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Target Goes Generic In Order to Attract Savers + How You Can Continue to Save on Everyday Purchases

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The fight for retails sales is getting fierce as consumers are starting to become more price conscious. Many drugstores and discount chains are creating generic branded items that are priced at a place where consumers are taking advantage of. Now Target plans to launch an ultra-low budget range of toiletries and consumer staples called Smartly, which will debut with a range of more than 70 products — including razors, toilet paper and dish soap. Target says Smartly will seek to compete with generic brands at drugstores and discount chains and is the latest step by the retailer to improve its price competitiveness, after it acknowledged last year it was losing ground to rivals such as Walmart and Amazon.

Because price is important, Target must take these necessary steps in order to stay competitive but what steps can you take to save more money in your bottom line? Here are a few ideas according to TheStreet.com:

1) Clip Coupons for Food

This might seem like a no-brainer, but many people don’t actually clip coupons, or they see coupons but then use them to buy things they don’t really need. It’s best to clip coupons only for the things you need and to use them with in-store sales and actually track what you’re saving. Lisa Reynolds at Redplum.com says the average family can save up to $1,000 a year just by spending 20 minutes clipping coupons. Reynolds also offers this tip about coupon-clipping and meal planning: “If you find a fantastic coupon, don’t dismiss it simply because the item is not usually on your list,” she says. “Planning your meals at the same time as reviewing coupon offers and store circulars lets you take advantage of really great deals and try new recipes. Many savvy cooks create meal plans based on what the stores advertise that week.”

2) Buy Food in Season

When it comes to buying wholesome foods for your family, “Stock up on fruits and veggies in season,” says Melissa Garcia, a savings expert with couponqueen.com. “Cut them up and freeze them at their peak so you’re not forced to pay those off-season prices and you know the quality is good.”

Just because you’re trying to save doesn’t mean you cannot ever dine out – just do it less often and do it smarter, suggests Reynolds. “Countless chain establishments have proven the old adage of no free lunch or dinner wrong, especially if you have kids. Full-service chain restaurants continue to offer some pretty sweet deals in the form of kids-eat-free promotions,” Reynolds says. “You can also try cutting down on heading out to your favorite restaurant every week, or only try hitting up your local spots for which you only have a coupon for.” Paul Vazquez, a savings expert at keycode.com, advises people to pack their lunch rather than buying it daily. “With some planning, you can save big on daily lunches by planning the lunch week in advance,” Vazquez says

4) Shop for Clothes at Consignment Shops

You can find some nice clothes at consignments shops for kids and adults. “Oftentimes there are great, unique finds at your local consignment shop, including some of the top brands, at extremely affordable prices,” says Reynolds, who recommends using the site magicyellow.com to find a consignment shop near you.

5) Save on Gas

There are other ways to save on gas other than carpooling and putting your child on the bus or walking to school with them. This writer saves by using the gas stations that give discounts on certain days or that gives discounts for using a Wal-Mart gift or credit card. Of course, if you do use a credit card, make sure to pay it off as the bill arrives. Garcia, our expert at couponqueen.com also recommends downloading the Murphy Oil app, which will tell you the cheapest gas in your area.

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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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Is the Job Market Booming or Are People Seeking Entrepreneurship Instead?

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Job openings in the U.S. continue to exceed the number of unemployed people, with 1 million more positions available in October than those Americans actively seeking work, per the Labor Department. The information, real estate, and education industries were seeking the most help. Until March of this year, job openings never exceeded the number of those looking for work in the 17 years since record-keeping began. This leads to the question: Is the Job Market Booming or Are People Seeking Entrepreneurship Instead?

The truth of the matter is that a 9-5 can be taxing on anyone especially those trying to raise a family.  There are a lot of people who believe that it is far better to be an entrepreneur than to work under someone, as an employee. This is mainly because of the flexibility as well as the ability to create your own schedule. Being an entrepreneur allows you to plan your work around your life’s needs, so you can have your cake and eat it.

In the past, it was much more difficult to run a business and have a good quality of life, but because of technological advances, it has become easier to manage both. And this isn’t only small local ventures; the internet has made the world a smaller place, so many entrepreneurs are running global businesses.

Women are also starting to lead the charge; they comprise of about 10.6 million women all over the world and produce 2.5 trillion dollars in sales annually! It takes a lot of patience being an entrepreneur because it is a tough job to take care of other responsibilities while running a business at the same time. You must learn how to keep your cool during stressful times and be able to put out fires simultaneously. Overall, entrepreneurship is a great option in today’s day and age but always remember… Quality of life first!

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Amazon Battling Against Scammers + Why Do Scammers Exist in the First Place

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Amazon is battling a torrent of seller scams on its website and has sacked a handful of employees it alleges took bribes and fed inside information to independent merchants, reports The Wall Street Journal. The company has fired some workers from the U.S. and India as well as purging several thousand dubious customer reviews. It’s also curtailed seller access to internal data and worked to curb techniques allowing sellers to game the site’s search results to their benefit.

 These dishonest sellers and employees make things difficult for those who are trying to do the right thing. But why do scammers exist in the first place? The truth of the matter is that money is an important aspect of life and many believe that cheating the system is the way they know how to get ahead. Money started as a simple concept then it became complicated.

Bartering became was a system of economics for centuries. A fisherman would exchange his catch with the carpenter for a table. Cattle, clothes and other necessities were traded without cash tender. The introduction of money changed that system making it of greater influence in our lives. So, why is money so darn important?

Global Exchange. Money is important mainly because it’s a tool for global exchange. Simply put, it’s important because we have made it important. Giving up other systems to heavily depend on cash and its many forms. You may not provide a product or service needed by a person who creates a need of yours. You’d use money as a medium of exchange used to obtain wants and needs.

Time. Money in some ways buys time. The key is making money work for you by creating passive income – monies earned which a person is not actively involved. Examples of passive income are royalties from intellectual properties, rental properties, or a business you don’t have to physically operate to earn a profit. Passive income equals more time to other things you love such as traveling with family, volunteering, or working for fun (not out of necessity).

Allows You to Make a Larger Difference. More money can multiply you. Volunteering at the local Girls and Boys Club requires your presence. Being able to donate financially to multiple local Boys & Girls Clubs makes an even bigger difference. Your reach increases with the amount of money you possess.

While money isn’t the most important thing in the world, it does effect the things that are. Using your money strategically will afford you more time, expand your reach, and pay for some pretty cool experiences.  And ultimately managing our money responsibly will assure that we don’t fail. Face it we are too important!

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NYC Introduces Minimum Wage for Drivers + How to Slowly Crawl Your Way into Wealth

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Living in a big city may not be what it’s cracked up to be.  The cost of living seems to be going up while wages are going down. Well thankfully for cab drivers they may be getting some relief. New York City is introducing a minimum pay rate for drivers working for app-based services such as Uber and Lyft. Drivers must now be paid a minimum of $27.86 per hour, or $17.22 after expenses, which city officials say translates to a yearly increase of roughly $10,000. The new pay rates, which will be implemented in 20 days, were criticized by the ride-sharing services. The changes will likely lead to fare hikes for riders, said Uber but drivers are at least happy. But what about another worker?

According to a 2017 CareerBuilder report, 78% of full-time workers said they live paycheck to paycheck. And while the cost of living continues to climb there are ways to get out of this slow crawl to wealth. Here are four tips on getting out of living paycheck to paycheck and live life more abundantly. 

Live below your means. The more we earn, the more we seem to spend. Think about it when you made less than what you make now, you survived. And then when a raise came along or some random lump sum of money like your tax refund you either made a purchase that increased your long-term expenses or wasted it on things that didn’t shift your lifestyle in a financially positive way. Start living below your means. This may look like downsizing your phone plan or apartment. Pretend you have $100 to 500 dollars less than what you make on a monthly basis.

Set Financial Goals. If your money doesn’t have an aim, it will land anywhere. When you have a financial vision, you are more likely to end up where you’d like to be. You are careful enough to put aside tax money, mortgage payments, and other necessities; take the same approach to build wealth.

Aggressively Save. Think of a number that you don’t want to go below when it comes to your savings account. Let’s say you want to have no less than 10,000 dollars in your account. Save until you get there without spending unnecessarily. Remember put aside an amount that you feel comfortable with but an amount that will also get you to your goal in a comfortable amount of time. Once you have arrived, don’t go below it.

Change your words. Words are powerful. Chances are if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, you aren’t able to do things you like. And that can cause stress and discomfort. And you may have the tendency to complain. STOP. Your words have the ability to build up and tear down. Choose to build up with money affirmations such as “I have an endless supply of cash,” “money is flowing to me,” and “I place no limits on the amount of money I can make.” (IG: @paradigmmoney). Before you know it, you’ll be financially free and loving it.

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