Safer Transactions with EMV Technology

This year I’m excited to be partnering with Discover to share many of the great programs they offer consumers. All opinions are my own.

This week I was running errands and realized that many of the stores I shop at regularly are using the new chip-enabled terminals to process my card.

My card has a chip and if you are curious to know if your card has one, look for the small silver rectangle on the front of your card.



If your card has a chip and the store has a chip-enabled terminal, instead of swiping the card (as we’ve done for years), insert the card into a slot at the bottom of the terminal.

Discover EMV technology

Our bank credit card number has been stolen multiple times this year, so I’m excited about this extra layer of security when I’m shopping.

Here’s how the EMV technology works.

  • Harder to Duplicate: The chip helps prevent card cloning
  • Data Authentication: Validates the card is genuine every time it is used
  • Cryptography: Keys are used to generate unique data for each transaction

It seems like I’m hearing about hackers obtaining card information for hundreds of thousands if not millions of consumers on a regular basis. These chip-enabled cards provide an extra layer of protection against fraud at point of sale.

Discover has been sending customers chip-enabled cards for the past several months and you can learn more about their roll out and customer benefits on the Discover website.

Also if you are a Discover card holder and love Apple Pay (what’s not to love about Apple)  you are now able to add your Discover cards to Apple Pay.

Not only do you get all the great benefits of Apple Pay, U.S. cardmembers also receive an automatic 10% Cashback Bonus®, on in-store purchases made with their Discover card using Apple Pay, through the end of the year.

I know we do the bulk of our shopping in November and December, so this is a great way to increase your Cashback Bonus while doing holiday shopping.

Discover it Miles, Miles and Escape cardmembers using Apple Pay will be eligible to earn an extra 10 Miles per dollar on in-store purchases.


The best part is that you continue to receive all of the same great protection, services and benefits offered by Discover, including:

  • $0 fraud liability guarantee
  • 24/7 access to U.S. based customer care centers
  • Rewards that are earned through their card’s current rewards structure

If you aren’t familiar with Apple Pay it’s a pretty fantastic technology that allows you to pay with your iPhone, Apple Watch, or iPad. It is simple to use and works with the cards you already have on the devices you use every day.

The holidays are a great time to create a spending plan and then use your Discover card to earn Cashback Bonus for even more savings. Visit the Discover website for more information about EMV technology and Apply Pay.

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Creating a Side Business: Fiverr Challenge

The last several weeks have been very expensive. We’ve had unexpected expenses like our air conditioner breaking, pool filter needed repaired, taxes, an unexpected large bill, braces, an expensive plumber visit (thank you Cora for using EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF TOILET PAPER) and we’ve tapped into our savings to cover the costs.

I’ve been looking for ways to earn some extra money and decided to join the Fiverr Hustle challenge.


For the next two months 10 personal finance bloggers (that’s me- go team!!) will be competing against 10 lifestyle bloggers to see who can create the best side business on Fiverr.


Fiverr- Say What???

If you aren’t familiar with Fiverr, it is a website where people can buy and sell services starting at $5. I wish Fiverr would have been around back in the late 1990’s when I was selling on eBay. I was a stay-at-home mom with two kids in school/ preschool and had plenty of time on my hands to do extra work, but I didn’t really have the ability to go to work all day in an office.

People sell everything from proofreading, editing, formatting, design, voice overs, virtual assistant work, to pet models. I’m thinking about signing our dog Miles up for a gig or two!

While most gigs start at $5, the trick with Fiverr is to offer something basic for $5 then upsell to a more expensive offering. (I’ll show you what I’m doing farther down in the post)

I’ve purchased items on Fiverr in the past for my own businesses, but I was always hesitant to sell on Fiverr because I didn’t know what to sell and I wanted to charge more than $5! However, once I understood that you could offer other gigs for additional money I realized this was a great way to help bring in some extra money and pay for all these darn house repairs!

The Challenge: My Team!

The challenge part is what makes it really fun. I’ve teamed up with the personal finance bloggers (see below) to compete against some awesome lifestyle bloggers. I’ve read most of their posts and we have our work cut out for us!

Here’s what the personal finance team is doing.

I know this is a detour from our usual recipe, DIY, and money saving content on the site, but I receive many questions from people every week asking how they can make money on the side and not work outside the home.

I’m going to be honest with you, I have no idea if this will work! I’ve never tried it before, but if it does and puts extra $$ in our bank account I want you to know about it so you can do it too!

My Fiverr Hustle

If you want to drive more traffic to your website via Pinterest check out this free service from Fiverr

It actually took me several weeks to figure out exactly what services I should offer on Fiverr. I spent a lot of time on their website looking at the services offered and trying to figure out what I realistically had time to do and I liked to do!

Then two weeks ago when I was at a conference speaking about Pinterest, it hit me. I LOVE Pinterest. I love pinning, I love helping people learn how to use it for their business or even for personal organization. It’s something I do almost every day and find it enjoyable.

So I’m offering to help people grow their Pinterest for my Fiverr gig. I created a four page PDF that helps companies and bloggers who aren’t using Pinterest at all (or maybe aren’t using it correctly) get started the right way.


The best thing is that it is FREE! Fiverr has given us coupon codes so people can purchase a $5 gig from us (one of our teammates, or any other vendor on Fiverr) for free!

Use the code HAPPYHW2015 on Fiverr to get a free $5 voucher to use on any service.

I also have a few other Pinterest services available for more than $5, which is how I hope to really turn this into a great side hustle and build that savings account back up!

Finally, this wouldn’t be a challenge without a winner at the end! In order to win I need your votes! I don’t expect you to vote for me if you don’t love my idea, but if you do every vote helps!

You can vote for me here!

I’ll be reporting back in a few weeks to let you know how my gig is going and how I’m trying to increase orders on Fiverr!

This post is in partnership with Kasai Media and Fiverr, all opinions are my own. 



This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Five Financial Tips for College Students

This year I’m excited to be partnering with Discover to share many of the great programs they offer consumers. All opinions are my own.

Did you know that 84% of all undergraduates have at least one credit card*?

Since statistics show that your college student is likely to obtain at least one credit card while they are away at school it is important to educate them on the benefits and dangers of credit.

Five financial tips for college students

Here are five things you should discuss with your college student before they leave home, so they don’t find themselves strapped with credit card and student loan debt when they graduate!

Help them create a budget before they go to college.

Did you know that 84%* of college students say they need more information on financial management? I’ll be the first to admit that I did a terrible job educating my kids about money until a few years ago. We either had money or we didn’t and that dictated our lifestyle.


Helping your child create a budget BEFORE they go to college is one of the best high school graduation gifts you can give to them. If you haven’t created a budget before here are some free budgeting resources to help you get started.

Discuss smart credit card purchases before they go.

Items like gas, food, school books, and school supplies are expenses most college students incur every year. These are great items to charge and then pay off every month because they are in the budget.

Things like cosmetics, pizza delivery, video games, movies, and pay per view are probably not in the budget so remind them to leave the credit card in the dorm if they would be tempted to spend it on things they can’t afford.

Credit cards are not free money.

When my kids were little and would ask to eat out I would often respond, “We don’t have the money this week.”

Inevitably one child would shout from the back seat, “That’s okay, just use your credit card.”


Make sure your college student has the ability to pay for his or her purchases just like they would with a debit card or cash. Remind them that if they can’t pay for their purchases at the end of the month, they will end up paying significantly more for those purchases because of the interest.

Keep it simple and only have one card.

Help them understand that multiple cards means multiple bills each month and a pretty high balance at graduation. If your child does not have experience with budgeting, tracking expenses, and paying their own bills every month, multiple cards is probably not a good thing.

Discuss the different credit card options with them and help them make the best decision for their financial goals and future.


The Discover student credit card rewards students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher with a $20 Cashback Bonus®  every year. Discover it® chrome for Students offers an automatic 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to$1,000 in combined purchases quarterly. Students also receive 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Discover it® chrome also has no annual fee, which is great, because what college student needs and extra expense every year? 

Remind them to look over their bill every month.

A few years ago I got into the habit of blindly paying my bill every month without looking over the charges. Then one month I realized we had been billed for a service we cancelled several months earlier.

While your credit card probably does a great job of catching fraud, it is easy for smaller charges to slip through the cracks, especially if there was a free trial involved.

Help your kids read through their first several bills and look for errors. Make sure they know when the bill is due and remind them to pay it on time so they aren’t paying late fees and interest.

For a young adult, good credit can help buy a car, rent an apartment, or even obtain a mortgage. But financial mistakes made in college will live with your child for years after they graduate.

It’s never too early to start discussing financial responsibility and budgeting with your children. The earlier you start, the more likely they are to take those principals with them when they go away to school.



This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Today Only: $69 Amazon Prime Membership!

Today you can save $30 on your Amazon Prime membership. Get it for only $69 for the year! Sign up now!

I’m a pretty frugal person. I like to save money and it rubs me the wrong way to spend money on things we don’t really need.

When Amazon Prime was first introduced I was skeptical.

I’m going to pay how much per year for what? 

My brother, who is always first to find out about these kinds of things signed up right away. After a year of watching him order off Amazon and never pay for shipping, while I waited for free shipping deals, tried to get my order value up to get free shipping, or missed out on great deals (for things I needed) while he was able to order them and have it delivered to his house in two days I decided to try it.

I decided to sign up for a free trial and I was hooked. After I starting thinking about the math I realized the $99 fee was really $9 a month. Could I justify the $9 a month? Did the savings add up?

It did, and here’s how.

I absolutely love Amazon Prime. Not only do I receive free shipping on almost every item I purchase at Amazon, I also have free music, movies, and Kindle books! It's totally worth the membership price.

Amazon Prime is FREE for 30 days.

Yes, this is a marketing tactic from Amazon, however you can use Amazon Prime for 30 days then cancel and be charged nothing at all, ever. So for the next 30 days you can enjoy free shipping, holiday playlists, free books on Kindle and Christmas movies for free.

You must cancel your membership at the 30 day mark if you try it and decide it isn’t for you.

This is how I started my membership and realized about 15 days in that I loved Prime and would be keeping my $99 yearly membership.

You can sign up for your trial membership here

Amazon Prime gives you Free Shipping on thousands of items every day.

I have six kids at home. It isn’t easy to load them up and take them on errands with me. Many of the items I purchase are available on Amazon for a competitive price.

If I can shop on Amazon instead of loading up the kids and taking two hours out of our day to shop it is worth it just for that.

Also, if something is only available online, I usually purchase it from Amazon because I know I get free shipping and the price is better (which it usually is).

I do most my Christmas shopping on Amazon.

For most of the last fifteen years we’ve lived away from our family and have not spent Christmas with them. This means mailing gifts every single year. With Amazon Prime I ALWAYS have free shipping, never have to wait in line at the post office (seriously that’s a nightmare this time of year) and the gifts always arrived in two days!

Amazon carries so many products it is almost impossible not to find a gift for a loved one on the site.

Amazon Prime gives you FREE Kindle books through the lending library.

I love to read, and we love to go to the library. Sometimes the books I want to read are not available at my library and I’ve waited, weeks and months for books to come in. When you have Amazon Prime you are able to “borrow” books for 30 days to read on your Kindle.

This is an awesome way to read without spending money, worrying about library fines, or lost library books. They have over 500,000 titles available in the lending library so there’s probably a few books available you have on your list.

Amazon Prime gives you unlimited photo storage.

This is a new feature for Amazon Prime and probably the one I’m most excited about after free shipping. Since I pay $30 a year to a photo storage company and another $10 a month to Dropbox to store photos this feature pays for itself every year.

Cloud Drive offers secure online storage, automatic photo backup, and lets you access your photos anywhere: on your phone, computer, tablet, or any Fire device.

After losing 40,000 and three years with of photos this summer when my son dropped my computer (some where backed up, some weren’t). I’ve been uploading photos to the cloud. I don’t want to lose any more photos and when you take as many as I do you need unlimited photo storage!

Amazon Prime gives you thousands of free videos and television shows.

I don’t use this one often because I’m not much of a tv/ movie watcher, but it’s definitely a great savings.

You can instantly stream Prime Instant Video titles from your computer’s web browser, Fire phone, Fire TV, Fire Tablets, iOS devices, and hundreds of other Internet-connected TVs, Blu-ray players, set-top-boxes, and gaming consoles.

They have lots of kid’s shows available for free including Thomas, Veggie Tales, Angelina Ballerina, as well as lots of holiday movies.

Amazon Prime gives you free streaming music.

We’ve been paying $9 a month for Spotify for the past year. Now Amazon Prime gives you free streaming music. They have over a million titles including holiday music and playlists (yay! Love me some Christmas music!)

This is a new benefit for Prime members that I’m excited to try out. I’d love to cancel my Spotify account and save!

Amazon Prime gives you early access to Lightening Deals.

I love Lightning Deals around Christmas time because the prices are really amazing. A Prime membership gives you access to these deals 30 minutes early, so if it is something you really want to buy it will be available early and you’ll be able to get it before it sells out.

Six Month Free Trial for Students!

If you have a child with a .edu email address they are eligible for a free six month Amazon Prime Student membership. The benefits are the same for a student membership but if you decide to continue with the program it is only $50 for the year instead of $99.

Sign up for the student membership here

For my family Amazon Prime adds up!

Amazon Prime yearly membership $99.

Things I don’t need because I have an Amazon Prime membership:

  • Dropbox $10 a month
  • Spotify $10 a month
  • Netflix $8 a month
  • Photo hosting $30 a year

Total savings each year: $366 

If you don’t have an Amazon Prime membership this is the BEST time of year to start your free trial! If you don’t love it, cancel before your 30 days are up and you pay nothing.

I think it is worth the $9 a month that a memberhip costs because I use Prime almost weekly. I’ve purchased fixtures, fans, lightbulb, paint, even wallpaper scrapers from Amazon in the past six weeks and I’ve never had to worry about waiting for an item to arrive or paying for shipping!

Do you have Amazon Prime? Do you think it is worth $99 a year? 

This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.