Common Thread Ladies’s Denims simply $10.62 at Goal!


April 22, 2021 | Gretchen


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

Need new jeans? This is a great deal on these Universal Thread Women’s Jeans at Target!

Universal Thread Women’s Jeans

Target has select Universal Thread Women’s Jeans for just $12.49! Plus, through April 24th, you can save an extra 15% off with this Circle offer making these only $12.62!

There are several styles and colors at this price. This is a great time to grab a new pair of jeans.

Choose free in-store pickup to avoid shipping costs. Otherwise, shipping is free on orders over $35.

Thanks, Free Stuff Finder!


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Easy methods to Discover Pandemic Unemployment Help (PUA) in Your State


The current job market continues to fluctuate amid the active COVID-19 pandemic, leaving an unprecedented number of workers laid off and struggling to find alternative employment options. Without a clear sense of when the economy will return to its former stability, millions of Americans continue to find themselves grappling with the uncertainty of their health, livelihood, finances, and work. However in times of need, there are always resources available designed to make life a little easier.

Introduced as a provision of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provides emergency unemployment assistance to those who are excluded from traditional state unemployment and those who have exhausted their state unemployment benefits. PUA insurance is available through December 31, 2020 and eligible applicants can receive retroactive benefits to ensure the highest amount of financial support is received.

Whether you’re freshly unemployed or your state unemployment benefits are nearing the end of their term, use this guide on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance to get a better understanding of the program, evaluate your eligibility for PUA, and find assistance in your state.

What is Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)?

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is a federal program that extends unemployment insurance (UI) eligibility to those who may not typically qualify under traditional state and federal standards. PUA extends unemployment benefits to self-employed workers, independent contractors, freelancers, and part-time workers whose employment has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance was introduced under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act as a means of providing rapid and direct economic assistance to those in need, who may have been living paycheck-to-paycheck and now have to get by on an emergency budget. PUA  provides temporary income to eligible individuals who became recently unemployed due to the pandemic and are either self-employed, do not have sufficient work history to be eligible for a regular UI claim, or have used up other types of unemployment insurance benefits provided by their state.

What’s the difference between unemployment insurance and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance?

While UI and PUA both offer financial assistance to workers who have lost their jobs or have had their hours reduced, Pandemic Unemployment Assistance features specific conditional restrictions that may limit benefits and coverage extended to qualifying applicants. The most notable difference between the two is that PUA is only offered to those whose unemployment or reduced hours are a direct result of the pandemic. 

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is also term-limited, and only available from January 27th, 2020 to December 31st, 2020. Regular unemployment insurance does not place a time restriction on eligibility to receive financial support. In some cases, PUA could offer a higher payout than regular state UI due to the fact that the minimum PUA benefit amount in some states is higher than the minimum benefit amount for regular UI.

Most states offer Pandemic Unemployment Assistance through their regular unemployment insurance programs, which can also help you determine which financial assistance option is best for your unique situation.

Do I qualify for PUA?

You may be eligible to receive Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) if you are not eligible for regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) and you are unemployed or facing reduced hours due to circumstances directly related to COVID-19 and reason permissible under federal law. Those that may qualify include:

  • Self-employed workers
  • Business owners
  • Independent contractors
  • Laid off full-time and part-time employees (if rejected for traditional UI)
  • Furloughed full-time and part-time employees (if rejected for traditional UI)
  • Workers with limited work history
  • Workers who have exhausted their regular UI benefits.

To receive PUA, you will be required to provide evidence that you are unemployed, your hours have been reduced, you are unable to work, or you are unavailable to work due to one or more of the following circumstances:

  • Your place of employment is closed as a direct result of COVID-19
  • You had to quit your job as a direct result of COVID-19
  • You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 
  • You are providing care for a child or other household member who can’t attend school or work because it is closed due to COVID-19
  • A member of your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • You are providing care for someone diagnosed with COVID-19
  • You have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine
  • You were scheduled to start employment and do not have a job or cannot reach your place of employment as a result of a COVID-19
  • You have become the breadwinner for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID-19

Are independent contractors eligible for PUA?

Unlike traditional unemployment insurance, independent contractors are generally traditionally not disqualified from receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. Self-employed and independent contractors may be eligible for PUA if they are out of work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This even includes app-based workers like rideshare drivers and gig workers. Most states direct independent contractors in need of assistance to either apply for regular UI (as qualifications vary from state to state), or  for PUA if rejected from regular UI.

How can I find my state’s unemployment resources?

If you are looking for unemployment benefits in your state, your primary go-to resource is your state’s department of labor hub. Visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s Services by Location hub to find the exact link to your state of residence’s unemployment benefits application page.

Do keep in mind that each state operates its own unemployment insurance program, so it’s important to do your research on eligibility in accordance with your state. For more guidance on finding unemployment insurance resources during COVID-19, visit dol.gov

How can I apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance?

In order to apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, you will need to file a claim with your state’s unemployment insurance program. From there, the state will determine if you are eligible for regular UI or require PUA to accommodate your unique situation. Depending on the state, claims may be filed by telephone, online, or in person.

Tips for applying for PUA:

  • It’s important to contact your state’s unemployment insurance program as soon as possible after becoming unemployed— this ensures you receive the financial support you need in a timely manner.
  • You should file your unemployment claim within the state where you worked. In the event that you worked in a state other than the one where you now reside or if you worked in multiple states, the state unemployment insurance agency where you currently live can supply the appropriate guidance you need about how to file your claim with other states.
  • When you file a claim, you will be asked to provide information such as addresses and dates of your former employment. To ensure your claim is handled expeditiously and efficiently, be sure to give complete and accurate information.
  • Make sure to enter your Social Security Number and date of birth correctly
  • When asked why you are unemployed, do not answer “None of these apply”. Applicants must meet a specific COVID-related reason in order to receive benefits. Select the option closest to your individual situation.

What do I do if my claim for benefits is denied?

The federal government regards the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program to be a last-resort option for those in immediate need for financial support. This means that PUA insurance is solely available to individuals who do not qualify for regular state unemployment insurance or those who have been rejected from regular state unemployment insurance.

If you were denied for your state’s regular unemployment insurance, there are a few common reasons why:

  • Your income earnings do not qualify you for regular unemployment insurance benefits. If you received a Monetary Determination that stated you are not eligible for benefits, you should file a claim using specifically for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
  • You filed a claim less than a year ago but you have exhausted all of your benefits. If you have used up all of the benefits available to you per a claim you filed within the last year, you should file a claim using your state’s Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation link.
  • You are unemployed for a reason other than the pandemic.

If you are unemployed for a reason not related to COVID-19, you will need to file a regular UI claim to see if you qualify for your state’s standard unemployment insurance benefits. Do note that if you quit your job, you do not qualify for UI or PUA.

While you may be unemployed for the moment, you still have access to resources that can help you maintain your financial well-being through these tough economic times. If you’re losing out on income due to COVID-19 and, for whatever reason, you don’t qualify for your state’s unemployment insurance, then try applying for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. It might just help take a little pressure off as you continue your job search and seek out new opportunities.

This is Find out how to Discover Success with AI Video Interview Ideas



For the first weeks of quarantine, it was nice to work in sweatpants and spend extra time in bed because my commute involved just walking downstairs. It also gave my pores a break from my daily makeup routine.

But it’s been a year of more or less being cooped up inside, and I would do anything to get back to an early alarm, nice outfit and a fully made-up face. Even a video job interview sounds like fun.

Besides the sporadic social-distanced night out with a small group, the only occasions I have to put myself completely together are for video job interviews, mostly on the Zoom video conferencing platform. And even then, I only needed to look presentable from the shoulders up and sharpen my eye contact. Still, I have found that I feel more confident and professional when I do the whole enchilada, shoes included.

However, another wrench has been thrown in my routine. Artificial intelligence video job interviews where the interviewee is the only human involved are becoming more common. This has added a whole new element to the meaning of putting your best face forward, because that’s part of what AI is assessing. And your voice tone. And your word choice. And more. Our video interview tips can make the process smoother and perhaps help you land your dream job.

The two most common AI hiring platforms are HireVue and Pymetrics. The programs work by recording the candidate;s answers to preset questions, while also analyzing facial movements, word choice, and speaking voice before ranking them against other applicants. The program then lets the employer know which applicants ranked at the top based on the company’s requirements for the job and then indicates who should move forward in the hiring process.

Preparing for an AI Interview

Getting ready for an AI video job interview is slightly different than for the run-of-the-mill Zoom conversation in which you’re talking to a person. Make sure that you have a reliable internet connection and that your background is appropriate for a video job interview. A trial run with a friend or family member might help.

Jim Weinstein, a life and career counselor in Washington, D.C., says that succeeding in an AI job interview requires even more preparation than usual.

“The criteria that your potential employers are using and weighing are secret for reasons that are not hard to understand: it helps prevent an interviewee from gaming the system,” he explains.

Even though the intricacies of the algorithms utilized by programs like HireVue and Pymetrics aren’t public, not all is lost. There are still ways of finding what your potential employer considers valuable and desirable assets.

“Clues will come from the job description, the organization’s website, and conversations with current or former insiders who have knowledge of the position’s requirements and pitfalls,” says Weinstein. “I encourage anyone I coach to utilize these inputs. Because AI-based interviewing systems tend to be used more commonly for highly sought positions where competition is fierce, it’s extra important to do this forensic work.”

Make special note of the words used in the job posting. If “team player” is mentioned, try to work that into an answer about your skills. Consider the experience the post asks for, if it’s five years say that you have five years (or more) of experience. Be ready to answer questions tailored to the posting.

AI Controversies

HireVu’s mysterious algorithms are not without controversy. The company has been accused of systemically discriminating against people in video interviews based on their appearance, particularly facial structure. In 2019, human rights group Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a complaint urging the Federal Trade Commission to investigate HireVue for “unfair and deceptive” practices.

EPIC officials wrote that the platform’s “biased, unprovable and not replicable” result constituted a major threat to American workers’ privacy and livelihoods. In January, it was announced that HireVue would no longer use AI for facial recognition analysis of job candidates, but will continue to gather evidence like word choice, intonation, behavior, and other biometric data.

Anticipating AI Questions

When I did my first HireVue interview, I was most concerned with the list of questions they would be using rather than how I would answer them. When you are face to face with a real person, obviously the question-and-answer format is more fluid and conversational. With these types of programs, the experience is similar to taking a test. The interview questions can come in a few formats.

Written Questions

The questions will appear in written form, and the candidate will have 30 to 60 seconds to read them and prepare before recording the answer. There are no do-overs. The recording is permanent.

Video Questions

The questions will be given to you in a short video, usually asked by someone from the company, possibly hiring managers. You will then have a short time to prepare your response.

Coding Challenges

If you are interviewing for a data analyst or software developer job, you will most likely be asked to fix a coding issue or even complete a logic puzzle. The question should specify which language (C#, Java, and JavaScript, etc.) you will be working with. Assume that you will be asked to explain in detail why you chose the response that you did. This is a way of weeding out “cheaters.”

Drawing/Design/Writing Interviews

If you are applying for a job that’s writing intensive or in an artistic field, you will likely need to demonstrate your abilities in realtime. Expect a supplement to some of the standard format questions with at least one prompt. If you need to do external research, use a different tab and do not leave the interview. If you will be writing, have a document open so you can write and edit your draft without the risk of submitting it before you are ready.

Adapting to Video Job Interviews

After going through the AI interview process, I know that I prefer speaking to another person, although I do see how a screening process can help an employer when the applicant pool climbs into the high triple digits. The bigger the company, the higher the chance you have of encountering an AI interview that considers your body language and eye contact as much as your education.

On the positive side, if you are someone who is deeply uncomfortable during job interviews (aren’t we all, to an extent?), it may be nice to not have to interact with another person during the experience. In any case, AI job interviews aren’t going anywhere soon — and just like HireVue had to do after their FTC complaint, we all must adapt.

Olivia Smith is a writer based in Washington, D.C., who has experience in public and political advocacy work. She is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.




Get the Eat at House Menu Plan Service for simply $1.13/week!


April 22, 2021 | Crystal Paine


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


(A sample of one of the Eat at Home menu-planning service grocery lists. I love how organized & time-saving these are!)

My favorite Eat at Home Menu Plans are on sale for 30% off through April 22, 2021!

If you struggle to make menu plans and would love for someone to make them for you + make a grocery list for you, it’s well worth spending a few dollars every week to let Eat at Home do the work for you.

This offer is only valid when you sign up for any of their plans and use code EASY at checkout!

That makes the done-for-you menu plans and grocery lists as low as $1.13 per week. And you get access to all four plans and the freezer cooking plans for the whole month at the rate!

Get the Eat at Home Menu-Planning Service for as low as $1.21 per Week!

This is the menu planning service I have used many times during busy seasons of life and I cannot sing the praises of it enough!  The recipes are so simple, so yummy, and have been a hit at our house.

Most all of the recipes can all be fixed quickly — often with less than 15 minutes of hands-on prep. Because the recipes use common pantry ingredients, it’s likely that you have everything you need to make many of the recipes.

It’s also convenient because all the work is done for you! You just choose which menu plan you’ll use, print the grocery list, go shopping, and then spend a few minutes prepping food each day and dinner is D-O-N-E!

Plus, it’s only a few dollars per week (or less, depending upon what plan you buy!) and you get four different menu plans for every week — which is so worth it if it saves you a lot of time, money, and stress!

When you sign up for the Eat at Home Menu-Planning Service, each month, you’ll get:

  • An entire month of No Flour, No Sugar menu plans, including weekly grocery lists and printable recipe instructions
  • An entire month of Traditional Menu Plans, including weekly grocery lists and printable recipe instructions
  • An entire month of Crockpot/Instant Pot Menu Plans, including weekly grocery lists and printable recipe instructions
  • NEW! An entire month of Plant Based Menu Plans, including weekly grocery lists and printable recipe instructions
  • Each menu plan comes with recipes created for small family (3-4 servings) and large family (6-8 servings)
  • Color-coded grocery lists make it easy to swap out ingredients or whole meals
  • Printable Menus to hang on the fridge or near your calendar, so you can easily see what’s for dinner that week and your family can too
  • Access to the entire month at once!
  • 1 Hour Freezer Stash Plans – a new plan each month to stock your freezer with 6 meals in 1 hour!

You can choose to stick with just the No Flour/No Sugar menu plans, or just the Crockpot/Instant Pot menu plans, or just the Plant-Based menu plans, or just the Traditional menu plans. Or, you can rotate different menu plans on different weeks, depending upon what you feel like cooking or how much time you have!

Get the Eat at Home Menu-Planning Service as Low as $1.13 per Week!

If you struggle to make menu plans and would love for someone to make them for you + make a grocery list for you, it’s well worth spending a few dollars every week to let Eat at Home do the work for you.

Through April 22, 2021, when you sign up for any of their plans, you’ll get 30% off with coupon code EASY at checkout! And you’ll lock in that discount for as long as you are subscribed!

That makes the done-for-you menu plans and grocery lists as low as $1.13 per week. And you get access to all four plans and the freezer cooking plans for the whole month at the rate!

Hurry and go sign up for this incredible menu-planning service here!

(Oh and they have a fantastic two-week money-back guarantee if you think you want to try it out but aren’t sure whether it will work for you or not!)


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Is PayPal Protected? [11 Tips to Buy and Sell Safely on PayPal]


PayPal is one of the top web-based financial transaction tools online, with millions of users paying for goods, services, and content on the platform. However, even the largest companies often have trouble ensuring that all customers’ security is protected, and PayPal is no different. 

In order to avoid scams, fraud, and theft as both a buyer and a seller, it’s important to know the safety precautions that make using PayPal safe. In this article, we’ve compiled a collection of the most important tips for buying and selling safely on PayPal. 

You can read through for a full guide to PayPal security, or jump ahead to one of the topics listed below if you know the exact question you’d like to see answered. 

Is PayPal safe to use?

In general, PayPal is safe to use. It’s a secured platform, and does not display any credit card or bank information to other users. 

Is PayPal safe for sellers?

PayPal is designed to be safe for both buyers and sellers. All information that is communicated between your device and PayPal’s servers is secured and encrypted as long as the network you’re using is secured. 

That does mean that it’s riskier to use PayPal on public Wifi, like at a library or restaurant, as others on the network might be able to gain access to your information (though this is still difficult). When using PayPal at home on your own WiFi network, sellers can rest assured that the platform is safe. 

In fact, PayPal fraud is pretty uncommon — accounting for only about 0.32% of revenue. 

PayPal seller protection 

PayPal has a number of seller protection protocols in place to make sure that merchants feel safe and confident using their platform. Here are a few of the PayPal protection measures sellers can expect:

  • Transactions only require a username and password, so no financial information is revealed during transactions. 
  • PayPal offers 24/7 monitoring on all transactions.
  • PayPal uses advanced machine learning and encryption techniques to secure each transaction.
  • They provide Merchant Fraud Protection, so you can contact PayPal directly if something suspicious appears on your history. 
  • They will help you resolve disputes by putting holds on transactions until the issue is solved. 
  • PayPal allows you to securely operate in 202 countries, so you’re not just restricted to your own currency. 

PayPal scam prevention tips for sellers

There are a few measures that you can take to prevent scams as a seller, especially if it comes to a disputed transaction where you must prove to PayPal that you have been wronged:

  • Always use a service like UPS or USPS, so there is documentation that you delivered the item. 
  • Require an e-signature for purchases. 
  • Ensure that all items you sell are clearly explained and described — this avoids customers feeling they have been misled. 
  • Prioritize customer service; if you respond to customer complaints, they are less likely to have an issue with your business. You can also demonstrate to PayPal that you have been on top of buyer complaints. 

If you’re new to ecommerce, be sure to read our longform guide that contains everything you should know about how to sell online. 

Is PayPal safe for buyers?

PayPal isn’t just secured and encrypted for sellers; it’s also a secured platform for buyers, too. PayPal works to ensure that transactions are secured on both ends, so neither party is likely to be victim to PayPal fraud or a scam. 

PayPal buyer protection

PayPal is serious when it comes to buyer protection. They know that their users count on them to facilitate fast, effective, and safe transactions. To ensure this, they have put into place a set of security measures that protect buyers from scams, fraud, and theft:

  • PayPal does not share your financial information with sellers.
  • They offer 24/7 monitoring on all transactions.
  • PayPal uses encrypted security technology on both buyer and seller’s ends to ensure a secure transaction.
  • They offer PayPal fraud protection, and allow you to flag certain transactions as suspicious.
  • If you do have a dispute with a buyer or potential fraudster, PayPal offers dispute resolution, putting a hold on funds until the issue is resolved.
  • PayPal facilitates transactions in countries across the globe, making it possible to purchase things from other countries securely. 

How to make a safe PayPal transaction

While PayPal may offer plenty of security protocols to its users, ultimately, it’s also users’ responsibility to ensure they use the platform in a secure manner. There are a few tips to keep in mind if you plan on purchasing online. The best way to make PayPal safe for yourself as a buyer is to follow a few safety guidelines:

  • Use a credit card rather than a debit card. There are two main reasons for this. First, if there is a disputed purchase, and PayPal won’t refund you, you can still contact your credit card company to see if they will intervene. And second, if someone has gained unauthorized access to your PayPal account, they won’t be able to empty out your bank account if your account is connected to a credit card. 
  • Use a safe password. This goes without saying on any internet account, especially ones that contain sensitive financial information. A good password should have a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and other characters (such as @, &, #, or others). This is one of the best identity theft protection moves you can make.
  • Regularly update software. For instance, if you use the PayPal app on your phone, it’s important to regularly update it. Older versions are more susceptible to hacks, as they lack the most up-to-date security features that PayPal regularly adds to its software.
  • Avoid making financial transactions on public WiFi. You can’t always avoid it, but when you can, it’s a good idea not to use public networks for your financial transactions. That’s because it’s possible for other users on an unsecured network to intercept information about your purchase. Instead, use mobile data when away from home if you can. 

Want more information on managing online payments safely? Read our guides on how to spot a scam and coronavirus fraud so you know what to watch out for as you shop online. 

Know the different kinds of PayPal transactions

There are two different ways that users can use PayPal to complete financial transactions.

PayPal Friends and Family

PayPal allows users to send money to friends and family. It’s a convenient way to send someone money you might owe them, chip in to buy something together, or even send a gift. However, there is a small fee that is applied to friends and family transactions, so be sure to factor this into your calculations if you are using PayPal to send money to someone you know. The fee can be paid either by the sender or the recipient. 

There is no fee attached to sending a personal payment if you use a PayPal Cash or PayPal Cash Plus account to send money. 

PayPal Goods and Services

You can also use PayPal to purchase goods and services from a buyer, whether that’s your local cafe or an online retailer. When using this method of payment, note that the seller pays the transaction fee, not the buyer. 

PayPal refund policy — how to dispute a charge on PayPal

There are a number of ways that you can request refunds on PayPal. If you have completed a transaction, and the seller has accepted payment, you will have to ask them directly to refund your money. They can do this by going onto the PayPal app and selecting the “Issue a refund” option. 

If your payment is still pending, you can go to your Activity page and press the cancel button next to the payment. If the seller hasn’t accepted your payment for 30 or more days, you are automatically refunded. 

Lastly, if you have requested a refund, but the seller has denied it, you can go to the PayPal Resolution Center and open a dispute. If your dispute succeeds, a refund will be issued to the credit card, debit card, or bank account you used to pay for the item. 

PayPal safety: key takeaways

PayPal is a safe and convenient way to pay for goods and services, send money to friends and family, or accept payments from customers and clients as a seller. However, it’s important to know how to use the platform safely. Here’s what to remember:

  • PayPal provides a number of safety protocols for sellers, including encrypting financial data, fraud protection, and 24/7 monitoring. 
  • Even with built-in protection for sellers, it’s still wise to follow safe practice tips:
    • Use a service like USPS or UPS
    • Require a signature from buyers
    • Clearly explain your products, and always provide quality customer service
  • PayPal is also safe for buyers. They include the same set of security protocols for buyers that they do for sellers, including encrypted data and fraud protection, as well as dispute resolution. 
  • As a buyer, be sure to keep tips like these in mind:
    • Opt for paying with a credit card rather than a debit card if you can
    • Use a secure password
    • Update your app to have access to the newest security features
    • Avoid making financial transactions on public WiFi
  • PayPal also allows you to cancel or dispute payments if something goes wrong

PayPal is convenient, fast and secure. By using the right security measures, you can complete your transactions with peace of mind.

Sources:

PayPal Help Center | FCC.gov | Harvard Business School: Digital Initiative

The Monetary Truths COVID-19 Has Taught Us



The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us all some hard lessons — lessons about being prepared, lessons about making smart decisions, lessons about endurance.

We’ve learned some tough financial truths over the past year, too. In its own clinical and uncompromising way, the pandemic has shown us things about money that we didn’t necessarily know before.

Don’t let these hard lessons go to waste. Your smartest move is to confront these truths head-on — to take real, proactive steps to cut your debt, lower your bills and secure your future.

Here are the tough financial truths we learned from 2020:

1. Always Have an Emergency Fund

This past year has taught us the hard way that everyone should have an emergency fund. You never know when you might lose your job or suffer some other catastrophe.

You need a place where you can safely stash your savings away — but still earn money on it. Under your mattress or in a safe will get you nothing. And a typical savings account won’t do you much better. (Ahem, 0.06% is nothing these days.)

But a debit card called Aspiration lets you earn up to 5% cash back and up to 16 times the average interest on the money in your account.

Not too shabby!

Enter your email address here to get a free Aspiration Spend and Save account. After you confirm your email, securely link your bank account so they can start helping you get extra cash. Your money is FDIC insured and they use a military-grade encryption which is nerd talk for “this is totally safe.”

2. Make Sure You’ve Got Life Insurance; Rates Start at $5/Month

There’s been a surge of interest in life insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic, as more Americans are realizing they probably need it. Overall, Americans bought about 10% more life insurance policies in 2020 than they did in 2019 — the largest increase in nearly two decades.

Have you thought about how your family would manage without your income after you’re gone? How will they pay the bills? Send the kids through school?

For many people, social distancing mandates and fear of infection have prevented them from going to a doctor for an in-person exam. That’s leading more people to seek out no-exam life insurance like the kind offered by a company called Bestow.

Your application can take minutes, and rates start at just $16 a month. The peace of mind knowing your family is taken care of is priceless.

If you’re under the age of 54 and want to get a fast life insurance quote without a medical exam or even getting up from the couch, get a free quote from Bestow.

3. Start Investing: This App Gives You Up to $200 in Free Stock

Obviously, 2020 was a bad year for many of us, financially speaking. But some people cleaned up because they invested.

Two examples:

  • At the beginning of 2020, a share of Amazon stock cost $1,900. At the end of 2020, it cost $3,250.
  • At the beginning of 2020, a share of Tesla stock cost $96. At the end, it cost $705.

The best time to start investing was a year ago. The second best time to start investing is right now. Whether you’ve got $5, $100 or $800 to spare, you can start investing with Robinhood.

Yeah, you’ve probably heard of Robinhood. Both investing beginners and pros love it because it doesn’t charge commission fees, and you can buy and sell stocks for free — no limits. Plus, it’s super easy to use.

What’s best? When you download the app and fund your account (it takes no more than a few minutes), Robinhood drops a share of free stock into your account. It’s random, though, so that stock could be worth anywhere from $2.50 to $200 — a nice boost to help you build your investments.

4. Keep Track of Your Credit Score

There are a few ways the pandemic may have lowered your credit score in 2020:

  • You were late on any credit card payments.
  • You’re using up most or all of your available credit.
  • You can’t make your mortgage or student loan payments. If you have a federally backed mortgage or federal student loans, you’ve been able to ask for a delay, but that doesn’t include everyone.

Also, it’s on you to double-check and make sure your paused mortgage and student loan payments are being properly reported on your credit report.

One good way to keep tabs on this is through a free website like Credit Sesame, which will help you monitor your credit. Credit Sesame shows you your credit score, examines your credit reports and keeps you updated on any changes. It also shows you how to raise your score.

5. Ask For Help — Even If You Normally Wouldn’t

If you find yourself in a particularly dire situation, do something you normally wouldn’t: Raise your hand and ask for help.

Sure, many of us would rather do anything but ask for help, but these are unprecedented times, and life’s a little bit out of our control right now.

For example, if you’re struggling to make your mortgage payments, reach out to your lender. Sure, foreclosures and evictions aren’t allowed right now, but your accounts could still get pushed to collections and you could still face penalties.

You might have to provide proof that you’ve been laid off or need financial assistance, but it never hurts to ask about your relief options.

This same idea can be applied to any of your other bills — rent, utilities, cell phone and car payments.

You won’t know the answer unless you ask.

6. You Shouldn’t Overpay for Anything

With our financial margins so tight in 2020, not enough of us took action to trim our monthly bills. For example, when’s the last time you checked car insurance prices?

You should shop your options every six months or so — it could save you some serious money. Let’s be real, though. It’s probably not the first thing you think about when you wake up. But it doesn’t have to be.

A website called Insure makes it super easy to compare car insurance prices. All you have to do is enter your ZIP code and your age, and it’ll show you your options — and even discounts in your area.

Using Insure, people have saved an average of $489 a year.

Yup. That could be $500 back in your pocket just for taking a few minutes to look at your options.

Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.


Important Oils 6-Depend Present Set for simply $9.79!


April 22, 2021 | Meg


This gift set is great for someone interested in essential oils!

{This deal post is sponsored by Anjou and contains affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy here.}

Amazon currently has this Essential Oils 6-Count Gift Set for just $9.79 when you clip the $3 e-coupon and use code LO2REOBO at checkout.

This set includes Lavender, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Lemongrass, and Sweet Orange. It’s a great gift set for someone just starting out with essential oils! It’d be perfect for Mother’s Day, too!

Sign up for a free trial of Amazon Prime to get free two-day shipping (and possibly one-day or same-day shipping!) with no minimum. And don’t forget you can sign up for Swagbucks to earn free gift cards to use on deals on Amazon.

Valid through April 25th, while supplies last.


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The best way to Get a Credit score Report for Free


A credit report is a detailed overview of your credit history, including your payment history, lines of credit, and how consistent you’ve been with paying off your credit balances. Three national credit bureaus issue credit reports: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. While your credit report doesn’t contain your credit score, they help lenders understand your risk tolerance and eligibility for things like loans, insurance policies, jobs, and credit cards.

Your credit score, on the other hand, is a three-digit number that shows lenders how risky a borrower you are and is a crucial component of your financial health. Your credit score plays a key role in determining what loans you qualify for and the interest rate you will pay on all types of things, from mortgages to renter’s insurance to car loans. Your credit score comes from the information contained in your credit report, such as your payment history, credit utilization ratio, and age of credit, and is calculated using an algorithm. As critical as this little number is, many Americans are in the dark when it comes to their credit scores.

Fortunately, federal law entitles citizens to get a free credit report every year from the three major credit bureaus. Below, we’ll cover how to get a credit report, so you can understand where your financial health lies. Read end-to-end to learn how to get a free credit report and FICO score, or use the provided links to jump to a section of your choosing.

The Importance of Your Credit Report

Your credit report houses all sorts of pertinent information about your financial background, including your credit payment history, credit utilization ratio, and age of credit. Credit scores have become such a huge influence in the lives of consumers that millions are greatly disadvantaged by their lack of knowledge about their scores. In fact, roughly 26 million Americans are “credit invisible,” meaning they don’t have a credit report with one of the three national credit bureaus. On top of that, an additional 19 million Americans have credit scores that are unscorable by a credit-scoring model. Not having a credit score can make it difficult to get approved for a loan for a mortgage, car, or home improvement project because lenders will have no way to assess your risk level as a borrower. 

Knowing how to get a credit report can help you gain a better understanding of your financial health. As important as the information on your credit report is, you need to make it a priority to get your hands on it to help you not only find out what your current score actually is, but what is affecting it, and if there are any errors on it that are unfairly dropping your score.

Why is Your Credit Score Report So Helpful?

Considering the importance of credit scores on your financial portfolio, it makes sense to have a clear understanding of your credit’s health, which can only be identified on your credit score report. The information in your credit report is used to generate your credit score, which is what your potential lenders will see before they decide to approve you for a loan.

Your credit report includes important financial information, such as:

  • The types of credit that you use
  • How long your accounts have been open
  • How much money you owed
  • Whether you’ve paid your bills in full and on time
  • How efficiently you paid your bills
  • Late payments

It gives lenders information about how much credit you have used, and if you are looking for new sources of credit. There are a variety of lenders you might come across that look at your credit report to conduct business, such as:

  • Banks and financial institutions
  • Landlords
  • Car dealers
  • Credit card companies
  • Insurance companies
  • Department stores
  • Cell phone and cable providers
  • Utility providers
  • Employers

Your credit score has a huge influence on lenders’ decisions to approve or deny your loan applications. Many facets of your borrowing habits will be outlined on your credit report. Lenders use the information on your credit report to gauge their credit decisions on their applicants and customers from credit reporting agencies, including Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Lenders and other companies use the information in your credit score report to assess your applications for credit, loans, insurance, and even renting a residence.

How to Get a Free Credit Report

Many consumers wonder how to get a free credit score report. According to FTC.gov, the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires the three national credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion—to provide free copies of credit reports once every 12 months to consumers who request one. They must also set reasonable prices for scores for consumers who need to retrieve their credit report more than once per year.  Here are some guidelines on how to get a credit report:

  • One way to access your credit report for free is by visiting the official government website AnnualCreditReport.com or by calling their toll-free number at 1.877.322.8228. Through this website, you can request your free credit report from one of the three bureaus, or have one of each credit report sent at the same time, depending on your intended use. For example, if you want to verify that all of your information, such as name, address, credit accounts, and amount owed, is accurate, you might want to request all three at once to compare. Or, you can spread out each credit report by requesting one every four months, for example. 
  • Aside from obtaining a free credit score from one of the three national credit bureaus, you can also gain access to your credit report for free through other means, such as through Mint. At Mint, we team up with TransUnion to provide free credit scores. Mint’s free credit report and score simply requires you to verify your identity and once verified, you’ll have your free credit report summary within minutes. Through Mint, you can also enjoy credit monitoring, which provides credit alerts whenever TransUnion receives new credit information from any of your creditors.

For those wondering how to get a free credit score report, you can use the government’s free website AnnualCreditReport.com, or get your free credit report from websites like Mint.

How Long Does It Take to Get Your Free Credit Report

Knowing how to get a free copy of your credit report and how long it will take can help you plan for major purchases. For those making large purchases that require a loan, such as buying a car or taking out a home mortgage, you might want to view your credit report right away. There are three ways you can request a credit report: online, through the phone, and by mail. Here’s how long each method takes:

  • Requesting a free credit report online: When you request a free credit report online, such as through AnnualCreditReport.com or through Mint, you can get your credit report immediately. 
  • Requesting a free credit report through phone: If you order your free credit report by calling 1.877.322.8228, your credit report will be processed and mailed to your address within 15 days.
  • Requesting a free credit report through mail: You can write a letter requesting your annual credit report or fill out and mail the Annual Credit Report Request Form to the following address:

Annual Credit Report Request Service

P.O. Box 105218

Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

Requesting a free credit report through mail will be processed and mailed to your address within 15 days of receipt, which can bring your total wait time up to two to three weeks for delivery.

What to Do While You’re Waiting for Your Credit Report

Whether you called to request a free credit report or mailed in an annual credit report request form, you can take a few actions to pass the time.

Check your credit score

Checking your credit score is important for a variety of reasons. It gives you an overview of your financial health, can help you spot any errors, and can show you areas of improvement. As you review your credit score, you may come across two different types: FICO and Vantage.

  • FICO Credit Score: Fair Isaac Corporation created the FICO scoring model to provide an industry-standard for determining credit-worthiness that was fair for both consumers and lenders. FICO is the most widely used credit score and uses credit scoring models that are bureau specific, meaning there is a separate scoring model for Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Because each credit bureau has different information on file, your credit score might not be the same. However, in most cases, your score only differs by a few points—anything more might be due to a mistake. 

Most FICO scores range between 300-850— the higher the score, the less risky you may seem to lenders. A “good” credit score, according to FICO, is anywhere between 670-739. In order to get a FICO credit score, you need to have at least one account open for at least six months or longer, along with at least one account that has been reported to a credit bureau within the last six months.

  • Vantage Credit Score: The VantageScore Model was created by the three credit reporting companies— Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Together, industry-leading experts created a credit scoring model using credit report information from each credit bureau. Earlier versions of the VantageScore have a credit range between 501 and 990. The new VantageScore 3.0 uses the same credit score range as the FICO credit score, which is 300-850. Similar to the FICO credit score, a “good” credit score is anywhere between 670-739.

Unlike the FICO credit score, Vantage’s credit score accepts consumers who are new to the credit market, who would otherwise be invisible to lenders. Because lenders from all three credit bureaus can use the VantageScore, credit scores should remain fairly consistent. The only time a change would occur is if a lender provides a new piece of data to a credit bureau.

With Mint, you can check your credit score for free as many times as you’d like without hurting your credit score. Mint works by using the VantageScore model, which is determined by six different factors: age and types of credit, credit utilization, payment history, total balances and debt, recent credit inquiries, and available credit. Check your free credit score with Mint today to see where your credit score stands.

Understand your credit score

Before you work on increasing your credit score, it’s important to know what your credit score looks at. There are a variety of credit score myths out there that you might believe, which is why understanding what can impact your credit score can help you make thoughtful actions to improve your score.

Here’s a list of what most credit scores measure:

  • Payment history: Your payment history is just one piece of your credit history. Your payment history looks at your past credit payments and whether they’ve been paid on time. Missed or late payments can tell lenders that it might be risky to lend to you because you may miss a future payment. Paying off your credit balance on time in full, every time can help keep your credit score in check.
  • Age of credit: The longer the credit history, the higher your credit score might be. This is because the age of your oldest account provides more data and shows lenders you have more experience managing credit. 
  • Types of credit: Your credit mix, such as credit cards, loans, mortgages, and retail accounts, can show lenders you have experience managing and paying off multiple types of credit.
  • Credit utilization: Credit utilization is the amount of money you owe compared to your available line of credit. Often expressed as a ratio, high credit utilization may make lenders view you as risky because you’re borrowing close to your limit. For example, if your credit line is $10,000, and you bought a used car for $7,000 with a credit card, your credit utilization ratio will be 70%. Experts believe you should have a credit utilization ratio of no more than 30 percent of your credit limit.
  • New credit accounts: Opening a new credit account can result in a hard inquiry, which can hurt your credit score because it shows that a lender is looking at your credit report.

Understanding what credit scores measure can help you make smart financial decisions, such as making credit card payments on time, maintaining a low credit utilization ratio, and effectively managing different types of credit.

What to Do If There’s an Error on Your Credit Report

An error on your credit report can deal a significant blow on your credit score and report. An error on your credit report can happen for a variety of reasons, such as a careless mistake, inputting wrong information, or even identity theft. Regularly checking your credit score can help you look for any discrepancies that can damage your credit score. Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you can issue a credit dispute for any information you think is incorrect without negatively impacting your score. If you notice an error on your credit report, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Submit a letter in writing or online to the credit reporting company that details the information you think is inaccurate. With your letter, provide any copies (not original files) that support your claim, and information such as your name, address, and the information you want to be removed or corrected on your credit report.
  • Step 2: Wait for the credit reporting company to respond. A response typically takes around 30 days from the day they receive your letter. During this time, they will investigate your claim and send the information you sent to the lenders that provided the information. If the lender finds there was a mistake, they must inform all three credit bureaus.
  • Step 3: Write a letter to the lender or information provider that may have made a mistake detailing the item you think is wrong in your credit report. Provide any copies of important information that supports your dispute and have them review your claim.
  • Step 4: Review your results. Each credit reporting company is required to provide you with the results of your investigation. If the dispute wasn’t resolved, you can have the credit bureau make a note on your future credit reports that there was a dispute.

As stated, disputing a credit report doesn’t hurt your credit score. If you believe there is an error on your credit report, take the time to resolve the error. Not doing so can lower your credit score, which can make it challenging to get approved for a loan or urge lenders to tack on higher interest rates for loans.

Mint.com is the Best Place to Go for Your Credit Score Report

Credit scores are an essential component of your financial portfolio. Now Mint offers a new feature that allows you to access your free credit report summary to help you understand what is influencing your credit score so you can learn how to improve it. You’ll be able to find out your credit score for free without ever having to use a credit card.

This new feature is just an extension of Mint’s commitment to giving consumers like you access to critical information that influences your financial health. All you have to do to get your free credit score from Mint is log into your Mint account and get started. With Mint, you can also work toward improving your credit and financing standing overall, create a budget, and stay on top of bills. If you’re not yet a member of Mint, learn more at Mint.com about becoming a member to gain access to all their helpful financial tools today!

 

On the lookout for Supply App Jobs? We In contrast the Prime Apps



Delivery jobs are no longer limited to the Post Office and the boxy brown trucks of UPS.

Thousands of delivery gigs, which stem from a plethora of on-demand delivery apps, are available nationwide. Delivery services have been booming during the pandemic, creating a surge in demand for delivery workers. The vast majority of delivery app jobs are categorized as 1099, which means the workers are independent contractors.

Requirements are overall very low. In many cases, all you need to start earning are a valid driver’s license and a functioning car with proper auto insurance.

But the reality of delivery work is tough. In addition to the work itself, apps glitch, customers stiff on tips and cars deteriorate. Pay can vary based on a number of factors outside of your control. And, depending on location, you may earn less than minimum wage.

Despite the downsides, many drivers love the work and find delivery apps a flexible source of extra money in the short-term. Each app works a little differently. We analyzed the top ones, looking at wages, frequency of pay, job and vehicle requirements, dress code, driver reviews and more to help you choose the best delivery app for your next side gig.

Delivery App Jobs

Here are the top contenders for package-delivery gigs. Generally speaking, these delivery jobs require larger vehicles because of the potential size of some orders. Some heavy lifting may be required.

Amazon Flex

Package delivery is the latest in a long list of industries the e-commerce giant has upended. Currently, delivery gigs with Amazon Flex are among the highest paying, as the company says hourly wages range between $18 and $25 depending on your area. Through efficiency and good tips, it’s possible to earn more.

Flex requires you to sign up for shifts, aka “blocks,” for most deliveries. Blocks typically run four hours at a time, unless the shift is specifically for Prime Now packages. Those blocks are shorter.

Insured four-door sedans or SUVs are required for most Flex packages. For Prime Now blocks, smaller cars are allowed. To apply, you must be at least 21 years old. No dress code or special materials are required to start delivering.

Glassdoor reviews: 3.6 out of 5.

Dispatch

Dispatch is an on-demand package delivery app marketed toward businesses. The service is currently available in 48 major cities and metropolitan areas.

According to Glassdoor reviews, drivers report earning between $14 and $16 an hour. Dispatch pays weekly through an app called Stripe, provides supplemental auto insurance and reimburses tolls along the delivery route.

You must be at least 23 years old to qualify. Your vehicle just needs to be in “fair condition.” Once accepted, Dispatch will send you a branded badge and hat that are required during deliveries.

Glassdoor reviews: 3.5 out of 5.

Postmates

Postmates is well known for food delivery, but most store-bought goods and packages are fair game too.

All models of cars are welcomed as long as they’re insured. You can also deliver on a bicycle if you prefer. Wages vary based on location, demand and quantity of deliveries per hour, but Glassdoor says the average salary is $17 an hour . Hourly rates aren’t guaranteed by Postmates, but tips go 100% to the drivers.

Postmates services more than 600,000 restaurants and stores in every state. The company doesn’t provide supplemental auto insurance and doesn’t require any dress code.

You must be at least 18 years old to apply.

Uber recently acquired Postmates, but for now, nothing changes for couriers.

Glassdoor reviews: 3.7 out of 5.

Food Delivery App Jobs

Many well-known delivery apps specialize in food delivery. Here’s how they work.

BiteSquad

BiteSquad transitioned its delivery drivers to independent-contractor status in February 2020 after Waitr bought out the company. (BiteSquad workers were previously hired as W-2 employees.).

As a BiteSquad driver, you’ll be required to wear a branded hat and shirt on the job. BiteSquad supplies your clothing, but you’ll need to purchase a hot bag.

Because of the strict dress code and shift-based work, delivering for other apps while scheduled with BiteSquad isn’t realistic. Delivery jobs are available in 14 states. All you’ll need are an insured, reliable vehicle and a clean driving record.

Glassdoor reviews: 3.7 out of 5.

DoorDash

Overall, Dasher requirements are low. The minimum age is 18, you need a driver’s license and you can deliver with any mode of transportation — a properly insured vehicle, a scooter or a bicycle. There’s no dress code, and the company provides a hot bag for free. Payment is on a weekly basis, or you can access your funds early through Fast Pay for a fee.

DoorDash is available in all 50 states.

As of September 2019, all Dashers (DoorDash drivers) receive 100% of their tips, plus an increase in their base-pay per order. DoorDash also acquired food-delivery company Caviar and has been combining the services. Through the DoorDash app, drivers can choose orders through either Caviar or DoorDash. The driver app for Caviar no longer exists and is now channeled through the Dasher app.

In August 2020, DoorDash announced it’s offering grocery-delivery services in a handful of major cities in the Midwest and along the West Coast — adding to the ways Dashers can earn.

Glassdoor review: 4.0 out of 5.

GrubHub

GrubHub operates in more than 4,000 cities. Depending on the location, the company guarantees hourly wages. Drivers tend to earn around $12 to $15 an hour, and they get to keep 100% of their tips. GrubHub pays weekly.

Wages can be accessed early through Grubhub Instant Cash Out and a partnership with Chase Bank. If you have a Chase bank account, the early cash-out service is free, otherwise it’s 50 cents per transaction.

Auto insurance and a reliable vehicle are required, and drivers must be 19 or older. There’s no dress code. While the company recommends its drivers use a hot bag for deliveries, it doesn’t provide one.

Glassdoor reviews: 3.9 out of 5.

Uber Eats

You only need to be the legal driving age of your state, plus have one year of driving experience, to deliver for Uber Eats.

A two- or four-door vehicle is required, as is auto insurance. Uber provides additional coverage with a $1,000 deductible. And in some regions, scooters and bicycles are accepted.

You’ll earn around $10 to $15 an hour and get to keep all of your tips. Payment comes automatically every week, or you can pay a fee to access your earnings early with Instant Pay. You’ll need a hot bag for deliveries, but the company doesn’t provide one.

A notable perk: Drivers can switch between Uber and Uber Eats on the same app.

Uber Eats operates in all 50 states.

Glassdoor reviews: 4.0out of 5.

Grocery Delivery App Jobs

Delivering groceries can be a little more time consuming and laborious than delivering food or packages. Typically, these gigs involve an extra step: shopping for the items. You’ll also need to be able to lift and carry heavy loads.

But the extra effort could pay off through better tips.

Instacart

Instacart offers part-time W-2 jobs as well as independent delivery gigs.

The part-time positions don’t have a delivery component, they’re in-store only. In-store shoppers work in partner grocery stores, readying orders for delivery.

Full-service shoppers are independent contractors who, depending on the order, shop as well. Full-service shoppers report earning between $10 and $14 an hour and keep all their tips. Instacart pays weekly.

To become a full-service shopper, you’ll need a reliable vehicle with auto insurance. Instacart doesn’t provide additional insurance coverage or insulated bags. No dress code is required.

Gigs are available in all 50 states.

Glassdoor reviews: 3.6 out of 5.

Shipt

To start delivering with Shipt, you’ll need to be 18 or older and drive an insured vehicle from 1997 or later. Shipt says shoppers earn an average of $22 an hour, depending on location, and you’ll pocket all of your tips.

Shipt pays every week via direct deposit, but you can’t access your funds before then.

A branded Shipt shirt is the only uniform requirement, which the company provides for free. Reusable grocery and insulated bags are on you, though.

Glassdoor reviews: 4.0out of 5.

GoPuff

GoPuff is a new general-store delivery service that currently operates in more than 500 cities in 40 states. In most locations, services are available 24/7, which means the delivery gigs are too.

There’s no shopping involved because the goods come from local GoPuff warehouses that aren’t customer-facing. Warehouse employees schedule your shifts and prepare orders for you.

You must be at least 21 years old and have an insured vehicle (any model) to deliver for GoPuff. Drivers typically earn $10 to $14 an hour and keep 100% of their tips. GoPuff guarantees an hourly minimum wage that varies by location.

A paid alcohol-delivery training course is required in some areas.

Glassdoor reviews: 3.4 out of 5.

Adam Hardy is a former staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Staff writer/editor Tiffany Wendeln Connors updated this post for 2021. 




Push Pop Cellphone Circumstances solely $9.99 + delivery!


April 22, 2021 | Gretchen


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

Oh my goodness! These Push Pop Phone Cases are SO fun!

Push Pop Phone Cases

Zulily has these fun Push Pop Phone Cases for just $9.99 today!

No matter where you go, take a piece of stress relief with you in the form of these colorful push pop phone cases. Choose from several colors and styles.

Shipping starts at $5.99. But if you place one order today, the rest of your orders will ship for FREE through 11:59 p.m. PT tonight!


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