Sometimes life is too busy to save money.
Sounds crazy, but it’s true. Kids, appointments, work, errands. When you’re exhausted, hungry, and busy, you just can’t bring yourself to think about finances.
Instead of looking for that cheaper option at the grocery store, so you grab the brand. You could probably find free parking, but you’re busy, so you pay a garage.
We all do it. But saving those nickels and dimes can make a huge difference in the long run.
That’s where these nifty phone apps come in handy. They’re free, easy to use, and help save those extra dollars when life is too busy.
Let’s dive right in.
1. Mint (Save Money by Budgeting)
Mint is a budgeting app that puts all of your finances into one location. It links all of your accounts – banks, credit cards, loans, etc – and displays them in one place.
It displays all of your financial information in an easy-to-understand graph. This format helps you see the big picture of your money – where you’re spending too much, how much money is left in your budget, etc.
Check out this screenshot:
Mint is available on Apple products and Android. And Mint has device carryover, which means you can view the same information on your desktop computer, laptop, or tablet.
If you update the information on your phone, you can look at your laptop and see the same information update.
Mint sends alerts through email or SMS (Short Message Service) to let you know when a bill is due. Super helpful when life is crazy and you forgot your credit card bill was due.
Mint also sends out weekly summary emails to let you know what happened in the past week with your finances.
It’s like a personal secretary for your finances in your pocket.
2. Ibotta (Save Money Grocery Shopping)
Ibotta is a phone app that enables you to earn cash back when you spend money in-store and online. It’s fantastic for saving money when buying groceries.
Here’s how it works:
• Down the free app, and create an account.
• Before going to the store, check out Ibotta to see which items will give you cash back.
• After your shopping trip, take a photo of the receipt, and scan the barcode of the product.
• Cash is deposited to your Ibotta account.
Yup. It’s that easy!
Once you accumulate $20.00 in your Ibotta account, you can withdraw it with PayPal or Venmo. You can also exchange your balance for gift cards.
Sometimes the gift cards are offered at a discount. For example, you may only need to give $10 from your Ibotta account for a $15 gift card.
And it’s more than just groceries. Get in the habit of checking your Ibotta app before shopping anywhere, because Ibotta can also get cash back on:
• Convenient stores
• And more
It may take one or two tries before you the hang of it, but it gets easier to use over time. Signing up is easy and the app is user-friendly.
Depending on how much you use the app, you can save anywhere from a couple of dollars a month to $100 a month.
Ibotta is like the modern-day couponing.
3. Ebates (Save Money Shopping)
Some hardcore couponers spend hours scouring the web for good deals. Ebates makes this process a lot easier by putting them in one place and organizing them.
Ebates offers coupons at select stores. You also get cash back from Ebates.
It’s great for online shopping and in-store shopping.
How it works online:
• Create an account, then go to the App (or ebates.com).
• Search for the store you want to shop at.
• Click “Shop Now” and browse the store as you normally would.
• After making a purchase, a percentage appears up in your Ebates account.
Note: it can take up to 7 days after purchase for the cashback to show up in your Ebate account.
For example, let’s say Ebates offers 5% off for shopping at Best Buy, so you purchase a $1000 TV. After buying it, you get $50 back within 7 days.
How it works in-store:
Any time you’re about to check out somewhere, pull up your Ebates app and see if there are any coupons or deals. This will save money on your purchases.
Plus you might find a good deal on an item in-store that you didn’t pick up. Turn your cart around and snag it!
Before leaving home to go shopping, take some time to browse Ebates. You’ll spot some great deals, and that it can help guide you on which stores to shop at.
Essentially, you’re saving money while just doing your routine, every-day shopping.
4. Raise (Save Money with Gift Cards)
Raise is a genius phone app that buys and sells gift cards. When people don’t want their gift cards or want extra money, they sell their gift cards to Raise.
In turn, Raise will sell these gift cards at prices lower than the card’s worth. For example, you might be able to buy a $25 gift card to Applebee’s for $20 dollars.
Raise commonly has gift cards to a variety of locations, such as:
• T.J. Maxx
Their selection of gift cards fluctuates, but at any given time there’s a decent variety and number of gift cards to choose from.
The app is very easy to navigate. Its displays prices clearly, so there isn’t a lot of tapping and investigating. You can check if a place has a gift card on this app within a minute.
Raise offers buyers a guarantee that all gift cards are good for at least 1 year. This means the gift cards won’t be inactive, expired, or have less money on them than presented.
Otherwise, you get your money back.
You can request physical cards (it takes 3-14 days), but I suggest redeeming gift cards online, right from the app. This is much more convenient and quick.
The trick is to always check the app before paying anywhere. If you’re eating a restaurant, look at your Raise app before paying for the meal. There might be a good gift card.
This will knock your bills down a couple of dollars for many purchases.
5. Drop (Save Money by Earning Rewards)
Drop is an app that gives you reward points when you shop at your favorite stores.
After you accumulate enough rewards, you can redeem those rewards for a gift card at those stores.
Here’s how to get started:
• Download the app at Google Play or iTunes. Or, you can go to the Drop website. Click on ‘Get the app.’ Enter your phone number and they’ll text you a link where you can download the app.
• Create a profile, then link a credit or debit card.
• Select your favorite brands.
• Shop at those stores with your linked card.
• Start spending the points you accumulate.
Once you earn 5,000 points, you can redeem them for gift cards. 5,000 points equal out to $5 across the board. You can spend in multiples. For example, 25,000 points can give you a $25 gift card to Amazon.
This app works best for your regular purchases. If you buy coffee from Starbucks a lot or do all of your shopping at Walmart, go for those brands.
It can take up to 24 hours before the app registers your purchase and gives you points.
You don’t need to change your habits. Just continue to live life like you normally do, and make money while doing it.
Then, when the time comes, redeem those points for a killer gift card.
Practice Using these Apps and Start Saving
It might take some time to get used to a phone app, but it’s worth it. Saving extra dollars at a restaurant or at a retailer adds up over time.
That’s more money for bills, paying off debt, and saving for those big goals – like a car, college, or house.
If you don’t understand the app right away, give it some time. You’ll get the hang of it.
If you’re stumped, check out a YouTube tutorial to guide you. For example, here is a tutorial for the app Mint.
Any question can be answered by the internet in a few minutes.
Pull out your phone, head over the app store, download the suggested apps, and get busy saving.
DOJ Files Suit Against Google Over Anti-Competitive Behavior
After a nearly 16-month investigation, the Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, part of Alphabet. This is the first of likely a handful of lawsuits against one of the FAANG stocks.
The suit alleges that Google has engaged in anticompetitive conduct to preserve monopolies in search and search advertising. It is the most notable lawsuit on the grounds of anticompetitive behavior in nearly 20 years. The last one was when Microsoft had been sued by the government in 1998 accusing the software giant of unlawful monopolization.
The lawsuit alleges that Google is acting as a gatekeeper to the internet. It acts as such by creating exclusionary and interlocking business agreements that prevent competition. For example, the government says Google uses the billions of dollars it collects from advertisers to pay cell phone manufacturers to install Google as their preset, default search engine.
The DOJ lawsuit specifically points out that Google’s search application is preloaded on mobile phones running its popular Android operating system. It also points out the fact that this app can’t be deleted. The lawsuit adds that Google unlawfully prohibits competitors’ search applications from being preloaded on phones under revenue-sharing arrangements.
Keeping an Eye on Tech Companies
Large tech companies, like Alphabet’s Google, along with Facebook, Apple and Amazon, are in the crosshairs of legislators in Washington, D.C., who think that the government should have more control over how the companies operate.
In the U.S., nearly all state attorneys general are separately investigating Google. Eleven state attorneys general, all Republicans, joined the Justice Department’s case.
It’s not just Republicans who have a problem with Google’s actions. Democrats on a House antitrust subcommittee released a report this month saying all four tech giants wield monopoly power and recommending congressional action.
The company’s problems aren’t limited to US regulators, either. European Union regulators have also hit Google with three antitrust complaints and fined it about $9 billion. However, the lawsuits and fines have apparently done little to slow the company down.
Lawsuit Too Broad?
Amazingly, as news broke of the DOJ lawsuit, Google’s share price actually rose.
Fox Business’ Charlie Gasparino says it’s because investors think the lawsuit is too broad and will take years to litigate.
“When the news hit, when they read the complaint, let’s just say “underwhelmed” was the word of the day. Investors we are talking to are downplaying the impact of this suit on Google. They believe the suit, if you look at it, there’s a lot of heated language, but in terms of comparing to other anti-trust suits on tech, such as Microsoft that had really specific issues that Microsoft did to hurt a competitor… this lacks that type of specificity.”
He then added that even a worst-case scenario could be good for Google investors.
“They believe it’s too broad, they believe it’s going to take years to litigate, they believe Google has the financial resources to fight, and here’s the other interesting thing. They actually think that Google, even if you broke it up, and that’s the worst-case scenario, you could get a lot of value out of the sum of its parts,” said Gasparino.
Rickards: Get Ready For Deflation, And Here’s Where Gold Prices Are Headed
Yesterday we brought you the first part of an interview by James Rickards. In it, he gave his outlook on the stock market. He also shared his viewpoints on why the Federal Reserve can’t create inflation despite printing trillions of dollars.
Today we bring you the second part of the interview, where Rickards discusses why he thinks we are headed towards deflation and not inflation, why gold falls when the stock market falls, and where he sees gold prices headed.
Moving Toward Deflation?
He says we are headed toward deflation despite trillions of dollars in money printing. Rickards thinks it’s because we aren’t spending any of that money.
“The greatest danger in the macro-economy today is deflation, because declining labor force participation, declining productivity, most of all velocity. Velocity is the turnover of money. It doesn’t matter what the money supply is. If there’s not turnover, if there’s not lending and spending, if the people aren’t chasing the goods, you’re not going to get inflation. But velocity is a psychological phenomenon. How do you feel? Do you feel prosperous, do you feel confident, do you want to go out and buy dinner or drinks, or do you feel cautious, do you feel concerned, you saw your neighbor lose her job, you’re worried about losing your job, so you save more,” said Rickards.
He said the savings rate is still at levels well above anything we’ve seen historically here in the US.
“The evidence is people are saving more. We’re in a liquidity trap. Saving was sort of working its way up from 5% to 8%, in April it was 33%. In May it was still 25%, in June it was 17%. So savings can be a good thing in the long run, but in the short run savings comes out of consumption. If I make money I’m either going to spend it or save it. Well if I save more I spend less. So all the signs are pointed to deflation. They can say they want inflation and they can print all the money they want, it doesn’t mean they’re going to get it.”
There are two types of gold buyers according to Rickards. The “strong hands” will be around when gold runs to $15,00 per ounce.
“There are two kinds of buyers of gold or investors in gold generally. The strong hands and the weak hands. The strong hands don’t use a lot of leverage, they use cash or capital, they’re in it for the long haul, they’re not day traders, I mean I watch the tape because I’m an analyst, I do a lot of interviews about it and I write about it, but I’m not a day trader. I don’t get too euphoric if gold goes up, I don’t get depressed if it goes down. I know where it’s going in the long run, it’s going in the neighborhood of $15,000 an ounce.”
Not Out of the Ordinary
He doesn’t offer a timeframe for the massive run-up in gold prices. However, he says it isn’t uncommon for gold to sell off along the way.
“That doesn’t have to happen next year or the year after. That’s the trend. I like to remind people, if it’s going to $15,000 an ounce, which it is, it’s got to go to $3,000 – $4,000 – $5000 – $6,000 along the way. So that’s the long term trend, so I don’t worry about the wiggles. As far as the stock market is concerned, this happened in 2008, I remember the worst part of it in 2008 in September, October and November when the stock market was absolutely crashing, gold was going down. And I was getting all these calls, ‘Gold is a safe haven, how come it’s going down?'” he said.
“What happens is in a liquidity crisis, everybody sells everything, especially the weak hands. If you’re leveraged and you’re in the gold futures market and you’re long and the market is collapsing, you’ve got to sell and get out, you’ve got to cut your losses.”
“Strong Hands” Stepping In
When this happens and prices drop, Rickards says the “strong hands” step in and start buying.
“If you’re a leveraged player, you’ve got to either come up with cash for the margin, or you have to sell your position which makes it worse. So what people do is sell gold to get cash to meet the margin call on the stock losses. Or they’re on the wrong side of the gold market and they’re leveraged and they just sell to cut their losses. So it does go down, it’s highly predictable. But the strong hands are waiting. It’s like a lynx or a mountain lion hunt. They don’t stalk their prey, they just sit there and wait and then pounce. Strong hands are watching, they don’t jump in on day one, they wait until it goes down enough and then they come in and buy and it goes right back up again.”
Report: Biden’s Economic Plans Would Mean 5 Million US Jobs Lost, 10% GDP Drop
A Joe Biden presidency would destroy millions of jobs and derail the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. This is according to a new report from the Hoover Institute at Stanford University.
The report says that based on the economic plans laid out by Biden, nearly 5 million Americans would lose their full-time job. Meanwhile, the country’s gross domestic product, the measure of its economic output, would drop by nearly 10% over the next decade.
These losses would trickle down to the average household. The median household income will fall by $6,500 per year by 2030, according to the report.
Derailing Economic Recovery?
The authors of the report lay out a laundry list of changes. These changes include reversing some of President Trump’s 2017 Tax Cuts And Jobs Act, a tax increase on corporations and high-income households and pass through entities, reversing much of the regulatory reform of the past three years as well as setting new environmental standards, and create or expand subsidies for health insurance and renewable energy.
When it comes to renewable energy, the report says that the proposal to cut our nation’s reliance on fossil fuels is “ambitious” and would require cutting electrical use back to levels not seen since 1979.
“These plans are ambitious. Unless people drive a lot less, the electrification of all, or even most, passenger vehicles would increase the per capita demand for electric power by about 25 percent at the same time that more than 70 percent of the baseline supply (i.e., electricity generated from fossil fuels) would be taken off line and another 11 percent (nuclear) would not expand. To put just the 25 percent in perspective: that is the amount of the cumulative increase in electricity generation per person since 1979, which is a period when nuclear and natural gas generation tripled.”
Taxing Wealthy Americans
To pay for most of these “ambitious” plans, Biden has already said he would significantly raise taxes on wealthy Americans. They, he says, include anyone who earns more than $400,000 per year, through higher taxes, an increase in the payroll tax that funds Social Security, and fewer tax deductions. He also plans on raising the corporate tax rate.
The Penn Wharton Budget Model, a nonpartisan group at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, says nearly 80% of Biden’s proposed tax increases would affect the top 1% of earners in the United States. It will primarily do so through raising the top individual income tax bracket to 39.6% from 37% for those earning more than $400,000 annually.
That means an annual tax increase of nearly $300,000 for households in the top 1%, according to the Tax Policy Center, who say even middle-class families will see a tax increase under Biden’s plan.
Corporations would feel the pinch as Biden said he would raise the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% on “day one.”
During an interview in September, Biden said, “I’d make the changes on the corporate taxes on day one. And the reason I’d make the changes to corporate taxes, it can raise $1.3 trillion if they just started paying 28% instead of 21%. What are they doing? They’re not hiring more people.”
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