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3 Keys to Budgeting as a Freelancer

IHG data breach expands, affecting over 1,000 hotels

What was thought to be a relatively limited data breach at InterContinental Hotels Group properties has expanded to include over 1,000 hotels across the United States and Puerto Rico.

The data breach was first revealed in December, according to Krebs on Security. Fraud experts detected a pattern of a widespread credit card breach at IHG properties, but IHG claimed in February that the breach was limited to about a dozen properties.

>> Read more trending stories

It was revealed this week that the breach is more widespread. Researchers found that credit card data at over 1,000 IHG properties was compromised. A full list of IHG hotel brands can be found on the IHG website; they include InterContinental, Holiday Inn, CrownePlaza and Candlewood Suites. 

Customers can use an online tool on the IHG website to see if a hotel at which they stayed is part of the data breach.

11 Ways to Save Money on Entertainment

Tickets to concerts, plays, movies: you could live without them, but saving money shouldn’t mean sucking the fun out of life.

Here’s how to curb your entertainment spending without giving up your favorite pastimes.

1. Trim your services

Explore different pricing options for the services you already have. Take steps to lower your internet and cable bills, such as negotiating, downgrading your plans or bundling the two.

2. Seek an alternative to cable

If trimming won’t save you enough, cut the cord completely. Based on the average cable bill cost, this could put upward of $100 back in your pocket each month.

Axing cable doesn’t mean you’ll be starved for content. If you can survive without watching networks like CNN and AMC live, streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video feature movies, TV and original series libraries. If you must have extra channels, consider replacing your traditional cable package with a service like Sling TV, which offers live TV for a fraction of the cost of cable.

Looking to save even more? If you subscribe to multiple streaming services, such as Netflix and Hulu, drop the one you use less often.

3. Share memberships

Split the cost of a paid membership with a friend or relative. For example, Amazon Prime memberships cost $99 per year, but members can share benefits with another adult for no extra charge by creating an Amazon Household. This gives both parties access to free movie and TV streaming, Prime shipping and Kindle books for about $50 each. Or you can cut your Costco membership fee in half by sharing with a spouse or roommate. Members receive a free household card that they can share with another person over 18 years old who lives at the same address.

4. Shop wholesale clubs

Wholesale clubs, such as Costco and Sam’s Club, have an abundance of affordable entertainment. They sell discounted movie and theme park tickets, restaurant gift cards and more in bulk, which is helpful, especially if you’re shopping for multiple people. You’ll also find inexpensive electronics, books, movies and games.

5. Get a library card

With a public library card in hand, the entertainment world is your oyster: You don’t have to buy, or even rent, to get your fix. Use your library card to surf the web or check out movies, books, audiobooks, games and music for free.

6. Attend free events

Take advantage of street fairs, concerts in the park or other free happenings in your community. Some venues that normally charge admission — such as museums, zoos and aquariums — host free-entry days once per month. Next time you plan a dinner out or hit the bars, look for joints that feature live music or comedy shows. Check your local newspaper, coffee shop or university for a list of upcoming events.

7. Volunteer

If the sporting event or concert isn’t free, you still might be able to attend at no cost by volunteering at the venue. Just be aware that you might not fully enjoy the event if you’re busy checking tickets or collecting trash.

8. Ask about discounts

Identification is all some people need to save money. Seniors, students and members of the military — or their families — often qualify for discounts at retailers, movie theaters, theme parks, national parks and restaurants. Kids often receive discounted admissions well.

If who you are doesn’t cut it, your membership status might. For example, AAA and AARP memberships come with savings benefits. Ask if you’re eligible for special rates when making entertainment purchases.

9. Buy used

Save serious money by buying televisions, tablets, computers, movies and video games secondhand. Shop thrift stores and used book stores, and check retailers like Best Buy and Wal-Mart for refurbished tech.

10. Use credit card perks

Under the right circumstances, plastic is more budget-friendly than cash. Your credit card might offer points or cash back on tickets to the theater or sporting events, electronics purchases and other entertainment-related transactions. Certain cards give exclusive discounts on or early access to event tickets through partnerships and promotions.

11. Cut back

An obvious way to save on entertainment without giving up your “wants” entirely is to adjust your budget and set a lower spending limit for entertainment expenses. For instance, rent a movie every other week instead of weekly, or refrain from buying the latest gaming console if your old one still works.

Lauren Schwahn is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: lschwahn@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @lauren_schwahn.

Get Ready for National Small Business Week

 

 

 

 

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Why Don't More People Own Life Insurance?

MoneyTipsOne of the biggest things I learned in the military long ago was that proper prior planning prevents pitifully poor performance. I am astonished at the number of otherwise seemingly intelligent adults who do not have some amount of insurance, even if only enough to prevent placing the financial burden of paying for their funeral on their loved ones upon their death. Life insurance comes in all shapes and sizes and there IS a plan available to satisfy everyone's needs. Some plans are temporary; some plans are permanent. The younger one purchases coverage, the cheaper it will be. Today's life insurance policies are no longer the "death" insurance policies of yesteryear. Many companies offer products with LIVING benefits - benefits that guard against the insured becoming chronically, critically or terminally ill at some point during their lifespan, and allow for the access to the majority of the death benefit while the insured is still alive. Some will argue that they don't have a "need" for life insurance, that they have the assets to cover the cost of a funeral. But I believe in the smartest use of money. If the average funeral in the US costs around $10,000 (and that's if you die TODAY and doesn't take into consideration rising costs and inflation), instead of having to drain an account of $10,000, or worse, having to sell off assets to come up with the cash, a Single Premium Whole Life policy typically delivers at least a 25% return on one's money (depending on age). That's an IMMEDIATE return! For example, with one of my carriers, a 65-year-old female non-tobacco user could "trade" a premium of $10,000 for an immediate death benefit of $18,552.88. A male of the same age would get $16,393.44. Throughout the life of their policy, they would still have access to 85% of the cash value of their initial deposit in case of emergency. The younger one does this, the greater the return - a 50 year-old would get $28,490.03 for the same $10,000. My point is this: besides the obvious uses for life insurance, there are many other usage factors to think about. Life insurance can be used for replacing a stream of income, providing heirs with liquidity when they need it most, replacing the value of an asset, paying estate taxes, maximizing your pension or Social Security benefits, funding college for the kids and grandkids, providing liquidity to an estate, buying out a business partner, protecting a business for the replacement value of a key employee, satisfying debt, funding charitable gifts, providing for a special needs child or adult, equalizing an inheritance, longevity planning, and balancing investment risk. The key is speaking to a professional who is capable of helping you navigate the sometimes-choppy waters and educating yourself on how to utilize life insurance as a tool instead of looking at it as just another expense. Photo ©iStockphoto.com/zimmytws Originally Posted at: https://www.moneytips.com/why-dont-more-people-have-life-insurance7 Top Reasons Why You Need Life Insurance5 Biggest Life Insurance MythsAccelerated Benefit Riders 101

Why Don't More People Own Life Insurance?

MoneyTips

One of the biggest things I learned in the military long ago was that proper prior planning prevents pitifully poor performance. I am astonished at the number of otherwise seemingly intelligent adults who do not have some amount of insurance, even if only enough to prevent placing the financial burden of paying for their funeral on their loved ones upon their death. Life insurance comes in all shapes and sizes and there IS a plan available to satisfy everyone's needs. Some plans are temporary; some plans are permanent. The younger one purchases coverage, the cheaper it will be. Today's life insurance policies are no longer the "death" insurance policies of yesteryear. Many companies offer products with LIVING benefits - benefits that guard against the insured becoming chronically, critically or terminally ill at some point during their lifespan, and allow for the access to the majority of the death benefit while the insured is still alive...

Why Don't More People Own Life Insurance?

MoneyTipsOne of the biggest things I learned in the military long ago was that proper prior planning prevents pitifully poor performance. I am astonished at the number of otherwise seemingly intelligent adults who do not have some amount of insurance, even if only enough to prevent placing the financial burden of paying for their funeral on their loved ones upon their death. Life insurance comes in all shapes and sizes and there IS a plan available to satisfy everyone's needs. Some plans are temporary; some plans are permanent. The younger one purchases coverage, the cheaper it will be. Today's life insurance policies are no longer the "death" insurance policies of yesteryear. Many companies offer products with LIVING benefits - benefits that guard against the insured becoming chronically, critically or terminally ill at some point during their lifespan, and allow for the access to the majority of the death benefit while the insured is still alive. Some will argue that they don't have a "need" for life insurance, that they have the assets to cover the cost of a funeral. But I believe in the smartest use of money. If the average funeral in the US costs around $10,000 (and that's if you die TODAY and doesn't take into consideration rising costs and inflation), instead of having to drain an account of $10,000, or worse, having to sell off assets to come up with the cash, a Single Premium Whole Life policy typically delivers at least a 25% return on one's money (depending on age). That's an IMMEDIATE return! For example, with one of my carriers, a 65-year-old female non-tobacco user could "trade" a premium of $10,000 for an immediate death benefit of $18,552.88. A male of the same age would get $16,393.44. Throughout the life of their policy, they would still have access to 85% of the cash value of their initial deposit in case of emergency. The younger one does this, the greater the return - a 50 year-old would get $28,490.03 for the same $10,000. My point is this: besides the obvious uses for life insurance, there are many other usage factors to think about. Life insurance can be used for replacing a stream of income, providing heirs with liquidity when they need it most, replacing the value of an asset, paying estate taxes, maximizing your pension or Social Security benefits, funding college for the kids and grandkids, providing liquidity to an estate, buying out a business partner, protecting a business for the replacement value of a key employee, satisfying debt, funding charitable gifts, providing for a special needs child or adult, equalizing an inheritance, longevity planning, and balancing investment risk. The key is speaking to a professional who is capable of helping you navigate the sometimes-choppy waters and educating yourself on how to utilize life insurance as a tool instead of looking at it as just another expense. Photo ©iStockphoto.com/zimmytws Originally Posted at: https://www.moneytips.com/why-dont-more-people-have-life-insurance7 Top Reasons Why You Need Life Insurance5 Biggest Life Insurance MythsAccelerated Benefit Riders 101

15 Ways to Save at ShopRite

Whether you hate grocery shopping or find it incredibly relaxing (seriously, some people do), one thing you’re bound to appreciate is saving at the store. If ShopRite is your go-to grocer, try using some of these tips to cut back on what you spend there.

Here are 15 ways to save at ShopRite.

1. Create an Account Online

Sign in to your ShopRite account online to load coupons from their Digital Coupon Center directly onto your Price Plus Club Card (more on that below). You’ll also get access to your past purchases and shopping lists, recipes, a tally of your Price Plus points and more.

2. Join the Price Plus Club

Members of ShopRite’s Price Plus Club get instant cash discounts on hundreds of items throughout the store at checkout, as well as special offers and promotions (like free items around the holidays) and exclusive mailings and offers.

3. Shop the Circulars

Set your home ShopRite location online and gain access to weekly circulars with tons of coupons and savings deals happening right now at your nearest store.

4. Check Out Their Offers & Promotions Page

Every now and then (especially around the holidays), ShopRite will offer additional ways for customers to save through sweepstakes and other contests that often offer gift card prizes. Visit their Offers & Promotions page frequently to see what’s happening.

5. Take Advantage of the SavingStar Program

Join the SavingStar program by setting up an account, then check out the offers page to see what’s available for a discounted price. Click on the offers you like and they’ll get linked directly to your store loyalty card. Use your card at checkout and the savings will be added to your SavingStar account. When you reach $5, you can select which method of payout you’d like.

6. Use a Rewards Credit Card

Some credit cards reward you handsomely for grocery shopping. See American Express’ Blue Cash EveryDay Preferred, which offers a whopping 6% back on up to $6,000 per year at U.S. supermarkets (1% after that), 3% at U.S. gas stations and 1% everywhere else. (Full card review right here.)

Just be sure to pay any balance you put on a cash back credit card off in full — otherwise, you’ll lose those dollars to interest. (You can see how your credit card balances are affecting your credit score by viewing your free credit report summary on Credit.com.)

7. Use ShopRite From Home for Additional Coupon Codes

If it’s available in your area, customers who sign up to use ShopRite from Home can check out the Shop Rite from Home promotions page for access to even more deals, like discounts on delivery, savings on health and wellness products, baby and pet items, etc.

8. Load Up on Manufacturer Coupons

ShopRite will accept these! (You can find its coupon policy here.)

9. Know Your Store’s Double Coupon Policy

While double coupon policies vary by store — you should check your specific store for more details — most Shop Rite stores will double up to four identical coupons per household per day on manufacturer coupons up to $0.99. (Use a nifty little Double Coupon App that you download to your smartphone to determine if your coupons will be doubled or not.)

10. Find the Catalina Machine

Catalina machines are usually located on the side of the register (ask the customer service rep if you aren’t sure if your local ShopRite has one). Most of these deals require you to purchase a certain dollar amount or quantity of product before you can use it on your next purchase, but once you do so the savings can really add up.

11. Stock Up During the ShopRite Can Can Sale

Though this sale only happens once a year (usually in January), it’s worth the wait to stock up on grocery goods, especially non-perishable items, throughout the store when it does.

12. Seek Out the Wall of Values

When you’re in your local ShopRite, make a beeline for the Wall of Values — usually right by the front door near the produce section — for dry goods on discount.

13. Make Use of $10 Deals

If you have the room, $10 Deals help customers save by allowing them to stock up on bulk items for just $10. Be on the lookout for $10 Deal signs.

14. Search Online for More Coupons 

Use sites like Retail Me Not and Coupons.com to find promo codes and coupons for the grocery store.

15. Follow ShopRite on Social Media

The grocery superstore shares all their biggest sale and coupon deals on their Facebook and Twitter sites, so be sure to follow them for the latest offers.

Want more brand hacks? You’re in luck — we’ve got 19 ways to save at Target right here

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

Related Articles

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

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