Identity Theft: How Do You Prevent Your Identity From Being Stolen?

Identity theft is a huge problem that cost consumers $16 billion in 2016 and the problem is getting worse. With the Equifax breach nearly everyone’s personal information was stolen and everyone’s personal finances are at risk. How do you prevent your identity from being stolen?
shadowy figure in a hooded sweatshirt stealing your identity.
Identity theft is a huge problem and can you can become a victim at any time.
Today, identity theft hit close to home…

A close friend of mine called me this morning saying his checking account had been wiped out because someone stole his debit card information. He was ganked for $1900 and had no idea he was at risk. He had his debit card and only discovered this theft when his bank sent him a text message. The bank new something was up when $800 was spent at Wal Mart and $1100 at UPS.

Thankfully, he will get his money back and although he was the victim of credit card fraud, it could have been much worse as he could have been the victim of identity theft.

stack of credit cards
Credit card fraud can strike at any time.

Identity Theft Is a Huge Problem

Unfortunately, this type of crime is very common because our information is exposed due to data breaches and other crimes. The Equifax data breach was probably the most egregious considering they are one of the big 3 credit bureaus and have ALL of your personal financial information. In addition to the financial costs, there are hidden costs like the time and stress associated with fixing your personal finances.

What We Cover Today

  • Credit card fraud vs identify theft
  • How does identity theft happen
  • How you can prevent identity theft
  • Protecting yourself from identity theft
  • Why you shouldn’t use free Wi-Fi
  • What to do if you are the victim of identity theft
  • How Mr Dollabuzz protects his identity

Credit Card Fraud Vs Identity Theft

one - hundred dollar bills in a rubber band
Credit card fraud and identity theft can be expensive.

Many people may believe credit card fraud and identity theft are the same. In reality, they’re different crimes — and both can seriously damage your credit history, personal finances, and make it difficult for you to get a loan or apply for new credit cards.

Both crimes involve someone assuming a false identity, says Eric Tyson, an economist and the author of “Personal Finance for Dummies.”

The main difference between credit card fraud and identity theft is that credit card fraud usually involves a single  account. If someone steals your identity, the damage to your personal finances can be much costlier because someone can open lines of credit like a car loan in your name.

shadowy figure with binary code
Identity theft is a huge problem

How Does Credit Card Fraud and Identity Theft Happen

There a several ways for a thief to steal your information. A few old school ways are:

1. Phone Scam: Someone calls you and says you won a prize and they need your credit card number to pay for shipping etc.

2. Digging Through Your Garbage/Stealing Your Mail: Thieves steal your garbage or mail and look for credit cards, card applications, and other personal information. However, due to privacy laws the amount of information found through these means is dwindling.

Here are two high tech schemes that are very popular and my friend was probably a victim of number 1:
  1. Skimming – Electronic devices called “skimmers” can read your card’s magnetic strip and grab your credit card details. Shady service clerks can use these devices to make an electronic copy of your card, which they then transfer to a blank credit card or computer to make fraudulent charges. Skimmers can also be installed at ATMs and gas station pumps. See this reference for more guidance on skimmers and what to look for.
  2. Phishing – Phishing refers to fake emails, phone calls, or letters claiming to be a business or institution you might know asking for your credit card or other personal information. This is a social engineering tactic where the fraudster hopes you will voluntarily give up your personal information.

The Best Ways To Prevent Credit Card Fraud and Identity Theft

The best way to prevent both credit card fraud and identity theft is to ensure your sensitive information is secured as much as possible. Don’t give your information when unsolicited. In other words, if someone asks you for personal information don’t provide it. If you receive an email from your bank asking for information call them and verify it really is your bank.

A few other tips to prevent credit card fraud and identity theft are:

  • Shred important documents
  • Don’t write down your social security number
  • Use virus protection on your computer and,
  • Be wary of free wi-fi
man with a hat and a black computer screen background.
Hackers are everywhere and are trying to steal your personal information.

You Shouldn’t Use Free Wi-Fi Because…

it’s an easy way to have your personal information stolen. I know it’s very tempting to use free Wi-Fi. Why use your own data when you can connect for free at the coffee shop or the hotel? Personal finance is all about saving money right Mr. Dollabuzz? Well, ya but hackers love free Wi-Fi since it is easily hacked. Easy hack = easy money for the bad guys.

A CNBC story noted that most people are unaware of the risks of using public Wi-Fi . Additionally, a Harvard Business Review story noted that ” over half of the adults in the U.S. have their personal information exposed to hackers each year. ”

The author (Luke Bencie, Managing Director of Security Management International) states that “we compare the dangers of using public Wi-Fi to the risks of having unprotected sex. In both cases, not taking the necessary precautions can lead to lasting harm.”

The point is to make sure you wrap up your Wi-Fi with a secure password or vpn connection to ensure your personal financial information is safe. Yo, wrap it up B!

How You Can Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

Thankfully, there are several ways you can protect yourself from credit card fraud and identity theft. These services cost money but can be worth every penny in the event your personal information is stolen.

Zander Insurance Group

Zander Insurance Group offers protection against all identity theft events. Price starts at $75 a year for one person and $145 per family for one year. The protection offered is similar to an insurance policy but is NOT an insurance policy.

Here is an overview of services that are provided:
  • Unlimited recovery services
  • Personal information monitoring
  • Change of address monitoring
  • Social security number monitoring
  • $1 million stolen funds protection and reimbursement protection
  • Certified ID theft specialists 24/7/365
  • Data breach notifications & credit report monitoring reminders

Here is a more detailed summary of benefits.

LifeLock

LifeLock offers different memberships ranging from $9.99 a month to $29.99 a month for the ultimate plus package and partners with Norton Security  which”looks for use of your personal information, and with proprietary technology, alerts you to a wide range of potential threats to your identity.” This also works to protect your devices such as your phone and computer.

Here is an overview of services that are provided:
Cyber security is key to preventing identity theft.
Zander Insurance Group vs LifeLock With Norton Security

Mr. Dollabuzz personally uses the services of Zander Insurance Group. I receive no commission from them and decided to use their product after the Equifax data breach. I think either service would be fine.

As a service to my readers here is an overview of Zander Insurance’s offering versus other products.

A Few Other Tips on Protecting Yourself

What To Do If You Are The Victim of Credit Card Fraud or Identity Theft

If you are the victim of identity theft the first thing you should do is notify your bank or creditors. Second, you should put a fraud alert on your credit report. Next, review your credit reports to identify any unusual activity. These three steps are critical to getting a handle on the extent of the crime and will help limit your financial exposure. Here is a checklist for victims of identity theft and for victims of the Equifax breach. 

Identity Theft Can Ruin Your Personal Finances

It is important to be proactive when it comes to protecting your identity. Protecting your personal information, being aware of various scams, and the risks associated with free Wi-Fi can help prevent identity theft.

Using an identity theft service will also mitigate your losses in the event you are a victim. Doing these things will help ensure your personal finances stay Dollabuzz strong.

How To Make More Money

Do you want to make more money at work, but you never get promoted? Ever ask yourself why you don’t get promoted even though you “work hard”? If that sounds like you, keep reading…

Before we get into the secret of making more money at work, here are a few reasons why—besides the obvious—it’s so important:

  1. The more money you make, the more you can save in your 401k, which will…
  2.  Help you become a millionaire faster, which will…
  3.  Improve your personal finance outlook.
Picture of George Washington pointing down towards the content below.
Below we’ll detail the secrets to making more money.
These are just a few reasons why you should be interested in making more money. And making more money often involves getting promoted at work.

Whether you’re fresh out of school or you’ve been in the workforce a few years and want to know the secret to getting promoted and therefore making more money, then you have come to the right place. Lucky for you, Dollabuzz has…

The Secret to Getting Promoted at Work.

Hello, Dollabuzz readers! Today, we’re going to fill you in on how to succeed and get promoted at work. In case you’re new to Dollabuzz, we’ve previously covered the secret to asking for a raise and getting it.

Getting promoted at work means getting paid mo’ money, and mo’ money is what Dollabuzz is all about. If you don’t know, now you know! So let’s get to the money and find out what you’re about to learn today. Here are the topics we’re going to cover:

  • What you think you need to do to get ahead and why it’s wrong,
  • How you get promoted by working less,
  • The one magic word that will help you succeed, and
  • The power of reciprocity

Dollabuzz is here to help you get your money right, and part of that involves showing you the secrets to success that you might’ve never heard before. Being promoted usually means mo’ money for you. But how do you do it? Work really, really hard? Well, maybe—but Dollabuzz has a better idea.

We’re cool with hard work, but why would you want to do more than absolutely necessary? We’re all about working smart and letting the non ‘buzzers do the really, really hard work. So let’s see how you can Dollabuzz at work and earn more money!

A businessman breaking through a wall while saying on the way to success.
Dollabuzz will help you break down barriers to success.

What You THINK You Need to Do to Get Promoted at Work.

Work really hard and you will succeed. That’s what we’re all taught from an early age. No one ever tells us, “Hey, do less and you can succeed.” Well, Dollabuzz is here to flip the script on the “work really hard” theory. Remember, we’re cool with hard work, but not more than necessary.

(1) Work Hard… but Not Too Hard

What do I mean by “work hard but not too hard”? This statement means do what is asked of you by your boss first and get that nailed down until it’s second nature. You run your current workload on autopilot and then you expand the amount of work you do. Once you’re on autopilot, then you volunteer for that special project.

Too often, newbies at work want to impress their boss, so they take on more work than they can handle. You get an “A” for effort, but nothing else. Taking on other projects before you get your basic workload on autopilot will lead to you working too hard. Staying late and working on the weekends to get caught up and hoping your boss will notice? Nah, brah—you workin’ too hard.

Be sure you work smart and Dollabuzz.
Working smarter and simpler will help you get promoted

Working smarter and not harder is the key. Smarter means finding a way to get more done while doing less. Work smarter by following these steps:

  • Check your email only three times a day.
  • Attend fewer meetings. And if you host a meeting, provide an agenda. Keep the meeting to 30 minutes or less.
  • Keep things simple. The simple answer or solution is usually the correct one.
  • Focus on what is truly important by asking yourself: Is what I’m doing providing value? How can I provide value, simplify a process, or improve efficiency?

Focusing on what’s truly important is what your boss will notice. When everything you’re supposed to do is done well and you provide value, you’ll start to get noticed. Then, your boss will see the efficiencies you’ve created and the value you add to the company. This is how you get promoted.

(2) Delegate Responsibilities: Tell Other People What to Do

You can’t do everything alone. Find ways to delegate if you want to succeed.

“Delegate” is the professional term for telling people what to do. You can’t do everything; nor should you. If there’s a menial task you can delegate to someone else, then do it. For example, we have one person keep track of all the timesheets for our jobs. Instead of us all entering the budgeted hours, we send timesheets to one person who specializes in doing it; and they get it done fast.

Another example is when I lead the C-Level interviews at work. I don’t take or write up the interview notes. We’re interviewing CEOs, CFOs, and board members, and I delegate note-taking to a less senior examiner. This allows me to focus on the interview and kick ass at the really important task of leading the interviews.

(3) Learn to Use the One Magic Word that Will Help You Succeed

Succeeding at work and being promoted requires using one magic word. That magic word is: “No.” Really, Mr. Dollabuzz? Yes, loyal reader. The ability to say no greatly influences our success, but saying no is hard. We are conditioned to help people, and usually that means saying yes. But often times saying yes to something comes at the expense of something else, like your own work and success.

You can be a team player and still say no. You just have to be very selective in what you say yes to. A “yes” answer should come only if it is truly going to benefit you and your team. Only say yes to the meeting if you have received the agenda and your active participation is required.

Be careful when you say yes, and don’t be afraid to say no.
Be Careful What You Agree To

Studies have shown that we are likely to act as we have in the past. For example, if you always say yes to one of your co-workers, then it will become very hard to say no to that person in the future.

Often, the requests start off simple, but future request will inevitably require more time and effort. You will have a hard time saying no to these more time-consuming requests because you’ve already set the standard of saying yes in the past.

(4) Understand the Power of Reciprocity

“People say yes to those they owe.” – Robert Cialdini

As we close out today’s post, I wanted to discuss the power of reciprocity. The great Robert Cialdini provides a quick overview of this secret power and how you can use it to your benefit. Be proactive and do something simple and easy for someone you work with, and they will be inclined to return the favor.

For example, if you see your co-worker’s report at the copier, bring it to them. Later, you can ask them for a favor that will help you out. Our society has conditioned us to return the favor. Additionally, if you want someone to like you more, offer them something warm to drink. People who like you will be inclined to help you.

Recap: The Secret to Getting Promoted…

  • Work hard—but not really, really hard,
  • Delegate (tell other people what to do),
  • Use the magic and powerful word “NO,” and
  • Understand the power of reciprocity

Remember these 4 keys and you’ll be promoted and Dollabuzzin’ in no time.

Do you want to learn how to become a millionaire?

Check out our How to Become a Millionaire page.

See the benefits you will receive for being an email subscriber.

4 Amazingly Simple Steps To Reach Your Personal Finance Goals

This Post Is All About Reaching Your GOOOOAAAALS!!

Hello, Dollabuzz readers! Here’s what we’ll be covering today:
  • The importance of personal finance goals
  • 4 well-known steps to achieve your  goals
  • Some cool and unique ideas that will help you succeed (and I bet you’ve never heard of them.)

Close up of a post it note that says set goals

If you’re reading this, then chances are you came to Dollabuzz to learn how to Get.Your.Money. Right. We thank you for stopping by and we can help you succeed.

The beginning of a new year is a time…

for people to set goals, like getting out of debt, saving for retirement, and yada, yada, yada.

But we all know what happens…

We’re good for a few weeks, then the old habits come back from the dead. We find ourselves sliding back to our old ways that don’t work and have never made any lasting improvements. But…

This year is different. Because you want to keep your new year’s resolution this time, right?
So how can we make these new year’s resolutions stick? 
  1. Write them down,
  2. Make them timely,
  3. Have a plan, and
  4. Share them with someone you trust.

It’s really that simple. Do these four amazingly simple things, and your chances of success increase dramatically!

Goals are important, because…

they are key to our success and possibly even our happiness. However, what’s just as important is having a plan to reach your goals. Like the great Yogi Berra said, “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.”

The best way to get there is to have a plan. In fact, that’s the only way to get there.

So how do we go about setting and – more importantly – achieving these goals? Let’s find out!

4 Keys To Reaching Your GOOOOOOOAAAALS

1. Write Down Your Goals 

This is the most important part of achieving your goals. They need to be written down. Goals that aren’t written are simply wishes and dreams. We wish for ponies and we dream about being rich, but we never take steps to make those things a reality.

Writing down goals is effective because it makes them come to life. You can visualize them, and they become real. You took time to write them down, and they are now officially goals.

2. Goals Need to Be Timely

After putting your goals down on paper, you need to set a timeline to complete your goals. This is important because if you don’t have a set time to complete your goals, then you’ll keep procrastinating and they’ll take forever to accomplish. And ain’t nobody got time for that!

Most things we do in life have some sort of time deadline involved, and setting a time or date to achieve our goals should be no different.

 3. You Need a Plan

After establishing your goals and writing them down, you need a plan. That plan is simply a series of smaller goals that, when accomplished, will lead to our ultimate goal. This plan should also be written down and revisited regularly.

4. Share Goals with Your Significant Other

It’s really helpful to share your goals with your significant other, or anyone else in your life who you’re close with. They can hold you accountable and encourage you when things are not going as planned.

Unique goal-setting tips
(That I bet you’ve never heard of)

These ideas come from a great podcast I listen to called Science of Success. Do yourself a solid and check it out right now. I love this podcast, and I know you will too!

 Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone

  • Setting goals is generally a good thing. (Yeah, we know, Mr. Dollabuzz.) But it’s important to step out of your comfort zone whenever possible and to set goals that are really challenging that will require some effort.
  • When we step out of our comfort zone and accomplish things we never thought possible is when we truly succeed. Plus it feels great!

How to Execute on Huge Goals w/ Neil Patel

  • Prepare a to-do list (mini goals) and go over it every day
  • Follow the 10-minute rule: break goals down into 10-minute chunks and if after 10 minutes you haven’t made progress, try something different
  • You don’t have to take the same path everyone else does. Think OUTSIDE THE BOX and look for CREATIVE SOLUTIONS to reach your goals

Build Mental Models (Charles Duhigg, a Pulitzer Prize winning author)

  • Charles explains his take on mental models and how you can use them to enhance your focus on the right things (your goals)
  • By taking the time to plan out your days and what you expect to see, do, and have happen, you can choose what you’re going to focus on and what’s most important that day
  • Break bad habits. Find out the reward for your bad habits. Once you know why you do something (the reward), you can break that habit
  • Build good habits like setting goals and planning. These habits will become part of your routine and become easy for you to do because, well… they’re habits!

So How Are You Going to Reach Your Goooooaaals?

With the new year here, there’s a lot of talk about setting goals. That’s all well and good, but goal-setting can be something you do all year round!

Here’s a quick recap on how to reach your goals:
  • Determine your goals
  • Write them down
  • Make them timely
  • Step out of your comfort zone when determining your goals
  • Think outside the box when planning to achieve your goals
  • Break bad habits that prevent you from achieving your goals

Looking to get started on your goals?

Become an email subscriber and receive a FREE goal-setting worksheet. As a subscriber, you will also receive other discounts, freebies, and other things you need to Get.Your.Money.Right. All for FREE!

How To Make an Easy $100 Before Christmas

Dollabuzz Shows You How To Make an Easy $100 Before Christmas

Hello Dollabuzz readers! Today we have a fun and easy holiday post so let’s get started on how to make an easy $100 before Christmas.

If you need an easy $100 before Christmas, Dollabuzz has you covered. This post will show you how you can make $100 in under two weeks if you have enough time. You can make some cash before the holiday season by completing surveys. Keep reading to find out about my experience with OneOpinion.

Have you heard about making money through surveys? I have but never paid much attention. However, after reading this post I decided to take a closer look at exactly how to and how much money you make completing online surveys.

OneOpinion: How To Get Started

I started with OneOpinion because it was easy to join and I liked the payouts. After answering a few questions, a survey will be found for you, and additional questions will be asked. The program that runs the website will match you up with a survey based on your demographics.

If by chance you are not matched up with any surveys, you will get 50 points for your time. You can earn up to 250 points a day just for applying to take  surveys.

Each survey will earn you between 500-1500 points and take 5-30 minutes. No survey is  alike and while some are fun  others seem to drag on. One word of advice though, some surveys claims to only take 15-20 mins but can take over 30 mins! The 15 mins ones are awesome and I LOVE the 500 point, 5-minute quickies.

Once you earn 25,000 points you can redeem those points for a $25 Amazon, Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Target, Home Depot or Visa card gift cards.

You can earn gift cards for completing surveys.

Remember: Be honest with your answers and don’t speed through because the surveys do throw in trick questions to make sure you are paying attention. If you attempt to speed through they surveys you risk losing your points.

How To Make an Easy $100 Before Christmas: 2 Weeks In

Two weeks in and it seems like a lot of surveys are asking about similar topics and again a few surveys  drag on. I can not get into much detail on the actual surveys but they can be very similar to one another.  Lately,  I am 10 minutes into a survey and receive a message saying, “thank you for your time but you don’t qualify for this survey.” Again, you do get to pocket the 50 points and move on.

Completing surveys through OneOpinion can generate some easy money.

Overall, this has worked out well for me. As of now, I need 3800 points before I can cash in. There are just enough fun surveys to make the boring ones worthwhile. Some surveys give you free food and an Amazon card!

How To Make an Easy $100 Before Christmas: Free Food!

One survey I really enjoyed was about a new healthy snack that was in development. I was asked numerous questions about my eating habits and at the end of the survey, I was asked if I would like to try a sample and complete a survey on this new snack. Free healthy snacks?! Feed your Dollabuzz!

In addition to earning gift cards, you can earn free food!

Snacks came today.

Today the snacks came in the mail and they were soooo good. I eat the tasty snacks over the course of two days and complete the survey. For my time I received a $3 Amazon gift card! $3 does not seem like much but I am always looking for cheap kindle books and I will be on the lookout for a $3 book.

After today I have 1000 points to go. However,  I attempted 5 surveys but did not qualify still earning 50 points a pop. On a side note, it gets annoying having to enter in demographic information every time.

How To Make an Easy $100 Before Christmas: Last Few Days

As I try to reach 25,000 points I keep getting the same initial questions about movies. I don’t watch many movies and don’t follow pop culture. I think the “thank you for your time but you don’t qualify for this survey” reflects that. Where are the fantasy football or personal finance surveys?

How To Make an Easy $100 Before Christmas: Time To Get Paid!

FINALLY! After 3 weeks of surveys, I reached 25,000 points. For my time I can select a $25 Amazon, Walmart, Starbucks, HomeDepot, Target or Visa card. Not a bad little score! Depending on how much free time you have, you can easily earn $100 in two weeks.

You can select to receive a physical old school gift card or a virtual gift card. Why wait for the snail mail when you can redeem your points and make a purchase on the same day!

Simply complete and pass the extra verification process once you have a minimum of 25,000 points, and you will be able to redeem your points for Virtual Gift Cards.

Double Up Your Dollabuzz
Double up your Dollabuzz with the help of a significant other or roommate.

Looking to earn more money? You can double up your Dollabuzz  by having your significant other or roommate take surveys as well.   Combine the cards to buy beer protein powder or other things for the house from Amazon, Wal-Mart or Target.

How To Make an Easy $100 Before Christmas: Conclusion

If you have the time, you can earn an easy $100 before Christmas.

If you average 750 points a quiz which would be a mix of 500 and 1000 point surveys you can make $100 in two weeks by completing about 10 surveys a day.  This is either a lot or little depending on your life. What if you don’t want gift cards because you want straight cash money? You can sell your gift cards.

Remember, you can earn 250 points a day just for attempting to take a survey. Yes, the surveys can be repetitive but they are easy and some are actually fun.

During this time I was studying for a CPCU exam and got a stomach bug that put me on my ass for four days. If not for that I could have probably earned $50 in three weeks even working full time etc. However, if you are dedicated and have the time, earning $100 before for Christmas can be done.

I’ll probably continue to take two surveys a day with the goal of earning $50 month in gift cards but what I won’t do is buy gifts with my credit card this year.

Have you earned money taking surveys? What is the most amount you have earned. We would love to hear about your experience!

Dollabuzz Black Friday/Cyber Monday Deals

Is Black Friday/Cyber Monday the best time to shop?

Hello, Dollabuzz readers and holiday shoppers! Zach here trying to help you save money this holiday season. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are advertised as two of the biggest shopping days of the year. Sales are aplenty and everyone wants the “best deal”. That is great and all…but is it really the “best” day to finish, or possibly start your holiday shopping?

Are you going to join the crowds?!

The Dollabuzz Study

Over the past couple of days, we have been documenting the prices of a few different popular items.

  • Keurig K55 Brewer/Keurig K50 Brewer
  • Samsung 4K Ultra-High-Def TV
  • Fitbit Charge 2 HR
  • Yeti Rambler (30 oz)
  • North Face Men’s Resolve 2 Jacket
  • North Face Women’s Resolve 2 Jacket
  • Apple Watch S3 – 42 mm

We have been keeping track of these popular items on big retailers websites; Amazon, Target, and Walmart. All in an attempt to see what happens to prices as the prime holiday shopping season approaches. Interestingly enough, Amazon shows its dominance by being the only one to carry all the items we looked at. In those cases, we will only be to compare the price changes at Amazon day-to-day.

Amazon has been advertising their Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales well in advance.

The Dollabuzz Prediction

Going into this study, we believe that the price of these items will be inflated in the days and weeks before Black Friday/ Cyber Monday. This would then allow retailers to offer a big price “reduction” for the shopping season. The idea is that prices on Black Friday/Cyber Monday are very similar to prices in mid-July, but as consumers, we don’t notice the price has been going up.

THE DATA

Download the data below!

DollabuzzHolidayDeals_2017

This data is recent as of November 27, 2017. I will continue to update in the few days we have before Black Friday/Cyber Monday, and a few days after to see what happens! If you would like, send an email to me at Zach.Dollabuzz@gmail.com to receive the newest one as soon as I have it updated!

You will also notice there are links included just in case the price is right for you!

Week 2 Update

I have been carefully monitoring the prices of the items listed above every couple days for two weeks now. I never thought about it in the original prediction, but I am curious what will happen to prices when the shopping days are over. Some items have acted as we expected, the price has slowly increased. But there are other items, particularly the TV’s that have had large reductions in the days leading up to Black Friday.

Side Note: If anyone was in the market for any of these items, Dollabuzz has done the price comparisons for you! You are welcome!

Post-Black Friday

Taking a look at the prices after Black Friday they did jump back up a little bit. So if you are looking for something, and didn’t get it on Black Friday do not but it on Saturday because chances are you are paying more then you have to. So far on Cyber Monday prices do seem to be coming back down so if you missed out now may be the best time!

How To Insure My Stuff

Insurance is an overlooked aspect of personal finance. You work hard so make sure your personal property is adequately insured.

Dollabuzz Shows You How To Insure Your Stuff

Dollabuzz readers what it is?! It feels goooood to be here! I am back in study mode for the next CPCU exam. This exam is scheduled for early November and I have not been able to post much. But for this post, I wanted to tie in what I am currently studying and answer the question of “how to insure my stuff.”

Compared to buying all new stuff out of your own pocket, insurance to protect your stuff is much cheaper.

Dollabuzz is all about getting your money right and that includes protecting your stuff through insurance. A lot of people do not have adequate coverage and this is because insurance can be confusing and boring! As is the Dollabuzz way, we will explain in simple terms how to protect your stuff.

How To Insure My Stuff: Personal Property (Your Stuff)

Insurance geek speak is boring so let’s break it down the Dollabuzz way. Personal property (PP) applies to items you own or use, anywhere in the world. It can also cover the loss of, or damage to, PP of others while that property is at your crib.

How To Insure My Stuff: Homeowner

If you own your home, your stuff is insured under your homeowner’s policy, specifically under Coverage C. This coverage also covers the loss of, or damage to, PP of a guest while it is in any residence occupied by an insured. The amount that your stuff is covered for is 50% of what your home is insured for.

Under your homeowner’s policy, your stuff is insured on an actual cash value basis (ACV). ACV is simply what the property was worth right before the loss. If your couch was 10 years old and damaged in a fire, then your insurance company will pay you for what that 10-year-old couch is worth. What if you want a new couch? You will need replacement cost coverage.

How To Insure My Stuff: Personal Property Replacement Cost 

If you want to replace your stuff with “new stuff” you will need to insure your stuff on a replacement cost basis. But keep in mind, certain things like antiques and collector’s items are ineligible for replacement cost coverage and therefore covered at actual cash value.

How To Insure My Stuff: Renter

If you are a renter your stuff is insured at the Coverage C limit you select which is based on the value of your stuff. As a renter, your stuff is insured on an ACV basis. However, you can upgrade to replacement cost just as you can under a homeowners policy.

How To Insure My Stuff: Jewelry and Other Valuable Items

Scheduled Personal Property Endorsement

If you have valuables like jewelry or cameras you will want that covered under a scheduled personal property endorsement. This is called a scheduled endorsement because there is literally a schedule listing what the PP is and how much it is insured for. This coverage applies on an agreed value basis instead of on an actual cash value or a replacement cost basis.

Image result for jewelry
Your bling-bling needs to be covered on a scheduled basis. Not sure what that means? Keep reading because Dollabuzz has you covered.

When property is covered on an agreed value basis, the insurer agrees to pay an agreed upon amount. To have your stuff insured on a “scheduled basis” you may need an appraisal to verify the value of your bling-bling.

How To Insure My Stuff: Side Hustle Insurance

Have a Ride Share Hustle? You Need a Commercial Auto Policy

Related image

Seems like side hustles (formerly known as part-time jobs) are a popular way to earn some extra cash money. If you drive for Uber/Lyft, deliver pizzas or drive a drunk bus your regular auto policy WILL NOT cover you and you NEEDcommercial policy.

Side Hustle From Your Home? You Need Home Business Insurance Coverage (HBIC)
Image result for home business
Home business? Then make sure you have adequate insurance.

Side hustlin’ from the crib requires HBIC to insure against business property and general liability exposures. This is an endorsement to your current policy which is cheaper than purchasing a separate business owners policy.

This endorsement also allows the full Coverage C to apply to business personal property of others in the named insured’s care and to leased personal property. Your homeowners policy may not cover the home based side hustle.

In addition to protecting your stuff, HBIC adds coverage for liability coverage that results from your work or product. Liability coverage is critical because someone can simply allege YOU harmed them which will get expensive FAST. Thankfully, in addition to paying claims, insurance companies are required to defend claims at no cost to you. Money dance!

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Having insurance when you need it feels GREAT!!

How To Insure My Stuff Recap and DollaBuzz TakeAWAY

Insurance is a great way to protect your stuff and Dollabuzz. We can’t cover everything but we want to familiarize you with some of the basic concepts and if you out here side hustlin’ you need to have adequate insurance.

A great way to make sure your coverage is airtight is to talk to a licensed insurance agent. If Flo and Shaq can’t answer your questions be sure to reach out to a licensed insurance agent. An insurance agent will ensure you have the coverage that is right for you.

A licensed insurance agent will make sure you have adequate insurance.

 

How to Invest Through Robinhood: The Holy Grail for New Investors

Dollabuzz Shows You How to Invest Through Robinhood

Robinhood is Easy To Understand and Use

Welcome, Dollabuzzers! As many of you know Dollabuzz is all about investing in the market for the long-term. Historically, investing in the stock market has been a great way to Dollabuzz. Most people invest through their employer (401k), but you can also invest through sites like Betterment and Wealthfront. But today, Dollabuzz shows you how to invest through Robinhood.

I like Robinhood for three specific reasons. Robinhood is easy to understand and use, numerous investment options, and Robinhood is commission-free. Now let’s break down each one of these and take a closer look at what makes Robinhood so special.

How to Invest Through Robinhood: Reason #1: Easy to Understand and Use

Opening a Robinhood account is really simple, and unlike other brokerage accounts, there is no minimum account deposit. This is especially great for new investors who are ambitious to learn, but hesitant in putting up a lotta Benjamin’s.

Big Ben Would Approve of Investing Through Robinhood.

Anyone who has opened a brokerage account in the past knows that it takes awhile to learn all the different functions that your account is capable of. The advantage that I believe Robinhood has is its simplicity and user experience.

Investing Through Robinhood is Sooo Easy.

Visibly, their interface only uses a handful of colors which makes navigating the site easy. They also cleaned up the “home page” reducing the numbers that are displayed. Percent change, Last Price, and Equity are readily available which is all you need. A quick glance will show you how your investments are performing.

How to Invest Through Robinhood: Reason #2: Investment Options

Currently, stocks, bonds and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) are the main investment options on Robinhood which is all you need to D’Buzz hard. Some of the more complicated trading vehicles like options and futures are not yet available but I am sure they will be in the years to come. For the new investor that is A-OK and will help you Get.Your.Money.Right. As Robinhood continues to grow they expand their services so new investors can grow right alongside them.

Exchange Traded Funds Allow You To Dollabuzz

So Mr. Dollabuzz what Do I Invest In?

If you are under the age of 30, ideally you should be 100% in stocks. Straight up. Bonds won’t get you where you need to go. I know that sounds crazy but you have time on your side and a long-term time horizon for the stock market will help you Dollabuzz. Now, if are more conservative that is fine. Everybody is different. I would recommend keeping 10-20% in cash so you can capitalize on any buying opportunities.

How to Invest Through Robinhood: Reason #3: Commission-Free…Yay Yay!

My favorite part about Robinhood is there not being any commission costs. If that sounds too good to be true, I applaud your skepticism. You would be correct though. There are exchange fees that you will be charged, but the costs are insignificant; especially with a small account.

Commission Free = Mo Money For You.

If you are new to trading/investing Robinhood makes it is easy to take a small amount of money, $100, plan it out, and then execute your strategy. Imagine if you had to pay $10 for each trade. Commissions would eat you alive. CHOMP! If you aren’t trading with a large amount of money commissions will take a big chunk out of your investment returns and can have a significant impact on how soon you retire. Zoinks!

Dollabuzz Takeaway

Investing in the stock market for the long-term can be a great way to build wealth and is part of the money plan. Whether it be a 401k through work or an IRA/investment account through Betterment/Wealthfront the key is to invest and invest early. The sooner you begin, the longer your money will be able to work for you, so get started today! Oh, and as an added bonus, if you refer your friends to Robinhood you can each get a free stock! Cha-Ching!

3 CHEAP Insurance Coverages You Need

Dollabuzz Shows You 3 Insurance Coverages You Need That You Probably Don’t Have

Helloooo Dollabuzz readers! Today were are going to discuss 3 CHEAP insurance coverages you need. Everyone knows the importance of auto, life, and homeowners coverage but what about coverage for lesser known risks? Risks that can really kill your Dollabuzz?

So what are 3 little known insurance coverages you need to maintain a strong Dollabuzz? Long term disability (LTD), flood/sewer back up, and coverage for your high value personal items. These lesser known risks are not well known but can seriously impact your Dollabuzz.

3 CHEAP Insurance Coverages You Need #1: LTD

Much like the girl next door, this important coverage is often overlooked. People buy life insurance because, well they WILL die and that is a 100% guarantee. However, no one thinks they will get banged up in a car wreck and be unable to work because that kinda stuff only happens to other people. In reality we are all other people and LTD will pay you 2/3 of your salary while you are disabled.

LTD coverage will keep your Dollabuzz STRONG.

LTD is really cheap especially if it is available through work or another group plan. A supplement to LTD is accidental death and dismemberment. Say you lose an arm in a car wreck. You will receive LTD and a payout for the dismemberment. This supplement is a nice little kicker for when life kicks you in the ass. I have LTD and accidental death and dismemberment through work but if I did not, I would start my search with Zander Insurance.

3 CHEAP Insurance Coverages You Need #2: Flood/Sewer BackUp

Flood insurance is another over looked coverage. Most people don’t know that losses due to floods are not covered under their homeowners policy. Due to the large losses floods generate, flood coverage is provided through the federal government.

Despite living near the Gulf of Mexico 85% of homes in Houston did not have flood insurance. One reason is people feel its “expensive.” I know flood insurance can be “expensive” but its a lot cheaper than losing everything. Your house is your castle so protect it like House Lannister. It is also worth noting that even when surrounding areas receive little rain, localized flooding does occur.

In addition to flood insurance, it is important to have sewer backup coverage as well. This provides coverage in the event rains causes sewers to back up into your house. This kind of loss is not covered by flood insurance. The insurance company may attempt to deny the claim saying the city or municipality is responsible for maintaining appropriate sewers. Sewer backup coverage is not offered by all carriers and may require shopping around but is strongly recommended.

3 CHEAP Insurance Coverages You Need #3: Coverage for Valuable Items.

Attribution: Splashy Splash

Coverage for valuable personal items is known in geek speak as Inland Marine (personal effects coverage). This “coverage floats with you wherever you go.”  Owning a chain like 2 Pac when he was on Deathrow or simply 2 chains, you need this coverage. Your homeowners policy will only provide coverage for $1500 or $2500 for jewelry so additional coverage for that Pac chain is a must. State Farm provides a nice overview of available coverages.

3 Cheap Insurance Coverages You Need Recap

At Dollabuzz we help our readers Get.Their.Money.Right (GYMR). GYMR also involves protecting what you have and supporting your money plan. You worked hard for that house and chain so make sure you have adequate coverage. LTD will help ensure you can pay the mortgage and buy a new chain if you become disabled. Check with your insurance agent about these important but CHEAP insurance options. Yay Yay!

How to Save Money Buying Makeup

Dollabuzz Shows You How to Save Money and Look Great Doing It

At Dollabuzz, we’re always on the lookout for your financial wellbeing. Yes, I know Dollabuzz is about personal finance for young adults, but in the spirit of keeping this blog entertaining for my readers (and stepping out of our comfort zone), we decided to go in a different direction for today’s post. Today, we show you how to save money buying makeup. Saaaaaay Whuuutt?!?!

A post on makeup?!? C’mon, Mr. Dollabuzz maaaine! Makeup… for real? Yes, for real. We can write about credit card debt or borrowing money to buy a car and a Money Plan all day long and twice on Sundays, but that ISH gets STALE, and my readers demand to be entertained. So today we have a post for our women readers who want to look their best AND save money, which is what we call #GlamSavy. Dollabuzz will show you how to save money on your eyes, lips, and face (E.L.F.).

Dollabuzz will show you how to save money on your eyes, lips, and face.

How To Save Money Buying Makeup: Eyes, Lips, and Face (E.L.F.)

This Get.Your.Money.Right journey began at the Ulta near my house, where I spoke with Jamie, the Prestige manager. Ulta is divided into the Prestige counter and the Drugstore counter. Since we’re here to save some dolla dolla bills and have YOUR makeup lookin’ like da shiznit, we headed to the Drugstore counter.

Jamie brought me to the E.L.F. section and raved about E.L.F. as having high-quality products, including good-quality brushes. Jamie mentioned that the E.L.F. brushes are his favorite and the makeup is great too.

Next, Jamie suggested subscribing to E.L.F. emails to receive coupons and special sales. Upon returning home and visiting the E.L.F. website, I noticed that they offer a free 3-piece beauty set on orders of $25 or more. Just visiting their site will save you money!

Next, I subscribed to their email listing and the first email I received had the following:

Free shipping IS gorgeous.

Hello, gorgeous. Who doesn’t love a compliment like that?! E.L.F. is right, I am gorgeous. Uh, Mr. Dollabuzz. This is just an automatic email. E.L.F. doesn’t know if you’re a gorgeous swan or if you swan-dived out of the ugly tree. Whooooa there, voice in my head! If you think you are gorgeous, then you are. Don’t rain on my self-esteem parade. Back to gettin’ money. Free shipping on my first order? Cha-ching!

How to Save Money Buying Makeup: Join the E.L.F Beauty Squad

Joining the E.L.F Beauty Squad allows for you to save more money through the accumulation of points. Points are earned by making purchases, word of mouth, and social media doings. For example:

  • 5 points for sharing our posts on Facebook
  • 5 points for sharing our tweets on Twitter
  • 10 points when you follow us on Instagram
  • 150 points when you refer a besty, BFF, or side piece.

In addition to explaining all the positives of E.L.F., Jamie recommended a few products. Since I don’t wear makeup personally, it would be difficult for me to review the products themselves. However, I did check the Amazon reviews of the products, which include the rating along with the price. Here’s a list of products Jamie recommends with links to purchase them through Amazon:

Eye Makeup

“I think the eyes flirt most. There are so many ways to use them.” -Ann Held

Shadow Lock Eyelid Primer, Pearl

Price: $6.99 Rate: 4/5

This lightweight formula ensures a long-lasting look, without creasing.

Prism Eye Shadow

Price: $10 Rate: 4.6/5

These shades go on like a powder, but feel creamy and pigmented. The neutral palette is great for going from day to night; apply dry for a slight shimmer, or use wet for an intense look.

Waterproof Lengthening and Volumizing Mascara

Price: $6.00 Rating: 3.5/5

This quick-drying formula creates thicker and fuller lashes. The enhanced brush head allows for better application and control.

Lip Makeup

“Girls, girls, girls… long legs and burgundy lips.” -Motley Crue

E.L.F Lip Lock Pencil

Price: $7.50 Rating: 4/5

Keep your lip color from bleeding outside the lines with this clear formula… great for any skin tone! No sharpening required.

E.L.F. Feather Proof Moisturizing Lip Liner

Price: $7.50 Rating: 4/5

Long-lasting hydrating pigments that never feather or bleed out.

Face Makeup

“She’s not just a pretty face, she’s got everything it takes” -Shania Twain

Aqua Primer Mist

Price: $8.00 Rating: 3/5

This silicone- and alcohol-free primer readies the skin for foundation (or bare face) with enriched vitamins and antioxidants, creating a supple and dewy effect.

“Gotta be hydrated”

https://www.elfcosmetics.com/p/aqua-beauty-primer-mist

E.L.F. Cosmetics, Flawless Finish Foundation, SPF 15 Sunscreen, Oil Free

Price: $20 Rating: 4/5

This semi-matte finish is lightweight and applies with ease, leaving you with an air-brushed look. Now that’s putting your best face forward.

E.L.F Ultimate Blending Brush

Price: $6.00 Rating 4/5

The packed bristles and large dome-shaped head allow for effortless application with professional-looking results. Can be used with several products and consistencies.

E.L.F. Eyeliner

Price: $6.00 Rating 4/5

Achieve color intensity for your eyes with this soft gel liner – and best of all, no sharpening required!

How to Save Money Buying Makeup

What started out as a trip to Ulta turned into a post about E.L.F. products. E.L.F.  offers quality makeup at a great price. E.L.F. has specials and sales on various products exclusive to their email subscribers. In addition, joining the Beauty Squad allows you to save even more money. Whether you’re buying your favorite color lipstick or going for a new look this season, be sure to check out E.L.F. and all the great products they offer.

How to Save $1,000 Before the Fall Semester Starts

Dollabuzz Shows You 3 Quick Ways To Save A $1,000 Before Fall Semester

Buenos Dias, Dollabuzz readers! It is mid August and two-a-days are well underway so unfortunately, it is time to prepare to go back to class. After workin’ and chillin’ by the pool all summer, going back to school can be tough and the money seems to just fly right out of your hand. But today, I want to help you save some of that hard-earned money. Let’s see how to Dollabuzz your fall semester and save $1000 before the fall semester starts.

Saving a $1000 Before Fall Semester Starts: After a summer of workin’ and chillin’ at the pool, it’s time to get ready for school.

College: One Expense After Another

College. Where I have spent the past three years of my life has been the most expensive endeavor I have encountered so far. Tuition costs have skyrocketed and, with that, so has the cost of everything else associated with the college experience.

Somehow the school finds a way to charge you for everything. Of all those expenses you have, tuition, in most cases, is the largest. I wish that I had a magic wand to lower tuition but I don’t. However, I do have some easy ideas on how you can save some Benjamin’s elsewhere.

Dollabuzz has a plan to help you save a $1000 before Fall semester starts.

While we are on the topic of trying to pay for college, I would encourage you to check out another Dollabuzz article, the student loan lie. Student loans last long after the couch has stopped burning (Michigan State thing) and can drag on your finances in the future. But, Dollabuzz is here to help you out with three different ways that you can save money before classes start!

Couch burning in the middle of the street surrounded by people
Michigan State University frustration and celebration

Saving a $1000 Before Fall Semester Starts: Plan Ahead and Get Your Supplies Early

Everybody wants to make sure they have that fresh-cut and stylish new shoes. But how do you pick up your school supplies? Waiting until the last-minute and buying them at the campus bookstore can be costly.

Picking up some of the essentials; pens, pencils, notebook, and folders can be purchased at significantly lower prices than what you will pay on campus. Campus bookstores will make you pay for the added convenience. So, save yourself some cash and do your school supply shopping ahead of time.

Dollabuzz Savings: $50. Ohhh wow 50 bucks. Well, $50 saved on supplies is a night at the bar and pizza on the way home. Keep reading for more Dollbuzz money tips. Dollawhuuut!? Dollabuuuzz!

Various school related objects
Saving a $1000 Before Fall Semester Starts: Plan Ahead and Get Your Supplies Early

Saving a $1000 Before Fall Semester Starts: Leave Your Whip At Home

Taking your whip (and nay nay) to campus and parking it might seem convenient, but is it really worth the cost? Sure, it is there when you need it, but dropping a couple hundred bucks to have your car sit in a parking lot all day is a waste of money. You might use it once, maybe twice, but there are other low-cost options that might be more effective.

Having your car on campus may be fun but it can be expensive. Check out cheaper modes of transportation.

Traveling to and from class becomes a hassle when you have to find a parking spot for your car, and chances are you will have to pay for that spot. Take a look at some of the simpler travel options. Bikes, mopeds, longboards, or public transportation are all less expensive choices.

Students that commute from home to school might be too far to bike or take a bus, but if your university offers cheaper parking for commuter students take advantage of that. The fewer times you park your car on campus, the less your odds of getting a parking ticket and the more you save on gas. Another option is to organize a car pool before the start of class. Post a message on social media and you can probably find students to carpool with. Dollabuzz savings: $300-$400

Yellow moped parked on a curb
Imagine cruisin’ around campus on this bad boy. DollaBuzz!
Saving a $1000 Before Fall Semester Starts: Rent Your Textbooks From Amazon

Last, but certainly not least, is my favorite money saving method, Amazon. I am sure you know that Amazon is a great place to buy your textbooks. But did you also know they offer textbook rentals as well? We have all been in the situation where a professor tells you the textbook is required, and then you go through the entire semester without ever opening it. What a waste!

Saving a $1000 Before Fall Semester Starts: Rent Your Textbooks From Amazon

Textbooks are expensive and they make a new edition the next year anyway. The most expensive I have had to purchase was more than $250! I could buy a whole season worth of football tickets and still have some money left over. But for $20 you can rent that same textbook on Amazon for the entire semester, and send it back without having to pay for shipping costs. Multiply those savings over four or five classes and you may never buy another textbook again. Dollabuzz Savings: $700-$1000 per semester.

Saving a $1000 Before Fall Semester Starts: Dollabuzz Takeaway

A college degree might be a requirement for your future career, but that does not mean you have to pay full price for the tools you need to graduate. At Dollabuzz, we are all about getting your finances on track so anything that helps save money is A-OK in our textbook.

Dollabuzz helps you save money

Be prepared and buy your supplies ahead of time, find less expensive modes of transportation, and take advantage of Amazon’s book rentals. If you know of any other cost-saving methods and would like to share, send us a message! We would love to hear from you.