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Snapchat Push to Get Young Viewers to Watch TV on Phones + Easy Ways to Make Money on Your Phone Instead

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There’s a war going on outside no one is safe from… (Mobb Deep voice.) This war includes Snapchat in joining the push to get young viewers to watch TV-quality video on their phones every day. The app is launching a dozen or so shows under the name Snap Originals. The installments, about five minutes in length, will include augmented-reality lenses, split screens, and motion graphics, with plot structures designed to hook viewers upfront. Snap is following Instagram’s lead in trying to get its users to ditch television for mobile video instead. But the real question to ask is, do young people need to be watching TV on their phones? Isn’t there something more productive they can do? Thanks to Studentloanhero.com here are 25 Easy Ways to Make Money Using Your Smartphone:

1. Ibotta

Earn cash back on things you buy anyway. Here’s how Ibotta works:

  1. Before you head to the store, open the app and complete a few tasks to find offers for your favorite products and brands.
  2. Next, head to the store and purchase items you selected in the app.
  3. Once you’re done, take a picture of your receipt to redeem the offers you selected.

You’ll be credited with your cash back, based on the activities you completed ahead of time. Ibotta is compatible with PayPal and Venmo, and it also provides the option to claim gift cards.

Offers range from 25 cents to $1 or more. You have to prepare ahead of time, but depending on the items you purchase from your grocery list, it’s possible to get between $5 and $50 back at the store each month. Get your friends and family to sign up to earn referral bonuses.

2. Shopkick

Make money from your phone with Shopkick

Image credit: Shopkick

You won’t get direct cash back with Shopkick, but you can earn points to redeem for gift cards at your favorite retailers. Shopkick even offers Amazon gift cards. That’s a plus for me since I do a lot of shopping on the website.

You don’t even have to actually buy anything to benefit from Shopkick. Just walking into a partner store or scanning certain items can help you earn points. According to the company, Shopkick users have earned $68.5 million in free gift cards since 2009, when it was founded. You can get your share of free money by signing up and using the mobile app.

3. Receipt Hog

Snap pictures of your receipts to earn “coins” on Receipt Hog. Then, turn your coins into gift cards or cash. You can earn more by taking online surveys and completing other tasks. In the end, though, you’re probably not going to make a ton of money with this app.

The coins you earn aren’t worth a whole lot in terms of cash. A receipt adds about ten coins to your account. You can get extra coins for using the app and “leveling up.” I only go shopping about once a week, though, and rarely go to more than two stores. So, I might get 20 coins per week from shopping.

You could use the app’s prize wheel and complete challenges for extra coins. In the end, though, it takes a lot of coins to get cash:

How many coins it takes to get cash with Receipt Hog

Image credit: Receipt Hog

With this app, I could probably get between $50 and $100 per year if I were diligent about uploading all my receipts and took advantage of Receipt Hog’s sweepstakes and other activities to earn bonus coins.

As a long-term smartphone hustle, you’d have to combine this with other efforts to make any decent money. But it might be worth it for a little extra cash now and then.

4. Jobs2Shop

Ages ago, I was a mystery shopper. It required me to fill out a paper survey and mail it in for a check. Today, mystery shopping is as easy as downloading an app, frequenting targeted stores or restaurants, and leaving feedback. There are other actions you can take in the Jobs2Shop app to boost your earnings before cashing out via PayPal.

How much money you make depends on the type of evaluation you do. The main downside is that you rely on there being a demand for mystery shopping in your area. My relatively small town doesn’t have a huge need for it, so I don’t often get these gigs.

If you live in a bigger city and are regularly sent out to evaluate businesses, you could make up to $100 a month or more.

5. EasyShift

EasyShift is another mystery shopping app that can help you earn money by following a checklist. In some cases, you only need to take pictures of products or check prices and share the information inside the app. You can also earn money for writing reviews of certain promotions.

How much you make depends on the demand in your area and the types of tasks you do. Just going in and taking a picture of product placement might make you $2. You might make $20 on an assignment if you’re required to make a purchase.

It’s a simple way to go about your business and earn a few bucks per month. However, you probably won’t get rich with this app, especially if you live in a sparsely populated area.

6. Paribus

Make money with your smartphone by saving on price protection

Image credit: Paribus

This app is all about making sure you didn’t overpay for something you bought. Connect the app to your email account, and Paribus will scan your recent purchases and receipts. If a retailer owes you a refund based on price protection policies, the app sends a letter to the seller and notifies you when the money is returned. For example, if the price drops on a qualifying purchase, you’ll get money back.

Paribus doesn’t monitor all stores, though. It can help to check to see if the stores you frequent are on the list. The app also only monitors retailers that have price-match policies.

Can you do this yourself without the app? Yes. Does it take extra time? Sure does. So you might as well have Paribus do the heavy lifting.

7. Swagbucks

One of my favorite ways to make money using my phone is Swagbucks. I earn points, or “SB,” for shopping as usual online and by using the mobile app. You don’t get direct cash back when converting SB, but there are plenty of gift cards to choose from.

I net about $100 a year in Amazon gift cards by following my regular shopping habits and doing small tasks, such as taking short surveys or answering the daily poll question in the mobile app. Not bad for doing what I already do, especially when combined with other loyalty and rewards programs.

Focus groups and opinion surveys

It’s not always exciting, but filling out online surveys can be a way to earn extra money. Not only that, but you could make even more money if you’re part of a focus group or engage in other activities that result in helping marketers better understand their audiences.

8. UserTesting

For every 20-minute session you spend testing out apps, you can receive $10. That’s right; you can make $30 an hour by trying new things on your phone with UserTesting.

You probably won’t be able to find enough projects to replace your full-time job, though. Chances are that you won’t be offered enough projects to be busy for five or six hours a day. Instead, you’re more likely to see between two and six projects a week.

It’s still a pretty good way to make a little extra money each week. I managed to earn about $30 a week when I was using the app. They pay you exactly one week after you complete a test.

9. uTest

The user testing platform uTest pays you based on offers. You can look for available projects, ranging from creating bug reports to creating usability testing reports. Each of these projects takes different amounts of time and payouts are based on the way the customer perceives the quality of work.

You might get paid anywhere from $3 to $50, and there are bonuses available as well. If you have a few hours to spend each week, you could make between $10 and $100 without too much trouble.

10. Nielsen Digital Voice

In the past, Nielsen ratings used to put small electronic monitors (they looked a lot like DVRs) on TVs to get an idea of what families were watching.

Now Nielsen is involved in all sorts of rating information. Join its platform, and Nielsen will track your smartphone use as part of its efforts to find out more information about how consumers use their phones to communicate with others, use apps, and even surf online.

The main downside is that the points you earn might not translate directly into cash. Instead, it translates into extra chances to win prizes. You have a chance to get cash in the monthly sweepstakes, where you’re entered to win your share of $10,000 (divided among 404 people).

It’s not a guaranteed way to make a ton of money, but it can be a way to get a little extra cash without any added effort.

Read ways 11-25 by clicking here

Ash Exantus aka Ash Cash is one of the nation’s top personal finance experts. Dubbed as the Financial Motivator, he uses a culturally responsive approach in teaching financial literacy. He is the Head of Financial Education at BankMobile and Editor-in-Chief at Paradigm Money. The views and opinions expressed are those of Ash Cash and not the views of BankMobile and/or its affiliates.

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Levi Strauss & Co Is Planning to Go Public + How to Keep Your Public Information Private

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Are those Levi Jeans you’re wearing? Or a better question is “Are those Levi stocks you’re trading! Levi Strauss & Co is planning an initial public offering valued upwards of $5 billion, reports CNBC. The 145-year old San Francisco-based clothing company has tapped Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan to manage the deal, planned for the first quarter of 2019. Levi’s entered the public market in 1971 and was taken private in 1984 by Strauss’s descendants, who currently control the company. The iconic brand has recently seen its revenue climb and has cut its debt load. While going public for Levi is a great thing and can potentially take the company to the next level, going public can be a detriment. Especially since we live on our mobile devices, so every and anything is on there.

While mobile devices are convenient, this convenience can cost you a pretty penny if you don’t play it safe. According to the White House, cybersecurity is one of the most important challenges we face as a Nation. With many unscrupulous people out there, some apps may pose a big threat to your personal information and well being. Although app makers promise to protect your privacy, many data breaches have occurred, and while the Federal Trade Commission is doing its best to enforce privacy promises, you must be diligent in protecting yourself. Being diligent will make you a savvy mobile app user.

The following are four security tips that all savvy mobile app users can use to protect themselves.

1. Protect your device.

In the wrong hands, sensitive information, including personal financial information and personal contacts, stored on your mobile device can cause a lot of damage. Keeping your phone or tablet in a safe and secure place will help to mitigate the risk of unauthorized access. Lock your device with a password that is easy enough for you to remember, but complicated enough that it can’t be guessed easily. Try using a password that consists of a combination of numbers, and letters (both upper case and lower case), and special characters.

2. ONLY download apps from trusted sources.

The easiest way to compromise your personal information is to give it away. Download apps only from trusted sources to ensure that you are not aiding and abetting the theft of information. Read the app’s privacy policy to see what information the app will store and how it will be used.

3. Turn off your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth® when not in use.

While Wi-Fi and Bluetooth® are convenient ways to connect your device, thieves can use your connection to access your files. Turning off your Wi-Fi or Bluetooth® connection when you are not using it, will help to keep your information safe from hackers. Avoid open or public Wi-Fi connections. When you connect to an unsecured network, you invite others to view your private information.

4. Do not store usernames and passwords.

Sometimes easy isn’t safe. While granting permission for a website that you frequently visit to remember your username and password allows for faster and easier access, it is also very dangerous to your personal information. This is especially true of financial apps or websites that contain your personal information. If you use your mobile device to bank or shop, completely log out when you are finished. Avoid banking or shopping on your mobile device while on public Wi-Fi.

Proactively protecting your personal information can help you prevent identity theft and officially makes you a savvy mobile app user. Mobile devices were created for convenience, but don’t let convenience put you at risk.

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GE to Sell off Shares to Raise Cash + How to Raise Cash Personally to Increase Your Bottom-Line

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General Electric plans to offload up to 20% of its majority share in oil-services company Baker Hughes as it seeks to raise cash. The move comes amid investor concern over the conglomerate’s “high debt load.” The sale will generate roughly $4 billion for GE, which must maintain a majority stake in the unit until July 2019 as part of the original deal to buy it. While General Electric can sell assets to raise a lot of cash, what would you do if you need extra money? You may not have a $4 billion asset lying around, but I’m sure there are ways to increase your cash flow. The following are ten ways you can make some extra cash:

1. Sell Free Stuff from Craigslist

Craigslist is a great place to exchange goods and services and, for the most part, it is usually done for money. However, a little-known fact is that craigslist is also a great place to get freebies. Whether someone is getting rid of something because they no longer have room for it or they have to abruptly leave their home, city, or state; there are some rare gems that you can resell for a decent return. The key is to look for free stuff on Craigslist that is currently selling on Craigslist or elsewhere. Some items will be in great shape but if not, spruce it up and resell either on Craigslist, a flea market, or a garage sale.

2. Rent out Your Room

If you have a spare room in your living space and want to generate some side income, consider renting it out. Use Airbnb to put your home to work for you, whether you wish to rent out your entire home or a single room. Think about this…If you are traveling a lot this year, rent out your home to make some money while you’re away that can help pay for all of those adventures. That sounds like a great way to make some extra cash and travel for nearly free if you ask me. And don’t worry, there are security protections in place that help make this option less terrifying than most would think.

3. Teach Classes Online

Whether you are just starting out or a seasoned professional, there is something that you are good at! I am stating this as fact because even if it’s something you have never gotten credit for, chances are you have a skill that others may find valuable. Using this skill to make some extra income is possible thanks to platforms like SkillShare, Udemy, and Teachable.com. Many top experts use this as a lucrative way to earn passive income, but you don’t have to be a top expert to take advantage of this option.

4. Sell Your Photos

Do you have a keen eye? Are your photos museum-worthy? Well, if you answered yes or no to any of those questions, then you can sell your photos to stock photo agencies like Shutterstock, iStock, Adobe, and other similar companies. It really doesn’t matter if you are a professional or novice; you still have the opportunity to make some money. Most work on a per download basis where you get paid a percentage every time someone downloads your picture.

5. Sell Your Skills

Do you have a voice that Simon Cowell would pay a compliment to? Are you a talented graphic designer that can take any concept and bring it to life? Are you an artist who can give Michelangelo a run for his money? If so, sites like Task Rabbit and Thumbtack are great platforms to sell your skills. These aren’t only limited to those with creative skills; you can sell editing services, research services, typesetting, and the list goes on.

6. Offer to Babysit for Busy Professionals

Babysitting may seem like an obvious place to start when wanting to make some extra money and you may be thinking that you are not cut out to babysit, but here’s the twist. Look for moms and dads who are busy professionals who have small children under five. They will most likely tell you that they don’t remember the last time they were able to enjoy a quiet night out. Offering your services to this niche population will not only be a lucrative undertaking, but an easy job to do as well because chances are you will be simply house-sitting as the children sleep. If you have extensive experience in child care, consider signing up for sites like Care.com where you can set your schedule of availability.

7. Give Your Opinion

When you were a child, you might remember your parents telling you to “mind your own business,” but as an adult taking heed to this advice can cost you. This is because you can get paid to mind other people’s business. There are companies that will pay you to participate in focus groups, phone surveys, online surveys, and even product trials.

8. Drive People Around

You can really make a decent living becoming a driver for either Lyft or Uber. If a living isn’t what you are after, driving people around can still give you that needed boost in your finances by only working part-time.

9. Deliver Meals

Join apps like Ubereats, GrubHub or Postmates and deliver to-go food on your free nights or weekends. You also have the opportunity to get tips and the freedom to make your own schedule.

10. Clean out Your Closet

We’ve all stepped up to the consignment store counter to find out that the sweater from J Crew we never had the chance to wear is only worth $3. Womp. By selling your excess or used clothing on apps like Poshmark, you have the freedom to set your price and wait. Poshmark even provides the shipping label for you. If it doesn’t work out, you can always head back to your local consignment store or put the items on Craigslist.

 

 

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California Still Battling the Most Destructive Fire in Its Modern History + How to Minimize Financial Losses Due to Natural Disasters

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Getty Images

Our prayers go out to those in California, family, and friends who are dealing with this natural disaster that is wreaking havoc on the state. The most destructive fire in California’s modern history is still raging in the northern part of the state. At least 29 people have died, and about 6,700 buildings have been destroyed north of Sacramento, where more than 2,000 firefighters are battling the 105,000-acre Camp Fire. A further two people have died in two other large, uncontrolled fires burning in the Malibu and Thousand Oaks communities of Southern California. Overall, 250,000 Californians have been forced from their homes. The reality is that a natural disaster can be a devastating blow to your finances. Thanks to SmartAboutMoney.org, you can use the following checklists to help minimize any additional financial losses:

Protect Your Property

If you are being asked to evacuate the area and authorities allow you to enter your home, be sure to:

Collect your important financial documents along with your valuables. You will need them to file insurance claims, pay bills and take care of family members. Important documents include:

  • Legal certificates
  • Wills
  • Powers of attorney
  • Insurance policies
  • Social Security cards
  • Your checkbook
  • Bank account information

Get a visual. Take pictures and/or video of your damaged property.

Call your insurance agent as soon as possible to find out exactly what to do and what information is required to make a claim. Leave a contact phone number if your home is uninhabitable and you are staying elsewhere.

Separate damaged and undamaged items until a claims adjuster inspects them. Protect your property from further damage by making temporary repairs (such as putting a tarp over a damaged roof).

Save receipts for repairs and temporary lodging to submit to your insurance company. If you are not fully reimbursed for these expenses, they may be tax-deductible.

Keep copies of all correspondence with the insurance company and provide them with a detailed list of damaged property. The claims process will be much easier if you take the time before a natural disaster occurs, to photograph or videotape the contents of your home and list the brands and serial numbers of appliances and electronics equipment.

Look to relief organizations. Contact the American Red Cross. The Red Cross can provide emergency shelter, meals, clothing, medical assistance and referrals to government and nonprofit organizations for additional services.

Work With Your Employer

Disability benefits. If you or a family member is injured, you need to begin the process of applying for any available employee-sponsored disability benefits.

Family Medical Leave Act. You may be able to take advantage of the Family and Medical Leave Act if you are unable to return to work in the near future because you are caring for an injured family member. This law applies to companies with more than 50 employees.

Contact Creditors

As always, paying your bills on time protects your credit rating. But, considering the circumstance, your creditors might be willing to work with you on a delayed payment schedule if necessary.

Prioritize your bills. Keep in mind that insurance policies and mortgage or rent payments are the top priority.

Consider stopping some bills immediately. For example, you can contact your utility, telephone and cable providers to halt services on the property you have vacated. Before cancelling the service though, make sure you ask about termination and reconnection charges.

Seek Available Tax Relief

For victims of natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods and tornadoes, there are federal income tax deductions that may be able to offset some of the financial loss.

Casualty losses are deducted on  Schedule A as an itemized deduction. After the first $100 of loss, which is nondeductible, the remainder of a loss that is not reimbursed by insurance is allowed to the extent that it exceeds 10 percent of a taxpayer’s adjusted gross income (AGI).

If the president declares an area affected by a natural disaster a Federal Disaster Area, there are automatic extensions of the time for filing tax returns and paying taxes, waived penalties for late filing and payment of taxes, and special mailing addresses for faster processing of tax returns from disaster victims.

Under normal circumstances, a casualty loss is deducted on your tax return for the year in which the event occurred. However, in areas which the president has declared to be a Federal Disaster Area, victims have the option of taking their entire loss on their prior year’s tax return. If they have already filed a prior year return, they can file an amended tax return on Form 1040X to get a refund to help pay for disaster-related expenses. The IRS recommends writing “Disaster, (name of city or county and state)” in red ink at the top of the 1040X form. For additional information, consult IRS Publication 584.

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