Browse Category: Money Management

Three Underhanded Internet Scams to Avoid Today

internet scams

It’s been a long day, and Internet scams are the last thing you want to deal with.

You ran way too many meetings, you stayed on top of your inbox, you even took Mom out for lunch. Finally, you’re home, but just as you sink back into your couch, your cell phone rings: an unknown local number. You pick up, eager to get whatever it is off your plate.

“We are calling to inform you that the IRS is filing a lawsuit against you,” a robotic voice explains.

Continue Reading

How to Set Your Kids Up For Financial Success

set kids up financial success

The year was 1994. I had a bowl cut, and I had just turned 10. I got an allowance every week for doing chores, and every week, I spent the whole thing on candy. No one would blame a 10-year-old for such candy-related financial recklessness, but my spend-first approach didn’t stop with candy. By the time I recognized it as a problem, I –like many of my Millennial peers– was saddled with massive debt in a depressed economy.

Continue Reading

You’re Paying For What!?

You're paying for what?

Want a few hundred bucks? Keeping hold of money you don’t have to spend in the first place could net you an extra payday.

After reading this article, spend about five minutes making changes, and you’ll save hundreds of dollars a year. Sound good?

Megamoney down the drain

People throw money away every single day.

They toss a few bucks at an ATM to get cash and lose a few more thanks to a late fee on a neglected bill. Meanwhile, overlooked services siphon off funds on a monthly basis. Drip, drop.

The little losses don’t hurt at the time, but they add up. Last year, Americans paid over $6 billion dollars in overdraft and ATM fees to Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Chase alone.

But what can you do about it?

Patching up the unnoticed holes in your bank account is easier than you might think. Here’s how you can put a stop to expenses that drain hundreds of dollars a year from your fellow Americans.

1) Just say no to bank fees

Average ATM fees have grown from $1.75 per transaction in 2007 to $4.52 in 2016. Banks have even found a way to take a bite out of government assistance. In 2012, Californians paid $19 million in ATM fees just to access their EBT food and cash benefits. That’s enough to buy a full year of school supplies for 20% of the state’s K-12 students.

Who’s raking in all that cash? JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citibank, and Wells Fargo, to name a few. And yes, those are the same “Big Four” banks that paid into the National Mortgage Settlement –the second largest civil settlement in U.S. history– for their unlawful parts in the 2010 foreclosure crisis. For some reason, customers stay faithful. With over 245 million accounts, these four banks control a huge portion of American personal wealth.

But you don’t have to suffer from their predatory practices. If you’re getting stung at the ATM, for overdrafting, or for not parking enough cash in specific accounts, consider switching to a bank that won’t charge you fees.

Could it be that simple?

Well, check out an account with Simple or Capital One 360– you’ll never be charged a minimum balance, and they even cover some overdrafts. There’s a range of free checking accounts with minimal fees, and this tool from Magnify Money can help you find one that’s local to you.

Or better yet, check out your local credit unions. Many offer access to the extensive, fee-free CO-OP ATM network, and some even waive out-of-network ATM fees. The Credit Union National Association estimates that credit union members saved $8.5 billion last year simply by using credit unions instead of banks. Credit unions are renowned for lower fees and more personalized service than big banks, which is probably why 3.7 million Americans joined one last year.

2) Use free apps to make life easier

Get your smartphone out, because there are free apps that do everything from pay your bills to summon roadside assistance.  Welcome to the future.

Stop spending so much time paying your bills

Thanks to Prism’s smart notifications, you’ll never pay a late fee again. With a few taps and a swipe, you tell Prism how much to pay and when– no need to log into individual biller websites ever again. It somehow makes paying my bills –dare I say it?– fun. And while you’re having fun saving money, get Digit– it uses predictive algorithms to transfer small amounts of cash from your checking account to a savings account. There are unlimited transfers, no fees, and a no-overdraft guarantee. It’s the perfect way to save more money without thinking about it.

Roadside Assistance
Stop paying annual dues for roadside assistance

AAA has dominated the field of roadside assistance for decades. But the annual dues paid by its 55.6 million members (some individual plans exceed the $100 mark) may soon make it a thing of the past. Enter, the on-demand roadside service app with no annual dues or membership fees. It’s available 24 hours a day, everywhere in America, and it offers flat fees ($75 for most common issues, $99 for a tow of up to 10 miles) and singular features like accident alerts and service tracking for family members.

Stop paying to monitor your credit

A recent study by NerdWallet revealed that American households with debt owe an average of $130,922. According to a spokesperson for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, individuals who seek their financial counseling have an average of six credit cards. The last thing someone with that much debt and that many credit cards needs is to spend money on credit monitoring, but it happens a lot. In fact, credit monitoring services constitute four of the top five services cancelled through the Truebill subscription management app.

Fortunately, CreditKarma offers credit scores along with credit reports and monitoring, all for free. While you’re getting yours, check out their tools and approachable advice that help you do everything from pick a credit card to buy a home.

Get identity theft insurance for free

The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that in 2014, 17.6 million people in the U.S. fell victim to identity theft. According to the most recent data available, it’s a $24.7 billion dollar problem even before you factor in the time those 17.6 million victims spent dealing with the aftermath. The Department of Justice knows how bad it is, as made painfully clear by this anecdote on their website:

In one notorious case of identity theft, the criminal, a convicted felon, not only incurred more than $100,000 of credit card debt, obtained a federal home loan, and bought homes, motorcycles, and handguns in the victim’s name, but called his victim to taunt him…

Don’t stop being careful, but stop paying for identity theft insurance right away. Civic offers identity theft alerts, fraud support, and $1 million dollars worth of identity theft insurance for life, all without charging a monthly fee like most credit monitoring services.

Stop paying commissions to invest

The price of entry to the world of investment is prohibitive to many, but that’s all about to change, thanks to Robinhood. Traditional brokerages charge commissions on each trade and require minimum deposits of at least $500, but Robinhood rejects both. Smart notifications and real-time market data help you maximize your portfolio’s performance, and the app’s sleek look and ease of use make doing so a breeze.

With these tools, you can’t avoid saving money

Bank fees and other unnecessary expenses can feel unavoidable at times, but they’re not trifles to be ignored– your losses could amount to hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Fortunately, there are easy, manageable steps you can take. Switch to a bank that’s not out to penalize you and cut your costs with free apps. Before you know it, you’ll put the stress of unwanted fees behind you.

5 Tips to Get the Most Out of This Summer


Summertime is a state of mind.

It’s the sun on your face, the pep in your step, the bring-it-on of late nights and good times, the dawning of exciting new possibilities.

The first day of summer happens when you switch from have-to to get-to, so kickstart your get-to with these goals leading to summery goodness.

1) Drink better coffee

Ah, coffee, that beautiful, fragrant source of motivation. It’s delicious, it’s comforting, and studies show that it may improve cognitive function and decrease the risk of depression (by the way, decaf offers the same health benefits). Whether you like it hot or prefer to make your own cold brew the easy way, there’s so much to love.

Better Coffee

Well, your perfect morning has arrived, thanks to the team behind MistoBox. Pick a coffee style and delivery schedule (1-4 deliveries per month), and you’ll start every day with impressive, freshly-roasted coffee. Three price tiers cover the gamut of coffee drinkers, from those who just need their daily kick to those looking for the best of the small-batch best.

2) Get outside and exercise

There’s no doubt about it: exercise is a miracle drug hiding among us. It boosts brainpower, melts stress, and makes you feel great. Maybe that’s why 81% of millennials say they exercise on a regular basis.

Summer 4

Staying fit doesn’t have to feel like a chore. There’s camaraderie in the air– millennials are more drawn to exercise centered around working together than competing against each other. Groups like cycling, aerobics, and dance are more popular than ever, and there are over 50,000 athletic apps to help you track and share your activities.

Did you know the National Park Service turns 100 this year? If you’re looking for more relaxing outdoor exercise, use this handy tool to pick someplace beautiful and join the 40 million Americans going camping this year. Whether you sleep in a tent or a cabin or under a sky full of stars, you’ll be breathing fresh air, listening to birdsong, and banishing stress.


There are 59 national parks across the country and a whopping 6,624 state parks. The oldest among them is majestic Niagara Falls State Park (est. 1885), but modern campgrounds are getting all kinds of upgrades –from better bathrooms to free Wi-Fi– so don’t assume that outdoors means offline. That’s up to you.

3) Try foods from around the world

Nothing rivals the adventure of leaving the country. Every detail is different from what everyday life conditions you to expect, from the bustle of the downtown streets to the tempting aromas of unknown dishes.

But if your summer budget doesn’t include get-off-a-plane-and-bust-out-the-map traveling, you can bring the world to you on the cheap.

Foods are an integral part of every culture and a great place to start exploring.

Ever try a strawberry Giant Caplico from Japan or crunchy yuca Biscoito de Polvilho from Brazil? How about “mouth quivering” Ghost Pops from South Africa? Yeah, me neither. Snack boxes from Treats have you sampling goodies from a new country each month. Want to stay in one place for a while? Aloha Crate brings the Hawaiian vibe, and if you’re curious about Japan’s mind-blowing snack scene, definitely check out Snakku.


4) Automate your finances

Don’t let managing your finances become a dark cloud that follows you through the summer. Invest the spare change from your daily transactions with Acorns. Choose one of five portfolio profiles –from conservative to aggressive– and Acorns will invest for you using “round-ups” (for example, if you buy a latte for $3.25, Acorns will take an additional 75¢ and invest it). Paribus is a free service that gets you cash back whenever retailers drop prices on purchases you make online or forget to apply coupon codes. Make sure you’re not paying for services you don’t want with Truebill’s free online tool.  It shows you all of your recurring charges and lets you cancel any of them with a single click. No more waiting on hold to cancel that pesky Wi-Fi hotspot subscription you forgot about!


Summer is the perfect time to make new friends, keep the old, and celebrate with every single one of them. There’s a million ways to party, but you can’t go wrong sticking to the basics: good food, drinks, and some tunes to shake your booty to.

Want some help? Let’s start by whetting your whistle.

Summer wine parties are easy to throw, but lots of people are intimidated when picking bottles at the store by rack upon rack of unknown quantities.


Rest easy– you’ve got a friend in Vinebox. Nestled inside each sleek, magnetically-sealed box are three wines from boutique wineries across Europe. You’ll get a glass of each –packaged in glass vials that are elegant and a touch futuristic– along with tasting notes, recommended food pairings, and the stories behind the wines. The wines are all limited production, so when you (inevitably) fall in love with one, tell Vinebox right away so you can get a full bottle… or ten.

For anyone worried about party food, a word of advice: skewers. They’re low-mess, easy to stroll around with, and they only require one hand. For a perfect wine party accompaniment, try this summery spin on a classic Italian appetizer: Peach Caprese Skewers.


What you’ll need: fresh peaches, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, some balsamic vinegar, and skewers. Assemble the skewers by alternating chunks of peach and mozzarella with basil leaves folded in half. To punch up the flavors a notch, drizzle the skewers lightly with balsamic reduction. It’s easy to make– stir a cup of balsamic vinegar in a saucepan over the lowest heat until it reduces by half.

Now that you’ve got stellar wines and appetizers, grab some speakers and pick a playlist: keep it chill with Brazilian samba and bossa nova, get your retro on with the best of the 70s and 80s, or stick with this summer’s biggest hits.

Well, cheers to an unforgettable summer! I could keep singing summer’s praises, but I think I’ll let the poet William Carlos Williams take us out instead.

“In summer, the song sings itself.”

The easiest way to manage your paid subscriptions