need to know you can pay your rent. Factor this time frame in with whoever you are crashing with while getting back on your feet.

 

Find a Cosigner

If you are out of time and need a new place asap, it may be time to reach out to a relative to ask if they can cosign for you. Only reach out to a potential cosigner that has impeccable credit. Keep in mind that being a cosigner is a huge risk and if you fail to pay your rent, they will be held responsible so not everyone will be willing to put themselves on the hook for you.

 

Losing your home can be traumatic and stressful, but it isn’t insurmountable. By taking steps and being proactive, you can regain your stability and security.

The Skinny on Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Dogecoin and Ethereum have been making major waves in the investment world. Savvy investors with their finger on the pulse of that world have made millions on their investments. But investing in cryptocurrency is not for everyone. We’ll explore cryptocurrency and the pros and cons associated.

 

What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrency is a digital currency used to buy and sell goods and services using an online ledger with cryptography to secure online transactions. Real currency can be traded for cryptocurrency or “tokens” that can be used to access those services and goods. Cryptocurrencies use a technology called blockchain. Blockchain is decentralized technology spread across many computers around the world that manage and record the transactions and keep the ledger.

 

There are currently nearly 7,000 different cryptocurrencies available for public trading. The total value of all cryptocurrencies is over $1.6 trillion. The most popular cryptocurrency is Bitcoin, with a value of nearly $60,000 for one Bitcoin (BTC)

 

Why are cryptocurrencies so popular?

Cryptocurrencies are popular because they are seen as the currency of the future. Some users love the fact that cryptocurrency removes central banks from the equation and the decentralized processing system can be more secure than traditional payment systems.

 

Is crytpocurrency a good investment?

Cryptocurrency can be a risky investment, and unless you are in a position that losing the money you invest won’t place you in a financially perilous position, it can be a dicey decision. Cryptocurrency is a volatile and unpredictable market. In 2017, Bitcoin was trading around $20k, but dropped to around $3k a year later, and currently it is at nearly $60k. Depending on the cryptocurrency you choose to invest in, you can purchase fractional shares. If you are looking to invest in cryptocurrency in an ICO, read the fine print carefully. Know who owns the company, who the major investors are, what your investment will gain you (stake in a company, currency or tokens). Even if the cryptocurrency is backed by legitimate and big name investors, it does not ensure that the cryptocurrency will perform well.

 

The risks and drawbacks

One of the biggest risks of cryptocurrency is the risk of theft by hackers. One high-profile exchange declared bankruptcy in 2014 when hackers stole hundreds of millions of dollars in bitcoins. Traditional investments hold significantly less risk. Another issue to keep in mind is the legality. Cryptocurrency is legal everywhere in the U.S, but China has banned virtually all cryptocurrencies. Check your local, state and federal laws before making any decisions.

Tackling Student Loans

One of the most challenging barriers to wealth is student loan debt. Millions of Americans will default on their loans at some point in their life. Some people spend their entire lives paying back student loans and it can be a weight around your neck! By tackling your loans and paying them down aggressively and quickly, you unburden yourself of the debt and can begin to allocate those funds towards your long-term financial goals. Here’s our top tips to help you pay down your student loans quickly!

 

Make Extra Payments

There is no penalty for paying your student loans early or paying over the minimum. Be sure that you notify your student loan servicer that you want the increased payments to applied to the current balance and not the following month’s payment. This will help you pay off your debt at a much faster rate. If you owe $20,000 with a 4.5% interest rate, by paying an extra $200 every month you can be debt-free more than 5 years ahead of schedule on a 10 year repayment plan.

 

Refinance

Refinancing can be scary, especially if you’ve never done it before. But by refinancing your student loan, you can pay it off faster by increasing your payments and shortening the length of time for repayment. This also saves you thousands in interest. Only do this if you have good credit and a stable, steady job.

 

Autopay

Many federal student loan servicers offer a .25% interest rate decrease when you opt for autopay. It won’t save you thousands, but it will help in the long run.

 

Biweekly Payments

Opting for biweekly payments ensures that you’ll make at least one extra payment a year, shortening the time it takes to pay off your student loan and decreasing the interest you’ll pay over time. Just make sure you rearrange your budget to accommodate the changes!

 

These simple steps can help you tackle those loans and pay them off at a faster rate, saving you time and money that could otherwise be allocated towards investing in your portfolio, adding to your 401k, and increasing your life insurance policy. Escaping the rat-race means clearing away the debt, and student loans can be the first one to go on your list!

Top Investment Apps

2021 is the year to start your stock portfolio and begin amassing your wealth. We’ve done the research and found the best investment apps available today! Whether you’re an old hat or brand new to the stock market game, these apps will help you invest wisely!

 

Robinhood

Robinhood is a great app for beginners, as it offers education on financial investment basics. You can also invest in crypto-currency like Bitcoin and Dogecoin. Commission-free, Robinhood cuts out a lot of the costs associated with many investing apps. The one major drawback is that Robinhood does not offer retirement accounts or manage portfolios, which means all investments are taxable and self-managed.

 

Acorns

Fledgling investors should definitely check out Acorns. Acorns provides free management for college students and offers a “spare change” savings tool that rounds up purchases and invests the change. Acorns does have flat fees, between $1-$3 a month.

 

E*Trade

DIY investors will love the research library provided by E*Trade, with expert studies, up-to-date information and data. Buy into a wide range of assets with E*Trades stocks, mutual funds, ETFs, futures and options. E*Trade does charge a steep commission of $6.95 per trade, but the features may be worth it.

 

Stash

Stash is another great app for new investors, plus it offers banking features! For a flat $3 monthly fee users get brokerage, bank and retirement accounts. At the $9 per month level, you can also receive two custodial accounts, monthly investment research and rewards structures, plus a debit card. Stash requires only $5 to open an account and offers fractional stocks and ETFs.

 

TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade requires no minimum investment but does charge $6.95 per trade. Users are willing to pay the fees because TD Ameritrade offers asset options and top of the line customer support. You can get 24/7 phone, text and instant messaging support.

3 Personal Finance Security Tips

The internet has made managing personal finances, bill pay and investments so fast and easy. With just a few taps on a keyboard you can pay all of your bills, check your portfolio, and reconcile your budget. But it is not without its drawbacks and security concerns. Today we will explore practical ways you can ensure your personal financial security.

 

Password Security

No company is safeguarded 100% from hacking and leaks. If you use a credit monitoring site like Credit Karma, you’ve probably gotten the odd alert that a certain site has been compromised and your username and password may have been leaked. Take these alerts seriously. Change your passwords. Strengthen your passwords and use unique passwords for each site you use. If you, like millions of others across the world, have only one password that you use for everything from banking to social media, you are putting yourself at great risk. It’s just not worth it. Keep a notebook, download a password manager, figure out what will work best for you. Just make sure you are following best practices when it comes to cyber security.

 

Know The Deal

If you are not the most tech-saavy user, it’s time to brush up on the scams, tricks and cons used by online predators. This means knowing what to look for in terms of malicious emails, ads and pop-ups, as well as knowing the difference between a legitimate website from one that may harm your computer or steal your information. Scammers are ever-evolving their methods. Scrutinize emails from your bank thoroughly. Pay attention to the links you click through. If the site looks legit, but the web address doesn’t match, you’re in unsafe waters. If you receive an email that is concerning, call your financial institution directly to clarify.

 

Check Your Credit

Sites like Credit Karma, Credit Sesame, and Mint offer credit monitoring services that will notify you of any major credit changes, inquiries and open credit lines. By tracking your credit score and inquiries you can act fast if your credit has been stolen. Having your credit stolen can create a lasting negative impact on your personal financial health, can bar you from achieving your personal finance goals and even limit career opportunities.

 

Your information is important. It is your responsibility to keep it safe and guarded. Education and information are the best tools to help you maintain your personal finance security.