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KLICKPRINT

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Read Time:2 Minute, 44 Second

WHAT IS KLICKPRINT?

B/W POCKET MAG, Is our offline SEO solution to drive targeted traffic to our site and yours. The pamphlet allows people to see the website, know that you are on it with a promotion of value. Better that Yelp oversaturated with every business with a website or street address listed on google, Klickpay is limited to a select group of businesses and industries in the local area from San Francisco to San Jose. One thing to notice about the collective of businesses and restaurants is the high percentage of high quality, high price items. This obviously increases the value of each lead captured. (Only 1 fast food franchise in our group)

KLICKPRINT POCKET MAG WILL

To drive customers to want to come to the site is the value of the universal promotion that we offer among the businesses we have partnered wit on our site. This unique universal promotion is 22% off. It is an odd number that is hardly used for promotional marketing. Usually a business may offer 20% off or 25% off deals. 22% off is the universal promotion that Klickpay is using for all its participating advertisers. This makes our leads easy to recognize for each business. They will know this discount the customer is asking for definitely came from Klickpay.

Understanding “The art of the giveaway”

is key in running deals and promotion. 22% is an attractive deal to most, especially when there may not be any other promotion going on. This will drive traffic to the site to become your customer to receive this discount. While on the site they will also see the other member advertisers who are in the local area and not all directly in competition or in the same City. This is key for people who work in one City and travel a good distance for their work. This key data we will report to you with the C.O.M.A. collected from each customer attempting to redeem the promotion with you.

HOW YOU ARE GOING TO BENEFIT

You will have a list a 1000 customers segmented by who lives within 5 miles of your business verses who works within 5 miles of your business. This information is key when marketing for a certain time of day or day of the week. Send more strategic emails with our High Converting Response Action Responder which breaks down the key elements that needed to be implemented to increase your click and converting emails.

  1. You get placed as a sponsor on a Tent Card
  2. You get a video ad on Klickpay
  3. You get a block ad on Klickpay
  4. You get a C.O.M.A. data report

A FULL PAGE IN THE BLACK AND WHITE COPY IS JUST $30

INCLUDES REGIONAL 400 DISTRIBUTION ACROSS 3 COUNTIES ( THAT’S EXPOSING YOU TO TONS OF MORE WALK IN HIGH PRICE PAYING CUSTOMERS )

KLICKPRINT SERIES

EACH PRINT HAS 8 PAGES AND A MAIN CATEGORY THAT WILL BRANCH OFF INTO RELATED NICHE BUSINESSES.

PARTY – APPAREL – PANDORA – MUSIC

420 – COFFEE – PETS

RESTAURANTS – COFFEE – SERVICES

GAS – CREDIT – SERVICES

SS CUSTOM -SERVICES – RESTAURANTS – CRYPTO

WEIGHTLOSS – PANDORA – FILMFIGHTERS

CREDIT – GAS – RESTAURANTS

CRYPTO – CREDIT – SERVICES

PANDORA’S BOX – PARTY – APPAREL – MUSIC

FILMFIGHTERS – APPAREL – SSCUSTOM – MUSIC

CLEANING – SERVICES – RESTAURANTS

PET FOOD – 420 -RESTAURANTS

GET IN THE NEXT KLICKPRINT HERE

KLICKPRINT

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4 Ways Community Colleges Can Help Boost Your Earning Potential MAKING MONEY

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Your local community college. Maybe you associate it with two-year degrees and basic computer courses, but rarely give it more thought than that.

Well, think again.

There are unexpected money-making opportunities at community colleges, whether you’re a high school grad planning your next step, an entrepreneurial type with a fledgling business idea or a working professional looking to change fields or add to your skills.

Chances are, the community college down the street offers a class or a program that can help you make money.

4 Ways to Make Money Through Community College

Attending community college can help you discover new money-making opportunities and give you a leg up in your career.

1. Explore Well-Paying Jobs That Require Only a Two-Year Degree

Think you need four years of college (or more) to earn a decent salary? Not so.

Professions such as physical therapy assistant, dental hygienist and web developer all pay a median wage above $50,000, and you can learn them and snag a job with a two-year degree.

Even amid the economic turmoil of 2020, these jobs remain in demand — and are only expected to grow in the next few years. The best place to find a program: community colleges, which are the original incubators of career programs that require only an associate’s degree.

2. Earn Valuable Career Credentials

“Credentials” is an all-encompassing term that covers any type of learning that results in an achievement. A degree, a license, a certificate and a certification are all credentials, and all of them can lead to new careers — or enhance your status in your current one. 

With employers scrambling to fill open positions, an applicant’s credential could be the key to getting noticed.

There are a plethora of credentials on offer. It’s important to vet the one you’re considering and make sure you obtain it from a reputable institution. That’s where community colleges come in

3. Take the First Step Into an Apprenticeship Program

Apprenticeship programs, as defined by the Department of Labor, require participants to earn wages from an employer as they train. Throughout the program, which can last one to six years, participants must work under the guidance of another employee and must earn an industry-recognized credential.  

That’s right — unlike college, apprenticeships pay you to learn instead of the other way around. There are several pathways into apprenticeships, including local workforce development boards and — yes — community colleges, which have established relationships with local businesses, i.e. potential employers. 

4. Make Use of a Makerspace

A makerspace is a community workshop space where you can make things. Hand-crafted things. Digital things. 3D-printed things. You supply the idea, they supply the equipment and workspace, usually for free.

Community colleges are major players in providing the public with free access to makerspaces. They have the benefit of robust career programs and those relationships with local employers. 

Much like the mission of community colleges to help more people achieve higher education, their makerspaces broaden access to innovations, technology and ideas.

Molly Moorhead is a Senior Editor at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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How to Get a Free Thanksgiving Dinner from Walmart Using Ibotta MAKING MONEY

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Read Time:1 Minute, 37 Second
Some of the links in this post are from our sponsors. We provide you with accurate, reliable information. Learn more about how we make money and select our advertising partners.

The holidays are weird this year, there’s no question about that. Without big family gatherings or outside-the-bubble Friendsgivings, things just feel… off.

And while it may feel like a silver lining that we won’t need to spend a week’s worth of pay on a 25-pound turkey and all the fixings — especially for the millions of us who are going through tough financial times right now — many of us still want to find a way to celebrate.

As if it knew what all of America was feeling, a research company called Ibotta has partnered with Walmart to make sure you can still have your green bean casserole and eat it, too. 100% for free. Really.

There are nine items you can get for free from Walmart, including a Butterball turkey breast, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans and gravy. And yes, the can-shaped cranberry sauce will make it to your table this year.

Here’s how to get them: Download the Ibotta browser extension. All nine Thanksgiving offers will show up in your browser immediately (or on the Ibotta app in an hour). You can shop online or in-store with the app for the selected items and then automatically get 100% cash back when you take a photo of your receipt.

Then once you’ve earned $20 in cash-back, you can cash out via PayPal. (This meal comes to just about $20.)

Thanksgiving isn’t canceled this year!

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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5 Basic Bicycle Maintenance Skills Every Cyclist Should Know MAKING MONEY

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When gyms and fitness studios closed their doors earlier this year due to the pandemic, bikes started flying off shelves as people looked for ways to be active while staying socially distanced.

But just like cars, bikes require upkeep. Unlike cars, however, you can do a lot of basic bicycle maintenance yourself.

Jake McFadden is a bike technician at E-Mobilize Bikes, a mobile bike service in St. Petersburg, Florida, doing bicycle service, repairs and safety checks.

“The things we check during the safety inspection are also great starting points for your own bike maintenance education,” said McFadden.

Here’s how you can do your own basic bike maintenance at home.

A person pumps air into a bicycle tire after replacing the tubes.

1. Check Your Bike’s Tire Pressure and Treads

Keep a close eye on your bike’s tire pressure and wear and tear on the treads. Taking proactive care of your tires will keep your bike rolling for miles to come.

“The first thing you want to do when maintaining a bike is to squeeze the tires,” McFadden said. “If you squeeze the tires and they’re soft or easily compressible, it’s a sure sign you need to pump them up.”

If you haven’t invested in a bike pump, you should get one. Pumps can be purchased for as little as $20 at places like your local bike shop, Target and Amazon.

You’ll need to find the PSI (i.e. pound force per square inch) range, which is printed on the side of the tire near the rim. Use this to determine how much air you need to pump into your tires, and be sure to close the valves when you’re done.

However, if the tire goes flat soon after you pump it up, you’re probably going to fix the flat, which means you’ll have to change the bike tube nestled inside the tire.

“If you’re confident, you can change a bike tube yourself,” McFadden said. “If not, a local bike shop can do this for you quickly and cheaply.”

Bike tires will wear down over time, too. McFadden said if you see the individual threads that make up the tire poking through the tread, glass or debris sticking through the rubber, or bubbles in the tire skin, it’s best to wait for new tires before taking your steed on the road.

Brake pads for rim-brake bikes are indented and grooved.

2. Keep Your Brake Pads in Good Shape

Since no one wants to have a moment of brake-less panic when flying downhill, be sure to keep tabs on your brake pads.

Bikes generally have two different types of brakes: rim brakes and disc brakes. Many newer bikes have disc brakes, but rim brakes are still quite common. Brake pads for rim-brake bikes are indented and grooved. This helps the pad grip the rim of the bike wheel, slowing the bike or bringing it to a full stop.

If you feel as though your brakes take longer to activate than you’d like, take a look at the pads, which are generally housed at the top of the fork that holds your wheels. If the pads are shiny and the indents have worn away, look into getting some new pads for your safety and the longevity of your bike wheels.

“You should be able to depress your brake lever and feel the brakes engage when the lever is no more than halfway toward the handlebars,” said McFadden, who added that, if the brakes seem looser than that, it may be time to swap the pads out.

Changing your brake pads can seem daunting, but it’s a fairly straightforward process. This video shows you how to replace them yourself and ensure they’re positioned correctly and tightened properly.  All you need is an Allen wrench and brake pads, which you can buy for around $10.

 

3. Clean the Chain

A bike chain allows riders to shift into different gears. Over time, bike chains can become dirty and degreased by natural elements like dirt and rain, as well as through general use.

Keeping the chain well-lubricated is key to making it last. But before you lube it, you need to clean it.

 

To clean your chain, put a few drops of dish soap on a damp rag and run the rag over the chain while turning the pedals backward. Then, to begin re-lubricating, place some droplets of lubricant on the chain — avoiding the gears and chainrings — and, using the pedals, backpedal the bike again.

“You know you need more lubricant on the bike when you’re riding and it sounds like you’ve got a colony of mice attached to your bike,” McFadden said.

So, if your bike sounds exceptionally squeaky, it’s likely time to investigate the chain.

There are a variety of different lubricants out there, but a generic wet lubricant like this one from Finish Line will usually do the trick, and it costs less than $10.

Maintaining your chain will not only keep the bike sounding good, it will keep other critical bike parts like the chain ring, gears, and derailleur healthy for their entire lifespans.

A person uses a wrench to tighten the bolts on a bicycle.

4. Make Sure the Bolts Are Tight

It should go without saying that no cyclist wants to have their bike fall apart during a ride. That’s why it’s so important you ensure your bike’s bolts are tightened properly.

The stem, which attaches the handlebars to the bike frame, is a crucial area to assess. McFadden offers an easy check to test this.

“Take the front wheel and put it between your legs as you’re standing up, and try to turn the handlebars gently,” McFadden said. “If the handlebars jostle or shift, you must tighten the bolts on the stem.”

McFadden said many bikes purchased from big-box retailers like Target, Walmart, and Dick’s Sporting Goods are often not assembled by bike professionals, so it’s very likely certain bolts won’t be tight.

Be aware that it’s possible to overtighten your bike’s bolts, too, which could strip the threading from the bolt or crack some of your components. If you’re unsure about this, especially if you’re doing it for the first time, many mechanics will do this for free as part of a safety check. Just head to your local bike shop and ask.

5. Keep Your Bike Clean

While dirt and crud may not immediately damage your two-wheeled friend, letting it build up can eventually corrode your bolts, gears and chain links, among other parts.

Keeping your bike clean means your investment will last longer. You don’t have to do a deep clean, McFadden says. A simple wipe-down with soap and water will do.

“Just use a small bit of dish soap and a wet rag to scrub off dirt and clean your frame,” he said.  “Wash off any remaining soap or dirt with warm water, then dry the frame.”

As you get more comfortable with your bike, you can really get into the nooks and crannies, but if you’re nervous about messing up your bike, cleaning the main parts of the bike frame is enough to keep your bike happy and healthy.

A man wipes down a bicycle in a park.

McFadden’s parting words of advice: Take time to understand a bike before working on it.

Make sure you understand how something works before using tools on it,” McFadden said. “If you can’t figure out how something works, don’t put tools on it. Take it to a bike technician instead.”

Of course, sometimes things crop up that we can’t fix on our own, like issues with gearing, internal frame issues, and more. In that case, visit your local bike shop or bike co-op. Most general repairs and tune-ups are in the range of $50-100 and worth the price if it means you and your bike can ride on for miles to come.

Kristin Jenny is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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Dear Penny: Can I Take Social Security Now and Then Stop in 2021? MAKING MONEY

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Dear Penny,

I will be 62 in November and right now times are tough. Is it possible to take Social Security temporarily and then stop it when things begin to move again? 

I was thinking of maybe just taking it for a short time, through early summer 2021. I am in the pet-sitting business and have been for 15 years, but COVID-19 and the decisions of our government took it down. About 80% of my business are clients who travel.

-A.

Dear A.,

When you start taking Social Security benefits, you have 12 months to withdraw your application, which will stop your payments. But you’ll also have to pay back all the Social Security money you’ve received. So I’d urge you not to take this approach if at all possible.

The problem is that we just don’t know when we’ll get back to normal life. I’d love to think it will happen by summer 2021, but I’m not especially confident. I wouldn’t count on mid-2021 being so business-as-usual that you can stay on top of your monthly bills and pay back six months’ worth of Social Security benefits.

Many people will still be recovering financially, so we may still be vacationing less. Plus, given that so many companies have figured out how to make remote operations work, it’s likely that business travel will never resume to pre-pandemic levels.

As I’m sure you’re aware, using Social Security as a temporary fix to get through tough times has permanent consequences. For every year you claim benefits before your full retirement age, you reduce your lifelong monthly payments by 6.66%. If you can wait beyond full retirement age, you’ll increase those payments by 8% for every year you delay until age 70.

Getting the biggest possible benefit upfront is your best defense against rising living costs. In 2021, the Social Security COLA will be just 1.3%, an increase that’s totally out of touch with the actual cost increases seniors face.

But I also get it: It’s so easy to tell people to wait as long as possible to claim Social Security.

Unfortunately, though, a lot of workers find themselves in the same predicament you do. Sure, you can plan to work and hold off on Social Security for as long as possible. But it just doesn’t work out that way for many workers who are forced to retire early, often due to loss of income or health issues.

The average monthly Social Security retirement benefit in 2020 is just over $1,500. Yours would probably be lower because you’d be claiming as soon as you’re eligible. But let’s use the $1,500 average for argument’s sake. Is there any other way you could earn $1,500 a month?

Could you replace some of your pet-sitting income with other gig work, like grocery delivery? Or could you get a part-time bridge job working at a store or doing a customer service job that lets you work from home? Could you put your skills with animals to use by working at a vet’s office?

Anything you can do to cobble together extra income to survive right now is worth considering.

I’d also look into other non-Social Security benefits you may qualify for. You can use benefits.gov to see if you’re eligible for other forms of assistance by filling out a short questionnaire. If you haven’t looked into jobless benefits, it’s at least worth a visit to your state unemployment website to see if you qualify.

None of these is likely to be a silver bullet. But if you can find other ways to bring in income temporarily, even if it’s a little bit from multiple sources, hopefully you can delay your benefits. If you have any retirement savings, it may make sense to take a small distribution to buy yourself time. Because of your age, you won’t get hit with an early withdrawal penalty. Since you’re about to turn 62, a reverse mortgage could also be an option if you own your home and have significant equity.

I’d only take benefits now if you’re OK with the reality that suspending your benefits and repaying your Social Security may not be possible a few months down the line. This is only an option if you can accept the likelihood that you’re reducing your benefits for life.

Robin Hartill is a certified financial planner and a senior editor at The Penny Hoarder. Send your tricky money questions to AskPenny@thepennyhoarder.com.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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What Is a Home Inspector? Understanding Their Role in Home Buying MAKING MONEY

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Read Time:6 Minute, 7 Second

Whether you’re just beginning the hunt for the perfect house, or already in the process of buying one, chances are you’ve at least heard them mentioned: home inspectors.

Think of them as one of the last lines of defense before you close on a house. By checking the working condition of appliances, looking for structural problems and going over major systems like plumbing and electrical, they issue a bill of health on a house that lets you know it’s safe to proceed with the purchase — or that it’s time to back out.

We spoke to real estate professionals about hiring and working with a reputable home inspection company, plus what to expect throughout the inspection process.

Here’s everything you need to know about hiring a home inspector.

What is a Home Inspector?

“A home inspector is basically a professional ‘discoverer’,” says Realtor Dylan Lennon. “Their job is to carefully audit the major systems and document any problems or insufficiencies they find.”

In addition to inspecting all of the structural aspects of a home like the walls, floors and roof, inspectors are also responsible for looking at the systems in the home. This will include everything from the plumbing in the bathrooms down to the smallest electrical outlet.

Their job is basically to make sure there’s nothing wrong with the home, and if there is — to record it.

What Home Inspectors Look For

A good home inspector may spend hours or even a full day combing through every corner of a home.

Not only are they checking the major systems, they’ll also be looking at the home’s foundation, its windows and doors, and if the heating and air conditioning system works properly. They keep an eye out for any sign of termites or pests, or any other type of structural wear and tear that could jeopardize your home’s interior. They’re also trained to find builder oversights or things that aren’t in code compliance, which could cost you later when it’s your turn to sell the house.

But a really good home inspector doesn’t just give you a yes-no checklist saying what looks good and what doesn’t. They include details on the current state of things like the water heater or HVAC system, and when you might need to replace them.

“A good home inspector will note the expected remaining life span and general condition of all components and structural features of a home,” says real estate investor Tucker Long of Truepath Properties. “Furthermore, they’ll identify any components in need of repair or further evaluation.”

Why You Need to Hire One

For buyers, you’ll generally want to hire a home inspector once you enter a contract agreement with the seller. The inspection report will tell you the exact condition of the home you’re buying, and whether or not it makes sense to negotiate down the price based on what the inspector finds.

This is where having a good inspector on your side really comes in handy.

“Home inspectors provide a safety net for homebuyers who aren’t experts in construction,” says Long. “They’re trained to identify costly repairs and safety issues, both of which can easily be overlooked by the untrained eye.”

When they do find concerning issues, they record exact details in their report — which is then passed onto the seller and used for negotiation purposes.

“Hiring a home inspector could save a buyer huge amounts of money,” says Long. “If a problem is identified, a buyer will have the opportunity to terminate the contract or request the seller makes the necessary repairs. In most cases, an inspection will typically pay for itself many times over if even a single unexpected issue is identified.”

Say, for example, a home inspector finds a few shingles on the roof that need to be replaced, or a problem with the home’s septic tank. With roof repairs costing an average of $900, and septic issues starting around $500 all the way up to $5,000 — this makes the home inspector’s fee a worthy investment.

What does a home inspection cost? Generally about $200 to $500.

Not only will identifying problems while under contract save you money later, it also acts as a bargaining chip during the negotiation. Rather than paying thousands of dollars in repairs out-of-pocket, you’ll be able to reach an agreement with your seller — either they fix it, cover the cost by giving you cash back at closing, or you can terminate the agreement.

First-time buyer? Here are our best home-buying tips.

How to Hire a Home Inspector

First rule: Find one you trust. Be wary of hiring an inspector through the seller. It’s best to work with someone without any conflict of interest, who can prioritize helping you and pointing out anything that might be wrong with the home or property. Work with your real estate agent to hire someone reputable with the proper licensing.

You’ll also want to review the inspector’s contract before the home inspection, to be sure you understand exactly what they’ll be looking for. While most inspectors have a standard list, this can vary based on your location and their accreditations.

“Reviewing the inspection contract prior to hiring an inspector can avoid a lot of heartache later,” says Lennon. “I’ve had buyers go into inspections thinking that the inspector was going to flag cosmetic items, only for them to later find out that cosmetic items are rarely covered in inspections.”

Depending on your inspector’s qualifications, you may need to hire more than one person — to check a septic system, for example, or look in-depth for any signs of termites or other infestations.

Most contract agreements have a series of built-in protections for the buyer, also called objections. These allow buyers to get out of the contract (penalty free) at various points in the process. One is known as the inspection objection, and you’ll want to have your inspection report in hand with plenty of time to negotiate the findings, before the inspection objection deadline. That way, if your seller isn’t willing to accommodate your requests, you can terminate the contract without issue.

Lastly, it’s always a good idea to tour the entire property of your new home at least once before the inspection. Make note of anything concerning, and pass these concerns along to your home inspector beforehand. That way, you can be sure that all of your concerns (if the inspector finds them valid) make it onto the report for the seller to see — and you’ll have the best possible chance of successful negotiation.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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How to Make a Retirement Budget So You Don’t Outlive Your Savings MAKING MONEY

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Read Time:8 Minute, 27 Second

You’ve spent decades in the workforce earning a living, your schedule dictated by the demands of the job. All the while, you’ve been steadily adding to your savings so that one day you could get to this point. Retirement.

Now, there’s no alarm to wake you up in the mornings and no boss to answer to. You can finally get around to crossing items off your bucket list — or simply have the opportunity to catch a midweek matinee movie.

The world is your oyster.

Life may feel more relaxed and carefree, but that doesn’t mean you no longer have financial responsibilities. In fact, now’s the time you might need to be even more diligent about budgeting your money.

Living on What You Have Saved

When you say goodbye to your 9-to-5, you also say goodbye to your regular paycheck. You’ll rely on Social Security checks, the money in your retirement accounts and any additional income, like from a pension, to cover your expenses.

Sticking to a budget is vital so your retirement savings last. That money you’ve squirreled away in your working years has to stretch for decades. Remember, life on a fixed income means there are no bonuses, overtime or promotions to increase your cash flow.

How Much Should You Have Saved?

If you’re already retired or nearing retirement age, hopefully you’ve done the math to determine whether you’ll have enough money to keep you afloat.

One popular rule of thumb is to have 25 times your average annual expenses saved up. But how much money you need in retirement depends on many factors, like your age, where you live and the type of retirement you want to enjoy.

If you want to retire at 60, rent a highrise in New York City and travel every couple of months, you’ll need considerably more money than a retiree who leaves the workforce at 70, lives in a paid-off home in rural North Dakota and just stays home and knits.

Pro Tip

Here are 11 of the best places to retire on a budget.

There are also a lot of unknowns in retirement — like what medical conditions you could develop and exactly how many years you’ll need your money to stretch.

That’s why it’s important to have robust retirement savings and to be cognizant of your spending in your golden years.

How to Make the Most of Your Nest Egg

To make your savings last, you’ve got to be prudent about how much you withdraw each year.

“The gold standard has always been 4%, but new research has revealed a different number,” said Chuck Czajka, a certified estate planner and owner of Macro Money Concepts in Stuart, Florida.

He said withdrawing 3% a year instead gives you a 90% success rate to last through a 25-year retirement.

Keep in mind, once you’ve determined how much you can withdraw per year, you’ll want to divide that amount by 12 to come up with how much to withdraw each month. Czajka recommends withdrawing money from your retirement accounts on a monthly basis rather than taking out all you’d need for a whole year.

Meeting with a financial adviser can help you come up with a personalized plan to fit your individual situation.

“As people approach retirement, they should work with a retirement professional to determine their expected retirement income,” said Lisa Bamburg, a registered investment adviser and owner of Insurance Advantage in Jacksonville, Arkansas.

A grandfather runs after his grandchild in his backyard.

Factoring in Income Beyond Your Savings

In addition to the money you’ve saved in your 401(k), individual retirement account (IRA) or other investment accounts, a portion of your retirement income will come from Social Security benefits.

You can start collecting Social Security benefits as early as age 62, but you’ll receive less money per month than if you waited until full retirement age — 66 or 67, depending on when you were born.

If you delay claiming Social Security benefits past your full retirement age, you’ll receive even more each month. However, there’s no additional increase once you’ve reached age 70.

Pro Tip

This calculator from the Social Security Administration gives you a rough idea of your retirement benefits. This retirement estimator is more accurate but requires plugging in your personal info.

In addition to Social Security, you might have other sources of retirement income, like money from a pension plan or an annuity.

A recent report from the National Institute on Retirement Security found that many retirees don’t have a great diversity in their retirement income, though more income sources provide for a more secure retirement.

The report found less than 7% of older Americans have retirement income that’s made up of a combination of Social Security, a pension plan and a retirement contribution plan like a 401(k). About 40% rely on Social Security alone.

“Social Security benefits typically are not the equivalent of what it takes for most people to maintain their standard of living,” Bamburg said.

The Social Security Administration states its retirement benefits only replace about 40% of earnings for people with average wages — more for low-income workers and less for those in higher income brackets.

How to Create a Retirement Budget

Once you determine what your retirement income will be, it’s time to make your retirement budget.

If you’ve already been budgeting, you’re off to a great start, though your new budget will likely differ from that of your working days.

Take Stock of Your Essential Expenses

First you’ve got to get an overall look at your current spending. If you don’t already have a budget or track your spending, pull out the past several months of bank or credit card statements. Dig up old receipts if you tend to pay in cash.

Reviewing the past three months will help you find what you spend on average, but an even deeper dive — looking at the last six to 12 months — will give you a more accurate picture and will reveal things like your annual car insurance bill and holiday spending.

Group your spending into categories to get a good picture of where your money’s going. You’ll have fixed expenses, like your mortgage, where the cost stays the same each month. Other expenses, like groceries or utilities, will vary. For those, you should calculate your average monthly spend.

Account for Changes

After leaving the workforce, you’ll probably notice some differences in your spending. You’ll no longer have to pay for downtown parking near the office, dry cleaning your suits or pricey lunches with coworkers. Your monthly retirement contributions will be a thing of the past.

However, not everything will be budget cuts. You’ll have to account for new retirement expenses, like health care premiums your employer previously covered. If you’re 65, you can get health insurance through Medicare, but it’s likely you’ll have increased out-of-pocket medical costs as you age.

If you choose to get long-term care insurance to lessen the expense of an assisted living facility or nursing home (should you need one in the future), you’ll have to budget for those insurance premiums.

And of course, now that you have an influx in free time, you can pursue the things you’ve always wanted to do — which means more new expenses.

Make Room for Fun in Your Retirement Budget

A group of retired women have fun.

Getty ImagesA big part of retirement planning is determining what type of lifestyle you want to have when you’re no longer at work 40 hours a week.

Do you want to travel? Spend more time with your grandkids? Explore a new hobby? After you’ve covered your essential expenses, how you spend what’s left in your budget is totally up to you.

Don’t forget to include run-of-the-mill discretionary expenses, like cable, magazine subscriptions and dining out. It won’t all be cruise ships and Broadway plays.

If you’re married, be sure to share your vision for retirement with your partner, so you’re both on the same page about how you’ll spend your time and money.

Adjusting Expectations to Reality

As you create your monthly budget, you may discover you don’t have nearly as much money as you thought you’d have in retirement. That doesn’t mean you have to live out the rest of your life kicking yourself for not saving more. You have a few options to get by.

Take another look at your living expenses. Are there any ways you can cut costs? Slash your food spending with these tips to save money on groceries. Consider downsizing to a smaller home.

Pro Tip

If you’re struggling meeting basic needs, programs like Meals on Wheels or the Low Income Energy Assistance Program can help.

When it comes to your discretionary spending, look for ways to enjoy a more frugal retirement. Take advantage of senior discounts. Check out free activities at your local community center. Find ways to save money on traveling.

Although retirement means leaving your working days behind, you may find it necessary to pick up a side gig or part-time job to supplement your income. Seek out opportunities that match your interests so it doesn’t feel like work.

Don’t forget to enjoy this new stage of life. You worked hard — you deserve it.

Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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How to Cut Car Insurance Costs: Tricks for Everyone MAKING MONEY

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Today’s new luxury cars come equipped with a growing menu of high-tech driving-assistance options. Safety features like blind-spot collision-avoidance warnings can lower your chances of getting in an auto accident — while also reducing your car insurance rates.

In fact, a new Business Insider article just found that auto insurance companies are offering up to 10% discounts if your vehicle is equipped with an advanced driver-assistance system, or ADAS.

Ah, but what if you can’t afford a new luxury car? What then?

You’ll just have to lower your auto insurance premiums the old-fashioned ways. Here are three strategies:

1. Shop Around

You need to get quotes from a few different places to make sure you’re getting the best deal. So how do you know which companies to get quotes from? We suggest letting someone else do all the hard work for you.

A free website called Savvy will help you find the best price — in just 30 seconds. In fact, it saves people an average of $826 a year.

All you have to do is connect your current insurance, then Savvy will search hundreds of insurers for a better price on the same coverage. It’ll even help you cancel your old policy and get you a refund from your current insurer.

2. Raise Your Credit Score

Everyone knows a good credit score can help you buy a house, but here’s another reason to keep an eye on your score: It could lead to cheaper car insurance. So make sure you pay bills on time, and don’t use too much of your available credit at once. If you need to establish credit from scratch, look into a secured credit card or credit-builder loan.

3. Buy a Cheaper Car

In this case, you head in the opposite direction from the high-end luxury car. Generally, the more expensive the car, the more expensive it is to insure. You can save money upfront and over time by sticking with cheaper cars. Typically, that means quality used cars.

Because not everybody can afford a brand new luxury car — even if those cars do come with top-of-the-line safety features.

The Business Insider article about 10% car insurance discounts for extra-safe vehicles used the example of the 2021 Genesis GV80, a luxury SUV that can be equipped with rear cross-traffic and collision-avoidance assist, blind-spot collision-avoidance assist, highway driving assist, lane-following assist, forward-attention warnings, surround-view monitoring, remote-smart parking assist, and blind spot monitoring.

All very worthy features. And the car’s suggested price starts at $48,900.

The bottom line is that, no matter what your socioeconomic status is, there are ways to reduce your car insurance bill.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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9 Vet-Approved Ways to Find Affordable, Healthy Pet Food MAKING MONEY

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Your pet is part of your family, but that doesn’t mean his food needs to cost as much as yours — even if you’re trying to feed him high-quality food.

However, the range of choices in pet food may make this seem like a daunting task. You can’t ask your furry friends which foods they like best, either.  (You could, but you may not get a satisfactory answer.)

That’s why we spoke to veterinarians and nutritionists to find out how you can identify the healthiest, most nutritious pet food options that’ll fit your budget.

Before you purchase your pet food, speak with your vet about the best options for your pet, especially if your furry friend has special dietary needs.

Find Generic Brands From Well-Known Companies

Stephanie Mantilla, a positive animal trainer and enrichment specialist with Curiosity Trained, always looks for expensive brands disguised as generics. For example, Whole Earth Farms is made by Merrick but costs a fraction of the price, Mantilla says.

The easiest way to find high-quality generic brands is to look at the food brands you don’t recognize in the same section of the store as the high-quality pet food, Mantilla says.

“It’ll be Merrick, Wellness, Instinct and Taste of the Wild brands near one another,” she said. “Then, if you see another brand you aren’t familiar with but is at a lower price, it likely is one of the generic brands.”

Another way to find these generic brands is to search online, Mantilla says. If you have a brand of pet food you like, search for “generic XX food.”

“Sometimes, you’ll find exact match generic brands or recommendations for a similar brand if that company doesn’t make a generic version,” Mantilla said.

A woman smiles at the camera with her dog. The woman in the photos is a positive animal trainer and enrichment specialist with Curiosity Trained.

Look for Whole Meat Products

With dog food, whole meat products — rather than by-products — should be the first ingredients on the list.

“Dogs are omnivores, but a food whose first ingredient is grains may not contain enough protein for them,” Mantilla says.

Brands that meet this criteria include Purina Pro-plan, Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand and Blue Buffalo, according to Sakura Davis, a veterinary consultant and technician.

Grain-Free Food Isn’t Necessarily the Best

Grain-free food is typically more expensive than the alternatives, but that doesn’t mean that it’s better than the alternatives (unless your dog needs to be grain-free for medical reasons).

In fact, while some humans feel better on a grain-free diet, that doesn’t necessarily hold true for your pets, especially dogs. The FDA found there may be a link between the development of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs that eat grain-free pet food, many of which contain peas, lentils, legume seeds and potatoes as the main ingredients.

Look for “Nutritionally Complete” Labels

Even if you can’t identify the odd-sounding ingredients in your pet’s food, there’s one way to quickly see if the bag of kibble or can of food is nutritionally complete: Look at the label.

Pet food labels should have a Nutritional Adequacy statement, which may also be referred to as the AAFCO statement. You can find this on the back of the bag or can, or on the side in the fold. It should convey the following: whether the food contains all the essential nutrients your pet needs; how this was determined; and what age or stage of life this food was designed to serve.

If you see that the product was intended for intermittent and supplemental feeding only, then you should avoid using it for meals. Use it for treats instead.

Dry Pet Food Is OK

A study published in BMJ’s Vet Record found that just 13% of dogs and 33% of cats exclusively eat conventional pet food like kibble. While people may be concerned that the kibble is boring or unhealthy for their pets, that’s actually not the case.

“What they don’t see are the nutrients in that kibble they don’t see the decades of research behind it,” Sarah Dodd, veterinarian and lead author of the study, told Supermarket News.

Avoid Carrageenan

If you buy wet food, try to avoid brands that use carrageenan, Mantilla says. It’s a derivative of seaweed often used as a thickening agent. It bulks up wet food so it looks like there’s more of the food, but you’re getting fewer calories per serving.

A little girl tries to feed her kitten food out of her hand. This story goes over how to find affordable, cheap and healthy pet food.

“Premium“ Is a Marketing Term — Ignore It

The word “premium” is just a marketing term, according to researchers at the Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University. As with the word “natural,” any company can add the word “premium” onto its pet food packaging without justification.

This term is a favorite of brands because many consumers believe the product is better quality when they see it on the packaging, and will thus be inclined to pay more for it. A 2007 study by the California Institute of Technology and Stanford University found that when people are told that they’re tasting an expensive product, they’ll be more likely to believe it tastes better than the inexpensive option.

Pet parents aren’t immune from this. The premium pet food market accounted for 44% of pet food sales in 2001, but that percentage jumped to 61% by 2015. You can save yourself some cash by opting not to buy pet food labeled as “premium.”

Change How You Think of the Cost

Instead of looking at the price per bag or even the price per pound, look at the price per kilocalorie, according to Tuft University’s Clinical Nutrition Service. Pet foods pack in kilocalories differently, and as a result, two bags of dry food that weigh the same may differ when it comes to calorie content. A bag with more kilocalories may cost more, but you’ll also need to feed your pets less per feeding.

Here’s how to figure out the price per kilocalorie for pet food. First, determine how much your pet eats each day.  Measure the amount of each food your pet eats and multiply that by the number of calories per cup/gram/can of food. (Not sure how to do this? These calorie calculators can help.)

Once you know how many kilocalories your pet needs to eat, then find out how many kilocalories are in the food, which you can find on the label, and how much the bag or can of food cost.

Then scroll to the bottom of this page and plug in those numbers, and the calculator will tell you how much it costs to feed your pet each day.  This will give you a better sense of what it would actually cost to feed your pet the food in question than you can get from only looking at price per bag or price per pound.

FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM

Make Your Own Pet Food

The most inexpensive way to feed your dog a very high quality meal is to make the food yourself, says Emma Bowdrey, an ISCP-trained dog trainer in Easterton, United Kingdom.

Include proteins, carbs and nutritious vegetables, and avoid onions, garlic and chives. Bowdrey recommends going to the butcher for internal organs, such as liver, kidneys and heart.

“These are rich in proteins, fats, Vitamins A, B and iron, and are fairly inexpensive, so you get a lot of nutritious bang for your buck,” Bowdrey says.

Combine these with other good quality muscle meat, potatoes and vegetables to create a well-balanced and tasty meal for your dog. Turmeric and ginger, which are anti-inflammatories that can improve gut health, can be added during the prep process, Bowdrey says.

Raw bones are also a great addition to keep teeth clean and remove tartar, but avoid cooked bone, as these are prone to splintering. For extra variety, foods such as apples, sardines and strawberries make a great snack.

Danielle Braff is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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7 Trader Joe’s Vegetarian Recipes for Cooking on a Budget MAKING MONEY

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Read Time:7 Minute, 40 Second

If you’re looking for a way to cut food costs and still eat well, going vegetarian could be the solution — especially if you know what to cook.

Fortunately, we’ve come up with some tasty budget-friendly meatless recipes that you can find by shopping at Trader Joe’s.

It’s not as if being a vegetarian is a new concept — or a fringe idea. Nearly one in four Americans reported eating less meat in the previous year, according to a 2019 Gallup Poll.

And with food prices rising 3.9% over the past 12 months, cutting food costs could offer a major way to save. (Also check out this article on additional ways to save on food costs.)

Beyond cutting costs by buying less meat, plant-based diets offer potential health benefits, including a reduced risk of heart attack, certain types of cancer and type 2 diabetes.

By incorporating simple ingredients you can find at Trader Joe’s, these vegetarian recipes can help prevent you from getting bored with your food — or from breaking the bank.

7 Trader Joe’s Vegetarian Recipes for The Budget Foodie

We’ve found some delicious ways to make simple meatless dishes, whether you’re a committed vegetarian or are simply trying to eat less meat than you usually do.

Budgeting for meals doesn’t have to mean going all-in organic (though you can check out these seven ways to save on organic food) or spending a bundle on fancy meat substitutes.

To make meals healthy but still delicious, simply include a protein-rich food and look for ways to incorporate vegetables or fruit in every meal.

Here are seven of our favorite meals to make after a shopping trip to Trader Joe’s.

Note: The approximate cost per serving assumes you already own some kitchen items, like butter, oil, spices and basic condiments. Also, we give the total cost and the number of servings you can get out of the ingredients listed, but plenty of the items come in larger quantities — use the leftovers in other dishes.

1. Cauliflower Fried “Rice”

Trader Joe’s does the hard part for you — it sells cauliflower that is already “riced” in the frozen vegetable section. Cook the riced cauliflower with minced garlic, ginger, turmeric and salt and pepper.

From there, add your favorite vegetables — or whatever you have in my fridge (think: carrot, celery and onion). You can toss in a scrambled egg for extra protein.

Cauliflower fried rice is surprisingly filling, especially when served with tofu for a protein boost. You’ll get several servings of vegetables with this meal and lots of vitamin C from the cauliflower.

  • Trader Joe’s Organic Riced Cauliflower: $1.99
  • Organic eggs: $4.29
  • Organic celery hearts: $2.49
  • Organic carrots: $1.49
  • Yellow onion: 79 cents
  • Trader Joe’s Sriracha Baked Tofu: $3.69

Total Cost: $14.74 for 3 servings

A bowl of a kale and chickpea salad.

2. Kale and Chickpea Salad

Even if you’re a vegetarian, salads can get a bit boring — and some veggies get a bad rap, like kale. The key is in how you prepare it. Before dressing the salad, go through the leaves to remove hard stems. After rinsing, add a small spoonful of olive oil and gently massage the kale to break it down and remove bitterness. Start with more kale than you want to end up with, because after you’re done massaging it, it shrinks to nearly half its size.

Now, the best part. Pour Trader Joe’s Goddess Dressing, a creamy Greek dressing, over the greens (not too much!). Stir to combine. Then top with chickpeas and shredded parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Now, enjoy the best salad you’ve ever had.

  • Organic kale: $2.49
  • Trader Joe’s Goddess Dressing: $2.29
  • Organic chickpeas: 99 cents
  • Shredded parmesan: $5.49

Total Cost: $11.26 for 4 servings

Granola is placed on Greek yogurt.

3. Greek Yogurt Parfait

Greek yogurt has an unbelievable amount of protein. The 2% fat version has 20 grams in one serving — that goes a long way toward your daily intake. Buy the unflavored Greek yogurt to avoid too much added sugar, then add honey to sweeten to taste. From there, add your favorite toppings; we recommended blueberries and granola.

This Greek yogurt parfait is perfect for breakfast, lunch, snacks — whenever. It resembles a dessert but is seriously protein-packed, and it even has a serving of fruit.

  • Trader Joe’s 2% Fat Greek Yogurt: $2.99
  • 3/4 cup Trader Joe’s Ancient Grains and Nut Granola: $3.49
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries: $3.69

Total Cost: $10.17 for 2 servings

4. Vegetable Masala Burgers With Fries

Although the Trader Joe’s Vegetable Masala Burgers don’t pretend to taste like meat, they’re a pretty good substitute when you’re having a burger craving.

The patties are filled with potatoes, carrots, green beans, corn, peppers and Indian spices. Serve on a whole wheat bun for a boost of fiber, and skip the fries in favor of veggies (or veggie fries!) to make the meal healthier.

You can load up the burger with a tomato, sauteed onion, mayonnaise and cheese — or whatever toppings you’re craving.

This burger is low in protein (it only has 2 grams on its own; the bun has 5 grams), but it takes care of a vegetable serving or two. It’s naturally high in vitamin A — you’ll get 50% of your daily value from one patty!

  • Trader Joe’s Vegetable Masala Burgers: $2.69
  • Whole wheat buns: $1.99
  • Organic tomatoes on the vine: $3.29
  • Yellow onion: 79 cents
  • Cheddar cheese slices: $3.99
  • Fries: $2.49

Total Cost: $15.24 for 4 servings

Sriracha baked tofu and gyoza only cost $3.17 to make per serving.

5. Tofu and Gyoza

This is an easy meal to make, but it still packs protein and vegetable servings. It’s the ultimate lazy dinner meal — you can make it in the microwave in under four minutes.

If you’re wondering, “What’s gyoza?” It’s like a thin ravioli stuffed with shredded vegetables. This one has cabbage, carrots, radish and onions.

Combine it with Trader Joe’s Sriracha Baked Tofu for protein and to make it a full meal. Once cooked, you can top the gyoza with a little minced garlic.

Beware of the gyoza’s high sodium content — especially if you’re adding soy sauce. But because it has carrots inside, it’s a good source of vitamin A. This meal will give you 15 grams of protein per serving.

  • Trader Joe’s Sriracha Baked Tofu: $3.69
  • Trader Joe’s Thai Vegetable Gyoza: $3.99

Total Cost: $7.68 for 2 servings

FROM THE SAVE MONEY FORUM

6. Brussels Sprouts With Sweet Potato

For this recipe, pour maple syrup and soy sauce over the brussels sprouts and then oven-bake until they’re crispy (about 25 minutes at 400 degrees).

Once they’re done, add a sprinkling of goat cheese. The creaminess of the cheese complements the crunchy, sweet flavor of the glazed brussel sprouts perfectly.

This meal is surprisingly filling, so just add a baked sweet potato to enhance the sweet flavor and add some diversity — and a huge dose of vitamins — to your plate. If sweet potatoes aren’t your thing, cook these brussel sprouts as a side and add to your other favorite meals.

  • Brussels sprouts: $3.99
  • Goat cheese: $3.29
  • Sweet potato: 79 cents

Total Cost: $8.07 for 4 servings

Paneer Tikka Masala is a budget friendly dish.

7. Honorable Mention: Paneer Tikka Masala and Naan Bread

OK, this isn’t the healthiest lunch in the world, but it is quite delicious. Whenever it’s cooking, someone is bound to note how good it smells.

Watch your sodium on days you make these — like most frozen foods, Trader Joe’s Paneer Tikka Masala contains an unhealthy amount. But it’s a nice treat packed with health-benefiting spices, spinach and 10 grams of protein from the paneer.

It heats up quickly in the microwave and is good to have on hand for emergency lunch situations. If the paneer tikka masala alone isn’t usually enough to keep you full through dinner, crisp up garlic naan bread in the oven (another 7 grams of protein, and a good source of fiber!). This meal is fast and comes in under $5.

  • Trader Joe’s Paneer Tikka Masala: $2.99
  • Trader Joe’s Garlic Naan Bread: $1.99 for a package (you get four, so divide that for about 50 cents per serving)

Total Cost: $3.49 per single serving

Joline Buscemi is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder. Staff writer/editor Tiffany Wendeln Connors updated prices for 2020.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

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