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Wealthsimple Review 2020 – Robo Advisor & Wealthsimple Trade [UNIQUE PROMO]

Wealthsimple Review 2020 – Robo Advisor & Wealthsimple Trade [UNIQUE PROMO] By FT | May 17, 2020 | Comments I’ve been putting off writing a Wealthsimple review for a while now due to the fact I personally do not personally use robo advisor, instead preferring to cut costs to the bone with my Questrade, my top rated…

The post Wealthsimple Review 2020 – Robo Advisor & Wealthsimple Trade [UNIQUE PROMO] appeared first on Million Dollar Journey.

Seven Tips for Living a Healthy Lifestyle Inexpensively

A few days ago, a reader referred me to this Tweet by Maxine Ali that really left me thinking. In short, her point was that things like exercising in a home gym, having fresh produce delivered to your door, and having a private space to unwind when distressed are all examples of things that are promoted as part of a healthy lifestyle but are actually things that only wealthy people can really afford. It creates this false idea that “healthy living” is something exclusively for people with wealth or with lots of disposable income. She goes on in subsequent Tweets to make the point that many “wellness gurus” offer “wellness tips” that are actually more about showing off how much wealth and disposable income they have, because their “wellness tips” rely on having a lot of money.

The truth is that a healthy lifestyle can actually be really inexpensive and it can flex around a lot of lifestyle situations. Obviously, meditating in your own bonsai garden or having a full home gymnasium or having fresh organic produce delivered to your door every day isn’t frugal at all and is far outside the realistic spending boundaries of most people, but that doesn’t mean that people can’t live healthy on a limited budget. In fact, most of the things that people can do to live a healthier life cost nothing at all, and some of them even save money over other options.

What follows is a collection of tips on how to live a healthier lifestyle on a limited budget. Ideally, you’re already doing some of these things, and that’s great. Pick and choose from amongst some of the things you’re not doing. Similarly, you’ll probably find a few ideas that don’t fit in your life for various reasons, and that’s fine. Pick and choose from the other ideas instead. This is a buffet table of ideas, and just like how you don’t put literally everything on your plate at the salad bar, you don’t need to grab everything here. Just find the ideas that make sense for you.

Seven tips to living a healthy lifestyle, inexpensively

1. You don’t need stuff to be well.

This is the most important lesson of all. You don’t need to buy a bunch of products to be “well.” If any “lifestyle guru” is telling you that you need some particular product to feel healthier, then that person is functioning as a salesperson, first and foremost. You don’t need an elixir, essential oil or an expensive tea brand to live a healthy lifestyle. You don’t need expensive soaps and shampoos to look clean and healthy.

Feeling healthy and feeling good mostly comes from giving time and attention to things, not giving money to things. You’re going to eat a much healthier diet by just thinking a little about what goes on your plate, not buying the most expensive food items in the store. You’re going to feel better by eating a healthier diet and moving around more, not by buying essential oils and big bottles of vitamins.

Products won’t fix the problems in your life. In fact, buying products will probably make the problems in your life worse, because they’ll put you in a worse financial position, which is likely to amp up your levels of stress and anxiety.

There are a lot of great core ideas that many “wellness gurus” offer, but those ideas don’t require buying a lot of products or services. Most of the things that they recommend, when you tease away all of the sales pitches, don’t require much expense at all. They certainly don’t require lots of product purchases. The truth is that practicing a healthy lifestyle comes down to your own actions, not the products you buy. Your valuable investment comes in the form of time and attention, not in the form of money.

2. Exercising at home doesn’t require a home gym.

You can get yourself into very good shape within the walls of your own home with basically no equipment whatsoever and with very limited space. You absolutely do not need a home gym or a giant spacious room to do it. You don’t need tons of equipment, either. You basically just need enough space somewhere in your home that you can fully stretch out on the floor. If you have that, you can do this.

I recently wrote a lengthy beginner’s guide to exercising at home at minimal cost, offering strategies for figuring out what you want to do and tons of free resources to help guide you with home exercise. The only piece of equipment I even suggest throughout the whole article is a single paragraph where I suggest getting a jump rope.

What if you’re not up for hard exercise? Honestly, the most important thing you can do for your physical health on a daily basis is to just move around more. Go on walks, short or long. Stand up when doing tasks instead of sitting. Make these things extremely routine. If you get into the routine of a few daily walks or one long daily walk, that’s going to be a tremendous benefit for you long term versus not regularly walking at all. Similarly, switching to doing an hour or two of your work while standing rather than sitting will make a nice difference, too.

The truth is that you just need to find something you enjoy doing that makes you move around more to feel healthier, and something that makes you breathe heavy and sweat is a nice bonus. That’s really the key — focus on things you enjoy doing that make you breathe hard, make you sweat and make you move around. You will feel healthier if those things become a part of your life, and you certainly don’t need a home gym to do it. If your focus is on looking good, there are tons and tons of bodyweight exercises that can flatten your stomach and make every area of your body look better and stronger. If you want to look healthy, bodyweight exercises will do that; it’s only if you want to look like a ripped and sculpted bodybuilder that you’ll need more, and there are very few people that are really on the level that bodyweight exercises won’t help them look and feel a whole lot better.

3. Health diets don’t require perfect organic foods or a vitamin regime

Let’s get the science out of the way first. There are some limited benefits to eating organic foods, but those benefits are small compared to the value of simply making better dietary choices. Unless you are lacking in a particular vitamin — and blood tests can help reveal that — vitamins offer basically no benefit in most cases.

The real “low hanging fruit” in terms of eating a healthier diet that will make you feel better, make you healthier and move you toward your optimal weight is to simply eat a balanced diet that focuses mostly on unprocessed foods, vegetables and fruits. This doesn’t mean avoiding all processed foods, meats and dairy. But most of what you eat should be unprocessed foods, vegetables and fruits.

That’s all you really have to do, and it’s actually really inexpensive. If you simply stick with the produce section and buy fruits and vegetables that you like that are on sale as the backbone of your diet, supplementing that with things like rice and beans, you’re going to have a very low cost and very healthy diet. If you eat grains like bread and pasta, make a lot of it whole grain. Sure, you can eat some processed foods, meats and dairy items, but those things should be a smaller portion of your plate and a minimal part of your snacks.

The thing is, that’s actually out of line with how most people in America eat. The “American diet” is very heavy on meat, processed foods (including things like candy, microwaved meals, potato chips, and so on) and dairy products. The real challenge of eating healthier is to cut back on those things and increase your proportion of fruits, vegetables and unprocessed foods. That’s it.

Compared to that shift, the much higher expense of buying organic foods is secondary at most, and vitamins offer little benefit beyond supplementing areas where you’re actually vitamin deficient.

If you want to eat healthier, focus your energy on where the benefits are highest. Just buy more vegetables, fruits, grains and unprocessed foods, and fewer meats, dairy products and processed foods, and make those same changes to the meals you eat. That’s a big change, one that’s challenging for a lot of us, but it’s a cost-effective change, and you will be healthier and feel a lot better.

The expense of organic foods is a good “next step” if you’ve already got a diet in line with those guidelines and you can easily afford it. You should take a similar approach to vitamins, if you deem them important — they’re secondary at best, so hold off unless you can easily afford them. Unless you are wealthy and financially stable, the money spent on the extra cost of organics is better off being spent elsewhere in your budget.

4. Meditation only needs a little time and some floor space.

Things like meditation and prayer are often depicted as being done in some kind of backyard paradise, sometimes with a mat and candles and other decorations. None of that is necessary at all to enjoy the benefits of prayer or meditation. All you need is some time set aside for it and a comfortable chair or a spot on the floor, nothing else.

I meditate/pray (I actually see the two as heavily overlapping practices) each day because I figured out, particularly after reading 10% Happier by Dan Harris, that it helps me subtly keep my anxiety and stress in check while also subtly helping me focus, and it works better and better the more I do it.

Most of the time, I do it in a comfortable chair in my home, a chair I also often sit in to read. I don’t have a beautiful backyard garden to sit in (we have one, but it’s a humble vegetable garden). I don’t have a mat, candles, incense or anything like that. All of that is unnecessary. I just sit there, close my eyes, and focus on my breathing for a while, breathing in and breathing out, and if I lose focus, I just bring the focus back. I do this for roughly 15 minutes, roughly twice a day, with some variance (not every day is the same, and I’ll sometimes skip the evening session on busier days, and sometimes on weekends the morning session will be longer).

If you want to turn it more into a prayer, which I’ve done sometimes, simply memorize a short prayer and say it over and over in your head and focus on that instead of the breath. I have found that the Serenity Prayer is good for this: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

That’s it. You don’t need products for this. You don’t need special “meditation apps” for this (I like Calm and Headspace, but they’re not necessary and I feel no need to shell out cash for them). You don’t need a mat or meditation rocks, you just need a comfortable spot and a few minutes.

5. Go to sleep earlier.

Again, “wellness gurus” will often suggest all kinds of things to help people feel more relaxed and rested, from white noise machines to perfect pillows, from luxurious blankets to sleep monitors.

You don’t need any of it.

What you need is a dark room without screens to look at, with plenty of time in there so that you wake up naturally instead of at the nudging of an alarm. A decent mattress and pillow are nice, as are blankets and open windows as needed to keep yourself at a reasonable level of comfort while sleeping.

If you are finding that you are having trouble sleeping under those conditions, talk to your doctor, as there may be an actual medical issue at work that needs addressing. Humans have been able to effectively sleep under such conditions since the dawn of time.

That’s it. You don’t need sleeping products. You don’t need apps. You just need a dark room and a reasonably comfortable bed.

6. Financial stability is a very powerful way to lower your stress.

If you’re stressed out and are spending lots of money on wellness products to feel better, using low-cost strategies to directly address wellness while using that money to address your financial situation is going to end up delivering much lower stress and anxiety in your life.

Why? Money is the No. 1 source of American stress. Not health. Not politics. Money.

What’s the surest way to reduce money stress? Spend less money on non-essential things, then redirect that money toward paying off bills, establishing an emergency fund, and taking care of your future. At the same time, work toward improving your income, whether through getting more hours, getting a raise, getting an additional job, starting a side gig, or even going back to school for training in a new career path.

Those aren’t easy steps, particularly in challenging economic times, but they’re meaningful steps, ones that drive directly toward reducing the main element of stress in the lives of many Americans.

7. Remember, products won’t solve your problems.

In the end, everything comes back full circle to the point made at the beginning of this article: buying products won’t solve your problems and won’t make you healthy.

Almost everything you need to do to be fundamentally healthy -—and, honestly, the core ideas spread around by wellness gurus, once you dig through the products they’re selling and the lifestyle they’re displaying — is free or a low-cost alternative to something you’re already doing. You don’t need to spend to have a fitter body. You don’t need to spend to eat a healthier diet. You don’t need to spend to clear your mind. You don’t need to spend to get better sleep.

Underneath all of this is a desire for easy answers. We want to believe that there’s an easy answer to a fitter body, and a product provides that easy answer. It just means spending a bit of money, when the real sustainable answer is going on lots of walks and getting exercise. We want to believe that there’s an easy answer to a healthier diet, and buying foods with the organic label provides that easy answer. It just means spending some money, when the real sustainable answer is thinking about our food choices and consciously choosing to eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains with less meats, dairy, and processed foods.

This repeats itself over and over again. We want a good life, and we want easy answers that will provide that good life, and well-promoted products seem to provide those answers. Yet, over and over again, the good life we want is more reliably found by making small but sustainable lifestyle changes and sticking with them. Changing our behaviors, not buying products, brings the lasting changes we want.

If you want to have a healthy lifestyle, the basic steps of getting fitter, eating a better diet, moving around more, getting better sleep, and calming your stress and anxiety are all great strategies. However, buying products won’t cause those things to happen. They’ll only happen if you make changes to your actions, and the products will barely help with that change. In fact, buying unneeded products will just exacerbate a big source of stress.

The solution to a healthy lifestyle is you, not products.

Good luck.

The post Seven Tips for Living a Healthy Lifestyle Inexpensively appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

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How the PSAT Can Help You Land National Merit Scholarship

More than only a practice test for high school students, the Preliminary SAT( PSAT) is also what the National Merit Scholarship Program uses to determine student eligibility for college grants. While there are other requirements, in preparations for the PSAT and improving your see, communication and math skills can help you deserve valuable quality scholarships you can use to offset your college costs.

To find out what the PSAT includes and what grants you may be eligible for after taking the test( including the National Merit apportion ), let’s look at the following topics 😛 TAGEND

Taking the PSAT to participate in the National Merit Scholarship Program National Merit Scholarship Program requirements Types of Merit Scholarship honors PSAT FAQ: Orchestrates, timelines and more

Take the PSAT be involved in the National Merit Scholarship Program

While the PSAT is normally viewed as a practice version of the SAT, it can serve another purpose: it can help you finance your education. The PSAT is also known as the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test( NMSQT ), and it’s a key step in qualifying for a fellowship from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Students can take the PSAT when they’re in high school, but to be eligible for the National Merit Scholarship Program, you need to take the test during your junior time. The PSAT/ NMSQT you take in your junior year is the qualifying test for a specific year’s round of apportions. For precedent, students who take the PSAT in the fall of 2020 will be considered for awards awarded under 2022.

When you make the PSAT/ NMSQT, you can also take advantage of the Student Search Service from the College Board. It’s a free platform that can connect you to awards and financial assistance possibilities. To participate, time answer “yes” to the Student Search Service question on the PSAT.

National Merit Scholarship Program requirements

To be eligible for a PSAT scholarship and participate in the National Merit Scholarship Program, students are required to comply with the following requirements 😛 TAGEND

Take the PSAT/ NMSQT: Students must take the PSAT/ NMSQT no later than their third year of high school — 11 th gradation for most students. Be enrolled in high school: Students must be enrolled in a traditional high school or be home-schooled and make progress toward completion of academy. Intention to accept admission to college: After graduating from high school, students should expect to attend college in the descend. Meet citizenship requirements: To be eligible for grants, students must be U.S. citizens or lawful U.S. tenants.

Emergency exclusions

The PSAT is only held during select dates in October. If you miss the exam because of an emergency like an illness or kinfolk crisis, you may still be able to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program as long as you meet its other eligibility requirements.

As soon as possible, write a letter to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation to request alternative entry into the program. The application is necessary to postmarked no later than April 1 after the PSAT/ NMSQT was administered. The symbol should include the student’s name, contact information, the student’s high school information and a brief explanation as to why the student missed the exam.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation will respond with details on what you need to do to enter, and will send you a species that needs to be signed by a high school official.

Types of Merit Scholarship bestows

National Merit Scholarships: Recipients of the PSAT National Merit Scholarship receive one-time gives of $2,500. Wins are selected by a committee of college admittances professionals and high school counselors-at-law. Finalists are chosen only on quality, and not on financial background or other criteria. Corporate-sponsored scholarships: Business patron awards for children of works, residents of the community where the company controls or for finalists with job dreams in which the company wants to foster interest. The grants may be one-time honors or renewable for four years of undergraduate enrollment. College-sponsored grants: With college-sponsored awards, sponsoring colleges espouse finalists based on those who have been accepted for admission and who have informed the National Merit Scholarship Corporation that the school is their first choice. Special scholarships: Each time, approximately 1,100 participates are selected for special grants by corporations and organizations in recognition of their exemplary execution on the PSAT/ NMSQT. To be considered for a special scholarship, students must meet the patronize organization’s criteria and defer a separate entry form.

PSAT FAQ: Tallies, timelines and more

What does NMSQT stand for?

NMSQT is an acronym for National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, another identify for the PSAT typically taken a number of students in the 10 th and 11 th evaluate. Each time, the PSAT/ NMSQT can determine fitnes for deserve grants, which is why they are sometimes referred to as a PSAT scholarship.

What’s the best way to prepare for the PSAT?

The College Board — the organization that made the PSAT — gives free rule fabrics. To is fully prepared to the PSAT, use the PSAT Guide to review exam rules and guidelines, get tips-off on the different sections and see examples of the types of questions you’ll be expected to answer.

You can even take a practice test and orchestrate your results. It’s a good notion to take at least one practise assessment so you know what to expect on quiz day.

When do you take the PSAT?

Students can take the PSAT/ NMSQT in the 10 th or 11 th point. But to be eligible for a National Merit Scholarship, they must complete the test during their junior year, normally the 11 th gradation. The PSAT is held nationally in mid-October. There is usually a primary measure day during the week, a Saturday test day and an alternate test day last-minute in the month for those individuals who missed the previous assessment dates.

How long is the PSAT?

Including break-dance, the PSAT/ NMSQT is two hours and 55 instants long. It includes a 60 -minute reading test, a 35 -minute writing and language test, a 25 -minute math test without a calculator, and a 45 -minute math test where a calculator is permitted.

How is the PSAT scored?

The highest tally you can earn on the PSAT/ NMSQT is 1520. There are two main sections — reading and writing and math — which is each importance 760 points.

In addition to the score, you’ll too picture a mark for each fraction of the PSAT. The benchmarks are the scores that indicate readiness for college-level work. If you tally at or above the benchmark, you’re on track for college courses. If you’re below the benchmark, you may need to do some additional work in those areas before “youre starting” college.

When do PSAT scores come out?

PSAT scores typically come out in early to mid-December. In 2019, The College Board released composes between Dec. 9 and Dec. 11, depending on which mood students lived in.

How do you check PSAT scores?

The College Board will send your scores to your institution, and your institution may send them to your mothers. As a co-sponsor of the PSAT, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation also receives your scores.

If you’re wondering how to check your PSAT score yourself, you can view your own compositions through the Student Score Portal.

What’s the difference between the PSAT and SAT?

The PSAT is known as the “Preliminary SAT.” It’s what students take as a practice guide for the SAT. Typically, 10 th or 11 th graders make the PSAT, but simply 11 th graders are eligible for National Merit Scholarships on the basis of their PSAT scores.

The SAT is an admissions test assessed by colleges and universities. Institutions use it to compare students from different high schools across the country and to determine your abilities and readiness for college-level coursework.

Rebecca Safier contributed to this report.

The post How the PSAT Can Help You Land National Merit Scholarship sounded first on Student Loan Hero.

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Wealthsimple Review 2020 – Robo Advisor & Wealthsimple Trade [UNIQUE PROMO]

Wealthsimple Review 2020 – Robo Advisor & Wealthsimple Trade [UNIQUE PROMO] By FT | May 17, 2020 | Comments I’ve been putting off writing a Wealthsimple review for a while now due to the fact I personally do not personally use robo advisor, instead preferring to cut costs to the bone with my Questrade, my top rated…

The post Wealthsimple Review 2020 – Robo Advisor & Wealthsimple Trade [UNIQUE PROMO] appeared first on Million Dollar Journey.

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Unconscious Competence, Frugality and Your Money

In psychology, there’s a popular model of how people learn that describes how someone progresses from being a complete beginner at a skill to being proficient at it.

In the first stage, called unconscious incompetence, you’re stumbling through your first attempts at something. You’re not just bad at it, you have no idea what you need to know to be competent at it.

In the second stage, called conscious incompetence, you’re still bad at something, but you have a much better idea of what you need to do to actually become competent at it.

In the third stage, called conscious competence, you can do something pretty well, but only if you really focus intensely on what you’re doing.

In the final stage, called unconscious competence, you can do something pretty well without even really consciously thinking about it.

I’m observing this in my own life as my oldest child begins to learn how to drive. At first, he could barely back the car out of the driveway without endangering the structural integrity of our mailbox. He was clearly an example of unconscious incompetence.

Over time, he gradually learned to drive down the street reasonably well, but he knew that he wasn’t ready to do things like parallel parking or driving on the interstate. He’s basically at conscious incompetence. He knows he’s not yet a very good driver, but he knows what skills he needs to work on.

Later, he’ll move in the direction of conscious competence. He’ll be a decent driver as long as he maintains his focus on the road and what he’s doing.

For many drivers, however, driving has moved into unconscious competence. We do most of our driving without really thinking about it too much, other than in a few difficult moments.

Here’s the thing: most of the things we do in our daily lives are at the level of unconscious competence. We know how to do those things fairly well, and over time our procedure for those tasks is done with minimal conscious thought. We just do them.

We do it when we do the laundry. We do it when we drive to work. We do it when we do the dishes. We do it when we do some of our work tasks. We do it when we eat supper, make coffee or get groceries.

Here’s the thing: most things we do with unconscious competence are things that we do well enough, but not great. We figured out a level at which we could get the result we wanted — getting to our destination safely, getting our laundry clean, getting the groceries — and then it quickly passed into unconscious action.

Here’s the kicker, though: if you want to improve your efficiency and results at something, you have to move back into the conscious competence level and/or the conscious incompetence level. You have to go back and question everything you’re doing in your normal routine, look for where your experience or other information shows you that there’s a better way of doing it, and then practice that better way until you become unconsciously competent at the new way — in other words, you step back, look at how you’re doing things, improve that routine very consciously, and keep practicing the improved way until it’s how you do it unconsciously.

This is very similar to the concept of deliberate practice, which highly skilled individuals use to keep refining those high-level skills, but it pays out a lot of value in everyday life when you apply it to everyday skills.

So, how does this help us with our money?

Simply put, stepping back from an unconscious routine in our daily lives that involves using things we’ve paid for or using significant amounts of time, figuring out better ways of doing that routine, learning and mastering that new routine, and making it our new unconscious standard for doing things will pay a ton of money and time dividends over the years.

I’ll give you a prime example of this: laundry.

Most of us do our laundry without thinking about it. We grab what’s in the dirty clothes, wash them, fold them, and stick them back in our drawers, and we do it all as a routine that we barely think about.

Yet, all through that process, we’re using up money and we’re using our time. Every load of laundry we do uses laundry soap. It uses hot water. It uses electricity to run the washer. It uses electricity to run the dryer. It puts wear and tear on the washer and dryer. Similarly, every basket we carry and every item we fold gobbles up a little nugget of our time.

By stepping back and looking at each element of that routine, figuring out how to optimize each bit for both money and time, consciously doing the routine in a new way until it becomes natural, and letting that new way become the natural unconscious way of doing things, we establish a new normal for our laundry routine that eats less time and less money and less energy than before.

(In fact, I wrote an entire post about optimizing one’s laundry routine for time and money not all that long ago.)

Sure, it takes time to do this, and it definitely means you’ll be using some focus and attention on your laundry routine for a while. You’ll probably dump a few hours into figuring out the best way to do things and then invest a few hours teaching yourself how to do laundry the new way before it becomes unconscious.

Still, imagine that every time you did laundry after this, it cost a quarter less and required 10 minutes less of your time from start to finish. Forever. For the rest of your life.

If you do one load of laundry a week and you live for another 40 years, that adds up to $520 and 347 hours of your time saved.

That’s an absurdly good return on your time and effort if you invest a few hours maximizing your routine and then spend every laundry load for the next few months really mastering that new efficient routine.

Now, imagine doing the same thing with all of your routines. You can optimize dishwashing for money and time. You can optimize meal planning and grocery shopping for money and time. You can optimize actual meal cooking of your, say, 20 favorite meals for money and time. You can optimize your commute for money and time.

The secret of all of these is to make the conscious decision to step back from unconscious competence – the way you do things without really thinking about them – into conscious competence and even conscious incompetence for a while. Question how you do these things. Approach all of it from a beginner’s mindset. Is there a cheaper way to acquire the materials I use? Is there a faster way to do the tasks I’m doing? Is there a way to do this such that it’s more useful for me later?

Remember, even a tiny improvement in a routine you do every day or every week pays out enormous dividends over the rest of your life. Given that it doesn’t take too long to tease apart a normal routine and optimize it, and then it just takes some focus to push it into your head so that it’s the new normal for you, it’s a spectacular bargain.

My advice is to look at each routine one at a time in this way. Tear apart your laundry routine, then focus on doing it the right way and keep your attention on that new routine until it is completely natural. Then, move onto the next routine – dishwashing or grocery shopping or whatever.

Step back from the many routine things that you’ve practiced to unconscious competence. Question them and tear them apart, and rebuild them to save yourself money and time, then practice that new way until it’s completely natural.

You’ll be glad you did.

Good luck!

The post Unconscious Competence, Frugality and Your Money appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

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How to Use the Envelope Budgeting Method Without Using Cash

The cash envelope system is a great way to keep yourself from going over budget. Your spending is restricted to the amount of money you fill in envelopes to represent different budget categories.

Here’s all of our coverage of the coronavirus eruption, which we will be updating every day.

The coronavirus pandemic, nonetheless, is uttering it less convenient to stick to this budgeting method.

Closed supermarkets and the desire to limit social interactions means we’re patronizing more online. Shuttered bank disciplines make it harder to take out cash in the denominations of ones, fives or tens to align with our specific expend restrictions. Then there’s the added fear that using cash initiates another vehicle of communication for the virus.

But you can still follow the basic principles of the envelope planning programme without use money. Now are four ways to transition to a cashless version.

1. Use Gift Cards

Instead of substance your spending envelopes with money, use offering placards. At the opening up of the month, acquisition endowment placards that correspond with your many spending categories.

For example, you might get one card for groceries, another for gas and another to use for entertainment acquires. You’ll save money on activation rewards if you are buying a offering poster for a particular retailer — like a Target or Walmart gift card — rather than a Visa or Mastercard gift card.

Before buying gift placards, read the fine print so you’ll know if there are any expiration dates or costs. You may have to adjust your expend limits to match up with the talent poster denominations.

2. Use a Budgeting App Based On the Envelope System

Envelope system budgeting apps existed method before COVID-1 9 changed countries around the world. Goodbudget and Mvelopes are two apps built around this budgeting method.

The free edition of Goodbudget gives you 20 envelopes to manage your spend. Its paid copy — which costs$ 7 monthly or $60 yearly — furnishes unlimited envelopes. Goodbudget doesn’t sync to your bank account, so you have to manually update your transactions to keep your envelope symmetries current.

Mvelopes, on the other hand, does link to your bank account, so your spend is accounted for in real term. This app makes you choose from three paid designs — a basic account expensing$ 6 monthly, an intermediate level at $ 19 monthly and a complete plan for $ 59 a month. While there is no free edition, you can take advantage of a free ordeal for one month.


Reducing wasteful spend .

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3. Use Multiple Accounts for Different Kind of Spending

Another way to create digital “envelopes” is by employ separate bank account for different areas of spending. You may want to stick to just a few broad-minded budget lists so you don’t end up having to open a knot of bank accounts.

For instance, you might want to have one account that shields meat and home essentials rather than four separate histories for groceries, take-out, attractivenes makes and residence supplies.

Pro Tip

If your bank allows you to create sub notes, use them to separate your money for different uses.

When working with multiple bank accounts, you’ll want to maintain a surmount report where your paycheck comes in and then distribute money into each spending account. You can set up bank alarms to let you know when your symmetry contacts a certain level so you’re careful not to overdraft.

4. Track Your Spending After Every Transaction

Keeping yourself terribly aware of your spending as it happens is another way to stay within your budget limits. Use a improvised ledger that you carry around with your debit card — it could be an empty envelope, an indicator placard or a small notebook — to record your spending.

Before you make a purchase, take a minute to check your budget to see how much you’re able to spend in that category. After you compile the event, abruptly do the math to update your remaining balance.

It’ll take a little more self discipline to stick to your spend limits, but it can be done without resorting to using cash.

Feeling overtook? Create a fund that works for you with our budgeting bootcamp!

Nicole Dow is a elderly columnist at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which improves millions of readers worldwide pay and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Liveops Is Hiring 10,000 Remote Customer Service, Sales Reps

Over the course of three months, customer-service outsourcing company Liveops is filling 10,000 part- and full-time independent contractor openings in 35 states and Washington, D.C. Positions are immediately available.

“As a Liveops agent, you can work when and where it best fits your personal schedule,” CEO Greg Hanover said in an announcement, noting that the openings are a good opportunity for those who aren’t ready to return to offices or storefronts amid the pandemic.

The hiring initiative focuses on two key remote positions: customer service agent and a licensed insurance sales agent.

To meet basic qualifications, you should have:

  • Experience handling inbound calls
  • At least one year of customer service experience
  • Computer and typing skills
  • English fluency

As a licensed insurance agent, you’re also required to have life and health insurance producer licenses in at least three states that Liveops operates.


Both positions are available in Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming and Washington, D.C.

For the customer-service job, apply here. For the insurance sales job, apply here. Separate customer-service positions are open if you prefer nights and weekends

For the daytime positions, Liveops recommends you schedule at least 15 hours per week, between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. Eastern on weekdays and between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern on Saturdays.

Liveops pays a per-minute rate of talk time plus applicable commissions and incentives. The base per-minute rate for the customer service agent is 25 cents (potentially $15 an hour). For the licensed insurance agent, the per-minute rate is 30 cents (potentially $18 an hour) plus a $7 sales commission per call.

According to self-reported earnings on Glassdoor, Liveops agents tend to earn between $9 and $16 an hour, with a most commonly reported hourly rate of $14.

As an independent contractor, you’re expected to have your own equipment ready to go, including a telephone and laptop computer with a hard-wired internet connection. Your set-up must meet certain home-office requirements.

Still on the fence? Have any burning questions? Before you apply, you can talk directly with one of Liveops’ talent acquisition specialists at a live-streamed information session. The company holds the events twice a week: Mondays at 3 p.m. Eastern and Wednesdays at 6 p.m. Eastern.

Looking for a different gig? Browse the latest work-from-home jobs in The Penny Hoarder’s free portal. We vet each company and post new opportunities every weekday.

Adam Hardy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He covers the gig economy, entrepreneurship and unique ways to make money. Read his ​latest articles here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

How to Save Money on Parent-Kid Dates

Have you ever experimented with the ideas of parent-kid dates? They’re a unique way to spend individualized, quality time with each kid! This post has some great budget-friendly kid date ideas!

Parent Kid Dates

Guest post from Katie of My Joy in Chaos:

As a stay at home mom of five, with a husband who works fairly long hours during the week, our individual time with the kids is quite limited.

We live in about an 1800 square foot house and it feels like there is always someone in every room. As soon as we start time with one kid, there is suddenly an avalanche of additional kids climbing on us to see what we are doing with their sibling. 

As our kids started getting older we looked at the example set by my husband’s parents when they did foster care for teen boys — we take turns taking them out on dates!

Why do we take our kids on dates?

Each of our kids is incredibly unique. God has created them with individual personalities, interests, and talents. If we are always doing everything together as a family, we are bound to leave out a hobby, adventure, or food that someone likes and wouldn’t otherwise get to enjoy.

Some of our kids are also completely different in a group setting compared to the one-on-one setting. By spending a few hours focused on each child, we get to know a whole new side of him or her!

The siblings are no longer competing for attention, but rather getting to soak up quality time with just mom or dad. 

What do we do on kid dates?

We don’t do all of these every time we go on a date, but our kids can typically expect 2-4 hours of uninterrupted time with mom or dad when it is their turn.

We often let them dictate the agenda unless we have an errand that needs to get done.

Their favorite choices are:

  • Go out to eat
  • Visit favorite stores
  • Play at the park
  • Visit the library
  • Walk around the mall
  • Run errands

Biking as a Family

How do we save money on kid dates?

Spread the dates out

We used to try and do one date per month. Back when we only had two or three kids, this was reasonable. Now that we have five kids we’ve shifted to doing them in two-month blocks. I take January and February, my husband takes March and April, and we continue to alternate throughout the year. 

Spreading out for your family might mean once per week or once per month. Look at your calendar and your budget and get realistic about where you have wiggle room in both.

Sign up for restaurant deals

I’ve taken kids to Chili’s for as little as $14 with tax and tip because we had a free kids meal coupon, I ordered off the 3 for $10 menu, and we both took food home for later in the week!

Other places may send coupons for a percentage or dollar off, free appetizers or desserts, and other discounts to your email. Many also offer accumulated rewards where you earn points for eating with them and can cash them in at certain levels. 

Many restaurants will also tell you what day of the week they offer free kid’s meals. For instance, every Tuesday is Kids Eat Free at Pizza Ranch. If this is what one of our kids chooses for a date then you better believe we make it happen on a Tuesday!

Choose not to eat out

Our kids have gotten pretty accustomed to dining out being part of their date but we’ve made it a part of our budget and are okay with it for now. But should there come a day when that doesn’t work, we would find other things to do. Eating out, especially for full meals, can get pricey quite quickly so looking for alternatives is a great way to keep costs low. 

Look for free or discounted events

Libraries, book stores, toy stores, craft stores, and other places around your town might offer fun events for kids and families. We have done LEGO builds at Target, JoAnn, and Toys R Us that always add an extra bonus to a date. 

Our movie theater often runs kid series with older movies that come back to the theater for a limited time for a discount. They usually offer a free small bag of popcorn with each ticket as well. They also have $5 Tuesday showings (all day for every movie!) and Student Thursdays. 

Be honest with your child about the budget

Our kids LOVE sushi but it’s completely out of our budget to take them to a sushi restaurant for every date. Instead, we allow them one sushi date per year. This makes it a special treat, plus we can plan accordingly for the expense. 

Kid Dates with Dad

What are the best free kid date ideas?

Visit the library

Reading the same books over and over at home can get old. Hit up the library, grab a stack of books, and curl up on the couch together. Many libraries also offer board games now which would make for a fun afternoon. 

Our library also offers lots of different classes and events that are free when you register. In February and March, they had multiple Harry Potter events for different ages, and around the holidays they offered craft classes to make small presents – all for free!

Go on a walk or bike ride

We can only take advantage of this idea during a few months of the year because we live in the frozen north, but try to get out and enjoy nature!

Our town is full of bike and walking paths, and now that our kids are getting older they can handle going a further distance without complaining.

Venture out then find a place to stop and talk before heading back home. 

Pack a picnic

My kids adore picnics. Eating outside is an adventure that never gets old. Throw some peanut butter sandwiches and veggie sticks in a container and find a new place to explore.

The point is to spend time getting to know your child; the food is just a bonus. 

School events

Our school district offers so many free events that it’s easy to find one to attend.

Check out a concert, visit the art displays, or take in a play.

Most school sporting events will have an admission fee, but some may have free entrance depending on the school and sport.

Park events

I’m always amazed at the number of events our park district offers for no charge or with a small canned food donation. 

They have done movie nights, craft events, inflatable game parties, and more – all for no charge!

If you aren’t doing dates with your kids or at least doing something with each of them on a regular basis, I want to encourage you to try.

It can be as simple as grabbing one when you head off to the store, to drop books off at the library, or while taking the dog for a walk. 

We only have so many years with our kids before they are off on their own. Spending intentional one-on-one time with each of them gives us the chance to learn who they are as people, discover what’s in their hearts, and have a little fun along the way!

Katie is the wife to Micah and mom of five smushed into six years. Her goal is to help moms find joy in their everyday chaos by offering practical homemaking tips, inspiration for growing their faith, and simple family activities on her blog My Joy in Chaos.

Lili Reinhart Comes Out as Bisexual While Supporting LGBTQ+ Black Lives Matter Movement

Lili Reinhart, WTF widgetLili Reinhart is opening up about her sexuality.
On Wednesday, the Riverdale actress came out as bisexual while showing her support for the LGBTQ+ For #BlackLivesMatter protest in West…

Asics Women’s GEL Sonoma 5 Running Shoes only $38 shipped (Reg. $80!)

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.

Here’s a great deal on Asics running shoes!


Olympia Sports has these Asics Women’s GEL Sonoma 5 Running Shoes for only $38 shipped right now!

These are regularly $80 so this is a great deal.

Athletic shoes

You can also get these Asics Men’s GEL Sonoma 5 Running Shoes for just $38 shipped!

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Is Dollar-Cost Averaging A Smart Way To Invest?

Dollar-cost averaging is the concept of investing a set amount of money regularly. But is it a smart way to invest your money? Find out.Dollar-cost averaging is the concept of investing a set amount of money regularly. But is it a smart way to invest your money? Find out.

The post Is Dollar-Cost Averaging A Smart Way To Invest? appeared first on Money Under 30.

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Money & Coronavirus: How to Build an Emergency Fund (Part 2)

[Transcribed and adapted from the YouTube video:Money & Coronavirus: How Much to Save’]

Key takeaways:

  • Emergencies are not the time to worry about savings rates—if you have the money, use it. 
  • It’s recommended that you see if halting 401k contributions, HSA contributions, or student loan payments are right for you. 
  • Do not take out any money from your 401k unless you’re absolutely desperate.
  • If you have variable income, build a buffer and plan accordingly.

On the last episode of ‘Money & Coronavirus: How Much Money to Save… ‘

Last time, we talked all about emergency funds, how to get one, why you should have one, and the psychology of saving your money. But, there’s a crucial component to owning your emergency fundyou actually have to use it when it’s an emergency!

Be honest, the pandemic is an emergency. It is 100% OK to use money from your emergency fund—we just need to be smart about it. 

Let’s go now to the psychology of using your emergency fund. I see a lot of people who have money saved up, but they are terrified to use it. This is the opposite of people who have a spending problem.

Bonus:If the COVID-19 pandemic has you worried about money, check out my free guide on Coronavirus-Proofing your Finances with the CEO approach

The psychology of spending an emergency fund

I hear a lot about these hyper frugalistas whose entire life is logging into their personal capital account and looking at it: “Oh no, I had a 29% savings rate last month, but my average is 33.3%. I’m really slipping. What’s wrong? I’ve got to get back on track because the community is not going to respect me enough. I need to get to 40%.”

Get a life. Please, do not end up on your deathbed feeling morally superior to other people because you have a 38% savings rate. 

I have heard people still going to work even though they have a huge emergency fund account. Why? You ask them, “Why are you still going to work and exposing yourself and potentially exposing other people?” “Well, what do you mean? That’s my job.” Then you say, “Don’t you have a savings account you’ve been saving for like 10 years?” and they don’t make the connection. It’s called an “emergency fund” for emergencies.

Don’t you think maybe a global pandemic that has stopped virtually 100% of businesses across the world would be classified as an emergency?

If you’ve got the money, it’s time to use it. Use it to live. Use it to help other people. Remember, you can always refill it later, but the craziest thing is that you have people who have done the right thing and saved, but they never built the muscle of spending it. 

It’s an emergency fund. If you need it, spend it. That’s the basic framework for how much to save right now.

Extra steps you can take to save for an emergency fund

Remember, one year’s worth of necessary expenses is my recommendation for how much should be in your emergency fund. If you take a look at your numbers and you say, “You know what? That’s impossible, but I think I can do eight months over the course of the next six months,” pat yourself on the back. 

What I want you to do is take action. I don’t want you to hear this number and get demoralized because you can’t do it overnight. 

Part of money is its patience. 

In fact, one of the biggest parts of earning a lot of money is being patient. In this case, you focus on what you can control, cut your expenses, earn more. Optimize your spending on all your bills. Call them up, negotiate, and take control.

Bonus: Want to turn your dream of working from home into a reality? Download my Ultimate Guide to Working from Home to learn how to make working from home work for YOU.

401k contributions, student loan payments, and HSA contributions during COVID-19

One question I’ve heard recently: “Would you recommend halting or minimizing your 401k contributions, your student loan payments, your HSA contributions until we build up at least one year of an emergency fund?” 

Yes, I would. Crazy to hear myself saying this, but yes, I would.

For example, your HSA contributions may be worth $10,000 over the course of the next 20 years. Okay, that’s a lot of money, but guess what? Today, in an employment scenario like this, I would rather have a couple thousand bucks now sitting in that savings account relative to $10,000 later.

Remember what I’m saying: You have to live to fight another day. If you have to take a little bit of a haircut on your $10,000 over the course of the next 30 years, it’s not a big deal. You can take the $2,000 that’s in your pocket and you can invest a little bit more aggressively next year or the year after, whenever things recover. 

If you’ve got that one-year emergency fund, you have earned the right to keep investing your money and you will benefit drastically from that opportunity over the long term because you did the work ahead of time. For those of you don’t have that, focus on that first. 

Should you take out the $100K with no penalty out of your 401k right now?

I would not do that unless it’s a dire case. I would say 50% of the time, I hear from people who took a loan against their 401k or pretty much took a loan, they never repay it. People who take loans out of their 401ks, in general, have poor behavioral control over their money. 

Even though they’ve done some amazing things to be able to waive some of the fees and penalties that used to be there, unless you absolutely need to, I would not recommend it.

Why? A couple of reasons. 

Number one, it’s a bad sign, overall. If you go raid your 401k it shows  that you haven’t done the other things, like saving properly. For most people, the other things can actually sustain you.

Second, don’t forget I talked about all these things you can do: call up your credit card company, talk to your landlord, research unemployment. If you’re unemployed, take advantage of it, please. It’s there for you. 

If you have to raid your 401k, then something has really gone wrong. Now, I’m not saying don’t ever do it, but it’s one of the sources of last resort. It might tide you over in the short term, but it will cost you dearly in the future. That money there will be highly lucrative to you in the long term if you can live to fight another day.

Bonus: Having more than one stream of income can help you through tough economic times. Learn how to start earning money on the side with my FREE Ultimate Guide to Making Money

How do you save for an emergency fund if you have variable income?

There are some guidelines for how much you can afford to spend on rent. In general, 28% is a good recommended number. These guidelines show how much people can spend on a rent or a mortgage, basically housing, a car, all debt combined, including student loan, credit card, et cetera. 

If you have a variable income that adds an extra layer of complexity. The way that you do it is you want to build a buffer. If your minimum expenses are $1,000 a month, you want to target 6 to 12 months of emergency fund. In this case, if you have $5,000 a month, you take $1,000 away, pay off your stuff, put $4,000 in your emergency fund, and then next month if you make zero, you can draw from there. In general, you want to build up a buffer and effectively simulate a standard 9-to-5 income.

Now, what does that mean specifically for you? It really depends on the numbers we’re talking about. If your variable income is $1,000 to $2,000 a month, that’s going to be a pretty low rent. Some freelancers, some months, make $30,000then they make zero for two months.

In general, I would err on the side of being conservative. Look at how much you’ve made over the last year just as a benchmark and then I would take a steep haircut for the next 12 months, again, depending on your industry.

Closing thoughts on saving and spending money during emergencies

We dove way deeper than just cutting back on $3 lattes. We talked about the structure and how much you need to actually save.

The psychology of an emergency fund goes even deeper: what does it mean to build an emergency fund? A lot of people go, “That’s overwhelming. I can’t do that.” Do not give up. Even if you get 70% of the way there, it’s better than zero. You have to save money right now. You can achieve itit will just take some time.

Finally, we talked about the psychology of spending. If you have an emergency fund, you have earned the right to deploy it. Spend it so you don’t have to go to work, spend it on your loved ones, and even continue investing if you have additional money.

Money & Coronavirus: How to Build an Emergency Fund (Part 2) is a post from: I Will Teach You To Be Rich.

Working Real Estate Investing Into Your Retirement Strategy

Working Real Estate Investing Into Your Retirement Strategy

If you haven’t considered your approach for retirement lately, it might be time to do so. A startling one-third of Americans have less than $1,000 saved for retirement when the safest general recommendation is 10 terms your final wage. When planning for retirement, there are many investing comings and saving programmes you can implement. Real estate, though one of the most powerful spheres, is often forgot in conventional retirement portfolio planning.

The Pros Of Investing In Real Estate

* Real estate provides the opportunity to earn passive income — both to save for your retirement and to continue earning after your retirement. If you aren’t occupying your owned, don’t own numerou owneds or you choose to invest in rental dimensions, you can collect rental income on a monthly basis. Hiring a dimension overseer to take care of the day-to-day for you will make this a certainly passive, hands-off investment.

* Real estate reliably regards at a same( sometimes higher) rate compared with other common retirement assets, and you can reinvest the passive income. If there is a requirement more coin to invest, you can borrow against your current holdings.

* Obtaining a asset and paying it off is an excellent way to help save for retirement, and computing more real estate properties to your portfolio can rapidly increase your savings. It’s likely that your residence is your most valuable asset, and owning your home is an opportunity to use your equity to generate retirement income.

* Likened to other assets, real estate can be less volatile and more resilient to changes in the marketplace. This means your portfolio will see more consistent, reliable earnings and savings.

* There can be significant tax benefits to owning real estate and rental properties.

* A diversified portfolio that compiles income from a variety of beginnings will be the most stable, even in times of economic uncertainty.

The Challenges Of Real Estate Investing

* Purchasing a asset you intend to use as a rental owned can take significant upfront fund. Coping a rental quality can be time-consuming and involves unplanned expenses, and you will too must be addressed vacancies on occasion. Hiring a owned manager can be a great asset, but this fee can also cut into your profits.

* Vesting in certain types of real estate — like commercial owneds or vacation rentals — can be extremely fruitful but likewise more complicated and follows higher risk.

* Buying a dimension with the intention to flip and sell also involves a primed of jeopardies to consider. Without the liberty assets, knowledge and skills, you may actually lose money on these investments.

* You may plan to sell or liquidate your real estate investments prior to or during your retirement, but the selling process can be difficult to predict. You don’t know what state the market will be in when you decide to sell, and you may end up waiting longer than planned or selling your belonging for less than you had planned.

* Real estate properties can be complicated to pass on in a will in comparison with other assets, and it’s nearly impossible to divide between numerou persons.

Investing in real estate isn’t for everyone and depends vastly on your lifestyle, current assets, business aims and interests. It is important to consider the potential challenges and decide if this is the best path for you. The upsides of real estate investing can be striking, and real estate properties could prove to be one of the best resources you is in addition to your retirement portfolio.

Before you choose to invest, take the time to arm yourself with the knowledge and skills required to be successful in real estate. Assess your experience and current financial situation to determine the best investment opportunities for your goals.


The post Working Real Estate Investing Into Your Retirement Strategy saw first on AAOA.

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Are You Eligible for These June 2020 Class-Action Settlements?

Faulty transmissions, wrongful foreclosures and unsolicited telemarketing are among the subjects of this month’s class-action settlements round-up.

If you’ve experienced any of these issues, you may benefit from one or more of the following class action lawsuit settlements. 

Wells Fargo Home Loans

Wells Fargo agreed to an $18.5-million settlement regarding allegations banking errors led to mortgage holders losing homes to foreclosure.

You may benefit from this settlement if you had a Wells Fargo loan between 2010 and 2018 and met the following criteria:

  1. Qualified for a government-sponsored loan modification or repayment plan through Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Administration, or the Home Affordable Modification Program;
  2. Did not receive an offer for a home loan modification or repayment plan because Wells Fargo assessed excessive attorneys’ fees;
  3. Had your home foreclosed upon by Wells Fargo as a result. 

The lead plaintiff filed the lawsuit in 2018, alleging her application for a mortgage modification was wrongly denied by Wells Fargo, resulting in her home going into foreclosure. She accused Wells Fargo of taking government program funds and not passing the benefit on to loan holders, violating the terms of the program. 

Wells Fargo denied the allegations, but agreed to settle the dispute for $18.5 million.

The potential award will vary. According to the settlement, each class member will automatically receive a portion of the $13.575-million settlement fund based on: 

  1. the amount of your unpaid balance at the time of the error; 
  2. whether you were delinquent on your loan for six months or more at the time of the error; 
  3. how much Wells Fargo previously sent you.

Class members can also make a claim for severe emotional distress they suffered as a result of the foreclosure. These claims will be evaluated by an attorney appointed by the court. The deadline to submit a claim for this is July 2, 2020. 

HSN Telemarketing Phone Calls

HSN has agreed to a $700,000 class action settlement regarding claims the company violated federal and Wisconsin state telemarketing laws. 

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) prohibits harassing or unsolicited phone calls, text messages and faxes.  

To be considered eligible for a portion of the settlement, you must have received a call after you told HSN to stop calling you, and it must have been received on a cell phone from an automatic telephone dialing system or prerecorded voice between April 1, 2015 and Dec. 12, 2019. 

Class members include those who were contacted even though HSN’s records indicate a “never call” flag was added to the recipient’s account.

Each class member is eligible for about $550.

HSN did not admit to any wrongdoing, but agreed to pay the settlement to avoid continued costs of litigation. The settlement is awaiting final court approval. 

Any class member who wishes to pursue independent litigation against the company can opt out of the settlement by July 8, 2020. The final hearing is set for Aug. 14, 2020. 

Even though there is no claim form, complete details are available here.

Ford PowerShift Transmission

A Ford emblem is shown in this photograph on a vehicle.

People who have owned or leased Ford vehicles equipped with a PowerShift transmission may benefit from an estimated $35 million class action settlement. 

Class members include current owners or lessees of a 2012-2016 Ford Focus or a 2011-2016 Ford Fiesta equipped with a PowerShift transmission.

Several class-action lawsuits allege the PowerShift transmission “slips, bucks, kicks, jerks and harshly engages.” This can result in sudden or delayed acceleration of the vehicle, rendering it difficult to stop and hard to control.

Many different benefits are available under this settlement, such as cash payments or repurchase arbitration, depending upon specific circumstances outlined here.

Claims must be filed by Oct. 5, 2020 for benefits if repairs were done prior to April 7, 2020. If repairs were done after this date, claims must be filed 180 days from the date of repairs. 

Stein Mart Data Breach

Stein Mart has agreed to settle class action lawsuit allegations that the retailer was negligent when a data breach occurred between December 2017 and July 2018. 

Class members include customers who bought items at a Stein Mart online store with a credit or debit card. The data breaches allegedly started Dec. 28, 2017 and affected consumers who used credit, debit, or other payment cards at Stein Mart on May 19, June 1, June 5, July 8 and July 9, 2018. 

Hackers were allegedly able to access customers’ “sensitive financial and personal non-public information, including but not limited to their (a) names; (b) addresses; (c) email addresses; and (d) payment card information (including, inter alia, card numbers, expiration dates, and security codes).”

Stein Mart admitted no wrongdoing, but agreed to the settlement to end the lawsuit. 

Class members can claim up to $220 in reimbursement for expenses related to the data breach, but those who suffered extraordinary monetary losses that were not reimbursed can claim up to $4,000. 

Claims must be submitted online or by mail with requested documentation by July 23, 2020.

Mercedes HVAC Systems

If you have a Mercedes with an air-conditioning system that developed mold and mildew, you could be eligible for repair reimbursement.

Mercedes has admitted to no wrongdoing, but has agreed to resolve the claims against them. 

Class members can collect between 50% and 100% reimbursement for HVAC repairs related to the mold and mildew problem. The amount of reimbursement depends upon the age and mileage of the vehicle. 

Class members include current or former owners or lessees of one of the following Mercedes-Benz models:

  • 2008 to 2019 C-Class vehicles;
  • 2010 to 2015 GLK-Class vehicles;
  • 2012 to 2017 CLS-Class vehicles;
  • 2010 to 2019 E-Class vehicles;
  • 2015 to 2019 GLA-Class vehicles;
  • 2013 to 2016 GL-Class vehicles;
  • 2016 to 2019 GLE-Class vehicles;
  • 2017 to 2019 GLS-Class vehicles;
  • 2012 to 2015 M-Class vehicles; or
  • 2016 to 2019 GLC-Class vehicles.

The coverage amount depends on the age and mileage of the vehicle as indicated:

  • Warranty Coverage Period (the earlier of 4 years from in-service date or 50,000 miles, under standard warranty): 100% reimbursement
  • From end of Warranty Coverage Period to the earlier of 8 years from in-service date or 100,000 miles: 70% reimbursement
  • From end of prior Period to the earlier of 10 years from in-service date or 125,000 miles: 50% reimbursement

Reimbursement for a single past repair performed by an independent service provider will be capped at $300. If an independent service provider completed multiple past repairs, total reimbursement is capped at $900. The same limitations do not apply to repairs done by an authorized Mercedes-Benz service center.

According to settlement terms, future repairs only will be covered if they are done by an authorized service center.

For repairs made before May 11, 2020, file a claim by July 25, 2020. for repairs made between May 11, 2020 and Dec. 7, 2020, a claim must be filed within 75 days of the repair.

California Residents and Premarin

A man holds out pills with a glass of water.

Californians who bought Premarin, Prempro and/or Premphase in California between January 1995 and January 2003 could share in a $200-million class action settlement with Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.  

Plaintiffs alleged the hormone replacement therapy was misrepresented as being able to lower cardiovascular, Alzheimer’s and dementia risks while not increasing risks of breast cancer. Plaintiffs said the claims were not true. 

Class members include California residents who are not claiming any personal injury related to the drugs. 

Two different settlement options are available. The first option includes a one-time payment of $458.64 to compensate California consumers for 24 months of out-of-pocket costs for Premarin, Prempro, and/or Premphase purchased between January 1995 and January 2003. 

The second settlement option compensates California consumers at the rate of $19.11 per month that a class member paid these costs, up to 97 months at a maximum payment of $1,853.67. 

Complete details on when a proof of purchase is needed and how to submit a claim by the Sept. 1, 2020 deadline are found here.

Califia Farms Non-Dairy Products

If you bought certain coffees, coffee creamers, almond milk or other products by Califia Farms, you could be eligible for a portion of a $3-million class action settlement. 

Plaintiffs alleged Califia Farms advertised its almond milk products as containing vanilla when the products allegedly contained artificial vanilla flavoring from tree bark or lignin. 

The company admitted to no wrongdoing, but agreed to resolve the claims in a settlement. 

Class members include consumers who bought certain Califia Farms non-dairy products between Aug. 7, 2014 and March 20, 2020. 

With proof of purchase, class members can claim up to 15 products for $1 each; without proof purchase, class members can claim up to 10 products for $0.50 each. 

For complete details, including a lengthy list of covered products, review here and submit a claim by the Oct. 7, 2020 deadline.

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