What to expect at Enchant Christmas in Florida

What to expect at Enchant Christmas in Florida

They had me at “Christmas market.” When I heard about the Enchant Christmas attractivenes coming to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, this December( it’s also at two other locations in the U.S .: Seattle and Washington, D.C . ), I had flashbacks to a cozy wintertime spent in Germany, when my favorite undertaking was glugging gluhwein at the atmospheric outdoor Christmas markets that take over city squares in the lead-up to the holidays.

On the Saturday before Christmas, I decided to check out Florida’s version with my family, including my son, 3, and daughter, 2. Here’s how it was.

What is Enchant Christmas?

The event dubs itself as the largest Christmas maze and sell in the world. It’s a themed sight of more than two million glittering light-footeds, a Christmas market, ice-skating trail( on real ice !), menu passageway and moras placed at three locatings across the U.S. that include Tropicana Field in St. Pete, Florida, Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. and T-Mobile Park in Seattle( Nationals Park is the only outdoor site ). Local menu and endow vendors are emphasized at each location.

The event leads through Dec. 29 at all three locatings and ticket pricing varies depending on the time you go. It gets more expensive closer to Christmas and whether you upgrade to VIP access. The latter comes with free ice-skating rentals and a buffet dinner in a special lounge area, but rink access is otherwise included with admission if you bring your own skates.

Related: Disney World at Christmas

Kids 3 and under get free entry to Enchant Christmas and there are discounted expenditures for youth, majors and military. When you book your tickets online( which offers the best quality — the events often sell my shares, so coming tickets at the door isn’t an option ), you can select add-ons for skate rentals, for which there are discounts for kids.

You have to select an hourlong appearance opening when booking online( it’s all about verifying traffic flowing) but you can then stay until the incident closes for the darknes. Though we scarcely started it that late.

Enchant Christmas in St. Petersburg, FL is a spectacle of over 2 million twinkling lights (Terry-Ward.com)Enchant Christmas in St. Petersburg, Florida, is a spectacle of more than 2 million shimmering illuminations.( Photo by Terry-Ward.com .)

Before attending, I’d heard from friends who’d already been that Enchant Christmas does fairly army. They suggested it was worth upgrading to VIP access for their own families( expect it to roughly triple your overall admission price ).

Related: TPG’s guide to Christmas at Universal Orlando

Meeting Santa

The red carpet treatment started right when we opened Tropicana Field, with a separate VIP entrance where we were welcomed through with the stroller. My babies are likely as evoked about the little newspaper bangles put one over their wrists as they were to meet Santa. The main benefits of VIP access are shorter strands at the ice-skating trail, free ice-skate rentals and a complimentary buffet to enjoy in a private lounge during your visit.

VIP access means shorter lines at some of the attractions and a free buffet meal (Terry-Ward.com)VIP access implies shorter orders at some of the attractiveness and a free buffet meal.( Photo by Terry-Ward.com .)

I had another hot( cold ?) gratuity from a friend who’d already been to Enchant Christmas, who told me that if we wanted to see Santa Claus we should head his path first. We arrived during the course of its first entry space of the evening, and by the time we got to the Santa line, a friendly elf told us to expect to wait 45 times. She added that it would only get longer as the evening wear on. At the nature elf’s suggestion, my husband and I took turns holding down the castle in line and ability out to explore all the illuminate stimulation with the boys so they wouldn’t get too stir crazy waiting.

One of SantaOne of Santa’s elves promotions pass the time in the inevitable line to see the prime adult.( Photo by Terry-Ward.com .)

Mrs. Claus is there to greet visitors outside of Santa’s domain, which is a nice private country within a globe of twinkling lights where you can pose without the gape of all the other beings waiting in line and hurrying you along with their impatient glares.

Related: How airports are obligating festivity passage entertaining

I was thrilled that we were allowed to make photos with our own cameras, very, so I didn’t have to shell out for the photos taking by the pros. (” It constitutes the wait to see Santa a little more agreeable ,” the elf had quipped ). Professional photos start at $25 for the cheapest pack and can be purchased on a recollection poster on-site or downloaded last-minute at your vacation online.

Santa sits are free with admission, and you can take your own photos, too (Terry-Ward.com)Santa sits are free with admission, and you can take your own photos, very.( Photo by Terry-Ward.com .)

My girls didn’t really know what to offset of Santa, who was a very friendly and funny account of himself, although not quite as portly as we expected( he must be laying off the eggnog this season ). And I didn’t feel like I’d consumed any coin on my boy’s and girl’s surly glowers, either, since I took my own free phone photos of the spectacle.

The backdrop was really cute — a crescent moon on which Santa is sitting, with a galaxy of wizards all around. And I affection that we weren’t hurried at all — we expended several minutes trying to constitute the girls be participating in the hairy one before giving up and getting some lineage photographs we’ll probably enjoy even more than if we’d all been beaming a mega-watt, “Cheese!”

Even if nobody smiles for the camera, at least you didnEven if nobody smiles for the camera, at least you didn’t pay for the photos.( Photo by Terry-Ward.com .)

With Santa Claus checked off the pail directory, we determined for the event’s stroller attendant, which is complimentary for everyone. It induces it easy to ditch your rotates for a while without person going off with your Baby Zen YoYo as general holidays endowment to themselves.

Related: The TPG guide to Christmas in New York City

A maze of light-coloreds

The holiday maze is one area where strollers aren’t allowed to enter, either.( Wheelchairs are, of course, punishment .) If you want to get lost inside of the maze, it’s required to leave all strollers behind. I noticed a lot of mothers with babe slingshots and the like but even with a small baby, I would have wanted my stroller along, too, just for a break-dance. The stroller valet determines that all the more of a no-brainer. Enchant Christmas sprawls across a large area, and there’s much can walk and waiting in line.

The complimentary stroller valet is a free place to park it when you go through the maze (Terry-Ward.com)The complimentary stroller valet is a free residence to park it when you go through the maze.( Photo by Terry-Ward.com .)

There’s a entertaining scavenger hunt element to the themed moras, called,” The Great Search ,” which follows the story of a wily elf who has set Santa’s reindeer free. Of track, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and the rest of them can all be found by dedicated teenagers walking through the maze’s many entries with their little scratch-off checklist newspapers in hand. But even though it is you and yours aren’t up for the hunt, like we weren’t, it’s a brilliant, dizzying, astonishing target to amble and get the fuck out of here while forcing your kids to pose for photos with incessant Instagrammable backdrops.

The Christmas maze is said to be the worldThe Christmas maze is said to be the world’s largest.( Photo by Terry-Ward.com .)

More than 2 million light-coloreds are used to tell even up Enchant Christmas’ part installation, and the highlights for our home were a magnificent Christmas tree over 80 feet high-pitched, a beings sparkling Rudolph and a ash bin( my son is currently really into trash cans, but that’s another story ). Part of the moras sits alongside the ice-skating trail, and is a fun place to watch Floridians try to find their footing on the most unfamiliar and blooper-prone of surfaces.

YouYou’ll have to leave the stroller with the attendant to go through the labyrinth.( Photo by Terry-Ward.com .) Go ice-skating

The ice-skating trail is a fun curve that can get pretty crowded. So, if skating is something you want to do, try to arrive as soon as Enchant Christmas opens and brain straight-shooting to the trail( we met it their own priorities right after Santa ). You “re going to have to” stand in line twice — once to sign an electronic waiver and another time to pick up the skates. It’s a good idea just to sign the waiver right when you arrived here Enchant Christmas regardless of when you plan to skate, as you’ll be given a different newspaper bangle that shows you’ve done it and can later brain right to the skate rental desk when you’re ready to ride.

Ice skating rentals are included with VIP admission (Terry-Ward)Ice-skating rentals are included with VIP admission.( Photo by Terry-Ward .)

I’m not known for my ice-skating prowess, but I learnt the rental skates at Enchant Christmas( big, bulky plastic things with movable buckles) astonishingly easy to squeeze into and remain upright on. There are also special toddler skates with double blades that are even easier to use for little ones, apparently, but I opted to save that for next year when my babies are a little bit older.

Related: 9 can’ t miss theme park during the holidays

The trail came relatively gathered, and a friend I was with who wanted to hold onto the rails the part path round sometimes had to ask witness to stop resting on them for a minute so she could safely pass by.

The ice skating trail is a highlight of Enchant Christmas (Terry-Ward.com)The ice-skating trail is a highlight of Enchant Christmas.( Photo by Terry-Ward.com .) The VIP dinner

By the time 6:30 p.m. reeled around — frost skating, labyrinth and Santa sit checked off our schedule — Enchant Christmas was getting downright mobbed. So, we were ready to take the escalators up to the VIP area to enjoy the included buffet dinner. The VIP lounge was a very pleasant setting with great views of all the action below from balconies and somewhat tabletops with carnival centerpieces.

There were high chairs for teenagers and crayons and coloring membranes, very, but most of the little ones around us were busy pose in monstrous ignited chairs and lounges and warbling along to the Christmas psalms. Do note that there’s not a kids menu, per say, at the buffet, but things like laden mashed potatoes and pasta are right up their alley.

A moment to relax around the table at the VIP buffet (Terry-Ward.com)A moment to tighten around the table at the VIP buffet.( Photo by Terry-Ward.com .)

The VIP buffet transcended my promises, with a engrave station with goose tit, a pastry-encrusted salmon dish, Italian soup and some delicious and healthy kale and quinoa salads. There was a separate dessert bar where a maid in a Santa hat was sufficing soft-serve ice cream with all the transcends and gingerbread pudding and charming patty slicings were on offer, more. Alcohol was available for purchase at the bar and lemonade, sparkler tea, spray and coffee and tea were free.

The VIP buffet was an excellent spread of carved meats, salmon, salad and desserts (Terry-Ward.com)The VIP buffet was an excellent spread of carved fleshes, salmon, salad and desserts.( Photo by Terry-Ward.com .)

Enchant Christmas’ prime meat hall had some delicious-looking alternatives, extremely — things like tacos and flatbread packages from popular Tampa-area diners and other vendors selling ordinary celebration eats like nachos, goose drumsticks, pizza and the like.

There was plenty of seating at picnic tables in an open expanse at the end of the food stops and I witnessed a few people standing around chitchatting, hot toddies in hand, which prompted me of the German Christmas market vibe( sans coming snowfall, but there were, really, kids ). Food prices are pretty engulf( envision: carved sandwich for $16, grilled cheese for $13) and beer, wine-coloured and concoction tolls started around $10.

The marketThe market’s food hall presents traditional and more mainstream price.( Photo by Terry-Ward.com .) The Christmas market

I got pretty excited when I construe the Christmas market domain, very, a warren of little browses within wooden stops that searched a good deal like the German ones I remember. Beings were selling wooden dolls for teenagers, hand-knit stockings( there was a lady sitting there knitting ), cool jewelry and the like and it was like a good sit to toss off some festivity shopping if I’d been feeling obligated( I prefer to wait till Christmas Eve to panic ).

Related: How to visit the White House at Christmastime

The holiday market is a warren of wooden stalls selling toys, gourmet bites and more (Terry-Ward.com)The holiday market is a warren of wooden stallings selling playthings, gourmet pierces and more.( Photo by Terry-Ward.com .)

There was even a stall with a French pennant selling some of my very favorite European cheeses, but I’d once browsed for my festivity cheese plate at Trader Joe’s, so we just circled in close for a aroma, gazed longingly and moved on.

European-style cheeses are among the offerings at EnchantEuropean-style cheeses are among the furnishes at Enchant’s Christmas market.( Photo by Terry-Ward.com .)

Wandering people — like an angel with backstages made use of membranes of music, and strolling carolers — add to the gala vibe. And I don’t think my boys could have had more entertaining if they tried.

ItIt’s hard to imagine a kid that won’t have the time of his or their own lives at Enchant Christmas.( Photo by Terry-Ward.com .)

In the end, less than three hours after we’d arrived, we all decided Enchant Christmas was a success, that we’d done all there was to do, and that it was time to get the little sugarplums dwelling for bed. People were still pouring into the event when we ambled out to our vehicle around 7 p. m. and I was glad we’d schlepped along the double stroller, as the minors were nature too vanquish to walk.

Related: Disneyland Christmas: Everything you need to know

Tired but worth it--whatever you do, donTired but worth it — what it is you do, don’t leave the stroller at home.( Photo by Terry-Ward.com .) Bottom way

For an all-in-one Christmas vibe in a single stop under the Florida sun, it’s hard to find more holiday wizard under the same roof( and for less than it costs to visit the theme parks) than now. Enchant Christmas will designate you back some money — especially if you get the VIP oversteps( or don’t, but splurge on cocktails in fun light-up bulb glasses dinner for the whole family now ). But boys are pretty much guaranteed to have a blast. Beeline it to Santa and skating, then deplete the rest of your time strolling among the lights.

Read more: thepointsguy.com

Interview with Rachel Uwa, founder of the School of Machines, Making & Make-Believe

The School of Machines, Making & Make-Believe has recently announced its programme of workshops, trips, scholarship and classes (PDF) for 2020. This year, the school will be looking at drones as a means to investigate concepts of borders, history, politics and human experience; Smell as another way to engage in storytelling; Sensual Technologies that delve into embodiment, desire and the senses; Ethics, AI and the potential of data to disrupt larger systems; there’s also a Made In China program taking place in Shenzhen and focusing on the creative exploration of digital fabrication and IoT. And much more.

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The Berlin-based School of Machines, Making & Make-Believe works with renowned artists, hackers, designers and other creators to teach and explore art, technology, design and human connection. Students learn new skills, manipulate new tools but they also get to inquire the political and human dimensions of technology.

I’ve been involved with the school a couple of times and each time i was amazed by the range of seriously interesting people i met there. The teachers but also the thinkers and tinkerers who attended as students. In my experience, the courses always end up taking the form of an energising exchange between people who have different backgrounds and competences. Another aspect that makes the school so appealing is that it is constantly shifting focus depending on the tech issues and tools that feel most urgent and meaningful at the moment.

I’m not paid to write these lines by the way, i’m just genuinely impressed by the School’s ethos and dynamics.

School of Machines, Making & Make-Believe was founded by Rachel Uwa. Rachel is an artist, educator and organiser with a background in audio engineering and VFX compositing. She’s also the editor of the art/tech zine ¡MEOW! I talked with her during the Winter break:

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Hi Rachel! You’re the face and founder of the School of Machines, Making and Make-Believe. Does it mean that you’re the one deciding the type of topics and technologies the courses are going to engage with? What guides the themes of the courses and workshops? Is it technology, requests from students, makers and thinkers? Something else?

Humans and society guide the themes of the school more than anything. Each year I look around at the current state of things and ask, Where are we humans at on the whole? Where are we missing the mark and what feels important for us to know now?

I don’t believe in embracing technology because we can but rather in questioning it and its purpose in our lives.

Some years ago I used to wake up and only seconds after reach for my phone. Then our alcoholic neighbour burned down his flat and we didn’t have internet for a year and a half because the fire burned through the cables. Needless to say, I was forced to reevaluate my relationship to this technology.

This is my approach to it, using technology as a tool that helps us to question the world we live in and ourselves.

So I design educational programs to do just that.

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I love the title of the school. Why Make-Believe? What does the concept brings to the spirit and image of the school?

For me, Make-Believe has always been about imagining a world that doesn’t exist and pretending it’s so for reasons of play (fun), experimenting with what could be (future), and simply survival. These are all super important and underrated life skills that as much as possible I try and bring to the fore.

It’s the kind of education I would love to have had— a gentle and metaphorical approach to dealing with ourselves by putting the focus on something much easier to deal with— technology.

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Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the school is that you make it a priority to work with women and persons from under-represented communities. I wish it wasn’t that ground-breaking to operate this way in the 21st century. And yet, things are moving very slowly it seems. But maybe i’m wrong? Do you feel that the whole tech & creativity world is finally waking up to the facts that talents don’t have to be white and male?

I used to work in audio, then visual effects before getting into the code and tech world. At the time, in each of these fields, there were almost no women to speak of. I’ve always been a person who made it a point to start the women in— audio, tech, etc. group to try and change that.

Looking around now, the situation appears much improved. But not everywhere. I hear often from women in Eastern Europe for example that it’s still a struggle to be taken seriously and it is not isolated to that part of the world only.

One of the things I also see is a lack of confidence in under-represented people in tech (understandably so), so helping people build up confidence to even ask for a seat at the table is another priority for me.

Of course, men always receive more attention even still, let’s be honest.

So we tackle each of these aspects and keep up the good fight until it’s better everywhere. In the end, it’s everyones responsibility to improve this situation, to do better. Even white men!

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The school was born in 2014. I actually thought it was created earlier given how much it has accomplished in such a short amount of time. What are the moments, achievements you’re particularly proud of? 

To still be alive, surviving and constantly evolving is right up there on my list of achievements. I see so many organisations shut down operations. Without any institutional support it’s really a tough world out here.

I also feel proud about having run programs and workshops in other countries which I’ve been doing for several years. Thus far we’ve been in Italy, Serbia, Spain, China and Ireland. It’s immersive learning on all fronts— via culture, technology, community, ourselves. I hope to add more countries to the list soon.

The School offers many courses to learn about IoT, VR, data viz, drones, AI, etc. Which sounds very tech-driven but how does the school address a more systemic critique of tech and challenge western-centric notions of progress and innovations?

As I tried to allude to earlier, yes, we run workshops on technology but it’s not to fully embrace it; the first step is always to question it.

How does this technology make our lives easier? How is this technology used against us? In what ways can we use this technology to express who we are and what we care about (because it matters)?

Last year I was part of a think tank where one guy stood up and was like, “I don’t agree with this idea about diversity in the workplace. I don’t see race or gender.” After being annoyed because he was actually referring to my comment about the lack of diversity the day before, I realised he did have a point.

In the workplace people mute who they are and what they care about because that’s the culture. So you can look around at a group of diverse people and not necessarily see any diversity. I believe that self-suppression, which is very much a part of corporate culture, is doing way more harm than good, giving the false impression that diversity brings nothing to the table. I hope slowly this will start to change.

Of course, I address all these kinds of things and more in each of our programs. These are the fundamentals.

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This is going to sound super cheesy but i’ve always admired your maverick and daring attitude. You didn’t chose an easy path. An US citizen alone in Berlin builds up her own school from scratch. Would you do things differently if you had to do it all over again?

Well, first of all, Régine, thank you. You know I feel the same way about you! To answer the question, I think living through painful shit makes you a survivor. Of course, I don’t wish a hard life on anybody. But I do believe if we have lived through something, in childhood or onwards, sometimes we can use the injustice of our world to fuel our courage.

That said, while I don’t have a problem with courage, I do have a problem asking for help. So I’m starting to learn better how to navigate that world of asking for what I need because I finally understand what I need. It can feel so awkward and difficult. If you’re a person who’s received such an email from me, well, now you know, I’m still learning!

And yet communication is one of those all-important skills we need for survival.

I’ve been watching some Tupac and Biggie documentaries lately and from what I can tell, it seems if only they’d had a chance to really talk, the story of their lives could have played out so differently! So I think regardless of how it feels, it’s worth it to keep at it, to keep trying to improve communication until the end.

And on the other hand, what are the advantages of throwing yourself at a project with a lot of audacity and independence but not a lot of financial backing?

Lots of people have ideas but don’t make progress because all they see are the obstacles: I need money, I need a developer, I need fill-in-the-blank. Having an alternative mindset is imperative to a life of making things happen. Would I like funding and financial support? Yes, and if someone reading this would like to give it to me, please get in touch!

But I’ve been running the school for five years, designing over 27+ four-week, full-time programs with hundreds of brilliant students and instructors from over 52 countries and I am a better person for it. So I recommend to anyone, move forward on ideas that are important whatever it takes and allow these experiences to change and guide you.

Have you ever been tempted to set up the school back in the US?

I’ve definitely had ideas about running programs in a few states specific to organisations and people I’d like to work with. But there are so many fascinating people and places in the world that in comparison the US feels kind of limiting. I’m not opposed to it. But it’s not at the forefront of my mind just yet.

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Can you take us through the 2020 programme of the school?

Sure! Well, overall it has to do with this idea that if we want better societies we have to become better people.

So what does it mean to become a better person? I’m suggesting that we start off by becoming the greatest observers of ourselves and our own human needs and experiences, because if we want to know others it starts with knowing ourselves. It’s not the whole story, mind you, but it’s a brave start.

So 2020 classes are all aimed in that direction and are about exploring human experience through play and technology— our senses (Smell, Crafting Food Experiences), our bodies (Sensual Tech), nature (Nature, Generative Art & Machine Learning), our ability to tell intriguing stories and change minds (Transmedia Storytelling), the messages we convey when taking art out of the gallery and into public space (Interactive Berlin), our data and our selves (Ethics, AI and Data) and finally ever-growing in importance, our relationships to other cultures and to machines (Made In China II, Drones, Physical Machines).

My curriculum is my art! Haha. In part, anyway.

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Any other ambitions, projects and wishes for the future of the SoMM&MB?

Always! I’m working on— documentation of the first five years, more online classes, a symposium on designing better societies, more collaborations with humans and institutions I believe in, consultancy in education design, more pancake society events and ¡MEOW! zines, expanding to other countries and holding classes in languages other than English—for a start. And finally securing some funding! After all these years and all this work, I think we deserve it!

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Thanks Rachel!

Early program applications and hardship scholarship applications are currently being accepted. Deadline to apply for either of these is 26 January 2020. Early program applicants will be eligible to receive a 20% reduced fee if they are accepted.

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Moderators and abstainers

When I was a boy, I told my father I wanted a fish. I meant that I wanted a little orange goldfish in a small bowl that might live on the kitchen counter, just like other kids have. My dad knew that. But instead of buying me a goldfish, he went to the pet shop and purchased a 20-gallon aquarium with a bunch of expensive tropical fish.

The fish were fun for a day, but I was seven or eight or nine years old. I lost interest quickly. The fish became more of a nuisance than a novelty. And, eventually, one of us three boys — I can’t remember which — broke the tank, and then we had no more fish.

Thank you for the goldfish, Dad?

Dad was like this.

If he had an interest (or if he saw that one of us had an interest), he was “all in”. This was a part of his money blueprint. He had an invisible money script that led him to dive deep into whatever interested him, to pour money into passions. No surprise, then, that I too grew up to have a similar money script myself.

An “All or Nothing” Guy

My tendency to go “all in” manifested itself at an early age.

In third grade, I liked Star Wars. So did the other kids, of course, but I really liked Star Wars. I read every Star Wars book and comic that I could find. I begged to go see the movie again and again. What little pocket change I acquired, I spent on Star Wars trading cards (and Hardy Boys books). I was obsessed.

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This tendency stuck with me as I grew older. I learned to love comic books, for instance. But it wasn’t enough to buy just a couple of comics here and there. No, I had to buy as many as possible, whenever possible. I wanted them all.

Or, in college, I dove deep into astronomy. I took an astronomy class my junior year, and I loved it. Whereas some people might have continued to read one astronomy book at a time, I went crazy. I scoured local used book stores and bought all of their astronomy books. (Most of which I never read.)

The astronomy books were just part of a larger problem. You see, I loved books. I had begun to collect them. If I saw a book that sounded interesting, I bought it. This started in college but lasted well into my marriage. By the time my wife and I bought our new house in 2004, I had over 3000 books. When our friends helped us move, they groused about how many boxes of books we had (and rightly so).

“You’re an all or nothing guy,” my wife once told me.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“You don’t know how to practice moderation,” Kris said. “You can’t have just a little bit of something. You want it all and you want it now. Look at your books. Look at your comic books. Think of how you eat cookies or breakfast cereal or ice cream.”

She had a point. I cannot bring cookies or breakfast cereal or ice cream into the house, and I know that. If I do, it’s dangerous. I eat the entire package of cookies at once. I devour the Lucky Charms over the course of two days. And don’t get me started with ice cream! It’s better for me to simply not have these treats in the house at all.

Instead of trying (and failing) to moderate, I choose to abstain completely.

In 2007, I agreed to meet a Get Rich Slowly reader for the very first time. Sally Parrott Ashbrook (whatever happened to her?) came to town and invited me to dinner. We talked about my inability to moderate. She offered some sage advice.

“I have a similar problem,” Sally said. “And what I’ve learned to do is this. I’ve given myself permission that if I want ice cream — if I really want it — I can have it, but I have to go get it and eat it outside the house. I have to drive to an ice cream shop and eat it there. This way, I don’t feel like ice cream is forbidden. I can have it any time I want. But I can’t bring it home.”

Ever since, this has been my policy with ice cream too. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a breakfast cereal shop.

Moderators and Abstainers

In 2013, I heard Gretchen Rubin speak at World Domination Summit. In her 40-minute presentation about happiness, she introduced a concept that really resonated with me. At the 14:08 mark, Rubin talks about resisting temptation. She says there are two types of people: Moderators and Abstainers.

Here’s an excerpt from her speech:

Samuel Johnson was offered wine. He declined saying, “Abstinence is as easy to me as temperance would be difficult.” Meaning: “I can give it up cold turkey but I can’t have just one.”

When I read that, I thought, “That’s me! I’m like Samuel Johnson.” I can have none. I could say no. But I can’t stop with just one. And that’s the thing.

Abstainers do very well when they have none. It’s not in the house. They don’t take even one french fry, then they forget about it. But once they start, they’re going to have a lot of trouble stopping.

Moderators, on the other hand, feel trapped and rebellious if they’re told that they can’t have it. They need to know they can have it sometimes. They need to know they can have a little bit. They need to know they can have it when they want it.

So they’ve got a box of cookies up in the cabinet, it’s getting stale and crumbly. The Moderator just wants to know it’s there. The Abstainer? It’s lucky if it’s there the next day.

I knew right away that I too was like Samuel Johnson. I too am an Abstainer. I’m an “all or nothing guy”. It’s tough for me to practice moderation.

At her blog, Rubin elaborates on the difference between Moderators and Abstainers. She says that:

  • Moderators find occasional indulgences heighten pleasure and strengthen resolve. Moderates flinch at the thought of never getting or doing something.
  • Abstainers have trouble stopping something once they’ve started. Abstainers aren’t tempted by things they’ve decided are off-limits.

I am 100% an Abstainer. If I decide something — really decide and commit — I’m golden. Take alcohol, for instance. I haven’t had a drink in 2020. I haven’t even been tempted. Why? Because I decided that I’m not drinking right now, and I committed to that decision. But I know the moment I take my next drink, my willpower will shatter.

My girlfriend, on the other hand, is 100% a Moderator. “I hate absolutes,” she often says. “I hate saying that I can’t drink — or anything else.” She too wants to drink less, but twice this year she’s enjoyed a couple of beers. She can do that. It doesn’t lead her to want beer every single day. (It would with me.) And, fortunately, because I’ve flipped the “off switch”, I’m not tempted to drink when Kim drinks.

Now, neither type of person is better than the other. They’re just different.

Still, that doesn’t stop Moderators from complaining that Abstainers are too rigid. Moderators say things like, “You should practice the 80/20 rule. Do the right thing 80% of the time and it’s okay to indulge 20% of the time.” That doesn’t work for Abstainers.

And Abstainers have a tendency to think that Moderators are “cheating” when they allow themselves an occasional indulgence. When Kim and I are strict about our diets, for instance, I’m strict constantly. I don’t let myself have treats. Kim, who hates absolutes, can’t do that. She eats well most of the time, but lets herself have a snack here and there.

In the seven years since I first learned this concept, I’ve come to realize that it’s not a black and white thing. In reality, there’s a Moderator-Abstainer spectrum, and each of us falls at a different place on the continuum. Plus, we tend to be Moderators in some parts of our lives and Abstainers in others. I can’t moderate my ice cream consumption, but I have no problem moderating with pizza (which I also love).

Still, some people — like me — tend to be Abstainer dominant. And others, like Kim, tend to be Moderator dominant.

Here’s a recent real-life example of my inability to moderate.

I enjoy a virtual card game called Hearthstone. Left to my own devices, I’d play it all day, every day. I’m not joking. And, in fact, when I was mired in depression last year, I’d often do this. I’d climb in the hot tub at, say, ten in the morning, and I’d play Heathstone for several hours — until the iPad battery died.

In December, as I was starting to get my shit together and pull out of my downward spiral, I recognized that I wasn’t able to moderate my play. So, I brought my iPad here to the office and stuck it in a drawer. Occasionally, I’ll take it home for a night or a weekend and I’ll let myself play the game. Otherwise, it lives here.

Moderators and Abstainers with Money

Knowing where you fall on the Moderator-Abstainer spectrum can help you make smarter decisions with money.

When I was paying off my debt fifteen years ago, for instance, I had to make a rule for myself: I wasn’t allowed to enter comic shops or book stores. I knew that if I did, I’d buy something. Probably several somethings. Rather than expose myself to temptation, I never let myself be tempted.

You’ll notice that I still put this principle into practice.

Last year, when I decided I was buying too many movies on iTunes, I made a choice. I decided to completely abstain from the iTunes store. I knew that was the only way for me to moderate my spending. (Because, let’s be clear, it didn’t eliminate my iTunes spending. It simply mitigated it. If I knew a new movie was out that I wanted, I still went to buy it. But I didn’t allow myself to browse for the sake of browsing.)

This is an example of using barriers and pre-commitment to do the right thing. Because I know it’s difficult for me to make the “right” decision in the moment, I have to set up systems that make reduce the number of times I’m forced to decide. Using barriers and pre-commitment is an excellent way for Abstainers to make smart money decisions.

I suspect — although I have no concrete evidence — that Abstainers tend to have more difficulty with debt. I, for one, am not good with balance. I got into debt because I spent every penny I earned (and then some). I got out of debt through a similar lack of balance. Over the past fifteen years, I’ve managed to achieve some semblance of balance in my financial life, but it’s hard. It takes constant attention and effort. It’s not natural for me.

Balance is key

GRS reader Tyler Karaszewski is also an Abstainer. He once wrote: “This is why, after being in credit card debt once, I don’t even have credit cards any more, and why I’ll buy a bottle of wine instead of six, and why hobbies tend to take over all of my free time for months at a time until I switch to another one.”

If you identify as an Abstainer, I have some advice based on my own struggles in the past.

  • If you’re dealing with debt, shred your credit cards. Don’t use them. Limit yourself to cash and debit cards.
  • Avoid temptation. If you know that certain stores and situations lead you to spend, steer clear of those stores and situations.
  • Practice pre-commitment. Make it easy for yourself to do the right thing by automating good behavior. Set up auto billpay. Set up automatic contributions to your retirement account.

Because I’m not a Moderator, I can’t offer as many money tips. (Perhaps GRS readers will chime in below?) Plus, part of me suspects that Moderators like my girlfriend and ex-wife don’t struggle as much with money issues. But maybe I’m wrong.

One thing Moderators can work on, though, is to remind themselves not to succumb to the forever fallacy.

The forever fallacy is the mistaken belief that your current circumstances are likely to remain the same forever (or for an extended period of time). If you’ve slashed your discretionary spending in order to get out of debt, for instance, remind yourself that this situation is temporary. You won’t be living like a miser for the rest of your life. Once your debt is paid off, you’ll be able to loosen the purse strings.

Final Thoughts

Despite my 50-year history (nearly 51-year history!) as an Abstainer, I hold out hope that maybe I can learn moderation someday. I keep trying.

I bought a bag of potato chips last week. The old J.D. would have consumed the bag within a day or two. The current me hasn’t done this. That bag of chips has sat on the desk in front of my gaming computer at home. And there are still chips inside!

Plus, I have changed in some areas of my life.

Fifteen years ago, I couldn’t have a credit card. It was a recipe for disaster. Today, I have no problem using credit wisely. I set up rules for myself when I re-entered the world of credit, and I’ve done a good job following them. Today, I can go into a comic book store without spending anything. I can browse in a bookstore without being tempted to buy.

I doubt that I’ll ever swing from the Abstainer side of the spectrum to the Moderator side. I’ll never be able to practice moderation in all things. But with deliberate effort and mindfulness, I’ve found that it’s possible to practice moderation in some things. That’s good enough for me.

It occurred to me while writing this article that the reason I love a clean slate is because I’m an Abstainer. As an “all or nothing guy”, a clean slate resets me to nothing, and that’s comforting.

The post Moderators and abstainers appeared first on Get Rich Slowly.

Easy Way Earn Money From Home.Haqeeqat Ki Business

Easy Way Earn Money From Home.Haqeeqat Ki BusinessOct 21, 2019- Make money online and from residence. Start a blog or online business. Take part in canvas to make an …

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11 Best Bank Promotions of January 2020 (Get up to $475 Cash)

So, you’re looking for a new bank account.

You’ve got several factors to consider — including bank promotions. Wouldn’t it be nice to fund your shiny new account with some extra cash?

Many banks offer sign-up bonuses. No, these bonuses aren’t always advertised, but we did some digging and found you some hefty cash offers.

11 Best Bank Promotions of January 2020

We’ve spent days researching the best bank promotions available this month so you don’t have to. Below, you’ll find our favorite checking and savings account bonuses.

Keep an eye on what it takes to qualify, as well as any limitations. Direct deposit and minimum balances are commonly factors in securing these bonuses. Otherwise, happy bank bonus shopping!

1. Chase Total Checking and Savings Account: Up to $350

Bonus: Up to $350

To qualify: You can qualify for either $200, $150 or a combined $350 bonus.

  • Get a $200 bonus when you open a new Chase Total Checking account and set up direct deposit.
  • Get a $150 bonus when you open a new Chase Savings account, deposit a total of $10,000 or more within 20 days, and maintain a $10,000 balance for 90 days.
  • Get a $350 total bonus when you open both. You aren’t required to open both, however.

Limitations: You must be a new Chase customer.

Sign up: Visit this Chase Total Checking page to apply online, or enter your email address to get a unique coupon to take with you to open your account at any Chase branch while the offer is valid.

Offer expires April 20, 2020.

2. TD Bank Beyond Account: $300

Bonus: $300

To qualify: You must receive a total of $2,500 or more via direct deposit within 60 days of opening your new account. Then, the $300 bonus will be deposited into your account within 95 days of opening.

Limitations: This account is not available in every state, so be sure to check. Additionally, there’s no minimum to open an account, but you must maintain a minimum daily balance of $2,500 to avoid the $25 monthly maintenance fee.

Sign up: Visit this TD Checking page, and enter your city and state. Click the orange “open account” button, and follow the instructions to open a TD Beyond Checking account.

No offer expiration.

3. TD Bank Convenience Checking Account: $150

Bonus: $150

To qualify: You must receive direct deposits totaling $500 or more into your new account within 60 days of opening. The $150 bonus will be deposited into your account within 95 days of opening.

Limitations: This account is not available in every state, so be sure to check. There’s no minimum balance requirement to open an account, but you should maintain a $100 daily minimum daily balance to avoid the $15 monthly maintenance fee.

Sign up: Visit this TD Checking page, and enter your city and state. Tab over to the correct account, click the orange “open account” button, and follow the instructions to open a TD Convenience Checking account.

No offer expiration.

4. Fifth Third Bank Checking Account: $250

Bonus: $250

To qualify: Enter your email address for a valid coupon to present upon account opening. Your account must reach a balance of $500 within 45 days of opening; the minimum balance must then remain at least at $500 for 60 consecutive days to earn the bonus, which will be deposited into your account within 10 business days of meeting requirements.

Limitations: To get the bonus, you must open the account at a physical location, which limits you to Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia.

Sign up: Visit this offer page to enter your email address and receive your coupon. Then go to your nearest branch location to open the account.

Offer expires April 30, 2020.

5. Wells Fargo Everyday Checking Account: $400

The outside of Wells Fargo in downtown St. Petersburg, Fla.

Bonus: $400

To qualify: After opening your new account, you must make a minimum deposit of $25. Then you need to set up direct deposit and receive at least $4,000 in your account via direct deposit within 90 days of opening.

Limitations: The offer is available in Dallas, Denver, Houston, Miami, Orlando, Phoenix, Seattle and Washington, D.C. The offer is only valid when you open an account online. If you don’t qualify for the Everyday Checking account but you do qualify for the Opportunity Checking, you can apply this bonus to that account.

Sign up: Open your Wells Fargo Everyday Checking Account here. Your bonus will deposit into your account within 30 calendar days of meeting the requirements.

Offer expires July 31, 2020.

6. SunTrust Essential Checking Account: $200

Bonus: $200

To qualify: Open a new account online. Within the first three months of opening the account, receive at least $500 in direct deposits per statement cycle for two consecutive cycles (for a total of $1,000 in either months one and two or months two and three). You must use the promo code Q120ESSENTIAL when opening the account.

Limitations: You must be a new checking client with SunTrust and live in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia or Washington, D.C.

Sign up: Apply online through the orange “open now” link on this page, using the promo code provided above. Or enter your email address, and SunTrust bank will send you a coupon you can take to your local branch.

Offer expires March 31, 2020.

7. HSBC Premier Checking Account: $475

Bonus: $475

To qualify: You will need to open your HSBC Premier account online and arrange for recurring direct deposits from a third party, totaling at least $5,000 for three consecutive calendar months starting the second full calendar month after opening.

Limitations: The offer is only available for online applicants. Existing HSBC customers aren’t eligible.

Sign up: Use this promotional link and click “apply now” on the Premier Checking account offer. Your Welcome Deposit of $475 will appear in your account approximately eight weeks after you have met all qualifying activities.

Offer expires March 1, 2020.

8. Capital One 360 Performance Savings and 360 Checking: Up to $125

Bonus: Up to $125

To qualify: You can qualify for $25 or $100 with the Performance Savings account and $25 with the Checking account. Opening one does not require that you open the other.

  • To earn a $25 bonus with the Capital One 360 Performance Savings account, deposit between $250 and $9,999.99 when opening the account.
  • To earn a $100 bonus with the Capital One 360 Performance Savings account, deposit $10,000 or more when opening the account.
  • To earn a $25 bonus with the Capital One 360 Checking account, deposit $250 or more when opening the account and make three debit card purchases or Zelle payments (or a combination of the two) within 45 days. The bonus will be deposited 50 days after opening should you meet the requirements.

Limitations: You cannot have an existing Capital One savings or checking product.

Sign up: Use this promotional link and click “open account” in green on your preferred account(s).

No offer expiration.

9. Bank of America Advantage Banking: $100

Bonus: $100

To qualify: Open one of the three available accounts using the offer code PSR100CIS. Set up and receive at least two direct deposits of $250 or more, each within 90 days of opening the account.

Limitations: This offer is good for those who don’t already have a personal checking account with Bank of America.

Sign up: Open one of Bank of America’s Advantage banking accounts through this link, using the promo code provided above; choose from Bank of America Advantage SafeBalance Banking, Bank of America Advantage Plus Banking and Bank of America Relationship Banking. Each one requires different opening deposits but offers that same $100 bonus.

Offer expires June 30, 2020.

10. PNC Bank Virtual Wallet: up to $300

Bonus: Up to $300

To qualify: Choose among the Virtual Wallet, Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend and Virtual Wallet with Performance Select.

  • For Virtual Wallet ($50 cash bonus), establish direct deposits totaling $500 or more within the first 60 days and make at least 10 purchases with the PNC Bank Visa Debit Card.
  • For Virtual Wallet with Performance Spend ($200 cash bonus), establish direct deposits totaling $2,000 or more within the first 60 days and make at least 10 purchases with the debit card.
  • For Virtual Wallet with Performance Select ($300 cash bonus), establish direct deposits totaling $5,000 or more within the first 60 days and make at least 10 purchases with the debit card.

Limitations: None listed.

Sign up: Use this offer link to open an account online, or opt to receive a coupon via email to take to your nearest PNC bank branch. You will receive your bonus within 60 to 90 days of meeting conditions.

Offer expires March 31, 2020.

11. Huntington Bank Huntington 5 Checking Account: $200

Bonus: $200

To qualify: Deposit at least $1,000 within 60 days of opening your account. (No direct deposit requirement for this bank promotion!)

Limitations: The offer is available to new Huntington customers located in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Sign up: Head over to the Huntington Bank offers page and choose to sign up online or at a local branch.

Offer expires April 7, 2020.

How to Search for Bank Promotions on Your Own

A man looks over his finances while holding his toddler.

In the spirit of not listing approximately 193 bank promotions, we kept this list short and sweet — only highlighting the best bank promotions for checking and savings accounts.

But maybe you’re interested in banking with your local credit union, opening up a small business checking account or finding the perfect investment account? There are often bonus offers attached to these account openings, too.

The banks don’t always make finding these promotions easy, so here are a few tips to help you get your hands on that cash bonus.

  • Check the bank’s website first. Sometimes it’ll advertise its promotions right there. This is rare, but it’s worth a quick check — it could save you a ton of time.
  • If you don’t have any luck, reach out to the bank’s customer service team through phone, email or chat. Let them know you’re shopping for a new account, and you’d like to know if it’s running any promotions. More often than not, the nice representative will send you a special link.
  • If this doesn’t work, turn to your trusty friend Google. Look for the best bank promotions. Because you’ll likely dig up some offers from third-party sites, you’ll want to take a few minutes to make sure the offer:
    • Hasn’t expired.
    • Is legitimate. Make sure the bank is FDIC-insured and has a positive Better Business Bureau rating. You can even read some online reviews.
    • Doesn’t require outrageous qualifying activities. For example, it might not be realistic for you to maintain an average daily balance of $50,000 and carry out 60 qualifying debit card purchases before the end of your first 30-day statement cycle.
  • You can also reach out to your family, friends and social network to crowdsource bank recommendations. Sometimes banks have impressive referral programs, so both you and your friend could benefit from you signing up.

Overall, be smart. Don’t let that promise of an account bonus blind you. Also, read the fine print so you don’t get stuck paying high monthly fees, interest rates or closing penalties.

Will Opening a Bank Account Hurt Your Credit Score?

If you’re worried that opening a new bank account or closing an old one will hurt your credit score, don’t be. Your bank accounts are not included in your credit report and therefore have no effect on your score, unless you have an outstanding negative balance that the bank turns over to a collection agency.

Sometimes when you go to open a new bank account, banks will do a soft credit check. However, that won’t affect your score.

Now, go enjoy your fresh new bank account and that nice cash bonus you’re about to pocket. Add it to your savings account, put it toward student loan payments or, heck, treat yourself!

*Chase Fine Print

Checking offer is not available to existing Chase checking customers, those with fiduciary accounts, or those whose accounts have been closed within 90 days or closed with a negative balance. To receive the $150 checking bonus: 1) Open a new Chase Total Checking account, which is subject to approval; 2) Deposit $25 or more at account opening; AND 3) Have your direct deposit made to this account within 60 days of account opening. Your direct deposit needs to be an electronic deposit of your paycheck, pension or government benefits (such as Social Security) from your employer or the government. After you have completed all the above requirements, we’ll deposit the bonus in your new account within 10 business days. You can only receive one new checking account-related bonus per calendar year. Bonus is considered interest and will be reported on IRS Form 1099-INT.

Account Closing: If your checking account is closed within six months after opening, we will deduct the bonus amount at closing.

Editorial Disclosure: This content is not provided by the bank advertiser. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the bank advertiser. This site may be compensated through the bank advertiser Affiliate Program.

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.

Payday Loans: Why They’re Bad and Good Alternatives

We’ve all had times when we’re a little short on cash. But if it has happened to you a few times lately, maybe you’ve tapped out all of your usual sources.

You can only ask family and friends for an extra $100 until payday so many times before they give you that look.

At this point, you may consider trying a payday loan. I get it, desperate times call for desperate measures. But this option usually makes things worse, not better thanks to killer fees. Our list of alternatives to payday loans can help you find a better option.

Understanding a Payday Loan and How it Works

A payday loan is a specific type of short term loan. The loan will be due within a matter of days after receiving the cash, so it’s intended for those who have a financial emergency.

It’s not made through a traditional bank, so the borrower doesn’t need a good credit score or significant collateral. In fact, the payday lender will not run a credit check on the borrower. There’s no hard inquiry on the credit report, either, which helps the borrower avoid a negative mark on the credit score.

Sounds pretty good right?

Not As Good As It Sounds

While that all sounds great, the payday loan is too good to be true.

You’ll get slammed with fees.

This type of loan will have an incredibly high fee structure. If you’re in financial difficulty, paying it back on time with the fee can be a serious challenge, leaving you in a significantly worse situation than when you received the loan. And the longer you go without paying the loan, the worse the fees get.

Credit cards have a reputation for having really high fees and interest. But they don’t come anywhere close to the ruthlessness of payday loans.

Many people have trouble paying back the loan on time, which forces them to borrow again, continuing the cycle of debt and racking up extra fees with no end in sight.

And if you become delinquent, the lender may turn your account over to a collection agency. This will trash your credit score for years to come and you’ll get hounded by collection agents around the clock.

Methods of Getting a Payday Loan

To receive a payday loan, you can either apply online or visit a payday loan store. Finding one isn’t hard. It seems like the stores are in every strip mall these days.

The application process will take 10-20 minutes in person, and you can have your cash immediately if you quality. If you apply online, you usually will have the money electronically transferred to your account within 8-24 hours.

What Do I Need to Qualify?

When you apply in person or online, you usually will need to show proof of a bank account. You also likely will need to show proof that you have a job, typically with a recent pay stub.

At the time you receive the loan, you often will write the lender a check for the due date of the loan. Or you will give the lender the ability to make an electronic withdrawal from your account on the loan’s due date.

The due date typically syncs to your next payday (usually up to 14 days away). If you have not paid back the loan (with fees) before the due date, the lender will cash the check or run the electronic withdrawal. If you don’t have the funds to cover the payment, you’ll be delinquent.

If you know you will not have the money to repay the loan and fees, you will have to return to the borrower before the due date and work out payment terms. For most people, this unfortunately involves obtaining another payday loan, and the cycle continues with even more fees.

Understanding The Math: What’s The Cost of a Payday Loan?

When you actually take the time to figure out the true cost of a payday loan, it’s mind-boggling that these things are still legal in most states. Some states don’t even put a cap on the fees.

Calculating a Payday Loan’s True Cost

The majority of payday loans are made for between $300 and $1,000. Each state is a little different as to how much you can borrow.

For our calculation example, let’s use $500 for the original payday loan amount. And let’s say the lender charges a 12% fee, which is $60 in this case. So your payback amount is $560.

At first blush, $60 doesn’t sound like a terribly high fee. Remember, though, you only have that $500 for roughly 14 days. On a typical bank loan, such as for a car or a home, you borrow the money for several years.

Understanding APR on a Payday Loan

If you calculate the $60 fee using APR (annual percentage rate), which is the typical interest rate calculation on bank loans, the true cost becomes outrageous. Your APR for this payday loan is roughly 313% (because you’re only borrowing the money for 14 days).

For comparison, a credit card charges you 15% to 25% in annual interest. An auto loan can have an APR of 4% to 7%. A mortgage loan’s APR can be as little as 3% or 4%.

If you end up having to reborrow the payday loan money over and over, say every two weeks all year, you’d have $1,560 in fees on that original $500 at the end of the year. That’s a crazy fee for being behind by one pay cycle.

Why Is the Fee Rate So High?

Granted, the borrower is taking on a high risk with a payday loan. You’re paying for the privilege of not needing a credit score or collateral for the loan.

I’d also make the case that payday loans blatantly take advantage of folks. If you’re desperate or don’t know how payday loans work, the payday loan company can set any terms they like. That means ridiculous fees and tons of profits for them while folks get sucked into a pit of debt.

Why Payday Loans Are Inherently Bad

A recent report showed 60% of Americans aged 22 to 37 don’t have enough in a savings account to cover a $1,000 emergency expense. This is the core group of people on whom payday loan companies prey.

Another study shows 58% of people who take out payday loans already have trouble meeting monthly expenses. This is the last group of people who can afford to use payday loans. They just end up digging a deeper financial hole with the high fees.

Despite all this, payday loans are immensely popular.

12 million Americans annually use a payday loan service and about 75% of people using payday loans have taken out more than 10 of these loans previously. All these fees add up to a $9 billion industry. About 80% of payday loans are made to repay an earlier payday loan.

That looks like rampant exploitation to me.

The fact that some states ban this type of loan should tell you all you need to know about the legitimacy of them. For states that do allow payday loans, they often limit the amount of money someone can borrow.

Good Payday Loan Alternatives

Even though payday loans rarely solve financial problems, and even though most people know this, they’re still popular. Sometimes, you desperately need some cash.

Multiple options exist that could accomplish the same end goal as payday loans with a much less punitive fee structure.

  • Borrow from someone: You could borrow a small amount from family or friends. Some people dislike doing this, because it can lead to hard feelings if the borrower delays paying the money back. But as long as you’re diligent about paying the money back, most people are happy to help you out temporarily with a no interest loan.
  • Credit card advance: If you have a credit card with room below the credit limit, you often can take out cash. There are fees here too and interest rates are high, but they’re pretty reasonable if the alternative is a payday loan.
  • Negotiate: See if the business or person to whom you owe money will give you a bit of extra time to make payments. You usually only have one chance at this, so use a realistic timetable on how you plan to pay the money off over time. I did this for the last semester of college tuition. I couldn’t make the full payment on time, talked to them, and got a 12 month payment plan going.
  • Payroll advance: Some employers allow employees to borrow small amounts against a future paycheck (usually with a reasonable interest rate). This is not a common option these days but it never hurts to ask. You may be able to spread out the payback amount over multiple paychecks.
  • Peer-to-peer loan: This is a relatively new option, where websites connect someone willing to lend personal funds with a borrower. However you often need a good credit score to qualify.
  • Personal installment loan: Local banks, federal credit unions, and online banks may be willing to lend you money you can pay back over time. Usually, you don’t need collateral. But you may have to wait a few days to receive the money, and you often need a good credit score.
  • Personal line of credit: A personal line of credit is an open borrowing line with a bank you can use whenever needed, paying it back over time. But it usually requires some collateral.
  • Personal loan for bad credit borrowers: A few local and online banks will lend people money who have poor credit scores, either with or without collateral. While these will be high interest loans, they won’t be anywhere near as high as payday loans.
  • Refinancing: If you have a car or a home that has a greater value than what you owe on it, you may be able to put it up as collateral to obtain a lower interest loan from a bank. A reverse mortgage is a similar type of option.
  • Sell something: Selling some of your possessions isn’t a great option, but it gives you the cash you need quickly without paying fees or interest rates.

Is There Ever a Good Reason to Get a Payday Loan?

Really, the only reason to take out a payday loan is if you have an emergency payment that just can’t wait. With the payday lender, you’ll have your cash in hand within 15-20 minutes, which is faster than the majority of alternatives on our list.

Before taking out this type of loan, be absolutely certain you can pay it back within the 14-day timeframe and that you won’t have to continue borrowing. Also read the fine print. The fees are designed to hit you at every turn. And expect the final amount to be much higher than what they tell you. If you can’t pay back the original amount properly, you’ll want to try some of the alternatives we listed in the previous section instead of the payday loan.

Avoid Payday Loans

Even though the majority of people know the dangers of payday loans, they still receive plenty of use.

I would recommend exploring all other alternatives before going to the payday loan store.

If you fully understand the cost of this type of loan, and you still believe it is your best option, then you’ll have your cash in as little as 14 minutes. Just make sure you have the original amount plus the hefty fee ready to pay back in 14 days, or you’ll be digging a deeper hole for yourself.

Payday Loans: Why They’re Bad and Good Alternatives is a post from: I Will Teach You To Be Rich.

Socially Engaged Art in Contemporary China. Voices from Below

Socially Engaged Art in Contemporary China. Voices from Below, by Meiqin Wang, Professor in the Department of Art at California State University, Northridge.

auto traffic exchangePublisher Routledge writes: This book provides an in-depth and thematic analysis of socially engaged art in Mainland China, exploring its critical responses to and creative interventions in China’s top-down, pro-urban, and profit-oriented socioeconomic transformations. It focuses on the socially conscious practices of eight art professionals who assume the role of artist, critic, curator, educator, cultural entrepreneur and social activist, among others, as they strive to expose the injustice and inequality many Chinese people have suffered, raise public awareness of pressing social and environmental problems, and invent new ways and infrastructures to support various underprivileged social groups.

In her book, Meiqin Wang reflects on a growing movement of soft cultural activism spearheaded by artists, curators and art critics who believe that art has a responsibility to engage directly with Chinese social reality. These art professionals have developed various strategies to address a series of pressing social and environmental issues. They set up schools, art centres and libraries in neglected rural areas, collaborate with disenfranchised social groups, revitalize urban neighborhoods, document unbridled waste accumulation in order to stir the government into cleaning up polluted areas, curate exhibitions that lay bare the ills of a society driven by a culture of economic growth, etc.

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Zuo Jing and Ou Ning, Bishan project: villagers help set up an installation at Yixian International photo festival, 2012. Photograph: Sun Yunfan/pr

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Zuo Jing and Ou Ning, Bishan project: reading event with villagers at Bishan bookstore, 2014. Photograph: Sun Tao/pr

As diversified as they might seem, these community-anchored artistic interventions have several characteristics in common. First, they challenge the cultural and sociopolitical perceptions about life promoted by authorities and mainstream media while avoiding direct confrontation with the state. Second, they operate on a small scale and often with the assistance of the communities concerned. Last but not least, they echo China’s growing grassroot desire for a society that is fairer and more respectful of its heritage and environment.

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Hu Jianqiang, People’s Kindergarten in Yebu, a large village in Gansu province

I’d wholeheartedly recommend you check out Socially Engaged Art in Contemporary China. Voices from Below. By featuring artworks that don’t always get the international recognition they deserve, the book confirms that -as much as i admire his work- there’s more to Chinese socially-engaged art than Ai Weiwei. The book should also surprise anyone who views China as a solid, one-dimensional country. China, as Wang demonstrates, is far more nuanced, interesting and rebellious place for artists to explore.

Quick overview of some of the artists, curators and artistic interventions i discovered in this publication:

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Qu Yan, Power Space. Wuzhuang Village Head Office, Tushan Town, Jiangshu Province, 2005. Photo: Faurschou Gallery

Wang Nanming is one of the artistic figures whose work Meiqin Wang’s book explores. The art critic, curator and artist champions the kind of art that boldly engages with the actual Chinese situations they live in.

“The Space of Power: The Photographic Exhibition of Qu Yan” is one of the exhibitions Wang curated in 2007. In this series photographer Qu Yan investigates the office space of government officials or executives of state-owned corporations in developed and underdeveloped regions. His images show urban-based offices equipped with expensive pieces of furniture that suggest a material abundance brought about by economic development. Public offices of minor officials in remote rural regions, on the other hand, are usually poorly furnished but they display a stronger sense of publicness of the space, with posters and other political symbols propagating official policies. The contrasts between urban and rural offices hints at the abuse of state power.

The many social problems generated by the relentless speed of urban transformation is one of the recurrent themes of the book. Like Qu Yan, most of the artists whose work is presented in Socially Engaged Art in Contemporary China attempt to address and in some cases alleviate the problems encountered by the communities whose livelihood and cultural identity are being threatened by rampant economic development.

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Wang Jiuliang, Beijing Besieged by Waste

Wang Jiuliang, Weicheng laji (Beijing Besieged by Waste), 2011. Trailer

Artist Wang Jiuliang has been working since 2008 to raise public awareness around China’s escalating consumerism and rapid urban expansion. Beijing Besieged by Waste casts a disheartening glance at the vast landfills surrounding Beijing and the impact their toxicity and pestilence have on the environment and the people who lived nearby.

Following widespread media reports on Wang Jiuliang’s extensive photographic documentation of waste mismanagement in the capital, the municipal government designed a plan to clean up and regulate about 1000 dumpsites surrounding the city. Wang’s next work, Plastic China, didn’t meet with the same governmental forbearance. The documentary film exposed the social, ecological and economic cost generated the plastic waste imported in the country for recycling. This time Wang’s efforts were promptly censored. The film and all associated reviews and comments disappeared from websites in China. In spite of the censorship, the central government actually took in the information presented in Plastic China and acted upon it. Besides, widespread online support of Wang’s work suggests a growing civic environmentalism among citizens.

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Wen Fang, Terracotta Migrant Laborers of People’s Republic, 2008

Wen Fang’s work gives a voice and a visibility to marginalised communities. Her installation Terracotta Migrant Laborers of People’s Republic consists of 300 cement bricks printed with head portraits of migrant workers. A direct homage to a relentlessly overlooked social group, the work acknowledges a community whose existence is often rendered invisible in a society that seems to accept that socioeconomic inequality is an unavoidable price to pay in exchange for China’s rise to a global economic power.

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Wen Fang, Arts For Crafts Sake-Ningxia Women 1, 2010

Wen went further in her efforts to engage with the life of marginalized populations. She traveled to Xihaigu in Ningxia Province where local women have no independent income and domestic violence is becoming a serious problem. As part of her Art Poverty Alleviation project, the artist helped these women create a series of modern artworks. The works were inspired by local crafts and traditional techniques. 50% of sales profits were passed on to the cooperatives as health, education and development funds.

Wen’s Arts for Crafts’ Sake project was considered by many as a successful experiment in poverty alleviation through art. However, in late 2012, she had to put an end to the project, mostly because of the hostility she encountered from local government officials and some locals in Yuwang town towards her activities in the countryside of Ningxia.

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Make Money Online On Autopilot

How to make money online from home in Hindi

How to make money online from home in Hindi Mail me here: praveen @gyanpot. com This video is only for educational purposes. Create an eCommerce website consuming blogger: Create an eCommerce website …

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Meet The Masked Singer Season 3 Contestants (Revealed So Far)

The Masked Singer Season 3The countdown is on to the crossover pop culture event of 2020 airing on Sunday, Feb. 2. No, not the Super Bowl, although, yeah, it’s cool and all, but The Masked Singer season three premiere…

5 Ways to Stay Calm During a Move

There’s a good reason why moving is considered one of the most traumatic things a person can go through in life. In fact, there are a number of good reasons why a live leave can engender so much stress, obses, and nervousnes: propelling to a new dwelling is often too expensive, it may lead to personal injuries and property damage, and it will make you away from loved ones and familiar surroundings.

How to stay calm during a moveTo make things even more complicated than it was necessary to, inciting also offers an overdose of strong feelings that can prove hard to control throughout the move- from jumble and suspicion to sadness and fear.

Without a mistrust, one of the most critically important things you should do is to stay calm when inciting residence. It’s not going to be easy to keep your cool when your coin, your time, and your nervous system are at risk, but it’s surely something that can be and should be done to ensure a successful end of the relocation story.

Read on to learn how to stay calm during a relocate- 5 proven ways to remain calm, formed, and level-headed in highly stressful move-related places, including on the move-out day itself.

1. Make TIME work for you

The best channel to stay calm when displacing house is to understand the major stressing factors and to be handled, one stressor at a time. And as soon as your relocation becomes only a matter of time, you’ll speedily realize that one of a very big annoys will be TIME itself- whether or not you will manage to finish the pre-move preparations on time. For let’s face it, waking up on Moving day with half your things still unpacked would not be the best feeling in the world, would it?

To be able to remain calm when travelling, you just have to know that you’re making good progress and that “youre going to be” 100% ready prior to the day of the procedure. And to guarantee the successful completion of your preparation, you’ll need to make sure TIME becomes and remains your trusted ally until the end.

So, how do you stir TIME work for you when propelling residence?

START working on important move-related assignments as soon as you learn that you’re leaving. The truth is that the earlier “youre starting” your moving cooking, the higher your fortune will be of pulling a smooth stress-free move in the end. Why procrastinate? No conclude at all. MOVING CHECKLIST BEGIN to pack up your things without long delays. The important thing to understand here is that packing for a travel will be the most time-consuming task in your moving to-do list, so you time shouldn’t wait for a second invitation. What to pack first when acting ? FOLLOW a PACKING TIMELINE to stay organized and keep track of your overall packing progress at the same time. To reduce stress when travelling, you want to make sure you’re right on schedule, or ideally- somewhat ahead of schedule.

Packing timeline for inciting: Bundling Checklist

Calming Technique# 1: To build moving less traumatic, you must give yourself more day.

2. Keep moving expenditures under control

How can you possibly stay calm when you know that your savings will be at serious gamble due to the notoriously high-pitched moving payments?

Keep moving expenses under control

Keep moving expenditures under control to avoid having to dip into your savings.

Moving house is an expensive liaison, with median moving expenses straddling from $2,300 for a neighbourhood move to about $4,300 for an interstate one( according to the American Moving and Storage Association ). However, it’s the idea that you’re NOT spending more coin than you absolutely must that should give you that elusive sense of adoption, followed by uncharacteristic calmness.

To stay calm while affecting, you must control your moving outlays to make sure you’re not overspending in any way.

CREATE a proceeding budget to monitor closely the dollar bills you devote during the move and to get an early warning when a moving exercise solicits more coin for its successful completion. At the end of the day, you’ll be able to stay calm during your alter is recognized that your expenditures stay within budget. HIRE an inexpensive moving company to save plenty of money on your local or long-distance move. Low-cost movers do exist but you’ll need to invest some time to find them. Request cost estimates from top-rated movers in your domain to be able to compare those travelling companies and pick the paraphrase that best meets your budget. Incite simply the things you’ll need to cut moving costs and overheads by A LOT. Ultimately, it doesn’t make any sense to bundle and affect things that you won’t ever use again in your life. Remain calm by knowing you’re not compensating to move useless stuff that’ll merely make more storage seat in the new dwelling. GET free moving caskets to reduce the bundle expenses. One brand-new packing box doesn’t cost much but when you need an average of 60 containers to pack up your dwelling, then you won’t like the summing-up you watch on the bottom line.

What to plan for when proceeding

Calming Technique# 2: Knowing that you’re not wasting any fund on your proceed will help you reduce the stress of moving.

3. Secure help from friends or movers

A sure way to get anxious and stressed out is to realize that you’re on your own and there’s no one to give you a hand during that hard live displacing stage. And formerly you get that worrisome speculated in your chief, it’ll be next to inconceivable to stay calm when moving to a new home.

The house moving process is not meant to be a one-man affair, so one super-important task for you will be secure moving strive for the working day of the mobilize- the manpower needed for lifting, carrying and lading your large and heavy entries into the moving vehicle.

When it comes to moving aides, you basically have a couple of good options to choose from depending on the specifics of your residence shake 😛 TAGEND

Friends. In most cases, you’ll be able to stay calm is recognized that your good friends have agreed to come and give you a hand with parcelling, ponderous lifting, or any other task that you can’t seem to tackle on your own. The thought that you won’t be alone during that difficult period should be enough to ease your worries about whether your leave will be a success or not. Contact your best friends and asking questions if they will be willing to help you move- do this early in your formulation in order to give your cronies enough time to fit you into their own contrives. Movers. The best thing you can do to remain calm when displacing live is to let someone else worry about your own move- let’s say, leaving professionals who know what it takes to introducing a house move to a successful end. Shift the stress and risks of Moving day to professionals is a smart thing to do … but it will cost you. It’s no secret that hiring full-service movers is one of the most expensive options to move house. And hitherto, factoring in the psychological stress of inciting and the possible dangers of Moving day, a full-service moving company may still be exactly what you’re looking for.

10 Tips for Moving Out for the First Time

Calming Technique# 3: It’s so much easier to stay calm when proceeding home formerly you know that you’re not on your own on this – you know that either your good friends or professional movers, or sometimes both, will be there to give you hand.

4. Eat healthily and get enough sleep

Packing up an entire residence for a incite looks just like a genuinely spending errand, and it is exactly that- an energy-draining task that will take days and daylights to complete. So, if you’ve decided to cut the displacing rates by carrying up your things by yourself – that is , not paid under professional packers, then you’ll need to make sure you remain calm by not pushing yourself beyond your limits.

Get enough sleep when moving

When moving house, suitable sleep is vital.

One thing you are able to do to keep your person and imagination stress-free is to maintain a health nutrition during the entire house move. That means that you shouldn’t skip any major snacks just because you’re so hectic with so much stuff to do and so little time until the move-out day. Likewise, you should make an effort to( is ongoing to) chew healthily- munch more fruit, veggies, and nuts- to have the vigor and staman required to tackle the moving tasks you’re working on.

Another thing you can do to keep yourself calm and loosened- as opposed to feeling riled and annoyed, nervous and uneasy- is to keep your regular hours of sleep. You may not realize this but getting enough sleep is crucial for surviving something as stressful and nerve-wracking as a mansion move.

It’s a really bad idea to reduce your habitual sleep hours just can be allowed to do more work. If you do it, then you’re likely to get fatigued sometime during the move, and that will only gave more damage and stress on you, both mentally and physically.

So, if you’re getting behind on your carry or inciting planned, then the better option is to ask for help than to sacrifice your health in the process.

Moving Day Checklist: How to Survive Moving Day in 20 Steps

Calming Technique# 4: To remain somewhat allay when affecting and maintain those stress heights within normal values, you must make sure you get enough sleep and continue to eat healthily.

5. Steal some caliber day for yourself

It can be really hard to stay calm when leaving home due to the great number of stress-inducing happenings happening all around you. Still, you should be able to breeze through all the stress, feeling, annoys, and nervousness with a simple calming ploy: dedicate some time every day to an activity you love to do to give your mind and organization a much-needed break from the house moving chaos.

10 Ways to Reduce Stress During a Move

Do something you love to do, be it exclusively for an hour every day during your moving cookings. Predominantly, it’s about clearing your attention and recharging your torso for the part still ahead of you.

Do yoga. If you’re into yoga, then some refreshing yoga exerts can do wonders when it comes to staying mollify when propelling room. Enjoy mood. If you happen to live close to a big park or to a grove, then do invest some time surrounded by nature to tighten and re-energize yourself. Just enjoy the greenery and the pleasant audio of fledglings singing, be it for a little while. Listen to music. Music is known to have a great calming effect, extremely when people are stressed and desirous, just like you will be. Relaxing music works best but you can listen to anything that’ll put your mind at ease, like your favorite movie soundtrack. Participate recreations. If you haven’t backpack your board games more, then you can surely have a little fun with your family or friends in the nights when you’ve once tacked all proceeding tasks for the day. Playing computer games is never a bad thought either. Read a volume. Having your favorite work by your line-up and reading it whenever you get some downtime is a great way to escape the cruel reality and remain calm when things around you get really tough to handle.

Find time to do what you love

Calming Technique# 5: Find time to do something you have liked to clear your judgment of all move-related thoughts and remain calm and stress-free when acting house.

The post 5 Ways to Stay Calm During a Move sounded first on The Moving Blog.

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Claiming Kids on Taxes: 9 Tax Breaks Every Parent Should Know About

Does the thought of doing your taxes on top of caring for your kids make your head spin?

Take a deep breath: We found nine tax breaks for parents.

Whether your children are swaddled newborns or seeking college degrees or whether you’re single, married with kids or adopted this year, you’re eligible to get some money back on tax day.

9 Benefits and Tax Credits for Parents

Here are the top tax credits and deductions for parents to keep in mind.

1. Out-of-Pocket Medical Expenses Related to Pregnancy

If you had a baby last year, paid out of pocket for medical expenses during your pregnancy and were never reimbursed, you’ll be able to itemize those amounts as deductions.

This tax code requires the expenses to be at least 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. That might seem unreachable, but since you’ll be billed item by item for prenatal care and childbirth, it can start to add up.

2. Child Tax Credit

As soon as your child is born, you’re eligible for the Child Tax Credit, which pays up to $2,000 for every child under the age of 17, depending on your income.

This might seem obvious, but it’s important to note: Even if your child is born on Dec. 31, you can still claim them for that year.

Remember to claim this credit for each of your children — if you have more than one, they each qualify for it up until they turn 17 years old.

3. Adoption Tax Credit

The adoption process is notorious for being lengthy and expensive.

The Adoption Tax Credit is worth up to $14,080 to help you alleviate that financial strain. This credit covers adoption fees, court costs and attorney fees, travel expenses and related expenses. 

4. Earned Income Tax Credit

If you earned income last year but didn’t exceed certain thresholds, you may qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit, which can significantly reduce your tax bill.

The income limits depend on your filing status and how many children you have. For example, if you’re filing as single or head of household and have one qualifying child, you must have earned less than $41,094. If you’re filing jointly with your spouse and have three qualifying children, you must have earned less than $55,952.

The maximum amounts of credit vary slightly each year. For the 2018 tax year, the maximum amounts of credit were:

  • $6,431 for three or more qualifying children
  • $5,716 with two qualifying children
  • $3,461 with one qualifying child

Note: You can also qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit without having a child.

5. Child Care Tax Credit

The cost for center-based daycare can range anywhere between $199 per week for a family care center to $213 per week for a day care or child care center, according to a survey by Care.com.

If you’re paying for child care, you may be able to get a chunk of that back on your taxes.

If your child is 13 years old or younger and you pay for child care while you’re either working or looking for work, you qualify for the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. According to the IRS, the amount of the credit varies. It is a percentage based on the amount of work-related expenses you paid to a care provider for the care of a qualifying individual.

The amount of expenses you can use to calculate the credit can be no more than $3,000 for one qualifying individual and no more than $6,000 for two or more qualifying individuals.

6. Head-of-Household Status

If you’re single and have a child, don’t overlook this crucial item: your status.

If you file as a head of household, you’re automatically eligible for a lower tax rate than if you file as single.

To be considered the head of household, you must:

  • Be unmarried on Dec. 31
  • Contribute more than 50% of the financial support of the household
  • Have a dependent who lives with you for more than six months of the year

If your child is in college and is still a dependent on your taxes, you can claim their college expenses. 

7. American Opportunity Tax Credit

During the first four years of your child’s college education, you can claim up to $2,500 for tuition and related expenses under the American Opportunity Tax Credit.

Your child must attend college at least part time. The income threshold for individual parents is $80,000; married couples must earn no more than $160,000.

8. Lifetime Learning Credit

Unlike the American Opportunity Tax Credit, there is no limit to the number of times you can claim the Lifetime Learning Credit for education costs to lower your tax bill.

Worth up to $2,000, the LLC covers tuition and related expenses.

To qualify, your modified adjusted gross income must be $68,000 or less (or $136,000 or less if you’re filing jointly with your spouse).

9. State Tax Credits for Parents With Kids in Elementary or High School

Some states offer benefits for certain items or activities during the school year.

In Arizona, for example, if your kids attend public school, you’re eligible for a tax credit for any fees related to extracurricular activities, including sports equipment or uniforms. You can even qualify for the credit if you spent money on their SAT/ACT tests or prep classes.

While it won’t affect your federal return, look for these credits when filing your state taxes.

Other Parent-Child Tax Items to Consider

Ask yourself two more questions before filing your return, putting up your feet and enjoying a well-deserved break.

Which Parent Should Claim the Child?

A tricky part of being separated or divorced is figuring out who is supposed to claim the child on their tax return.

To make the call, the IRS typically looks at where the child sleeps for more than half the year, but there are some special exemptions as to who can claim the child and when.

It gets a bit tricky, but this IRS chart answers a variety of questions you might have.

Does Your Child Work?

If your child has a job, make sure they file their own tax return.

Teens who work while in school usually don’t make enough money to have a liability. So, even though their employers have likely withheld taxes throughout the year, they’ll get them back in a refund check, which is a nice incentive.

Plus, it’s a great way to continue teaching them about money.

Kelly Smith is a former email content specialist for The Penny Hoarder.

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.

Davos: Seven Ways To Save The World – And Your Money

In the spirit of keeping the planet and your wallet healthy, we’ve got seven ways you can help save the world and save some money along the way.In the spirit of keeping the planet and your wallet healthy, we’ve got seven ways you can help save the world and save some money along the way.

The post Davos: Seven Ways To Save The World – And Your Money appeared first on Money Under 30.

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Costco Membership Deal: Pay $60 for a Membership, Get a $10 Cash Card {HOT!!}

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

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We haven’t seen a deal on Costco memberships in a while and they’re pretty rare, so definitely take advantage of this! It probably won’t last very long!

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Save Money by Traveling to These 9 Places in Winter

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Without a mistrust, January through March is the cheapest time to book an international flight departing from the U.S. The reason why is pretty simple, according to Scott Keyes, founder of the flight-deals newsletter Scott’s Cheap Flights. Weather aside, lots of would-be jet-setters are hamstrung by the academic schedule, so walk demand is highest in summer. The amounts don’t lie: in agreement with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office, from July to August 2018, about 6.4 million Americans flew to Europe. By comparison, about 2.7 million Americans departed for Europe between January and March.

For times, Keyes and his team have spent hours a day scouring airline locates for too-good-to-be-true slews.( Recently, “hes found” a $433 round-trip flight between New York and Tokyo .) For travelers looking to get away on the cheap, Keyes indicates has become a adaptable as possible–and a little crafty. For instance, if you’re interested in visiting France, work an cheap flight to an airfield in a nearby country, like the Netherlands. Taking a drill or a separate flight from there can save you hundreds of dollars.

If you’ve been dying to make a quick escape but have to pinch pennies, there are various world-class destinations who the hell is much more affordable to got to get during winter.

Iceland

Adventure Capitals( Photo: Thomas Tucker/ Unsplash)

Iceland, which understands more tourists yearly than it has in year-round inhabitants, is one of the most expensive countries to visit in the summer, when the days are in conformity with the 22 hours long. But in the dark winter months, solitude comes inexpensive. If you’re willing to put up with just a few cases hours of sunlight, you’ll be treated to low prices for hotels, expeditions, gondola rentals, and vacate tourist attractions. Stay warm by inspect natural hot springs, like the Reykjadalur Valley thermal flow near the capital city, as well as lovely and ultra-affordable heated public puddles in nearly every town. Plus, December to February is the ideal time to catch the northern lights. If you want to tack a few cases epoches now onto another tour, consider booking a layover. Icelandair allows you to take up to a seven-day layover in the country without any extra charge.

Typical round-trip cost of a winter flight from the U.S ., according to flight-deals newsletter Dollar Flight Club: $260 to $500. Average peak summertime cost: $870.

Turkey

Adventure Capitals( Photo: Alev Takil/ Unsplash)

Istanbul realises the fewest tourists in January and February, when average temperatures are relatively mild, in the upper thirties and forties. Meanwhile, other parts of the country become winter wonderlands. From December through May, two hours by plane from Istanbul, there’s heli-skiing in the Kackar Mountains of eastern Turkey, on peaks as towering as 12,917 feet. Closer to the capital is Uludag National Park, a favorite ski destination with regionals. The off-season is also the best time to visit the famous–and frequently crowded–Cappadocia, 450 miles southeast of Istanbul, known for rock patterns filled with ancient cliff consists, which examine peculiarly magical when shall be included in a dust of snowfall. Turkish Airline also offers a free stopover curriculum for those who want to spend a day or two in Istanbul on their way to another destination. The fellowship leaves economy passengers one free night in a four-star hotel, while business-class passengers get two free nights in a five-star hotel. Email the airline to work out the details after you’ve booked your flight.

Typical round-trip cost of a winter flight from the U.S. to Istanbul, according to Dollar Flight Club: $390 to $750. Average peak summertime cost: $1,160.

Scandinavia

Adventure Capitals( Photo: Michael Ankes/ Unsplash)

Scandinavians have been able to do winter, and fortunately for the rest of us, joining them from December to March is the most economical time to visit. In Norway’s capital of Oslo, you’ll find the metro full of beings lugging cross-country skis for laps around Sognsvatn Lake or sledding down Frognerseteren( the metro declines you off at the top and picks you up at the bottom ). In Stockholm, regionals will skate across frozen pools in the city or take the four-hour trip north to cross-country ski resorts like Jarvso. Throughout Scandinavia from December to February, you can also catch the northern lights if you hurtle close enough to the Arctic Circle. Winter is also a great time to experience the sauna culture here–Scandinavians love to set them at practically unbearable temperatures, then jump directly into snowbanks or frozen ponds before going back inside for another round of defrosting, as a action to advance dissemination. In Oslo, check out the KOK sauna crafts, which float on the fjord at the edge of downtown.

Typical round-trip cost of a winter flight from the U.S. to Stockholm, according to Dollar Flight Club: $291 to $600. From the U.S. to Oslo: $253 to $599. Average peak summertime costs: $997 to Stockholm and $1,008 to Oslo.

Western Europe

Adventure Capitals( Photo: Verstappen Photography/ Unsplash)

Western Europe is typically a time destination for a ground: in the winter months, it can be cold, dark, and somber. But places like Bavaria, in Germany, turn into gorgeous snow globes, where notorious aged castlings such as Neuschwanstein are covered in a thick-witted cloak of powder. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing opportunities abound in Bavaria, as do cable-car travels to the surfaces of ridges for views of the scenery below, like Zugspitze, Germany’s tallest ridge at 9,718 paws. Alpine skiing in Europe is also astonishingly affordable–think $37 a date at Vogel Ski Center in Slovenia; $63 for a period at Arlberg, Austria’s largest ski recourse; and $80 at Zermatt in Switzerland, home to the Matterhorn. If you already have an Epic or Ikon ski pass, check for access or deductions to European recourses( Arlberg is on the Epic pass, and Zermatt is on the Ikon ). Skiing in Europe likewise exists in places you’d never approximates. For example, you can snag lift tickets in Italy for southern Tuscany’s tallest mountain, Monte Amiata, for under $30 a day.

Typical round-trip cost of a winter flight from the U.S. to Florence, Italy, according to Dollar Flight Club: $404 to $890. From the U.S. to Munich: $309 to $659. Average peak summertime expenditure: $1,115 to Florence and $1,056 to Munich.

Brazil

Adventure Capitals( Photo: Jaime Spaniol/ Unsplash)

It’s now easier than ever to get to Brazil–as of June, American travelers no longer need a visa to visit. Scott’s Cheap Flights predicts that early 2020 will bring great deals to Sao Paulo, the largest city in South America. From there, you can snag cheap flights–under $ 100 round-trip–to Aparados da Serra National Park, knows we the 2,300 -foot-deep Itaimbezinho Canyon. Some waterfalls in the common tumble from so high up that they turn into mist before they stumble the grind. The tumbles are best viewed from the Cotovelo Trail, an easy two-mile hike along the canyon rim. Since Brazil’s summer is our winter, use the opportunity for a humid island getaway on Ilhabela, an island four miles off the coast and a pair hours from Sao Paulo, with over 40 miles of pristine beaches and inexhaustible scuba-diving openings.

Typical round-trip cost of a winter flight from the U.S. to Sao Paulo, according to Dollar Flight Club: $470 to $825. Average peak summertime cost: $1,390.

Hawaii

Adventure Capitals( Photo: Claudio Schwarz/ Unsplash)

It’s surprising that Hawaii made this list, because winter is one of the most attractive ages to go, with temperatures in the high seventies and consistent grows. Head for the Big Island, which is drier than the others and is looking to welcome tourists back after Mount Kilauea’s monthslong eruption, which closed Hawaii Volcanoes National Park last-place May. The vast majority of the common has reopened, in particular the the Kilauea Iki Trail, a four-mile loop that overtakes through a rainforest and solidified lava lake.

Typical round-trip cost of a winter flight from the U.S ., according to Dollar Flight Club: $226 to $640. Average peak summertime cost: $856.

Palestine

Adventure Capitals( Photo: Dennis Jarvis/ Creative Commons)

Palestine’s West Bank is best known for religious tourism, but there’s plenty of outdoor escapade, extremely. With temperatures in the forties and fifties and relatively little rain, wintertime impels for paragon hiking climate. Check out the Masar Ibrahim, a 205 -mile trail that provides the length of the West Bank, through metropolis and towns like Bethlehem, Jericho, and Nablus. Along the line, you’ll find beautiful scenery saturated with ratifies of ancient history, including Wadi Qelt, where the centuries-old Monastery of St. George clings to the side of a steep canyon. The Siraj Center, a nonprofit tour busines, runs hiking and accompanying jaunts through the West Bank as well as cultural-immersion experiences like homestays and tenting with a Bedouin community( from $550 ). There is also a burgeoning rock-climbing scene centered around a Ramallah gym announced Wadi Climbing, with over 200 bolted outdoor directions spread out across nine different crags.

Typical round-trip cost of a wintertime flight from the U.S. to Tel Aviv, Israel, according to Dollar Flight Club: $396 to $708. Average peak summertime cost: $1,210.

Japan

Adventure Capitals( Photo: Lionel Leong/ Creative Commons)

The Scott’s Cheap Flights team regularly encounters flights to Tokyo and some of Japan’s smaller airports for as much as $ 1,000 less in January than you’d typically find in summertime and during cherry blossom season in the spring. That’s the perfect time to visit Hokkaido, a bastion of winter boasts that’s considered to have some of the world’s best pulverization. In addition to skiing at Niseko Resort, you can fat-bike through the timbers near Lake Akan, trek on drift ice in the Shiretoko Peninsula, and warm up in onsen, or hot spring, at the end of each day. From November to March, in the town of Kinosaki, it expenditure just $12 a day to access the town’s seven public onsens. It’s free if you stay at a traditional ryokan in town, like Okesho( from $86 ), which has its own private hot spring.

Typical round-trip cost of a wintertime flight from the U.S. to Tokyo, according to Dollar Flight Club: $425 to $850. Average peak summertime cost: $1,210.

Morocco

Adventure Capitals( Photo: anass bachar/ iStock)

You can ski Morocco in two totally different ways in the winter months: on blizzard or on beach. For the kind of downhill you’ve likely tried before, leader to the Atlas Mountains, where you can carve Oukaimeden, with heydays rising up to 10,600 hoofs. For a fresh coming to the sport, tariff material to ski or card down the knolls in the Sahara on Morocco’s southeast border, where temperatures in the summer months regularly top 100 positions but stay around 50 in the winter. The off-season is also a great time to navigate typically frantic metropoli bazaars without having to battle hordes of tourists.

Typical round-trip cost of a wintertime flight from the U.S. to Marrakech, according to Dollar Flight Club: $420 to $808. Average peak summertime cost: $1,154.

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Vanessa Hudgens Fuels Kyle Kuzma Romance Rumors at Yet Another Lakers Game

Kyle Kuzma, Vanessa HudgensIs Vanessa Hudgens shooting her shot?
Nearly a week after her split from Austin Butler, the actress was spotted out on a dinner date with Los Angeles Lakers star Kyle Kuzma on Tuesday,…

20 Last-Minute Christmas Gifts You Can Pick Up on the Way to the Party

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The Christmas party is in two hours.

You step out of the shower, package yourself in a towel, ability over to the mirror and wipe a smudge cleanse so you can see your face.

You continue to get ready, and your intellect strolls.

You once are caught up a bottle of wine-colored to create( and it was a good deal, too !); all the presents are wrap. Only gotta get dressed, framed everything in the car and —

Oh , no.

It knocks you in the belly like a super-sized helping of pumpkin pie: You forgot a present.

Your mom texted you to remind you your great-uncle is coming, but with everything else on your spill anniversary slab, you didn’t get to cross him off your list.

It’s Christmas Day and everything is closed. — even Amazon Prime can’t save you now. What’s a Penny Hoarder to do?

20 Last-Minute Gift Ideas

It’s possible you could get stuck in a situation where the only viable option is hitting the pharmacy or grocery store on the way to Grandma’s. But that doesn’t mean Uncle Mark’s stocking stuffer has to be a bottle of Advil.

If you’re inventive, you can find awesome Christmas endowments wherever you go. Just put a ribbon on it, and it’s an instant endowment!

Don’t believe me? Here are 20 ideas to get you rolling.

1. At-Home Movie Night

Does your convenience store carry bargain DVDs? Microwave popcorn?

Snag’ em and give a submit: You’ve given the gift of a night in!

2. At-Home Spa Day

Raid the appeal aisle for a few cases bottles of nail polish and a foot scrub, or try a luxurious face mask.

Let your giftee pamper herself!

3. Bottle of Wine A group of friends celebrate Christmas wine wine.

If you live in a state where beer and wine-coloured are sold in drug storages and groceries , no worries!

You have an opportunity to give a classic talent — even at the eleventh hour. Here’s how to pick a respectable bottle of fund wine-coloured.

4. Nice Olive Oil

You may be worried your giftee doesn’t need this household staple.

But if you skip the generic nonsense and remuneration a little more for a fanciful imported bottle, you’ve got a great gift your recipient will actually use — guaranteed.

5. Gourmet Vinegars

Here’s what I had for dinner last-place darknes: skewered grape tomatoes and marinaded mozzarella lumps on a berthed of arugula, all sprinkled with a yummy balsamic glaze.

I dare you to try it and still anticipate vinegar is a stingy gift.

6. Artisan Pasta

Skip the blue box.

Scour the Italian aisle for tri-color tripolini and a high-end jar of sauce for good measure. You’ve given the gift of a neat meal.

7. Spices

Yeah, there’s nothing very exciting about garlic salt or onion powder.

But what about a jar of Spanish saffron or grains of paradise?

Bonus: Find a great-looking recipe that uses the spice( s) you have selected. Write it into a Christmas card to go along with your gift.

8. Coffee or Tea

Duh!

These are staples in pre-packaged gift baskets. Pick a whole-bean variety from your grocery alley so your giftee can get it ground fresh to his needs, or pick up a crate of fancy-ish loose-leaf tea.

9. Nuts

A nice package of pistachios or macadamia nuts can make a nice( health !) talent.

They’re pricy fairly that your recipient probably doesn’t keep them on hand — but inexpensive enough to be Penny Hoarder-friendly at the same time.

10. Chocolate Chocolate bars filled with peanuts and nought.

OK, chocolate has shown up on every single gift post I’ve written, so I’m sorry if this sounds redundant.

But, uh, chocolate is awesome.

And it’s available at pharmacies and groceries everywhere. Skip the M& Ms and spring for the good stuff — you’ve got a gift that’s hard to beat!

11. Fresh Baked Goods

If CVS or Walgreens is your merely alternative, this likely won’t work for you.

But if you can swing by the supermarket on the way to the soiree, consider grabbing a beautifully decorated patty from the suit — or even exactly a nice loaf of bread.

12. Fresh Fruit

Step one: Grab strawberries.

Step two: Grab some softening chocolate.

Step three: Prepare for your giftee to love you forever.

13. Custom Gift Basket With Any of the Above

Soda crackers, sharp-witted cheese and red wine.

Dark chocolate and almonds, with a perfectly paired twilight rib coffee to enjoy alongside.

A bag of apples and a pot of caramel sauce.

The likelihoods are incessant — and the best part? All you really need to make anything a endow is a ribbon. Your grocer probably too sells them during the holidays.

14. Indoor Plant or Fresh Flowers

Everyone cherishes imparting fresh flora indoors.

Grab a scent or a potted flora for your emcee — if she’s a cook, maybe even a couple of potted herbs from the grow section!

We promise we won’t tell her about your ulterior motive — to have fresh basil with the pasta she’s making.

15. Candle A candle the shape of an ornament is lit on Christmas day.

Candles are great, because they’re both visual and olfactory.

Plus, all those nice holiday fragrances — like evergreen and peppermint — are likely to be on steep sale!

16. Book

You might want to hop-skip the cheesy mystery stories, but most convenience stores have at least a few recent bestsellers.

17. Gift Cards

Grocery supermarkets sell knack placards to everything from restaurants to iTunes.

Although we’d frequently recommend you get a discounted knack placard on a site like Raise, this is a decent last-minute option.

18. Christmas Ornament

Help your host observe another terrifying year and successful anniversary. No one has to know it was a last-minute purchase!

Many pharmacies carry gilds and garnishes in their seasonal alleys — and this late in video games, they might also be on sale.

19. Cookware

There are actually some pretty cool cooking gizmoes on the endcap you always pass at the food market.

Your host might desire a quite new ceramic tart go — or maybe a gradual cooker!

20. Photos

Drop by the photo center to publish a few favorite memories from a USB stick. Then spend some time sharing them around the table.

Need More Ideas?

At the end of the working day, even a attentive placard is better than good-for-nothing. You really need to show you didn’t forget about the person in question( even though you totally did ).

Grab a Christmas card and write an IOU for a home-cooked meal, a nighttime out or a few cases hours catching up over coffee — a endowment route more pithy than any object you have been able wrap and put under a tree.

Jamie Cattanach is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which assistances millions of books worldwide make and save money by sharing peculiar job opportunities, personal tales, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

Read more: thepennyhoarder.com

What Are Americans Doing to Destroy Their Homes?

There is a checklist of items that homeowners run through to protect their homes, such as installing security, insuring against natural disasters, fires or flooding, installing smoke detectors and more. However, many overlook the regular maintenance that a home requires, which can introduce major issues down the line.

When was the last time you cleaned the gutters? That’s just one of the many questions we asked Americans to learn more about how well homeowners maintain their properties. We found that people are unknowingly destroying their homes by disregarding regular maintenance and, in some cases, actively causing harm through what they put down the drain, ignoring leaks and more. Let’s jump into how home maintenance is being disregarded throughout the U.S. and what you can do to be a proactive homeowner.

Key Takeaways:

  • 84% of Americans haven’t cleaning their gutters within the past year
  • 38% of Americans don’t take precautions to avoid water damage in their home
  • 25% of people shower without a window open or a fan on

65% of people don’t maintain the exterior of their home properly

Aside from improving the curb appeal, a home requires maintenance externally to protect itself against the weather elements and avoid slow progressing damage like mold or rot. We found that there is a lack of knowledge surrounding what can happen if you avoid maintaining a property.

84% of Americans haven’t cleaned their gutters within the past year

Did you know that experts say you should clean your gutters at least 3-4 per year?

Cleaning gutters is a task that many people don’t want to do, but avoiding it can have major consequences. When a gutter is clogged, it can cause water to seep through the cracks in your roof and fascia, the board behind the gutter. This water can ultimately create damage to the foundation that’s complicated to repair, or even worse, irreversible.

If you avoid cleaning your gutters, it can result in roof leaks, insect infestations, basement leaks and landscape damage.

The frequency that you clear your gutters depends on the type of trees around your home. Pine trees shed a lot, so it’s recommended that you clean your gutters four times per year if they surround your home. If you have oak trees, you can get away with cleaning your gutters twice per year, once each in the spring and fall.

When was the last time you inspected your roof?

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The National Roofing Contractors Association recommends that you self-check your roof at least twice per year in addition to professional inspections, but most Americans don’t follow through.

It’s important to check if you have missing or warped shingles to avoid being put at risk of weather damage. You’ll also want to look out for any mold, rot or algae given it’s a telltale sign that there could be leakage or water damage.

Pressure washing eliminates mold and mildew, but only 14.5% of Americans do it

The exterior of your home is exposed to everything from extreme weather, harsh pollutants, insects, animals and more. Over the course of a few years, it’s common to have a build up of mold, mildew and dirt.

Many recommend that you pressure wash home at least once per year if you can see the grime built up, but there’s a larger debate around if pressure washing your home can cause harm. Since commercial pressure washers can be strong enough to destroy all types of materials, even concrete, it’s important to be careful with the strength of the water and the age and condition of the siding on your home to prevent such damages.

In the end, allowing grime to sit on your home for an extended length of time can ultimately cause permanent damage.

Less than 7% of people checked their window seals in the past year

Did you know that you could save 5-10% on your energy bill annually if you weatherstrip your windows or doors?

Not only does checking the seals on your windows save money, but it will help keep out drafts, insects and moisture. It’s recommended that once per year you check your caulking and either fill in the gaps if it’s in good condition or replace it entirely with new caulking.

38% of Americans don’t take precautions to avoid water damage in their home

Sometimes it’s not easy to spot mold, but there are ways to prevent it in the first place. When we asked Americans questions related to standing water, leakage, opening windows to the elements and more, a majority said that they take precautions to avoid allowing unwanted water from damaging their home, but 38% don’t take any precautions.

How important is ventilation in bathrooms?

There’s a reason why installing a vent fan is a building code requirement for bathrooms, but that doesn’t mean that everyone uses it.

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Ventilation is important in bathrooms to remove warm moisture from the air from showering or bathing. Otherwise there is a heightened possibility of damage to the walls, ceiling, insulation, fixtures, not to mention imminent threat to the structural support of your home due to mold and rot.

When showering, you should always turn on the vent fan or open a window to make sure that moisture isn’t being built up in the bathroom.

More than 12% of people have left a window open during the rain

Although you can’t always predict when it will rain, open windows can lead to water damage in your home. A good rule of thumb is to close your windows when you leave the house to avoid unwanted leakage.

What can you put down the drain?

While putting unwanted items down the drain is a well known no-no, however, 39% of people still put food items down the drain.

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That said, nearly 1 in 10 of people do put some food items down the drain, the most popular being lemon peels (15%).

The age old trick for naturally deodorizing your garbage disposal is by putting lemon peels down the drain. Sure, it may replace the smell of your kitchen with a fresh lemon scent, but plumbers say it may be causing more harm than good if it clogs the drain.

It’s no surprise if you’ve heard time and time again not to put grease or oil down the drain, and it’s for good reason. Grease and oil accumulates on the side of pipes eventually clogging the drain, but that doesn’t stop 9% of people to do it anyways.

Believe it or not, nothing should be put down the drain as it is detrimental to your pipes.

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Methodology

The Simple Dollar conducted an online survey of 1,000 Americans aged 18 and older to learn what they do to destroy their homes. The survey consisted of 3 questions fielded December 2019 using Google Surveys.

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The post What Are Americans Doing to Destroy Their Homes? appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

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Kate Middleton's Gold Necklace Is a Sweet Tribute to Her Kids

Kate MiddletonKate Middleton donned a very special accessory on Wednesday.
The Duchess of Cambridge wore a personalized Gold Midnight Moon necklace from Daniella Draper during her visit to the Ely and…

*HOT* Buy 2, Get 1 Free Books on Amazon {Includes Many of My Favorite Reads!}

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

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