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The post Swagbucks Review 2019: Is It Legit or a Scam? appeared first on Club Thrifty.

Have you ever wanted to make extra money on the side without committing to a second job or side hustle? Have you ever wished the stuff you do in your free time could generate income? Think how nice it would be to get paid for things like browsing the web, watching videos, sharing your opinions, or even shopping.

Amazingly, those opportunities actually exist with Swagbucks, an online rewards platform.

While you won’t get rich watching videos or answering surveys from your couch, you can earn a few extra dollars while hanging out online.

What is Swagbucks?

Swagbucks is an online platform where you can earn rewards for activities like:

  • Taking surveys
  • Watching videos
  • Shopping online
  • Playing games
  • Searching the web
  • Discovering offers
  • Referring your friends

The rewards are Swagbucks points, or SB. You redeem them for gift cards for popular retailers like Amazon and Walmart or for PayPal cash. The formula is simple: 100 SB = $1.

Signing up is a breeze, and best of all, it’s free. You can start earning right away either from the desktop site or the mobile app.

Whether you’re chilling at home or on the move, you can use Swagbucks to earn some extra cash when you have a few free minutes.

Is Swagbucks a Scam?

Absolutely not. Swagbucks is a legitimate online rewards platform.

You might be wondering how it works, though. Why would Swagbucks pay you to answer their surveys, binge their videos, or search the web?

The answer lies in market research. Swagbucks partners with several third parties who want to learn about your opinions and habits – and they’re willing to pay for that info.

Now, don’t set your hopes too high. You can use Swagbucks to earn a bit of extra cash, but you’re not about to retire early.

Earn Money from Your Couch – Earn some extra cash in your spare time with Swagbucks. Signup is free and you can start earning right away. You’ll even get a $5 bonus when you sign up. Get started here.

How to Make Money with Swagbucks? Taking Surveys

Swagbucks is one of the top online survey sites, and they actually pay you to share your opinions through online surveys and polls. Your earnings depend on the survey and its length.

For example, a quick glance at my available offers shows ranges from 25 SB for a 5-minute survey to 135 SB for a 35-minute survey. When you look at those numbers, you can see it’s a better bang for your buck to do several 5-minute surveys than a single lengthy one.

The beauty of online surveys is that you can do them anywhere – your couch, your doctor’s waiting room, public transit, you name it. Shorter ones can be completed quickly so you can capitalize on short bursts of free time.

A note about speed, though: Don’t answer randomly to get to the end in record time. Many of the surveys have questions designed to make sure you’re paying attention. You’ve been warned!

The Daily Polls is a single question that pays 1 SB per day. Even if you can’t squeeze in a survey, open the app every day and take a second to vote on the daily poll.

Watching Videos

Swagbucks pays you to watch and rate video content. It also awards SB for watching a 15-video playlist.

You can choose videos by topic so it’s easy to find content you’re interested in. Entertainment, top stories, and even recipes are some of your options.

Shopping Online

When you shop at your favorite retailers through Swagbucks’ online portal, you earn SB on every dollar you spend.

How many SB? It depends on the retailer since they all have their own arrangements with Swagbucks. Each has its own regular cash back rate, but keep an eye out for special bonus rates from time to time. You may be able to earn anywhere from 1%-11% or more on these offers!

To earn cash back on online purchases you were going to make anyway, all you have to do is launch the website through Swagbucks’ online portal.

Don’t think you’ll remember to go to the portal before you shop? No worries! You can download the SwagButton extension for your browser, and it will remind you to click to activate relevant cashback offers. It also scours the web for coupons to help you save on your purchase.

Playing Games

Calling gamers everywhere! Swagbucks will pay you to play!

There are two ways to earn:

  • Play Swagbucks’ free games
  • Make in-game purchases when you play GSN or World Winner games

The free games are like the videos—you need to play a certain number of rounds to get the reward. The paid games award SB as cash back based on the dollar value of your in-game purchase. For example, you might earn 4 SB for every dollar you spend.

Like online shopping, you need to launch your games through the Swagbucks portal to earn your reward.

Searching the Web

Want to earn SB just by searching the web? Make their Yahoo-powered search engine your default and carry on living your life. You’ll automatically collect SB for your regular searches.

Using the search engine is a dead-simple way to earn SB. All you do differently is install it one time. What could be easier?

Discovering Offers

Swagbucks partners with a ton of retailers and service providers to reward its members for trying out their products and services.

Certain offers award SB when you buy a product, but others only require you to sign up for a free trial. It’s a great way to try out a service for free and earn some rewards in the process. If you end up liking it, all the better.

For example, you may be able to earn hundreds of SB when you sign up for something like Apple Music’s free 3-month trial. If you’ve been thinking about trying it out, you might as well earn some SB while you’re at it, right?

Referring a Friend

Through Swagbucks’ referral program, you can earn 300 SB when someone you refer signs up and earns 300 SB in their first month. What’s more, you earn 10% of their earnings as long as they have their account.

Right now, you can earn a 100 bonus SB when your referral adds the SwagButton to their browser. That 400 SB is enough to buy you a $5 gift card on sale.

Because you earn 10% of whatever your referrals earn, it pays to refer people you think will be active on the site.

Earning Bonus SB with Your Daily To-Do List

Every day, Swagbucks offers you bonus SB for completing six of the seven items on your Daily To-do List. The list usually has tasks from each earning category. Examples include completing the daily poll, attempting a survey, completing a survey, signing up for an offer, etc.

Getting Paid

When it’s time to redeem those not-so-hard-earned SB, the process is pretty easy. Click “redeem SB” and take your pick of the gift cards. The most versatile options are PayPal and Amazon, but you can also choose between Walmart, Starbucks, iTunes, and more.

Remember, 100 SB = $1, so 2500 SB gets you $25 in your PayPal account. But don’t worry, you don’t have to save up 2500 SB to cash out. You can redeem as few as 300 SB for a $3 Amazon gift card.

What’s really cool is that gift cards sometimes go on sale, making your SB go further. For example, a $25 Amazon gift card normally costs 2500 SB, but sometimes goes on sale for 1875 SB. That’s 25% in savings! To maximize the value of your SB, I recommend keeping your eye out for sales.

Once you’ve chosen your gift card, you verify your redemption via a link to your email or by answering a security question. Unfortunately, you don’t get your gift card instantly. Instead, the digital code arrives in the gift cards section of your account within 10 days.

Earn Extra Cash with Swagbucks – At Swagbucks, there are tons of easy ways to earn extra cash. Start saving for the holidays or that special splurge for yourself. Get started here.

Advantages of Swagbucks
  • You Know How Long a Survey Takes – When you look at your available surveys, it’s clear how long the survey will take and how many SB you’ll earn. This transparency helps you decide if a survey is worth your time.
  • Plenty of Ways to Earn – Most people think of Swagbucks as a survey site, but it’s so much more than that. If you find surveys annoying or boring, you can still earn SB by shopping online, watching videos, opting into offers, and more. With so many earning opportunities, everyone can find something that’s convenient for them.
  • Versatile Redemption Options – You can redeem SB for PayPal cash or gift cards at retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and Barnes and Noble. PayPal and Amazon are likely the most popular options, but there’s tons of choice for anyone looking for something different. It’s also cool that you can redeem for as little as $3.
  • Mobile App – Some online rewards sites work best on a computer, but I like that Swagbucks has a mobile app so you can earn SB on the go. The app isn’t as robust as the desktop site, but you can take surveys, watch videos, shop, and invite friends.
Disadvantages of Swagbucks
  • You Don’t Know a Survey’s Topic Going In – When you select from available surveys, you see the estimated time to complete and the SB you’ll earn. There’s nothing to indicate the survey’s topic. That means you might get into a survey and realize it doesn’t apply to you, which wastes time.
  • You Have to Wait for Your Gift Cards – It’s great that Swagbucks offers digital gift card codes, but it’s a drag that you have to wait up to 10 days to get it.
  • Surveys Can be Repetitive – When you begin a survey, you often have to answer screening questions to make sure you fit the target audience. If you continue to the actual survey, you might be asked those same demographic questions again. This is repetitive and can be a little annoying, especially if you’re doing several surveys in one sitting.
  • You May be Disqualified – Companies conducting market research are looking for a certain number of responses from specific target audiences. The screening questions at the beginning of the survey determine whether or not you qualify. Sometimes you might attempt multiple surveys before making the cut.
Who is Swagbucks Best For?

Anyone Looking to Earn a Little Extra in Their Down Time – Swagbucks is a easy way to earn extra money by doing simple online tasks. The tasks are things you would do anyway (like shop online) or things that you can do while you veg out on your coach (like watch videos or take surveys).

Anyone Who Doesn’t Have Much Free Time for a Side Hustle – If you’re serious about earning extra income in your free time, there are ways to make more than you ever will through Swagbucks. But if you only have a few minutes to spare, you can make the most of them with Swagbucks’ quick online tasks.

People Who Enjoy Surveys – Some people genuinely enjoy the opportunity to share their opinions. If you find surveys fun, Swagbucks is the perfect way to earn some extra coin.

People Who Spend a Lot of Time Online – If you do all your shopping online, spend a fair bit of time browsing the web, and enjoy gaming and watching videos, you might as well get paid for it!

Who Should Avoid Swagbucks?

Anyone Looking to Get Rich – Swagbucks is a great way to earn some extra cash or a gift card for your favorite retailer, but it’s not going to make you rich. People with those unrealistic expectations shouldn’t even bother. If you’re willing to put more time and effort into making money, check out this list of legitimate work-from-home jobs if you really want to move the needle.

Anyone Who Finds Surveys Annoying – If you’re not interested in sharing your opinions or if you get annoyed answering a lot of questions, you won’t enjoy taking Swagbucks surveys. That said, there are plenty of other ways to earn SB such as shopping, watching videos, and gaming.

People Who Don’t Go Online Often – If you don’t spend much time online, you won’t have an opportunity to benefit from Swagbucks’ offers.

The Verdict: Is Swagbucks Legit?

Absolutely! If you’re looking to earn a few extra dollars in your spare time, you can do it with Swagbucks. It’s free to join and the rewards are real.

If you enjoy answering surveys, watching videos, and playing games, Swagbucks is right up your alley. If you do any shopping online, you might as well earn cash back. You’re reading this which means you obviously browse the web. So, why not get paid for it?

Sure, some surveys are annoying, and not all the offers will appeal to you. Still, you can take what you like and leave what you don’t. It’s that simple. You don’t really have anything to lose by giving it a try.

Keep your expectations in check (think an extra $10 a month, not an extra $1,000), and you won’t be disappointed.

Earn Extra Spending Money with Swagbucks – Are you ready to earn some extra dough? With Swagbucks, all it takes is a few minutes each day to add some coin to your wallet! Get started here.

The post Swagbucks Review 2019: Is It Legit or a Scam? appeared first on Club Thrifty.

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The post SELF Loan Program: An Excellent Student Loan Option in Minnesota appeared first on Club Thrifty.

Life teaches you that earning a college education will open the door to getting a good job and living happily ever after. But, as with most things, it’s not that easy.

The U.S. Department of Education reports student loan debt more than doubled between 1992 and 2012 for borrowers who graduated with a bachelor’s degree. When you think about books, room and board, and the ever-increasing cost of food, it’s enough to make your head spin.

How do you pay for all that? Most turn to student loans.

Unfortunately, a good chunk of your monthly payment will likely go toward interest. Paying interest is like throwing money out the window. It can add up to tens of thousands over the life of the loan, and it can take forever to get the balance paid off.

Since 1984, the Minnesota Office of Higher Education has tried to change that. They created the Student Education Loan Fund program, more commonly known as a SELF Loan. This program opens the door to long-term, low-interest college loans for residents or students in Minnesota.

If you’re a Minnesota resident or considering attending a college or university in the state, keep reading. In this SELF Loan review, we’ll cover how the program works, who’s eligible, the current rates and terms, and help you decide if it’s a good fit for your college plans!

For those without a Minnesota connection, here are some other resources you may like:

SELF Loan at a Glance
  • Launched by Minnesota Office of Higher Education in 1984
  • Provided over $2 billion in loans to students to date
  • Can save you money with low interest rates that don’t depend on income or credit
  • Requires you to have a co-signer
  • Requires interest payments while in school
  • Certificates and degree programs are eligible with loan amounts from $500 to $20,000 a year
  • Participating colleges are found around the U.S. for Minnesota residents
  • Non-Minnesota residents qualify if they attend a participating Minnesota school
What is SELF Loan?

SELF Loan stands for the Student Education Loan Fund program. The Minnesota Office of Higher Education put it together, and it provides student loans to Minnesota residents or out-of-state students attending a school in Minnesota.

With a SELF Loan, you can bridge the gap when federal student loans aren’t enough. Although companies like Credible are a great way to compare private student loan rates, a SELF Loan may be able to help Minnesota students save more with even lower rates. This is because SELF Loan interest rates are not determined by your credit score or income. Every student is given the same interest rate and can choose between a fixed or variable loan.

How Does a SELF Loan Work?

When you attend college, the cost of tuition can cause some major sticker-shock. The price of attendance is so outrageous!

In many cases, federal student loans can only go so far. Additionally, the federal government sets limits on the amount of subsidized vs. unsubsidized student loans you can receive.

Private student loans are another option but can come with higher interest rates. Paying more in interest might not sound so bad when you take out the loan. Over time, though, it adds up.

A SELF Loan is the perfect in-between solution.

Where private loans depend on your credit history to qualify, SELF Loans offer the same rate to everyone – regardless of income or credit. Keep in mind, though, you will need a cosigner. That is one reason they’re able to keep the rates so low. Cosigners are usually parents or guardians, but they can also be a spouse, relative, or friend.

To find out if a SELF Loan could work for you, first check out the list of participating schools. Not all schools will originate a new loan through the program, though the ones that do are found across the U.S.

Before jumping into this student loan option, make sure you look into federal loans, too. Federal student loans come with a few benefits you won’t get with a SELF Loan. For instance, federal repayment programs include deferments, forbearance, and monthly payments based on your income. With a SELF Loan, you won’t have the choice to defer and your repayment options aren’t flexible.

Compare Private Student Loans – Need some extra help paying for school? Compare private student loan rates from multiple lenders with Credible. Get started here.

SELF Loan Eligibility Criteria

SELF Loans are state-funded student loans that can save you money on interest. Because it’s through the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, not everyone will qualify. Though you don’t have to reside in Minnesota, here are the requirements you must meet:

  • Enroll in an eligible school in the state of Minnesota or be a resident of Minnesota enrolled in a participating school
  • Have a cosigner willing to make payments if you’re not able to do so
  • Maintain at least half-time enrollment status in a certificate program or while pursuing an associate, bachelor’s, or graduate degree
  • Complete sufficient academic progress
  • Keep all required student loan payments up to date
SELF Loan: Rates and Terms

SELF Loans have fixed and variable rates to pick from, and – unlike private student loans – everyone pays the same rate regardless of your income or credit history. The variable rate currently stands at 4.7% and the fixed rate is 6% through June 30, 2019.

The specific terms are easy and fall into three time-frames: In-School Period, Transition Period, and Repayment Period.

While in school, you must pay the interest once each quarter. The Transition Period begins when you graduate, drop below half-time enrollment, or transfer to a school that doesn’t qualify. During this time, you’re required to make interest payments monthly.

You can stay in Transition for up to 12 months before the Repayment Period. Your monthly principal and interest payments depend on how much you borrow, but you can choose between the Standard Plan or Extended-Interest Plan to pay back the money you borrowed.

There is one exception: If it’s been nine years since you first received your SELF Loan, you must repay it even if you’re still in school or in a Transition Period.

SELF Loan: Pros and Cons
Pros of SELF Loan Cons of SELF Loan
No penalty for paying it off earlyYou must make interest payments every three months while you’re in school
Can save money by paying lower interest over the life of the loanNo grace periods or deferment options if you fall on hard financial times
No credit history or income requirement to meetCannot include SELF Loans in federal loan consolidation
Covers education expenses that federal loans might not be enough to coverCannot release or change cosigner until the loan is paid in full
May find lower interest rates than private student loansLimited eligibility to Minnesota residents/students and qualifying schools
No application or origination fees
Has both variable and fixed interest rates to pick from
What’s Great about SELF Loan Student Loans No Credit Score Required

With SELF Loan, everyone pays the same interest rate. Unlike most private student loans, it doesn’t matter what your credit score is. The rate you pay depends on whether you pick fixed or variable interest.

Saving You Money

Because your credit doesn’t influence your interest rate, you can save money by paying lower interest fees. You also won’t pay any application, processing, guarantee, or other processing fees. And if you want to pay it off early, that’s no problem – there’s no prepayment penalty to worry about.

Get the Cash You Need for College

Federal student loans have limits on what you can borrow each year, and that might not be enough to cover tuition, books, and other expenses. Before you turn to private loans, consider a SELF Loan to see if it can get you a lower interest rate. You can borrow up to $20,000 per year for a total of $140,000, though just how much depends on the program you’re enrolled in.

Where SELF Loans Fall Short
  • You Need a Cosigner – Cosigners help ensure payments are made on the loan, and SELF Loan claims this helps keep the interest rates as low as they are. A cosigner can’t be just anyone, though – they must be creditworthy. That includes not having a history of bankruptcy, and not owing more than $300 in negative credit accounts, among other things.
  • Not Eligible for Deferment – One of the primary benefits of federal education loans is their flexible repayment options. From grace periods, deferments, forbearances, and income-based repayment plans, you have options if you fall on hard times. With a SELF Loan, there are no grace periods or deferments.
  • Limited Student Eligibility – Because SELF Loan is a state-level program by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, it isn’t open to everyone in the U.S. The loans are only good at participating schools. If your school of choice isn’t on the list, you’re out of luck. Plus, you must be a Minnesota resident or an out-of-state student enrolled in an eligible school in Minnesota.
Who Should Consider a SELF Loan?

Students Who Live in Minnesota – If you live in Minnesota, the list of eligible schools is huge. From Alabama State and American University to WyoTech and Yale, the door is wide open to colleges across the U.S.

Students Interested in Attending a College in Minnesota – No matter where you live, there are plenty of college options within the state of Minnesota. If you attend a college within the state, you’re eligible to receive a SELF Loan.

Anyone Without a Solid Credit Record – SELF Loans differ from federal or private student loans. With federal loans, you must show a financial need, while private student loans may require a decent credit history to qualify. However, you can get a SELF Loan without either of those things since rates are the same for everyone and credit scores don’t matter.

Current Students Needing More Financial Help – If you qualify for federal student loans, there are limits to how much you can borrow. With the cost of books, room and board, and everything else that goes into paying for college, it might not be enough. With a SELF Loan, you can borrow up to $20,000 per year to help bridge the gap.

Who Should Avoid SELF Loans?

Students Whose Needs are Covered by Federal Loans – Taking out federal student loans because you have a financial need can be a smart option. It rarely requires a cosigner, and lets you take advantage of deferment, forbearance, and income-based repayment options. SELF Loans don’t offer those things.

Non-residents Attending Schools Outside of Minnesota – Since the program eligibility is limited, you might not qualify. If you’re not a Minnesota resident or an out-of-state student planning to attend a school in Minnesota, this isn’t the program for you.

How to Apply for a SELF Loan Student Loan

Applying for a SELF Loan is super easy. There is no application or origination fee to worry about, and it only takes about 30 minutes. You can get started here.

Keep in mind, you will need to enter your cosigner’s information on the application. They can log in later to review and sign their portion.

It can take four weeks to process, so make sure you apply early enough to get everything before your college term starts.

SELF Loan Review: The Bottom Line

College isn’t cheap. With that said, getting a higher education can unlock career opportunities you otherwise might not have had, so it still might be a smart move for you.

Just remember that a SELF Loan isn’t a grant or scholarship. It’s a loan, and that means the funds you borrow must be paid back.

If you live in Minnesota or are thinking of attending a college there, a SELF Loan is an excellent way to get cash for school with a low-interest loan. Your credit doesn’t matter, though you will need a cosigner. And unlike most federal and private student loans, you must make quarterly interest payments on the loan even while you’re in school.

The application process is simple and there are no fees. Plus, knowing what your interest rate will be before you apply for the loan is a nice perk.

With all the confusion around student loans, we hope this SELF Loan review has been helpful. Thanks for reading and good luck!

Find the Best Private Student Loan Rates – With Credible, you can compare the most current private student loan rates all in one place! Get started here.


The post SELF Loan Program: An Excellent Student Loan Option in Minnesota appeared first on Club Thrifty.

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The post Worthy Bonds Review: Earn a Fixed 5% Interest Rate with Just $10 appeared first on Club Thrifty.

In this Worthy Review, we’ll take a look at what Worthy bonds are, how you can earn through their platform, and whether investing with them is the right strategy for you. Enjoy!

Are you looking for an easy way to make some guaranteed interest on your money? Worthy Bonds can help.

Offering a fixed 5% return on your money, Worthy Bonds are a great low-risk investment that nets a good return. Plus, with a cost of just $10 per bond, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to get started.

Sound good? Let’s take a closer look at one of our favorite ways to get more out of your money.

Earn 5% with Worthy Bonds – Need a great way to earn an easy 5% on your money? Worthy Bonds offers a fixed 5% interest rate on your money, and you only need $10 to open an account. Get started here.

Worthy Bonds at a Glance
  • Get started with just $10
  • Pays a fixed 5% interest
  • Bonds help to fund small businesses
  • 36-month terms
  • You can withdraw your money anytime
  • Brings balance to your portfolio
  • Registered with the SEC
  • No fees or penalties
  • Automatic reinvestment feature
What is Worthy?

Worthy is a relatively low-risk investment platform that helps put your money to good use. When you buy a Worthy Bond, you earn a fixed 5% return on your money. There are no fees or penalties to worry about. You can buy, sell, transfer, or withdraw your money without paying extra.

Your investment is used to support loans given to growing companies. That’s right – your money goes toward building better communities when you buy bonds from Worthy. These loans are fully-secured through the companies assets, which also helps to minimize risk.

Worthy Bonds: How Does it Work?

Using the money from investors like you, Worthy loans money from bond sales to small businesses. These businesses pay interest on the money they borrow, and your funds grow from the interest that accrues.

Worthy returns the money to you and pays 5% interest on your investment. You can use that to buy more bonds or make a withdrawal to put the cash back in your pocket.

Fee-Free Bonds with Worthy

You might wonder how to buy bonds with Worthy. The good news is that buying bonds with Worthy is easy, even if you don’t have extra moolah lying around. Since the bonds cost just $10, it doesn’t take a lot to get going.

Worthy even provides an option to “round-up” your purchases. Think about it: How often do you have an extra $10, $20, or $100 bucks laying around to buy investments? But you’re not likely to miss a few cents here and there. That’s where Worthy can help.

When you open and add money to make your bond purchases, you’ll first connect an account. Simply link a credit or debit card as well, and Worthy will monitor the daily transactions on that account.

When you make a purchase, they’ll round up the purchase to the nearest whole dollar. The spare change goes into your Worthy account. Once it reaches $10, you can use it to purchase your next bond.

Each bond comes in with a 36-month term. If you’re short on cash and need the money now, Worthy lets you redeem the bonds at any time – and you won’t pay a penalty. If you’re a big-time investor with more than $50,000 in bonds, the process could take a few weeks to deposit the funds in your bank account. For everyone else, your money will make it to your bank account with no delay.

Registration and Regulation

Because Worthy isn’t a bank, it isn’t insured by the FDIC. Instead, like most investment companies, they’re registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Any bonds you buy with Worthy are SEC-registered bonds that resemble corporate bonds since they don’t trade publicly.

Security

Whenever we’re talking about online savings accounts or investments, a security breach is a obviously a common concern. Worthy keeps your information safe with standard internet security measures like Secure Sockets Layer encryption.

Your Social Security number also undergoes encryption, and Worthy uses automated tools to stop unauthorized access to your account.

Diversify your portfolio with Worthy Bonds – With no fees, extremely low minimum balance requirements, and a fixed 5% return, buying Worthy bonds can be a great way to diversify your investment portfolio. Learn more about Worthy here.

Benefits of Worthy Bonds
  • Good return on investment – It’s hard to find good returns with low-risk investments, but Worthy delivers a fixed 5% interest on the bonds you buy. That rate is better than you’ll find with high-yield savings accounts, which can earn about 2.00-2.50% APY.
  • No fees – Worthy is free for you to use. They make fully-secured loans to businesses, and the profits come from the interest payments made on these loans. This is why they don’t need to charge you any fees or penalties.
  • Can withdraw your money any time – Each bond comes with a 36-month term, but you’re free to withdraw your money at any time without fees or penalties.
  • Low minimum to open account – It’s easy to find an extra $10 to invest, right? That’s all it takes to open an account with Worthy.
  • Puts investing on autopilot – The change from your round-ups will automatically prompt a new bond purchase when the balance reaches $10. And, if you enable Automatic Reinvestments, a new bond will be added to your account when the interest you earn reaches $10, too.
Where Worthy Falls Short
  • Interest structure – You earn simple interest, not compound interest, on your original investment every seven days. Compound interest is where the magic is, since you earn interest on your interest. But Worthy recently opened up the opportunity to earn compound interest on reinvested funds, and you can find this option on your Settings page.
  • Investment limits – Both accredited (those that meet certain income requirements) and non-accredited investors can open a Worthy account, but there are limits. Accredited investors can’t buy more than $100,000 in bonds, and the max for non-accredited individuals is 10% of that person’s annual income or net worth.
Who Should Consider Worthy?

Hands-off investors looking for automation – Not everyone enjoys managing their investments. If that sounds like you, Worthy might be a good fit. Connecting a credit or debit card will automatically round-up your purchases to buy bonds, and reinvesting the interest you earn to buy more bonds is an option, too.

Investors who hate fees – You won’t pay any fees at all with your Worthy account. Even if you need to withdraw your money before the 36-month term is up, there’s no penalty.

Beginning investors who want to get their feet wet – Worthy is an excellent low-risk investment option for beginners. The bonds are only $10 each and you can start by buying just one. As your comfort level grows, investing and earning more money is possible.

Investors who want to diversify their portfolio – Stocks are the go-to investment strategy but there’s power in having a balanced portfolio. If you add bonds, like the ones you can buy through Worthy, it brings diversity so all your eggs aren’t in one basket.

Who Should Avoid Worthy?

Investing is a fantastic way to grow your money, but it can wait if you don’t have any emergency savings built up. Without having accessible cash, you and your family could be in trouble if an unexpected expense pops up. Even $1,000 can help, though aim for setting aside enough to cover your expenses for three to six months to be safe.

Of course, your money is fairly liquid with Worthy. Still, just because you can withdraw your money early without penalty doesn’t mean you should. Short-term investors looking at terms of less than 3 years should consider other options, such as a high-yield savings account or CD.

How to Open a Worthy Account

Getting started with Worthy is easy-peasy. Make sure you have your Social Security number to reference, and your bank’s login information, too.

Here’s how to open a Worthy account:

  1. Use this link to go to the Worthy website to earn 5% on your $10 investment.
  2. You’ll see two options: Log In and Get Started. Select Get Started, then type in your email address and password and agree to their terms and privacy policy.
  3. On the next screen, you’ll enter your personal information.
  4. Now it’s time to connect your bank account to fund your bond purchases. Instant verification is the easiest, though microdeposit verification is an option, too. Keep in mind verifying your account with microdeposit can take two to three business days.

That’s it! After they verify your account, you can deposit funds and start earning 5% on the bonds you buy.

Worthy Review: The Bottom Line

When taking everything into consideration, Worthy is an excellent platform to invest in bonds. With a fixed 5% return, a $10 minimum investment, and no penalties or fees, we think Worthy is an outstanding choice.

Rounding up your purchases and using the leftover cash to fund bonds makes growing your money easy. Plus, your money helps to grow communities by providing competitive loan options for small businesses. What’s not to feel good about?

So, if  you’re looking for an effortless way to buy bonds, you should definitely consider Worthy.

Are bonds part of your portfolio? Why or why not? Share with us in the comments below!

Earn a Fixed 5% Interest Rate at Worthy – Worthy Bonds help fund fully-secured loans for small businesses while offering you a fixed 5% interest rate. You can even round up your everyday purchases and use your spare change to buy more. It’s an easy way to save and grow your money! Get started with Worthy here.

The post Worthy Bonds Review: Earn a Fixed 5% Interest Rate with Just $10 appeared first on Club Thrifty.

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The post Amsterdam Pass Review 2019: Is It a Good Deal or Waste of Money? appeared first on Club Thrifty.

In this Amsterdam Pass review, I’ll explain how the pass works, describe what’s included, explore its best features, and help you decide if it’s right for your travel plans.

If you’re gearing up for a trip to Amsterdam, you’re in for a treat. The city’s picturesque canals, historic architecture, world-renowned museums, and vibrant nightlife make it a popular European tourist attraction.

While it’s not the most expensive city in Europe, certain aspects of visiting Amsterdam can be hard on your wallet. Food and drink are reasonable, but hotels are pricey, and so is sightseeing. And since there are so many museums and tours you’ll want to take in, it’s easy to eat up the budget pretty quickly.

Luckily, the Amsterdam Pass can help you save money while you’re there. As always, this sightseeing card isn’t right for everybody, so let’s take a look at whether it’s a good fit for you!

Amsterdam Pass: How It Works

The Amsterdam Pass is an all-inclusive sightseeing pass that includes entry to over 50 of Amsterdam’s top attractions for one low price. Yes, I said 50.

Like most all-inclusive sightseeing passes, the Amsterdam Pass works on a consecutive calendar-day basis. It’s available for 1, 2, 3, and 5-day durations.

The Amsterdam Pass is available digitally on your smartphone or as a physical pass you pick up in Amsterdam. You activate your pass by scanning its QR code at your first attraction. After that, it’s valid for the number of days purchased.

For example, if you activate your three-day pass on Monday at 11 am, it’s good for the rest of Monday and all day Tuesday and Wednesday. So, it’s best to activate your pass early in the morning so you get in a full day of sightseeing on your first day.

As with other passes, like the London Pass, the Amsterdam Pass includes single entry to each of the included attractions. Exceptions are the Hop-on Hop-off Bus and Boat Tours—you can take those multiple times while your pass is active.

If used appropriately, the Amsterdam Pass can save you a lot of money on admission costs. It’s an all-inclusive pass, so the more you do, the more you save.

You’ll also save time because at many of the attractions, your pass functions as your ticket. That means you get to skip the line and spend more time enjoying Amsterdam!

Attractions Included on the Amsterdam Pass

The Amsterdam Pass includes access to over fifty attractions—that’s a huge selection! Here are our ten of the best, along with their regular admission prices:

  • Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour – €26
  • Rijksmuseum – €20
  • Heineken Experience – €21
  • Hop-on Hop-off Boat Tour – €26
  • A’DAM Lookout – €13.50
  • Rembrandt House Museum – €14
  • Ferry to Amsterdam Castle Muiderslot – €21
  • Johan Cruijff Stadium Tours – €16.50
  • 100 Highlights Cruise – €18
  • The National Maritime Museum – €16.50
  • …and many more (full list here)

*Current as of May 2019

Amsterdam Pass Pricing

Now that you know how the Amsterdam Pass works and what’s included, you’re probably curious about the most important detail: how much it costs.

The table below shows adult and child pricing for the 1, 2, 3, and 5-day passes.

Amsterdam PassesAdult PriceChild Price (Ages 4-12)
1 Day €64€32
2 Day€84€42
3 Day€104€52
5 Day€134€67
*Prices current as of May 1, 2019

As you can see, the Amsterdam Pass is reasonably priced. The 5-day pass is the best deal, averaging €26.80 a day for unlimited sightseeing. With over 50 attractions to choose from, filling up 5 days would be a cinch.

Of course, people sometimes visit Amsterdam for just two or three days during a European trip, so if that’s your situation, the other passes work well, too.

For example, if you visit the ten attractions we listed in over three days, the regular admission price would be €192.50. The 3-day Amsterdam Pass costs just €104, so you’d save €88.50, or 46%. Savings above 50% may even be possible with the 5-day pass.

Enjoy Amsterdam for Less – Visit Amsterdam’s top sites for half the price! With the Amsterdam Pass you’ll get entry to more than 50 of Amsterdam’s best sites. Why wait? Get your Amsterdam Pass here.

Top Reasons to Get the Amsterdam Pass Save Money

The main reason to buy the Amsterdam Pass is to save money on sightseeing. Like the Paris Pass, this is an all-inclusive pass, so you’re in control of how much you save. The more you do, the more you save.

Visiting multiple attractions each day and making sure you hit some of the more expensive options will result in maximum savings. It’s pretty easy to save 40-50% if you’re strategic about it. I’m really impressed with the value you get with the Amsterdam Pass.

Fast Track Entry

Amsterdam and its finest attractions are big tourist draws. Of course, popular tourist attractions typically mean one thing…long lines.

The cool thing about the Amsterdam Pass is that in some cases, it functions as your ticket. That means you can save time by skipping the ticket line and heading directly to the entry point. Less time in lines means more time exploring Amsterdam. I’ll take it!

Hop-on Hop-off Bus and Boat Tours

Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tours are standard fare for sightseeing passes. I typically recommend them when visiting a city for the first time because they can be a nice way to explore a new place.

As you’re driven past the major landmarks, the audio guide fills you in on the city’s history while you scope out cool stuff to do later. You can also use the bus as a means of transportation between attractions since you can hop on or off anywhere along the route.

The HOHO Bus Tour included on the Amsterdam Pass does all those things, and it’s absolutely worth taking. But the Amsterdam Pass has something most sightseeing passes don’t – a HOHO Boat Tour.

The HOHO Boat Tour departs every 30 minutes and sails along Amsterdam’s charming canals, stopping at 6 attractions. I recommend doing the full tour the first time because it really is a lovely way to take in the city sights. After that, use it to get where you’re going—for free.

There are a couple of really convenient things about the whole HOHO deal. The first is that the Amsterdam Pass gets you unlimited access to the bus and the boat tours for the duration of your pass. This isn’t c­ommon; usually, sightseeing passes include just a one-day ticket.

The second is that you can switch between the bus and the boat seamlessly. So, if you’re on the boat and decide to hop off to go explore A’DAM Lookout, you can hop on the bus when you’re done and catch a ride to Rijksmuseum.

Without the Amsterdam Pass, each tour costs €26, so taking advantage of unlimited use for the duration of your pass adds major value.

Huge Number of Attractions

The Amsterdam Pass includes access to more than 50 attractions, which is a pretty ridiculous amount of choices. Frankly, it includes almost all of Amsterdam’s must-see sites.

Thankfully, it’s not a bunch of the same thing, either; you get a nice variety of sightseeing and activities to choose from. You’ve got an impressive museum selection, historical sites, more than 10 tours, and a bunch of experiential activities. Think things like This is Holland, the Heineken Experience, A’DAM Lookout, and Boom Chicago.

With so much on the menu, you’ll never struggle to fill your plate. The more likely challenge will be deciding which attractions to prioritize—even if you buy the five-day pass, you’ll never fit them all in.

Other Benefits of the Amsterdam Pass
  • Digital Pass – You can use the Amsterdam Pass on your smartphone, which is much more convenient than carrying around a paper pass like some other sightseeing passes.
  • Free Guide – Each Amsterdam Pass comes with a free guidebook that helps you get the most from your pass. It has each attraction’s hours, address, and phone number, as well as maps of the city. Like the pass, you can print a hard copy or use the guidebook digitally on your smartphone.
  • Additional Savings – The Amsterdam Pass kicks it up a notch by adding discounts on local tours, attractions, and dining to their already-impressive offering. Highlights include a 10% discount on admission to the Amsterdam Dinner Cruise and ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo and 15% a Craft Beer Walking Tour.
  • Amsterdam Airport Express – I love that the pass includes transit between the airport and the city center on the Amsterdam Airport Express. It runs 24 hours and only takes 35 minutes—super convenient. However, see our section below for tips on how to best use it.

Save Time AND Money – The Amsterdam Pass includes fast-track entry to many of the city’s best sites at huge discounts compared to regular admission prices. Learn more here.

Where the Amsterdam Pass Falls Short

The Amsterdam Pass offers an incredible selection and impressive value. With over 50 attractions to choose from, they cover almost all the most sought-after sites. However, a few omissions come to mind: the Van Gogh Museum, the Anne Frank House, and the ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo.

The Van Gogh Museum is a huge draw, and any art lover will end up paying out of pocket to see it. It’s a shame it isn’t included on the Amsterdam Pass, and the exclusion is a big miss.

Likewise, the Anne Frank House is a must-see for history buffs and would round out the pass’ historical site selection. You get a 10% discount to the ARTIS Amsterdam Zoo, but it would be a welcomed family-friendly addition to the Amsterdam Pass official lineup.

There’s also a very important caveat you should be aware of regarding the Amsterdam Airport Express: If you’re arriving late in the day, you should not use your pass for the Airport Express.

Your pass is activated when you use it for the first time, so it wouldn’t be smart to scan your pass and board the Amsterdam Airport Express at 9 pm. That would count as the first day for your pass and would be a complete waste.

So, here’s my advice: If you’re landing in Amsterdam in the morning and plan to go sightseeing that day, use your pass for the Airport Express. If you’re getting in later or don’t plan on doing any sightseeing your first day, don’t use the pass from the airport.

Who Should Buy the Amsterdam Pass

First-time Visitors – If you’re visiting Amsterdam for the first time, you’ll benefit from having access to almost all the top attractions at a discounted price. Fast-track entry at select sites and not having to buy tickets in advance will make your experience more relaxed.

Power Sightseers – All-inclusive passes are best for people who love jam-packed itineraries. If you get excited just thinking about planning out your days so you can hit as many attractions as possible, you’re going to save a ton of money with the Amsterdam Pass.

Museum Buffs – If you adore museums, you’ll love that this pass hooks you up with access to more than 20 of the city’s best (except for the Van Gogh Museum).

Who Should Skip the Amsterdam Pass

Travelers Who Like to Take it Slow – If you enjoy sightseeing at a relaxed pace or if you like to take days off in between, you won’t get your money’s worth from this pass.

People Who Don’t Care for Sightseeing – If museums, tours, and historic sites don’t interest you, you’ll get limited value from the Amsterdam Pass.

Travelers on a Tight Budget – The Amsterdam Pass is a great price for what you get. But if you’ve maxed out your travel budget on flights and hotels, or if you’re more interested in saving your money for fine dining or nightlife, skip the sightseeing pass and explore the free sights instead.

Tips for Getting the Most Out of the Amsterdam Pass

  • Visit at Least Three Attractions a Day – If you want to maximize the value you get from the Amsterdam Pass, use it as often as you can. That said, you don’t want to rush your experience. Doing at least three attractions a day usually means saving a decent amount of money while still having time to enjoy the attractions.
  • Do Some Expensive Attractions – It’s likely impossible to visit all 50+ attractions, so even if you want to see everything, you’ll need to make some choices. To save the most money, use the Amsterdam Pass for the attractions that carry the highest regular admission prices. After you pass expires, you can pay out of pocket for any cheaper attractions you couldn’t fit in. Also, remember the pass comes with some coupons and discounts, so take advantage of that!
  • Buy the Pass on Sale – What’s better than saving money? Saving even more money! This pass goes on sale pretty often, so be sure to grab it then!
  • Don’t Use the Airport Express if You’re Arriving Late – This is a big deal: Do NOT use your pass to board the Amsterdam Airport Express if you’re arriving late in the day (or don’t plan on sightseeing your first day). As soon as you scan that pass, you’re on the clock. It doesn’t matter if it’s 8 am or 8 pm, that counts as day one!
How to Buy the Amsterdam Pass

Does this sound like a good fit for you? Buy the Amsterdam Pass online here!

When it comes to getting and using the pass, you have two choices. You can pick up the pass in Amsterdam or use the mobile pass on your smartphone.

If you want a physical pass, you have to present your email confirmation voucher (printed or electronic) at one of four redemption centers in Amsterdam. If you’d prefer the convenience of a mobile pass, simply download it and present the QR code when you head to your first attraction.

Keep in mind, once you buy the pass, you have a year to activate it. After that, it expires.

Bottom Line: Is the Amsterdam Pass a Good Buy?

I think the Amsterdam Pass is an excellent buy for the right type of traveler. If you enjoy busy, consecutive days of sightseeing, you can get incredible value and selection from this pass. Saving 40-50% is absolutely on the table.

If you prefer to space things out, an all-inclusive pass won’t be the best fit, and you should look elsewhere.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our Amsterdam Pass review and that you’ve found it helpful. Until next time, thanks for reading and happy travels!

Save Money with the Amsterdam Pass – Visit over 50 of Amsterdam’s top sites and save up to 50% doing it! Get the Amsterdam Pass here.

The post Amsterdam Pass Review 2019: Is It a Good Deal or Waste of Money? appeared first on Club Thrifty.

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The post 10 Best Alternative Investments to Try This Year appeared first on Club Thrifty.

Investing is more than stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. While beginning with these more conventional investments is great, there are so many more options to pick from!

If you’re still learning how to start investing, this article will open your eyes to new ideas. Some you may have heard of while others might be brand new. Either way, we’ll keep things simple and easy to understand.

While it’s true getting started won’t be difficult, this list contains detailed information about different types of alternative investments you may want to consider. We’ll also talk about certain companies that make it easy for an individual to cash in on these opportunities.

Some of these investments may lead to great sources of passive income while others may require a little more work to keep the money rolling in. If you’re ready to expand beyond your traditional mix, diversifying with alternative investments might be what you’re looking for.

To help you sort through all the choices, here are a few alternative investments to tap into.

Editor’s note: As always, it’s important to complete your due diligence before making any investment decisions. Remember, we are not investment professionals nor are we providing investment advice for your personal situation.

Our Top Picks

Fundrise [Editor’s Choice] – At Fundrise, you can start investing in real estate with just $500! In fact, we’ve invested in it ourselves. There are no down payments or landlord hassles to worry about, so it could be a great source of passive income to add to your portfolio. Get started here | Read our review

Lending ClubLending Club is a peer-to-peer lending option that could net you some positive returns. Essentially, you’ll screen and make loans to other individuals, getting paid interest for your efforts. You can take those returns as income or store them in an IRA if you wish. The minimum opening deposit is just $1,000, and you can invest as little as $25 per loan. Learn more here

What is an Alternative Investment?

To put it simply, just about anything other than traditional stocks, bonds, and mutual funds/ETFs is an alternative investment.

When you think outside the box, getting into private equity, real estate, peer-to-peer lending, and even investing in art become possibilities.

Before you buy into it, make sure you have an understanding of where your money is going and how it might be used. When your returns are climbing, it might not be a problem. But there’s nothing worse than parting with your hard-earned cash without knowing why it’s going down in value.

Alternative investments aren’t meant to replace your current portfolio mix. Most investors use them to complement their customary stocks, bonds, ETFs, and mutual funds.

Electing to add some investment alternatives can help build your wealth and balance risk by diversifying your portfolio.

Best Alternative Investment Ideas

So, what are the best alternative investments? Here’s a list of some of our favorites!

1) Investing in Real Estate and Rentals

Though it might sound like a more traditional choice, real estate is anything but. The question is whether or not you want to become a landlord. If it doesn’t sound too bad, buying a house or duplex can be a good alternative investment to generate income.

To get started, you’ll need to find a decent price on a property and save up at least enough for a down payment. The bank will finance the rest, and the money you make on rent payments should pay the mortgage, interest, taxes, and repairs.

Over time, the property value can increase, and you stand to make a respectable return on your investment.

It isn’t all sunshine and roses, though. Being a landlord can be tough! Things break, accidents happen, and tenants can get behind on rent. To alleviate stress, you could consider hiring a property manager. Make sure it’s worth your money, though. You’ll need to pay this person for their work, and it will eat into your profits.

But sometimes paying someone else to do the dirty work is worth the money to get the job done. After all, having peace of mind is priceless.

2) The No-Landlord Approach to Real Estate

If being a landlord isn’t your cup of tea, it’s still possible to invest in real estate. Using crowdfunding, you can reap the rewards of real estate ownership without the responsibility.

There are generally two types of crowdfunded real estate to consider. The first puts your investment into properties while the second option means you’re investing in debt. Both can help you establish residual income streams, which is always a good thing when it comes to building long-term wealth.

When investing in property, several investors can buy partial ownership in crowdfunded real estate. Online platforms like Fundrise and RealtyMogul make it easy to get started.

After creating your account, scroll through available properties and pick one to put your money into. Essentially, you’ll be able to invest in property without the costs or hassle of becoming a landlord.

On the other hand, investing in real estate debt through a company like PeerStreet works similarly. However, instead of investing in physical property, you’ll be joining a group of investors to provide real estate loans. Of course, the idea is to earn extra income through the interest on those loans.

Personally, we think Fundrise is the best option here. While most crowdfunded real estate sites require you to be an accredited investor ($200K annual income or $1M net worth), Fundrise helps regular people start investing in real estate. In fact, you only need $500 to get started!

> Get Started with Fundrise

3) Peer-to-Peer Lending

Also known as P2P, peer-to-peer lending allows one person to borrow money from another person. It bypasses the bank and directly connects borrowers with investors. Because managing all that on your own would be a burden, use an online platform like Lending Club to make it easy.

Lending Club lays out the terms and conditions of each type of loan. When someone wants to borrow money, they can pick from a personal, auto, or small business loan. Investors add money to the platform to provide the funds for the loans they’re asking for.

When the borrower pays you back, they also pay interest. And that’s where you can make money. Collecting interest payments from the funds you loan can get you a pretty good return on your cash.

As an investor, you have control over how your money is used. Since you’re assuming the risk of lending money to the applicant, it’s important to review their profile before making a decision. That way, you’ll have insight into why they want to borrow money and what their creditworthiness is.

You don’t need to fund a loan on your own completely. That’s the beauty of crowdfunding. You can put as little as $25 toward each note, which can help spread your risk and diversify your funds. It can also balance your crowdfunding investing strategy.

> Get Started with Lending Club

4) Crowdfunded Art

We’ve already talked about crowdfunded real estate, but have you heard of crowdfunded art? Yes, it really is a thing. And if you play your cards right, it can add up to huge prices.

Masterworks is a platform that brings people together to invest in art. They have a team of art experts who scour the market to get the best deals on paintings and fine art. The goal is to buy them below market value so investors can make the most money.

Once they buy a piece, Masterworks sells shares in the painting to investors. That makes it possible for you to have part ownership in some valuable artwork. The pieces are always available for sale if the price is right. And when it sells, everyone is paid according to their fractional ownership of shares in the piece.

5) Music Royalties

Do you have a love for music? Making money from music royalties is a legit alternative investment.

When you write a song, you own the rights to it. If it later becomes a hit, you earn money if it’s bought, played on Spotify, or used in a commercial. The money you make is known as a “royalty” and could produce a decent stream of income for you.

But you don’t have to be the one to write the music. A company called Royalty Exchange makes it possible for you to buy and sell royalties from other artists.

You’ll have part ownership of the intellectual property rights of the music. These types of transactions used to be private. But Royalty Exchange opens up the opportunity to a broader audience.

This is truly passive income. However, it’s typically for high net worth individuals, so it might not be a good first option for a beginner investor.

6) Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency is one of the newest alternative investment on the scene. Surely, you’ve heard of Bitcoin by now. It was introduced in 2009 and quickly gained traction. The value of Bitcoin hit its peak in 2017 at a record high of more than $19,000.

Since then, several varieties of cryptocurrency have become available. A few of the more popular names are Litecoin, Ethereum, and Bitcoin Cash. Each one allows you to make money through investing.

But cryptocurrency doesn’t use the same exchanges that stocks do. Instead, you buy and sell this digital money in an online marketplace. Though it’s called an exchange, it’s specific to cryptocurrency. CoinBase is the go-to exchange for beginners looking to buy digital currency.

You might think it’s completely useless. After all, the world runs on dollar bills, right?

Investing in cryptocurrency lets you take advantage of its incredible liquidity. If ever you grow tired of Bitcoin, using it to buy blankets, book a flight, or order pizza isn’t unheard of. Overstock.com, Cheapair, and Dominos all accept it as a form of payment.

7) Buy Gold

If you want to diversify your portfolio with alternative investments, gold can be a good choice. In fact, people have been buying it for more than 6,000 years.

Investors often see gold as a liquid asset and one that retains its value over the long term. For this reason, it can help to hedge against the effects of inflation.

You have a few possibilities for buying gold. Buying and holding it in the form of coins or bars is excellent for beginners. It’s also good if you have only a small amount of money.

You could also get in on exchange-traded funds, open a gold account, or invest directly through gold mining stocks or options.

Some people prefer to have physical possession of their gold holdings. Having your coins or bars delivered to you is possible, though you’ll want to make sure you have a secure storage location and enough insurance to cover theft or loss.

8) Commodity ETFs

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are one of the most traditional alternative investments in this list. When you’re talking about commodities, they haven’t always been accessible to individual investors. But in the last 20 years, ETFs took an interest in commodities. And that makes it easy to buy and sell through a regular exchange.

Possible commodities in an ETF are gold, silver, oil, corn, natural gas, and solar energy. To buy, you place an ETF order just like you would if you were buying stock.

Like buying gold directly, buying a stake in a commodity ETF can help to protect against risk and reduce the effects of inflation. Because it doesn’t change in value the same way stocks and bonds do, it can balance your overall investing plan.

9) Start Your Own Business

Investing in yourself is often the best strategy. If you’ve always wanted to start your own business, considering it an alternative investment might be the push you need to get your idea off the ground. With you in control of your business decisions, the potential for growth is unlimited.

Starting a business can lead to some of the highest returns of them all. Keep in mind it’s also one of the highest risks you’ll face, but you’ll never know if you don’t try. And who knows? If it works out, it could be the most significant risk you’ve taken with the highest return imaginable.

Some businesses have a low startup or ongoing costs, such as freelance writing, starting a blog, becoming a virtual assistant, or providing consulting services. And you have the choice to start it on the side part-time so you don’t have to give up the security of a regular job.

10) Invest in Someone Else’s Business

To get the benefits of owning a business without the headache or time investment, you may want to consider equity crowdfunding.

Like other crowdfunded investments, you buy partial shares of ownership. Except this time, you’re buying into someone’s business. When you do, you own part of the company and can profit if the company does well; you also risk losing money if the company fails.

Investing in someone’s business is an excellent way to help a business acquire the capital they need for cash flow. But it does restrict your liquidity. With your money tied up in someone else’s business, you don’t have the option to cash it out on a whim.

Are Alternative Investments Smart?

Hopefully, this list helps spur ideas for investing when you venture outside of stocks and bonds.

Remember that all investments come with risk, and some are more uncertain than others. Before jumping in, make note of your risk tolerance. If you want to lower the chance of losing your funds, stick with investments with lower risk.

As always, never invest more than you’re willing to lose. There’s no guarantee in life, and you should always have a financial safety net to fall back on.

Do you have alternative investments? Tell us about them in the comments below!

The post 10 Best Alternative Investments to Try This Year appeared first on Club Thrifty.

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The post Go Miami Card Review 2019: Is it a Good Deal for You? appeared first on Club Thrifty.

In this Go Miami Card Review, we’ll explore how the pass works, go over what’s included, and help you decide if it’s right for you.

If you’re heading to Miami, you can enjoy a best-of-all-worlds vacation experience. Obviously, beautiful beaches come to mind, but don’t forget about the city’s vibrant shopping, dining, and nightlife scene!

For those looking to sample all that Miami has to offer, be prepared to drop some serious cash. Tours, museums, and theme parks can get expensive, especially if you’ve also got a shopping agenda. That’s why it’s important to look for ways to save without compromising on your experience.

Enter the Go Miami Card. This little sightseeing pass packs a big punch and can help you save up to 55% on admission costs to some of Miami’s top attractions.

As with any sightseeing pass, it isn’t a good fit for everyone. So, let’s take a close look at this pass to see if it’s a good deal for you.

Go Miami Card: How it Works

The Go Miami Card is an all-inclusive pass that includes entry to 28 Florida attractions for one low price. The more you do, the more you save – up to 55%!

The pass works on a calendar day basis with one, two, three, and five-day options available. Calendar days are distinct from 24-hour periods, which means that if you buy a three-day pass and activate it in the afternoon, you get the rest of that day, plus two other full days.

The cool thing about the Go Miami Card is that unlike most other all-inclusive options, like the New York Pass, you’re not restricted to consecutive days. Instead, you have 14 days to use your pass.

For example, if you buy a 3-day pass, you don’t have to use it 3 days in a row. You activate it on the first day, and then you have 13 days remaining to use the other 2. This is great because it allows you to enjoy chill beach days or shopping sprees between sightseeing and activities.

Attractions Included on the Go Miami Card

The Go Miami Card includes access to 28 attractions. We’ve listed the current options below along with their regular admission price*:

  • Hop-on Hop-off Big Bus Tour – $50
  • Miami Seaquarium – $51.35
  • Island Queen Millionaire’s Row Sightseeing Cruise – $32.10
  • Duck Tours South Beach – $39.59
  • Zoo Miami – $24.56
  • Jet Boat Miami – $33.85
  • Jungle Island – $52.96
  • Gray Line Miami: Key West Day Trip – $75
  • Miami Watersports 1-Hour Kayak or Paddleboat – $32
  • Everglades Alligator Farm & Airboat – $28
  • Bike and Roll: Full-day Bike Rental – $32.10
  • Gray Line Miami: Everglades Airboat Adventure Tour – $58
  • Miami Children’s Museum – $20
  • Big Bus Miami: Night Tour – $39
  • Perez Art Museum of Miami – $16
  • Sawgrass Recreation Park Everglades Airboat Adventures – $24.55
  • Gator Park Airboat Tour – $24.99
  • Lion Country Safari – $48.15
  • Cycle Party Wynwood Miami Insta Tour – $39
  • Lauderdale Glass Bottom Boat and Snorkeling Trip – $42.40
  • The Official Art Deco Walking Tour – $30
  • Key Largo Glass Bottom Boat Cruise – $37.54
  • Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex – $61
  • Boggy Creek Airboat Tour – $31.12
  • Gatorland: The Alligator Capital of the World – $31.94
  • WonderWorks All-Access Pass – $31.94
  • Fun Spot America Theme Park: 4 Ride Sampler – $30
  • Daytona Speedway All Access Track Tour – $25

*Prices current as of May 2019

When I review what’s included on a pass, I always zero in on the regular admission prices. Taking a quick look at this list, you can see that most the attractions (21 out of 28) carry a regular price of at least $30. Higher admission costs usually mean bigger savings opportunities.

To get the full picture, let’s take a look at pass pricing.

Go Miami Card Pricing
PassAdult PriceChild Price (Ages 3-12)
1 Day$81$62
2 Day$122$94
3 Day$156$124
5 Day$211$176
*Prices current as of April 29, 2019

As you can see, the 5-day pass offers the best value, at just $42.20 a day for unlimited attractions. The 3-day pass is attractive, too, at $52 per day, while the two-day pass works out to be $61 per day. The 1-day pass could still save you money, but the other passes are a better buy.

Considering the attraction lineup is pretty pricey, it wouldn’t be hard to rack up some big savings by visiting two or three attractions per day with either of the multi-day passes.

Save Up to 55% in Miami – Save big on travel expenses with the Go Miami Card! Visit just 2-3 attractions a day, and save up to 55% off your sightseeing! Get yours here.

Top Reasons to Get the Go Miami Card Save on Admission Costs

The #1 reason anyone buys a sightseeing pass is to save on regular admission costs, and the Go Miami Card delivers.

If you purchase the 3-day pass and do the HOHO Bus Tour, Jungle Island, Perez Art Museum, and Art Deco Walking Tour on Day 1, that alone is almost $150 in regular admission costs. You’re practically breaking even just on Day 1, so it’s actually pretty easy to hit 55% off!

The pass also includes five Orlando attractions. So, if you’ll be spending a couple of days there, you could go for the five-day pass and take advantage of those, too. If you’re more into Orlando’s theme parks, check out the Orlando CityPASS instead.

Key West Day Trip

The inclusion of the Key West day trip adds a lot of value to the Go Miami Card. With a regular price of $75, it’s the most expensive attraction on the menu.

Several of the other attractions are outside the Miami area, but the Key West day trip is the only one that includes roundtrip transportation. The bus ride to and from Key West will take you across 42 bridges and 32 islands, so getting there is a sightseeing mission of its own.

Once you arrive, you’ll have about six hours to explore Key West. Keep in mind that whatever you decide to do once you’re there is not included on the pass.

Tours Galore

The Go Miami Card is an excellent option for travelers who love tours since the pass comes complete with 15 options. You might not want to take them all (especially since several of them are boat tours), but one bus, one boat, and one walking tour might be just right.

The Hop-on Hop-off Big Bus Tour and the Island Queen Millionaire’s Row Sightseeing Cruise are two options that stand out. I love HOHO bus tours, especially when visiting a city for the first time. It’s a great way to explore and learn about the hub of a city while catching a ride between major tourist attractions.

The Go Miami Card gets you a HOHO one-day all-loops ticket. That means you can do the beach loop and the city loop if you feel like it. The tours include guided narration and stops at several of the attractions. Take in the whole tour or hop on and off at your leisure.

The Island Queen Millionaire’s Row Sightseeing Cruise features stunning coastline views of Biscayne Bay, South Beach, and Millionaire’s Row – you don’t want to miss it!

If you’re into guided tours, I’d also recommend taking in the Art Deco walking tour. A lot of people don’t necessarily associate Miami with culture and architecture, but this tour might change your mind.

Other Benefits of the Go Miami Card

You Can Use It Over Two Weeks – One thing I love about the Go Miami Card is that it’s a non-consecutive day all-inclusive pass. So, if you buy a three-day pass, you don’t have to use it for three days in a row. Instead, you can use it for any three days in a two-week period. The Go Miami Card lets you take it all in at your own pace.

Skip the Ticket Line at the Zoo – When you visit Zoo Miami, you can skip the ticket window and head directly to the turnstiles with your pass. Saving time is almost as good as saving money!

Digital Delivery – Many will appreciate that the Go Miami Card is available as a digital pass. You can use your pass on your smartphone using the free Go City app – no printing required (although it is an option). I always find an electronic option more convenient. Less paper to keep track of is a win in my book.

Free Guide – Every Go Miami Card includes a free guide available online or as a printable PDF. It contains need-to-know attraction info like address, hours of operation, and whether or not reservations are required. You also get maps of the area so that you can plan your itinerary with efficiency in mind.

Additional Discounts – If you want to save even more during your trip to Miami, you’ll be pleased to know your pass comes with some additional discounts for restaurants and retailers. My favorite is the Miami Passport coupon book that comes with $200 in savings for use at the Bayside Marketplace.

Save Time and Money in Miami – Don’t get stuck spending more than you have to in Miami. Grab the Go Miami Card and save over 50% on attractions! Get your pass today.

Where the Go Miami Card Falls Short

It’s called the Go Miami Card, but some of the included attractions are hours away from Miami – namely, the five located in the Orlando area (Kennedy Space Center, Boggy Creek Airboat Tour, Gatorland, WonderWorks, and Fun Spot America). You’ve also got an attraction in Daytona and three in Fort Lauderdale. To access any of these attractions, you’ll need to have a car, which isn’t in every traveler’s plan.

Honestly, I think most people shopping for a Miami sightseeing pass would prefer to see more Miami options in place of the Orlando choices. One notable omission is the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens – that would be a welcomed addition to the pass.

In general, the Go Miami Card is heavy on tours and light on museums, which also may not appeal to everyone.

Who Should Buy the Go Miami Card

  • First timers – If you’re visiting Miami for the first time, you’ll probably be interested in taking some tours and getting to know the city. Since the Go Miami Card offers 15 tours, you’ll have a lot of choices.
  • Travelers who like taking breaks – If you’re the kind of traveler who likes to spread out your sightseeing days, you’ll love that you can use the Go Miami Card over a 14-day period. Follow a busy day of tours and activities with a relaxing day on the beach or at the pool.
  • Those with extended stays – Ditto for those who are staying in Miami for more than a few days. If that’s you, you’ll love the 14-day activation period.
  • Families – Families and small groups will multiply their savings with the Go Miami Card, and a lot of the attractions appeal to adults and kids alike.
Who Should Skip the Go Miami Card
  • Anyone uninterested in tours – Tours make up a large portion of the Go Miami Card. If these don’t appeal to you, you may not be impressed with the selection.
  • Museum buffs – Miami is home to some impressive museums, but most of them didn’t make the cut. If museums are your sightseeing bread and butter, you should skip this pass.
  • Slow movers – If your sightseeing style involves planning your day around one major activity, you won’t get good value from the Go Miami Card. To get your money’s worth, you have to do at least two attractions a day.
  • Travelers on a tight budget – If you have to keep your expenditures low, skip the attractions all together and enjoy the beaches or other free options instead.
Tips for Getting the Most Out of the Go Miami Card

Activate your pass early in the day. – The Go Miami Card operates on a calendar day basis, which means that if you wait until the afternoon to use your card for the first time, you forfeit half your day. It’s best to get started in the morning so you have the whole day ahead of you. Remember, the more attractions you visit, the more you save.

Visit some expensive attractions. – Ok, all the included attractions are pretty pricey. But if you want to maximize your savings, you should use the pass to visit the highest value options.

Visit two or three attractions per day. – The value you get from the Go Miami Card depends on two factors – the regular price of the attractions you visit and the number of attractions you visit each day. To get the best value for your money, you should aim to hit two or three attractions a day.

Buy the pass on sale. – The Go Miami Card goes on sale from time to time, and – if you can grab it on sale – you supercharge your savings!

Plan for efficiency. – The Go Miami Card includes attractions all over Miami, plus some in Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, and Daytona. To make sure you make the most of your time, you should do attractions that are near each other on the same day.

How to Buy the Go Miami Card

Does this sound like a good deal to you? Buy the Go Miami Card here!

Once your purchase is confirmed, you’ll receive your pass via email. You can use your pass either on your smartphone using the free Go City app or as a physical pass by printing a hard copy. The email will explain how to go about each.

Once you buy it, you have a year to use your pass and 30 days to get a refund on non-activated passes.

Bottom Line: Is the Go Miami Card a Good Deal?

So, is the Go Miami Card worth it? For the right traveler, the answer is an emphatic YES!

If you’re heading to Miami and plan to hit several of the included attractions, this pass can save you some big bucks.

After running the numbers, it’s easy to see that saving up to 55% really isn’t that tough! In my mind, that’s definitely something that’s worth checking out!

Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you found this Go Miami Card review helpful! Enjoy Miami!

Save Big Money in Miami – Wanna save big bucks in Miami? Get access to over 25 of Miami’s best attractions and save up to 55% off the regular admission price! Get your Go Miami Card here.

The post Go Miami Card Review 2019: Is it a Good Deal for You? appeared first on Club Thrifty.

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Club Thrifty by Club Thrifty Staff - 2w ago

The post How I Saved Over Six Figures in My 20s appeared first on Club Thrifty.

This article was written by our guest Ling from Finsavvy Panda. All thoughts expressed are solely those of the author. Enjoy!

I know that saving money isn’t easy, especially when you’re living paycheck to paycheck with a large amount of debt. Everything is so expensive these days, and with low salary increases along with a ton of expenses each month, it seems impossible to save $100,000. For crying out loud, saving $5,000 to $10,000 already feels like a far-fetched dream, let alone $100,000!

According to a CNBC article, almost 30% of households have less than $1,000 saved. Despite that fact, I’m here to tell you that almost anything is achievable no matter how mission-impossible it seems.

It won’t be easy, but if you put in the work and make an effort to change your mindset and habits, you’ll be on your way to success!

I Felt Hopeless, Too!

Here’s a peek into my past before I saved my first $1,000. Eventually, I was able to save over six figures in my 20s!

  • Lived with my parents who earned minimum wage for almost 30 years
  • Had close to $40,000 in student loans and was jobless for almost a year
  • Did not know much about personal finance despite having majored in finance (I know, it’s sad)
  • Felt useless because everyone else graduated with high marks and were working for prestigious companies
  • Very depressed with extremely low self-esteem because I remember many people told me I won’t get far in life (pretty mean, right?)
  • Like my parents; constantly gave myself excuses to why I’m poor with no hopes of landing a decent job

I eventually realized that my low self-esteem, excuses, and closed-mindedness were the root cause of my financial, emotional, and mental stress.

Changing Your Money Mindset is Key!

To fix those problems, I slowly changed my mindset by 1) being more positive and 2) pushing myself to learn about personal finance.

It was extremely tough at first, but I can tell you it’s the first obstacle you need to overcome if you want real changes to your financial situation (or life in general)!

I feel so strongly about this, and I always tell people if you can’t keep an open mind or change your mindset, then you’ve already lost the battle. Once you’re able to get past this stage, saving money and building wealth becomes easier.

It’s easier to take action when you become more open-minded and change your view from “I can’t do it” or “It’s impossible” to “I can do it” and “it is possible!”

The Steps I Took to Save Over Six Figures in My 20s

Once I changed my perspective about life and money, I landed my first full-time position with a starting salary of $43,000 a year. I was thrilled because this was a stepping stone to building a better life for my family.

Below are the actions I took to save my first $100,000 in my 20s with an average salary. To be fair, I eventually found ways to increase my income over the years, which I talk more about below.

1. Continued to Live Like a Student

No, I’m not talking about serving myself instant noodles or mac and cheese for dinner! Instead, I was fortunate my parents didn’t want me to move out after graduation. For one, they knew rent in our city was expensive.

Secondly, they wanted me to stay home and focus on building my career and future. Plus, they thought it would be nice to have me around to contribute and help out with chores and their finances. This was a great way to help my family while keeping my living expenses low. Not to mention, it also allowed me to spend more time with my family.

2. I Learned About Personal Finance

In my childhood years, I saw my parents stress over money A LOT! Some things never change. They still stress about it today.

The struggles they went through changed my perspective about money. I’m not going to lie. This made me really depressed and I was tired of their negative energy. I didn’t want to always hear about us being poor, so that’s when I decided to educate myself about personal finance and investing.

It was hard at first because we were always living paycheck to paycheck. But after learning how to save and manage my money, I was extremely motivated to achieve financial independence! This was a huge turning point because that’s when I started my financial journey and learned how to build wealth in my 20s.

3. I Took Advantage of My Tax-Free and Retirement Investment Accounts

I optimized my savings by making an effort to max out my tax-free (i.e., Roth IRA in the U.S., TFSA in Canada) and retirement (i.e., traditional IRA in the U.S., RRSP in Canada) investment accounts.

I sheltered my income each year by transferring a portion of my year-end bonus to my retirement account. By doing this, I’m using before-tax salary to grow my savings.

Aside from my retirement account, I also invest my after-tax earnings in my tax-free savings account. Any profits and income from this account are 100% tax-free. I was able to max out my accounts because I made the effort to save money and increase my earnings.

4. I Took Some Risks

I don’t consider myself 100% conservative, but at the same time, I’m not an excessive risk taker. I like to keep a good balance. Growing up, I learned that my parents had close to nothing in their savings account because they did not invest. The thought of investing seemed complicated, and they didn’t know any better, so they never learned how to invest.

I observed and learned from their mistakes, so now my savings are growing because of compound interest.

I also want to be transparent here. Most of my savings are invested in low-cost ETFs that most personal finance experts recommend, and that’s my conservative side.

However, I have a dedicated “fun account” where I allow myself to purchase higher risk investments or high growth stocks that most people would deem as risky.

This “riskier” approach has personally worked out well for me, but by no means am I saying you should follow it. You don’t need to take a lot of risks to save over six figures in your 20s. However, based on my personal experience, it could get you there faster. Plus, time is on your side.

Everyone has a different level of risk tolerance. Invest in what you’re comfortable with and don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

5. Increased My Income and Made Extra Money

Another reason I was able to save over six figures in my 20s is I worked hard over the years to increase my income. Here’s what I did:

  • Negotiated salaries and bonuses
  • Asked for higher raises
  • Worked overtime hours for special projects
  • Got promotions
  • Switched jobs
  • Made extra money on the side that doesn’t require experience or education

I want to point out it wasn’t always easy to get a raise or promotion. What I learned based on my experience is that regardless of where you work, you need to have excellent interpersonal skills (this is SO important) and good work ethics.

You also need to demonstrate that you’re capable of taking on more senior roles. To do this, you need to exceed expectations and perform at the next level before you even get that promotion. You need to treat your role as if it’s your project or business and become the subject matter expert!

I know sometimes life seems unfair and you don’t think you’re getting compensated fairly for the effort you put in. It could even get to a point where you hate your job but can’t quit for financial reasons!

This is where you really need to push yourself to look for other opportunities, whether it be looking for a new job or starting your business! There’s really no excuse!

6. Achieved a Good Balance Between Saving, Making, and Spending Money

It can be hard to live below your means, especially when your income isn’t high. However, you can always start off by finding ways to reduce costs without sacrificing the quality of your life.

Here are some things I’ve done to save money:

  • Started a personal budget guide that actually works
  • Negotiated my insurance and other monthly bills
  • Built an excellent credit score
  • Ditched cable because I don’t really use it (but you can find cheaper alternatives)
  • Looked for the best travel deals
  • Reduced our spending at restaurants by cooking delicious meals at home (we saved over $10,000 a year!)
  • Shopped for sales and followed these clever saving hacks
  • Went for enjoyable activities that don’t require a lot of spending (hiking, rollerblading, pot lucks, etc.)

It’s understandable that basic living expenses can still be high.  Not to mention, the extra spending on things that make life a little more enjoyable could put a dent in your wallet. This is especially true when you’re living in an expensive city where your friends always want you to spend the night out with them.

I admit I’ve broken some traditional personal finance rules and I’m not perfect when it comes to saving money. I enjoy splurging on guilty pleasures and I’m not going to hide that. That’s why I like leaving room for a “guilt-free” spending account, which I learned from Ramit Sethi, the author of “I Will Teach You To Be Rich”.

I’ve optimized my savings as much as I could, but it can feel a bit restraining at times. That’s why finding ways to increase your income and making extra money can go a long way. To me, finding a good balance is important.

Final Words

Regardless of what stage of life you’re in, there are many ways to improve your financial situation. The first and hardest step is changing your money mindset.

Next, take action by making the effort to save money. Creating a budget along with following some clever personal finance hacks can help. If there’s no more room to cut your expenses and live comfortably, you’ll have to find ways to increase your income. You can do that by increasing your salary and/or earning extra money on the side.

These methods can help you save money more easily and allow you to invest more. Time is your greatest asset. The earlier you start, the sooner you’ll reach your financial goals whether it’s saving your first $10,000, $100,000 or even $1,000,000!

Over to you – What steps are you taking to save your first $10,000, $100,000, or $1,000,000? Feel free to leave your questions and thoughts in the comments below!

Ling started her wealth building journey with her fiancé 8 years ago in hopes to reach financial independence. She loves to find creative ways to save money and make money while balancing a healthy and active lifestyle. That includes traveling, exercising, and eating out at her favorite restaurants with her friends. You can find her best money tips on her blog, Finsavvy Panda

The post How I Saved Over Six Figures in My 20s appeared first on Club Thrifty.

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The post 9 Reasons to Make the Chase Sapphire Preferred the First Card in Your Wallet appeared first on Club Thrifty.

If you’re new to earning credit card rewards, finding the best travel rewards card might seem overwhelming. With dozens of cards to choose from, how do you know which is the best fit for you?

Don’t worry. We got this.

In our opinion, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is the best card for beginners…and it’s not even close.

Whether you covet lucrative travel rewards or enjoy the simplicity of cash back, this card is flexible enough to meet almost every need. The Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits are also exceptional, especially when it comes to some important travel protections and perks.

Wanna know more? Of course you do! Check out these 9 great reasons to make the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card the first rewards card in your wallet!

> Chase Sapphire Preferred: Learn How to Apply

1. Earn 60,000 Bonus Points for Signing Up

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card gives you access to our favorite rewards program of all – Chase Ultimate Rewards. So, when you spend on the card, you’ll earn valuable points that can be redeemed in a variety of ways (more on that below).

With that said, the most important Chase Sapphire Preferred benefit is the card’s gigantic signup bonus. You’ll earn a whopping 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on the card within the first 3 months of opening your account. That translates into $750 in travel redemptions through the Chase portal, or you can redeem them for slightly less in gift cards. Boom.

You can also transfer those points to Chase’s travel partners for even more valuable redemptions.

Keep in mind that these points never expire as long as your account stays open.

2. Superb Travel Redemptions

We already mentioned that the biggest benefit of the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is that it earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points…but what does that really mean?

The most lucrative way to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points is to spend them on travel redemptions. You have two options for making this happen:

  1. Redeem points through the travel portal – Using your Ultimate Rewards points, you can book travel experiences directly through Chase’s travel portal where they are worth 25% more on airfare, hotels, car rentals, and cruises.
  2. Transfer points to partner loyalty programs – Chase points transfer to 13 popular travel partners at a 1:1 ratio. Some partner programs include Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, British Airways, Air France, Marriott, Hyatt, IHG, and more.

Transferring points to partner programs usually nets you the most value per point, and it’s typically our favorite way to redeem our own personal points. For example, the 60,000 point signup bonus is often enough to cover a round-trip flight to Europe.

So yeah, these points are pretty valuable!

3. You Won’t Get Stuck with Points You Can’t Use

If you’re new to rewards cards, you may not realize the commitment you’re making. It takes time, energy, and spending to earn points, so you want to make sure you’re earning the right points and miles.

That’s why a flexible rewards card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the perfect option for getting started.

With co-branded hotel or airline cards, you’re stuck with the points you earn. For instance, earning 60,000 American miles or Hilton points means your can only redeem them through those brands. But, what happens if you find a better deal from another airline or hotel? You’re still stuck with those points.

As we mentioned above, Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to 13 different partner programs. They can also be used to purchase travel experiences through the portal, so they’re a lot more flexible than points and miles offered by individual brands.

Even if you don’t have travel plans, this card is still a great option.

Chase points can be redeemed for gift cards for their full “monetary” value. Retail partners include Lowe’s, Macy’s, Amazon.com, Best Buy, and many more! So, after earning the 60,000 point signup bonus, you can redeem your points for hundreds in gift cards – making this one of the best Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits.

Although gift cards aren’t the most valuable way to redeem Chase points, it’s nice to know that you won’t get stuck with a boatload of points and nowhere to use them!

> Chase Sapphire Preferred: Learn How to Apply

4. Earn 2x Points on Travel and Dining

Speaking of points, with the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you’ll earn a nifty 2x points on all travel and dining purchases. Spending in these categories can add up quickly, making this a valuable card to have for these occasions. Additionally, you’ll earn one point per dollar spent on everything else.

5. Chase Sapphire Preferred Benefits: Travel Protection

We’ve already covered how to redeem your points, but points aren’t all this card has to offer. One of the most important Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits is that the card actually comes with some important travel protections.

Here’s a quick look at some of what the card offers:

  • Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance – When booking travel using your card, you may be reimbursed for up to $10,000 per trip in prepaid, non-refundable travel costs should your trip be canceled or interrupted due to covered and unforeseen events. (Think illness, injury, severe weather, etc.)
  • Primary Auto Rental Insurance – The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offers primary auto rental coverage (up to the cash value of the car) when you use your card to pay for the rental.
  • Trip Delay Insurance – Unreimbursed expenses that are incurred due to a flight, train, or other common carrier delay are also eligible for a reimbursement of up to $500 per ticket. The delay must be at least 12 hours, and you must have used your card when booking.
  • Baggage Delay Insurance – If your bag is delayed by more than 6 hours, you may file a reimbursement claim for purchases of items like toiletries and clothing. Reimbursements are limited to $100 a day for up to 5 days, and you must have used your card to book.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees – Like all good travel cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card does not charge any fees for foreign transactions.
6. Purchase Protections for Peace of Mind

In addition to the travel protections, another Chase Sapphire Preferred benefit is that it also offers additional purchase protections that anybody will love.

  • Purchase Protection Coverage – Items purchased with this card are covered for up to $500 per claim in theft or damages within the first 120 days after purchase. You are limited to a lifetime cap of $50,000.
  • Extended Warranty Coverage – On purchases made with the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the card extends an additional year of warranty coverage on items made by U.S. manufacturers, provided the original manufacturer’s warranty was for 3 years or less.
7. Pairs with the Chase Freedom Card to Maximize Your Point Haul

To make the most of your spending, maximize your point haul by pairing the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card with a cash back card like the Chase Freedom. That way, you can transfer your cash back to travel partners as well!

The Chase Freedom Card offers 5% cash back on your first $1,500 of combined spending in rotating categories each quarter. So, when grocery stores are included as a quarterly bonus category, use your Chase Freedom to take advantage of the 5% cash back. Then, use your Sapphire Preferred on other purchases.

The Chase Freedom Card also offers a signup bonus of its own. After making just $500 in purchases within the first three months, you’ll earn an easy $150 cash back bonus.

With a minimum spending requirement that low, it’s practically free money! It’s also a great way to earn even more points you can redeem for travel.

Read the review | Learn how to apply

8. The Annual Fee is Reasonable

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card comes with an annual fee of $95, but don’t let that scare you off. Although the fee is no longer waived for the first year, the sign up bonus waaaay more than makes up for it!

It’s important to remember that most of the best rewards cards come with an annual fee. Additionally, many premium rewards cards have fees that are significantly higher.

For instance, the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card offers some valuable travel benefits, but it comes with a $450 annual fee. Although the benefits essentially cancel out the fee for the first year, that big number still can be a hard pill to swallow.

Instead, starting with the Sapphire Preferred Card is a great way to get your feet wet without shelling out an arm and a leg on annual fees.

9. You May Not Be Approved Later

To make the most of your points and miles, you’ll eventually need more than one rewards card. Since Chase Ultimate Rewards are our favorite rewards currency, it’s important to remember that Chase can sometimes be stingy with granting approvals.

Because of Chase’s 5/24 rule, applying for more than 5 cards over a 24-month period means you will not be approved for many of their best rewards cards. This includes the Chase Sapphire Preferred. While that may seem like a lot of applications, once you get deeper into points and miles, you’ll realize that it’s really not.

If you’re a newbie, grab the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card while you still can. It’s arguably the best “all-around” card you’ll find, and we’d hate for you to miss out on the gigantic signup bonus because you’ve applied for too many other cards.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Benefits: Final Thoughts

When it comes to rewards cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best starter card there is.

Flexible enough to meet all needs, the 60,000 point signup bonus is worth $750 in travel when booked through the Chase portal. Those points can also be transferred to one of Chase’s 13 travel partners for even more valuable redemptions. That’s in addition to all the other Chase Sapphire Preferred benefits (like trip cancellation/interruption insurance) that the card provides!

Since the annual fee is just $95, the signup bonus easily makes the card worth it – at least for the first year. In our opinion, the ongoing benefits even make the card a keeper for years to come.

To make the most of your spending, you’ll eventually want to pair the card with other options. But, if you’re new to the points and miles game, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is definitely where you should start.

Chase Sapphire Preferred: Learn How to Apply

What rewards card did you start with? Let us know in the comments below!

The post 9 Reasons to Make the Chase Sapphire Preferred the First Card in Your Wallet appeared first on Club Thrifty.

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The post Best Private Student Loan Rates and Companies for 2019 appeared first on Club Thrifty.

Let’s face it, college is expensive.

You try your best – you’ve got federal student aid, a part-time job, maybe even a grant or two. But sometimes it’s still not enough. In those instances, borrowers can look toward private student loans to fill the gaps.

So, what is a private student loan? I’m glad you asked.

In this piece, we’ll break down how a private loan can be used for and what makes them different from federal student aid. And here’s the best part – you don’t have to do research to find one. We’ve reviewed dozens of private student loan companies and provided details for you below.

Let’s get started!

Editor’s Picks

We’ll provide detailed explanations below, but if you can’t wait to get started, here are our top three picks:

What is a Private Student Loan?

Private student loans are available from private lenders such as banks, credit unions, and online companies. They can be used to pay for any type of schooling, including private universities, postgraduate studies, or even medical residencies.

Private loans don’t have all of the borrower protections that federal loans provide, but they can still save students thousands of dollars. Federal student loans have structured rates and terms, but private student loans offer personalized competitive interest rates and flexible repayment terms. Private lenders usually have options for fixed or variable rates as well. Having great credit can score you the lowest rates available, or you can get a cosigner.

Instead of filling out a FAFSA (though that may still be required), private student loans require a credit check to determine a borrower’s ability to repay loans. Many private student loans require a cosigner since borrowers usually haven’t established enough credit history on their own. Cosigners can help lower interest rates even more, depending on their credit. Some private lenders even offer cosigner release options after a consistent repayment history has been established.

Most private lenders also offer options to refinance your federal student loans. If you’re checking into private student loans to fill the gaps, you’ve come to the right place! Below is a comparison of some of our favorite private student loan companies

(Editor’s Note: We strive to provide the most current rate information. Rates listed are current as of April 2019.)

Our Top Picks Credible: Compare Rates from Multiple Lenders

Did you know that Credible allows you to check rates from many of the best private student loan lenders in one spot? In less than 90 seconds, you’ll get the current rates from multiple lenders. You’ll also learn about each lender’s eligibility requirements and payment terms.

By providing personalized rates from multiple lenders, Credible users are able to compare and choose the most competitive interest rate for their situation. Fill out a short form and get customized private student loan rates in a snap. Receiving rate quotes is free and users can get a list of offers without it impacting their credit score.

Here’s more info on Credible:

  • Compare up to 8 lenders at once
  • Get a list of offers without impacting your credit score
  • Option to invite a cosigner to your application
  • No application, origination, or prepayment fees
  • Personal loans also available
  • Federal and private student loan refinancing available

Read our full Credible review for more.

CommonBond: Social Justice Through Lending

CommonBond is a private lender, but they also look to make a global impact. They do this by donating to Pencils of Promise for every person who takes out a loan or refinances their loans. The company has built 470 schools and donated over $1 million to date.

CommonBond offers private student loans for undergraduate, graduate, MBA, medical school, and dental school. Their student loans allow you to borrow up to 100% of your school’s cost of attendance.

While their rates depend on what type of loan you get, they offer variable and fixed interest rates for 5, 10, and 15 year terms. They’ll never penalize you for prepaying and offer some really flexible repayment options if you have a hardship. Learn more about CommonBond private student loans:

  • Fixed rates on undergraduate loans start at 4.49%
  • Variable rates for undergraduate loans start at 3.32%
  • Forbearance and deferment options
  • 5, 10, and 15 year terms available
  • Cosigner release available after the first 48 consecutive monthly payments
  • No prepayment fees
Citizens Bank: Rewarding Current Customers

Citizens Bank is known for its competitive student loan refinancing, but they also offer private student loans. And if you are a current customer (or your cosigner is), you are eligible for a 0.25% rate reduction. You can borrow from $1,000 up to $295,000 depending upon your degree and amount of federal aid. Citizens Bank also offers flexible repayment options, including 5, 10, and 15 year repayments. Learn more about private student loans through Citizens Bank:

  • Fixed rates starting at 5.25% APR
  • Variable rates starting at 4.47% APR
  • Current Citizens Bank customers are eligible for a 0.25% interest rate reduction
  • Earn 25% interest rate reduction for automatic payments
  • Cosigner release option after 36 consecutive on-time payments
  • No application, origination, or disbursement fees
Other Top Private Student Loan Lenders Advantage Education Loan: Offering Simple Terms

Advantage Education Loan stands out for one reason – the simplicity of their loans. They offer very low interest rates for fixed loans only and all loans have a 10-year repayment term. There are no fees, they offer a discount for autopay, and they even have a postponed repayment program.

Advantage Education Loan also offers several repayment options with a minimum monthly payment of just $50. Here’s a little more info about Advantage Education Loan:

  • Fixed rates starting at 3.80% APR with autopay
  • Minimum loan amount is $1,000
  • Earn 25% interest rate reduction with automatic payments
  • No origination or prepayment penalties
  • Loans are funded and serviced by a nonprofit agency
  • Death and disability benefits
College Ave: Straight-A Experience

College Ave is filled with former students and parents who work to provide a simple, clear, and personal experience. They offer competitive interest rates on loans for undergraduates, graduates, and parents. In fact, variable rates start at just 4.07% APR with autopay and fixed rates start at 5.29% APR with autopay.

With multiple repayment and term options, College Ave has a plan that is right for every borrower. They even offer a monthly $1,000 scholarship that anyone can enter. Here’s some more info:

  • Deferred payments, interest-only, or full payment options offered
  • Flat $25 payments in-school will reduce your overall accrued interest
  • 5, 8, 10, and 15 year terms
  • Earn 25% interest rate reduction with automatic payments
  • Cosigner release available after 24 consecutive months of on-time payments
  • International students are eligible with a cosigner
Sallie Mae: Loans for Everyone

Sallie Mae is probably the most well-known lender on this list. Once a government-sponsored enterprise, they became their own private company in 2004.

Sallie Mae offers private student loans for everyone. Whether you are looking for help with undergraduate studies, graduate programs, or parent student loans, Sallie Mae offers it all. You can also get postgraduate loans including medical school, law school, or an MBA.

Can’t do it on your own? No worries – they offer cosigner programs, too.

  • Fixed rates start at 5.49% APR for undergraduate loan
  • Variable rates start at 4.25% APR for undergraduate loan
  • Multiple repayment options
  • Earn 25% interest rate reduction with automatic payments
  • No origination or prepayment fees
  • Free access to FICO score
LendKey: Community Lending

LendKey is most widely recognized as a top lender for student loan refinancing, but they also offer private student loans.

One of our favorite things about LendKey is that they use community banks and credit unions to fund their loans. LendKey’s platform also allows them to digitally offer you the loan you need. This digital platform saves them money, which they pass onto you. You can search for loans, customize your needs, and apply for funding all through one easy and convenient platform.

Here are some more details on LendKey private student loans:

  • Community banks and credit unions
  • Get funds while you’re in school now
  • Finance many types of degrees
  • Ability to add a cosigner to the loan
  • Student loan refinancing options available
Discover Student Loans: Rewarding Good Grades

Discover Student Loans offers a variety of loan programs for undergraduate, graduate, MBA, health profession, and law students. With U.S.-based loan specialists and zero fees, you can rest easy and concentrate on your studies. And that extra studying could get you a 1% cash reward on each new student loan if you have a 3.0 GPA or better.

Discover Student Loans also gives 12 scholarship awards each year for $5,000 each. The minimum amount is $1,000 for each loan. Here’s a bit more info on Discover Student Loans:

  • Fixed rates start at 5.99% APR with autopay
  • Variable rates start at 4.24% APR with autopay
  • Deferred payments, interest-only, or full payments offered
  • Pay $25/month while in school to reduce accrued interest
  • Earn 25% interest rate reduction with automatic payments
  • No cosigner release available
  • No origination or prepayment fees
SoFi: Customer-Service Driven

SoFi is best known for its student loan refinancing products. But did you know they do private student loans, too?

Started in 2011 by Stanford University graduates, SoFi doesn’t rely solely on your credit score to determine your interest rate. They also consider the merit of your account, employment history, and many other factors.

Here’s some more info on SoFi:

  • No origination, no late fees, and no insufficient fund fees
  • Flexible repayment options
  • Discounts for existing SoFi members
  • Get 25% discount with autopay
  • Offers private student loans for parents
  • Can cover 100% of school-certified costs
  • Minimum $5,000 loan

Read our full SoFi review for more info.

Laurel Road: Flexible Repayment Terms

Laurel Road is a private lender that specializes in student loan refinancing, but they also offer in-school loans for some graduate programs at eligible schools. They became part of Key Bank in 2019, which may help expand their offerings in the future.

Like many federal loans, Laurel Road offers a 6-month grace period at the end of your in-school period and offers lots of payment options. They have repayment terms of 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 years.

Here are a few more details about Laurel Road private student loans:

  • Fixed rates start at 4.50% APR with autopay
  • Variable rates start at 4.11% with autopay
  • Only eligible graduate degree programs at some schools are available
  • Full deferment, flat $50 payments in-school, interest-only, or full payment plans available
  • Earn 25% interest rate reduction with automatic payments
  • No origination or prepayment fees
  • Minimum loan of $5,000
iHelp: A Customer-Driven Choice

iHelp is a private lender known for its customer service. Each loan is assigned a dedicated account manager available by email or phone to help you.

This company offers private loan options for undergraduate and graduate programs through a network of small community banks. The minimum loan amount is $1,000 ($3,000 for Georgia residents) each. They offer competitive rates with a unique hybrid fixed loan program.

  • Variable rates starting at 4.94% APR
  • Hybrid fixed rate starting at 5.75% APR
  • Deferment and forbearance options available
  • Earn 25% interest rate reduction with automatic payments
  • Cosigner release after 24 consecutive months of on-time payments
  • No origination or prepayment fees
  • Flexible repayment plans including income sensitive
EDvestinU: Loans Designed for You

EDvestinU is a non-profit whose proceeds are reinvested in borrower incentives that reduce the cost of borrowing. They offer private student loans for undergraduate and graduate students. Additionally, they have a quarterly scholarship giveaway for $1,500 and are well-known for loan counseling.

At EDvestinU, the minimum loan amount is $1,000 per year with an aggregate limit of $200,000. International students are eligible with a U.S citizen or permanent resident cosigner. EDvestinU offers the highest autopay interest rate reduction we’ve ever seen.

  • Fixed rates start at 4.516% APR with autopay
  • Variable interest rates start at 4.506% APR with autopay
  • Earn a giant 0.50% interest rate reduction with automatic payments
  • Offers economic hardship deferment
  • Cosigner release after 24 consecutive months of on-time payments
  • No origination or prepayment fees
INvestED – Rewarding Graduation

INvestED is an Indiana-based company that works to help students succeed financially. They host financial literacy events and have resources to help borrowers maximize free financial aid options first. 

At INvestED, you’ll find variable and fixed rates for 5, 10, or 15 year terms plus a really cool graduation rewards program. However, you must be either a resident of Indiana or attend an Indiana school to qualify. If you are, they definitely offer some unique programs.

  • Must be Indiana resident or attend Indiana school to qualify
  • Fixed rates start at 5.57% APR
  • Variable rates from 3.87% APR
  • Full deferment, interest only, and immediate repayment options
  • Earn 25% interest rate reduction with automatic payments
  • Earn a 2.00% principal reduction reward after graduation
Best Private Student Loans: Final Thoughts

Private student loans can help bridge the gap between federal student..

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Club Thrifty by Club Thrifty Staff - 3w ago

The post What Is Peer-to-Peer Lending? appeared first on Club Thrifty.

If you think peer-to-peer lending is only for the rich, you may want to reconsider.

Earning money with peer-to-peer lending is possible for regular people like you and me. It isn’t nearly as overwhelming as the pros make it seem, and it’s pretty easy to get started.

Whatever your financial goals – saving for retirement, looking for new income streams, or anything else – peer-to-peer (P2P) lending can help you get there.

If you’ve been thinking about investing with P2P lending, that’s great news! To help you get started on your money-making journey, here’s what you need to know.

What is Peer-to-Peer Lending?

P2P lending provides an option for one person to borrow money from someone else. Instead of going to the bank or credit union to get a loan, borrowers connect with investors through a peer-to-peer lending platform.

By cutting out the financial institution as a middleman, it’s a win-win for the borrower and the lender.

Borrowers have easier access to money and could qualify even if a traditional bank denied them. On the flip side, lenders often have the opportunity to earn more on the funds they loan to others than they would on typical fixed-rate investments.

How Does Peer-to-Peer Lending Work?

Using a lending platform such as Lending Club or Prosper, borrowers connect directly with lenders. The website takes care of setting the terms of the loan and handling the details of the transaction, making it super easy for you to invest.

As an individual lender, the funds you deposit go into a separate account. Depending on how much you deposit and the needs of the borrower, your money might be enough on its own to fully fund a loan. But most often, it’s pooled together with money from other investors to provide loans to applicants.

You’re in control of which borrowers you lend your money to, and you can review several offers before accepting one. Before you release your funds, you’re able to evaluate the applicant’s profile to assess the risk.

Once you decide to invest in a loan, the borrower will agree to pay back the original amount plus interest.

Investing Your Money

Keep in mind that you’re not required to put all your funds in one place. Some investors spread their money across several smaller loans as a way to balance their investment risk.

Investing as little as $25 of your funds per loan is possible. If you start with $1,000 in your account, you could spread it across 40 different investments. This low threshold lets you invest in just one or several loans based on your risk tolerance.

Like most banks, you can make money off the interest that’s paid by the borrower. The specific rate depends on the credit rating of the applicant. Generally, higher credit scores qualify for lower interest rates.

This means you stand to make the most from borrowers with poor credit since they’ll pay the most in interest. But they come with a higher level of risk. There’s a chance the loan could become delinquent. If that happens, the lending platform will work with the borrowers to collect any past-due payments.

Investing with P2P lending can earn you a great return on your cash. You’ll make money on the interest rate charged to the borrower and have access to the platform’s collections team if there’s a problem.

Types of Loans Available Through P2P Lending

When you’re looking to invest, it’s a good idea to know where it’s going. Borrowers can apply for several different types of loans that are crowdfunded with peer-to-peer lending.

Before giving the green light to disperse your money, you can review what the purpose of the loan is. These are a few types of loans you might see with P2P lending.

  • Personal LoansPersonal loans have a variety of uses. Sometimes the extra money helps cover gaps in cash flow between paychecks. Weddings and vacations are also common reasons for a personal loan.
  • Auto Loans – These are for buying a new (or used) car or to refinance a current auto loan. Interest rates could be lower than what you’d see at a traditional bank, and that can offer lower monthly payments. Most lending sites have an instant prequalification process to see what you might qualify for. You can check your rate without it affecting your credit score.
  • Debt Consolidation – You can’t borrow your way out of debt, so be very careful with debt consolidation loans. It won’t work unless it can actually save you money. If you qualify for a lower interest rate, the numbers might work out in your favor.
  • Medical Loans – Some procedures require payment upfront. Without the cash on hand, taking out a medical loan might be a good move to get the care you need. From dental work, allergy testing, or other medical procedures, P2P lending could provide money for healthcare needs.
  • Mortgages and Refinancing – If you thought P2P lending only dealt in small amounts, this will change your mind. Yes, you can borrow crowdfunded money in a large enough amount to cover a mortgage. Refinancing your current mortgage for a better rate is also an option.
  • Small Business Loans – Instead of using your personal savings to fund your startup, this might be a better option. A small business loan with a P2P platform can help you purchase equipment, cover payroll, or expand your location.
Major Players in P2P Investing

To get started with P2P investing, you need to know who the major players are. With a few to pick from, only two stand out from the crowd: Lending Club and Prosper. They’ve been around the longest. Here’s the rundown on each of them:

Lending Club – Interest rates currently start at 6.46% for borrowers with a top rating. The highest rate is 29% and is reserved for those with not-so-great credit. Investors will need to pay a small service fee to use the platform. It’s equal to just 1% of each borrower payment, so it isn’t much. The annual return has averaged between 3% and 8%.

Prosper – Interest rates are as low as 6.95% and go up to 35.99% depending on the creditworthiness of the applicant. There is a 1% loan servicing fee that’s paid annually by investors. The 1% is calculated using the outstanding principal balance of the borrower’s loan. With Prosper, returns have historically been in the 3.5% to 7.5% range.

Who Should Invest in Peer-to-Peer Lending

Fixed-rate investments are safe, but you don’t get much of a return. Even the best high-yield savings accounts top out at 2.45%. They are FDIC insured, however, so there’s almost no risk of losing your money.

But if you’re tired of earning peanuts on your investments and you don’t mind taking a little bit of risk, P2P investing might be a smart move. It definitely has a potential for higher returns with reports of 8% or more.

Some states have strict rules about getting started with P2P lending. Most have minimum gross income and net worth amounts you must meet to qualify. When you sign up for an account, it will ask you a series of questions to make sure you meet the requirements.

Before you invest in anything, make sure you understand what you’re getting into. There’s no underwriting process like you’d see with a traditional bank. Plus, it isn’t FDIC insured.

Pros and Cons of Peer-to-Peer Lending

If you’re looking for investment opportunities or need to borrow money, P2P lending an excellent option. There are plenty of advantages if it’s something you’re interested in. But don’t overlook the downsides.

For Investors
ProsCons
Easy way to diversify portfolio investments beyond stocks and bondsCan’t buy or sell as quickly as stocks or bonds
Contributing to the good of society by lending directly to peersRisk of losing money if borrower doesn’t pay it back
Higher yield possible when compared to savings accounts or CDsNot FDIC insured
Tap into collections help if the borrower defaults on paymentSome states have strict requirements to invest
for Borrowers
ProsCons
Online applicationPoor credit rating can result in high interest rates
Often instant approvalWatch for origination fees that could go up to 6%
Can see rates without impacting your credit scoreMight not qualify with a credit score less than 630
May qualify for loans even if you don't at a bank
Fixed monthly payment
Lower interest option
Is Peer-to-Peer Lending Right for You?

When it comes to investing, earning more is the goal. P2P lending gives you a chance at higher returns than what you’d get with a fixed-rate investment product like a savings account or CD.

As a relatively new industry, P2P lending offers huge potential. There is some risk since it isn’t FDIC insured, but it also might help you reach your financial goals while giving you the chance to help others with theirs.

If you’re looking to diversify your investments beyond stocks or bonds, P2P lending is a pretty sweet way to get your feet wet and earn some money while you’re at it.

Have you tried P2P lending? Give us your thoughts in the comments below!

The post What Is Peer-to-Peer Lending? appeared first on Club Thrifty.

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