5 Hacks for Finding Free Things Online

Written by Jessica Peters

We all like to find a freebie when scouring the web. Whether it’s books, gadgets, or coupons, there are tons of free things that you can find once you know where to look. The possibilities are endless, so here are five hacks for finding free things online.

Check Online Community Marketplaces

There are all sorts of online community marketplaces that you can sign up to in order to score yourself a freebie. Whether it’s Craigslist or a Facebook group, these are great resources to use where you can find a plethora of free goods. There are many people who advertise items they want to give away such as appliances, furniture, and toys. While you may have to surf through lots of junk at first, you are bound to find something that will catch your eye. You can also make a list of websites that aggregate free offers.

Sign Up to a Loyalty Program

Many companies provide reward programs for their customers which you can use to your advantage. When you’re looking at a business’s website, be sure to check whether they have a loyalty program available. Many retailers have special perks for their members such as free food, gift cards, movie tickets and more. You may need to sign up to their email newsletter, which can notify you when there is a freebie to be had!

Take Online Surveys

If you have some spare time and are looking for some quick cash, why not take an online survey? Answering questions on websites such as Global Test Market and Swagbucks can provide you with gift cards, money, as well as sweepstakes entries. While taking surveys is straightforward, they can be incredibly time-consuming, and the payout may not be the best, however, the more you do it, the more likely you are to score some fantastic freebies.

Download an App for Freebies

If you have a smartphone, you may not realize just how many rewards and cash-back apps there are available. If you like the idea of being hooked up with some free stuff, be sure to download apps like Shopkick where you can earn points for viewing products online. Once you’ve got enough points, these can be exchanged for gift cards which you can use in plenty of stores such as Starbucks and Target.

Sign Up for a Free Trial

While subscription boxes may be all the rage right now, they can be incredibly expensive. However, if you’re looking to score a freebie, you may benefit from signing up for a free trial. Whether it be free music streaming, meals, snacks, audiobooks and more, many businesses are competing with one another in order to lure customers in, so be sure to take advantage of any free things they have on offer! Streaming services such as Netflix give customers a free one-month trial, however, make sure to mark your calendar so you know when the free trial ends, otherwise, be faced with a surprise charge! Spending some time scouring the internet for free trials may be time-consuming, however, if you know what you’re doing, you should be able to reap up the rewards.

Whether it be taking an online survey, signing up for a free trial, or scouring online community marketplaces to take advantage of free goods and services, there are plenty of things that you can get online for free. However, bear in mind that in order to find the best freebies, you will need to look in all the right places, so as long as you have the motivation and patience, you should scoop up some fantastic freebies.

Getting Ready to Retire – How to Ensure You Will Have Enough Money to Make it Happen and Live Comfortably

Written by Veselina Dzhingarova

Retirement is something that many people look forward to, work hard for, and count down the days until it becomes a reality. No longer having to work, spending your days doing whatever it is you feel like doing, and just basically enjoying your time is a goal that many people share. Of course, a happy and financially sound retirement doesn’t just happen by chance. Instead, it takes plenty of advanced planning, saving, and preparing.

So, as you grow closer to your retirement date, how can you ensure that you’ll have enough money to retire on time and live comfortably? Here we’ll take a look at some tips and advice that can help answer these questions.

Speak to a Retirement Planning Professional

One of the best pieces of advice for soon-to-be retired individuals is to make an appointment to speak to a retirement planning professional. Even if you think you are fully prepared, organized, and ready to retire from a financial standpoint, it’s still wise to touch base with a professional that can look over your savings and provide you with a detailed plan.

Berger Financial Group, a Minneapolis retirement planning group, stresses that a solid financial plan will ensure the savings you have amassed will stretch the distance. You want to be sure that you understand how much money will be available to you, and the best ways to stretch it and make it last.

Consider Downsizing

As you approach your retirement date you may also want to think about downsizing your lifestyle in general. If you own a home, now is the time to ask yourself if that much space and land is needed. It could be that downsizing is a better plan both financially and from a maintenance standpoint. If you plan on doing a lot of travel during your retirement years, owning a small condo with no exterior maintenance could make more sense.

Downsizing also means you can find something cheaper, which means more money goes into your retirement savings.

Create a Brand New Budget

It’s also wise to create a brand new retirement budget. This takes into account all your expenses and how much money you will have coming in once you are no longer working. It may be that you need to cut back on some expenses in order to make the budget more manageable. Knowing this information in advance will prevent you from over-spending.

Take a Look at Your Investment Portfolio

If you have any investments, now is the time to take a look at those too. You don’t have to stop investing just because you are retired. It may just be that you want to change things up and diversify where you are investing your money.

Setting Yourself Up for a Happy Retirement

By following these steps, you’ll be setting yourself up for a happy and comfortable retirement, allowing you to have the break you deserve.

How to Avoid One of the Biggest Retirement Mistakes

Written by Danielle Kunkle

There are thousands of baby boomers nearing retirement every day. According to Investopedia, about 75% of these baby boomers admit to being behind on saving for retirement. The other 25% may soon come to realize that they aren’t as prepared as they thought they were.

They may come to this realization because most baby boomers are unaware of the fact that Medicare, although paid for during your working years, isn’t free.

Most new Medicare enrollees are surprised to find out that everything they have been paying towards Medicare was only for one part of Medicare, Part A. Once they calculate their potential costs for all the other parts of Medicare, they conclude that their savings aren’t as adequate as they thought.

So how do you avoid the biggest retirement mistake you could make? Simple, you need to plan. Follow the steps below.

Discuss Things Beyond Money with Your Financial Advisor

Now that you know that Medicare isn’t free, you need to discuss the costs of your healthcare in retirement with your financial planner.

Not only that, but you need to discuss with them how often you go to the doctor, what kind of lab work and tests you get on an annual basis, and anything else that might cause a divot in your savings. This may seem like too personal of a subject to discuss with a financial planner, but it’s necessary.

According to Fidelity, on average, a couple will need $280,000+ in retirement savings just for healthcare costs. Discussing your health status can help you and your financial advisor plan for potential expenses such as needing a Medicare Supplement plan or long-term care coverage.

Be Ready for the Unexpected

Never assume that your health will be in tip-top shape for the rest of your life. Yes, you may be healthy now, but that could literally change within a day. Similar to an emergency fund, set aside money in the chance that you become chronically ill.

Suppose you get diagnosed with cancer. Chemotherapy alone costs tens of thousands of dollars in one calendar year, not to mention the surgeries you’d need.

You’ll want to be prepared for an unexpected diagnosis just like this one. If you become ill, the last thing you will want to worry about is how you will be able to afford to fight for your life. Put the right coverage in place to protect yourself.

Plan for Possible Loss of Employment

We’d like to think that our place of work will always have a spot for us when we get into retirement age. However, ageism in the workplace is no myth. Sometimes, employers see the new, younger applicant walking in as the best person to take over a job you’ve been doing for years.

With more baby boomers planning to continue active work past the age of 65, the possibility of having your position taken away from you grows. Therefore, you should never bank on always having that biweekly check flowing into your account.

Have money set aside to replace your income if you were to lose it suddenly.

Set Up an HSA

An HSA is a health savings account. Having this account allows you to be able to put away money without having taxes being taken out of it. The purpose of this account is to help pay for qualified medical expenses.

As of 2019, the maximum contribution amount for an individual is $3,500, while the maximum contribution amount for families is $7,000. Those who have an HSA and are at least 55 years old is allowed to contribute up to $1,000 extra each year.

Qualified medical expenses you can use your HSA to pay for include but are certainly not limited to, hospital services, long-term care, dental and vision services, and even insurance premiums. You can also use your HSA to cover your immediate family member’s qualified medical expenses.

How to Set Up an HSA

To be eligible for an HSA, you must be enrolled in a qualified high-deductible insurance plan. Once you have that setup, you will be able to set up your HSA either through your employer or a bank.

Next best step is to have money be auto drafted from your checking account to your HSA. This will help you make sure you always have a steady flow of money going into your savings account.

Health Savings Accounts with Medicare

Having Medicare while contributing to your HSA is not allowed. If you enroll in any part of Medicare, you will no longer be legally allowed to contribute to your HSA.

Therefore, to continue to be able to contribute to your HSA past 65, you must delay enrolling in Medicare. The only way you can do this without having to pay a late penalty later is to continue to have creditable coverage.

The most common form of creditable coverage past age 65 is a large employer group health plan. If you continue to work for an employer with 20 or more employees and keep their group plan, you can delay Medicare and continue to contribute to your HSA.

Start Now

The biggest retirement mistake is just failing to plan ahead. If you haven’t been putting enough into savings, start now. Try to start at least doubling the amount you save monthly to try and make up for lost time. The more you can put away now, the better your retirement will be in the long run.