7 of the Best Places to Open an IRA in 2018

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Opening an IRA is an important decision. To help, here is our survey of the best IRA accounts for 2018, including fees and features of each option.

best ira accounts 2018

Just about every bank, investment brokerage, and robo-advisor welcomes Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). But there are a handful of institutions that stand out above the rest. Below are seven of the best places to open an IRA.

Ally Invest

Ally Invest may very well be the overall best place to open an IRA. Not only do they offer nearly unlimited investment options, but they also have one of the very lowest fee structures in the industry.

You can trade exchange traded funds (ETFs) at $4.95 per trade and mutual funds at $9.95 per trade. They also offer volume trading discounts for high-frequency traders. They charge a $50 annual fee, but that only applies to accounts with less than a $2,500 balance and no activity for the past 12 months.

In addition to self-directed trading, they also offer Ally Invest Managed Portfolios, which is a robo-advisor service. It requires a minimum investment of $2,500 and has an annual fee of 0.30%. But it provides you with the option to have some or all of your retirement portfolio professionally managed.

Ally Invest is also the first cousin of Ally Bank, the online bank that offers some of the highest interest rates on savings and CDs available anywhere.

With all that Ally Invest has to offer–investment options and low fees–you can’t go wrong with this platform.

E*TRADE

Similar to Ally Invest, E*TRADE offers an outstanding mix of almost unlimited investment options. It also features low pricing. You can trade stocks and ETFs at $6.95 per trade, though mutual fund trades are a bit on the high side, at $19.95. However, they offer more than 1,000 mutual funds that are both no-load and no fee. And for what it’s worth, they have 30 brick-and-mortar locations scattered about the country.

E*TRADE has no minimum account balance and no annual fee to worry about.

E*TRADE also has a managed portfolio option–E*TRADE Adaptive Portfolio. This is E*TRADE’s robo-advisor entry, and it requires a minimum initial investment of $5,000. The annual management fee is 0.30%. Once again, this gives you the option to have at least some of your portfolio professionally managed. But you can still go the DIY route with the rest of your money.

Charles Schwab

One of the original discount investment brokerage firms, Charles Schwab has all the advantages of a traditional full-service brokerage firm. But their fee structure competes with those of discount brokerages.

You can trade stocks and ETFs for just $4.95 per trade. Mutual funds are a bit of a problem, however. They do offer a handful of fee-free in-house mutual funds. But the commission on all others is a whopping $76 per trade.

They require a minimum $1,000 open an account, but they don’t require any annual fees. And if you don’t feel like managing your own account, Charles Schwab also has a robo-advisor service for you to take advantage of. Charles Schwab Intelligent Portfolios will provide you with professional investment management. It requires a minimum balance of $5,000, but there is no fee for the service.

Fidelity Investments

Fidelity Investments has one of the largest selections of mutual funds available, most with very low expense ratios. They even have many funds offered fee-free. They offer a very low commission at $4.95 per trade and no requirements for a minimum initial balance. But many of the mutual funds offered have a minimum requirement of $2,500.

As with the other brokers in this list, Fidelity offers their own robo-advisor, Fidelity Go. It requires a minimum investment of $5,000, and charges an annual fee of 0.35% for IRA accounts.

Scottrade

Scottrade doesn’t have the lowest commissions, but it does have one major advantage over just about every other IRA provider. They operate a network of more than 500 branch locations around the country. If you prefer the face-to-face dimension with your retirement investing, Scottrade is the natural choice.

Scottrade offers a commission of $6.95 per trade on stocks and ETF’s. The commission on mutual funds is $17 per trade, but they do offer a number of no-load, no transaction fee mutual funds. They require a minimum of $500 to open an account.

Wealthfront

Most of the investment brokerage firms on this list also offer a robo-advisor service. But Wealthfront is a robo-advisor, and one of the very best. If you’re looking for low-cost professional management of your IRA, Wealthfront is an excellent platform to investigate.

They offer a portfolio diversified between equities and fixed income investments, but also has alternative investments. Unlike most other robo-advisors, Wealthfront adds real estate and natural resources to the investment mix.

You can open an IRA account with as little as $500. The annual advisory fee for the account is 0.25%. But they’ll manage the first $10,000 for free. That means that you can have a $100,000 IRA account with Wealthfront fully managed for just $225 per year. They handle all the account management for you. All you have to do is fund your account.

Betterment

Betterment is Wealthfront’s larger, and somewhat better-known competitor in the robo-advisor space. In fact, Betterment is the largest independent robo-advisor in existence.

Like Wealthfront, Betterment provides a fully managed investment portfolio. All you need to do is fund your account. They will allocate your portfolio between equities and fixed income investments. But they offer no alternative investments. However, unlike Wealthfront, Betterment has no minimum initial deposit requirement. You can sign up for the account and simply fund it with monthly contributions.

Betterment has two fee structures. The basic account has a 0.25% annual fee. The premium version, which requires a $100,000 account balance, has a 0.40% annual fee.

Which of these IRA providers should you choose? A bit of research will point you toward the one that will work best for you. But in truth, you can’t go wrong no matter which one you choose!

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Clever storage ideas!

We love clever decluttering and storage ideas at Move Revolution.  Amazing top tips that saves space and make it so much easier to use an every day item!

We’ve added to our de-cluttering and clever storage Pinterest board, which you all loved last year! There are so many amazing top tricks …let us know your favourite! These are a few of ours!

We love this pin board!

What a fantastic idea to store cupcake cases!

This hallway is simply gorgeous (we laughed in our office as many of us with children have hundreds of schools in our hallways!)

This is so simple… and what a lovely way to store books!

 

Many of you attend our Move Revolution events, as you can imagine we have LOTS of crafty ‘bits and pieces’, take a look at this gorgeous IKEA ‘crafty’ trolley!

 

If you are thinking of moving of letting your home we would love to chat with you, just give us a call on 0330 223 1000 or fill in your contact details for a valuation 

All the photographs included in this blog are from Pinterest, we can not take any credit for the ideas or photography! If you are one of the photographers please get in contact so we can add a credit to you in our blog!

 

 

source http://www.moverevolution.com/blog/clever-storage-ideas/

How to Find the Most Affordable Cell Phone Plans

take a look at Transform Your Finance web site for far more material on money 

The cell phone company war bodes well for consumers, with cellular plans reaching all-time lows. Here are some of the cheapest cell phone plans we could find.

cheapest cell phone plans

Over the past few years, cell phone providers have declared an out-and-out war to win over consumers. This spells good things for the consumers, who can now take advantage of more low-cost cell phone plans than ever.

These days, even the “big four” cell providers–Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon–are lowering their prices. And there is a host of other companies jumping on board with cheap voice, text, and data services.

Finding the right plan for your needs requires some research, though. First off, the provider you choose should have decent coverage in your area and areas to which you travel often. Saving $15 a month on your cell phone bill doesn’t mean much if you constantly drop calls in your own living room!

Plus, you’ll need to ensure that the plan you choose has what you really need in a cell phone plan. That might mean unlimited voice and text, or a hefty amount of data for your business.

Whenever you are ready to lower your cell phone bill, check out these 20 low-cost plan options.

Sprint Unlimited Freedom

Sprint’s Unlimited Freedom plan offers an excellent deal of anywhere from two to five lines with unlimited data, talk, and text for $100 per month. One line will run you $60 a month but two, three, four, or even five lines on the same account will only be a flat $100 each month. (AutoPay required for this special pricing.)

That’s as little as $20 per line for unlimited talk, text, and data!

Each line will be able to stream HD video, gaming, and music, as well as high-speed data for everything else (like apps). Plus, you’ll also get a 10GB/line/month mobile hotspot and a free Hulu plan.

T-Mobile ONE

The ONE plan offers quite a bit for a great price. For a limited time, you’ll also receive a number of neat benefits for having an account, too.

You’ll receive unlimited talk, text, and data for $70 for the first line, $60 per for two lines, $47 per for three lines, or $40 per for up to four total lines. So, you’ll pay $160 per month if you have four lines on the same account. (To get the $40/line rate, you’ll need to sign up for AutoPay.) Oh, and that’s a flat rate–taxes and fees are already factored in!

The plan offers unlimited everything (phone, text, and date) in Mexico and Canada, and unlimited text and data just about anywhere else in the world. You have unlimited streaming at DVD-quality, a free 2-user Netflix plan, in-flight texting and an hour of data on Gogo-enabled flights, and unlimited 3G hotspot data.

Also, if you’re over 55, you can take advantage of the T-Mobile ONE 55+ plan, which gives you two unlimited lines at $60 each per month.

AT&T Mobile Share Advantage

This customizable plan allows you to choose how much data you want to share. Pick from 1GB for $30 a month to 25GB for $110 per month, then add smartphones for a monthly access fee of $20 each per month.

If you don’t use much data, this plan would be a great way to cut your expenses down to as little as $70 per month for two lines and limited data access. It also allows for rollover data, on months where your family doesn’t use as much as expected.

Verizon Plan

This giant is known for its great coverage, but has started to lower its prices to stay competitive. Their unlimited plans are no exception.

Choose the number of lines you’d like to add, from one to 10, and then select either the goUnlimited or beyondUnlimited option.Both offer unlimited 4G LTE coverage, unlimited talk & text, unlimited mobile hotspot, VerizonUp rewards, and an optional military discount.

The difference between the two is the speed/quality at which you can stream videos and the speed limit for your mobile hotspot. Plus, the beyondUnlimited plan also includes Mexico and Canada.

The goUnlimited plan starts at $75 for one line, $65 per for two lines, $50 per for three lines, $40 per for lines four through 10. For the beyondUnlimited plan, it starts at $85 for the first line. Then, you’ll pay $80 per for two lines, $60 per for three lines, and $50 per for lines four through 10.

Metro PC

Launching into the smaller providers, we’ll start with Metro PCS, which offers nationwide 4G coverage. Its “unlimited” data, talk, and text plan really comes with 1GB of 4G data before kicking you down to lower data speeds. Still, the plan is a good deal at just $30 per month for each line between one and four. If you want more data, you can pay $40 per line for 5GB of data or $50 per for unlimited data.

For just $60 per month, you can get unlimited talk and text plus unlimited data and a mobile hotspot.

Cricket

Cricket’s Basic plan runs just $30 per month, and includes unlimited nationwide text and talk plus 2GB of high-speed data access. Or the $60/month Unlimited plan offers unlimited high-speed data, unlimited nationwide talk and text, unlimited international texting, and data access as well as unlimited talk and text to and from Mexico and Canada.

Cricket also offers group pricing. Plus, you’ll get a $5 per line discount for signing up for auto-pay with the higher-tier plans.

Page Plus Cellular

Page Plus Cellular is a no-contract provider that still offers super-cheap plans with restricted minutes and text. The cheapest plan is just $10 per month for 250 minutes, 250 texts, and 100MB of data. Or opt for the largest plan at $64 with unlimited calling, unlimited national and international texting, and unlimited 4G LTE data.

Virgin Mobile

This provider is gaining in popularity, and not without reason. Its Inner Circle plan is just $50 per month and includes 4GB of high-speed data. Plus, it allows you to stream music from services like Pandora and Slacker without tapping into your data.

To add a mobile hotspot is another $10 a month, unlimited everything to Mexico and Canada is $5 a month, and unlimited everything to over 70 countries is another $10 a month.

Boost Mobile

Boost’s Unlimited Starter package starts at just $35 per month and includes 3GB of 4G LTE data. Like Virgin, Boost offers unlimited music streaming through certain music apps.

For more data, check out the $50/month Unlimited Gigs plan, which offers optimized streaming for videos, gaming, and music, and unlimited 4G LTE data for everything else.

Straight Talk

Available plans for Straight Talk depend on your phone and current phone number, so you’ll have to check availability. But some example options include a 1-year unlimited plan for $495 total. This one offers unlimited nationwide talk and text and 10GB of data per month at 4G LTE, restricted to 2G service after that.

Republic Wireless

For just $15 per month, Republic offers unlimited talk and text without data (except on WiFi). It’s a good plan option if you’re near a WiFi signal most of the time. Plans add more data from there, up to 10GB per month on the $90 plan.

GoSmart Mobile

This provider offers four service levels, including a $25/month plan that includes unlimited international texting, unlimited national talk, and unlimited 4G LTE access for Facebook. Its largest plan is $55/month and includes up to 20GB per month of 3G data access, as well as the other perks listed.

FreedomPop

This provider actually offers a free Basic Plan that includes 500 texts, 200 minutes, and 500MB of data each month, as well as free calling over WiFi. You may be able to bring your own existing device to this provider, or purchase a device from them.

H2O Wireless

For $30 per month, you can get unlimited talk and text, 3GB of data, and $10 of international talk credit. Or go up to $60 per month of unlimited talk and text, 10GB of high-speed data (restricted to 2G data thereafter), and $20 per month of international talk credit. H2O also offers pay-as-you go plans, which let you customize your payment based on how much talk, text, and data you’ll actually use at a time.

Scratch Wireless

This provider, like many other small providers, operates on the “WiFi First” principal. In other words, if WiFi is available, your phone will operate on that rather than using data. When connected to WiFi, you’ll have unlimited text and data. So if you’re typically in places where WiFi is available, Scratch could be the ideal service for you.

You’ll pay an annual access fee to use the service, which is $69 a year for cellular devices and $89 for smartphones. You can also buy data and voice passes, for use when WiFi isn’t available. These start at $7.99 for a 30-day pass or a certain amount of data/voice time.

ChatSIM

Communicate mostly by text? ChatSIM is super-cheap way to make that happen. The base plan costs $10 per month and comes with unlimited texts and emojis anywhere in the world. You can also purchase multimedia credits to cover photos, videos, and calls, ranging from $15 to $60 each.

Red Pocket

Red Pocket offers plans that begin at just $10/month for 500 each minutes and texts. Or, you can opt for the $19/month plan to get unlimited talk and text plus 500MB of data.

These plans go up to $60 per month for unlimited everything with 8GB of high-speed data (and lower speed data after that).

Simple Mobile

You can bring your own phone or buy a phone through Simple Mobile, and then sign up for a $50/month plan with unlimited 4G LTE data. Don’t need the data? Keep it simple with a $25/month unlimited talk and text plan (plus 1GB of data).

US Mobile

This provider offers completely customizable plans, so you only need to pay for the services you actually use. For instance, you can pay $3/month for 100 talk minutes, or $15/month for up to 5,000 minutes.

Similarly, texting costs $2/month for 100 texts or $7/month for 5,000 texts. And data costs from $2/month for 100MB to $26/month for 5GB. Add on a $4/month service charge, and you’ve got a plan you can completely customize to your actual usage.

ROK Mobile

As with other providers, this one cuts back on the cost of streaming music by providing the ROK Music App. It offers a $45/month plan with unlimited talk, unlimited text, and 5GB of 4G LTE data.

So which one wins?

As you can see, there’s some huge variability in plan prices here, from free plans that focus on WiFi coverage to $100/month plans from the “big four.” The key is to ensure that any provider you choose will have good coverage in your area, and that the plan will be sufficient to meet your talk, text, and data needs.

Be sure to read the fine print. Also talk to friends and neighbors about their coverage, especially with lesser-known providers. Then, pick a plan and start reaping the financial reward of this wireless war for customers.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card Review

it’s recommended to visit TransFS webpage for far more advice on finances 

In our 2018 Capital One Venture Rewards credit card review, we look at its 50,000 mile bonus and 2x rewards structure. Is it too good to be true?

Capital One Venture Rewards credit card review

I use four primary credit cards to buy just about everything. One for my purchases at the grocery store. One for purchases at the pump. Another to make all of my travel purchases (flights, hotels, etc.) and finally, a card for everything else. Yet when I look into my wallet, I see 11 credit cards. Why so many?!

Sometimes an offer is simply too good to pass up. One of the credit cards I signed up for earlier this year is the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. Right now, this card offers a 50,000 mile bonus for meeting a small spend hurdle, in addition to other benefits which make it very attractive. Let’s dive into the details and see whether or not this should be one of the 11 cards you find in your wallet!

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card 50,000 Mile Bonus

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit CardWhen you sign up for a Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, you stand to earn a 50,000 mile bonus. To receive that bonus, you must spend $3,000 in the first three months of card ownership. Those 50,000 miles equal $500 in travel. And you can fly any airline or stay in any hotel, anytime you want.

Spending $3,000 on a credit card in three months may sound like a lot of money. But when you consider all the things you can use a credit card to pay for, it’s not all that challenging. As a homeowner (and an automobile owner), I can use my credit card to pay for gas, groceries, insurance, and a variety of other household and life necessities. Between groceries, gas, and auto insurance, I’m already at $1,000 a month. Over the course of three months, I would meet that bonus threshold.

If you have received this bonus from Capital One in the past (for owning the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card), you are not eligible to receive this one.

Travel Rewards Program

There’s not much to be said about the travel rewards program. Every dollar you spend with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is worth 2 miles. That’s it. No caps, limits, hurdles, or rules to follow other than double miles for everything, always.

Miles do not expire for the life of the account (open or closed), and there are no blackout dates to speak of. When using your points to book a flight or hotel, every options is available to you. Consider your points as good as cash–no restrictions.

Venture Rewards APR and Fees

Unfortunately, there’s no intro APR with this credit card. The standard purchase and balance transfer APR is 13.99% – 23.99% variable. The APR for cash advances is also 23.99% (with a 3% cash advance fee), and there are a couple of fees to keep your eye on.

  • Up to a $35 late payment fee
  • $95 annual fee ($0 annual fee for the first year).

The annual fee of $95 is average for a quality travel rewards credit card. In fact, when you compare vs. that of Chase, Citi, and American Express–$95 seems to be the agreed-upon industry standard.

One added pricing perk of the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is that there are no foreign transaction fees. A foreign transaction fee is charged by some issuers when you use your credit card to make international purchases. The issuer must first convert your US dollars into the local currency, then offer those funds to the merchant. Capital One offers this service, free of charge, for their full line of credit card products.

Visa Signature Benefits and Perks

Included with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card are Visa Signature perks. While the card issuer provides the rewards program and the bonus, it’s the processor that steps up the benefits an extra level. You can expect to receive the following:

  • Complimentary Concierge Service–If you need ANYTHING, you can give Visa Concierge a call and they will assist you. Help with changing a reservation; a flat tire; concert tickets–whatever. You’ll have a 24-hour hotline to secure the things you need.
  • Auto Rental Damage Collision Waiver Coverage–If you’ve ever rented a car, you know that there’s a damage insurance waiver you’re always asked to sign. In the event the car you rent is damaged, you might be liable for out of pocket expenses if you’re not properly insured. So long as you book with your Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card and rent a standard vehicle (check the terms), you’re always covered for damage.
  • Extended Warranties–After making a purchase, you may qualify for an extended warranty of up to one year. Depending on the length of warranty you already received from the manufacturer, Visa is willing to up it between three months and one year.
  • Shopping Discounts–When you shop at select online merchants, you’ll earn a discount.

Is This Travel Card Right for You?

So I opened this review by telling you the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card was one of the 11 cards currently in my wallet. But I also want to let you know that as of today, I rarely use it for purchases (if ever). That’s not because this isn’t a great credit card, but because I rarely travel. So it’s easier for me to use my Citi Double Cash Card and earn the 2% cash back, then earn miles.

The bonus is attractive enough where just about anyone can take advantage of 50,000 bonus miles. If you currently don’t own a travel rewards credit card and find yourself making airline and hotel reservations frequently, this card has a lot to offer. And with no annual fee for the first year, you have nothing to lose but a few points on your credit score.

MoviePass Review: Is it Really Unlimited Movies for One Price?

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MoviePass claims to offer unlimited movie tickets for one low monthly price. Is it too good to be true? We answer that question in our MoviePass review.

moviepass review

According to the National Theater Owner’s Association, the average price of a movie theater ticket was $8.84 as of the first quarter of 2017. If you live in a metropolitan area, you know the real price you’ll pay is more like $12. That kind of pricing keeps a lot of people from going to the movies more often. But there might be a workaround in the form of a smartphone app.

That app is MoviePass. It’s a movie theater subscription service that you access from your smartphone. It is the largest movie theater subscription service available, giving subscribers access to over 4,000 movie theaters and more than 36,000 movie screens. They advertise that the service is available in all major movie theaters (though there’s some doubt about AMC).

What’s more, the subscription is virtually unlimited. You can watch one new 2D movie each day of the month, with no blackout dates.

MoviePass Benefits

MoviePass was founded by CEO Mitch Lowe, of Netflix and Redbox fame. He’s taking the same concept from those companies but applying it to actual movie theaters. MoviePass enables the participant to watch movies at theaters up to 31 times per month–all for a very low monthly fee of $9.95 per month.

The MoviePass card itself is actually a credit card–a MasterCard, to be precise. When you go to the theater, you pay for your ticket using the card just the way you would any other credit card.

With an average movie ticket at $12, you can see up to 31 movies per month–at a total cost of $372–all for a monthly fee of less than $10. That, of course, is extreme, but you could if you wanted to.

But, even if you only go to the movies no more than two or three times per month, at a cost of $24 or $36, you would still save $14 or $26 per month using this app (the actual cost of the movie tickets, less the $9.95 subscription fee you’ll pay to MoviePass).

Signing Up for MoviePass

You can sign up for MoviePass online or with your smartphone. But you must have an iPhone or an Android (with data service) in order to use it.

You will receive your MoviePass card by mail within seven to 10 business days after signing up. Once the card arrives in the mail, you can log into the MoviePass app with your email and a password. The app will request the last four digits of your MoviePass card in a pop-up box. Once you enter that information, your subscription will be fully activated, and your billing date will be set.

The monthly subscription fee is $9.95. The service offers only one person per app. So if you want to add family members, each will have to subscribe to the app individually. Also, memberships are nontransferable. Only you can use your subscription.

You must put a credit card on file, which MoviePass will charge on each monthly billing date.

How MoviePass Works

Once you receive your MoviePass card, you can begin using the app to browse theaters and showtimes. You can only use the app for same-day tickets. You are not able to purchase your tickets in advance.

 

 

Your MoviePass card is your payment method when you go to the theater. The card is actually a MasterCard, which is how the theater will be paid. That means you must have the card with you whenever you go to the theater. You can pay and get your ticket at the box office or kiosk.

The app works in five steps:

  1. When you arrive at the theater, browse movies and showtimes on the MoviePass app.
  2. Once you’ve found the movie you want, click the desired showtime. Then, at the bottom of the screen, click “Check-In.”
  3. Upon check-in, your MoviePass will be activated for 30 minutes. Just swipe it at the box office or kiosk to purchase your ticket.
  4. For e-ticketing theaters (see below), once you check-in, your app will generate a confirmation code that you can present at the kiosk or box office to retrieve your ticket.
  5. Enjoy the show!

Canceling check-in. If you change your mind and decide you don’t want to watch a movie, or if it is sold out, you can cancel right on the app. You can press the “Sold Out? Changed Mind?” button on the Check-In page. Once done, you can check into a different movie.

More MoviePass Features

E-ticketing. MoviePass has this function with several theater chains, including Goodrich Quality Theaters, Studio Movie Grill, and MJR Theatres. E-ticketing is a redemption process that enables you to reserve your same-day ticket in the app before arriving at the theater. At theaters that also offer reserved seating, e-ticketing will enable you to select your seat in advance.

Gift Subscriptions. If you want to give the gift of movies, you can purchase a gift subscription through the app. You must pay for gift subscriptions in advance, and they are available on the following terms:

  • three months at $29.85
  • six months at $59.70
  • 12 months at $119.40.

Canceling your MoviePass subscription: If after subscribing to the app, you decide that you want to cancel, you can do it easily. On the home screen, click the icon with the three horizontal lines in the upper left-hand corner. From the dropdown menu, select your name. On the “Subscription Information” screen, select “Plan Info”, then click “Cancel Account.” The cancellation will take effect on your next billing date.

MoviePass Partnership with Studio Movie Grill

MoviePass has partnered with Studio Movie Grill in testing and Open Tab feature. It will enable you to pay for your movie ticket as well as your in-theater meal and drinks using the MoviePass app. This is a beta program, so it may or may not be available at your local Studio Movie Grill theater.

Studio Movie Grill is offering its guests a limited one-month trial of MoviePass for $10. It will similarly allow the holder to attend one movie per day in its theaters for an entire month. It must be purchased only at Studio Movie Grill locations.

The MoviePass – Studio Movie Grill partnership is significant because MoviePass is actively working to increase such partnerships with other movie theater chains. Studio Movie Grill, for its part, expects to increase attendance through the partnership.

In Case You’re Wondering How MoviePass Makes Money…

If you’re like me, and you stumble across a winning service, you want to know that the provider is making a profit. After all, if they aren’t, the winning service won’t be around for very long.

On the surface at least, it looks as if there’s no way that MoviePass can ever be profitable. But look a little deeper, and it begins to make sense.

Let’s say that you are a certified movie maven, who actually does go to the movies every day of the month. How can MoviePass make money when you’re paying just $9.95 per month, and they are paying $372 (31 movies X $12 per ticket) to theaters for you to watch 31 movies?

Answer: they’re not. At least not on you.

But according to founder and CEO Mitch Lowe, the “secret” is in the numbers. They know the average person only goes to the movies three to six times per year. They believe that the MoviePass app will increase that to six to 12 times.

At an average frequency of 9 times per year–at $12 per movie ticket–that’s $108 MoviePass has to pay out to theaters. With an annual subscription rate of about $120, MoviePass will earn an average of 10% ($12) on each subscription.

Lowe is also working to create more true movie theater partnerships, such as the one they are currently working on with Studio Movie Grill. The increased frequency of theater visits by MoviePass users generates higher concessions sales, enabling the theaters to increase their profits. MoviePass is working to get a part of those profits through partnerships.

MoviePass Pros

  • If you go to the movies two or more times in a typical month, MoviePass will be well worth the price of $9.95 per month.
  • If you’ve been avoiding the movies due to cost, MoviePass will enable you to go more frequently. In fact, cost will no longer be a factor, at least as far as movie tickets.
  • Ordering movie tickets through your smartphone avoids the need to stand in line waiting to purchase a ticket. This can be a major advantage at peak movie times or for blockbuster movies that draw big crowds.
  • The widespread acceptance of MoviePass, as well as the partnerships with select theater chains, holds the potential for the expansion of the app going forward. It could revolutionize the movie theater process, and you’d be on the cutting edge if you already have the app.

MoviePass Cons

  • MoviePass is available for 2D movies only. It is not available for enhanced or special screenings that might involve an up charge by the theater. This includes movies in 3D, IMAX, Fathom Events, DBOX, ETX/RPX, or film festivals.
  • Unless the theater offers e-ticketing, you have to be at the theater to order your ticket.
  • Not all theaters or theater chains participate in MoviePass.
  • Since you must be at the theater (or within 100 yards of it) where the movie you want to see is showing, you won’t know in advance if the movie has been sold out. But that would happen even if you didn’t have MoviePass.
  • Since a subscription can be used for one person only, you would need to have a subscription for each person in the family. The app would cost $39.80 per month for a family of four.

Should You Sign Up with MoviePass?

MoviePass is definitely worth considering if you are a frequent moviegoer, or you want to become one. It can reduce the cost of going to the movies several times per month to less than the cost of a ticket for a single show.

If you’re not a frequent moviegoer, even apart from the cost factor, MoviePass won’t be much of a benefit. For example, if you typically go to the movies less than once a month, the subscription may cost you more than the benefit that you’re getting.

The fact that you need to purchase a subscription for each member of your family could be cost prohibitive. However, if you have children who are at the age where going to the movies is a favorite pastime, this can enable you to bring them as often as you like. The cost of going to the movies will no longer be a factor.

If you’d like more information, or if you’d like to sign up for the app, check out the MoviePass website.

The New Emergency Fund: Seven Components of an Emergency Plan

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It’s important to save for a rainy day. In this guide, we give you ideas on where to put an emergency fund and how much you should save.

where to put an emergency fund

The world of personal finance is rife with oversimplified platitudes and one-size-fits-all advice. No where is this more evidenced than in the often-repeated advice about emergency funds.

Typical advice says that you should save three to six months’ worth of expenses in a high-yield savings account. Some financial gurus opt for eight months’ worth of expenses saved up, while others say four is enough.

Still others advocate for starting with a couple thousand dollars and beefing up the fund after you’ve paid off all debts.

How much you should have in an emergency fund and where you should keep it is more personal than this. In some situations, a smaller emergency fund may work just fine. And for some people, a low-interest home equity line of credit can be a reasonable emergency fund. In other situations, having this much cash on hand is a good plan.

But high-yield savings accounts are really providing barely enough to keep up with inflation. Stashing a ton of cash in a savings account may not be the best option. In this case, you might consider having a broader, more diverse emergency plan. This can help you make it through true emergencies without losing out on the interest your money could be earning.

If you’ve never thought through what you’d do in a financial emergency, consider creating an emergency plan that includes the following components:

1. “Mattress cash” stash

Clearly, I don’t actually mean hiding cash in your mattress, necessarily. But it’s not a bad idea to stash a small amount of cash around your home. If your ATM network is down for some reason and you need cash, you can get what’s in your home. I’m not talking about keeping a ton of cash in your home. This should be maybe two or three hundred dollars.

After all, in the case of a truly catastrophic world event, that cash won’t have much value, anyway. So we’re not really planning for that type of situation. This is more the type of situation where you’ve lost your wallet and had to cancel your debit and credit cards. You’re waiting on replacements, but you need to put gas in the car and groceries in the pantry right now. In this situation, you could make a couple hundred dollars work for a week or two.

2. Liquid account

Unless there’s a worldwide banking catastrophe, you should be able to access the next portion of your emergency fund within one day. You might consider putting this portion of your emergency fund into a money market or high-yield savings account. The idea is to earn as much interest as possible without losing FDIC insurance and easy access to your cash.

How much should you put into this fund? It really depends. The idea is that this should be enough to get you through from a job loss to the first paycheck at a new job. Many experts recommend having one to three months’ worth of expenses in this type of account, if not more.

The key here, of  course, is that you’re saving expenses, not your actual income. If you make $4,000 per month but only have to spend $2,000 per month to meet your basic needs, you should use $2,000 as your monthly goal. So for three months’ worth of expenses, you’d only need $6,000 in savings.

Your thoughts for this portion of your emergency plan may differ, depending on your current situation. In a two-income family, for instance, you may not need as many months’ worth of savings. After all, the chances of both working adults losing their jobs at the same time are probably fairly slim. On the other hand, if your particular career suffers from an unstable job market, consider saving even more in this part of your plan.

3. Certificate of Deposit ladder

You can earn a bit more interest on your emergency savings if you use a short-term Certificate of Deposit ladder. With a CD ladder, you progressively invest in more certificates of deposit, which each have their own maturity date. As each CD matures, you can either pull out the money, penalty-free, to cover your expenses. Or you can reinvest it if you’re not in the middle of an emergency.

Combined with liquid savings, a CD ladder can be a good way to get through an emergency without losing out on slightly higher APRs. For instance, say you save three months’ worth of expenses in your liquid account. Then you create a CD ladder of three-month CDs. You’re then guaranteed to be able to tap at least one CD by the time you run out of liquid emergency fund savings. And if you need to keep pulling from the CD ladder, you can.

This way, you can take advantage of potentially higher CD rates, while avoiding penalties for withdrawing from your CDs early.

4. Investments

As you’re planning how to save for retirement, consider potential emergencies, too. In an emergency, you can withdraw your contributions (not your earnings) from a Roth IRA. Depending on your broker, these withdrawals could be free from penalties, taxes, and fees. Once the emergency has calmed down, you can contribute the withdrawals back into your Roth IRA.

You can also consider tapping into your taxable investments, if need be. This isn’t always the best option, especially if your investments are down. But if a true emergency, it can be a way to cover your expenses and potentially get some tax benefits while doing it. Remember, too, that if you sell when your investments are worth more than when they were purchases, you’ll face some tax implications. Just account for that when determining whether and how much to withdraw from your investments.

The best-case scenario is, of course, to have enough in liquid and intermediate savings not to have to tap your investments in an emergency. But understanding how this could potentially work is a good idea when you’re planning how and how much to invest.

One more item of note along these lines: do not rely on a 401(k) loan during an emergency. If you should lose your job, the loan would come due immediately. That just makes an already tenuous situation even more risky.

5. Credit

Using credit in an emergency can be a slippery slope. But it can be used wisely as part of a broader emergency plan.

For instance, if you’re currently paying hefty interest on credit cards, you should put your extra cash into paying them down rather than saving for an emergency. But you’ll want to be sure you don’t go back into high-interest debt if an emergency does arise. In this case, saving a couple thousand dollars to start can be helpful. This can help you get through unexpected car repairs or other smaller emergencies.

Then consider keeping open a home equity line of credit to use for larger emergencies. With today’s lower interest rates, you could finance a longer-term emergency without paying interest through the nose.

Another option is to keep your eyes open for credit cards with an introductory 0% APR on purchases. These cards are widely available to those with good credit. And you can often get one at the drop of a hat. This could get you access to a line of credit in an emergency. Hopefully the introductory offer would give you enough time to get through the emergency and then repay the balance before the introductory period ended. Luckily, credit card issuers are now offering these introductory periods for anywhere from 12 to 18 months, and sometimes more.

6. A bare bones budget

On an everyday, non-emergency basis, you probably have lots of little–or even large–expenses that you could cut out in a true emergency. It’s a good idea to know ahead of time what this would look like. Take a look at your spending for the past three months, and determine which expenses you could have cut with ease and which you could have cut with a bit of work or sacrifice.

This might include things like your cable subscription, other entertainment-related expenses, any dining out expenses, extravagant grocery-related expenses, and more. See just how much you could have cut out of your budget, and put that on paper. That’s your bare bones budget. If you had absolutely no money coming in, that’s how much you’d need to survive.

The exercise of writing down your bare bones budget is helpful for a couple of reasons:

  1. It helps you determine your emergency savings goals. Remember, saving for an emergency is about saving for essential expenses, not your normal, I-have-a-good-income spending. Writing down your bare minimum budget lets you see what you actually need to save for emergencies.
  2. It’ll give you a reference point in an emergency. When an emergency hits, you’ll be too busy looking for your next job or putting out the proverbial financial fires to think too much about basics like budgeting. So having this bare bones budget written down ahead of time can be helpful. You can use this document to know which services to cancel right away and how to budget until the emergency is over.
  3. You’ll see how much extra you’re really spending. Finally, writing down your bare bones budget is great even if you aren’t in the middle of an emergency. It’ll help you see just how much of your daily spending is truly necessary versus extra. While you don’t need to live on this strict budget all the time, it’s a good way to gauge if your spending is reasonable or getting out of control.

7. Stock up on essentials

I’m not advocating becoming a doomsday prepper, but having a stocked pantry and medicine cabinet can make emergencies easier to get through. And it’s not that hard to plan ahead. Just add a few extra cans of beans or other non-perishables to your cart each time you go to the grocery store. Shop in bulk for paper goods like toilet paper and paper towel. And keep your medicine cabinet well-stocked with first aid supplies, over-the-counter medicines, and such. And if you’re on any prescriptions, be sure to keep them up-to-date and refilled as often as possible.

These essentials may not get you through a several month long period of unemployment. But if you can get through the first month or two without having to buy more than milk and eggs from the grocery store, your emergency savings will go a long way. This is just a simple step to take over time so that you can cut expenses at the drop of a hat.

When you think about your emergency plan as more of a comprehensive plan, you’ll feel more prepared for potential emergencies. You’ll also know how to save for emergencies without your savings being eaten away by today’s still-low interest rates. Do you have a broader emergency plan? What does it look like?

A Guide to the Best Home Security Systems

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The security of your home and family have never been more important. In this detailed guide, we rate the best home security systems and companies.

best home security systems

No matter how safe your neighborhood — or even your city — is, you’ve likely considered a security system for your home. But choosing the right one (that won’t cost an arm and a leg) can be confusing. How do you know which company will protect your loved ones and belongings best? And where can you find the best value?

To make the home security shopping process easier, we’ve sifted through the most popular systems on the market today. We’ve evaluated them for reliability, price, customer service, ease of installation, and the equipment offered. Hopefully, this will help you decide which company is the best one to keep you, your family, and the things you cherish safe.

What We Compared

You’ll need to consider several factors when choosing the right home security company. You have quite a few options available to you. So first determine which needs are the most important and what you can live without. Here are the factors we considered:

Installation

When it comes to a security system, you have two installation options: Have the company come in and install your monitoring equipment, or install it yourself. The latter is likely to be the cheaper option,. But it requires you to know what you need and feel confident enough to do the basic wiring.

Some security companies will offer free installation packages for new customers, usually with a signed service contract for a certain number of months of service. This can be a great way to get your system put in your home without paying a penny — or lifting a finger. But be sure to read the fine print.

If you decide to cancel your contract at any time, you may have to pay both early cancellation fees and prorated equipment installation charges. And what if you move? Some companies will offer to move your equipment for you or install a new system in your new home. However, a few of these companies will either require you to sign a new monitoring contract or will charge a small fee for the new install.

Equipment

With some companies, you purchase your monitoring equipment and own it outright. This is especially true for contained systems or companies that require you to install your own system. This also means that you are welcome to move the equipment, with or without new monitoring contracts for your new home.

And what about the $0-installed, basic systems for new customers? Well, as we all know, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Be sure that your “complimentary” system won’t cost you more in the long run due to an overpriced monthly monitoring fee. Also, be sure the free system has all the features that you need and won’t wind up costing you a lot more in the end. Basic, free system installations are often limited to a couple doors and windows. Depending on the size of your home, you may need to add a number of additional sensors. And this will likely cost you more.

Some companies offer equipment protection packages in case a sensor breaks or needs servicing. Without this added service, you may be on the hook for a pricey repair or replacement.

Monthly Pricing

Besides equipment and installation charges, you’ll pay monthly monitoring fees for your home security system. This fee ranges quite a bit, depending on the company you choose.

Contained systems are available if you’d rather forgo the monthly cost. Essentially, you can monitor your own home via sensors and even cameras. These systems will make noise if someone trips a sensor. And you can even get notifications if a camera senses movement. However, you won’t have a monitoring company to call the police for you in the case of a break-in or other emergency.

If you want the peace of mind that a monitoring company provides, you’ll pay somewhere between $15 and $100 a month in fees. The average monthly cost is about $30. Some companies will monitor for both security and things like fire and carbon monoxide. This adds peace of mind but may increase the price. With some companies, you can add other features. For instance, you could opt to remotely control your lights and deadbolts. This is nice, but it’ll add to your installation and monthly costs.

Keep in mind that almost all monitoring companies require a contract for service. So, while $45 a month may not sound like a lot at first, it translates to $540 a year for monitoring (plus any equipment and installation charges). Be sure that this fits into your family’s budget before signing any contracts.

Customer Service

How much, or how little, customer service do you expect from your home security system? This may sway you from one company to another.

You may want to choose a company that won’t try to upsell you with high-pressure sales tactics or whose representatives don’t work on commission. You may want to choose a company that has a long history of providing knowledgeable service 24/7 and has a reliable monitoring network.

Technology

The last big consideration when choosing a home security company is the technology. Each company offers a different line of products, ranging from the most basic to the most advanced. So you need to decide what you need (or simply want) before shopping around.

Do you want a security system that allows for remote monitoring of cameras? Maybe you would prefer a system that can not only protect your home but also control things like your lights, door locks, and even your A/C settings. The options are endless, but not every company will have what you need.

Be sure to also take the technology into consideration when comparing prices. The monitoring for a basic, sensor-based system on your doors and windows will likely be much cheaper than a system that allows you to turn off the kitchen lights or lock the front door from your office desk.

Comparing the Top Options

We looked at some of the most popular companies to see which one really is the “best.” Here’s what we found.

ADT

Perhaps one of the most familiar names in the security industry, ADT has certainly been around for the longest. In fact, ADT was started in 1874, albeit as a telegraph company in the beginning. This foundation in communication has served the company well over the years, though. They are renowned for their reliable monitoring of installed systems.

Cost: ADT ranks average in monthly monitoring cost, with a basic essentials package starting at $36.99 a month. Premium Protection packages start at $52.99 a month. However, the company often runs discounts, specials, and deals through certain organizations. For instance, USAA and ADT have a partnership. So members of the military-based association receive discounts on both equipment and monitoring charges.

To see current specials ADT is offering, visit this page. Keep in mind that the company also offers a discount for enrolling in AutoPay.

Contract: ADT requires a contract, typically 36 months long (in California, this is 24 months). Service fees, installation charges, and activation fees vary depending on the package you choose and whether you’re eligible for any sort of discount or special pricing.

Installation: ADT must professionally install all its systems. They regularly offer rebates and new customer specials. And they often offer discounts for existing customers who need to install new systems when they move.

The Customer Installation Charge for a basic system is $99 with a contract. The more equipment you choose, the higher this installation fee can go.

Technology: ADT has come a long way in recent years. When I got my first ADT system a decade ago, it seemed like the company was a bit behind some of the newer, more “hip” competitors out there.  The coolest thing they offered at the time was a key fob to activate and deactivate the system without entering my code.

Now, however, ADT is keeping up with the Joneses. They now offer the ADT Pulse system. It’s a touchscreen panel and accompanying app that allows you to control various aspects of your home, monitor the status remotely, and even see which entrances were opened when. You can also install features all the way from basic sensors to glass break alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and interior/exterior cameras.

Consumer Affairs Rating: 4.5

Frontpoint

A newer name in the home security industry, Frontpoint has already developed quite the positive reputation. The company is not only growing fast and offering cutting-edge technology, but has a long line of happy customers in its wake.

Cost: One of the most commonly-heard accolades for Frontpoint is that they have incredible customer service and no-pressure sales tactics. Their representatives take the time to walk you through their available options and tailor a plan that fits your needs. And they don’t push you to buy pricey packages to boost their own commission. Their pricing is transparent, and you don’t have to worry about hidden fees.

Frontpoint charges between $34.99 and $49.99 a month, depending on the equipment and monitoring you choose. Monitoring is 24/7 and completely wireless/cellular. So you don’t have to worry about setting up a dedicated landline for your system.

You can choose from three equipment packages. They cost between $673 and $972. However, if you have a good enough credit score (600+) and sign a 3-year monitoring contract, they’ll also give you discounts off of your equipment package. This can bring the prices down to between $199 and $599.

You’ll install your own equipment with Frontpoint, which potentially saves hundreds of dollars in fees. They offer online videos and easy-to-use installation guides, claiming that getting your system up and running is a simple, user-friendly process.

Frontpoint also offers a 30-day, risk-free trial. If you’re not happy with the equipment or service, you get your money back.

Contract: Frontpoint requires you to sign a 3-year monitoring contract. However, you can cancel early for a fee. You can also transfer your equipment to a new home at any time without any moving or reactivation fees (or restarted contract periods).

Installation: Frontpoint is a DIY installation system. You’ll receive your equipment in the mail, along with easy-to-follow instructions. They also offer online video guides and FAQ pages to walk you through the process, as well as 24/7 support.

Technology: Frontpoint offers equipment with leading technology, such as touchscreen panels, glass break sensors, smartphone apps with remote system controls, flood sensors, cameras, and panic buttons. They also offer a Crash & Smash protection. Burglars can destroy your home’s smart panel without disabling the tripped sensor — help will still be en route.

Consumer Affairs Rating: 3.8

Vivint

Vivint has been around for almost 20 years, but the name has really only gone mainstream in the last decade or so. However, with their bright orange branding and exciting technology, they’ve become a popular home security option.

Cost: Vivint makes monthly monitoring simple. You’ll pay either $49.99 (basic system), $57.99 (energy management system), or $68.99 (home automation system) a month. No matter which equipment you add to your home, though, this fee stays the same. You’ll receive 24/7 professional monitoring and cellular service — a convenient feature for those without an active landline. Discounted pricing and specials are also available from time to time.

You buy your equipment piece by piece, according to what your home needs. For instance, door/window sensors are $60 each, the main control panel is $699, and fixed video cameras are $149. To learn more about the equipment available, visit Vivint’s page here.

Installation fees vary. The most basic equipment can be DIY installed, but the “smart” equipment requires a professional installation. This installation can range from $99 to $250. But Vivint regularly offers discounts, specials, and rebates to reduce this to little or no cost.

If you’re not happy with the equipment or service, you can legally cancel within three days to get your money back. However, they don’t offer an actual “trial period.”

Contract: Vivint requires contract lengths of either 42- or 60-month periods if you choose the Flexpay option for your equipment. If you need to cancel your contract for any reason, it’ll be difficult to do and involve an early termination fee. You can also transfer the contract in some instances (such as to the new owner of the home or a family member), with approval and a $99 transfer fee.

If you pay for your equipment in full and up-front, you can choose monitoring services without a contract.

Installation: Vivint offers DIY installation for the most basic equipment. However, if you choose any of the more high-tech equipment options, they’ll require you to hire one of their professionals for installation.

Professional installation varies in price from $99 to $250. But Vivint regularly offers specials, discounts, and rebates that lower or even eliminate this expense.

Technology: The tech is where Vivint really shines. They are the home security company to choose if you want a truly smart home system.

Their control panel and app allow for complete home automation. You can view cameras and control the system on the go. And you can even lock doors, control lights, see who is ringing your doorbell, and open or close the garage door — from anywhere!

If you want a system that runs on solar energy, Vivint is the only one to offer this service. They also allow you to control thermostats, lights, and other energy-using appliances remotely, saving you money each month on electricity costs.

Consumer Affairs Rating: 3.8

Link Interactive

If you’re looking for a transparent, easy-to-use, and flexible home security system, Link Interactive might be just the answer for you. There aren’t any hidden fees. It’s easy to see exactly how much you’ll pay for your system, and they have great customer service ratings.

Cost: Link Interactive charges one flat monitoring price: $35.99 a month. If you want video monitoring, it’s an additional $5 a month. If you don’t want any HD monitoring or home automation, take off $5.

That’s it. No packages to choose from or added fees for certain equipment. Just $30.99/$35.99/$40.99 for everyone.

You choose your equipment based on what your home needs. The package you choose is custom according to your specific budget and configuration.

There are no installation or activation fees with Link Interactive. Installation is DIY, and there’s no cost to start using the system once it’s been purchased and set up. Plus, the company also offers a 30-day trial period, so you can try the system before you really commit.

Contract: You’ll need to sign a 3-year contract for your Link Interactive system, during which your rate will be locked in. If you need to cancel your contract before then, you’ll pay an early termination fee. You’ll also get a 3-year warranty on your equipment to match the contract period.

Installation: Link Interactive is an entirely DIY installation system. They offer directions and guides for setting up your home security, and customer service can help you if you have questions along the way.

This means that you’ll potentially save hundreds of dollars in installation fees that you would have paid elsewhere.

Technology: Link Interactive offers systems ranging from very basic to tech-savvy, depending on what your home needs. You can choose home automation equipment such as touchscreen/wireless deadbolts, remote thermostats, and garage door controls. They have z-wave light bulbs that allow you to set schedules and wirelessly control your lighting.

There are, of course, basic offerings like motion sensors, door/window sensors, cameras, and smoke/CO alarms. You can also choose life-saving equipment such as panic or emergency buttons, such as for elderly loved ones.

Consumer Affairs Rating: 4.6

No matter which home security company you choose, be sure to get a final price and read the fine print before signing on any dotted line. Not only will this ensure that you get the right system for your home and family, but you can also avoid overpaying for the wrong service for a years-long contract period.

How to Get Out of a Cell Phone Contract without Paying a Fee

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Being locked into a cell phone contract is no fun. Here’s how to get out of a cell phone contract without paying an early termination fee.

how to get out of a cell phone contract

We recently received a question that probably every reader can relate to. The writer is asking how to get out of a cell phone contract without paying a fee:

“I would like to know how do I get out of a cell phone contract without paying the termination fee. I’m paying a high bill and I know that along right there will save me a lot of money.”

That’s an excellent question. Unfortunately, there’s no single answer. Obviously, cell phone companies will be highly resistant to waiving an early termination fee. Their whole purpose for existing is to keep you with their service forever and ever. Your task is to make a clean break, and not have to pay the fee.

There are different ways to go about that, and you may have to try more than one.

Contact the Carrier

This should always be the first step. Though it’s the least likely to be successful, you should never overlook the obvious. Also, you may need to show that you made a good faith attempt to contact the carrier before taking other steps.

Before making the call, review your original contract. Find out exactly what your rights are and under what circumstances you can terminate the service. Also get specific information about the early termination fee. It may even turn out that you don’t have a long-term contract. But you won’t know that until you review the documents that you have.

When you call, you’ll most likely speak with a customer service representative. Don’t expect to get very far with this person. If you do, fine. But customer service representatives simply are not empowered to deal with complicated situations like an early termination. They’ll probably try to convince you to stay in the current contract or to move you into one that’s even more complicated and will keep you on board longer.

You’re going to have to do your best to get past this person. Insist on speaking with the manager. That person might still take you around in circles, but it’s part of the process. If need be, speak with the manager’s boss, and keep going up the chain until you find someone who has the power to give you what you want.

Be careful that you’re firm, but not disrespectful. No matter what, stay on topic with your request: that you want to terminate your cell phone contract without paying a fee. Also, be sure to document who you spoke with, the day and time, and as many details of the conversation as you can remember. You may need to have that information available for future steps.

Get a New Carrier Involved

Your new carrier can be your best ally in helping you to gain an early termination with your current carrier. Some carriers will offer to pay the early termination fee for you. If they do, that’s your out. For example, T-Mobile and Sprint are each offering up to $650 to help you get out of your current contract arrangement.

But even if the new carrier doesn’t cover the early termination fee for you, they may still be able to help. They may know the specific parties, the clauses in the contract, or the circumstances under which you can legally terminate your current cell phone contract without paying a fee. In some cases, they may even get involved in this process for you.

The cell phone industry is extremely competitive, which can work to your advantage if you want to get out of a cell phone contract without paying a fee. Use it to your advantage.

Take to Social Media

These days, many companies monitor activity on social media. It’s a way of managing the perception of the company on the Internet. Some have people appointed to monitor social media and investigate comments regarding the company. This can make social media a valuable place to air your grievances about the company. Put out a credible-sounding complaint, and you just might get an unsolicited call from someone in the company who can help you get out of your contract.

If you do use social media, make sure that you specifically mention the company, preceded by the hashtag symbol (#). That will make sure that your message gets out to the largest number of people and be noticed by the carrier.

Just be sure that your claims are credible and supported by the facts. Never go on an uncontrolled rant and trash the company. Not only will well-worded criticism resonate with readers, but it may also motivate the company to respond to your grievance. But if you get carried away and just trash talk the company, you could be on the wrong side of a lawsuit.

File a Report with the Better Business Bureau (BBB)

The BBB relies on reports from consumers in calculating the ratings of various companies. Too many complaints from consumers will result in a bad rating. Most companies are deeply concerned about their BBB rating. Since your complaint will be made public, down to the details, the company will be fully aware of your criticism.

Many companies will respond to specific complaints. That’s because BBB allows those complaints to be closed if the company satisfies the consumer.

Once again, be sure that your complaints are credible and supported by the facts. Never go on a rant that would force the company to come back legally. There’s constructive criticism and legitimate complaints, and then there’s slander and libel. Be sure you know where to draw the line.

Threaten Legal Action

If you’re getting absolutely no response from the company, you may have to threaten legal action. Now if your dispute is over paying a $500 early termination fee, it almost certainly will not be worth hiring an attorney to win your case. But sometimes you can win just with the threat of legal action.

A well-worded letter from an attorney, on attorney letterhead, can often coerce a reluctant company into meeting your demands. The cost of having that letter prepared by the attorney will probably justify the fee that you will have to pay for it, in terms of what you will save on the early termination fee.

None of this is the say that getting out of a cell phone contract without paying a fee will be easy. But you may need to employ several of these strategies to make it happen.

Capital One Quicksilver Review – Get a $150 Bonus

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The Capital One Quicksilver card combines a $150 signup bonus with 1.5% cash back rewards on every purchase. Oh, and no annual fee. Here are the details.

capital one quicksilver review

One of the most important rules of sound personal finance is using credit cards wisely. A good cash back credit card, when used for everyday purchases and paid off each month can save you hundreds and maybe even thousands of dollars every year. The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card is one of the good ones. And right now they’re offering a $150 cash bonus to new cardholders along with a bevy of other perks.

$150 Cash Bonus

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The most attractive feature of the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card is the $150 cash bonus. All new cardholders can earn the $150 after spending just $500 in the first three months. If you are an existing Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Cardholder, you are not eligible for this bonus. If you own a different Capital One credit card, you’re likely eligible. But you should call in before applying online to make sure.

Capital One Quicksilver Rewards

You won’t find a simpler rewards program than this one. Every single purchase you make with your Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card earns 1.5% cash back. Many other credit cards offer you a higher cash back for select purchases during select months but a low cash back rate everyday. This credit card lures you in with a great everyday rate, in the hopes that you’ll use it to buy everything.  A few important points to make about the cash back you earn:

  1. You must redeem your cash back. It is not automatically credited to your statement.
  2. Cash back never expires. If you decide to close your account and the account is in good standing, Capital One will mail you a check for the balance.
  3. There is no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn.

That last point is important when you compare this card to the Chase Freedom and Discover it – Cashback Match. Both of those cash back credit cards have 5% rotating categories each quarter, but the maximum you can spend is $1,500 a month.

Quicksilver Pricing Details

Immediately after receiving your card, you’ll receive a 0% intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers for nine months. After the intro rate expires, the ongoing APR becomes 13.99% – 23.99% variable (which is a little better than average). If you decide to make a balance transfer with this card, there is a 3% balance transfer fee. I would recommend avoiding this and instead looking at some of the best balance transfer credit cards.

There is NO annual fee to own the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card. Should you need a cash advance, the APR is 23.99% and there is a 3% (or $10) cash advance fee.  All Capital One credit cards have the added benefit of charging no foreign transaction fees. Use this credit card abroad, and you’ll incur no currency fees. If you miss your payment, Capital One will charge a $35 late fee.

Cash Back Credit Card Savings

I mentioned in the beginning of the article that a good cash back credit card can save you hundreds of dollars a year. I use one for as much spending as I can. Below is an example of the annual amount I put on my credit cards, and what the savings would be at 1.5%.

  • Groceries – $7,000
  • Gasoline – $1,500
  • Health Insurance – $12,000
  • Auto Insurance (2 cards) – $1,400
  • Winter Heating Oil – $2,500
  • Cable / Internet – $2,200
  • Garbage Pick-Up – $360
  • Home Security – $400
  • Cell Phone(s) – $500

Add it all up, and the total spent on food, gas, utilities and insurance every year for my family of four is $27,860.  At 1.5% cash back I would save $418.  Add the $150 cash back bonus year one, and I’m over $500 without having purchased anything I don’t already have to spend money on.

Quicksilver Bottom Line

I have the pleasure of actually owning two Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Cards. One I signed up for and one was converted from a Capital One Classic Platinum card I signed up for while in college. Admittedly, I do not use this card for all transactions. But I do use it often.

The $150 sign-up bonus is a great way to get a paid test drive and the high cash back rate and intro APR are two more reasons why owning the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card is a good idea. Compared to other cash back credit cards it’s a great card to have in your wallet without the worry of an annual fee.

  • Learn more about this card and other cash back credit cards.

Your perfect Christmas drink recommended by Catherine Tobitt.

Have you been thinking about what will be your drink ‘of Christmas 2017’…  after a conversation in our Head Office, Catherine Tobitt our Lettings Property Manager prepared a short (!) list of our recommendations for a Christmas never to forget! We hope you find your perfect Christmas drink amongst this incredible selection.  All recipes are credited to their creators – original links have been included!
Vodka Cocktails
Christmas pudding vodka by Jamie Oliver
 
Vanilla Cranberry Mimosa
 
S’more Martini
 
Rum Cocktails
Spiced Vanilla Pear Apple Cider
 
Cinnamon butter rum
 
Gin Cocktails
Mince Pie Martini
 
Rudolph’s Cranberry Antlers Cocktail
 
Baileys Cocktails
Eggnog and Baileys
 
Whisky Cocktails
Hot toddy
 
Cocktail condiments
Popaballs – make drinks shimmer
 
Flowers to decorate the champagne flute
If you are a Landlord and looking for an award winning letting service, please give our Lettings team a call on 0330 223 1000

source http://www.moverevolution.com/blog/perfect-christmas-drink-recommended-catherine-tobitt/