As someone who doesn't carry a wallet, I'm always thankful when I find a retailer that accepts credit card payments through my phone.

Such businesses are difficult to find, so my iPhone is inside a small case that opens to hold only three cards: my driver's license, a debit card and a credit card. No, it's not a man purse. It's the size of my phone, but about twice as thick. For me, it beats carrying around both a phone and a wallet.

But even with just one credit card on me, it's tempting to leave it at home and only carry my phone with me.

When I go to a business with a mobile card reader, I'm looking for one that uses Bluetooth technology to connect my mobile phone to its credit card reader so that the credit card stored on my phone can be seamlessly and securely used.

I'm looking for Bluetooth for two reasons: So I don't have to carry a physical credit card with me, and so I don't have to use the chip in the card and spend an inordinate amount of time at the cashier.

There's also a third reason, which I really did't think about much until I went to Europe last summer for vacation: High merchant fees for using a credit card.

The mobile card reader from SumUp seems to solve all of these problems. Here's how: ...continue reading

flipping housesIf you enjoy watching renovation shows or HGTV, you are most likely aware of the process of flipping houses.

If you aren't sure what this means, flipping a house is basically investing in a house, fixing it up as quickly as possible, and selling it to reap a profit. But, can you start flipping houses as a side hustle?

Research Flipping Houses

First things first, know what you are getting yourself into. Flipping houses can be a lot of work. While it can make a great side hustle, sometimes it's going to take working long hours on the weekends and after your full-time job.

You'll have to understand the ins and outs of real estate, understanding the costs and how things can add up, negotiation strategies, and more. Flipping houses isn't for the faint of heart, but knowing what you're getting yourself into can save headaches down the road.

Have Cash (or Know Someone Who Does)

If you're struggling to pay your bills or save money, flipping houses is not for you. In fact, I only recommend this side hustle if you can put some money upfront for a house and the repairs, or if you can find an investor willing to work with you.

If you choose the latter, make sure you have a contract in place and that everyone understands their roles and duties. Remember to talk profit percentages. Who gets what, and when? Whos job is it to sell the home? Asking questions like these will make sure everyone is on the same page.

If you choose to buy the homes yourself, understand that trying to finance a home for the purpose to flip requires jumping through a lot of hoops. It may be easier to pay for the home in cash and then getting a loan for the repairs (if needed). ...continue reading

streaming servicesWith rising prices and lowered quality, many people are taking the leap from cable services to online streaming services.

Studies have shown that around 25% of American households no longer have cable, and instead use online streaming services to watch their favorite shows and movies. So what are the best streaming services that will help you replace your cable?

Start streaming services with Netflix

Netflix is the "holy grail" streaming service that many people already have, whether they're using it in conjunction with their cable or using it with other streaming services. At $7.99 for the cheapest plan (for use on one screen at a time), Netflix is an affordable option for those looking to venture into online streaming services.

Pros with Netflix include the release of new movies fairly quickly, many popular shows and Netflix originals (some being critically acclaimed), and many shows having all of their seasons all in one place.

A few cons to note are that Netflix typically releases seasons all at once.So, You may not be able to watch your favorite show right away. Also, Netflix is known for raises its prices every few years or so. In fact, they just announced they would be raising prices again (with the middle plan starting at $11 instead of $10). ...continue reading