- What to buy (and avoid buying) in December — Wise Bread
- This woman went from stealing food to making six figures — DailyWorth
- Jay Z's productivity hacks — Lifehacker
- Could a common medical mishap bankrupt you? — LearnVest
- Google shares the top searched-for toys this holiday season — All You
- Simple energy-saving home fixes — Real Simple
- Feel-good gifts for the women in your life — HuffPost Women
- What DuckTales taught me about inflation — The Billfold
Remember when you were younger and you gave "coupons" to your parents for things like a free car wash? Well, this holiday season, it's time to bring those back, except in a more sophisticated, grown-up way. There are still things you can do to help your family or friends, either by taking a family portrait or booking their next vacation, at little or no cost to you. No doubt they'll appreciate the sentiment, no matter how old you are.
When it comes to enrolling for health coverage, a lot of questions may spring to your mind. LearnVest shares some tips to help you figure out which policy is best suited for you and your health needs.
Scott Kraft, a 40-year-old marathon enthusiast, spent more than a decade covering health care policy in the Washington, D.C., area as a reporter before transplanting to Portland, Ore., a few months ago with his longtime boyfriend.
But while he knows the insides and outsides of the Affordable Care Act, and appreciates that he can get access to the same insurance as his friends without asthma (a pre-existing condition), he is having a hard time making the commitment to enroll in a plan through his state’s health care exchange website (a handful of states launched their own health care exchange websites when HealthCare.gov launched, as part of the ACA).
The problem: He doesn’t know what kind of access to doctors and primary care he’ll have whether he enrolls in a premium “platinum” plan, a “gold-level” plan, a “silver-level” plan, or a basic “bronze-level” plan.
“The X Factor has been network availability,” says Kraft, who is unable to get insurance through his domestic partner’s employer because the two are not married. “I’m fairly new to Oregon, so I don’t have a network of doctors. I don’t have to worry about, ‘Will I lose my provider?’ But for all the information I can get on the site, I am struggling to find out, ‘What if I can’t find a plan … with a good doctor with an open panel?’”
Kraft’s anxiety about the actual “coverage” that comes with these plans—how easy it will be to find a doctor, make an appointment to be seen quickly and related needs — is at the heart of the uncertainty surrounding the enrollment in the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchange plans. So far, about 100,000 consumers have already enrolled.
Still, many of those who have or plan to soon enroll may be in for a shock when they realize that finding a great doctor and getting the care and services they need may not be as easy as picking a plan on a website—or as “affordable.”
According to a recent survey of more than 1,000 medical groups (representing more than 47,500 physicians) from the Medical Group Management Association, an organization that represents primary care physicians, 14% of physician practices currently say they won’t participate in the new health insurance exchange plans, while only about one in three practices say they definitely will.
Another 40% said they are still evaluating whether or not they will participate with health insurance exchange products. One of the biggest reasons doctors don’t want to participate: Financial burdens such as the pain-in-the-butt task of collecting payments from patients with high deductibles.
Doctor interests aside, for consumers like Kraft who want to get the most for their money when it comes to affording health care, this begs a few questions: What kind of health care coverage are you actually buying into when you purchase an exchange plan? And could it change overnight?
Here’s a closer look at coverage issues, and how to figure what insurance policy makes sense for you financially.
- Over-the-counter items: We're not allowed to spend our FSA dollars on over-the-counter medicines without prescriptions but there are plenty of nonmedicinal products that we can still use the FSA money for. For example, band aids, crutches, first aid kits, reading glasses, sunscreen, and wound are all covered under the FSA.
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture is covered by your FSA, so if you have a condition such as pain, consider acupuncture.
- Chiropractic: Your FSA also covers chiropractic visits, so now may be the time to schedule an appointment with your chiropractor.
- Birth control: Many contraceptives are now covered by insurance, but your preferred brand may not be. Use your FSA if your insurance doesn't cover it.
- Glasses and contact lens: Schedule a vision exam and use your FSA dollars to buy a new pair of glasses or supplies of contact lenses.
- Prescription medicine: Buy prescription medicine if it makes sense for you to do so. Most insurance policies will only let you buy a month's supply at a time, so you can't exactly stock up on medicine.
- Copayment: Your FSA will cover the copay for your prescription medicine, doctor's visit, dental visit, and vision visit. So try to go before the end of the year to spend your FSA dollars on copays.
- Laser eye surgery and Lasik: If you've been meaning to get your vision corrected with laser surgery, it's worth considering using your FSA account to do so.
- Medical monitoring and testing devices: If you need a gadget to measure and monitor your blood pressure or ovulation, perhaps it's time to buy one now. Pregnancy and glucose test kits also qualify.
- Therapy. FSA covers therapy if it's for treatment of a medical disorder.
- Massage. Your FSA may cover massage if it's for a treatment of a medical condition, so check with the FSA administrators to see if you qualify.
For a more detailed list on what's allowed, check out this list by WageWorks, and remember to always check with HR just to make certain your expenses qualify. FSA is best used when it covers items that your health insurance doesn't generally pay for. Remember to use them or you'll lose them before the year's up!
- Five ways to make your showers more productive — Lifehacker
- Rules of etiquette everyone should know (and follow!) — Wise Bread
- Holiday gift guide: 5 best mail-order companies — LearnVest
- The truth about regifting: is it ever OK? — All You
- What’s the best way to use credit card points? — Real Simple
- Credit card rewards mistakes holiday shoppers make — Credit Sesame
- Why unpaid internships negatively impact women — HuffPost Women
- Paying extra for a flight for the convenience of a better seat — The Billfold
It's always sad to see a company we love or a well-known personality go bankrupt. However, filing for bankruptcy doesn't always mean that the companies and people won't ever recover from the financial setback.
Many companies rebound after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which just means they need a little time off for some financial reorganization. A Chapter 7 filing is the one we should all be mournful for; it's the final nail in the coffin for firms. We've also seen plenty of people bounce back after bankruptcy, such as Donald Trump, who filed for bankruptcy four times but is a billionaire today.
This year, saw a drop in bankruptcies. In fact, there were 12 percent fewer commercial and personal bankruptcies in the first nine months of 2013 compared to the same period a year ago. This is definitely good news; we haven't seen as many household names on the brink of financial collapse this year compared to last year.
What was the saddest bankruptcy in 2013?
It's always nice to have a small gift for a coworker or a neighbor (like that cute guy down the hall). And this collection of $5-or-less Etsy finds is perfect for giving little trinkets this holiday season. If your gift-giving isn't limited to Christmas, then you can stash these tokens of appreciation and dole them out anytime of year.
Perfect for guys, girls, or even moms, click through for a seriously budget-friendly collection of small presents you'll love giving to others.
If you're planning to work with a tax preparer, it's important to always be honest about your money moves. Business Insider has compiled seven examples you'll want to share next time tax season rolls around.
When it comes to making your money work for you, transparency is key. Just like it's important to disclose potentially embarrassing life events to your wealth adviser, it's equally, if not more, important to be honest with your tax preparer.
However, that's not always the case. In a 2011 IRS report, twice as many Americans (eight percent) believed a little fibbing on tax returns is "fine," compared to the same survey issued in 2010.
And although it's true that the IRS doesn't exactly go after "small potatoes" taxpayers for fibs (generally, you'd need at least $1 million in assets to interest them), even a few missing details could put your refund in jeopardy.
Here are seven confessions we recommend making:
"I made a nondeductible contribution to a traditional IRA."
"While nondeductible contributions have no impact on your tax liability in the year they are made, by not reporting these contributions on your return, it’s more difficult to claim these same amounts are not taxable when they’re later withdrawn from the IRA, usually many years later," says Tim Steffen, CPA and director of financial planning at Baird.
"I've earned income outside of my regular 9-to-5 job."
Whether it's a lawn-mowing service you keep on the side, or a freelance writing gig at your local newspaper, any additional income will need to be reported on your tax forms.
We know. It's a pain to gather all your 1099 forms and keep track of every dollar and cent that you've earned yourself, but it's a big red flag to potential auditors if you don't. At least 4 million people were audited in 2010 for underreporting their income, according to Minyanville.
The IRS uses document-matching programs that let agents cross-check income reported on tax returns against what is reported on forms like a W-2, 1099-INT, 1099-DIV, and 1099-B.
Now that Black Friday is finally over, it's time to take advantage of Cyber Monday sales. Check out what's in store for consumers today (keep watching this space as we continue to update the list):
- Orbitz: 20 percent off the best hotel deals with the code CHEERS. Promo ends Dec. 3.
- Travelocity: Save up to 50 percent on hotels and flight and hotel packages. Get $100 off $1,000 toward a flight and hotel package with the code TURKEY100. Promo ends Dec. 2.
- Alaska Airlines: One-way fares start from as low as $49.
- Southwest: $100-or-less one-way tickets for travel Dec. 24, 25, and 31, 2013, and Jan. 1, 2014.
- Virgin America: Book today with the code GAMEPLANE, and you'll get up to 20 percent off main cabin fares for travel between Dec. 18, 2013, and March 6, 2014.
- Priceline: Save up to 55 percent on hotels. Save an extra 10 percent off hotels with the code CYBER13.
- Shopbop: From Nov. 26 to Dec. 2, Shopbop and its menswear counterpart, East Dane, are offering a tiered promotional sale. A $250 purchase will get you 15 percent off, a $500 buy will save you 20 percent, and if you drop $1,000, you'll get 25 percent off.
- BaubleBar: Enjoy
20 percent off sitewide if you head over to BaubleBar on Cyber Monday.
- : Shop online with 1960House of Harlow 1960 through Dec. 2, and you'll get 25 percent off with the code BLACKHOH.
- Rebecca Minkoff: Shop sitewide to participate in Rebecca Minkoff's tiered promotional sale. Spend $200 for 20 percent off, $400 for 25 percent off, and $600 for 30 percent off, plus receive a special gift with your purchase!
- Century 21: If you're a loyalty customer, you're in luck! You can score one already-discounted designer piece for an additional 25 percent off through Dec. 2.
- Bluefly: A $200-or-more purchase will get you $40 off your entire order plus free shipping.
- BeachMint: From Black Friday through Cyber Monday, receive 50 percent off sitewide.
- TUMI: Cyber Monday is the only day you can purchase your suitcase in this limited-edition camo print.
- Urban Outfitters: On Cyber Monday only, Urban Outfitters is offering a tiered promotional sale. A $75 purchase will get you $15 off, a $100 purchase will get you $25 off, and a $150 purchase will get you $50 off plus free shipping.
- Rent the Runway: In need of a holiday dress? Enjoy 20 percent off your purchase. If you spend over $150, you'll also receive a pair of Moschino headphones, designed exclusively for Rent the Runway.
- Yoox.com: Shop the Fall and Winter Collection now through Cyber Monday with up to 40 percent off pieces by Lanvin, Emporio Armani, Valentino, and many more.
- DVF: Get 30 percent off wear-now styles from the Fall 2013 collection through Cyber Monday. And take an additional 10 percent off on Cyber Monday using the code EXTRA10.
Vince Camuto: Take up to 40 percent off regularly priced items and 50 percent off sale items with code BFRIDAY online through Cyber Monday.
- Diesel: Take advantage of up to 40 percent off select items from Black Friday through Cyber Monday.
- Urban Outfitters: Stop by today, and take $50 off $150, $25 off $100, or $15 off $75 plus free shipping on all orders; no code necessary.
- Express: Take advantage of 40 percent off sitewide plus free shipping; no code necessary.
- Alice + Olivia: Take advantage of an extra 25 percent off sitewide through Cyber Monday; no code required.
- Forever 21: Get 50 percent off sales items and 50 percent off all boots and bags.
- ASOS: 30 percent off everything with code GIMMEMORE.
- Modcloth: Get 30 percent off sitewide with code ROBOPUG.
- Ahava: From Nov. 27 to Dec. 2, you'll get 40 percent off sitewide. You can also get a hand-cream gift set for $18 (originally $42).
- Birchbox: When you buy $55 worth of full-size products, you can get an exclusive Rebecca Taylor makeup bag for free. Just type in REBECCAGIFT.
- Bliss: Save 20 percent on full-size bottles of Elemis and Remede products.
- Bobbi Brown: You'll get five free samples with any order on Cyber Monday only.
- The Body Shop: Save 50 percent on the entire site, and get free shipping with a purchase of $30 or more.
- Chanel: For Cyber Monday, Chanel is offering a special set of polishes.
- Clarisonic: Pick up the new Mia First for only $99 from Nov. 26 through Dec. 5 as well as on Dec. 9, Dec. 26, and Jan. 5.
- Dr. Brandt: It's all about the eyes! With this deal, you'll get 40 percent off eye cream and a bonus BB or CC cream when you spend $150.
- Drybar: All bundles are 20 percent off!
- Elf: 50 percent off any purchase of $30 or more.
- First Aid Beauty: On Cyber Monday only, get free shipping and 30 percent off your purchase.
- FragranceNet.com: New shoppers can get 20 percent off your purchase plus a free gift with purchase if you like FragranceNet.com on Facebook.
- Go Smile: Buy the Smile Whitening Light System for only $69 (originally $129).
- H2O+: With any purchase of $100 or more, you'll get $25 off. Plus, receive a free gift with purchase when you shop from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.
- Make Up For Ever: Get two full-size Aqua Shadows for $10 at Sephora.
- Prescriptives: 30 percent off sitewide and free shipping.
- StriVectin: With the code CMJINGLE25, you can receive 25 percent off a cart of $200 or more.
- Shu Uemura: Treat yourself to an extra 20 percent off and free shipping on orders over $50, and get 25 percent off orders over $100 through Cyber Monday. Don't forget to use the code SUGAR.
- Urban Decay: The brand is bringing back a fan-favorite book of shadows from 2011, and it will only be $25.
Check out POPSUGAR Beauty's full list for a more extensive array of Cyber Monday deals.
- Clever secrets to keep holiday costs in check — LearnVest
- Five things successful people do before 8 a.m. — Lifehacker
- "I cracked Black Friday" — The Billfold
- Reasons why you should ask for cash this Christmas — Wise Bread
- Make your beauty treatments last — Real Simple
- The dos and don’ts of store credit cards — Credit Sesame
- Find out why this woman doesn't believe in a savings account — HuffPost Women
- How to plan ahead for snow days — All You
It's easy to let the holiday spirit carry you into 2014 without paying attention to much else. Before you rush into the next year, be sure to do these seven things in December.
Usually it's tough to bounce back after a long weekend, but today is not your average Monday — it's Cyber Monday, the biggest online shopping day of the year. For those of you who steered clear of Black Friday, now is your chance to scoop up some gifts at a discount, without leaving your desk.
The brains behind Cyber Monday are no dummies and know that you'll be sitting in front of your computer all day, but you need to make sure shopping doesn't get in the way of completing your work. Here's a plan for balancing your Monday priorities.
For a devoted recycler, Christmas can be downright painful, with its piles and piles of wrapping paper, discarded holiday cards, ribbons, gift tags, and of course, the now-dead Christmas tree. Luckily, getting creative with your gift wrap can result in eco-friendly — and clever — ideas. Below are 19 ideas — some super earth-friendly, others just a little — to get your creative gift wrap going.
- Upcycle paper grocery bags as gift wrap and decorate with natural materials.
- Print out old family photos, wrap a box lid, then reuse the box year after year.
- Make gift tags by cutting last year's Christmas cards into fun shapes.
- Save your turkey's wishbone and make this gold wishbone DIY as decoration.
- Wrap gifts with items you'd normally discard: Bubble Wrap, shopping bags, newspaper.
- Make gift tags out of old playing cards or baseball cards.
- Use an old map as wrapping paper and mark the recipient's hometown with a paint pen.
Whether we're speaking with co-workers or family, negotiation is part of our everyday lives. DailyWorth shares what holds people back from negotiating and a few tips on how to master the skill.
Have You Ever Asked For a Raise?
I pride myself on being a savvy businessperson, career focused, and ambitious, and yet I went 19 years without ever asking for a raise. I didn’t think I needed to. Instead, I just worked very hard and hoped my boss would notice and reward me. My strategy seemed to work — until the recession. Since the market collapse in 2008, very few companies are handing out increases unless an employee makes a case for it.
At home, I found I could always get my husband to say yes. Yes to where I wanted to vacation or go to dinner on Saturday night. Yes to new furniture or home repairs. But his yes never stuck. So I invested in a negotiation course.
Negotiation is one of the most powerful yet underutilized skills a woman can develop. Whether you are asking for a raise, seeking a new assignment, closing a deal, looking to telecommute, or trying get some help with the laundry, you need to know how to negotiate.
Here are what often holds us back and how to overcome it to master the art of negotiation.
Why We Don’t Negotiate
Women who don’t negotiate have a number of reasons why they avoid it.
First, asking for what we want goes against our “good girl” upbringing. Let’s face it: so many of the traits that got us ahead in the first place are the result of how good we are. We’ve been good daughters, good listeners, and good employees. But we fear a backlash for appearing too aggressive and pushy. Researchers and academics talk about the double bind for women. We won’t get ahead if we don’t ask, but if we do, we appear too aggressive. (One way to get around this: try framing the request to what is in the best interest of both parties at the negotiating table.)
For others, negotiating comes easily at work — but not at home. When it comes to asking our partners and families for the support we need at home, we freeze. And some women don’t negotiate simply because, like me pre-2008, they never tried.
Here are six steps to help you become a skillful negotiator both in and out of the office.
Stop Being So Good
The first step in becoming a skilled negotiator is to stop being so good. When women star in the good-girl role at work, they view their jobs as meeting or beating expectations, making their clients’ and bosses’ lives easier and trying to only solve problems — never to cause them. That’s not a bad way to operate, except when women view asking for a raise or assignment as being out of alignment with their good-girl character.
But if we truly think about what we want for ourselves, we’ll see that asking is a good thing to do. For starters, by asking for what we want, we are giving our bosses a chance to meet our needs. And in meeting our needs, we are helping them retain a good employee. If you are truly as good as the role you’ve cast yourself in, then the boss probably wants to hold on to you. So asking for what you deserve can only help both parties create a satisfactory working relationship.
The same goes for playing the role of good wife and good mother. How many of us can recall a time in our childhood when our mothers, tired of picking up after everyone, went on strike, and as a result, the family went into a tailspin? If we ask for what we want before we reach our breaking point, we’ll do everyone in the house a favor.
Make life easier and stash all of these DIYs in your purse. You'll love having these eco-friendly helpers at your fingertips — these extras in tow will make your day better.
1. Spray DeodorantThis quick and easy everyday essential is a serious lifesaver. Keep it in your purse for spritzing when needed.
2. Eco-Friendly Hand SanitizerUpcycle an old perfume bottle as a container for a DIY hand sanitizer that busts through bacteria and leaves your hands nice and soft. And you can personalize the spray with your favorite essential oil.
3. Mini Stain HelperEveryone spills, which makes popping a mini stain stick in your purse a great way to keep stains from setting.
4. Wrinkle-Release SprayAfter being stuck in a meeting for an hour, your favorite skirt may be showing some serious wrinkles. Make things go away with this helpful wrinkle-release spray.
5. Lotion BarsMake mini bars or pour a lotion mixture into small containers, and your hands will thank you. And this DIY also makes a great homemade gift.
6. Coffee LoveMake your own single-serve coffee pods so you can enjoy your favorite cup of joe whenever you want it. Seal a few in a plastic ziplock bag, and you've got hot coffee in seconds.
7. Cool KeysAlthough your keys don't always reside in your purse, giving them a pop of color definitely makes life easier. And you'll love the sparkling new keys.
- Cover your work area with a sheet of paper and arrange your plastic animals. It's a good idea to work in small batches of four to six plastic figurines so the glue doesn't dry too quickly.
- Give the animals a good coating of Mod Podge and then sprinkle with superfine glitter. You can use any color you like, but we think silver looks so chic. And don't skimp. You're going to need a lot of glitter to really coat the little animals!
- Continue coating the plastic animals in glue and then dredging with the glitter. Once dry, touch up as needed. And you can salvage all that glitter by carefully folding the paper in half, tapping gently to gather the glitter in the fold, and then carefully adding the glitter back to the container.
- Give each animal a little tap to release any glitter that's not completely adhered, and they're ready to use! Don't have any Mod Podge? You can also use spray adhesive, but only tackle one animal at a time — the adhesive dries really fast!
- Cover all your bases. If you're up to speed on the different ways to research Cyber Monday deals, then you'll be way ahead of the curve. Bookmark sites like CyberMonday.com, download apps like TGI Cyber Monday, sign up for newsletters to alert you on the upcoming sales, and follow stores on Twitter and Facebook for potentially exclusive social-media deals.
- Research products, not just prices. It may sound obvious, but researching items is essential before the big day rolls around. One of the downfalls about the Cyber Monday is that you can't test or see a product in person; knowing as much as you can by talking to friends who own the items or reading vetted online reviews is key.
- Take advantage of reward points. Last year, many companies offered ways to maximize travel reward points on Cyber Monday. Shop certain deals to get you that much closer to a much-needed vacation.
- Remember shipping costs. When you spot an amazing deal, it's easy to forget about the shipping fees. Make sure you know ahead of time which sites offer free shipping, or compare shipping prices so you don't overspend.
- Beware of scams. Cyber Monday isn't just a holiday for shoppers — scammers love it, too. Only give up your credit card information to trusted, established sites, and don't fall prey to any fishy emails that offer too-good-to-be-true deals.
Thursday night, New York artist Jamison Ernest made the surprise announcement that he would be extending his gallery show an additional week so that he could give a gift to seven lucky visitors: $77,777 worth of diamonds. Starting on Saturday, he'll hide a single 177-faceted stone each day in a candlelit maze. "I hope a man who wants to get engaged but can't afford a diamond finds one," he tells Yahoo! Shine, "or a person who doesn't have enough money to get their family food and gifts for the holidays." He adds, "A lot of people have been beaten down so badly by life but just need a little bit of hope to believe in themselves again." The diamonds were purchased with proceeds from sales of his work so far, and he had no idea until a couple of weeks ago whether he could pull off adding the jewels or if last night would be his closing party.
Ernest knows from experience what it means to be given a second chance. Six months ago, he had a vision but no money to create his work. He launched a Kickstarter campaign for $2,500, which ballooned into about $65,000 of donations. Another campaign brought the total to over $120,000. He poured the money into creating his paintings and sculptures and building out the raw space for his exhibition, Bouncing Cars, which opened on Nov. 8 in a former meatpacking warehouse.
"The meaning of the work is open to the viewers, but my personal take on it is that life is not about the dead ends we hit, but our ability to see past them and overcome them," Ernest says. The show was inspired by a shocking event that could have been tragic but instead provided an extraordinary message of redemption. Fifteen years ago, he was driving on the Belt Parkway near his home in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, NYC, when the car in front of him began to swerve out of control. It smashed into a guardrail and flipped through the air, ejecting the couple inside. He pulled over to help, and, miraculously, both the man and woman were still alive. After an ambulance arrived, he never saw them again, but the vision of the near-catastrophe has haunted him ever since.
About 5,000 people have attended the show so far, and the valuable jewels are sure to attract many more. Only seven people will be allowed into the maze at a time, for seven minutes. Ernest uses the number seven because, as he explains, the number is the foundation for many systems, "seven phases of man's life, according to Shakespeare, seven days of the week, seven vertebrae [in the neck]." Inside the maze, which also contains seven passages, visitors will encounter messages to persevere, such as "In the Dark Is When Our Visions Become Clear." Ernest says he hopes people will exit the maze and reenter the light with a renewed sense of possibility. Bouncing Cars will be open every day but Thanksgiving until Nov. 30 at the Ambassador Gallery at 450 West 14th St. in New York City.
— Sarah B. Weir
Also on Shine:
Marilyn Monroe on a Lipstick? Artist Carves Famous Faces Out of Beauty Staple
Danish Royal Family Goes Goth in Creepy New Portrait
From Dog Collars to Credit Cards: The Craziest Things Ever Encrusted in Diamonds