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What You Need to Know about Medical Billing Software

Advanced technology has allowed health care providers to digitize the processing of medical bills. However, not all medical billing software is created equal. If you run a health care facility, you want medical billing software that accurately prints invoices and logs payments to the correct patient accounts.

The data processed within medical bills is considered privileged information, which means health care providers must understand what you need to know about medical billing software.

Benefits of Using Medical Billing Software

Remember the good old days before technology dramatically changed the way we did business? Well, for health care facilities, the good old days meant processing heaping mounds of paperwork just to send out monthly statements.

Medical billing software offers health care facilities several benefits.

Automated Billing

Physicians and hospitals no longer have to spend time going through records to send out patient statements in a timely manner. The latest software automatically sends out bills, which gives health care providers more time to do what they are supposed to do — tend to patient needs.

Bye Bye Paperwork

Electronic billing turns the heaping mounds of paperwork into a few pieces of paper that sit at the edge of your desk. Every type of document from patient claims to medical bills is sent via digital technology

Quick Access to Information

Instead of fumbling through a heaping mound of paperwork, medical billing software provides you with instant access to patient records. Type in a patient’s name and immediately access all the information you need to expedite billing.

Lower Office Expenses

The cost of purchasing medical billing software seems high, but the software pays off in the long run because you no longer have to pay for recurring expenses such as paper and postage. Health care providers can also save money on the purchase of medical billing software by taking advantage of manufacturer discounts.

The most important benefit from using medical billing software is the significant decrease in the number of clerical errors. Most software that processes health care claims include built in protections that catch human errors.

The Best Features of Medical Billing Software

Deciding to purchase medical billing software is one thing. It is an entirely different matter to decide what features to incorporate into your new electronic billing system.

Here are the best features of medical billing software.

Claim Processing

You must have the capability to process claims electronically. Otherwise, you can expect to spend much of your time trying to send and collect bills. Processing a medical claim by hand is akin to hiking up Mount Everest by crawling on all fours. The best electronic billing systems validate claims in real time to prevent fraud and human error.

Verification of Health Insurance Eligibility

Fraud in the health care industry costs providers and government agencies billions of dollars each year. The best medical billing software not only verifies health insurance eligibility, it also allows patients to learn about their insurance status before appointments. Electronic verification saves you time and as they say, time is money.

Electronic Payments

Do you wonder why employers encourage employees to sign up for electronic paycheck deposit?

The reason is electronic deposit ensures prompt payments, without incurring the expense associated with processing money through paperwork. Electronic payments for health care providers work in the same manner. Even better, recent technological advancements have created alert systems that notify health care providers of overdue bills.

Automatic Payment Reminders

The good old days also required health care providers to work the phones in attempts to collect late payments. The latest software includes a feature that automatically sends out payment reminders at time intervals designated by the health care facility This means you no longer have to wait on hold to remind a patient that a bill is past due.

Popular Medical Billing Software

Medical billing software has revolutionized the health care industry during a time when health care costs have skyrocketed. To get the most out of the money saving technology, you have to select software that offer the best features created by renowned medical billing software companies.

The method for determining the most popular medical billing software involves reading customer reviews and researching the different systems mentioned by health care industry experts.

Medisoft

As Microsoft is synonymous with operating systems, Medisoft is associated with medical billing software. The commonly used medical billing software program not only operates in countless hospitals and medical centers, it also is used by medical schools for the training of aspiring health care professionals. Standard billing functions such as payment tracking and past due account alerts complement automatically configured features that send patients outstanding balance statements every month.

Lytec

Lytec leads the medical billing software industry in protecting patient and health care provider information. The popular software program encrypts its database to prevent identity thieves from stealing financial information and unscrupulous organizations from learning more about patient histories. Any health care provider concerned about the theft of proprietary data should consider installing Lytec to protect highly sensitive data.

Patient Information Management Solutions

Application variety is what makes Patient Information Management Solutions (PIMS) popular among health care providers. The software offers billing solutions for clinics, hospitals, pharmacies, and private practices. Another benefit of the software is the seamless integration the application creates among different medical facilities. A hospital that receives a new patient can quickly access patient account information from the private practice that originally managed the patient’s health care.

CollaborateMD

Also designed to improve back office productivity, CollaborateMD allows health care providers to spend more time with patients and less time going through medical billing paperwork. Super fast submission of insurance claims reduces the amount of time between providing health care services and getting paid for providing the services. The software maximizes billing effectiveness by implementing real time medical practice solutions to billing management.

What You Need to Know about Renters Insurance

If you rent a house or apartment and want to keep your personal belongings safe, you will need to obtain renters insurance to get the job done. You will be in good hands if you encounter a disaster, and you won’t need to worry about going broke to replace your items.

With a little research and determination, you can find a policy that makes sense for you in no time.

What is Renters Insurance?

Many people have heard about renters insurance but don’t know what it is. Learning what you can expect when you buy a policy will allow you to get the best possible results, and you will have confidence in your decision. Thefts, accidents, and disasters can happen when you least expect them, and you don’t want trouble to catch you off guard.

Renters insurance will help you cover the cost of replacing your personal belongings if they get destroyed, damaged, or stolen. Buying a policy that fits your needs can work wonders when it comes to securing your future and putting your fears to rest.

What You Should Look for in a Policy

If you are like some people, you might feel tempted to save money by opting for the first policy that you find, which is not a smart move. Looking at each policy to learn about the small details will ensure that you choose the correct path, and you will be pleased with your decision. Review the following information to uncover the things for which you should look as you move forward.

Adequate Coverage

Considering the total value of your personal belongings is a step in the right direction when your mission is to obtain a policy that makes sense for your needs. In addition to looking up the retail value of the things you own, you should also take depreciation into account. If you opt for a policy that covers the current value of your belongings, you won’t get enough coverage to pay for new replacements, and the difference will come out of your pocket.

Replacement policies will cost a little more, but will also cover the full cost of replacing the items you have lost. Calculating the amount of money that you would need to replace everything that you own will allow you to choose a policy that won’t let you down when you need it.

Liability Coverage

In addition to getting a policy that covers the value of your personal belongings, you should get a policy that also protects you from liability issues. If you invite people into your apartment or home and they get hurt, your guests could take legal action against you, seeking compensation for their injuries and damages.

You will need to handle the cost if you don’t get a policy that has liability coverage, and you might go broke in the process. Liability coverage will pay the medical bills and other damages when someone experiences a personal injury in your home.

Affordable Deductible

Learning about deductibles and how they work is vital when you want to get the most from your money. Inability to understand them can cause you to buy a policy that won’t offer enough protection, which can harm your budget.

When you sign up for renters insurance, the deductible is the amount that you will need to pay if you file a claim. For example, someone buys a policy with a $1,000 deductible and loses $6,000 worth of property in a fire. The policyholder will need to pay the $1,000 deductible before the insurance company pays the remaining $5,000.

Excellent Customer Service

Renters insurance can get complicated if you don’t know the exact steps to follow when you need to file a claim, and many people have trouble taking action. Even if you know what steps to take when you face a problem, you will still want to have a support team that is willing to give you a hand. You can speak with the companies you have in mind before making your decision to get an idea of the type of support you will get in the future.

What You Might Not Know about Renters Insurance

Since you will want to learn as much as you can about renters insurance before you choose a plan, take a look at these facts about which most people don’t know. Doing so will help you reach your goal of opting for the ideal policy for your situation.

Your Landlords Policy Won’t Help You

Some people decide not to get renters insurance or get the cheapest plan they can find because they believe that their landlord’s insurance policy will help cover the damages, but that is not the case. You will need to pay for replacements on your own if you don’t have a decent plan.  Those who fall into that trap will have problems recovering after disaster strikes, and you don’t want to follow in their footsteps if you care about your future.

You Can Reduce Your Premium

You might not think that you can do anything to reduce your insurance rate, but that assumption can cost you a lot of money. Most insurance companies will take your odds of filing a claim into consideration when they decide how much to charge. You can get a better deal by taking steps to safeguard your property from damage, and your agent can show you how to start.

Using smoke detectors, upgrading your locks, and installing a security system are a few things that you can do when you want to enjoy low rates. The money that you save on your insurance bill could pay for the cost of the extra protection, giving you peace of mind and safeguarding your wallet.

Popular Renters Insurance Providers

Now that you understand renters insurance and why you need it, you are likely wondering what company will give you a policy of which you can be proud. If you wish to make a wise choice and get positive results, review several of the top insurance providers to learn where you should turn for help.

Nationwide

Nationwide is a trusted insurance company that offers a range of great plans at fair prices. You can get liability, firearm, theft, and medical coverage in the same policy. If you need help filing a claim or would like to ask a few questions, Nationwide’s support team are happy to help.

Liberty Mutual

No matter where you live or plan to move, Liberty Mutual has a range of attractive plans that you won’t want to miss. You will enjoy all the same benefits you would get from any insurance company, but you can expect to pay a little more if you choose this provider.

American Family

American Family is another trusted company that offers renters insurance, and it could be the right solution for you. The company has cheap rates, but does not offer coverage in every location.

If American Family’s plans are available in your area, you can save a lot of money over the long run. The best part is that American Family does not limit your coverage on electronics.

Tips for Managing Type 2 Diabetes

In 2015, according to the American Diabetes Association, more than 30 million Americans had diabetes. That’s close to 10 percent of the population. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form, and it’s increasingly prevalent in children. Being overweight and having a sedentary lifestyle are contributing factors.

In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin. Type 2 diabetics have plenty of insulin, but their bodies don’t use it effectively.

Fortunately, type 2 diabetes can be managed with simple lifestyle changes, medications or both. Even if you’ve been diagnosed, you have every reason to look forward to a long, fulfilling life.

Exercise

Staying active helps to control blood sugar levels and prevent serious long-term problems. Start a fitness routine to ward off nerve pain, kidney disease, and blocked arteries. Getting to a healthy weight is an added perk.

Here are some important guidelines:

  • Talk over your exercise plan with your doctor before you begin.
  • Start slowly to build stamina, and gradually increase the frequency and difficulty of your routine.
  • Stay hydrated, and keep healthy snacks within reach.
  • Stay in a safe blood sugar range by checking levels before and after you exercise.
  • Stretch before and after every workout.

Try to work up to at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day. This is more manageable if you think of it in terms of day-to-day activities like walking the dog or vacuuming the rugs.

These exercises are especially good for type 2 diabetics:

  • Walking, jogging, or running.
  • Swimming.
  • Weight training.
  • Yoga.
  • Tai chi.
  • Stationary bicycling.

Dieting

There’s no need to deprive yourself. You can enjoy a wide range of healthful, delicious foods. Carbohydrates, proteins, and even fats are on the menu. Eating well is a matter of balance. The idea is to combine foods in a way that keeps blood sugar levels consistent. Preventing dangerous spikes and drops will keep symptoms at bay.

It’s helpful to know how various foods affect blood sugar.

The carbs found in grains, pasta, bread, starchy vegetables, milk, and fruit elevate blood sugar because they’re quickly broken down into glucose. Carbs impact blood sugar more than any other foods, so monitor portions to keep track of your intake.

Proteins and fats don’t directly impact blood sugar, so they’re fine to eat in moderation. Nutritionists recommend filling half your plate with low-starch vegetables. Whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy, healthy fats, and fresh fruit fill out the other half.

Think fresh, and avoid processed or refined foods. Breakfast cereals, granola bars, crackers, chips, meal kits, frozen dinners, soups, salad dressings, and a host of other processed foods have far more salt or sugar than you would add to fresh foods.

Here are some do’s and don’ts for each food group:

Protein

Do’s

Choose turkey, chicken breasts, eggs, and a variety of fish. These are low in saturated fats. Certain fish, such as salmon, contain omega-3 fats for boosting heart health. You needn’t swear off red meat or dark chicken meat altogether, but they’re loaded with saturated fats. Eat them only rarely.

If you’re vegetarian, beans, lentils, and nuts are ideal sources of protein and good fats.

Don’ts

Hot dogs and processed deli meats are off the charts in sodium and unhealthy fat. Since type 2 diabetics are susceptible to heart attack and stroke, foods that raise blood pressure are off limits.

Grains

Do’s

Eat whole-grain bread, cereal, pasta, and English muffins. Brown or wild rice, quinoa, barley, and oatmeal also contain beneficial fiber for good digestion. Blood sugar will rise slowly and steadily rather than spike.

Don’ts

Anything made with refined white flour, like white bread, white pasta, white rice, white bagels and pastries, acts like sugar and interferes with glucose during digestion.

Dairy

Do’s

Plain, nonfat Greek yogurt is your best bet. It has just six to eight grams of carbs per serving. Low-fat milk and low-fat, unprocessed cheeses are fine.

Don’ts

Protect your cardiovascular health by avoiding full-fat dairy products. Packaged chocolate milk may be the most harmful choice in the dairy case.

Vegetables

Do’s

Stick to dark greens, asparagus, carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower. They’re low in starchy carbs and rich in nutrients and fiber.

Don’ts

Starchy, carb-loaded vegetables, such as corn, potatoes, and peas, should be eaten in moderation.

Fruit

Do’s

Fresh fruit and berries will satisfy your sweet tooth while providing antioxidants and fiber. Stock up on grapefruit, strawberries, cantaloupes, and peaches.

Don’ts

Jams, jellies, sweetened applesauce, dehydrated fruits, and fruits canned in syrup are high in concentrated sugar. Fruit juices are also sugary, and they don’t provide much nutrition.

Fats

Do’s

The fats in almonds, walnuts, pecans, avocados, and sunflower oil promote heart health by lowering bad cholesterol. Good fats also help the body absorb vitamins A, D, and E.

Don’ts

Saturated fats should not comprise more than 10 percent of your daily diet. The term “hydrogenated fats” on processed-food labels equates to trans fats. They’re horrible for you.

Common-sense don’ts includes gravy, fried food, syrup, and full-fat, processed cheese. Butter is better for you than margarine, but use it very sparingly.

Supplements

There is growing interest in dietary supplements for treatment of type 2 diabetes. These have shown promising results:

Aloe Vera

Early studies have indicated that aloe vera may aid digestion, lower blood sugar levels, raise insulin levels, and relieve symptoms.

Cinnamon

This fragrant, spicy substitute for sugar seems to have a positive impact on blood sugar, insulin, and antioxidant levels. It may also help regulate blood pressure.

Bitter Melon

Bitter melon is a medicinal fruit that’s been used for centuries in Asia. In experiments with type 2 diabetics, the seeds reduced blood sugar levels in 86 percent of the subjects.

Some supplements interact with medications, so be sure to consult your doctor.

Common Treatment Options

If a healthy diet, exercise, and supplemental remedies aren’t fully effective, you may need medications to help you hit targeted blood sugar levels. Here are some examples:

Metformin

This is the most commonly prescribed drug. It lowers glucose production in the liver and helps your body use insulin more efficiently.

Sulfonylureas

This drug boosts insulin secretion.

Meglitinides

Meglitinides also stimulate insulin secretion, but they’re faster-acting in the body, and the duration of their effectiveness is shorter.

Insulin Therapy

Insulin has shown benefits for some type 2 diabetics, so doctors are recommending it more often. In long-lasting form, one injection works for up to a full week. However, many patients complain of harsh side effects. There is an insulin inhaler on the market, but dosage requirements make it somewhat impractical.

Prognosis

SGLT2 inhibitors are the newest drugs on the market. They keep your kidneys from reabsorbing sugar into the blood; sugar is simply excreted in urine. Scientists are also investigating an obesity medication called Lorcaserin. Not only does it regulate how hungry you feel, but it prompts the brain to reduce glucose levels and increase sensitivity to insulin.

Pharmaceutical companies have around 475 other drugs in early stages of research.

Until a cure is found, getting plenty of exercise, eating better and following your doctor’s orders will improve your quality of life.

How to Raise Your Credit Score

Credit scores determine your eligibility for loans, phone lines, and rentals. Without a good credit score, you’ll have a harder time getting approved for even the most basic things.

If you suffer from a low credit score, follow our guide below on how to raise your score and look like a more reputable borrower to financial institutions.

What Is Your Credit Score?

Your credit score is measured by a specific algorithm recorded by the three main credit bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. However, your score determines what you can and can’t borrow from banks and other lenders. Technically speaking, it is designed to prevent risk to lenders and prevent borrowers from being lent money that they will be unable to repay.

There are five main categories that make up your FICO credit score:

  • Payment History (35 percent): This includes your payment information, including any public records and delinquent accounts.
  • Amounts Owed (30 percent): The total amount you owe to lenders. This often determines how much credit you’re given, depending on how much you currently owe.
  • Length of Credit History (15 percent): How long you’ve had credit cards and your activity during that time.
  • Types of Credit (10 percent): This includes the variety of credit accounts you own, including installments and revolving accounts.
  • New Credit (10 percent): This includes anything from new credit inquiries to newly opened credit accounts.

How to Check Your Credit Score?

AnnualCreditReport.com

Checking your score from the three main credit bureaus is easy to do, not to mention, completely free. In fact, you’re entitled to at least one free copy a year under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Plus, you can access your reports from AnnualCreditReport.com, which is a government-mandated website run by the three credit bureaus.

Take Advantage of a Credit Score Provider

There are a few credit score providers, which offer you a credit score either for free or under a monthly subscription. One of the best ones we recommend is CreditKarma, which will send your Equifax and TransUnion credit scores to you completely free.

Review Your Credit Statements

Some credit card companies may allow their customers to check their credit score either on their monthly statement or directly on their website. Fortunately, this can save you a free credit report overview from the three main credit reporting bureau, until you need it the most.

What Can Penalize a Credit Score?

Late and Missed Payments

Around 35 percent of your score is based on your payment history. This includes data from your current accounts like credit cards and loans, negative public records like a bankruptcy, how past due an account is, and the amount of past due accounts. You can stay on top of this factor by setting up automatic payments, tracking due dates on your calendar, and paying back past due balances as quickly as possible.

Utilizing Large Amounts of Available Credit

Using more than 80 percent of your available credit can also lower your score. Around 30 percent of your score is determined by how much you owe in total. To lower your utilization rates, try to pay off your balance every month.

Short Credit History

Though FICO does not take your age into consideration, it does factor the length of your credit history. This makes up around 15 percent of your score. Unfortunately, this is difficult to fix if you are young. However, you can improve this factor by not closing old accounts and simply wait.

Requesting Too Many New Lines of Credit

By requesting new credit lines, you can actually lower your score. This portion of your score factors in the amount of recently opened accounts, amount of recent credit inquiries, and the length of time between each new credit account. Be careful when opening new accounts and wait plenty of time between each new request.

Only Having One Type of Account

Your score can also go down if you only have one type of credit. Creditors like to see a variety of different types of account as this is a sign of experience. Vary your types of credit by opening new accounts strategically.

What Can Improve a Credit Score

Keep Your Balances Low

It’s important that you try to keep your balances at 40 percent or lower. Generally speaking, the less you owe, the less you’ll need to pay off. Not to mention, the less you owe to your lenders, the better you look as a borrower, and the higher your credit score will be.

Pay Your Bills on Time (Or Early)

The last thing you want is to get behind on your credit card bills, this is where your balances will start getting out of control, and you’ll be spending more than you like. It’s crucial to your credit score that you make payments on time if not early, to improve your overall score.

Sort Out Accounts in Collection

You can keep on trying to transfer it to new accounts, but we suggest that you simply pay off your balances to avoid the hassle. Once you know who your debt collection agency is, contact them and see what you have to do to pay off the balance and report it as “paid off” on your credit score.

However, if the debt seems inaccurate, you should dispute it immediately with the three credit bureaus. The sooner you get your accounts in collection sorted out and paid off, the quicker your credit score will improve.

Get a Secured Credit Card

A secured credit card is a form of credit card that makes you deposit money into the card itself as the line of credit. However, it’s single-handedly the best type of credit card to help your credit grow because you can get one with even the worst credit.

Don’t Delete Old Debt from Your Credit Report

Old debt that is handled correctly is actually a good thing. It shows creditors that you are responsible with your credit. Many people make the mistake of trying to remove an account from their report as soon as it is all paid off. Leaving good debt on your account will lengthen your credit history and boost your score.

Credit Repair Services

SkyBlue

SkyBlue has a great reputation for being both reliable and affordable. To get set up, you must pay an initial payment of $59 and then an additional $59 per month. This is much cheaper than most other credit repair services out there.

Additionally, they offer a full 90-day refund if you are unhappy with their services. This sort of guarantee is practically unheard-of for credit repair companies. Their company also has a Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating of A+.

CreditRepair.com

CreditRepair.com is another great service that has a BBB rating of A. They also have a close partnership with TransUnion, which means they can actually view and monitor your credit report for you.

The service costs a bit more than SkyBlue coming in at $89.95 a month. However, for this price, you get regular credit repair services plus credit monitoring, score tracker and analysis, mobile app, and texted or emailed alerts.

What You Need to Know about Buying Ink Cartridges

Ink cartridges are an important part of buying a printer. Without them, the printer wouldn’t function, but they can be one of the most expensive part of a printer purchase depending on the type of printer purchased.

Ink Cartridges: The Basics

The most common ink cartridges come in two color formats — black and multi-color. Multi-color cartridges usually come with a combination of cyan, yellow, and magenta.

Depending on how the printer is designed, it supports a dedicated black cartridge and a combination multi-color cartridge or individual color cartridge. Most basic and moderate-level printers use a black and multi-color cartridge combination, which are sold individually or as a set.

Expect to pay around $20 for a single cartridge while a combination pack costs about $35. Larger capacity cartridges are also available for $35 each or $70 per combination pack. These are prices are typical for the manufacturer-brand cartridges. Third party ones tend to be less costly.

OEM vs. Third Party Cartridges

In the spring of 2017, the Supreme Court handed down a ruling which states that third party vendors are permitted to sell ink for printers produced by major manufacturers. While they are cheaper than the standard cartridges, there are some things that you should know about them prior to purchase.

Consistency

In a survey, customers say that cartridges from third-party providers work just as well as OEM ones by 36 to 63 percent. However, testing shows different results. Some cartridges printed without incident, but others caused the printer to produce error messages or to not print at all. Ink also clogged up the printer heads in some instances.

To reduce issues, use the cartridges as soon as they are purchased and ensure they come with a money back guarantee.

Voiding Your Warranty

If your printer is still within its warranty period, installing a third-party ink cartridge could void it. Even if nothing happens with the cartridge during use, any problems that occur after the install might not be supported.

Why? Your printer might tattle on you. Internet-connected printers can notify the manufacturer of third-party equipment installations. So, if you want to try another cartridge brand, wait until after your warranty expires.

Your Printer Might Not Work

Third-party cartridges can cause a printer not to work properly, which is why consistency is a potential problem. Despite the Supreme Court ruling for third party ink, manufacturers may install software that prevents the printer from working at all.

HP was accused of installing firmware that does just that. The company installed an update in 2016 that impacted the OfficeJet, OfficeJet Pro, and OfficeJet Pro X models stealthily six months before the ruling went into effect. It was eventually turned off and HP never activated it again despite last year’s report. While such fixes are never permanent due to technological work-arounds, it is a hassle.

Third-Party May Be the Only Solution

OEM ink cartridges almost always work, so consistency isn’t an issue. They don’t void any warranties and no software should ever keep them from printing out a photo or written document. However, there are times when a third-party cartridge is the only viable option.

Sometimes, printers will not function at all even with the correct and genuine supplies installed. Third-party cartridges may help in this instance.

With new printers coming out constantly, finding cartridges for an older printer that you are happy with is harder over time. Mainstream retailers won’t sell them anymore. Finding them through other vendors is one way to resolve the issue. But they may be even more expensive or take longer to get. Again, third party ink cartridges are a handy solution.

How to Save on Ink Cartridges

At the end of the day, choosing an ink cartridge and printer always comes down to cost. Besides buying generic or third-party ink cartridges, there are other ways to save money on the cost.

Have Ink Cartridges Refilled

Retailers like Costco, Walgreens, and others offer cartridge refill services. Simply bring them into the store and have them filled again by a professional. If they are in good condition, each one can be filled between four to six times, but check with the retailer before taking them in as some cartridges can’t be reused.

Fill Cartridges Yourself

If you are a DIY person, you can absolutely buy the supplies and refill your cartridges. Be careful since it takes precision in order to avoid making a mess.

Buy Re-Manufactured Cartridges

Ink cartridges can be recycled, so it’s possible to buy ones that have been professionally served and filled again. They’re typically sold online for 30-60 percent less than retail.

Recycle Your Old Cartridges

Besides being good for the environment, recycling old cartridges can translate to helping a cause or saving money. Some schools use them as a way to raise money, while retailers give coupons out in exchange for returning the old ones. This results in money off new cartridges.

Print Smart

Use grayscale printing mode or draft. These two printer modes use less ink. Since black is still cheaper than tri-color cartridges, it is worth printing in one color or to use less in order for the cartridge to last longer.

Top Rated Home Security Systems for 2017/2018

Home security systems offer peace of mind whether you’re home or on the go.

Today’s packages include technology designed to give you more control over what gets monitored, the type of alerts you receive, who has permission to access your home, and how emergencies are handled.

What should you look for in modern home protection? If you’re already using smart devices, you’ll want a setup with integration options. It also pays to look for systems with comprehensive safety coverage for disasters like fires and floods. Customizable alerts and security camera networks with remote monitoring keep you informed about activities in the house no matter where you are.

Not every home needs an extensive system, and some features can come with hefty price tags. Check out these five top-rated systems to see which has the best combination of options for you.

ADT Pulse

Named one of the Editors’ Choice picks by PCMag, ADT Pulse combines a range of home security and monitoring features with smart home integration to create a full range of options for any home. You’ll pay around $49 to get set up with a basic system, and professional monitoring starts at $28.99 per month.

Systems from ADT Pulse integrate with other smart home devices, including the Amazon Echo, to provide control over just about every aspect of your home. The setup includes a main control panel with the choice of an interactive touchscreen, a keyfob control, video monitoring cameras, and the option to purchase and link up additional smart home accessories. The professionals at ADT can put together a customized package to let you control exactly what you want to monitor inside and outside your home.

Security features include:

  • Custom alerts and notifications.
  • Remote arming and disarming.
  • Remote door locking and unlocking.
  • Remote video monitoring.
  • Video doorbell.
  • Voice control.

The main drawback of ADT’s system is the requirement to sign up for a three-year monitoring contract. Be prepared for high fees if you have to break the contract before the full term is up.

Vivint Smart Home

If you’re looking for a professionally installed custom home security system backed by 24/7 monitoring, Vivint Smart Home may be the right option for you. Vivint combines security monitoring with smart home accessories in one comprehensive network, and it has been ranked number one in home security satisfaction by J.D. Power and given the Best Buy Award by Consumers Digest.

At $549, getting started with Vivint Smart Home costs a bit more than some other options, but you have several choices in the way your system is customized. Indoor and outdoor monitoring with security cameras gives you a complete view of all that goes on around the house, and video is recorded in case footage needs to be reviewed. You can add a doorbell camera with the option for a video doorbell system, smart lock installation, and a smart thermostat, like Nest or Element, hook up. Indoor cameras allow for calling in and out so that you and your family can quickly get in touch in an emergency.

Vivint offers professional monitoring starting at $39.99 per month, but you also have to pay for the remote access many other systems include as part of their packages.

SimpliSafe Home Security System

Intruders can get around traditional home security by cutting the phone wires on which the system relies, but SimpliSafe eliminates this possibility with systems depending entirely on built-in cellular technology. For around $230 to set up a starter system and an additional $14.99 per month to cover the cost of professional security monitoring, you can protect you home and family with a scalable security solution.

Every SimpliSafe system comes with a keypad control panel featuring home and away settings for the alarm, and the option to add up to 41 sensors in and around your home. Sensor types include:

  • Carbon monoxide.
  • Entry.
  • Freeze.
  • Glass break.
  • Motion.
  • Smoke.
  • Water.

With mobile monitoring, you can get alerts from anywhere and keep an eye on family activities to ensure only the right people enter your home. Sensors are pet-friendly so your furry friends don’t accidentally trip the alarm and trigger an alert.

Putting together a comprehensive network of sensors and adding accessories like a keychain remote and panic button can get expensive, but SimpliSafe offers a 60-day money back guarantee and a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee to ensure you’re happy with the setup. Despite a lack of integration with smart home accessories, the system comes highly recommended by the New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Fortune Magazine, and others.

Frontpoint Home Security System

Do you prefer to set up your own security system? Get started with a DIY option from Frontpoint for around $99.99.

The basic Protection plan provides a control panel with or without a touchscreen along with sensors to detect motion and broken glass, monitor garage door activity, and check for heat, smoke, and carbon monoxide. Upgrading to the Interactive or Ultimate option allows you to add additional sensors for light, install smart locks, and set up a network of video cameras.

A monthly contract, starting at $34.99, is required to use Frontpoint, and video monitoring is only available through the Ultimate plan. This makes Frontpoint a more expensive option than some other home systems, but the option to start small and scale up only as needed may make it more accessible if you’re on a budget. SafeHome.org and ASecureLife.com both give a number one ranking to this system.

With its combination of professional security monitoring, wireless control, and access and an automatic hourly self-check to diagnose potential system problems, Frontpoint offers a solid security solution for the DIY enthusiast.

GetSafe Home Security

The GetSafe “starter kit” sets you up with a Smart Hub, a door and window sensor, a motion detector, and an alarm siren to provide basic home security coverage for $249. Setup is entirely DIY, so you’ll have to look elsewhere if you prefer to have someone else to install your system or want a setup customized by professionals.

However, if you’re comfortable putting together your own security network, GetSafe offers a variety of additional accessories, including:

  • Flood sensors.
  • Garage door opener.
  • Glass break sensors.
  • Key fob remote.
  • Security camera.
  • Smoke detector.

With a 30-day money back guarantee and glowing recommendations from Consumer Affairs and TrustPilot, GetSafe can be considered a reliable DIY home security option. The package lacks a control pane,l but provides a mobile app and supports integration with Z-Wave home automation accessories, ZigBee, IFTTT, Nest and Amazon Echo.

Month-to-month and contract options are available for the required professional monitoring coverage, and fees start at $35 per month.

These five systems represent some of the best options in modern home security. Review the features, accessories, and costs to determine which has the options best tailored to your needs. If you’re not sure, get in touch with the companies to learn more about personalized packages and how you can get the most out of an integrated security setup. Keep your budget in mind as you make inquires, and choose wisely to give yourself the assurance of knowing someone is always watching over your home.

Everything You Need to Know About Selling a Timeshare

Timeshares appear attractive on the surface and entice many people into buying them.

Although the right timeshare can provide a lot of value to its owner, people often want to get rid of their timeshares for various reasons but don’t know how.

If you have a timeshare and don’t know what steps you should take so that you can sell it, you are likely feeling stuck and as though you don’t have many options. The following guide will show you how to reach your goal as quickly and easily as possible.

Why People Want to Sell Timeshares?

Before you decide to get rid of your timeshare, take a look at the most common reasons that people follow this path. You can compare their reasons to your own if you want to decide whether or not you are making the right call.

Timeshares are Often a Waste of Money

Most people buy timeshares because they think it’s a great way to save money on vacations. You pay an upfront fee and can use the timeshare for a certain number of days each year. The problem is that most buyers are unaware of the maintenance fees and other hidden costs that come with ownership. Depending on the terms of your agreement, owning a timeshare can be a waste of money.

People Can’t Always Use Their Timeshare

The amount of time for which you will own rights to the timeshare will depend on your contract. Some timeshares are available for five years, but you can get some that have no expiration date.

If you buy a timeshare that is a good deal but your situation in life changes, you might not be able to use it. For example, you could get a new job that is more demanding than your last one, or other obligations might prevent you from enjoying your timeshare.

People are Often Dissatisfied with their Timeshare

Timeshare marketers are good at what they do and can convince many people to sign contracts that don’t make sense for their needs or budget. Some of the features and benefits that a timeshare marketer promises could be a limited offer, and you might need to pay extra fees to continue using them. Rising maintenance fees and poor customer support are additional reasons that people become dissatisfied with the timeshares they buy.

How to Sell a Timeshare?

If you have decided that you no longer want your timeshare, you can try several things to get rid of it without problems. Review the following methods and decide on one that fits your needs.

Use eBay

Most people have heard of eBay or have used it to sell clothes, toys, electronics, and more. But not everyone knows that eBay allows its users to sell timeshares to interested buyers.

If you choose this path, you might not get as much for your timeshare as you paid for it, but it’s a great way to get it off your hands. With a high-quality camera, take compelling pictures of your property to encourage people to bid on it.

Use Newspaper Listings

While a lot of sellers use the Internet to market their timeshares, you can stand out by putting an ad in the local newspaper. Highlighting the top benefits of your timeshare and selling it at an unbeatable price will help you attract prospects who might want to take action. Targeting wealthy cities and business districts will work wonders for improving your odds of getting someone to buy your timeshare.

Use Facebook Advertising

Facebook is a great way to get your timeshare in front of hungry buyers as long as you use the right process. You can target your advertisement based on the age, location, spending habits, and interests of your prospective buyers. Displaying your ad to people who have already shown an interest in timeshares or other vacation properties will allow you to enjoy the best possible results.

Contact a Real Estate Agent

Going through a real estate agent is one of the most effective ways to market your timeshare property. An experienced agent can connect you with people who are looking for vacation properties and can help you get rid of your unwanted property before you know it. Ask your real estate agent about fees and other service charges so that you will know what to expect.

Give It Away

If you have tried all of the other options without much luck but still want to rid yourself of the timeshare, you can give it away. Your first step is to contact the company from which you bought it to see if they will take it off your hands. You can also market your timeshare for free on Facebook and other online platforms when you want to get rid of it as soon as you can.

Recommended Services

Not only can you sell your timeshare on your own, but you can also work with companies that will help you get a fair price for your property. Even though you won’t be able to get as much for your timeshare as you paid for it, using a third-party company is a nice way to get rid of an unwanted piece of property.

Timeshare Luxury

Accredited by the Better Business Bureau, Timeshare Luxury is a trusted company that helps people market their timeshares. If they are unable to connect you with a buyer, they will even provide you with resources that will help.

PMG

PMG has a team of timeshare experts and legal professionals who will use consumer protection laws to get you out of your contract with as little stress as possible. No matter the length of time for which you have owned your timeshare, the caring team at PMG can give you a hand.

Give Back Timeshare

When you need a team that can answer your questions seven days a week, Give Back Timeshare could be the company that you’ve been looking. They will speak with your timeshare resort on your behalf, and they can even help those who still owe money on their timeshares.

A Concise Guide to VoIP

You’ve probably heard of VoIP, or Voice-over Internet Protocol, as an alternative to landline phones for personal and business use.

VoIP transfers sound as data using one of two protocol types: Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) or H.323. Unlike traditional phones, this method involves the movement of packets of information and introduces greater flexibility to voice communications.

What is VoIP?

The protocols supporting VoIP rely on high-speed Internet connections instead of telephone wires to transfer call data. Each time you make a VoIP call, data is sent over the Internet Protocol (IP) and decoded on the receiving end. Sound in these systems has improved significantly over the years, and is much clearer and more reliable than in early VoIP setups.

VoIP can be used with a desktop or mobile app, a headset, or a phone configured for VoIP technology. If you don’t want to upgrade to new hardware, you can get an analog telephone adapter (ATA) to convert a standard phone to VoIP. These three options make VoIP accessible to users around the world.

Reasons to Use VoIP

People choose VoIP for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Increased flexibility in communication.
  • Easier scalability for businesses.
  • Reliable phone service for frequent travel.
  • The desire to be free from a landline.

Personal vs. Business Use

Plans, pricing, and options differ between residential and business VoIP use. Personal plans tend to be more streamlined and offer a straightforward list of common features. Because of the standard nature of these plans, personal VoIP is usually cheaper than business VoIP.

Additional features and upgrades are offered in business plans to provide flexibility as companies grow. Business plans also provide more software and hardware options to meet the specific needs of diverse companies. These may include the ability to add additional numbers to a plan, fewer restrictions on unlimited calling, and the inclusion of international calling.

Pros/Cons of VoIP Use

Before deciding whether VoIP is the right option for you or your business, take a look at its advantages and drawbacks.

Pros

VoIP provides a range of special features beyond what traditional landline plans offer. In addition to common features like caller ID and call waiting, you can also get call transfer, call blocking, and voicemail. Business plans include even more options, such as call holding, call routing, and mobile apps.

Using VoIP costs less than regular phones, and may even be free if you stick with certain software options and don’t make international calls. Switching to business VoIP can save your company a lot of money every month while providing similar or better call service than your old communication network.

You can use VoIP software and phones to make calls from any location with a high-speed Internet connection, allowing people to reach you at the same number no matter where you travel without incurring roaming or long-distance charges. You’ll never miss a personal or business call if you have your VoIP phone with you.

Cons

Although relying on the Internet means VoIP doesn’t tether you to a phone line, it can also be a problem if you travel to a location with unreliable Internet connectivity or your power goes off at home. Traditional phones and cell phones are better options in these cases because you don’t have to worry about being completely disconnected from friends, family, or colleagues.

Security is one of the main concerns of VoIP systems. Digital information of any kind, including VoIP data, can be intercepted and manipulated by third parties. There are more points at which the security of conversations can be compromised than when using a traditional phone.

New VoIP equipment is required when making the switch from landlines, and the cost may be prohibitive for some companies. This can make it difficult to compete with other businesses already taking full advantage of the features VoIP has to offer.

Choosing the Best VoIP Software

Some VoIP options can be used from your personal computer or mobile device without the need for additional equipment:

  • Skype, a calling platform launched in 2003, starts at $2.95 per month for calls to the U.S. and Canada, and is free when calling from one Skype account to another.
  • Google Voice is free if you want to call within the U.S. and Canada, and specific per-minute international rates apply for other calls.
  • Vonage pricing starts at $9.95 per month for personal use and is one of the most popular VoIP options.

Software provides basic VoIP functionality but doesn’t include any hardware. If you want to use VoIP with a headset or traditional handset, you’ll either need to purchase one separately or search for a more comprehensive VoIP plan.

Finding a Reliable VoIP Provider

When you need a VoIP phone setup for your business, including hardware, you can try these providers:

  • RingCentral Office offers a wide variety of options, including unlimited conference calling, starting at $19.99 per month per user.
  • Jive Hosted VoIP puts your phone system in the cloud with plans starting at $19.95 per month and offers an extensive list of voice features to manage your call center.
  • 8×8 Virtual Office provides complete cloud-based virtual office solutions, including VoIP plans, starting at $24.99 per month.

VoIP providers work with your business to configure the best system for handling all your calls. Small businesses may be well served with a simple setup and minimal features until they begin to expand, but large enterprises often require a network of VoIP devices and rely on options like conference calling, extension dialing, voicemail to email, and call logging.

Switching to VoIP for personal or business use can give you more options than a landline at a lower monthly cost. VoIP has the potential to change the way you stay in contact in your personal life and your ability to maintain business connections no matter where you go. Consider the pros and cons, shop around for software and providers, and get started with the right VoIP option for your needs.

Cross-Country Relocation: A Guide to Long-Distance Moving

If you are planning to move across the country and want to find a moving company that makes sense for your situation, you are probably wondering where you should look, so you can get a good deal from a reliable company.

You will want to take your time and consider your needs before you begin your search if you don’t want to make mistakes along the way.

The factors that you will take into consideration will depend on your budget, the building to which you are moving, and any special accommodations that you require. Knowing as much as you can about your move and what you would like to achieve will allow you to go forward with confidence.

Things to Look for in a Mover

This section will help you decide on the things to look for when you select a moving company. Even if you already have a list in mind, reviewing this information can provide you with additional insights that you might not have considered.

Cost

When finding the right moving company, considering costs is a vital piece of the puzzle that you won’t want to overlook. Depending on how far you’re moving, you can expect to pay several thousand dollars for labor and fuel. Some companies will be cheaper than others, but pricing is only one of the things that you should take into account as you move forward.

Insurance

The type of insurance that a company has will play a role in the mover you choose. Since everything that you own will be in the back of their truck, you will need to know what to expect if something goes wrong during the move.

If you can’t find insurance information on the company’s website, ask a representative for more information before making a final decision. Calculate the value of your belongings and compare it to the insurance coverage offered by the moving company. You can ask about purchasing additional coverage if you are not happy with the default package.

Licensing

Trusting people you don’t know to safeguard and transport your belongings won’t be easy, but working with a licensed company can help. In fact, any company that offers interstate moving must be licensed with the Department of Transportation.

Ask for and look up the company’s registration number in the database. Licensed companies need to meet certain guidelines to maintain their status, and doing a little research can put your fears to rest.

How to Find a Mover

Rather than using just one source, you can try several and compare the companies that you find, which will help you enjoy the best results possible. The Internet is a good place from which to start when you are hunting for a moving company that won’t let you down.

When you search online, always check for reviews and feedback so that you can get an idea of what to expect. You can use the Yellow Pages to locate moving companies that might not be listed on the web. In addition to the internet and phone book, you can ask your friends and family about companies they recommend.

Recommended Moving Companies

United Van Lines

United Van Lines could be the perfect solution if you want to get a reliable cross-country moving service at a fair price. You can enter the location to which you want to move and the size of your home to get a free quote before you commit. The company’s website even has tools, tips, and videos to help you plan your move safely and efficiently. United Van Lines can also transport your vehicles.

Atlas

Atlas has plenty of tips and resources to assist potential customers with the moving process. Those who have specialty items that they need to transport often come to Atlas for support. Not only has Atlas moved motorcycles and pianos, but it has even transported a space capsule. The team will keep your items safe and out of harm’s way from the start of the move until the end.

Wheaton

Affordability and dependability are the goals on which Wheaton focus on when helping customers reach their intended destination. Wheaton staff take every possible step to secure your items during the trip, but understands that accidents happen.

Without any additional cost, you will enjoy liability insurance on all of your belongings. If you are willing to pay a little more, you can enjoy replacement insurance that will cover the full cost of anything that gets damaged during the move.

PODS

PODS is a great option if you want to reduce your expenses and take control of your move. The company will drop one of their pods off at your location, and you can load your belongings when you are ready. The company will then retrieve the pod and take it to your intended destination. Since you will load and unload your items, you can enjoy reduced labor costs and still take advantage of the company’s insurance policy.

Final Thoughts

Moving across the country is often an exciting experience that inspires feelings of happiness and uncertainty. You will place everything that you own in the hands of people you have never met, so you don’t want to take the decision lightly.

Consider the cost, reputation, and insurance coverage of any moving company before you decide what path to take. Putting in the effort to find a company that makes sense for you will give you the best possible odds of completing your move without facing unneeded problems along the way, and you will know that you have done the right thing.

2018’s Best Cellphone Plans

Shopping for a cellphone plan can be intimidating, so it’s always a good idea to do research before you head out to a store. Once you step into a cellphone store, you’ll be drawn to the newest, shiniest models, even if they don’t suit your needs at all. By comparing cellphones and plans in advance, you can determine the one that best suits your lifestyle – whether you need to be connected 24/7, or simply need to be reachable in case of an emergency.

The United States has a wealth of different cellphone plans, and because of ever-increasing competition, telecommunication companies are forced to come up with inventive new ways to lure in customers and secure their loyalty – anything from waiving fees to partnering with media companies like Netflix or HBO. Check out the list below to see some of the best options for cell plans today!

Sprint

Sprint unlimited smartphone plans start with unlimited data for games, TV, movies, and apps – then they give customers 10 GB per month to use as a mobile hotspot, which can help if you’re stuck without Wi-Fi. The unlimited data packages allow you to stream high definition video without interruption, no matter where you are. These plans also include unlimited talk and text. Sprint’s plans start at $60 per month for a single line, and only get cheaper if you choose to add additional lines. Sprint also offers great deals if you sign up online rather than in the store – they’ll waive your activation fee, and offer the convenience of overnight shipping for your new device.

Verizon

Verizon offers their customers great service on a 4G LTE network. This service allows you to stream DVD-quality content over your mobile phone from anywhere in the USA. The Verizon Go Unlimited plan only costs $75 per month, and offers unlimited data usage, as well as unlimited data on your mobile hotspot – compare that to Sprint’s 10 GB limit for hotspot usage, and you’ll see how great a deal this plan is.

Verizon offers discounts for military families, as well as the chance to enroll in their Verizon Up rewards program, where you can earn points just for paying your monthly bill. These points can then be traded in for awesome perks like flight upgrades and concert tickets.

AT&T

AT&T offers tons of different options for both cell plans and the devices themselves. There are custom plans based on which device you choose, or you can come in with your own device and hook it up to their system. They also offer pre-owned phones for people who just need a phone that works, and don’t care about spending a huge amount of money on the newest model. If you’re not sure about signing up for something long-term, they offer packages with no annual contract, so you can test the waters. Their unlimited plans start at $60 per month, and they offer HBO access on all their devices. Their plans also include free texting to over 120 different countries, and unlimited talk all over the USA, Canada, and Mexico.

T-Mobile

T-Mobile makes it easy to stream media on all your devices – their plan includes unlimited data, as well as complimentary access to Netflix if you purchase a plan with two or more lines. If you just need one phone, their basic unlimited plan costs $70 per month, taxes and fees included. Other providers sneakily add fees on top of their quoted price. The T-Mobile network was recently ranked #1 in the country for 4G LTE coverage, which means that you’ll never be out of service. T-Mobile also offers free in-flight texting, and gives you the ability to use your regular plan in Canada and Mexico if you’re traveling.

Metro PCS

Another telecom company that offers customers the ability to see exactly what they’ll be charged every month, including taxes and fees, is Metro PCS. Their unlimited data plan costs $60 per month, and they promise that that amount is exactly what you’ll see on your bill – no hidden fees! They don’t lock their customers into an annual contract, and instead focus on good service to keep their customer’s loyalty year after year. A unique perk that Metro PCS offers is Scam ID, which helps customers avoid cold calls and known scammers, which is included in all their plans at no extra cost. If you’re happy with your plan, you can also add additional lines, which will save you a total of $30 per month.

Five Best Crossovers for 2018

The popularity of crossover SUVs has reached an all-time high. In the eyes of many drivers, there is no other vehicle that offers more versatility. Not only do today’s crossovers provide a comfortable ride, but some models are also strong enough to tow a heavy load. Furthermore, you now have access to a plethora of luxurious features. Here are the five best crossovers of 2018.

2018 Nissan Murano

Over the years, the Nissan Murano has been consistently ranked among the best family vehicles on the market. Drivers have grown to love its remarkably comfortable seats and flashy exterior styling. Strong crash test scores make the Murano an even more impressive crossover. While the base model has an attractive MSRP of $29,900, the top-of-the-line Platinum trim demands nearly $40,000.

Although the Murano’s V6 engine has been around for quite a while, it still proves to be an impressive power source. The proven engine develops a competitive 260 horsepower, which is enough muscle to ensure strong acceleration even in mountainous areas. Nissan’s fuel-saving Xtronic CVT transmission comes standard. According to the EPA, you can expect to get 21 mpg in town and 28 mpg on the highway. Although the Murano is not known for being incredibly sporty, its cushy ride is bound to leave you impressed.

Several nice features come standard on the new Murano, including Bluetooth phone integration and a 7.0-inch display screen. To go along with the Bluetooth, Nissan’s optional touch-screen infotainment system now includes Apple CarPlay. Aside from the Murano’s five-star safety rating, it offers helpful driving aids such as blind-spot monitoring and a 360-degree parking camera.

2018 Jaguar F-Pace

Despite the Jaguar F-Pace being one of the newest crossovers to hit the scene, it has already become a hot commodity. You will be amazed by the F-Pace’s elegant interior and sports sedan-like driving dynamics. Prices start around $42,000, which proves to be very reasonable for such a feature-packed SUV.

The F-Pace gives you an array of engines to choose from. While the turbocharged four-cylinder engine is strong, the supercharged V6 engine churns out an exciting 380 horsepower. You can also opt for a super fuel-efficient diesel engine that returns up to 33 mpg. When equipped with the optional adaptive suspension, the F-Pace becomes an especially sharp-handling crossover. A 5,300-pound towing capacity further highlights the F-Pace’s versatility.

Very few people will complain about the Jaguar F-Pace’s lengthy list of standard features. Whether you prefer classical or rap music, the 11-speaker Meridian audio system will sound spectacular. Several advanced safety technologies are available, too. Like the forward collision warning system, the crossover’s lane-keep assist feature works incredibly well in real-world driving conditions.

2018 Subaru Crosstrek

You can compare the redesigned 2018 Subaru Crosstrek to today’s best compact crossovers. Excellent legroom and a fuel-efficient design make the Crosstrek a great choice for any family. The capable AWD also gives you the ability to travel off the beaten path. Expect to pay around $23,500 for the well-equipped base model.

All versions of the Crosstrek come strapped with a 152-horsepower engine. Although the Crosstrek is not engineered to deliver an exhilarating performance, great handling makes it a pleasure to drive. To obtain the best possible fuel efficiency, opt for the automatic CVT. It is rated to return 27 mpg in urban areas and up to 33 on the highway.

Among the Crosstrek’s best attributes is its comfortable interior. Drivers will also love the Crosstrek’s easy-to-use controls. Featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Subaru’s updated Starlink infotainment system gets high marks for its simplicity. The available Harman Kardon sound system is a must for music lovers. Regarding passenger safety, expect the 2018 Crosstrek to remain a class leader. Unlike most of its rivals, the Crosstrek offers innovations such as reverse automatic braking and steering-responsive headlights.

2018 Audi Q7

Boasting three rows of seats, the 2018 Audi Q7 continues to impress drivers with its well-built interior and modern technologies. You can also take advantage of the Q7’s 7,700-pound towing capacity. With a MSRP of $50,875, the base Q7 is more than deserving of a test drive.

If you prefer fuel savings over extreme power, the base four-cylinder will get your attention. It develops a healthy 252 horsepower while delivering up to 25 mpg. On the other hand, some drivers will crave the supercharged V6 engine’s exciting performance. The 333-horsepower engine enables the Q7 to clock a brisk 0-60 time of 5.9 seconds. When it comes to road handling, very few three-row crossovers inspire drivers with more confidence than the new Q7.

The new Audi Q3 is packed with technology. Audi’s standard MMI infotainment system is a step above the competition. High-resolution graphics and a simple menu layout make it a breeze to use. Some of the other notable standard features include a backup camera, a 10-speaker sound system, and a panoramic sunroof. Audi’s revolutionary Digital Cockpit gauge cluster is optional. Advanced safety technologies, such as blind-spot detection and adaptive cruise control, are included in the optional Driver Assistance package.

2018 Honda Pilot

Always known for its bulletproof reliability, the 2018 Honda Pilot excels in all of the key areas that families care about the most. It is efficient, safe, and remarkably spacious. Even adults can comfortably fit in the Pilot’s third-row seat. An attractive MSRP of roughly $31,500 makes the Pilot a standout in value.

The Pilot’s standard V6 engine pumps out a solid 280 horsepower. Effortless acceleration helps keep drivers engaged throughout the day. Rated to tow up to 5,000 pounds, the Pilot should have no trouble pulling small campers and ATVs. Fuel economy is also a strong point for the new Pilot. An available nine-speed transmission enables the big crossover to deliver 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the freeway.

Some of the key standard features include a multi-angle backup camera, push-button start, and Bluetooth technology. Honda’s tablet-style infotainment system is certainly a tempting upgrade. While hauling your family around, the Pilot’s five-star safety rating will give you extra peace of mind. Blind-spot monitoring and automatic braking technology help you to stay on track at all times.

Best Canadian Cellphone Plans of 2018

The advent of the digital age has made having a cellphone a necessity for everyone, regardless of age, occupation, or location. A cellphone can be a link to friends and family around the globe, a way for you to keep up-to-date with your job, as well as a way to entertain yourself on the go.

If you’re searching for the right cellphone, do your research first. Find something that suits your needs and don’t feel pressured to buy the latest hot device just because you saw it advertised in the store when you went in.

Once you’ve found a device that works for you, the next step in the process is finding a plan that fits with your lifestyle. Canada is a large country and there are tons of regional companies that offer good deals. But many of the larger companies win out because they’re able to offer more coverage across the country, not just in large cities.

Larger mobility companies will generally have excellent rates available regardless of where you live. However, doing research online before you go into a store is still important. Just remember, sales associates are trying to sell you the most expensive plan they can, regardless of whether it’s the best fit for your life. Check out this list for a comparison of a few of the best cellphone plans in Canada.

Bell Share Plans (Premium + Smartphone)

If you’re looking for a premium smartphone plan that will allow you to access the internet from anywhere, Bell Canada has a variety of different smartphone plans that start at $115 per month. Unlike other plans on this list, Bell offers unlimited calling to all Canadian and US phone numbers. The basic premium smartphone plan starts with 1 GB of data per month, but you can easily upgrade it to meet your needs. This plan is targeted at high-end devices like the iPhone 7 or Samsung Galaxy S8.

Telus Smartphone Plans

Telus offers tons of smartphone plans that fit the needs of every family – even if you’re a family of one! Their family plan starts at $77.50 per person per month, and includes 4 GBs of shared data, while their individual plans start at $80 per month with 1 GB of data. Both plans include unlimited Canada-wide texting and 300 local daytime minutes.

This plan isn’t great if you’re more of a talker than a texter. The unlimited texting is great, but the fact that your daytime minutes are limited to 300 local is a major drawback. For just $20 more, you can include unlimited, Canada-wide calling, which is a much better option if you have friends or family in different parts of the country.

Fido Pulse Data, Talk & Text Plans

Although Fido offers tons of regular talk and text plans, as well as smartphone focused plans, their new Fido Pulse Data, Talk & Text plans offer exciting perks like a trial access to Spotify (for 6 months), Canada-wide calling (it becomes unlimited when you’re using your device to talk to another Fido customer), and unlimited international texting.

International texting is a nice perk. That plus Fido Roam will help you stay connected when you’re traveling out of the country. The basic Fido Pulse plan comes with 1 GB of data and costs $65 per month. If you choose their $75 per month Fido Pulse plan, you’ll get a great discount of up to $300 off the purchase price of your chosen smartphone.

Koodo Mobile Tab Small

Koodo Mobile is known for having budget friendly plans that are focused on only selling customers perks that they will use. One of their best smartphone plans comes with 1 GB of data and costs $55 per month. As a helpful bonus, they send customers text alerts when they’ve reached 50%, 90%, and 100% of their data, so you’re never surprised by overage fees on your bill.

This service stands out from other companies who seem to relish charging customers when they go over their limit. This $55 per month plan also comes with 500 Canada-wide minutes, unlimited texting, and unlimited calling Canada-wide after 5pm.

The Top 4 Pickups of 2018

Pickup trucks have become an extremely popular choice among American drivers. The arrival of advanced safety technologies and improved fuel efficiency make modern pickups especially appealing, despite their size. Whether you are seeking extreme towing capabilities or a luxurious ride, expect to be thoroughly impressed with today’s newest models. Let’s take a look at the top four pickups of 2018!

2018 Ford F-150 Raptor

Featuring an aggressive 4WD system and Fox Racing shocks, the F-150 Raptor is arguably the most adventurous pickup to ever hit the market. Ford specially engineered it to take on nature’s most challenging environments. While the Raptor’s starting price of $54,000 may seem steep, its reputation as a capable off-road machine make it worth every penny.

All versions of the F-150 Raptor come equipped with a turbocharged V6 engine. Ford’s performance division tuned it to produce a monstrous 450 horsepower and 510 lb.-ft. of torque. A 10-speed automatic transmission sends consistent power to all four wheels. Although the F-150 Raptor is built for serious off-road excursions, it still proves to be a quick performer on the street. The main downside to the high-output F-150 Raptor is its subpar fuel economy, but that’s to be expected from a vehicle this heavy. You can expect roughly 15 mpg in the city and 18 mpg on the highway.

If you aren’t happy with the F-150 Raptor’s list of standard features, there are plenty of upgrades available. Ford’s Sync 3 touchscreen infotainment system is a hot commodity amongst serious off-road drivers. Music fans will also like the new B&O premium sound system. Meanwhile, a 360-degree camera enables you to clearly see any obstacles in your path.

2018 Honda Ridgeline

A remarkably spacious cabin and excellent crash test scores make the 2018 Honda Ridgeline a great choice. No other pickup on the market proves to be a more suitable family vehicle. Like most Honda vehicles, you can trust the new Ridgeline to remain dependable for many years to come. And at the agreeable price of $29,630, the Ridgeline will easily carve a name for itself in the pickup category.

Under the Ridgeline’s hood sits Honda’s proven 3.5-liter V6 engine. With a total of 280 horsepower at your disposal, the Ridgeline always feels ready to go. Although the Ridgeline is not a heavy-duty workhorse, its 5,000-pound towing capacity enables you to easily pull small campers and watercrafts. One of the Ridgeline’s best qualities is its confidence-inspiring handling; It drives more like a sedan opposed to a traditional pickup truck. If you decide to travel off the beaten path, Honda’s Intelligent Traction Management system will help ensure the optimum traction.

The new Honda Ridgeline brings a great deal of value to the table. Many drivers consider the Ridgeline’s in-bed trunk to be one of their favorite features. Not only can the pickup’s trunk be used to store groceries and travel bags, but it also doubles as a cooler. Some of the other standard goodies include a 200-watt sound system, Bluetooth technology, and a backup camera. You will have access to a number of advanced driving aids. While the forward collision system does a good job of detecting obstacles in the road, blind-spot assist can actively steer you away from an oncoming vehicle.

2018 Chevrolet Colorado

If you find a full-size truck to be a bit too large, the 2018 Chevrolet Colorado may prove to be the perfect alternative. You are destined to fall in love with this midsize pickup’s smooth ride and impressive towing capabilities. Featuring a raised suspension and all-terrain tires, the Colorado ZR2 is built to handle off-road excursions. The base Colorado’s MSRP of $20,995 should lure plenty of budget-minded truck enthusiasts.

Three capable engines are available for the new Colorado. With the ability to return up to 26 mpg, the base four-cylinder engine remains a good choice for everyday commuting. When equipped with the muscular V6 engine, the Colorado becomes a far more engaging pickup to drive. Chevy also offers an efficient diesel engine, which can tow a class-leading 7,700 pounds. Any driver can appreciate the diesel model’s reasonable 30-mpg highway fuel economy rating.

Very few base models come loaded with more equipment than the base Colorado. Most of the other trucks in the class don’t provide standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A backup camera, Bluetooth technology, and voice controls come standard as well. Although several options are available, the 4G Wi-Fi hot spot is a feature that all your passengers can use. Meanwhile, Forward Collision Alert and lane departure warning will give you a greater sense of awareness on the road.

2018 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali

The 2018 GMC Sierra 1500 Denali is for the drivers who demand more luxury than the average pickup can provide. While heated and ventilated leather seats help you to remain relaxed, a special Magnetic Ride Control suspension ensures an especially comfortable ride. However, a 9,300-pound towing capacity proves that this plush pickup can also handle a big workload. Although prices start at $55,700, options will ultimately cause the truck’s total cost to rise.

The Sierra 1500 Denali’s strong performance is a feature to look out for. While the base V8 engine offers 355 horsepower, the larger 6.2L engine churns out a thrilling 420 horsepower and 460 lb.-ft. of torque. A blistering 0-60 time of 5.6 seconds enables the Sierra 1500 Denali to leave most vehicles in its dust. In regard to fuel economy, the Sierra 1500 Denali can deliver up to 23 mpg.

While optional equipment is available, this truck already comes loaded with several premium features. Active Noise Cancellation technology helps keep the interior hushed at all times. When traveling, the Bose audio system promises to keep you entertained throughout the day. A number of active driving aids also come standard, including low-speed automatic braking and a vibrating Safety Alert seat.

Canada’s Most Highly Anticipated Compact SUVs for 2018

There is a lot to look forward to in 2018 for fans of compact SUVs. Many of the leading auto manufacturers are releasing vehicles that come equipped with standard infotainment packages, automatic safety controls, and premium features like leather interiors.

This article is going to cover four of the most anticipates compact SUVs for the Canadian market. We will cover several important details for each model like their fuel economy, technical specifications, and safety features.

2018 Audi Q5

MSRP: Starts at $41,500

Engine: 252-horsepower V6

Seating: Five

Drivetrain: All-wheel drive

Cargo Capacity: 549.34 litres

Fuel Economy City: 10.22 litres per 100 kilometers

Fuel Economy Highway: 8.7 litres per 100 kilometers

The 2018 Audi Q5 comes with a wide range of electronic gadgets that are designed to hook up with your favorite devices. All of the models can be outfitted with hands-free communication software, navigation, and satellite radio. It also comes with a rearview camera that helps make parallel parking a breeze.

In terms of luxurious features, all models come with heated seats that are much appreciated during the cold winter months. The base model comes with a powerful two-litre 252-horsepower engine. If you prefer a more powerful ride, you can upgrade to the 440-horsepower V6 engine instead.

The base model has a relatively modest fuel economy that gets 10.22 litres per 100 kilometers in the city and 8.7 litres per 100 kilometers on the highway. With a base price of $41,500, the 2018 Audi Q5 offers a wide range of features that make it an attractive option to consider.

2018 BMW X3

MSRP: Not officially released

Engine: 248-horsepower V6

Seating: Five

Drivetrain: All-wheel drive

Cargo Capacity: 1,775 litres

Fuel Economy City: Pending official release

Fuel Economy Highway: Pending official release

The 2018 BMW X3 is designed with your comfort in mind. One of the newest additions is a three-zone comfort control system that is perfect for ensuring all occupants can select their preferred temperature. The base model comes with a partially digital display and the standard sports seating that is fairly comfortable. If you upgrade to the luxury model, you get an upholstered dashboard and two-tone finishers on the front and rear of the car.

This 2018 model comes standard with the latest version of BMW’s infotainment system, iDrive. This system can connect to a variety of smartphones via Bluetooth and supports streaming video calls and music. If you opt for the navigation package, you receive a 26-centimeter touchscreen display as well. One of the most interesting features of this model is the unique car-to-car communications system that alerts other vehicles to potential roadside threats.

The standard model comes equipped with a 2.0-litre engine that sports 248-horsepower. It also comes with a collision detection system that automatically helps stop the car after an accident. It is important to note that this model is still pending official release in just a month or two, so official pricing and fuel performance details are not available.

2018 Ford EcoSport

MSRP: Starts at $19,995

Engine: 1.0-litre EcoBoost

Seating: Five

Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive

Cargo Capacity: 591.82 litres

Fuel Economy City: Pending official release

Fuel Economy Highway: Pending official release

The 2018 Ford EcoSport is another great option to consider for users who want something a little smaller. This model comes equipped with Ford’s signature entertainment solution, Sync 3. The car features a 20-centimeter touchscreen interface that supports full gesture control. There will be an app available that allows users to remotely check fuel levels, unlock the vehicle, and locate it as well.

The EcoSport comes with a wide range of options that are designed to ensure a safe and comfortable ride. With options like automatic temperature control and heated seats, you can be sure you will be comfortable for the duration of your ride.

For safety features, Ford has announced that blind spot warning will be available on all models. Other safety features may be available, but have not been officially announced at this time. One thing worth mentioning is that the rear gate opens to the side. This can prove to be problematic for small spaces where parallel parking is required.

2018 Volvo XC60

MSRP: Starts at $41,500

Engine: 2.0-litre/250-horsepower

Seating: Five

Drivetrain: All-wheel drive

Cargo Capacity: 1,792 litres

Fuel Economy City: 10.69 litres per 100 kilometers

Fuel Economy Highway: 8.4 litres per 100 kilometers

The 2018 Volvo XC60 has a lot to offer in terms of comfort and dependability. The base model comes with their signature Pilot Assist system. This technology can help with a variety of potentially dangerous situations with things like lane assist and automatic emergency stopping. This makes it a definite win for users who are concerned about safety.

It also comes equipped with a standard infotainment system that connects with a variety of smartphones and tablets. With options like hands-free calling and music streaming, you can be sure that you will always be connected while traveling.

The base model comes with a four-cylinder two-litre engine that produces 250 horsepower that is more than sufficient for the average user. Additional engine upgrades are available for users that prefer a bit more power under the hood. This model is one of the larger selections covered and is an ideal fit for users who prefer a car with more legroom throughout the vehicle.

Best Anti-Wrinkle Creams on the Market

No matter how well you take care of yourself, wrinkles and other signs of aging will eventually show up on your skin. If you are looking for a way to keep the signs of aging at bay so that you can restore your youthful and vibrant appearance, you will be pleased to learn that many products and creams can get the job done.

You will want to find a product that doesn’t harm your skin, fits into your budget, and offers noticeable results. Since finding the perfect product for your skin type is not always easy, the following list of the best anti-wrinkle creams will point you in the right direction.

Retinol Firming Eye Cream

The Retinol eye cream by Kate Somerville is a great starting point when your mission is to maintain your youthful look for as long as possible. This high-quality solution is made from palm seed oil, hyaluronic acid and other ingredients that will turn back the clock sooner than you thought possible.

If you want to give it a try, keep in mind that it’s a little more expensive than some of the other products that you will find, but you will enjoy impressive results if you can fit $85 into your budget. Fine lines and wrinkles will fade away when you allow the cream to work its magic on your skin. If you would like to get the most from your investment, apply it two times each day, and you will be glad that you did.

GENIUS Ultimate Anti-Aging Cream

When people want to regain the appearance that they enjoyed when they were younger, they often turn to the GENIUS Ultimate Anti-Aging Cream. This anti-aging solution will work wonders if you want to combat wrinkles, fine lines and dry skin, and you will be pleased when you see what it can do for you.

The manufactures craft this cream with quality ingredients that will give you the results for which you have been searching. Those who use the product experience visible improvements in their skin within two to four weeks. Even though it sells for $112 per jar, the rewards that you will gain justify the expense if you want to enjoy the best possible outcome.

Nourish by Lancer

If you are looking for a great anti-aging cream that will turn your wrinkles into a thing of the past, Nourish could be the perfect solution. Nourish is an amazing product for those who suffer from dry and sensitive skin, and the cream delivers on its promise to give your skin an appearance of which you can be proud. When you want to add this cream to your collection of skin care products, be prepared to pay the price. Some people feel as though the results are worth it, but others prefer to find a budget-friendly solution. At the astounding price of $170, Nourish by Lancer is for enthusiasts only.

Better Skin Mirakle

Enhanced hydration, optimized collagen production and reduced wrinkles are just a few of the benefits you can expect when you apply the Better Skin Mirakle to your skin each day. You must keep in mind, however, that this product won’t deliver the same results that you would gain by using a high-end product. But since you can claim a jar for only $34, it offers a fair balance between quality solutions and budget-friendly pricing. People who use this product will likely notice visible improvements within eight weeks.

Good Genes

Sunday Riley creates a breathtaking product called Good Genes that will take your skin’s appearance to the next level before you know it. In addition to fighting fine lines and wrinkles, it will also reduce dark spots, allowing you to look and feel your best. As far as quality and effectiveness are concerned, many people feel as though Good Genes is among the best, and you will probably agree when you try it for yourself. Since you can pick up a bottle for around $100, this is another solution that won’t harm your budget.

The Essence by Tatcha

Boasting 5-star reviews from past and current users, The Essence is a valuable skin care product that will give you a beautiful and captivating look that is sure to grab attention. Green tea, rice and algae combine to hydrate and nourish your skin, and you will smile each time you look in the mirror. When you want to get the most from this product, use it in the morning and again before you go to bed at night. If you use this product to enhance the appearance of your skin, you will notice improvements instantly. People with oily skin often avoid certain products that can make their problem even worse, but they won’t need to worry about that issue when they opt for The Essence, despite its lavish price tag of $98.

Healthy Skin

If you are looking for an anti-wrinkle cream that offers positive results without harming your budget, you won’t want to miss your chance to own a bottle of Health Skin by Neutrogena. Although you can buy it for less than $20, it has demonstrated an ability to consistently reduce wrinkles and fine lines on the skin after a few treatments. The biggest downside is that some individuals will experience mild skin irritation when they use it for the first time.

Olay Regenerist

When you want to give another budget-friendly cream a try, you can’t go wrong with Olay Regenerist. At $18 per jar, this product will hydrate and exfoliate your skin at night to give you a fresh and captivating appearance when you wake up the next morning. The quality ingredients will offer positive changes in your skin that you won’t be able to ignore, and the difference will astound you.

Top 5 Luxury Sedans for 2018

Luxury sedans have always been known for offering a long list of extravagant features. However, today’s newest models are also engineered to deliver a truly captivating performance on the road.

You can now experience an additional degree of driving excitement while chauffeuring your family around.

2018 Lexus LS 500

It seems everyone in the automotive world is talking about the redesigned Lexus LS 500. It is arguably the best luxury sedan ever produced by Lexus. Every aspect of the new LS 500 is designed to exceed your expectations. With a competitive starting price of around $75,000, the 2018 Lexus LS 500 is destined to win over a lot of drivers.

Under the hood of the 2018 LS 500 sits a turbocharged V6 engine. With so much power on tap, most Lexus fans won’t miss the old V8 engine. Lexus tuned the new engine to develop a solid 416 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque. The full-size LS 500 rockets to 60 mph in a blistering 4.6 seconds. Featuring variable-ratio steering and a performance-tuned suspension, the optional F-Sport package makes the LS 500 especially engaging to drive.

Even the base LS 500 is packed with high-tech goodies. While you are behind the wheel, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster enables you to quickly access vital information. From pedestrian detection to autonomous braking, an outstanding number of safety innovations are available.

2018 Volvo S90

Class-leading seat comfort and strong fuel economy help make the 2018 Volvo S90 an appealing choice. Furthermore, it is one of the safest sedans that money can buy. A tempting MSRP of $47,945 puts the new S90 among the best deals in its class.

Most drivers will be happy with the S90’s base engine, which pushes out a satisfying 250 horsepower. Anticipate getting an EPA-estimated 24 mpg in town and 34 mpg on the highway. To obtain more performance, upgrade to the 316-horsepower T6 engine. You can look forward to experiencing especially snappy acceleration. Although the S90 is not a sports sedan, it definitely has the ability to put a grin on your face. Optional all-wheel drive gives the S90 a surefooted character in bad weather.

Many car reviewers consider the 2018 Volvo S90 to be a technological masterpiece. The standard Sensus infotainment system’s graphics are stunning. Featuring innovations such as lane-keep assist and adaptive cruise control, Volvo’s cutting-edge Pilot Assist system immediately transforms you into a safer driver. Blind-spot monitoring and a 360-degree parking camera are offered as well.

2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG S63

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz AMG S63 delivers the ultimate combination of performance and luxury. While your family will fall in love with the sedan’s plush cabin, you can expect to be amazed by its sensational power and track-worthy handling. However, this German-built luxury sedan is not easy on the wallet. Prices start at a lofty $147,500.

Powering the new AMG S63 is a twin-turbo V8 engine, which develops a staggering 603 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. The Mercedes-Benz AMG S63 is certainly quick enough to take your breath away. When tested on the track, it clocked a speedy 0-60 time of 3.4 seconds. Despite the sedan’s monstrous performance, it still manages to return a solid 23 mpg on the highway.

Aside from providing a surplus of passenger room, the new AMG S63 offers a shocking number of premium features. Boasting a 1,520-watt amplifier, the Burmester High-End 3D Surround Sound audio system gives you the experience of being at an actual concert. The latest in active safety features are offered as well. If an obstacle suddenly crosses your path, Mercedes-Benz’s Evasive Steering Assist feature will help you to avoid a collision.

2018 Audi S8

In terms of style and pure driving excitement, the 2018 Audi S8 can stand toe-to-toe with any luxury sedan on the market. It is the perfect car for the drivers who desire an incredibly fun family vehicle. While prices start at more than $110,000, you will be rewarded with an abundance of niceties.

Featuring a 605-horsepower engine and Audi’s famed Quattro AWD system, the new S8 is a beastly sedan that you can drive in any type of weather. When accelerating from a stop, the new Audi S8 takes only 3.7 seconds to hit 60 mph. In regards to fuel economy, the EPA rates the S8 to return a combined 18 mpg.

Upon first stepping inside the new Audi A8, you will likely be amazed by its well-built cabin. Contoured sport seats enable you to obtain great comfort throughout the day. A lot of cutting-edge features are available. Designed with handwriting-recognition technology, Audi’s standard MMI infotainment system can be completely controlled by the swipe of your finger. A Pre Sense safety system also comes standard, which will predict the likelihood of a crash.

2018 Tesla Model S P100D

Although foreign luxury sedans have dominated the market, Tesla proves that America also has the ability to develop premium automobiles. There are plenty of drivers who will appreciate this electric-powered sedan’s sleek styling and lightning-quick performance. Nevertheless, prices for the new 2018 Tesla Model S P100D start at a steep $135,000.

The Tesla Model S P100D is a true wolf in sheep’s clothing. Don’t let its whisper-quiet performance fool you. It posted a mind-numbing 0-60 time of 2.5 seconds, which is quicker than many of today’s exotic sports cars. The Model S P100D’s eco-friendly design is just as impressive. An advanced battery pack enables the sedan to travel up to 315 miles before needing a recharge.

A futuristic-looking interior helps separate the Tesla Model S P100D from today’s other luxury sedans. The infotainment system’s 17-inch display screen will immediately grab your attention. Software is automatically updated as you drive. Tesla also offers an ingenious Bioweapon Defense Mode feature, which prevents hazardous fumes from coming inside. Several world-class safety innovations are available, including night vision technology and advanced blind-spot detection.

Everything You Need to about Renting a Car

Whether you need a replacement vehicle while yours is in the shop or are planning a vacation, renting a car can be a somewhat confusing process.

Fortunately, if you know what to expect, you can be prepared in advance. That will help things go more smoothly and save you from any unwanted surprises when the time comes to pick up the vehicle.

What Do You Need in Order to Rent a Car?

To rent a vehicle, you’ll need more to bring more than just the money it costs to cover the rental fees. Before booking a rental car, be sure that you have the following things available:

Driver’s License

You will need to provide a valid state-issued driver’s license to the car rental company in order to prove that you’re legally allowed to drive. Additionally, the driver’s license will serve as proof of your age as car rental companies will not rent to drivers under the age of 21 and may charge additional fees for drivers up to the age of 25. Call ahead to check with your car rental agency as some require the driver’s license to be from the same state as where you plan to rent the car.

Credit Card

Even if you plan to pay for the car rental in cash, you will still need a credit card. The company will place a monetary hold on this card to serve as a form of insurance against damage to the vehicle. The card will need to have a name on it that matches the name on your driver’s license, so you cannot rent a car with someone else’s credit card in most cases. However, some companies will accept a debit card in lieu of a credit card; just remember that funds will be put on hold in your account until the rental period is over.

Car Insurance

If you have auto insurance of your own, it should cover damages to a rental car. However, it’s not a bad idea to opt for the rental company’s insurance coverage as well. If something happens to the car that your insurance will not cover for any reason, you will be held personally liable for the costs of repair unless you’ve purchased protection from the rental agency.

The best way to know what a rental company will require from you is to ask in advance. You can call ahead to reserve a vehicle and confirm what paperwork and documentation, if any, will be necessary when renting the vehicle.

How Old Do I Have to Be to Rent a Car?

Because young drivers are more likely to get into accidents, rental car companies view them as a higher risk and are reluctant to rent to them. In the past, you would need to be at least 25 years old to rent a car. However, this has changed somewhat; there are some car rental companies that will offer rentals to younger drivers.

Rental car companies will generally charge a premium for younger drivers. This daily fee can significantly raise the cost of a rental car. Additionally, the type of car available to you may vary depending on your age.

How to Save Money on a Rental Car

Renting a car can be expensive. Fortunately, there are a few ways that you can reduce the cost of your rental:

  • Shop around – There are more rental companies available than just the big national chains, and you may get a better deal with them. Just be sure to review a company’s reputation to ensure it’s reputable before doing business.
  • Don’t rent from the airport – Rental agencies in airports charge additional taxes that can be as much as 25 percent of the total rental cost. Arrange to pick up your car away from the airport to save this money instead.
  • Book your rental car through a discount site – Travel sites sometimes offer bundled flight/hotel/car rental packages that are much less expensive than if you purchased them individually.

Like hotels and flights, car rental rates can vary depending on a number of factors. Websites are available that can keep track of these trends and help you to book a car when it will be most cost effective.

Renting a Car While Overseas

Renting a car in a foreign country is a bit more complicated than picking one up at home. Fortunately, there are many options available at most travel destinations, and a bit of pre-planning can help you to be prepared.

First, you will want to determine whether the country you’re visiting will require you to have an International Driver’s Permit or if you can use your own state driver’s license. If you do need an IDP, you will need to apply for one before leaving the country.

Next, you’ll want to identify what car rental agencies are available at your destination. Most of the big American brands also have a presence overseas; there are also local car rental agencies that might offer a better deal.

Finally, check with your insurance company to see whether your coverage will extend to foreign soil and whether you need to do anything specific to protect yourself and the rental vehicle. You should also ask the rental company about any travel limitations, such as crossing country borders.

Once you’ve handled these steps, all that’s left is to book the vehicle and arrange to pick it up. Be sure to follow the same guidelines you would for a domestic rental, including having a credit card with you, so that things go according to plan when you arrive at the counter.

Top 5 Luxury SUVs for 2018

Today’s newest luxury SUVs are engineered to provide an extreme level of passenger comfort.

Whether you are cruising along the interstate or taking an off-road adventure, you can look forward to experiencing a plush driving experience. Here are the top five luxury SUVs of 2018!

2018 Audi Q7

Over the years, Audi has gained a reputation for developing vehicles that are engaging to drive. The 2018 Audi Q7 is no exception. It is the perfect three-row crossover for the drivers who demand top-notch performance and luxury. Even with a starting MSRP of $50,875, the new Q7 proves to be a legitimate value.

Audi gives you two well-designed engines to choose from. The turbocharged four-cylinder develops 252 horsepower while returning an EPA-estimated 25 mpg on the highway. Meanwhile, the supercharged V6 engine promises to deliver even more thrills. It produces a muscular 333 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque. Not only is the V6-powered model quick, but it can also tow up to 7,700 pounds. If you’re looking for the smoothest ride possible, you can upgrade for the adaptive air suspension.

On the inside, the new Q7 welcomes you to an extravagant-looking cabin. From the seats to the dashboard, every aspect of the interior has a high-quality feel. While the Q7 promises outstanding comfort, tall people will find the third-row seat to be a tight fit. In terms of technology, the Q7 comes standard with niceties such as a three-zone climate control system and a 10-speaker sound system. You will also receive Audi’s highly acclaimed Pre Sense safety system, which keeps an eye out for other vehicles and pedestrians. Available as an option, Audi’s new Virtual Cockpit is among the most stunning digital gauge clusters on the market.

2018 Jaguar F-Pace

Although the Jaguar F-Pace is a luxurious SUV, it delivers plenty of driving excitement. The F-Pace is also tough enough to handle an off-road adventure. Featuring a more potent base engine and an improved infotainment system, the 2018 model is now even more rewarding to drive. Prices start at a competitive $43,000.

Expect the F-Pace to deliver ample performance. Developing a total of 247 horsepower, the turbocharged four-cylinder engine feels strong enough for most drivers. Fuel economy is also impressive. Drivers can anticipate getting a solid 22 mpg in town and 27 mpg on the highway. With a combined fuel economy rating of nearly 30 mpg, the optional diesel engine is especially efficient. Of course, some drivers won’t be able to resist the supercharged V6 engine’s extra punch. Special tuning enables the S model to develop a spectacular 380 horsepower.

The F-Pace’s cabin is a fun place to be. It provides a high level of comfort while surrounding you with an extensive list of luxurious features. Everyone will be amazed by the sheer size of the standard panoramic sunroof. While several options are offered, the Wi-Fi hotspot is a feature your entire family should love. When traveling in a busy area, the SUV’s new Forward Traffic Detection system will come in handy. Questionable long-term reliability seems to be this crossover’s only major drawback.

2018 Volvo XC90

Volvo has always been known for being a leader in passenger safety. You can rank the 2018 Volvo XC90 among the most secure vehicles on the road. Blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control now come standard. However, an elegant interior design and innovative engineering also help the XC90 to stand out from the crowd. Expect to pay around $47,900 for the entry-level trim, which is a strong value.

Although a traditional V6 engine is not available, Volvo’s available four-cylinder engines deliver the necessary performance without sacrificing any fuel efficiency. While the base engine develops 250 horsepower, the combination of a turbocharger and a supercharger enables the innovative Drive-E engine to produce a potent 316 horsepower. In terms of fuel economy, the base XC90 returns 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the freeway. Although the CX90’s road handling is impressive, it is not sportiest option in the class.

The XC90’s interior has a very sophisticated look. While the standard version is perfect for a family of five, a third-row seat can be added as an option. Some of the available niceties include massaging seats, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, and a thunderous Bowers & Wilkins audio system.

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio

While this luxury crossover is new on the scene, it has already received a lot of positive feedback. Its racy performance is bound to trigger an instant adrenaline rush. There are also plenty of drivers who will appreciate the Stelvio Quadrifoglio’s Italian styling and spectacular creature comforts. Audiophiles will especially enjoy the 900-watt sound system. A lack of backseat space is this SUV’s primary drawback.

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio has a fun-to-drive character that very few rivals can match. Its beastly engine produces a gut-wrenching 505 horsepower. On the road, the Stelvio Quadrifoglio has the reflexes of a genuine sports car. If you decide to take a long journey, adaptive cruise control will help you to relax. Expect to pay around $70,000 for the top-of-the-line trim. Meanwhile, the base model demands a more reasonable $41,995.

2018 Lexus RX

Bulletproof reliability and superior ride quality make the Lexus RX a top-rated luxury SUV. Some drivers will also be intrigued by the RX’s polarizing appearance. Most importantly, Lexus gives you access to a plethora of impressive collision-avoidance technologies.

Powering the Lexus RX is a familiar V6 engine, which pushes out a solid 295 horsepower. A quick-shifting, eight-speed transmission aids the RX’s smooth power delivery. With a highway fuel economy rating of 27 mpg, the RX proves to be a great choice for taking long road trips. An optional F-Sport performance package tightens up the crossover’s handling.

Supportive seats and outstanding legroom make the RX a perfect match for today’s families. While several worthy features come standard, you can opt for niceties such as an amplified Mark Levinson sound system and a wide-screen entertainment system. Expect to pay roughly $42,200 for the well-equipped base model.

What to Know about Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis is one of the most prevalent neurological issues that young adults face today. Recent statistics indicate that there are currently over 400,000 young adults throughout the United States that suffer from Multiple Sclerosis. Approximately 200 people are diagnosed with this condition every week in the U.S.

Although more women than men get diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, the condition does affect both genders. Additionally, while the average age of diagnosis is between 20 and 40 years, anyone of any age group can develop Multiple Sclerosis.

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple Sclerosis is a long-lasting neurological disease that normally strikes in young adulthood. This means that the disease affects the brain, spinal cord, and nerves in various locations of the body.

Multiple Sclerosis can affect each patient to varying degrees. Some individuals may experience mild symptoms that require no treatment or intervention. Others may have serious effects that interfere with many aspects of their daily life.

Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis

Since Multiple Sclerosis affects neurological functions within the body, the disease creates very specific signs and symptoms. Not all patients will experience all of these symptoms. Additionally, the severity of which symptoms are experienced can vary a great deal.

The following signs and symptoms are common with a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis:

  • Difficulty walking properly.
  • A feeling of extreme tiredness or exhaustion.
  • Muscle spasms or weakness of the muscles.
  • Blurred vision or double vision from ocular nerve damage.
  • Tingling and numbness of various parts of the body.
  • Poor control of the bladder and bowels due to nerve damage.
  • Pain in various body locations.
  • Issues with focus or memory.

As mentioned earlier, Multiple Sclerosis may not affect you the same way it affects someone else. It is normal for patients to experience varying degrees of symptoms.

In some cases, a patient will not even require any form of treatment if their symptoms are mild enough to not affect their daily functioning. In other cases, a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis may start off mild and eventually advance to a more serious and life-altering problem.

Causes of Multiple Sclerosis

At the current time, medical professionals are not entirely sure what causes some individuals to develop Multiple Sclerosis. There are several issues that can play a role in increasing someone’s risk for developing this condition — known as risk factors.

Risk factors for the development of Multiple Sclerosis are:

  • Individuals between 15 and 60 years old are at the highest risk of developing Multiple Sclerosis.
  • Women are almost twice as likely to experience Multiple Sclerosis than men are.
  • There does appear to be at least some genetic components to Multiple Sclerosis, so a family history of the disease can influence your risk of developing it.
  • Some research indicates that specific viral infections, including Epstein Barr, can be a precipitating factor in the development of Multiple Sclerosis.
  • White individuals, especially those descended from Northern European, are at an increased risk of developing Multiple Sclerosis.
  • Autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, thyroid disease, and inflammatory bowel disease, can increase an individual’s risk of developing Multiple Sclerosis.

If you have any of the above-mentioned risk factors, don’t despair. The overwhelming majority of the population who experiences these risk factors will still never develop Multiple Sclerosis. However, these are the factors that appear to influence risk the most.

Common Treatment Options for Multiple Sclerosis

Currently, Multiple Sclerosis is an incurable neurological disease. Even though it cannot be cured, there are several drug therapies that are used to help patients control their symptoms and have an improved quality of life.

The following are a few of the most commonly used treatment options for the control of Multiple Sclerosis symptoms. These drugs may slow down and prevent further nerve damage, thus relieving or preventing a worsening of symptoms associated with the disease. These drugs are:

  • Beta interferon drugs, such as Avonex and Rebif.
  • Daclizumab or Zinbryta
  • Mitoxantrone or Novantrone
  • Dimethyl fumarate or Tecfidera
  • Teriflunomide or Aubagio.

Medical professionals also often prescribe steroid-based medications that can lessen the frequency and intensity of Multiple Sclerosis attacks. When combined with some of the treatment medications mentioned above, this dual combination can be very effective at reducing symptoms and improving quality of life for Multiple Sclerosis sufferers.

Alternative Remedies for Multiple Sclerosis

In addition to recommended prescription medications and steroid treatments, many Multiple Sclerosis patients seek alternative therapies to help them control their symptoms. The following are the most common alternative remedies that may offer additional relief to Multiple Sclerosis patients.

  • Regular exercise can help reduce painful muscle spasms by making the affected muscles stronger.
  • Vitamin D has been shown to possibly reduce or at least slow down the progression of the disease in some people.
  • Since stress can trigger a worsening of symptoms in some people, relaxation exercises and techniques can also be beneficial. Yoga, Tai Chi, various forms of meditation, deep breathing techniques, and even massage can provide benefits for some Multiple Sclerosis patients.
  • Acupuncture and acupressure techniques can also sometimes reduce painful muscle spasms and cut down on the amount of pain some patients experience.

Diet Tips for Managing Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms

While there is no one specific diet that all Multiple Sclerosis patients should follow, it stands to reason that a healthier individual will be better equipped to deal with the effects of Multiple Sclerosis.

Therefore, a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables can improve the overall functioning of the body, resulting in a better degree of control over MS symptoms. A nutrient-rich diet centered around fruits, vegetables, and lean sources of protein can sometimes increase the time period between active MS attacks and decrease the severity of the attacks experienced.

Upcoming Medical Innovations for Treating Multiple Sclerosis

Researchers and medical professionals are constantly looking for more treatment therapies to assist those suffering from conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis. Ongoing research is aimed at helping medical professionals gain a better understanding of what causes Multiple Sclerosis, as well as the ability to diagnose it at an earlier stage and offset much of the damage that eventually occurs.

Stem cell and genetic-based research are the most exciting upcoming innovations when it comes to helping those dealing with Multiple Sclerosis symptoms. It is hoped with stem cell and genetic treatments that targeted therapies for the management of this disease may be created, leading to an improved treatment outcome and better success across the board for patients.

With as many as 400,000 Americans suffering from Multiple Sclerosis throughout the U.S. today, it’s no wonder that this incurable disease is a concern for many people. This is especially true for those who have family members with the disease or those who have any of the associated risk factors for development.

While Multiple Sclerosis currently remains incurable, there is hope on the horizon for the development of more targeted therapies that can provide a better outcome and an improved quality of life for those suffering from Multiple Sclerosis today.

What to Know about Managing A1C Levels

Diabetes is an endocrine disorder that occurs when there is too much glucose in the bloodstream. Glucose, which comes from the food we eat, is the body’s primary energy source.

The pancreas makes a hormone called insulin, which moves the glucose from the food into the cells. In people with diabetes, the body’s cells may not make enough or any insulin, which leads to too much glucose in the blood and not enough in the cells.

Over time, this can cause serious health problems. Unfortunately, symptoms can be subtle and easy to overlook in the early stages, which is why doctors sometimes recommend A1C blood tests.

What Are AIC Levels? 

Unlike a single fasting blood glucose test, which shows only where your blood sugar is at that moment, an A1C test offers a comprehensive view of the last several months of blood sugar levels. It measures glycated hemoglobin, or the amount of sugar that is attached to the hemoglobin protein in your blood.

Any blood glucose that is not used for energy or stored attaches to hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen in the blood cells. Red blood cells live for about three months. Higher blood glucose levels over this three-month time period will reflect in a higher A1C level.

An A1C test can show not just how well diabetes is being managed, but can also be used to diagnose prediabetes and diabetes. Normal A1C levels should be below 5.7 percent.

Maintaining an A1C of 6.5 to 8.0 percent is associated with a longer life expectancy and no significant cardiovascular risks. An A1C above eight percent is associated with a lowered life expectancy, vascular complications and a variety of comorbidities. Keeping your A1C below 7.0 is associated with a lower risk of vascular complications.

You and your doctor will develop an A1C goal based on your age, the duration of your diabetes, your hypoglycemia status, and any comorbidities you have.

Symptoms and Causes of Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the immune system attacks and destroys the pancreas’ beta cells, which produce insulin. Type 1 diabetes is linked to both genetic and environmental factors and is rare. Type 2 diabetes, which is the most common type of diabetes, is associated with genetic and lifestyle factors, including excess weight, inactivity, and insulin resistance.

Symptoms of diabetes can develop over time or suddenly, and can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Increased hunger
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Tingling or numbness of the extremities
  • Sores that do not heal
  • Bad breath

Because these symptoms can be easy to overlook or miss, periodic blood tests such as the A1C can be critical for identifying early changes associated with diabetes or prediabetes.

Common Treatment Options

Keeping your blood glucose levels at a constant, normal level is essential to managing your A1C levels and your diabetes. Dramatic blood glucose fluctuations can lead to immediate problems, such as hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, and ketoacidosis, as well as long-term problems, including damage to the blood vessels that supply the kidneys, eyes, heart, and nerves.

With proper treatment, you can keep your blood sugar under control. Treatment can include weight loss, diet, exercise, and medication. One or more medications can be used to bring blood glucose and A1C into your target levels.

Common drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes include:

  • Metformin: Improves insulin sensitivity and reduces glucose production in the liver.
  • Sulfonylureas: Stimulates the pancreas to produce more insulin.
  • Meglitinides: Works similarly to sulfonylureas, only faster.
  • Thiazolidinediones: Improves insulin sensitivity.
  • DPP-4 inhibitors: Can help reduce blood sugar levels.
  • GLP-1 receptor agonists: Lowers blood sugar levels and slows digestion.
  • SGLT-2 inhibitors: Prevents the kidneys from reabsorbing glucose, instead cause it to be excreted in urine.
  • Insulin therapy: Used to manage blood glucose levels — also used for type 1 diabetes.

Medications are typically used in conjunction with lifestyle changes for a comprehensive approach. For those with a body mass index over 35, your doctor may recommend weight-loss surgery. Weight loss surgery can significantly reduce blood glucose levels in up to 95 percent of those with diabetes depending on the type of surgery.

Alternative Remedies

Many diabetics use complementary or alternative medicine in conjunction with conventional medicine. In fact, according to the National Health Interview Survey, more than a fifth of people with diabetes use herbs to help manage their symptoms. While alternative medicines and herbs can play a role in a healthy lifestyle, it is important to remember that they do have limits and should be used with caution.

Some of the more promising alternative medicines include:

  • Alpha-lipoic acid: An antioxidant that may help lower blood sugar and reduce the risk of diabetes-related nerve damage.
  • Chromium: A mineral that can boost glucose metabolism.
  • Polyphenols: Antioxidants found in green tea that may help lower blood sugar and cholesterol.
  • Ginseng: A plant root that may help lower blood sugar.

Herbal supplements have limitations, and there is not yet enough scientific evidence to recommend any of these for medical purposes. If you do decide to try an alternative therapy, don’t stop taking your normal diabetes medications, and discuss your choices with your doctor to reduce the risk of adverse reactions.

Managing A1C with Diet

While there is no single diabetes diet, eating a balanced diet can be a great way to lower your A1C and manage your diabetes. Look for low-glycemic foods or foods that help keep your blood sugar stable, such as:

  • Seafood
  • Poultry
  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Avocados
  • Non-starchy vegetables
  • Nuts and peanuts
  • Unsweetened Greek yogurt
  • Chia seeds or flaxseeds
  • Dark chocolate

A registered dietician can help you design a diet that can accommodate your personal preferences, dietary needs, allergies, sensitivities, lifestyle, and other needs.

Exercise goes hand-in-hand with a healthy diet. Once you’ve gotten your doctor’s okay to exercise, look for activities that you enjoy, such as biking or swimming, and make them a part of your daily routine. Most people need to exercise about 30 minutes a day most days of the week. If you are currently sedentary, start slowly and work your way to that level.

Upcoming Medical Innovations

Several innovative treatments are on the horizon that may just help you get your A1C levels even lower. One is a weight-loss drug called Lorcaserin, which regulates hunger in the brain. It also modifies the neurons that regulate blood glucose levels and boost insulin sensitivity.

Another drug currently being researched inhibits an enzyme called LMPTP. This drug causes cells to become more receptive to insulin, especially in the liver. When tested in mice, the drug not only reversed insulin sensitivity; it cured their diabetes.

According to the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes should have an A1C test at least twice a year. Along with your daily blood glucose monitoring, the A1C test can give you detailed insights into the management of your disease and help you better control your blood glucose levels for a healthier life.

The Best Diapers for Your Infant

When you have a baby, you find yourself looking for the perfect products to make parenting easier and life more comfortable for the infant. You research the best baby monitors, laundry detergents, and feeding accessories. Finding the best diapers is also important.

If you don’t use good diapers, you can end up with messy accidents at the most inopportune times. Moreover, your little one may be uncomfortable and fussy. A wet diaper can harbor bacteria and cause rashes. The best diapers fit your baby like a soft hug, wick away wetness, and prevent unpleasant leakage.

Pampers Swaddlers

If you’re used to working with diapers that feel stiff like plastic, you may be surprised when you feel Pampers Swaddlers. These feel like soft cloth and are comfortable against your baby’s skin.

The convenient wetness indicator is a yellow like that’s printed on the outside of the diaper. The indicator turns blue when the diaper is wet. This can help you change the diaper immediately. Protect babies’ sensitive skin by minimizing contact with warm, wet surfaces.

The diapers have Extra Absorb Channels, which pull wetness into the center of the diaper, away from the surface that touches your infant. They also have a notch that’s cut out to make room for a newborn’s umbilical cord stump. This keeps the area dry and less likely to foster the growth of bacteria.

You can find a box of 216 diapers in size one for roughly $42.99 on Amazon.

Pampers Cruisers

Although these diapers aren’t available for newborns and younger infants, they provide protection for mobile babies. Like Pampers Swaddlers, Cruisers contain Extra Absorb Channels and provide excellent wetness protection. The downside is that Cruisers don’t feel quite as soft as Swaddlers.

However, Cruisers are designed to fit snugly as your child moves around. A unique fit adjusts at the bottom and around the legs and waist to allow for freedom of movement. When some diapers become full, they sag in the back and bunch between the legs. Cruisers are made to be streamlined and prevent drooping.

A box of 180 Cruisers in size three costs roughly $41 on Amazon.

Huggies OverNites

One challenge that comes with having an infant is dealing with nighttime diaper changes. In some cases, babies wake up when they feel wetness. Therefore, it’s important to use a diaper that absorbs a lot of liquid and pulls it away from the skin. Diapers that you use throughout the night should be able to hold more than a daytime diaper.

Huggies OverNites offer plenty of absorbency. The company claims that the diapers are scientifically constructed to help your child sleep. If a leak wakes up your baby, you can contact Huggies for a full refund.

Diapers can shift when little ones move around. The friction against the bedding can exacerbate the problem. Huggies’ SnugFit waistband doesn’t gap or open even when your baby wiggles all night.

The diapers start at size three. Therefore, they may not be appropriate for newborns. A box of 72 diapers costs about $47 on Amazon.

Honest Diapers

Many consumers love Honest Diapers for their safety and visual appeal. They come in sweet prints, such as giraffes, anchors, pumpkins,flowers, and various sports themes.

The product is made with hypoallergenic and sustainable materials. The pulp that provides absorbency in the center panel of the diaper is made from plant-based pulp instead of man-made compounds.

While these diapers may be more eco-friendly than some of the mainstream brands, they offer slightly reduced functionality, though. Some consumers believe that these are more expensive than other brands. The prices on Amazon seem to be comparable.

Honest Diapers fit differently than some other brands. They come up higher at the waist, which can make them convenient when you’ve been dealing with leakage issues in that area. The waistband, leg bands, and tabs are soft and flexible.

A box of 176 size one diapers costs about $42 on Amazon.

Seventh Generation Free and Clear

Another contender in the natural category is Seventh Generation. These diapers don’t have bleaches, lotions, or fragrances that can aggravate sensitive skin. They’re made from sustainably sourced materials. Seventh Generation Free and Clear diapers feel softer than some of the other natural options.

The company claims that the ultra-absorbent core absorbs up to three times more liquid than a standard wetting. The high-capacity core also keeps moisture away from the skin.

A box of 160 size one diapers costs about $47 on Amazon.

How to Save on Diapers

The prices of diapers on Amazon.com may fluctuate. As you go up in size, you’ll get fewer diapers for the price.

Because babies have different shapes, some fit into certain brands better than others. An ideal way to find the best diaper for your infant is to test out different kinds until you find one that works. Unfortunately, that can get expensive. Therefore, you probably want to know how to save on diapers.

If you’re shopping at a local store, use coupons. Some stores even double or triple manufacturers’ coupons. You can locate the coupons on your diaper manufacturer’s website, and in parenting magazines and the newspaper. If you’re having trouble finding a good source for coupons, ask your friends where they get theirs. Many parenting blogs also post links to clippable coupons.

Shopping online can make the purchasing process more convenient and help you save money. Many websites give you rewards or discounts on diapers.

Amazon Mom members get free shipping and a 20-percent discount when they shop with Subscribe & Save. Another option, Huggies’ Enjoy The Ride Rewards program allows you to earn points for each diaper purchase. You can redeem the rewards for free gifts later.

Walmart, Walgreens, CVS, and Target are some retailers that sell diapers in-store and online.

Buying in bulk can save you money. Stock up when you find a great deal. Being flexible with brands can also let you buy the most affordable option when it’s on sale or you have a coupon.

Canada’s Top Luxury Sedans of 2017

A luxury sedan is perfect for drivers who desire an elevated degree of performance and comfort. While some models have fallen behind the pack, there are others that deserve to be mentioned among the best.

Below we’ve ranked some of Canada’s top-rated luxury sedans, and critiqued them on the features they offer. Performance, comfort, and accessibility are the main criteria we’ll be assessing in the sections below. To find out which sedan we’ve put in the number one spot you’ll have to read on!

4. 2017 Acura TLX

Proven reliability and an affordable price tag help make the 2017 Acura TLX a sweet deal. Sleek styling takes the TLX’s appeal to the next level. Like the other luxury sedans on this list, the Acura TLX received excellent crash-test scores.

If you don’t desire blistering quick acceleration, the base four-cylinder engine will get the job done. It is able to put out 206 horsepower while managing to deliver 6.6 l/100 km. Some drivers will crave the V6 engine’s more muscular performance, which churns out a stout 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. Although front-wheel drive comes standard, you can take advantage of Acura’s Super Handling AWD system. Aside from promoting better traction in wintry weather, the AWD system transforms the TLX into an impressive performer on twisty roads.

Great seat comfort and generous passenger space make the TLX an ideal family car. While heated front seats come standard, ventilated seats are optional. Other basic features include a multi-view backup camera, a USB interface, and a dual-display infotainment system. The high-powered ELS sound system remains a worthy upgrade for music fans. All of today’s most popular safety technologies are available, including automatic emergency braking and lane-departure intervention.

Although the TLX proves to be a top luxury sedan, it is not perfect. The TLX’s infotainment system suffers from subpar graphics and somewhat complicated controls. A low roof also decreases the amount of headroom available for your backseat passengers. Plus, for the drivers who prefer a manual transmission, they will be out of luck with the 2017 Acura TLX.

3. 2017 BMW 3 Series

The BMW 3 Series has always been ranked among the best luxury sedans on the market. Drivers have grown to appreciate its sporty performance and well-built cabin. A five-star safety rating gives families yet another reason to choose the new 3 Series.

A turbocharged four-cylinder engine comes standard on the base 320i model, which develops a commendable 180 horsepower. Although the 330i model uses the same engine, special tuning takes its output up to 220 horsepower. An efficient diesel engine is available as well. To obtain the ultimate performance, upgrade to the turbocharged six-cylinder engine. It develops a sensational 320 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque. Not only is the 3 Series quick, but it is also good on gas. While the base engine tops out at 6.5 l/100 km, the diesel version delivers 5.9 l/100 km. Also, all-wheel drive is optional.

On the inside, the 3 Series provides plenty of legroom for everyone in your family. Some of the notable standard features include BMW’s iDrive infotainment system, a push-button ignition, and Bluetooth connectivity. Available as an option, the 16-speaker Harman Kardon audio system truly delivers outstanding sound quality. Advanced safety innovations, such as adaptive headlights and automatic braking, will give you more confidence on the road.

While the BMW 3 Series is a fine automobile, there are a few drawbacks. It can be a bit more expensive to maintain than its competitors. When equipped with upgrades such as performance brakes, expect the sedan’s cost of ownership to skyrocket.

2. 2017 Audi A4

A spacious interior and a wealth of modern technologies have helped the A4 to become a top-ranked luxury sedan.

Packing a total of 252 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque, the A4’s turbocharged four-cylinder engine certainly provides ample performance. You can stick with the automatic transmission or opt for a six-speed manual gearbox. Audi also offers an eco-friendly Ultra trim, which comes equipped with a less potent engine. Nevertheless, it will reward you by returning 6.4 l/100 km.

The 2017 Audi A4 has received high marks for its well-designed features. Because the A4 boasts so many standard features, you may not feel the need to upgrade to a higher trim. In fact, smartphone integration, a 10-speaker sound system, and a backup camera are all found on the base model. There are also some attractive options available such as Audi’s cutting-edge Virtual Cockpit. Featuring a 12.3 digital display, this additional feature enables you to easily access information while on the road.

Despite the A4’s great all-round performance, there are a few cons to keep in mind. Many drivers consider the sedan’s numb steering feel to be a key weakness. Plus, seniors may find the A4’s seats to be a bit stiffer than they would prefer.

1. 2017 Mercedes C-Class

For years, Canadian drivers have adored the Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Although there are more extravagant models in Mercedes-Benz’s lineup, you can’t overlook what the C-Class brings to the table. Whether you are looking for an exciting driving experience or an elite level of luxury, the C-Class promises to leave you fulfilled.

This German-engineered sedan comes standard with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It pushes out an enjoyable 241 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque. Although the base C-Class is not the quickest car in the segment, it is far from slow. A 0-100 km/h time of 5.9 seconds means that C-Class can keep pace with a lot of V6-powered cars. To experience sports car-like thrills, check one of the optional V8 engine. While the turbocharged V6 engine produces 362 horsepower, the boosted V8 engine cranks out a jaw-dropping 503 horsepower. Of course, the additional power forces you to give up some fuel efficiency. The base engine will return 7.8 l/100 km.

Virtually everyone applauds the Mercedes-Benz C-Class for its beautiful cabin. Very few luxury sedans have a better fit and finish. Although premium leather upholstery is offered, even the standard MB-Tex upholstery has an upscale quality. A useful dial controller enables you to quickly surf the infotainment system’s menu screen. Dual USB ports and Bluetooth phone integration come standard as well. The sedan’s list of upgrades includes a booming Burmester sound system and a special heads-up display. In terms of safety, an excellent automatic braking system helps the C-Class to avoid dangerous collisions.

When taking a look at the competition, you will see that the C-Class is not quite as efficient on gas. It can also be an expensive purchase for some buyers. The high-powered AMG 63 model can cost more than $79,000 dollars.

Although all four of these luxury sedans warrant a great deal of praise, only one car can be crowned as the best. The 2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class stands out in the most important categories. From its finely crafted interior to its smooth driving dynamics, every aspect of the new C-Class shines.

A Man’s Guide to the Best Razors on the Market

Shaving is a daily ritual for many men, even though it doesn’t get a lot of serious consideration. Whether you have distinct preferences in the products you use or you’re just going through the motions to get on with your day, your razor will make a difference to your overall grooming experience. A quality razor is not only more comfortable but will also provide you with a closer and longer lasting shave that men appreciate, so knowing the best razors on the market is important to both casual groomers and beard aficionados alike.

Top Three Razors on the Market

There are dozens of different razors to choose from, but not all brands and models are created equal. No matter how you shave or what style of razor you prefer, there is a top pick that should work for your needs.

Merkur Futur

Boasting German engineering, the Merkur Futur razor is the perfect balance of design, aesthetics and performance. The substantial handle offers plenty of grip with an ergonomic design that makes this a great option for people who like an old-fashioned feel when they shave. While the design mimics a classic straight razor, you can adjust the blades for a wide variety of angles and various degrees of closeness. This razor also works well for both right and left-handed users, making it incredibly versatile.

Available in either a matte or a stainless-steel finish, the Merkur Futur has a distinctly vintage vibe while still providing top shaving performance. This razor has a price tag of around $55 on Amazon with a 30-pack of replacement blades selling for around $20. Unlike cheaper options and disposables, this razor is built to last.

Philips Norelco OneBlade

As a top seller on Amazon, it’s clear that this model has a lot to offer the discerning shaver. While it looks similar in size and shape to a traditional manual razor, the Philips Norelco OneBlade is actually an electric shaver and beard trimmer. The smart design allows you to move around contours with ease while drawing hairs into the blades without pulling or tugging. Additionally, you can adjust the desired hair length with ease.

This razor is designed to work efficiently and effectively, giving you about 30 shaves before you will need to replace the blade. It’s both wireless and rechargeable, making it convenient for traveling. You can also dry shave with little to no discomfort, which is a big selling point. On Amazon, this razor goes for around $35, and replacement blades are approximately $15 apiece.

Every Man Jack Manual Razor

The sophisticated look and feel of the Every Man Jack Manual Razor is definitely a plus, but this pick makes the list because it also works well, even for amateur shavers. The easy to grasp handle gives users a lot of control, while the pivoting head can handle tight spaces. Six separate blades on the replaceable heads offer an incredibly close shave while still rinsing clean after each use.

On Amazon, the Every Man Jack Manual Razor is sold for around $25, and the package includes the razor, a sleek stand, and four replacement blades. Fans of this option report that they get about ten shaves before they need to change the blade. Every Man Jack handles are also compatible with the popular Dorco blades, so consider trying those with this handle when the original refills run out.

Top Three Razor Membership Clubs

Offering the best of quality and convenience, razor clubs deliver blades right to your door before you even realize that you’re running low. While this is a fairly new way to shop for shaving supplies, several subscriptions stand above the crowd. There are different types of clubs, so you can find the perfect fit whether you only want reliable blades or are interested in a more full-service shaving experience.

Gillette On Demand

With both quality razors and a convenient subscription model, the Gillette On Demand service appeals to many men. There are three designs to choose from, including the customer favorite Gillette Fusion Proshield blades, so this subscription provides something for every budget. There are plenty of perks for choosing monthly delivery, including receiving every fourth month at no charge, but you can also make a one-time purchase via text message or the website. Gillette offers a $3 discount for first-time customers, so you can give the brand a try with minimal risk.

The pricing for the Gillette On Demand club varies based upon what type of razor you select. The basic Sensor 3 Disposable Razor will cost you $11 per month, while you can upgrade to the Mach 4 Turbo for just $13 and the Fusion Proshield for around $21.45. There is no obligation, and you can cancel or interrupt delivery at any time.

Harry’s

For shavers who want a bit more than the basics, Harry’s offers a subscription service that you can try for just the cost of shipping, making this quality club completely risk-free. For the minimal $3 shipping fee, you will receive the Harry’s Truman razor with a blade and a 2-oz bottle of Harry’s Shave Gel with Aloe. This introductory offer is designed to give you two weeks of shaves before jumping into one of the subscription plans for replacement blades.

Expect to pay around $2 per blade for refills with Harry’s fully customizable delivery schedule. If you like the shave gel, you can include that in your monthly subscription or stick with a plan that includes just refill blades.

The Dollar Shave Club

If your bottom line is your main priority with a subscription service, then you have to consider the Dollar Shave Club. The $5 starter kit includes the highly rated Executive razor and a trial set of shaving supplies that includes Easy Shave Butter, a hidden treasure that stands out among shaving creams. Once you have subscribed, you will receive replacement blades on a monthly basis for just $9. The Dollar Shave Club offers a customer satisfaction guarantee, and you can cancel your subscription at any time, making this an excellent value.

Shaving is largely a utilitarian activity, but it’s something that is a daily part of your grooming routine, so it matters what tools you use to get the job done. No matter how you approach this task, you want a quality razor that gives you a clean and comfortable shave, and these are all good options for discerning buyers.

What to Know About Managing COPD

Chronic lung diseases cause a great deal of inconvenient and distress for sufferers and their families. According to the National Emphysema Foundation, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a leading cause of disability and mortality in the U.S. About 30 million Americans are affected across all 50 states.

People suffering from COPD lose an average of $1,800 per year of income due to missed work, amounting to a lifetime loss of about $20,000. One-fifth of 45 to 67-year-olds with COPD are forced to go into early retirement, causing them to miss out on benefits and require more reliance on disability payments.

What is COPD?

COPD refers to multiple progressive lung diseases, including emphysema, chronic bronchitis and refractory asthma. This range of chronic inflammatory lung problems causes obstruction in air flow and disrupts the normal way your lungs function.

In healthy lungs, air flows through a network of increasingly narrow passages called bronchial tubes. Small sacs called alveoli at the end of the tubes inflate to allow oxygen to enter the body and carbon dioxide to be transferred out. COPD reduces the natural elasticity of both the tubes and sacs and narrows airways by causing inflammation and increasing the production of mucus.

Risk Factors and Causes

Cigarette smoking is the most common cause of COPD, accounting for about 90 percent of all cases. Between 20 and 30 percent of chronic smokers wind up with clinical COPD symptoms, but there are also many sufferers who have never smoked.

If you are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke, live in a house where cooking fumes are poorly ventilated or work in an environment in which you inhale chemicals, dust or industrial fumes, you’re at a higher risk of developing COPD. Being over the age of 40 also increases your risk, especially if you smoke or have smoked in the past.

About 1 percent of people with COPD have a genetic condition called alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD). A lack of alpha-1 antitrypsin protein in the blood leads to problems with white blood cells and subsequent lung damage in babies, children and adults.

Signs and Symptoms

COPD is divided into four stages, measured by force expiratory volume (FEV), or how much force you can use when exhaling. In the first stage, FEV is around 80 percent of what’s normal. By stage IV, FEV drops to 30 percent.

At first, symptoms may be so mild as to be unnoticeable, and not all COPD patients present with the same collection of symptoms.

Early symptoms include:

  • Occasional shortness of breath after exertion
  • Persistent mild cough
  • Excessive clearing of the throat
  • Acute discomfort in the chest
  • Need to adjust normal activities, such as taking fewer stairs or exercising less

As the disease progresses, you may experience:

  • Increased breathlessness after basic activities
  • Chronic cough
  • Excessive mucus in the lungs
  • Wheezing or rattling breath
  • Rapid breathing
  • Crackling sounds in the lungs when inhaling
  • Chest tightness
  • Frequent respiratory infections
  • Low energy

Late and severe stages of the disease can present with:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Swelling in the legs, feet or ankles
  • Difficulty breathing or talking
  • Confusion or feeling faint
  • Racing heart
  • Blue or gray fingernails or lips

If you experience any of these symptoms, visit your doctor. COPD can also increase the risk of respiratory infections, heart disease, lung cancer, pulmonary hypotension and depression, so it’s important to get a diagnosis as soon as possible.

Common Treatment Options

To diagnose COPD, your doctor will take a full health history to determine your smoking habits and level of exposure to environmental pollutants. You’ll also be given a chest X-ray or CT scan and tests for oxygen saturation in your blood. Your doctor may refer you to a lung specialist if symptoms require further investigation.

If you’re diagnosed, there are several treatment options available for various stages of COPD:

  • Short and long-acting bronchodilators, such as anticholinergics and beta2-agonists, to open and relax tight airways
  • Theophylline to improve breathing and prevent flares
  • PDE4 inhibitors to prevent flares
  • Corticosteroid pills to treat flares
  • Corticosteroid inhalers for preventing flares, especially in asthmatic patients
  • Methylxanthines for severe COPD

Surgery is used only as a last resort for COPD sufferers who don’t respond to other methods. Part of one or both lungs may be removed in a lung volume reduction procedure, or a bullectomy may be performed to remove enlarged air sacs called bullae. In extreme cases, a lung transplant may be necessary.

Alternative Remedies

Diet and lifestyle modifications are important in managing COPD. Eating right and taking care of yourself improves quality of life and helps reduce the frequency and severity of your symptoms.

Diet

  • Focus on fresh, nutrient-dense foods with a high fiber content
  • Reduce your intake of gas-producing foods
  • Avoid dairy to prevent thickening of mucus
  • Minimize or eliminate salty and greasy foods
  • Increase your intake of healthy calorie-dense foods if you need to gain weight
  • Eat slowly
  • Divide daily calories between several small meals
  • Choose easy-to-prepare foods

Lifestyle

  • Stop smoking as soon as possible
  • Avoid fumes and smoke in daily life
  • Work with your doctor to develop a safe exercise plan
  • Learn to conserve energy during normal tasks
  • Learn breath training techniques to make breathing easier
  • Get vaccinated against potential lung infections
  • Get adequate sleep each night
  • Stay hydrated
  • Engage in stress reduction activities

Supplemental Options

  • Vitamin D supplementation if you’re deficient
  • N-acetylcysteine (NAC) to improve lung inflation and loosen mucus
  • Ginseng for better lung function
  • Bromelain and omega-3 fats to fight inflammation
  • XCP, an herbal preparation used in traditional Chinese medicine, to control flares

Pulmonary rehabilitation programs include education, dietary guidance and lifestyle changes to help you understand your disease, get started with an exercise program and make good food choices. By working with a network of specialists, you can learn to adopt new habits and make COPD easier to manage.

Prognosis

COPD worsens over time. All COPD sufferers have some reduction in life expectancy, and smokers in the late stages of the disease are most likely to suffer early mortality. Early detection can improve your ability to manage symptoms as you age.

New treatment options are improving outlooks for COPD sufferers. Doctors and researchers are looking for ways to slow the progression of the disease and preserve quality of life. Research is ongoing into new treatment options, including:

  • Antioxidant extracts to reverse oxidative stress
  • CXCR2 antagonists to block pro-inflammatory proteins
  • Selective glucocorticoid receptor modulators
  • Better imaging for earlier and more accurate detection
  • Proteases to inhibit inflammatory reactions
  • New drugs like 5-lioxygenase inhibitors, endothelin antagonists and mucolytics

Broncoscopic lung volume reduction may also be a possibility for those needing advanced intervention. In this operation, doctors insert metal coils into damaged tissue in an effort to preserve elasticity and improve lung function.

Working with a medical team can help you manage your COPD symptoms for the best possible quality of life. Follow the treatment advice you’re given, and don’t be afraid to ask for help with everyday tasks. When you get the support you need, treat your body well and use the right combination of therapies, it’s possible to minimize the progression of your disease and live life with a positive outlook.

Best Credit-Check Sites That Are Worry-Free

If you are preparing to make a large purchase or have recently been the victim of identity theft, it is important for you to check your credit reports and scores with each of the three major credit bureaus.

It is likewise important for you to regularly monitor your credit so that you can fix mistakes or spot problems before they become serious.

Some people apply for car loans or mortgages without first checking their credit reports, only to be disheartened when their applications are denied. There are many online credit-check websites that promise to give you access to your information so that you can take the needed steps to remove inaccurate information and bring up your scores. Some sites are fraudulent, however, so it is important for you to know which sites to use. Here are the best credit-check sites that are also worry-free, allowing you to see exactly where you are with your credit.

Experian

One of the three major credit bureaus along with Equifax and Transunion, Experian offers consumers its Experian CreditWorks product. This credit-monitoring service monitors your credit reports from all three of the major credit bureau reporting agencies, as well as a copy of your FICO score. The FICO score is a three-digit score that 90 percent of lenders use when deciding whether to extend credit to you. Experian CreditWorks offers the following:

  • $1 trial period of seven days, followed by a monthly fee of $24.99
  • Monitors your credit reports from all three major credit reporting agencies
  • Provides a FICO score

If you choose Experian for your credit check and monitoring services, it is important that you understand the trial period and cancellation policy if you don’t want to have it for more than seven days.

Credit Karma

Credit Karma offers free credit reports from two of the major credit reporting agencies. It also provides you with credit monitoring services so that you can spend when you need to do so. It sends alerts to its customers if any changes occur in their TransUnion reports. Here’s what you need to know about Credit Karma:

  • Offers free credit monitoring
  • Offers free credit scores and credit reports from Equifax and Transunion
  • Ongoing credit monitoring is limited to your Transunion report

The best feature of Credit Karma is that it is free. However, the credit monitoring services are limited and do not include information from all three major credit reporting agencies.

Freecreditreport.com

Freecreditreport.com had previously offered free credit reports and scores. However, laws have since changed, forcing credit reporting agencies to use Annualcreditreport.com. Consequently, Freecreditreport.com now charges consumers a fee of $1 so that they can receive a credit report and score based on their data at Experian. The report is easy to read and contains information in tabs. The score is not a FICO score, but can offer you a good idea of where your credit currently stands. Here’s what you need to know about Freecreditreport.com:

  • $1 fee for a single report and score
  • Must sign up for a seven-day trial of Experian’s Triple Advantage Credit Monitoring
  • If plan is not canceled within seven days, you will be charged $14.95 per month

If you don’t want to have the ongoing credit monitoring services following your trial period, it is important that you cancel within the seven-day trial period. If you don’t, you won’t be refunded the $14.95 that will be charged to your credit card.

Truecredit.com

A part of Transunion, Truecreditreport.com offers consumers daily credit reports and scores from Transunion. The company alerts you if something changes on your credit reports and offers you help with fixing your credit in the event of fraud. The score that you receive uses the Vantage scoring model, which uses a different credit score range than the FICO range. Here are the details about Truecredit.com:

  • Cost of $19.95 per month for ongoing credit monitoring services
  • Transunion report with ongoing updates and alerts
  • Updates via email concerning changes to all three credit reports
  • Identity theft insurance of up to $1 million

MyFICO.com

MyFICO.com offers tiered plans through which you can choose a single credit report from one of the three major credit reporting agencies along with your FICO score and credit monitoring or a plan with credit reports from all three agencies, your FICO score, credit monitoring, and identity protection. The higher-tiered plan is strong because of the combination of credit monitoring and identity protection services. Here are its benefits:

  • $24.99 monthly fee
  • Credit monitoring and identity protection with reports from all three major credit reporting agencies
  • Access to your FICO score

The drawback of MyFICO is that the lower-tier plan is basic and only gives you access to a report from one of the three major credit agencies along with your FICO score and credit monitoring. However, it does not offer you the identity protection features of the higher-tier plan. The cost of the lower-tier plan is $19.99 per month.

It is important for you to be aware of your credit and to monitor it. With monitoring and identity theft protection, you will be quickly alerted if any fraudulent activity is suspected. Knowing what information is contained in your credit report and understanding your score can help you to prepare for making your purchases. You should check your credit regularly and take the steps that you need to correct any mistakes and improve your scores. These sites allow you to see where you stand so that you can do whatever might be needed.

Inside the 2017 Jeep Wrangler

Ever since the first Jeeps made their debut during World War II, the vehicle has been known for its rugged, off-road performance and reliability under unpredictable conditions. Today, Chrysler incorporates modern features into its Jeeps while it stays true to the SUVs original brand image. Although the automobile manufacturing giant has introduced many Jeep models over the years, it is the Jeep Wrangler that most closely resembles the virtually indestructible, military Jeeps of over 70 years ago.

The 2017 Jeep Wrangler has turned in its war-time dog tags and is now known as the vehicle of choice for civilians who want a fun SUV that can handle almost any adventure that you can throw at it. If you talk to fans of the Jeep brand, you will find that the 2017 Jeep Wrangler has a loyal following with purists. Its exterior styling is not the only attractive feature of the new Jeep Wrangler. It has a base MSRP of $23,995, and it has one of the highest expected resale values in its class according to one Kelley Blue Book report. The 2017 Jeep Wrangler comes in 14 different versions, so you are sure to find one that has just the right mix of style and performance elements to meet your driving expectations.

Performance Specs

Off-road performance is an area in which the 2017 Jeep Wrangler shines. The SUV comes with a powerful 3.6-Liter V-6 engine, and it claims 285 horsepower with 260 pound-feet of torque. Its wheels and suspension systems ensure that you have the traction to tackle surfaces that are wet, snowy, sandy, muddy and rocky. Some standard performance features include a robust 4-wheel drive system, disc brakes and a hydraulic assist brake booster system. If you ever want to reach a remote campsite that is located high in the mountains, this is the vehicle that will get you there safely.

The next-generation Dana 44 rear axle, which accommodates larger tires for the SUV, comes standard on this new Jeep Wrangler. It also has a towing capacity of up to 3,500 pounds. The auto maker is so confident about its 2017 Jeep Wrangler’s performance capabilities that it has stamped its own Trail Rated designation on it.

The base model 2017 Jeep Wrangler has a fun-to-drive, 6-speed manual transmission, but it comes with the option to upgrade to a 5-speed automatic version. The SUV’s estimated top speed is 110 miles per hour, and it can reportedly go from 0 to 60 in 8.5 seconds.

Safety and Entertainment Features

The 2017 Jeep Wrangler has been engineered with safety in mind. Besides its high-gauge, steel framing that protects occupants during accidents, the 2017 Jeep Wrangler has airbags that adjust output to the severity of impact for decreased injuries during accidents.

When you’re taking this car on rough terrain around unpredictable curves and bends, you’ll be glad to know that the manufacturer designed the 2017 Jeep Wrangler’s fuel compartment to be housed between extra steel framing. This offers added protection against fuel tank ruptures and deadly fires when you test out the performance capabilities on this SUV. Speed and traction control systems are also included in the 2017 Jeep Wrangler safety package.

While the new Jeep Wrangler mostly stays true to its no-frills heritage, it does have some modern, tech-based features that contribute to driver and passenger safety. For instance, you can get Electronic Stability Control systems on some trim levels which help to make steering corrections. Some models of the SUV also come with Electronic Roll Mitigation systems, which stabilize the Jeeps against rollovers. The 2017 Jeep Wrangler’s Hill Start Assist function allows you to safely proceed up steep inclines from a stopped position.

The maker of the 2017 Jeep Wrangler realized that many buyers purchase the SUV as a second vehicle that is ready for exciting weekend adventures with family and friends. The vehicle just wouldn’t be as fun without the modern infotainment features that are prevalent in today’s automobiles. You’re able to get Sirius XM satellite radio and Travel Link services on this year’s Jeep Wrangler model. Premium Alpine speakers, all-weather subwoofers and remote USB ports are all options that are available on the 2017 Jeep Wrangler. This vehicle is also Bluetooth enabled, which allows you to pair your mobile phone to the car’s audio system; this hands-free way to operate your phone’s address book and music lists is both a cool convenience and a safety feature.

How It Stacks up Against the Competition

If you listen to Jeep enthusiasts and of course the Chrysler folks, the Jeep Wrangler is in a class by itself. However, you’ll be happy to know that the humble Jeep holds its own with competitors like the Toyota 4Runner, Mercedes-Benz G-Class and the 2017 Range Rover. These other 4×4 vehicles get higher ratings for luxury and fuel-efficiency, but even the 2017 Jeep Wrangler’s harshest critics agree that its off-road capabilities are second to none. Regular folks also note that it makes wilderness adventures much more accessible with a base MSRP that is just under 30% less than the base MSRP of the 2017 Toyota 4Runner.

Fuel Efficiency

According to the official data that was collected by the organization, the 2017 Jeep Wrangler gets 18 mpg in town and 21 mpg on highways. These figures applied to both automatic and manual transmission versions of the 4-wheel drive SUV.

Jeep owners typically fall for the vehicle’s carefree, fun persona rather than its gas mileage. They realize that the classic Jeep styling that is so nostalgic of the stalwart military SUVs of the 1940s is part of the reason why the car gets such subpar gas mileage. Mike Manley, the head of the Jeep brand at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, hinted that upcoming Jeep Wrangler models may go hybrid.

Pros

  • The 2017 Jeep Wrangler has a reasonable price in comparison with other SUVs in its class.
  • It comes in a variety of trims, and you can get it with creature comforts like heated seats and air conditioning.
  • The new Jeep Wrangler has a number of available accessories that allow you to increase the car’s off-road performance level for all types of terrain or weather conditions.
  • There are many accessories that allow you to upgrade the SUV’s style factor. These include various types, colors and configurations for the 2017 Jeep Wrangler’s wheels, tops and doors.

Cons

  • Many Jeep enthusiasts are waiting for the 2018 Jeep Wrangler to hit the sales floor. The upcoming model year of Jeep Wrangler promises design upgrades that lower the SUV’s weight and make it even safer to drive.
  • Unless you work for your county’s Parks and Recreation department, you may not be comfortable taking your 2017 Jeep Wrangler through long, highway commutes to the office.
  • According to Car and Driver reports, this Jeep model doesn’t have the smoothest ride on the market. More comfortable driving experiences for daily commutes can be had with most conventional SUVs, and they come standard on luxury SUVs.

You will, however, earn innumerable cool points with office co-workers and friends when you finally arrive at your destination.

Living With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Affecting approximately 1 percent of adults, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a serious and debilitating form of arthritis. Sufferers experience a wide variety of symptoms. Often starting in middle age, the disease affects more women than men. It can also occur in young children and elderly individuals. Symptoms may appear for a short period, wax and wane, or persist throughout a sufferer’s lifetime.

While it can affect any joint, RA is most commonly diagnosed in the wrists and fingers. Although RA is a serious medical condition, the treatment outcome for the disease has greatly improved in recent years. These treatment advances may be able to stop or slow the progression of the disease, which make living with rheumatoid arthritis somewhat easier.

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

While osteoarthritis is a condition typically triggered by degeneration of the joint, RA is an autoimmune disorder. It occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks your body’s tissue. Unlike, the wear-and-tear damage associated with osteoarthritis, RA affects the synovium, the membrane lining that surrounds your joints. Typical zones that are affected by RA are the joints in your hands, wrists, knees, elbows, and ankles. The result is painful swelling that can eventually cause bone erosion as well as joint deformity. The inflammation can also damage other parts of your body.

Causes, Signs and Symptoms

The cause of RA is unknown. Various theories indicate that genetics, hormones or environmental factors may trigger the condition. Evidence also suggests that exposure to asbestos and silica may increase the risk for developing the disease.

Although women are twice as likely to experience RA, the symptoms are usually more pronounced in men. The disease most commonly begins to present symptoms between the ages of 40 and 60. Those with family members suffering from RA and are overweight also have an increased risk. Along with gender, age, family history, obesity and smoking are potential risk factors. Smoking is associated with a greater severity of the condition.

RA affects each person differently. For some, the symptoms may develop gradually over time while they may appear quickly in other individuals. Some people may have symptoms for a short period that go into remission and never occur again. Signs of RA include:

  • Warmth and redness
  • Tender, swollen joints
  • Joint stiffness that is typically worse in the morning or after activity
  • Fever, fatigue, muscle aches and weight loss

The symptoms tend to affect smaller joints first, such as those of the fingers and toes. As the condition progresses, it spreads to the wrists, ankles and elbows. In most cases, RA affects both sides of the body simultaneously. When RA occurs, white blood cells move to the affected joint. The resulting inflammation causes the synovium to thicken, which eventually destroys the cartilage and bone within the affected joint. As the cartilage wears away, the space between the bones gets smaller. Once the cushioning material is diminished, the bones begin to rub together. The inflammation of the joint lining causes a buildup of fluid and swelling, which may also damage your bones.

In addition to the joints, RA may affect the tissue lining other parts of the body. Signs and symptoms may also occur in the:

  • Skin
  • Eyes
  • Heart
  • Lungs
  • Kidneys
  • Nerve tissue

While RA can be difficult to diagnose initially, you should see a doctor if your joints are sore and swollen for an extended period, especially if symptoms are worse in the morning. Your doctor will perform an examination, discuss your medical history and order diagnostic procedures, such as blood tests, an MRI and x-rays. The imaging tests will enable your doctor to track the progression of the disease and evaluate the severity of any symptoms. The sooner the disease is diagnosed, the better the treatment outcome.

Common Treatment Options

Common treatment options to stop or slow the damage caused by the disease as well as reduce the associated pain and swelling includes lifestyle changes, medicine and surgery. While there is no cure, research indicates that remission is more likely when treatment begins early with medication known as disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS). Depending upon the severity and duration of your symptoms, your doctor may prescribe a variety of medications, such as:

NSAIDS – Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) work to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. These include over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium products, including Advil, Motrin and Aleve. Prescription-strength NSAIDS are also available. Side effects include stomach upset and heart problems as well as liver and kidney damage.

Steroids – Corticosteroids like prednisone are designed to alleviate pain, reduce swelling and slow the rate of joint damage. After these medications improve acute systemic issues, the physician gradually tapers their use. Side effects include weight gain, thinning of the bones and the onset of Type 2 diabetes.

Biological agents – a newer class of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDS), biological agents are designed to target the immune system and prevent the occurrence of inflammation that cause pain and tissue damage. The primary goals are to slow the progression of RA and save your joints. Side effects include an increased risk of infection.

Therapy – Physical and occupational therapy can teach you exercises that help keep your joints flexible. The techniques will help you perform daily tasks in ways that are easier on your joints. The therapists can also make recommendations regarding tools and devices that support and protect your joints.

Surgery – If medications and therapy fail to slow or prevent joint damage, the doctor may recommend surgery to help restore function to the affected joints. The surgical procedure may entail removing the inflamed synovium, repairing damaged tendons or fusing the bones to stabilize and realign the joint. Severe RA may require joint replacement surgery.

Alternative Remedies

You may also consider some alternative treatments to reduce the pain, swelling and stiffness associated with RA. Diets and lifestyle changes have shown promise. Consider adding fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, to your diet. The popular Mediterranean diet can potentially reduce systemic inflammation. Research shows that dietary turmeric, an ingredient in curry, reduces some RA symptoms.

You may also consider dietary supplements that include vitamin D and folic acid or foods rich in these nutrients, such as oily fish and green leafy vegetables. Yoga and Tai Chi are low-impact exercises that help maintain strength and flexibility. Staying active helps shed extra weight that can place added pressure on inflamed back, hip and leg joints. Minimizing stress and working with support groups also help to improve your overall health.

Prognosis

With an early diagnosis and aggressive treatment, the outlook for individuals who have RA is very good. The ability to control the disease has improved significantly in recent years. Doctors strive to prevent flare-ups and eradicate signs of the disease.

New clinical studies have identified ways that RA is biochemically triggered in some patients. Identifying genetic markers showing predisposition to the disease may help researchers with the development of future treatments and methods to prevent RA. Along with biologic treatment, clinical studies are being conducted on inflammation inhibitors and B cell depletion therapy that reverses the immune system dysfunction.

Living with rheumatoid arthritis can be challenging because it can affect your quality of life. The disease can be managed with customized protocol of medication, diet, physical therapy and lifestyle changes. It is possible to live a full productive life.

When Looking for a Divorce Lawyer

Going through a divorce is never easy, but having an experienced divorce lawyer can make the process less painful. Since you’ll likely be working with your divorce lawyer for months or even years, choosing someone you trust and can be honest with is vital to getting the settlement you want and deserve. This guide serves as a general primer on what divorce lawyers do, how much they cost, and which factors you should consider when choosing a family law attorney.

What Can a Divorce Lawyer Do for You?

Divorce attorneys can mediate issues like division of assets, alimony, and child custody schedules. Even if you and your soon-to-be-former spouse are on amicable terms, you should still get your own personal lawyer. Marriages are legal arrangements, so you need someone with legal experience to ensure that your rights are protected. At the very least, ask an attorney for initial advice, and have them look over any documents that you intend to sign.

If you suspect your partner will not cooperate, or if there is a history of domestic violence in the relationship, a lawyer is absolutely necessary to pursue an aggressive divorce complaint. Requesting a restraining order may also be appropriate in such cases.

If you have young children with your spouse, any reputable divorce attorney will tell you upfront that your children’s needs must be prioritized over both parents’. Don’t trust anyone who wants to use your kids to make unreasonable child support or custody demands.

Divorce Settlements

Settlements can be decided between you and your spouse’s respective attorneys, or they can be decided in family court. If you suspect that a divorce trial is inevitable, you need an attorney with considerable courtroom experience. You should also look for someone who knows your local family law judges because that can give you a significant advantage. Even if you don’t think you’ll end up in court, investigate any prospective attorney’s trial record to assess their ability to negotiate settlements.

Fees and Billing

Attorney fees can vary immensely based on where you live, and higher prices don’t always correlate with better experience and quality. Demand and competition drive local rates, so established lawyers in your area are likely to charge the most. You might be able to find an equally experienced lawyer who is new in town and willing to charge less. Either way, expect to pay upfront for an initial visit. A few lawyers offer free consultations, but if you don’t pay professionals for their time, your session could turn into a sales pitch rather than an information gathering session.

Family law attorneys typically bill on an hourly basis. Some may agree to a flat fee if your divorce is straightforward and they can calculate the exact time and labor costs, but making such calculations can be very difficult, so be prepared to pay per hour unless your divorce is 100 percent amicable and requires only light paperwork.

Hourly rates tend to be higher in urban areas, especially on the East and West coasts, and rates can range from $100-$600 per hour in addition to other fees and expenses. Be financially responsible, and make sure you don’t end up in debt from your divorce proceedings.

Choosing the Right Divorce Lawyer

Professionals who are familiar with your local judicial system, such as accountants, psychotherapists, and other lawyers, may have recommendations for a reputable local divorce attorney. Your state bar likely has a certification process for family law specialists, so they can provide you with a list of names. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers is also a great place to look for a lawyer because it only admits professionals who have a track record of success.

Friends and relatives who have gone through divorces can offer valuable advice and recommendations. However, keep in mind that every client’s circumstances are unique, so you shouldn’t expect the same outcome in different divorce settlements. Don’t pick the first lawyer that anyone recommends — do your research.

When conducting research, pay attention to your prospective lawyers’ certifications, and investigate what they entail. For example, family law attorneys recognized by the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification have at least five years of experience, and they have passed rigorous tests pertaining to their specialties. Maintaining board certification also requires on-going classes in family law each year. Consequently, board-certified family lawyers charge more money, but their expertise may be worth the expense.

Interviewing Divorce Lawyers

During your first meeting with any lawyer, you need to tell them all the details of your case to make sure they can give their informed opinion on whether or not they can help you achieve your goals. Be completely honest; good lawyers never judge their clients although they may give advice that you don’t want to hear. Come prepared with a list of your assets, debts, and sources of income in addition to copies of your last several years’ tax returns. This information will give the attorney a clearer picture of your situation.

Because the lawyer-client relationship is so personal, picking someone who you are comfortable talking to is essential. If you feel uncomfortable during your interview, go with your gut and look for someone else, even if you can’t articulate why you feel uneasy. You will likely be divulging intimate details about your marriage, which can be difficult for anyone, but keep in mind that lawyers are sworn to secrecy and have likely already heard dozens of stories just like yours.

Here are some questions you should ask when interviewing a divorce attorney:

  • Are you available at times that are convenient for me?
  • How soon do you return missed phone calls?
  • Do you have associates or paralegals that will be assisting with my case?
  • How much property am I entitled to?
  • Am I or my spouse entitled to alimony?
  • How much child support will I or my spouse have to pay?
  • Can I choose which court hears my case?
  • Do you know the family court judges that could decide my case?
  • How often are you away from your office?
  • In addition to your hourly rate, how much do your charge for things like travel time, photocopies, postage, faxes, phone calls, and supplies?
  • Are there additional fees that I am responsible for paying?
  • What is your refund policy on your retainer fee?
  • Do you have any personal feelings about the circumstances of my case that could influence your strategy?

Your lawyer’s strategy should be tailored to your wants, needs, and circumstances, which is why it’s so vital to be honest with attorneys from the beginning. Being dishonest at any point during divorce proceedings could land you and your lawyer in deep legal trouble.

Divorce proceedings can be emotionally stressful, so it’s natural to want to get things done as quickly as possible. Nonetheless, take your time when looking for a divorce lawyer so that you get the best possible outcome.

When Looking for an Immigration Lawyer

Obtaining citizenship is a legal process, and having the assistance of an experienced immigration lawyer can be extremely helpful in ensuring the process goes smoothly. In addition to answering questions and assisting you with paperwork and other legal aspects of the immigration process, your attorney can also represent your interests in court if necessary to prevent deportation.

If you are living and working in a country different from your birth, you may wish to contact an immigration lawyer to ensure you file for the correct type of visa. You can also gain assistance with the process of naturalization and becoming a citizen.

Advocacy and References

The primary role of an attorney is to act as an advocate in legal proceedings. Your attorney will work with you to provide you with the information and resources you need, offering advice and guidance on the often-complicated steps of the legal process. For immigration lawyers, this is no different. Immigration attorneys work to ensure that your paperwork is filed correctly and represent your interests in court if necessary. They can also guide you through the steps of the long and often arduous naturalization process.

One step to naturalization is a character reference letter. This is a formal letter, usually written by a person with a respected position within the community, detailing the immigrant’s strength of character, and nature of their relationship. Your attorney can help you choose someone to write this letter for you and offer guidance as to how it should be formatted and what information to include. In some situations, the attorney himself may be able to write this letter on your behalf.

What Can a Lawyer Do for You

Obtaining a work visa or becoming a naturalized citizen can be a complex, multi-step legal process. Failure to fill out the proper forms or filing paperwork incorrectly can lead to delays or, in some cases, denials. Your attorney will work to ensure that you understand the steps of the process and that all steps are followed appropriately to reduce delays and difficulties.

Some of the specific tasks you can expect your attorney to help with include:

  • Analyzing the specific facts of your case and providing legal advice based on your available options.
  • Preparing and filing paperwork, and applications or petitions on your behalf.
  • Representing you in court or with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  • Acting as a go-between or advocate to communicate with government officials on your behalf.

Although it is not strictly necessary to work with an attorney for all immigration processes, having a lawyer on your side will usually make things go more smoothly and reduce your stress during this process.

When Do You Need an Immigration Lawyer?

Although it’s often helpful to consult with an immigration lawyer when spending time in a foreign country or seeking citizenship, there are a few situations when seeking legal aid is absolutely essential. These scenarios include:

  • If you have previously committed or been convicted of a crime.
  • If your previous applications have been denied.
  • If you have been deported or are facing deportation.
  • If your marriage to a U.S. citizen failed or you have divorced prior to receiving permanent residency.
  • If you have a communicable disease that could pose complications to immigration.
  • If you are struggling to understand any aspect of the immigration process or what steps you should take.

Any of the above might pose additional complications to the standard immigration process, necessitating the help of an experienced attorney.

Finding the Right Lawyer

Although having an attorney on your side is usually beneficial, it’s important to take the time to research your options and choose the best possible match for your needs. There are unscrupulous services out there that offer more than they can provide or will give inaccurate information. To protect yourself and your citizenship, be sure to research the law firm thoroughly before signing on.

Here are some tips for choosing the right attorney:

  • Avoid lawyers who approach you at the immigration office. Some attorneys will try to solicit business at USCIS, which is a behavior frowned upon by the legal bar and a sign that the attorney is more interested in signing on clients than helping them.
  • Be sure that the person you’re working with is an actual attorney. There are a number of non-lawyers who claim to offer assistance, but are not legally qualified to fulfill the role of an attorney. Terms to watch out for include “visa consultant” and “petition preparer.”
  • Research the firm. You want to choose a lawyer with experience in cases similar to yours. You’ll also want to choose someone in good standing with the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association and who has good client testimonials.
  • Be skeptical. If something sounds too good to be true, it likely is. Be wary of any attorney who guarantees results or claims to have a 100 percent success rate.

It might help to shop around. By scheduling consultations with a number of attorneys, you can get a better idea of what to expect and find the perfect fit for your needs. Once you choose a lawyer, you may have a long-term relationship with them throughout the duration of your immigration proceedings, so spending some time getting to know the person will help to ensure you feel comfortable.

Educating Yourself

When hiring an attorney, it’s a good idea to independently research your legal situation on your own as well. The more you know about the immigration process, the easier it will be to determine if a lawyer is offering realistic advice or false promises. It will also help you to understand what questions you should ask to get the best results. Your attorney should be willing to answer your questions and guide you through the process. If he or she is not able or willing to explain things, it’s time to seek a new lawyer.

The more you know about the immigration process, the easier it will be to identify potential problems and concerns before they become disasters. However, if you have any doubts about your immigration status or are uncertain about how to proceed with something like filing a visa, a legal consultation is always a good first step. Based on the counsel you receive, you can decide on your next move.

There are a number of resources available for education and immigrant advocacy. A list of useful resources is available from the Advocates for Human Rights website. You can also obtain information and resources from your attorney’s office to help with self-education and understanding the process ahead of you.

When Looking for a Tax Lawyer

Tax law can be complex, so it’s important to consult with an expert in these matters before attempting to handle them on your own. Whether you’re looking at debt relief or managing the tax structure of a small business, a tax attorney can be an essential authority on the legal side of these issues. Even if you already have an accountant, a dedicated tax lawyer can be crucial in more complex scenarios or to provide additional reassurance before embarking on a new financial decision.

Below are some of the many situations in which a qualified tax attorney can prove beneficial.

Tax and Debt Relief

Tax debts can be especially complex due to the laws governing them. The tax code is an endlessly evolving and incredibly complicated legal document, and it can be a challenge to stay on the right side of tax law without unnecessarily sacrificing money that could rightfully have been yours.

For this reason, it’s always a good idea to speak with a tax professional when facing any issues related to tax debt. Whether you owe back taxes due to previous underpayment or are facing wage garnishments or a seized tax return due to other debts, trying to negotiate tax debt on your own is never a good idea.

An attorney can help you to understand the legal ramifications of different tax strategies to help protect you from acquiring tax debt to begin with. He or she can also represent you in legal matters with the IRS, handling correspondence or even representing you in court if necessary to settle tax debts.

Advice and Negotiation

When it comes to matters of tax debt, many people are surprised to discover that the IRS can and will negotiate the debt owed and terms of repayment. However, these negotiations are not simple, and they are unlikely to be successful if you pursue them without the assistance of a qualified and experienced attorney in your corner.

Depending upon your circumstances, you may be able to request an extension or payment plan to allow you to pay your owed taxes. It is also possible to apply for an offer in compromise, which allows you to pay the IRS less than you owe.

While these offers can be negotiated on your own, the advice and guidance of a tax attorney can be invaluable. An attorney will help you to understand your options and provide you with reasonable expectations about the next steps in the process.

Perhaps most importantly for the average taxpayer, an attorney can handle the arduous process of compiling paperwork, answering phone calls and negotiating the terms of repayment. Dealing with the IRS can be stressful, and having a lawyer you trust in your corner will cut down on the amount of contact you must make with the IRS directly. This can alleviate stress in your life and allow you to focus on other things.

Be prepared, however, to be diligent in your search for an attorney. It’s often best to find a tax attorney before you end up in too much trouble with the IRS as there are unscrupulous or dishonest attorneys who prey on people with substantial tax debts. Beware of any lawyer who seems to specialize in such vulnerable cases, and be sure to research that attorney’s reputation thoroughly before signing on to work with him or her.

What Can a Lawyer Do for You

A tax attorney is helpful in many situations, not just when back taxes are owed. Depending on your circumstances, you may find that consulting with an attorney is an important first step in any major financial decision that may have tax ramifications.

In some ways, an attorney can fulfill the same role as an accountant or CPA. Your lawyer can provide financial advice in certain situations, explaining tax law and helping to guide you toward the best decision for your individual needs. This is especially helpful when you are considering investment options, opening a business or otherwise making a large financial choice that could have serious tax ramifications.

Other things an attorney can assist with include:

  • Filing appeals with tax courts
  • Representing you in court if necessary
  • Working as a liaison or go-between with the IRS
  • Negotiating the terms of tax debt repayment
  • Identifying available tax credits and opportunities to save money
  • Helping you to structure a business in the best way to reduce your tax burden

Depending on your situation, your tax attorney may become a trusted source of financial advice and assistance that you work with each year or at important times in your life. In other cases, an attorney may only be needed once or twice.

Regardless, the most important thing when searching for a lawyer is to research their firm and get an idea of their experience, qualifications and scope of practice. This will allow you to choose an attorney who best fits your needs. By taking the time to find an experienced attorney, you can protect yourself from costly and time-consuming financial mistakes and receive much-needed support during difficult times.

The Difference Between a Tax Accountant and Attorney

Although a tax lawyer can fulfill many of the same duties as an accountant or CPA, the two are not interchangeable. You may require the aid of both types of professionals for some purposes. By understanding the differences between these tax professionals and what each can offer, you can make the right choice for your individual situation.

A Tax Attorney

As noted previously, a tax attorney can assist with a number of financial decisions and tasks related to taxes. However, the primary role of an attorney is to handle the legal aspects of tax disputes.

A tax lawyer will have pursued a legal degree and will operate a legal practice. In some cases, tax lawyers may also handle related types of law services, such as estate planning. A tax attorney will have completed a state bar exam and should have experience in handling legal cases and situations similar to those you may face.

A Certified Public Accountant

A certified public accountant, or CPA, is a professional in the business of accounting and taxation. As professionals, they’ll have a better understanding of the tax code and laws related to issues of taxation. However, they are not qualified to represent you in legal matters and may not have the authority to assist in every situation.

Your CPA’s primary job should be to guide you through financial decisions and assist you with the often difficult tasks of planning business finances, choosing investments and filing taxes. You can hire a CPA to help with issues of tax planning, including establishing a trust, planning an estate, managing business expenses and finding opportunities to save money on your annual tax bill.

Which Is Best for You?

For basic day-to-day activities, a CPA may be sufficient and may indeed by the superior choice. You should utilize an accountant to help with annual tax preparation as well as accounting and personal finance tasks.

If you find yourself in trouble with the IRS, you will need a tax attorney to assist with legal defense. Your attorney can represent you in the court system and work as a liaison with the IRS; an accountant cannot do this. However, your CPA can work alongside your attorney during legal proceedings to ensure that documentation is collected and filed correctly and to answer questions about the state of your finances.

In some cases, it may be advantageous to work with both an attorney and an accountant. For example, if you are setting up a business, you may wish to speak with the accountant to determine the best financial strategies for success while utilizing the lawyer’s expertise in establishing the proper business entity. If you are ever in doubt about the best way to proceed in any sort of financial or legal issue, consulting with an experienced tax attorney is always a good idea.

Living With Arthritis

Living With Arthritis

Living with arthritis, a group of disorders that affect joints, can certainly be a challenging experience. The millions of people who suffer from arthritis experience a variety of symptoms, which can include pain, swelling, stiffness, and a limited range of motion. Some people with arthritis will only deal with mild symptoms that don’t disrupt their lives, while others could experience severe pain on a regular basis and even significant trouble doing things like walking or climbing stairs. Regardless of your level of discomfort, you likely have several questions that you would like answered.

The Best Mattresses Available Right Now

Buying a mattress used to be relatively straightforward. You were limited to what your local furniture retailer carried, and choosing a model was as simple as trying out a few options on-site.

Mattress shopping today is much more complicated. Not only are there more designs and styles, but you can shop at online stores that will deliver a new bed right to your door, sight unseen. How do you choose from such a wide variety of models and companies, and which mattresses are the best available right now?

There are several factors to consider when purchasing a new mattress. Balancing every consideration isn’t necessary, but understanding what to look for can help you shop smarter.

  • Price – No matter how highly rated a mattress is, buyers on a budget will be limited in their range of choices. It’s best to determine your price range before shopping, limiting your selections to the models that are affordable.
  • Warranty – Most people keep their mattresses for a long time, so purchase a mattress with at least a ten-year warranty to cover defects.
  • Return Policy – It’s difficult to know how a mattress will perform after a quick check in the showroom. If you get your mattress home and find that it doesn’t meet your needs, you will want the assurance that you can return or exchange it easily.
  • Store Models – Many people don’t realize that different retailers have their own versions of top-selling models. If you find a mattress that you love at one store, don’t assume that the specs are identical at a competitor’s location.

Today’s manufacturer’s make a variety of mattress types, and there is a broad range of quality among each product category.

Innerspring

Innerspring mattresses are still very popular with buyers, making up the majority of mattresses sold. If you’re on a budget, innerspring models remain the most affordable options on the market. That doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice comfort; Steel coil mattresses are highly engineered, and many brands encase the springs in gel, memory foam, or a pillow top for the best sleeping experience. These beefed up innerspring models are sometimes referred to as hybrids, and are top choices in this category.

  • Simmons Beautyrest Briana Luxury Firm – Considered a budget model, this mattress retails for around $1000, and you get a lot of bang for your buck. The steel springs are encased in foam, with several additional layers on top. Buyers also appreciate the stay-cool cover that resists heat retention for a more refreshing night’s sleep.
  • Sealy Posturepedic Hybrid Line – There are several models in this line, ranging from the Cobalt, which comes in under $1000, to the Gold, which is around $1600. Available at big box retailers like Sears and JC Penney, these are very accessible models. Features include encased springs with a memory foam top in increasing thicknesses as you upgrade.

Memory Foam

Buyers are consistently happy with quality memory foam mattresses, and this is a top-selling category. However, quality varies widely, and choosing a budget-conscious model could lead to disappointment. A mattress with lower density foam can fail to bounce back, retain heat and cause issues for people with back problems. Highly-rated options, however, get rave reviews among sensitive sleepers who need a lot of support.

  • Amerisleep AS2 – Comprised of four different types of foam, this medium-firm mattress is highly supportive and has open-cell foam to draw heat away from the body. Considering its many features and the 20-year warranty, the $1300 price tag is a pleasant surprise.
  • Tempurpedic Cloud Supreme Breeze – A higher priced mattress at $3500, the five layers of foam combine to offer support, breathability and comfort. This model gets consistently high reviews from buyers, and you can try the mattress for a full 90 days to make sure it’s the perfect choice for you.

Mattress-In-a-Box

The newest players in the market, these mattresses are delivered to your home compressed in a small box. They may not be robust enough for picky sleepers, but they are excellent options for most. Keep in mind that you will need to provide the frame and box spring.

  • Purple – Priced at just over $1000, this social-media favorite has two layers of foam, with a top comprised of an elastic polymer. You can try the mattress for up to 100 nights, and the company will arrange for donation if you choose to get a refund.
  • Sealy Cocoon – Despite its entry-level $700 price tag, the Cocoon has a lot of options. You can customize the firmness and upgrade the cover to cooling fabric. Like the Purple, you get a 100-night trial and complementary donation services if you decide it’s not for you.

There is a wide range of mattresses for any budget and all types of sleepers. If you keep in mind your priorities, you can find the best mattresses on the market that meet your needs.

Top 5 Tips for Lowering Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a complex substance that is necessary for survival. It’s produced in the liver and helps create vitamin D, form cells and create certain hormones. However, cholesterol can also cause plaque buildup on the walls of the arteries, slowing down blood flow and increasing the risk of stroke and heart disease.

People with high cholesterol typically don’t have symptoms. The best way to identify high cholesterol is to have a blood lipid panel taken regularly. According to Healthline, your total cholesterol level is healthy at less than 200 mg/dL. You should shoot for an LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, level of 100 mg/dL or lower. Your HDL, or “good” cholesterol, level should be 40 mg/dL or higher.

High LDL levels can damage artery walls, encouraging the buildup of plaque. HDL combats LDL, moving it back to the liver, where it can be removed. High HDL levels are associated with a lower risk of heart attack and stroke. Lowering your total and LDL cholesterol levels involves making dietary and lifestyle changes. These modifications may be challenging to adopt, but you’ll see exponential benefits as you stay consistent.

1. Stop Eating Trans Fats

Trans fats, or partially hydrogenated oils, raise your LDL and lower your HDL levels. When you eat trans fats, you activate proteins in your liver that create LDL. Researchers have found that this can lower the levels of LDL in the liver but elevate them in the bloodstream.

The FDA is working to stop food manufacturers from including trans fats in the stuff we eat. However, trans fats can be naturally present in foods. Also, the compounds that may be used to replace trans fats may not be any healthier.

2. Take a Walk

You don’t have to become an exercise guru to improve your health. Just a couple of hours of exercise a week can lower LDL and raise HDL, according to WebMD.

If you’re new to exercising, start out with just 10 minutes a day to get the habit to stick. Everyone can find 10 minutes in their day even if it means waking up a little earlier or going to bed a little later. Once you’ve gotten into the habit of exercising for 10 minutes, it will seem like it takes no effort to tack on another 5 minutes. Keep this up, and 20 to 30 minutes of regular exercise will seem as routine as brushing your teeth.

You don’t have to limit yourself to doing cardio to improve your hearth health. Livestrong explains that strength training can help lower your LDL levels too. Using weights or other forms of resistance while exercising can help build lean muscle mass. This can boost your metabolism and help you burn more calories even while you rest. When you maintain a healthy weight, you have a lower risk of cardiovascular problems.

3. Eat Healthy Fats

Olive oil contains monounsaturated fat, which is better for your cholesterol than trans fats. The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and nuts have also been found to lower LDL levels.

Don’t be afraid to trade out nutrient-deprived, sugary foods for a little bit of fat. Instead of adding dried fruit and fat-free dressing to a salad, use a dressing made with olive oil, and sprinkle some nuts on top. You’ll stay full for longer and get the cholesterol-lowering benefits without adding a ton of calories.

Some foods that are high in omega-3s are:

  • Salmon
  • Chia seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Flaxseeds
  • Tuna
  • Hemp seeds
  • Anchovies
  • Egg yolks

4. Focus on Sleep

Life can feel like a whirlwind. In today’s environment, which focuses on getting more done in less time, it’s easy to lose sight of the importance of sleep. Getting the proper amount of shuteye can make a huge difference when it comes to your cholesterol levels.

What’s the ideal amount of sleep? Research shows that people who sleep between five and eight hours a day are less likely to have negative impacts on their cholesterol levels. However, this correlation is stronger for women than for men.

Getting good quality sleep is also important. People who snore may have lower HDL levels. Poor sleep habits can lead to other detrimental lifestyle patterns that negatively affect cholesterol.

5. Have Meat-Free Mondays

Although the idea that eating cholesterol-rich foods can increase your blood cholesterol levels is controversial, Prevention reports that adding plant-based food to your diet can lower LDL. In a Canadian study, men who added healthy, fiber-rich vegetarian items to their daily food consumption experienced an LDL reduction of almost 30 percent.

Some options to add to your diet include:

  • Whole grains, like brown rice and quinoa
  • Beans and lentils
  • Oats
  • Eggplant
  • Okra
  • High-fiber fruits

Learning that you have an increased risk for cardiovascular problems can be scary, and high cholesterol can be tough to tame if you are genetically disposed to it. However, making these healthy lifestyle changes can improve your cholesterol. If you follow these tips, you’ll also reduce inflammation, which is thought to cause arterial damage in the first place.

Healthy habits can be easy to implement if you strive to take baby steps, stay consistent, reward yourself for successes and refrain from beating yourself up if you fall off the wagon. Find ways to make incorporating these tips into your lifestyle fun and enjoyable, and you’ll be more likely to stick to them forever.

Living with Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a rare and dangerous cancer that grows in the lining of the lungs. It’s caused by inhaling or otherwise taking in toxic asbestos fibers, which become lodged in the lungs and lead to chronic inflammation and eventually cancer.

Living With COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease ­– or COPD – adversely affects the lungs by making it increasingly difficult for sufferers to breathe normally. According to the NIH, this disease is characterized by its progressive nature, meaning that it grows in severity with time. Although exposure to many irritants, like chemicals and airborne pollutants, can cause the condition, some 75 percent of sufferers smoked cigarettes sometime before contracting COPD. The exposure that leads to this disease can result in your lungs’ airways and air sac structures becoming inflamed, damaged, clogged, or destroyed, which prevents you from intaking sufficient oxygen and expelling enough CO2.

When Looking for an Accident Lawyer

Aside from being traumatic, car accidents can bring about numerous legal questions, adding even more stress to an already stressful situation. For most, car accidents are a foreign concept, and the steps they need to take afterward are even more so.

Though not always the case, car accidents often require civil action before being fully resolved. Things like property damage, injuries and uninsured or underinsured motorists are just a few reasons why legal arbitration may be necessary. Fortunately, there are experienced attorneys who specialize in these types of cases and will help you to navigate the process successfully.

What to Do After an Accident

Colliding with another vehicle is a major shock to the system, to be sure, but it is imperative to stay calm. First, activate your vehicle’s hazard lights and maneuver the vehicle off the roadway if it is safe to do so. Barring a hit and run incident, the other driver will do the same. At this point you need to determine whether anyone is injured. If so, call for an ambulance immediately.

Most states require you to notify the police following an accident in most situations, especially if two or more vehicles are involved or the damage exceeds $1000, which, considering the cost of auto repairs, is most of the time. Even if you are not required to call the police, it is wise to do so anyway while your recollection of the accident is still fresh.

Oftentimes, bystanders will witness the accident and stop to assist. You should ask any witnesses to remain at the scene so that they can give a statement to the police. This will be beneficial if the other driver denies fault or gives a statement that is inconsistent with yours and those of witnesses.

Next, you must exchange information with the driver or drivers of the other vehicle or vehicles involved. Make sure to obtain the following:

  • Full names of the driver or drivers
  • Addresses
  • Telephone numbers
  • Insurance information, including both the name of the carrier(s) and the policy number(s)

Perhaps most importantly: Never admit fault to the other drivers, witnesses or the police. It is not uncommon for drivers involved in accidents to become irate and try to blame other drivers for an accident that they in fact caused. If this happens to you, avoid being hostile or defensive but do not apologize or in any way validate an accusation. Otherwise, you could end up legally responsible, even if the accident was not your fault.

Insurance and Medical Records

Many drivers involved in accidents they did not cause are surprised to learn that the insurance companies of at-fault drivers will send them medical release forms to sign, claiming they only need them to verify injuries. If you sign these forms, you are giving the insurance company of the at-fault driver permission to pour over your personal medical records.

It’s important to know that you are not legally obliged to sign these forms in order to receive a settlement. In fact, giving this information may lead to a reduced or contested settlement. Insurance companies are not guardian angels; they are high powered businesses worth billions of dollars. They are armed with full-time legal teams and will do everything in their power to either pay you less than they should or get out of paying you altogether. The laws protecting your medical privacy are far-reaching, and the insurance company of the at-fault driver has no legal right to them.

It is important to note that you will receive similar forms from your own insurance company. These must be signed to receive your settlement, but you have the option to limit the records your insurance company can access, keeping all medical records before the accident private. Additionally, your insurance company is not allowed to share this information with anyone, including the insurance company of the driver at fault.

What Can a Lawyer Do for You?

An attorney who specializes in automobile accidents can help you stave off the underhanded tactics used by corporate lawyers, lawyers whose main occupation is taking advantage of everyday people who are lacking in formal legal experience. An experienced accident attorney can close loopholes and pressure insurance companies to pay out faster and more fairly so that you can get on with your life. They can make it clear to the insurance company that your case is solid and that legal action on their part will just cost them more money.

If your insurance claim ends up being disputed in court, trying to handle your case by yourself is not advisable. Experienced attorneys know all the motions to file, such as discovery motions for evidence or subpoenas for witness statements, as well as proper civil law procedure; they substantially increase your odds of a favorable outcome, so going it alone is a gamble.

Property Damage Valuation

When a driver makes a mistake that damages your vehicle, the cost of your damaged property isn’t the only thing taken into account. What about your added travel expenses while your car is being repaired, the missed day of work following the accident and the work you miss to appear in court? There’s also your transportation costs for attending civil proceedings you otherwise would not have had to. A good accident attorney will consider all these things when calculating the total damages, and there are likely many expenses related to an accident that you might not think to consider.

In civil law, the court must consider the damage done to the person, not just the damage done to the property. For example, you may benefit from counseling after a traumatic accident or require personal care while you recover. Maybe someone had to babysit your children, take care of your pets. All these things are considered when determining total damages, and without an experienced attorney, you run the risk of taking a settlement far lower than the insurance company was obligated to pay.

Settlements

The relationship between you and the claims adjuster representing the at-fault driver’s insurance company is an adversarial one. While your goal is to get all the money you are entitled to, the claim adjuster’s job is to settle your claim as cheaply as possible. Dealing with claims adjusters is tricky, and without a lawyer to represent you, you are stuck negotiating with them by yourself, which increases the likelihood that the claims adjuster will be able to take advantage of you.

Civil law is tricky, and just about every insurance company has attorneys who specialize in it. It is possible to handle your claim yourself, but it is smarter to level the playing field with representation of your own. Having an experienced accident attorney in your corner will help you get all the money you are entitled to and deter insurance companies from contesting your claim in court.

Living With Glaucoma

More than 3 million Americans are currently suffering from glaucoma. However, it’s estimated that approximately half of the people afflicted with this condition haven’t been diagnosed yet. This is due to several factors, including a common misunderstanding of exactly what glaucoma is and how it can impact people of all ages.

Therefore, it’s vital to educate yourself about the symptoms and risk factors so that you can take the proper steps to protect your vision. If you’ve already been diagnosed with glaucoma, you’ll need to develop a better understanding of this medical condition so that you can manage it more effectively.

What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a non-reversible eye disease that directly affects the optic nerve. Most glaucoma cases can be linked to excess fluid accumulating in the front of the afflicted eye. The pressure that is caused by this fluid is what leads to optic nerve damage.

Is Glaucoma a Serious Illness?

Glaucoma is common, with more than 200,000 new cases being diagnosed in the U.S. every year. Unfortunately, this eye disease is also very serious, especially when it’s not caught and treated in the early stages. In fact:

  • Glaucoma is the second most prevalent cause of blindness
  • Glaucoma cannot be cured
  • Approximately 10 percent of all U.S. cases of blindness were caused by glaucoma

As you can see, glaucoma is something you need to take very seriously. On the plus side, if you see an eye doctor regularly, you can significantly minimize your risk of permanently losing your vision.

The Glaucoma Prognosis

Your prognosis will vary depending on your personal risk factors and how long you had glaucoma before it was diagnosed. For example, African-Americans have the highest risk of developing a vision impairment or blindness. Because there’s no cure for glaucoma, people of all ages, genders and ethnicities need to be on the lookout for this medical condition. Even newborns can suffer from glaucoma.

Any vision loss that you’ve already suffered cannot be reversed. Fortunately, following your doctor’s treatment plan can usually prevent further degradation. Reducing the eye pressure is the best way to preserve your vision. You should also continue to get eye exams on a regular basis to look for any signs that the disease is worsening.

Unfortunately, 10 percent of glaucoma patients who strictly follow their doctor’s orders will still eventually go blind. Therefore, be extremely conscientious about taking your medication and protecting your health to boost your odds of staying in the 90 percent of patients who retain their vision.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Glaucoma?

No one should ever rely on early signs or symptoms to provide them with a warning that they’ve developed glaucoma. Instead, anyone 60 or older needs an annual glaucoma test. People below the age of 60 should get tested at least once every two years. There are a few exceptions for the under 60 crowd that require an annual exam instead, including:

  • A family history of glaucoma
  • Having diabetes
  • Presence of another eye disease or a family history of other eye issues

Open-angle glaucoma is the most common version of this disease. Sadly, people in the early stages of open-angle glaucoma are unlikely to notice any symptoms. Over time, a few warning signs may begin to appear:

  • Side or peripheral vision loss
  • Zero to minimal discomfort from the increased eye pressure

Other forms of glaucoma, and advanced cases of open-angle glaucoma, may be accompanied by numerous symptoms:

  • Vision loss
  • Seeing a halo when looking at a light
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Eye redness
  • Tunnel vision
  • Eye pain
  • A hazy looking eye

If you’re living with glaucoma and begin to experience an increase in symptoms, be sure to contact your eye doctor immediately for assistance.

What Are the Glaucoma Risk Factors?

Aside from African-Americans having a higher risk of going blind from glaucoma, there are a few other risk factors that everyone should be aware of. If you’ve been diagnosed with glaucoma, this means that everyone else in your direct family line could already be affected by this eye disease. Other risk factors to consider include:

  • Being of Scandinavian, Inuit, Hispanic, Japanese, Russian, or Irish descent
  • Having diabetes
  • Suffering any trauma to one or both eyes
  • Having poor vision, especially extreme nearsightedness
  • Taking prednisone or certain other steroid medications

How Will Glaucoma Affect My Life?

Living with glaucoma can be a challenge, but it doesn’t need to be. If you were diagnosed early on and have stuck to your treatment plan, the odds are high that you will retain your vision and suffer from minimal side effects.

Sadly, if vision loss already began by the time you were diagnosed, you can expect that loss to remain for the rest of your life. For instance, if your peripheral vision has become less clear, you’re going to need to learn to adjust to receiving reduced visual input from the sides of your eyes. Getting regular eye exams and sticking to your treatment plan can still help prevent glaucoma from having a more severe impact on your life.

Will I Have to Take Medication for Glaucoma?

There are three primary treatment methods for glaucoma: Eye drops, microsurgery and laser surgery. Most glaucoma patients will use eye drops for the rest of their life. People with open-angle glaucoma may also be treated with a combination of microsurgery, laser surgery and eye drops.

How Can I Manage Glaucoma?

You can do numerous things to make it easier to manage your glaucoma. As a result, you’ll reduce your risk of developing blindness or a serious vision impairment.

1. Get Organized

You need to have an organization system that includes all the pertinent details about your medication and doctor appointments. Set a reminder in your phone about future appointments, and always tell medical professionals about your glaucoma medication.

2. Watch Out for Medication Side Effects

Serious side effects should be immediately reported to your eye doctor. It’s also necessary to inform your optometrist if the medication doesn’t work as expected.

3. Keep Your Eyes Healthy

Glaucoma is far from the only eye problem you could develop. Protect your vision by wearing goggles in water and protective eye glasses for sports and lawn work. Avoid rubbing your eyes, even if they’re itchy. Steer clear of potential eye irritants, including eye cosmetics.

4. Tend to the Rest of Your Health

There are several general health techniques that can help keep your glaucoma from getting worse:

  • Reduce your sodium intake
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day
  • Quit smoking
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Minimize your caffeine intake
  • Take steps to reduce your daily stress level

Living with glaucoma is permanent, but it doesn’t have to rob you of your vision. Carefully follow your doctor’s treatment plan and keep all your scheduled eye appointments. This will make you dramatically less likely to become one of the 3.4 million Americans suffering from a serious vision impairment or blindness.

Top 5 Ways to Do a Background Check

If you’re meeting a potential employee for the first time and want to know how trustworthy they are, you’re likely wondering what steps will allow you to reach your goal. Although getting to know an individual can provide you with valuable insights, it’s not always enough. You will want to consider running a background check if you would like to avoid unneeded problems. If you choose to investigate the history of a potential employee, it’s vital you use the right background check website for the job.

While people can hide aspects of their legal history, a background check can paint a clear picture of who they are and the decisions they’ve made in the past. In some cases, you’ll learn that you can’t trust someone, which is often a disappointing experience. On the other hand, you could discover that someone has displayed a history of honesty and integrity, putting your mind at ease. The type of background check that you will want to use will depend on your needs, and choosing the right website is important if you don’t want to make any mistakes along the way.

What Is Included in a Background Check?

Before you decide to move forward with the process, you might want to learn what you can expect to find when you run a background check on someone, which is understandable. When your goal is to get accurate and updated information, most sites will require a fee or monthly subscription, so knowing the type of information you will get in advance is wise.

Almost all background checks contain a person’s criminal history, including arrest records, time spent in jail and more. When you run a complete background check, you will also uncover the employment history and credit report of the person in question. You will learn how many jobs a person has had and whether they have a history of making their loan and credit card payments on time.

Why Get a Background Check?

At this point, many people want to know why they should consider running a background check on someone. No matter if you do so for your personal or professional life, performing a background check gives you an idea of how much you can trust a person. Since trusting the wrong person can have devastating results, background checks add a layer of protection that will allow you to make your decision with confidence.

For example, you could learn that someone has a history of theft, and you can keep yourself safe by avoiding that person or securing your valuables. If you run a background check and discover that someone has been arrested for assault more than once, you can decide to keep your distance. Even though people can change, looking at their past behavior is the most reliable way to predict how they will act in the future.

How Will a Background Check Benefit an Employer?

If you run or manage a business and want to hire the best possible candidates, background checks are a vital resource that you won’t want to ignore. Bringing the wrong people on board can be an expensive mistake and cause a lot of setbacks. Since finding, recruiting and training new people are time-consuming tasks, you will want to get it right the first time. Although nothing can guarantee that you will make the right choice, learning about someone’s background will give you an idea of what you can expect from that person if you welcome him onto your team.

In addition to people’s criminal history, their credit report and employment history can tell you how dependable they are. An individual who has had an excessive number of jobs in the past few years is likely to leave your company after a short amount of time, forcing you to find a replacement. Someone with no criminal record who also has a stable job history could be a great addition to your staff.

Best Reporting Sites

You will want to learn what reporting sites are the best so that you can get the information you need at a reasonable price. Many companies that promise to help are on the market, but they are not all equal. The following list will highlight the top five background check companies from which you can choose.

Instant Checkmate

Designed to allow people to look up information on potential partners, Instant Checkmate is a great resource if you only want to uncover basic details. Their prices start at $22 per month, so using the service won’t need to break your budget. If you are looking for a website that has a clean and simple design, you have come to the right place. Each background report is straightforward and easy to read, preventing confusion. When you run a basic search, you will find any aliases the person has used, social media sites, locations, known relatives and more. Although this website allows users to get detailed background reports, you will need to pay extra to do so.

US Search

If you are looking for another option that won’t harm your wallet, US Search could be the solution you need. For $20 each month, you can find information about a person’s past. Paying the fee will give you access to unlimited background reports that contain basic criminal records. If you would like to include a few more details in the report, the site will require you to pay an extra fee for additional information, such as bankruptcies, property records and military service.

PeopleWise

If you would like to find someone or uncover the reputation of a business, PeopleWise is the solution for which you have been looking. You can enter a person’s name, age, phone number and location to uncover social profiles and other data. You can even use the service to find property records and the crime index of any neighborhood. You can get started for $25 per month if this option seems appealing to you.

BeenVerified

Bankruptcies, criminal reports, tax information and civil judgments are just a few of the things to which you will have access if you use BeenVerified. You can uncover a range of accurate details about the people you want to research once you sign up. If the price of a background check company is a concern, you will be pleased that you can move forward for only $23.

Intelius

If you are looking for a company that will give you all of the information you want for a flat fee, Intelius can help. For $50 per month, you will have full access to the background data of anyone you want, making this option great for those who don’t want to miss anything. You will find that navigating the website is a quick and easy process.

Final Thoughts

When you meet a friend or hire an employee, learning about the person’s past can provide you with critical insights that will help you make the best possible decision. If you only want basic information, then opting for a cheap background check service is the right call. But those who want to get as many details as possible will want to opt for Intelius, which provides all the reports that you could need for a monthly fee.

Website Hosting and Design 101

The world-wide web has evolved quite a bit since its commercial inception in the early 1990s. Nowadays, there are many different web browsers, including ones found on mobile devices in which a user may utilize to visit your website. Furthermore, there are many more languages and software applications that may be employed to help make your site more dynamic than just plain HTML or JavaScript, and even these languages have evolved quite a bit over time.

In addition, there are many more hosting providers in these modern times for you to choose from as your ultimate choice to host your site’s all-important online presence. It’s important for you to do your research and make the proper choice of exactly who you choose as your website’s host in the end for your website’s needs and your budget.

One thing that has not changed though is the importance of a functional website. In order to consider your website functional, you’ll have to look at what type of website you have and what goals you have in mind for it. That said, every good website has common aspects they share.

Important Factors Every Great Website Shares

  • A visually appealing design that is easily navigable.
  • Fast loading times of all its pages.
  • A consistent look and feel across multiple browsers and devices.
  • Completely functional in that all links are valid and relevant.

You only get one chance to make a good first impression to a visitor of your website. If the landing page takes too long to load or doesn’t load at all, you will likely never get another hit from that visitor. If you have an e-commerce site, it’s especially important that the visitor to your site doesn’t get put off by your site’s design and overall professionalism, lest they lose trust in your company and consequently, you lose their potential business.

How to Choose a Website Host

In order to choose a proper host for your website, you must first analyze your website’s needs. In general, you want to consider not just what your website’s needs are now, but where you want them to be in the foreseeable future.

If your website happens to be a brochure website for your small business, you’re likely to not need a ton of storage space or available databases. In this scenario, you’ll probably be fine with a basic, shared hosting plan for your website. Just ensure that your hosting provider includes a solid uptime guarantee and that its servers are sufficient enough that all your pages load quickly.

However, if you’re planning on launching a full-scale e-commerce site with loads of potential visitors and buyers, you’re going to want a dedicated hosting plan. You don’t want to risk losing out on sales because your site becomes bogged down by the sheer number of visitors. You also run the risk of a shared hosting plan, which utilizes resources with many other websites on the same server, simply buckling under the pressure.

Excellent Website Design Resources

For starters, you’ll want to make doubly sure that all the code that makes up your website is valid code and thus, adheres to the proper structure and syntax that it should. Validator.w3.org is an excellent tool to test your site’s code for just this.

Are you an HTML/CSS guru and want to code your entire site from scratch? If so, consider utilizing Adobe’s Dreamweaver or Microsoft’s Visual Studio software applications to aid in the process.

Or, perhaps, you’d like to learn to be an HTML/CSS guru or would like to advance your knowledge on these topics, or others, like JavaScript, PHP/MySQL, or ASP? If this is the case, there is no better resource online than w3schools.com. There you’ll discover a huge repository of easily navigable information to expand your knowledge on such subjects.

Another excellent resource for website designers is found at http://analyzer.metatags.org/. Here you can see what your website’s present META tags contain, as well as other insightful information, such as how fast your pages are loading.

Website Optimization Tips and Tricks

Perhaps the most important aspect of your website, or anyone else’s for that matter, is that everything just works. That is to say that there are no broken images or links, navigations take the visitor where they are expected to, and that everything about the site is completely functional and in good working order.

However, let’s assume you have the perfect site. You have a great logo, an easy to read and use navigation bar, lots of applicable content, a visually appealing design, and it’s even easy to find on the web as you’ve procured the perfect domain and employed excellent search engine optimization techniques for keywords, but it happens to load rather slowly.

In this example, likely the only person who will appreciate the visual appeal and content of your website will be you. Your website’s slow loading time will frustrate visitors to the point of them leaving your site and never returning.

There are ways to improve a website’s loading time, though. Employ scalable vector type graphics for your images and keep their data size down. Just as important as this, avoid using graphics that simply aren’t necessary.

Other tips to improve a website’s loading speed include avoiding the use of too many redirects, employing caching wherever possible, and only utilizing HTML for instructions that would not be possible with CSS. Also, use separate files for your JavaScript and CSS within your website as opposed to including these inside the HTML of your site’s pages.

There’s a lot to a good website. You’re certainly on the right track by doing your research. Keep up the excellent work and good luck to you!

The Top 3 Body Wash Products

Some beauty products simply aren’t necessities. Not all of us use perfume, and makeup is a pricey luxury we can overlook. However, needs to bathe. It’s an absolute necessity. While some of people prefer traditional soap, a lot of modern consumers prefer body wash. It’s creamier, and often gentler on the skin than its solid alternative. Plus, there’s something that’s just plain satisfying about lathering up your loofah with a squeeze of a silky body wash.

So what makes the perfect body wash? Well, there’s a few factors. First and foremost, body washes tend to have a gentler PH than most soaps, meaning that they don’t strip the skin. Most people prefer their body wash to have hydrating ingredients, such as vitamin E and shea butter. Of course, scent plays a huge role as well. With the huge array of body washes available, people are picky about which exact scents they use.

While soap unsurprisingly predates liquid body wash, it’s actually been around longer than you think. The first commercial liquid soap was created by Palmolive in 1865. It was intended as an all-purpose product, much like the modern castile soaps that can be found in health food stores. While Palmolive mostly sells household cleaners in the US now, their cosmetic products can still be found in other countries. As the following products will demonstrate, we’ve come a long way since Palmolive’s first liquid soap!

Dove Purely Pampering Body Wash

What It Is: Dove is a darling of dermatologists everywhere. Their formulas aren’t just non-comedogenic, but they’re also extremely moisturizing, thanks to Dove’s patented Nutrium Complex blend of vitamins and humectants. This super creamy body wash might be a drugstore product, but its fragrance is evocative of a pricy department store perfume.

Why It’s Great: It smells much more expensive than it is, first and foremost. It also leaves skin extremely hydrated; you could easily get away with skipping lotion after you step out of the shower. Its perfume-esque scent lingers a bit, leaving skin lightly fragranced. We’re always a little shocked that this is a drugstore product.

Price and Availability: You can easily find this body wash at any drugstore or big box store, with the price usually somewhere around $8 for a whopping 22 ounces. It’s definitely a steal for the quality and quantity of product that you get for the cost.

Neutrogena Rainbath Shower and Bath Gel

What It Is: Rainbath is the Rocky Horror Picture Show of body washes. If you don’t get it, it just seems weird and vaguely unappealing. If you love it, however, you’re a hardcore devotee who’d wait in long lines for it. This cult classic drugstore find leaves skin feeling clean and refreshed. This amber colored gel foams up beautifully. Try it on exfoliating shower mitts for the smoothest skin you’ve ever had.

Why It’s Great: Even the greatest perfume writer couldn’t adequately describe the scent of Rainbath. We’ll be honest: Like most iconic fragrances, some find it repellant. It’s a mix of a spa scent and the scent of the outdoors after a thunderstorm. Neutrogena describes it as a blend of “fruits, spices and herbs,” but that hardly sums it up. Run to your local drugstore and smell it for yourself if you haven’t before.

Price and Availability: It’s available at drugstores or on Amazon. It starts at around $7 for 8 ounces and goes up to around $21 for the 32-ounce size.

Aveda Rosemary Mint Hand and Body Wash

What It Is: This aromatic body wash is everything we love about Aveda in a bottle. Not only does it have that classic herbal Aveda scent, but it leaves the skin feeling completely cleansed without stripping it of moisture. It can be used as a body wash, or, if you want to be extra fancy and find your inner Kardashian, set it on your bathroom counter to use as an ultra-luxurious hand wash.

Why It’s Great: Some of us are content to use whatever soap or body wash is sitting in our shower. However, some of us need our shower to feel like a trip to the spa. This gorgeous product smells exactly like an Aveda spa, thanks to its lovely rosemary and mint fragrance. It’s extremely gentle, leaving the skin refreshed and lightly moisturized.

Price and Availability: A travel size bottle is only $6, while the 8-ounce bottle is available for $21. You can find it on Aveda’s website or at most Aveda salons and spas.

The Top 4 Best Shampoos and Conditioners

You use them every day, or a couple of times a week at least. You use them to keep your hair healthy, clean and manageable. Whether you buy them to help smooth your curls or to protect your freshly colored strands, shampoo and conditioner are must haves in every household. Since their invention, shampoo and conditioner have been necessities to every hygiene routine.

Invented around 1762, shampoo and conditioner where introduced to the mainstream market to offer users a chance to keep their hair clean and beautiful. This viscous liquid is typically packaged in bottles for easy use. Many different brands exist, offering a variety of shampoos and conditioners for every hair type. Finding the best products for your hair can be quite the task, but there a few key things to consider.

Ingredients are the most important thing to consider when buying shampoo. If you have colored treated hair, shampoos with sulfates will strip your color while leaving your hair feeling dry and brittle. If you have extremely dry or frizzy hair, you can try a conditioner to help smooth out the strands of your hair, keeping that mane looking the best it can look. There are shampoos made for color-treated hair, dry hair, curly hair, and even long hair. Knowing your hair type and oil tendencies are especially helpful when purchasing shampoo.

AG Hair Cosmetics Colour Savour Sulfate-Free Shampoo

For those color-treated beauties, you’ll want a shampoo that’s going to protect your fresh color, helping your locks stay just as vibrant as the day you left the salon. The best way to save your color is by using a great shampoo that is made to help keep your color-treated locks healthy and vibrant. For a great wash, try AG Hair Cosmetics’ shampoo made specifically for color-treated hair. This shampoo is a great way to keep your scalp and hair healthy while also maintaining your color.

Price for this shampoo is about mid-range. It’s listed on Ulta at $22 for 10.0oz of product. You won’t go broke buying this shampoo, and for what it does, the price is incredible. You will also be saving money on trips to the salon because your color will stay vibrant and gorgeous for longer. Either way, you are saving a few dollars here and there by using this amazing shampoo.

Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion Smoothing Conditioner

You might not think that drugstore conditioner is worth anything, but Suave wants you to know that they resent that statement. Their conditioner might not be expensive, but the results are outstanding. This conditioner works to smooth down frizzy ends, while taming previously untamable locks. For those who think that there is nothing better than salon products, this budget friendly conditioner might surprise you.

Like it was mentioned earlier, this product is much cheaper than salon products, but the results are the same or better than other conditioners. Suave prides themselves on producing reasonably priced products for their users, but they ensure that the products they are creating are worth the money. This conditioner is in the lower price range, making it affordable for most everyone. Walgreens sells it for $3.99 for 12.6oz of product.

Briogeo Hair Care Be Gentle Be Kind Green Tea Shampoo

Gentle clean is the best clean, especially for people who have thin or fine hair. This shampoo, Be Gentle Be Kind, is an amazing shampoo that gives a gentle clean without leaving your hair dry. This shampoo doesn’t have any lather, which is difficult for some to get used to, but the results are phenomenal. The gentle shampoo cleans hair well without stripping it of the natural oils that keep hair healthy. This shampoo would also be ideal for color-treated hair because it is so gentle on the hair.

Pricing for this shampoo is about mid-range. Sephora has it priced at $24 for 8oz of product. It is salon quality, but it is still affordable for most people. Luckily, you don’t have to break the bank to get a great wash without damaging your hair. This shampoo is also a salon brand so it must be purchased at a salon or a store that sells salon brand shampoos.

Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Wild Ginger Keratin Cream Rinse

For the softest hair you’ve ever felt, you should give this Paul Mitchell conditioner a shot. This conditioner leaves your hair feeling amazing; so amazing, in fact, that you might not even have to wash your hair every day. Just one use gives you incredible results that you will fall in love with. For the best results, it’s recommended that you use this conditioner with the accompanying shampoo.

Unfortunately, this product falls into the category of expensive for a conditioner. Ulta has it listed at $21.99 for 8.5oz of product. This product is a bit pricey, but users are so impressed with the results and amount of product, they claim this conditioner is well worth the money. So, while this conditioner is more expensive than other salon conditioners, you can be certain that you will get great results from it.

The Top 3 Best Mascaras

Invented in 1830, mascara has come a long way since the ingredients used to create the original product. Eugène Rimmel mixed petroleum jelly and coal dust to create the very first mascara sold on the market. Up until this point, women relied on mixing ingredients themselves to get nicer lashes.

This Frenchman had no idea, but he opened the doors for makeup lovers everywhere, giving you the chance to enhance the look of your eyelashes with a few swipes, decades after his seemingly simple invention.

Mascara has been used for many years, allowing women to have the length and volume of eyelashes they desire. Luckily, mascara is easy to use as well. Just a simple dip of the wand into the tube, a few precise swipes on the eyelashes, and you have fuller and longer eyelashes in seconds. Unfortunately, with all of the different benefits offered by various brands out there, it can be hard to find the right mascara for you.

There are a few things to consider when attempting to find the perfect mascara for your eyes. For one, the formula is especially important. The results you desire can be achieved with multiple formulas. If you want fuller lashes, consider a lighter formula.

Brushes are another thing to consider. Each shape of brush has a different function, and paired with the right formula, it will give you lashes to die for. Different brands will often offer the same benefits with their mascara, but the brush and formula will be what makes a certain product stand out for you. Pay attention to the different choices and choose wisely so you don’t have to keep trying out different mascaras.

YSL The Shock Volumizing Mascara

If you are in the mood for darker lashes that appear thicker, then you will probably want to try YSL’s The Shock mascara. This stuff has a special ink black formula that provides intense dark lashes for those who want to rock the smoky eye. When it comes to volume, this mascara has it, but it can become a little clumpy at times. If you like precise straight lashes you will want to steer clear of this mascara because of its tendency to clump. For those wanting the extra volume, the clumps are welcome.

You’re probably wondering where to buy this seemingly perfect volumizing mascara. This mascara is a high-end brand of makeup, so you’re more likely to find it in stores known for selling more expensive makeup. Ulta and Sephora are two stores that come to mind quickly, with Sephora offering it for $29. This mascara is more expensive than typical mascaras, but for the volume it gives, it’s worth it.

Clinique Chubby Lash Fattening Mascara

Though this mascara has a silly name, the formula makes up for it. This mascara has a chubby brush, which is where the name is derived from, giving you defined and fanned lashes with each swipe. The first coat is said to leave behind a slight tint of color, while added coats create beautiful lashes that everyone will notice. Clinique’s special formula defines lashes sharply instead of clumping.

You can find this mascara at different retailers, such as Sephora or Macy’s. This mascara is considerably cheaper than the first brand mentioned above – Sephora has it for just $21 – but the formula is just as effective, with its ability to define and volumize your lashes.

Urban Decay Perversion

Urban Decay has strived to be a brand known for fierce, impressive makeup that actually works. Their Perversion mascara is no exception. This formula is meant to give you soft lashes at first, with a fluttery feel. While most other mascaras try to attain the bombshell look; Perversion is meant to be striking. With a few coats, this mascara will leave your lashes looking more dramatic and darker than the other brands.

Urban Decay can be found in different makeup stores, most of which sell more expensive brands. Places like Sephora, Ulta, and even Macy’s carry it. When it comes to price, the Perversion mascara is in the mid-range between the YSL and the Clinique mascaras mentioned earlier, with Sephora selling it at $27.

It’s easy to rock the best mascara on your lashes, showing your dark and volumized eyes off to the world. However, finding the right mascara for you can be tricky. People often look at just the formula, just the brush, or just the brand, but this way of shopping for your perfect mascara is going to be ineffective. You should consider your goals as far as lashes go. Do you want volumized lashes? Do you want darker lashes? Do you want a glam look or a darker smoky look? Whatever your needs are, the right mascara is out there for you. By doing a little research on the brand, the formula, and the brush, you can determine which types and brands might be the best fit for your goals.

The Best Pet Insurance Options Available

Medical costs are getting higher every year, and that applies to medical procedures for pets. In 2016, pet parents spent an estimated $15.92 billion on veterinary care. Your pets are family members, so you want to make sure they always get the best care. Pet insurance can help to cover the costs of unexpected veterinary procedures if your pet should be injured or get sick.

Pet Plan

The Pet Plan company started after the founders had to struggle with a $3000 veterinary bill. Pet Plan’s goal is to help pet parents to get the medical care they need so their pets can live long, healthy lives. Pet Plan provides coverage for pets of all ages and doesn’t exclude pre-existing or hereditary conditions. Their mobile app makes it easy to file paperless claims and customer support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Coverage can begin when your pet is six weeks old and premiums don’t increase if you have to make a claim. The only downside is that Pet Plan policies are only available for dogs and cats.

Coverage Under Pet Plan Includes:

  • Accidents and Injuries
  • Alternative Therapies
  • Diagnostic Treatments
  • Exam Fees
  • Illnesses (such as cancer)
  • Imaging
  • Non-Routine Dental
  • Referrals, Specialists, and Prescriptions
  • Surgery and Rehabilitation

Coverage is affordable, with annual plans from $2,500 to more than $25,000. You can also choose the amount of reimbursement that you want from a claim, from 70 to 90 percent. Additionally, you have the option of choosing your deductible, which can be from $100 to $1000.

Healthy Paws

Healthy Paws offers plans for cats and dogs as well. Coverage is available for accidents, alternative care, cancer, emergency care, and genetic medical conditions. Coverage is affordable and starts at $15 a month for cats and $25 for dogs. Features of Healthy Paws Plans include:

  • Annual deductibles
  • No caps on claims
  • Unlimited lifetime benefits

When you file a claim with Healthy Paws, the claim is processed within 3 – 10 business days. The Healthy Paws Foundation provides medical care for homeless pets that gives them a better chance of getting adopted. Chronic medical conditions, blood tests, X-Rays, and ultrasounds are also covered. Your pet is covered if you need specialized care. Pre-existing conditions aren’t covered under healthy Paws plans.

Embrace

Embrace has been providing coverage for cats and dogs since 2006. Pet parents can choose the level of coverage they want including the annual maximum coverage, deductible, and the amount of reimbursement you want. The company offers Wellness Rewards for routine veterinary care. The program is like a savings account that can be used for wellness exams, dental work, heartworm medication, and spaying/neutering. The rewards program can be added to any pet policy.

Some breeds are more susceptible to some medical conditions than others, and Embrace covers conditions that are breed specific. Embrace coverage includes:

  • Alternative therapy and rehabilitation
  • Emergency treatment
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Diagnostic tests
  • Mobility devices
  • Prosthetic limbs
  • Hospitalization and surgery
  • Prescriptions

Older pets that are diagnosed or have symptoms of Addison’s or Cushing’s Disease, Feline HIV, or diabetes may only be enrolled in accident-only coverage and the Wellness Rewards Program. Pets must be 14 or younger to be enrolled, but when your pet is enrolled, you’ll have lifetime coverage. Rescues and shelters can help adopters by offering a promotion that provides two months of coverage for adopted pets.

Pet First

Pet First has a short period to wait before illness and accident coverage takes effect. The plan is available for all breeds, and no veterinary exam is needed for coverage to begin. Coverage for accidents starts at midnight after you enroll. Coverage for illnesses begins 14 days after you enroll. There aren’t any per-incident limits and coverage is available for exams. A discount is available when you renew your coverage if claims aren’t filed for illnesses or accidents.

With Pet First, bi-lateral, congenital, and chronic health conditions are covered. Ingestion of foreign bodies is covered as well, no matter how many claims are filed. A great feature of the plan is that alternative and holistic therapies are reimbursed.

You have several options for reimbursement and deductibles, and you may make changes to your plan at any time. Annual limit options are from $5,000 to $20,000 per year. Pet First has a wellness rider that can be added to any policy. Coverage for exams, flea and tick control and reimbursement for spay and neuter is available.

Pets Best

Pets Best has a high rating from veterinarians and offers coverage for cats and dogs, kittens and puppies. Coverage is available for accidents and illness. Best Benefits Plans are available for routine veterinary care.

Essential Wellness and Best Wellness offer coverage for routine care in addition to illness and accident coverage. Two tiers are available for these plans that cover vaccinations, flea and tick prevention, Heartworm screening, blood work, urinalysis, and other procedures.

The cost of the plans depends on your pet’s age and breed, and the reimbursement and deductible you select for your plan. The optional plans for routine care for your pet are low in cost.

The average cost for routine care for a dog each year is $248, and for a cat the cost runs about $219. When an unexpected illness or injury happens. One of the best features of pet insurance is that the companies offer an array of options for reimbursement, deductibles, monthly costs, and additional plans that can be added to the policy that handles routine care.

The Most Popular Dental Implant Options Available

Unfortunately for some of us, there are times in our lives where we experience immense tooth pain that does not go away. Most of the time it can be attributed to tooth decay. Whether it’s from poor oral hygiene, insufficient diet, or an injury is of little importance. The only thing that matters is getting it fixed so you are not in constant pain.

When tooth pain sets in, the best and only option at your disposal might be to have the tooth removed, which is yet another painful process. If you are left without some important teeth, it could stop your ability to eat solid foods. Dental implants are thereby necessary to help you eat all types of meals. A dental implant is usually an artificial tooth root made from titanium that is typically implanted in your jawbone, to form the foundation your artificial tooth.

Before you go for a dental implant, you should research the best dental institutions within your region that offer these services. You want to make sure you go to a reputable dentist, as you’re having a major mouth surgery and you want it done right the first time. An excellent dental institution can educate you on the different choices you have, and help you along with the process. Presently, there are many dental implant options available for you. However, we’ve narrowed down the three best choices.

There are three primary implant procedures recommended to you by dental associations across the world, due to their efficiency and safety. They include:

  • Endosteal implants
  • Subperiosteal implants
  • Single stage implants

Before any dental implant procedure can occur, a dentist must check to see whether your gums and jaw are healthy for surgery. Prior analysis of your jawbone is necessary since it enables a dentist to develop a dental implant that is unique to you.

Scheduling for surgery takes place after a thorough investigation of your mouth cavity has finished. What follows is the attachment of the titanium root implant to the bone socket of the missing tooth. Since your jawbone experiences constant growth, it can cover this implant and anchor it firmly to its solid frame. Healing after such a surgery takes up to three months for a healthy individual.

After installation of the titanium post is complete, an abutment is added to help hold both your artificial tooth and implant post together. Joining of the artificial tooth to your dental implant then takes place. Normally, the creation of a fake tooth factors in the color and texture of your original teeth. If you have more than one tooth missing, it is necessary for you to add joint implants to create uniformity in your artificial teeth arrangement.

Endosteal Implants

This procedure takes place in two separate phases. Titanium post implantation happens first, and then your gums are given ample time to heal. After this, an abutment is attached to your implant to help join the artificial crown to its human-made root.

Subperiosteal Implants

In this procedure, implantation of a metallic frame occurs on your jawbone. Posts are then used to join fake teeth to the metallic implants.

The procedure takes place in dual stages.

Single stage Implants

This method entails the careful implantation of a metallic dental implant deep into your jawbone and the connection of this implant to an artificial tooth in one stage. It is usually done in a safe and careful manner to avoid injuring your dental cavity.

Advantages of Dental Implants

First and foremost, dental implants help restore lost teeth. In so doing, you can consume any food. Also, there is the restoration of facial beauty. In circumstances when you are missing more than one tooth, your self-esteem may suffer. Many people, especially when they lose teeth at the front, become very self-conscious about it, even if it isn’t their fault the teeth are missing. The confidence to smile is something most people take for granted. With dental implants, everyone can smile when they want.

Dental implants do not affect your surrounding teeth. During implantation, the rest of your healthy teeth are left intact. As a result, you are less likely to develop complications after a good dental implant procedure. Also, these implants help prevent your healthy teeth from shifting from their current positions. Thus, dental implants are safe for you. Your overall oral hygiene will improve immensely.

Technological developments in dental implants have made use of titanium ore. Titanium, as a mineral, is highly durable in nature. Although costly, titanium dental implants can last you a lifetime. As a result, you are likely to spend less on titanium implants as compared to dental fixtures created from other materials in the long run. Another advantage that comes with the use of dental implants is that adhesives are not required to hold your teeth in place. This means increased mobility and ease of use.

Dental implants help protect your oral cavity from unnecessary infection. When your jaw has gaps due to excess removal of decaying teeth, your gums are left exposed to bacteria. Poor oral hygiene might speed up bacteria issues and create infections. Dental implants help keep these holes closed and protect you from unnecessary pain.

Dental implants are trusted all over the world since they have been highly effective. For this reason, dentists have ascertained that they are not only safe but also reliable for you. Dental implants help keep your jawbone healthy. In the absence of teeth, your jawbone becomes weak and eventually shrinks in size. However, the dental implants prevent this from happening.

Finally, dental implants are easy and cheap to maintain. Just like ordinary teeth, you are expected to brush your implants at least twice a day. Quality care will ensure that your implants last longer.

Endosteal implants, subperiosteal implants, and single stage implants are the safest methods of reinforcing your artificial teeth so that they stay strong and last you a lifetime. They’re also the easiest to maintain.

The Best Psoriasis Treatment Options Available

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, it is estimated that 7.5 million Americans suffer from psoriasis. This painful, chronic condition results in red, scaly patches that may be itchy or painful.

Psoriasis is a skin disease caused by a buildup of skin cells that leads to dry, scaly, itchy patches. The irritating patches typically occur on the knees, elbows, scalp, torso, palms, and feet.

This persistent disease tends to run in families and is often related to an abnormality in the immune system. Flare-ups are thought to be triggered by emotional trauma, significant life changes, and other external stressors.

Treatment Options for Psoriasis

Although psoriasis is incurable, certain treatments can help manage symptoms and reduce flare-ups. Even in severe cases, treatment can provide a significant reduction in symptoms in the majority of instances.

1. Topical Creams or Ointments

Topical treatments – often the first line of defense against psoriasis – consist of ointments or creams that are applied directly to the affected areas. These treatments provide a reduction in symptoms minus the symptom-wide effects that can occur as a result of oral medications. A few of the available topical treatments for psoriasis are covered below.

  • Salicylic acid: Certain doctors suggest salicylic acid as a treatment. This acid helps exfoliate skin to encourage the shedding of scales and promote smoothness. Using too much salicylic acid can cause potential side effects such as skin irritation and weakened hair shafts that can lead to hair loss.
  • Steroid-based creams: Steroid creams are a common method for treating psoriasis. These creams help reduce inflammation, soothe itching, and block the overproduction of skin cells that lead to lesions. Stronger creams, although more effective, can produce side effects such as burning, dryness, thinner skin, and irritation.
  • Ointments containing calcipotriene: Calcipotriene, a relative of Vitamin D, has been proven to help symptoms. It is particularly effective when used in conjunction with topical steroid creams.
  • Prescription retinoids: Retinoids contain a synthetic form of Vitamin A that can help improve symptoms by encouraging exfoliation. They do not work as quickly as topical steroids and can also result in dryness and skin irritation.
  • Shampoos and ointments formulated with coal-tar: Products containing coal-tar can help limit the growth of skin cells and thereby reduce the occurrence of flare-ups.

2. Light Therapy
For especially stubborn cases of psoriasis, doctors may recommend light therapy such as prescription UVB treatments using a light box. One of the most powerful options is PUVA – a combination of the drug psoralen and UVA light. Although this is an effective form of therapy, it is used infrequently due to its ability to raise the risk of skin cancer.

3. Oral Drugs

As a last line of treatment, some doctors will use prescription oral drugs to address more severe cases of psoriasis.

  • Methotrexate and cyclosporine: Methotrexate and cyclosporine are medications that are proven to have a dramatic positive effect on lesions. Since these drugs can cause side effects, it is recommended to have regular blood tests completed during treatment.
  • Biologic drugs: This newer class of drugs – produced from human and animal proteins – helps manage symptoms by limiting the body’s immune response. Although these drugs are effective, they are also expensive. Examples of biologic drugs include Humira, Amjevita, Enbrel, Erelzi, Talz, Cosentyx, and Stelara.
  • Oral retinoids: Oral retinoids exhibit properties similar to Vitamin A and can offer a mild reduction in symptoms for people suffering from severe cases of psoriasis.

Natural Treatment Options

If medications are causing unwanted side effects or failing to successfully address symptoms, natural remedies may be an option to consider. Natural remedies utilize herbs, vitamins, sunlight, and ocean water to help manage lesions. A few of the more popular natural remedies for psoriasis include:

  • Fish oil supplements: When consumed orally, fish oil supplements may be beneficial in managing psoriasis. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties and essential fatty acids, fish oil can help promote moisturized skin and a reduction in symptoms.
  • Pure aloe vera: Early research indicates the potential for gel from the aloe vera plant to improve psoriasis symptoms.
  • Dead sea salts: Filling your bath with dead sea salts, colloidal oatmeal, or Epsom salts and soaking for 15 to 20 minutes can help dissolve scales and soothe itching.
  • Cayenne peppers: Cayenne peppers have been a popular natural medicinal treatment for several thousand years. Peppers contain capsaicin – the compound responsible for their heat – a common ingredient in topical anesthetic creams and ointments. Some studies have shown a reduction in itching when capsaicin cream is applied.
  • Sunlight: Some psoriasis sufferers aim to get frequent sun exposure – being careful not to burn – in hopes of reducing symptoms. Exposure to sunlight triggers your body to produce Vitamin D which may improve symptoms by decreasing inflammation. Additionally, UV rays from the sun can help clear psoriasis plaques.

Important Safety Note

Starting or stopping any treatment, including natural ones, may also come with risks. Any new treatment or change in treatment should be evaluated by your doctor.

Final Thoughts

Psoriasis is a frustrating, painful condition that can lead to a significant decrease in the quality of life in anyone suffering from it. Consider talking to your doctor about incorporating the treatment options mentioned above into your lifestyle in order to manage symptoms.

Top 5 Luxury SUVs for 2017

New car sales continue to rise because people are discovering the beauty and drivability of a luxury SUV. Comfort, storage, and entertainment wrapped into one stylish bundle? What’s not to like!

Sales were up over 20 percent in 2016, and experts think they will only continue to climb in 2017. If you are in the market for a luxury SUV, then you are in luck because many automobile manufacturers are focusing here.

2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport 5.0L Supercharged SVR

This five-passenger vehicle has a curb weight of 5,093 pounds. This all-wheel drive vehicle gets 16 miles to the gallon combined fuel economy. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) is $111,350. It is powered by a 3.0 liter V-6 340 horsepower engine. This vehicle offers an eight-speed automatic transmission with overdrive, and it can reach a top speed of 162 miles per hour. It is extremely safe to drive even offering hill assist on the most dangerous downhill roads. You can upgrade to the Meridian Audio system featuring 22 speakers. A power lift gate makes this vehicle easy to load. This vehicle’s real-time traffic displays help ensure that you never get stuck in a traffic jam again.

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS63 AMG

The Mercedes-Benz AMG offers room for seven passengers. This 2017 Mercedes-Benz has all-wheel drive and gets 19 miles to the gallon combined fuel economy. The $124,100 vehicle is powered by a V8 gasoline turbo engine or a V6 diesel engine. A seven -speed automatic transmission makes this vehicle sporty to drive. Mercedes Benz’s Driver Select system allows you to easily adjust how the vehicle handles. This vehicle features a third row of seats that fold flat. The Mbrace entertainment package allows you to listen to iHeart or TuneIn radio or use your car as a mobile hotspot.

2017 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S

The all-wheel drive 2017 Porsche Cayenne Turbo S has a base tag of $159,600. This five-passenger vehicle gets about 17 miles to the gallon making it one of the most fuel-efficient 2017 luxury SUVs. Its 4.8-litre V8 engine can reach a top speed of 175 miles per hour. This vehicle has an eight-speed transmission. While most luxury SUVs, take a tad over five seconds to go from zero to 60, this one does it in 3.8 seconds. Anti-lock brakes and stability control helps you stay in control regardless of what the road throws your way. This vehicle is extremely well liked for its ceramic brakes that are very small and powerful. A rear entertainment package helps to eliminate backseat driving when cruising.

2017 Mercedes Benz AMG G65

Starting at $220,400, the second Mercedes Benz SUV to make the list is the AMG G65. This five-passenger vehicle gets 12 miles to the gallon. This vehicle is shorter than the Land Rover or the other Mercedes. It is powered by a twin-turbo 5.5-liter V-8 engine. Like the GLS63, it has a seven-speed transmission. Easily reach speeds of 155 miles per hour before being electronically limited. Like most Mercedes Benz vehicles, this one comes equipped with intelligent drive warning you if another vehicle is in the blind spot, lane assist and it constant scans the road for cross traffic. This vehicle features three lockable differentials so that you easily maintain control if you choose to take this SUV off-roading. Hands-free Bluetooth connectivity ensures that you can have both hands free to drive. The Bluetooth also ensures that you will always be able to listen to your playlist on your smartphone or other device.

2017 Bentley Bentayga W12 First Edition

With a top speed of 187 miles per hour thanks to the twin-turbo 6.0-liter W-12 engine, the 2017 Bentley Bentayga W12 is the fastest 2017 luxury SUV. It is also the most expensive with a MSRP of $229,100. Achieve a combined fuel average of 14.9 miles to the gallon. This four-wheel drive vehicle has an eight-speed transmission. This new luxury SUV has brake assist and traction control allowing you to maintain control easily. This aluminum and glass vehicle turns heads with its style. You will enjoy knowing you have roll-over management although you hope you never must use it. Built-in Google maps makes sure you never get lost again. Turn up the sound to jam while driving because this vehicle has 18 speakers.

5 Cell Phones to Watch For In 2017

Who wants a new phone? We know you want one.

Maybe you want it because you just need the newest phone out there.

Most people look at upgrading their phone every two years, or when their contract is up. It’s a great way to get your hands on some new technology, but a lot of people don’t do any research before they go looking for a new phone.

Check out these five new phones that are coming soon if you want to ditch your old and busted phone for new some hot, new technology.

1. Apple iPhone 8

The iPhone 7 did not make a big change over the iPhone 6. The biggest change, positive or negative, was the lack of a headphone jack. Hopefully the changes for the iPhone 8 will be much better, as rumors are circulating that it’s taking its inspiration from the Apple Watch.

Apple released a Series 2 device, and it’s ceramic. Paired with jet black coloring for the iPhone 7, this serves as a hint for what type of materials Apple is going to use for the iPhone 8.

Some are even saying that the iPhone 8 will be primarily glass and have wireless charging. We’re sure you’d appreciate not having to step away from your phone because your cord won’t even stretch to the end of a table. A special edition of the ceramic version will be made too.

It’s rumored that an iPhone 7S and 7S Plus are also coming out alongside the iPhone 8. Plenty of options for you to choose from, it’s up to you to see which version you like best.

2. Samsung Galaxy S8

Samsung has had great success with the Galaxy S7, particularly the S7 edge model. We won’t be discussing the issues with the Note 7’s battery here. The Galaxy S8 may need to step up their game to compensate for their shortcomings, though.

There are rumors that there will be a flat version of the S8. The biggest trend in smartphones used to be making them smaller, and it seems now the trend is to make them more flat. Supposedly, there will only be curved devices offered in two sizes, with increased screen resolution up to 4K. There’s no information on the body design, but expect something really thin.

The S8 will probably have the Exynos chipset, or it could have the Snapdragon 835 version. Expect to see Samsung move to the USB Type-C. As for their software, the S8 will launch on the Android Nougat with TouchWiz.

The release date for the Samsung S8 is February 26 this year. Although there is another rumor floating around that April 2017 is the real release date.

3. Nokia D1C and P1

The Nokia will be coming back with smartphones for the 2017 year. What exactly will this new phone offer? Well, no one’s really sure about that.

It is known that there will be at least two models for you to choose from: the D1C and the P1. The D1C is a mid-range offer that comes with a Snapdragon 430 chipset and full HD display in two sizes: 5.2 and 5.5 inches.

The P1 will be the metal flagship device for Nokia. It may be offered in two different sizes, and will have Quad HD display. This one will offer the latest when it comes to hardware along with an amazing camera. Who doesn’t love a phone with a nice camera? Other than that, there’s not much to say about the brand right now. Not even a rumored release date.

4. LG G6

There is a naming issue, seeing that the LG G6’s name is used by their flagship TV. The name will most likely be changed to something else.

There are a couple of rumors spreading around. The LG seems to be moving away from the modular approach taken with the G5. This means it probably won’t have any cool buddies for you to look at and buy immediately after you buy the G6.

With the G5 being difficult to use and with Motorola offering an alternative with Moto Z, the LG flagship will be much easier to navigate.

The launch for a new handset will be made at the Mobile World Congress this year.

5. HTC Ocean

This will be HTC’s next flagship handset, possibly going under the name of HTC Ocean. The name was leaked from a video that showed off the concept handset. It was leaked via Twitter from a reliable source that also says that there are three Ocean smartphones in development.

It’s early for rumors, but it seems to be that this video was focused on a new method for interaction. Instead of using buttons like every phone does, you could use a combination of voice, gestures, and swipes to make things happen.

Other than that, there’s not much else to say. It could have a completely different name by the time it comes out, which is suspected to be around February or March of this year.

Know what you want to get? It can seem overwhelming with all of the different options and features to consider, but we think that as long as you pick a phone that fits your personality and, most importantly, how often you actually use the phone, you should be just fine. Choose wisely!

5 Best Gas Credit Cards on The Market

Considering how many Americans rely on gas-powered cars, it is no surprise one of the most popular credit card reward categories is gas stations purchases.

Some credit cards offer gas and gas station purchases as a regular to their rotating categories. Others feature permanent cash back options on gas purchases.

Whether you have used a reward system credit card before or not, you should always pay special attention to the fine print on any credit card. Things such as time limits and brand restrictions can eat heavily into your reward and earning potentials. It will help you get a better idea of what kind of exclusions and restrictions your card may have.

For example, almost all gas credit cards that offer a cash system will say that they offer cash back at all US gas stations. However, places that already offer discounted gas, such as Costco or Sam’s Club, don’t qualify. They have their own rewards programs.

You will also want to pay attention to the interest rate on whichever card you are looking at. These rates are sometimes higher than the rate you are accustomed to with non-rewards credit cards.
Having said that, here are five of the best gas credit cards available on the market!

1 – American Express’s Blue Cash Preferred Card

This credit card boasts an impressive 3% unlimited cash back at US gas stations, 6% cash back at supermarkets and 1% cash back on everything else.

It offers a very nice 12-month intro APR period as well as an awesome sign-up bonus. You can only get cash back as a statement credit, with a minimum of $25 to redeem.

Unfortunately, it has a $95 annual fee.

2 – Discover it Chrome

Discover it Chrome gets you 2% cash back on gas and dining. If you devote this card entirely to gas, you’ll find that you’ll get a lot more out of it.

You should especially take advantage during the first year you have it, as it doubles all cash back you earn during that first year of service. As a great bonus, you can redeem your cash back rewards at any time, no minimums required. You can request direct deposits or statement credits.

Discover it comes with no annual fee.

3 – Chase Freedom card

With the Freedom card, you’re entitled to 5% cash back on gas purchases during one quarter per year, as well as an attractive sign-up bonus. Each quarter rotates between different categories, so pay attention to see when you qualify for gas.

Once you’re out of your 5% quarter, you’ll earn 1% cash back on everything.

There is a minimum of $20 to redeem your rewards. You can redeem them as direct deposits, statement credits, checks, or even to make purchases via the Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal.

The Discover it Chrome also has no annual fee.

4 – PenFed Platinum Cash Rewards Plus

This card boasts a very impressive unlimited 5% Cash Back at the pump program, as well as minimal fees and a low APR.

Though ‘PenFed’ is a shortened form of ‘Pentagon Federal Credit Union’, you don’t have to be in the Armed Forces or work for the Pentagon to qualify. Simply make a $15 – $20, one-time donation to qualify for a PenFed lifetime membership.

You automatically have your cash back awarded as a statement credit. There is no minimum required, though you do need to have either a loan or deposit account with PenFed to qualify for the Platinum card.

PenFed Platinum has no annual fees.

5 – Bank of America’s BankAmericard Cash Rewards Credit Card

This particular card offers 3% cash back on gas, as well as fun fringe benefits for customers of Bank of America.

Though you could also receive 2% back on groceries, the rewards are combined with the gas reward, at a cap of $2,500 quarterly. If you’re looking specifically for gas rewards, avoid using this card at the supermarket. All other purchases give you a 1% cash back reward.

There are no exceptions or limitations, no annual fees, and only a $25 minimum to cash in on your rewards.

If you don’t see a card that you think would fit in with your lifestyle here, no worries! There are tons of options out there.

These were just our picks based on ease of use, the amount of the cash back reward, and fee amounts.

All of them are great cards that offer good rewards and can help keep you going even when gas prices fluctuate or times get tough.

Top Five Refrigerators on the Market

How long have you had your refrigerator? Since you raced home every Thursday to catch the latest episode of Friends? Since side ponytails were in…the first time? Since Bohemian Rhapsody hit #1 on the charts?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you absolutely own an outdated energy hog of a fridge that probably doesn’t keep your food at a safe temperature anymore.

Luckily for you, the market is bursting with sleek new energy efficient refrigerators in a range of prices.

We’ve narrowed down the top five refrigerators on the market to help you choose the perfect one.

From top freezer to bottom freezer, side-by-side doors to French doors, we’ve got you covered.

1. LG 24 cu. ft. Top Freezer Refrigerator

  • Price: $1,295
  • Freezer capacity: 6.4 cu. ft.
  • Refrigerator capacity: 17.6 cu. ft.
  • Unit number: LTCS24223S

This LG top freezer refrigerator is the largest in its class at a total of 24 cu. ft. This fridge is huge!

You can store a roasting pan, a cake tray, and a party platter inside and still have space for weekly groceries. Featuring a stainless-steel finish and hidden grooves as opposed to handles, this model boasts a modern style that is consistently sought after by consumers.

A look inside reveals energy efficient LED lights and a 33-inch-wide deli drawer. For the price, this refrigerator is a modernized, full capacity steal!

2. Whirlpool Bottom Freezer Refrigerator

  • Price: $1,400
  • Freezer capacity: 6.45 cu. ft.
  • Refrigerator capacity: 15.62 cu. ft.
  • Unit number: WRB322DMBB

This Whirlpool bottom freezer refrigerator doesn’t look very special at first glance, but what it lacks in appearance it makes up for in useful features.

The freezer is equipped with Adaptive Defrost, which allows the defrost cycle to run only when it is needed. Inside the refrigerator, a specialized filter absorbs excess gas that causes your fruits and veggies to spoil prematurely.

Other features include energy efficient upgrades, LED lighting, and spill proof shelving.

3. LG 26 cu. ft. Side by Side Refrigerator

  • Price: $1,500
  • Freezer capacity: 9.20 cu. ft.
  • Refrigerator capacity: 17 cu. ft.
  • Unit number: LSXS26326S

At only $1,500, this LG side-by-side refrigerator is priced to sell! Ideal for a family on a budget, it features a child lock and a door alarm.

It also includes a filtered ice system on the inside of the door, allowing for more storage space inside the freezer.

This model achieves a modern yet stylish design with a contoured door and stainless steel finish.

4. LG 30 cu. ft. InstaView™ Door-in-Door® Refrigerator

  • Price: $4,300
  • Freezer capacity: 10.1 cu. ft.
  • Refrigerator capacity: 19.5 cu. ft.
  • Unit number: LFXS30796D

If you have the cash for this extravagant French door refrigerator from LG, order it today! This model comes with so many features we cannot list them all here.

The most obvious aspect of this fridge is the glass door that allows you to see inside just by knocking, which activates the LED lights within. This fridge is the most expensive on the list, but it is also the largest.

Its added space is ideal for large families. If you have little ones at home, this model is an excellent choice with fingerprint resistant surfaces, a child lock, and a door alarm.

Additionally, this refrigerator has spill proof shelving and LED lighting.

5. Samsung Family Hub 4 Door Refrigerator

  • Price: $3,800
  • Freezer capacity: 5.75 cu. ft.
  • Refrigerator capacity: 16.4 cu. ft.
  • FlexZone: 5.75 cu. ft.
  • Unit number: RF28K9580SR

The features of this Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator ooze luxury.

With its 21.5″ Wi-Fi enabled touchscreen, you can forget about multiple papers clinging to the outside of your fridge, their edges curling and catching on you as you walk past. Just use the Sticki app to share calendars, notes, and photos.

You can also watch television, stream music, and even buy groceries all from the Hub!

Speaking of groceries, this fridge will eliminate the guesswork from grocery shopping. Picture this, you’re at the grocery store and you can’t remember if you already have eggs. Just take out your smartphone and access one of the three digital cameras that are linked to it from inside the fridge.

Other features of this model include spill proof glass, high efficiency LED lighting, a premium triple cooling system, and bottom right door area known as the FlexZone. This area has five temperature settings that allow it to function as either a refrigerator or a freezer.

5 Most Popular Eyeglasses for 2017

Eyeglasses have come a long way. From the early days of just being a functional piece of eyewear meant to help you see, to now when they’re an interesting blend of fashion and utility.

Gone are the days when the nerdy look was only meant for the geeks.

Eyeglasses are now fashionable and funky, adding oomph to your daily attire with their simple presence. You can shop for a pair that matches your conservative style or ones that complement your quirky side.

Now that eyeglasses have become such a fashion statement, there’s a plethora of options for every person. It would be wrong to pick a pair that doesn’t suit you.

From thick glasses, to round frames, to eccentric colors, there is no limit of fashionable picks out there.

Here are the top 5 trends for 2017, so you can pick the best pair depending on your style and use.

1. Semi Rimless Glasses

If you like to keep your professional look sleek yet sexy, then this power accessory is a must have for you.

These unisex frames are not only fashionable but also practical. Their popularity lies in their unique look and lightweight frames, making them not only classy but also comfortable.

There are many options available for all face types.

Choices include high-end brands such as Coach. They usually start at $200 for women.

There are plenty of budget options as well, such as Vince Camuto. Many of these budget friendly brands are in the $50-$80 range.

2. Square Glasses

If you want to give yourself the modern-day nerd look, then square glasses will be your best friend. With their square silhouettes, they can accentuate a delicate face and suit stylish outfits perfectly.

They look best with an oval or a round shaped face for both men and women.

Get thick black square glasses for a professional or academic setting. Go for a soft square for a more casual look. Find the one that suits your style preference and needs.

Oversized frames are really on trend and give you that geeky look without too much effort.

Brands like Burberry are high-end but are worth it for the quality and subtle style you’re aiming for. They range from $200 and up.

There are also more budget friendly brands such as Vogue, which start at $100, promising you durability and style in an affordable price range.

3. Aviator Glasses

There is nothing more timeless than the Aviator glasses. They are a must have pair for anyone who likes collecting fashionable eyewear. They will undeniably be one of the trendiest accessories in your wardrobe for years to come.

Aviators have stood the test of time and remain one of the most unashamedly cool trends of 2017.

Available for both men and women, Aviator eyeglasses can be worn with prescription lenses or just as a plain accessory. You can use them to glam up your outfits and complement your facial features.

Needless to say, Ray Ban is the best brand if you are looking for Aviators. You can easily find your favorite pair for under $150. Quite a steal for the durability and eternal style offered by Aviators.

4. Round Cat-Eye Glasses

Cat-eye frames are the best style for people who want to add a little feminine flair to their look while looking every bit stylish.

The latest rendition of cat-eye frames come with rounded lens that are highly fashionable and look extremely poised when paired with the right outfit.

Cat-eyes give you the perfect delicate look with an individualistic style statement. If you feel funky, try a deep red tone, especially if you have darker skin.

They are suitable for both professional and academic environments, but you can find some that add a little personality to the frame.

If you are looking for something modern and quirky, then choose Coquette, available for around $100. There are also vintage styles available for the more conservative person.

5. Tortoise-shell Finish

Tortoise-shell is undoubtedly this year’s most popular trend.

It has taken on a new life and become modern-day stylish, with lacquered metallic hues and unconventional colors, giving it a more youthful look.

There are plenty of color choices and pattern suitable to your personal preference. You can pick from thick rectangular frames, or go for a sleeker look.

Oversized Zelda frames are perfect for you if you need something classy yet functional, without breaking the bank. Available for under $150, these eyeglasses will certainly take your style potential to the next level.

Choosing fashionable eyewear doesn’t have to be as complicated as you might think. You just have to find the right balance between your needs and the style that suits you perfectly.

Once you find a style that makes you feel amazing, branch out and try different versions of it!

Top 5 Credit Cards With No Foreign Transaction Fee

Are you in the know? Do you realize that spending money can make money – so long as you have the right credit card?  Many business cards and credit cards offer generous travel rewards and significant travel protection services, but at a catch: fees. Annual fees, balance transfer fees, minimum balance fees, foreign transaction fees, ad infinitum.

Foreign exchange fees are typically 1-3 percent of an international purchase. For the savvy spender, they can make the difference between making money with a credit card and losing money. Thankfully, the following pieces of “magic plastic” offer all the perks of a travel rewards program with none of the foreign transaction fees.

Barclaycard Arrival PlusTM World Elite MasterCard®

Who’s It For

Just who it says: the world elite. Frequent travelers and big spenders. People who ride in limousines more often than taxis.

How It Works

This impressive travel rewards card has an ace in the hole: chip n’ pin technology. Unlike many American credit cards, which only offer swipe n’ signature technology, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard also has a built-in security and identity chip, which is much more common overseas, particularly in Europe. You can use the card at parking kiosks, toll roads, and other self-serve terminals.

Why We Like It

In addition to its chip n’ pin technology, the Barclaycard offers a whopper of a sign-on bonus. If you spend $3,000 within the first 90 days, you receive a 40,000-mile bonus! The bonus can also be redeemed for a $400 travel statement credit.

What to Watch Out For

The card has an annual fee of $85, waived for the first year. You have to spend $4,200 each year just to offset the annual fee. It is only available to those with good to excellent credit and the wallets to back it up.

Discover it® Miles

Who’s It For

The occasional international or domestic traveler. Small business owners, vacationers, tourists.

How It Works

Use it like any other credit card. You get 1.5x rewards on every dollar you spend. There’s no limit and no rewards expiration. You can use your points for free travel miles or redeem for cash, anytime. Unlike most other premium cards, which require a minimum redemption amount, you can redeem your Discover it Miles rewards for anything, even 23 cents, if it suits you. It’s a competitor to the BankAmerica Travel Rewards Credit Card.

Why We Like It

No annual fee! Unlike most other foreign transaction fee-free credit cards that charge annual fees to “encourage” users to spend freely, the Discover it Miles card has no annual fee and not much fine print. Here’s another perk: Discover will match all of the rewards you’ve earned at the beginning of your first year for new card members.

What to Watch Out For

Nothing, really. Just follow the rules of thumb for all credit cards: Keep your utilization ratio under 30 percent. Don’t carry a balance long-term. Make your payments on time.

Capital One® Secured MasterCard®

Who’s It For

The young. The recently divorced. The bankrupted.

How It Works

A secured credit card, unlike a traditional credit card, requires a collateral security deposit. This deposit, along with proven income and a demonstrated ability to pay your bills, gives the lender confidence in your, um, “spotty” credit history. If you default on your payments, the lender keeps your security deposit.

Why We Like It

Many secured cards come with high APR’s, annual fees and foreign transaction fees of around 3 percent. Not so with the Capital One Secured MasterCard! Like all Capital One cards, it charges no foreign transaction fees. It also has no balance transfer fees and no annual fees. The card also provides traveler’s assistance programs such as 24/7 roadside assistance and automobile rental insurance.

What to Watch Out For

The APR is typically 24.99 percent, so don’t carry a balance long-term. Also, even though the opening security deposit is low – down to $49 – the initial credit limit is only $200. Maximum credit line is $3,000. And sadly, unlike the beloved Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, the Capital One Secured MasterCard offers no travel rewards programs. All you get is a better credit score and a slap on the back.

Citi Prestige® Card

Who’s It For

Airline nomads. Hotel rats. CEOs.

How It Works

The Citi Prestige Card is the premium option to the Citi ThankYou Premier Card. The travel rewards are incredible: 3x points on air travel and hotel expenditures, 2x points on dining and entertainment, and 1x points on all other purchases. There is no limit or expiration of the ThankYou points.

Why We Like It

Besides the 3x rewards rate, you mean? For one thing, the Citi Prestige Card offers significant travel protection. They’re among the best in the market. Citi offers:

  • $500 in trip delay protection if your flight is delayed by three hours or more.
  • $500 in baggage delay protection on similar terms.
  • $100,000 in primary car rental coverage outside the United States.
  • $5,000 per person in trip cancellation and interruption protection, such as if you’re called to jury duty, become sick, unemployment, etc.
  • … and literally dozens of other perks.

What to Watch Out For

Ahem. There’s a $450 annual fee. So unless you’re a frequent flier, you won’t come out ahead with this card, even with its generous rewards. However, thanks to the litany of travel protection services, you may want to consider this car or the Citi ThankYou card if you often travel overseas and want some peace of mind.

Chase Sapphire® Preferred Card

Who’s It For

Anyone who loves Christmas, or birthdays, or Valentine’s Day. It’s all about the gifts.

How It Works

Voted Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance in July 2016, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card has one of the best sign-on bonuses anywhere. If you spend $4,000 within the first three months of the account opening, you earn 50,000 bonus points. That’s the cash equivalent of $625, a tidy sum. Among business cards for frequent travelers, it’s one of the most popular and most versatile.

Why We Like It

Chase has an extremely flexible rewards program. Points can be redeemed for cash, gift cards, merchandise, Chase Ultimate Rewards travel, airline loyalty programs, etc. It has no black-out dates, no travel restrictions, and 2x points on all international travel and dining purchases.

What to Watch Out For

It’s a Visa card. And Visas typically don’t have the same currency exchange rates as MasterCards. They may be up to one percent higher, which doesn’t sound like a lot until you spend $40,000 in a year and realize that $400 disappeared into the thin air of cyberspace. Do note that currency exchange rates vary depending on the day and the currency, and that no matter what card you use, you should always pay in local currency whenever possible.

 

 

Top 5 Low Interest Credit Cards

Whether you are looking to consolidate a debt or finance a large purchase at the cheapest interest cost possible, there are different credit cards available that can help you with this process. In this article, we are going to take a look at five of the best low-interest credit cards. These will be cards that either:

1) Offer an everyday low rate or 2) Offer a very nice sign-up introductory rate for an extended period.

Chase Slate: A Compelling Introductory Offer

Usually, a credit card company will offer either an intro purchase APR rate or an intro balance transfer APR rate in an attempt to attract new customers. With the Chase Slate Card, you get both.

For the first fifteen months that you are activated, you will be able to enjoy 0% APR on BOTH balance transfers AND purchases. This means that this card is perfect for you if you are looking to finance a large purchase OR if you are looking to consolidate your debt into one place.

On top of that, the Chase Slate is an industry leader because it does not charge any balance transfer fees if you make a transfer within the first 60 days that your account is opened. This is a first for balance transfer offers, as most card companies usually charge $5 or 3% of the transfer, whichever is greater, even when they offer zero percent intro offers for balance transfers.

Now, be aware that you will probably need an excellent credit score to get the Chase Slate card, but it may be worth trying to prequalify on their site even if you don’t have a 740+ score.

Best All-Around Low Rate: Barclaycard Ring Mastercard

With that said, while Chase is able to make an incredible introductory offer to its new customers, Barclaycard has beaten all the rest when it comes to generally low interest rates. Currently, the Ring Mastercard offers an industry-leading 8.24% variable APR on all purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances.

In terms of a low interest rate, this card is the best there is. Almost no one else in the industry has a rate that goes beneath 13.24% for an unsecured card, and that rate being only for the most creditworthy borrowers. With that said, the 8.24% rate is a variable rate that tracks the prime rate, so it is possible that it could increase.

Still, the Ring Mastercard should consistently have a lower rate than all other cards on the market, even when interest rates rise like they just did this December. So, if you have a very large balance that you can’t pay off during an introductory balance transfer period, this card may be a good option to help you save on some of the interest that you would otherwise pay with another credit card.

Low Interest With a Plus: Penfed Promise

The major drawback to low-interest credit cards is that they often don’t offer much in the way of sign-up bonuses or rewards. With the Penfed Promise Visa Card, that doesn’t hold true.

The Penfed Card is another card that has a generally good, all-around low interest rate. It is a variable rate that currently ranges from 10.24% to 17.99% based on your creditworthiness, which is far lower than the current industry average of 13.24-23.24%.

It also gets better because Penfed is currently offering a nice sign-up bonus of $100 when you spend $1500 on their card within 90 days of signing up. Furthermore, this card does not charge an annual fee and has a 4.99% intro APR offer on balance transfers (with no transfer fees) for the first 12 months of your account being open.

Good Upon Invitation: Citi Diamond Preferred

While you don’t technically have to be “invited” in order to apply and be accepted for the Citi Diamond Preferred Card, you are far more likely to be approved for this high-end card in that manner.

Why is it so difficult to get approved? It is because Citi is currently offering one of the best intro APR offers in the industry. For those who are approved, you will receive an incredible introductory APR offer, good for both balance transfers and purchases, of 0% for 21 months from the time you open your account.

Only one other card is currently offering an intro APR for this long of a period–that’s nearly two years! As a result, this card is perfect for either making a very large purchase and paying it down over time or transferring a high-interest balance and paying it off with a little more room to breathe.

However, keep in mind that the balance transfer offer doesn’t come fee-free. For every balance transfer that you make during the introductory period, there will be a fee of $5 or 3% of the total balance that you are transferring–whichever is greater. In many ways, this can tack a good bit of the interest back onto your balance that you would otherwise be avoiding by taking this offer, so be wary.

Citi Simplicity Keeps Interest Simple

The only other card that offers a 21 month, 0% intro APR on balance transfers and purchases? Citi Simplicity. Much like their Diamond Preferred Card, Citi is extending these fantastic offers using their Citi Simplicity card as well. Plus, it is a little bit easier to get approved for too!

This card also does not charge an annual fee, and you will also find that it is a little more gracious than most. The Citi Simplicity Card never charges a late fee for a missed payment, and it doesn’t have any sort of penalty rate.

Given, it doesn’t have some of the cool benefits that Citi offers to its customers with the Diamond Preferred card from time to time, but it also doesn’t face a risky 29.99% penalty APR that those card users face if they ever miss a payment.

There Are Plenty of Options Better Than a Bank

Whether you are paying off a large debt or looking to finance a large purchase with some breathing room, there are plenty of low-interest credit card options out there that may be better than getting, or consolidating, a loan with your local bank.

At the very least, your bank will usually charge you between 3-9% for a personal loan, and they are also known for charging origination and closing fees on new loans or consolidation fees for outstanding credit that you have. In other words, you can save all that interest expense just by obtaining the right low-interest credit card.

Furthermore, always check Credit Karma and the FICO Forums before applying for any card to know your approval odds. Hopefully by doing this you can increase your chances of approval so that you don’t waste hard inquiries and hurt your credit score during the application process.

Top 5 No Annual Fee Credit Cards

Many consumers are in the market for a new credit card, and they want free credit cards. It’s not always simple to find quality no-fee credit cards, but it is possible when you know where to look. Paying to use a card detracts from the profit you make earning cash back or other travel rewards, and it makes no sense to pay to place a credit card in your wallet. If you want free credit cards, there are several on the market for consumers with good to excellent credit that offer you a chance to pay nothing.

Many cards lure consumers by offering to waive the annual fee for one year, but some cards never charge an annual fee. These are the best of the best when it comes to free credit cards for consumers with good enough credit.

Chase Freedom

This no-annual fee credit card is one of the most profitable on the market. Anyone who applies for this card will earn substantial cash back throughout the year on revolving category purchases, as well as a sign-up bonus for meeting spending requirements put in place by Chase.

  • Earn $150 cash back when you spend $500 in purchases within three months of opening your account
  • Earn 5% cash back on quarterly rotating bonus categories up to $1,500 each quarter
  • No APR on purchases or balance transfers for 15 months
  • 3% foreign transaction fee

While there are consumers who don’t care much for rotating bonus categories especially when they’re confined by such low spending limits, the introductory APR this card offers is difficult to beat. The rotating categories are easy categories in which to achieve spending limits, which provides cardholders the chance to earn at least $75 cash back each quarter on gas, groceries, entertainment, and restaurants.

Citi Double Cash Card

This no-annual fee card is one of the best in terms of balance transfers. All new cardholders are given 0% APR on all balance transfers for 18 months. Not many cards go that long without charging interest on balance transfers, and this is only one of a handful on the market at the moment to offer such a money-saving perk.

  • Earn 1% cash back on all purchases without any spending limits
  • Earn an additional 1% cash back each time you pay off your balance
  • No annual fees
  • Redeem cash back anytime you want

While the perks of this card aren’t flashy, they’re substantial. It’s difficult to find fault in being able to pay off your balances and double the cash back you earn in the process. The double cash card is the only one on the market offering compensation to consumers who pay their balances. This card promotes good credit and no debt, which is one many consumers should consider. It’s balance transfer perk makes it very easy to pay off any other debts you have, which is a significant perk.

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

If you love to travel, you’ll love this no-annual fee card. It offers more perks than any other reward card that doesn’t charge an annual fee, and that includes a sign-up bonus as well as unlimited mileage earnings.

  • Earn 20,000 bonus miles when you spend $1,000 in three months
  • Earn 1.25 miles for every dollar you spend anywhere
  • No annual fee
  • Use rewards on any airline, any hotel without blackout dates or restrictions
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Miles never expires
  • 0% APR on purchases for 12 months

Consumers with excellent or even good credit can apply for this card and enjoy the many perks of a no-fee credit card with excellent travel perks. Miles are eligible for use with any hotel or airline, and there are no restrictions to when you can fly or stay. Not every travel card offers that perk, but it’s available with this one.

Discover it

If you want 18 months to pay off your debts, this is the card for you. All new cardholders are given the opportunity to transfer other outstanding balances to this card to enjoy the perks of 18 months without paying any interest.

  • Earn 1% cash back on all purchases
  • Earn 5% cash back on rotating category purchases each quarter up to $1,500
  • No APR on balance transfers for 18 months
  • No APR on purchases for 6 months
  • No foreign transaction fees

What makes this card stand about a bit more than the Chase Freedom and its similar cash back rewards is the gas category. With Chase, consumers are given cash back on gas purchases, but Discover customers earning escalated cash back in the same category are given cash back for all transportation expenses, including Uber rides, bus rides, and taxi fare.

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One is good about offering consumers a chance to pay no fee each year while still raking in the perks. Many no-fee cards don’t allow their consumers to earn many points or rewards. Capital One believes in allowing consumers to earn points and save money, which is why so many satisfied customers turn to this company to find a great credit card.

  • Earn $100 cash bonus for spending $500 in three months of opening your account
  • Earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • No limits on cash back earning potential
  • No rotating categories
  • No APR for 9 months on all purchases and balance transfers
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees

Cash back is a great option for cardholders who use their card on a regular basis, and it’s even better when you can redeem your cash back rewards at your leisure. Have them applied as statement credit each time you earn $25 in cash back, or save your earnings to apply them to your bill following Christmas for substantial savings. This cash back card makes it incredibly simple to earn money and save money on an annual fee.

Credit cards that offer consumers the chance to pay no annual fee aren’t rare. However, it’s not easy to find one with such great rewards as well as no annual fee. These five cards stand out among the rest of the no annual fee cards available to consumers because of that, and the customer service each company offers their customers is outstanding. Other no-annual fee cards are available for consumers, but these are the five cards with the best rating and the highest level of rewards available. They’re similar in nature, but each one offers a little something the rest do not.

Prior to applying for any card, it’s recommended you look at the variable interest rates you might incur when your introductory periods are over. If balance transfers or purchases are not paid in full before that period ends, interest does accrue. Cardholders are not guaranteed an interest rate until their application is complete, and the lower rates are reserved for those applicants whose credit is excellent. The lower your score, the higher your rate when you are approved for any of these cards.

Top 5 Credit Cards for After Bankruptcy

The decision to file for bankruptcy is one that is met with much angst. However, the credit building process can begin once the case has been successfully discharged. You will find that your credit report will take a major hit, but thankfully, there are more than enough credit card companies that are willing to give you a second chance. They realize that to fix your credit you need their services. They also know that you cannot file bankruptcy again for another eight years.

While pre-paid credit cards are one option, you do not have to go that route. You can get an unsecured card and allow it to work for you.

Don’t Accept Every Card That Approves You

One trap that you should not fall into is taking every credit card that is offered to you. There are going to be some cards that you want to say no to. Stay away from cards that offer you a small credit limit with a huge processing fee. Some banks like First Premier Bank offer a $300 credit limit, however, they take away a processing and annual fee away immediately. This leaves customers with about $80 of available credit. If you ask for a joint card, then they will take an additional $20 too.

Be sure to make wise decisions regarding credit to ensure that you don’t end up in the same financial situation you just got out of. If you need to rebuild your credit, here are five credit cards that cater to those people fresh out of bankruptcy.

  1. Capitol One Bank

Capitol One Bank has numerous offerings for those who want a good credit card. They specifically have two cards that fit those with fair to bad credit. The Capitol One Platinum Card has a variable interest rate of 24.99 percent and no annual fee. Their Journey Student Master Card has a variable interest rate of 20.24 percent and no annual fee. However, one thing that many people do not know is they are a good option for those who have recently been discharged from bankruptcy. They will give you a credit limit anywhere from $300 to $3,000.

Another perk about building good credit with Capital One is their auto financing division. Keep your credit cards paid on time and they will offer you an auto loan. It always helps to go to the dealer with pre-approved loan paperwork in hand. While the interest rate may be a bit high, they will not charge huge annual fees or any processing that takes all the available credit.

  1. Credit One Bank

Credit One Bank will start you out with a lower credit limit, probably under $500, but they do review the account for automatic increases. They have one of the lowest annual fees, anywhere from $0 – $99, and they base the fee on your FICO Score. You need to have fair credit, so if you have a score in the 500’s, you will likely be approved. Check your credit profile before filling out an application for their card. Their variable interest rate is 15.65 percent – 24.15 percent.

To help those with troubled credit, they include a monthly score tracker in with their services. You can watch your score go up and down for free as a perk to being a member.

  1. Milestone® Gold MasterCard

As long as you are using your credit responsibly since the Bankruptcy, Milestone will help you out with a credit card. Their annual fee is $75 for the first year, and the price increases to $99 thereafter. All of their credit cards have a starting APR of 23.90 percent. While these are considered their prime offerings, the actual amount will be determined by your credit score. They allow you to choose a custom card design, use online service to pay bills and check account for free, and they have a 24/7 customer service department.

Their pre-qualification form allows you to see if you qualify before pulling your credit report. This saves your report from suffering a hit from a hard inquiry.

  1. Indigo® Platinum MasterCard

Indigo is not a company that is widely known, but their cards are accepted at over 35 million locations. Annual fees start as low as $0 and go up to $99 per year. APR rates start at 23.90 percent and increase per the credit score. They are funded through Genesis Bankcard Services, which also funds other credit cards for those with challenged credit. They have been around since 2001, and their headquarters is in Salt Lake City, Utah. They report to all three bureaus to help people rebuild their credit.

Credit limits start at $100 and go up to $5,000. They do have some stipulations on their cards, such as you cannot use them at the fuel pump for gas.

  1. Total VISA®

This Visa is issued by the Mid America Bank & Trust Company. While they don’t have any rewards programs or all the bells and whistles of other companies, they do offer fast approval. Now, with this account, you will need to pay a processing fee of $89 before the account will be opened. Fortunately, they will only charge you this amount if your account is approved. They do not bill to your credit card, you will be responsible for making the payment before a card will be released. They do require a checking account with automatic payment withdraw.

They work with people who have the worst credit, so if all others have said no, there is a good chance they will say yes. Their annual fee is $78 for the first year and then it drops to $48 thereafter. There is a monthly service fee of $6.25 billed as one lump charge of $75. The credit limit is $300 for everyone, and they will increase the limit as your credit score improves. Their APR is 29.99 percent for all card holders.

Pre-Paid Credit Cards

As you can see, there are some good options out there to help you rebuild your credit. Another option to consider is pre-paid credit cards. They are one of the hallmarks of credit building and there are numerous to choose from. Be careful of those that charge large fees for their services. There are plenty of cards out there that will let you use their services for next to nothing.

Rebuilding Your Credit

The rebuilding process is often difficult. When you do find the credit card to help you rebuild, make sure that you never spend more than 30 percent of your available credit. The goal is to let the card work for you. If you max out the credit card, it will be counterproductive in helping your credit score. Also, be sure to check your credit report from time to time to make sure things are on the upward swing.

Top 5 Secured Credit Cards

If you want to build your credit or fix your credit, information about the top five secured credit cards can help. It’s difficult to live in today’s world without access to credit:

  • A credit card is needed to buy a plane ticket or to stay in a hotel once you arrive at the destination.
  • In most states, you’ll need a credit card to rent a car—even if you decide to pay for the rental in cash.
  • If the car rental merchant does allow you to pay with a debit card, expect a hefty authorization against available bank funds.

Responsible use of credit cards is important to establishing a good credit rating. Without good credit, it’s more difficult to buy a home or a car at today’s low interest rates.

If you’ve never had credit or if your credit history is bad to fair now, you might not qualify for an unsecured credit card. Look for secured low fee cards to save money.

You need a credit card to establish or build your credit, or fix your credit. That’s where secured credit cards come in. Since not all secured credit cards are created equal, let’s discuss how secured credit cards work. Then, we’ll identify low fee cards that users like now.

What Is a Secured Credit Card?

A secured credit card is a credit line that’s secured by your cash collateral on deposit with the issuer. In most cases, the amount of collateral determines your credit line on the account:

  • For instance, if you send $300 to open the account, the card issuer allows you to charge up to a $300 maximum.
  • After you’ve maintained the account over a certain period, the issuer may let you increase the deposit and increase your credit line.
  • Pay on time and as agreed, and the credit card issuer might extend the credit line without asking for additional cash collateral.

If your credit isn’t perfect, the goal is to find a great secured credit card until you build your credit. A recently discharged bankruptcy or older bank card charge-off can keep you from qualifying for unsecured credit cards. When in doubt about any credit card, contact the issuer and ask questions first. Don’t assume that a secured credit card offer in the mail is preapproved. If you apply for a secured credit card and don’t pass muster, a hard inquiry will remain on your credit files for two years.

Where Do I Apply for a Secured Credit Card?

Becoming a credit union member has its advantages. Many credit unions can help members to get low fee cards. Lower annual percentage rates (APRs) and no or low annual fees to hold the credit card save you money.

If you don’t belong to a community credit union, consider joining before you apply for a new secured credit card. Alternatively, if you’re in the armed forces or affiliated with a branch of service, look for special secured credit card programs there.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Secured Credit Card?

Many secured card programs require some kind of cash collateral to open an account. Compare annual membership fees and choose the most inexpensive option.

It’s important to study the fine print. Some secured credit cards charge multiple fees to open the account. Your collateral can be consumed by these charges before you make a purchase.

If you want or need a larger credit line, you’ll be asked to submit a higher collateral amount in most instances. The amount of your collateral varies by card issuer. Many secured credit cards have minimum deposits between $300 and $500. The amount of your collateral deposit is used to establish your credit line or, in some cases, determine a percentage higher than the collateral amount.

In some cases, if you make timely payments on the secured credit card account, you’ll automatically qualify for an unsecured credit card. According to the Wall Street Journal, the average time to qualify is about one year.

What Are the Top Five Secured Credit Cards?

Many of the top secured credit cards report to the three major credit reporting agencies (CRAs) as unsecured cards. If you’re concerned about how the issuer reports to the CRAs, it’s important to ask before submitting an application. In the past, some lesser quality secured credit card issuers didn’t report to the CRAs at all. Obviously, if you’re trying to build your credit or fix your credit, it’s essential for Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion to report your payment performance.

Keep in mind that credit card terms and conditions and user agreements can change at any time. Based on user reviews, here are the top five secured credit cards many prefer now:

#5: Capital One Secured MasterCard

Capital One’s secured credit card can help build your credit or fix your credit. Although it’s unclear whether users ever automatically graduate from the secured program to an unsecured card, watch your mailbox as the first 12 months come to a close. Capital One may send additional credit card offers for you to consider.

Take a moment to contact Capital One before you apply, however. Ask how Capital One will dispense your collateral if you’re approved for the new card. Of course, feel free to ask about your likelihood of approval. Unless the letter from Capital One says you’re pre-approved for a new unsecured account, don’t assume that’s the case.

Security Deposits. If you apply for a Capital One secured credit card, you’ll need to establish the maximum credit line at the start. In other words, if you want a $1,000 credit line, you must provide this amount as collateral. You won’t have the option of increasing your credit line by depositing more money with Capital One after that.

It’s possible to receive an unrequested credit line increase from Capital One. The issuer reviews customers’ accounts for possible credit line increases (without the need to deposit new collateral) based upon their responsible use of credit. For instance, if you provided $1,000 collateral and pay on time for six months, Capital One may increase your credit line by a multiple of two or more. Your collateral deposit won’t earn interest.

APR and Fees

If you don’t carry a monthly balance, the Capital One Secured MasterCard is a good deal. There’s no annual fee. Cardholders also receive free access to TransUnion’s credit tracker.

However, if you carry a monthly balance, Capital One charges a 24.99 percent variable rate:

  • With interest rates on the rise, your borrowing cost could increase.
  • If you want to transfer an existing balance from another card, the same 24.99 percent variable rate applies.
  • You won’t be charged a balance transfer fee. If you travel, there are no foreign transaction fees.

If you take a cash advance, the cost of borrowing goes up. The same 24.99 percent variable rate applies plus a three percent transaction fee. The billing period allowance for purchases won’t apply, either, and you’ll start accumulating interest on the cash advance as soon as you receive it. Avoid borrowing cash from the Capital One Secured MasterCard for that reason.

#4: USAA Secured Credit Cards

USAA allows eligible users to choose between a Visa or American Express secured credit card option. Visa is widely accepted, and American Express offers special perks and benefits. For instance, you can use American Express’s concierge service at no additional cost.

Only military members and their families are eligible for USAA secured credit cards. Note that if you’re interested in USAA’s investment programs or life insurance plans, the military eligibility requirement is waived:

  • If you’re eligible for a USAA secured credit card, your collateral deposit is used to fund a two-year certificate of deposit (CD) at USAA Bank. (You won’t earn a lot on the CD because interest rates are at or close to historic lows.)
  • If you decide to increase the credit line, it’s possible to add to your deposit.
  • USAA offers secured cardholders cash rewards (see issuer details about the cash rewards program).

APR and Fees

The USAA secured credit card carries an APR ranging from 10.15 percent to more than 20 percent. USAA assigns an APR based on your credit scores:

  • USAA secured credit cards have a zero penalty APR.
  • The amount of security collateral in the CD account establishes the credit line. This two-year term is fixed.
  • Balance transfers are computed against the APR range (10.15 percent or more). There is a three percent transfer fee and a maximum USD 200 fee. You won’t pay a fee if transferring money from a USAA secured credit card to the deposit account.
  • There are zero foreign transaction fees.
  • Cash advances start accruing interest right away. Don’t withdraw cash from a USAA secured credit card.
  • The annual fee is USD 35/year. (This is a high-average secured credit card annual fee.)
  • Late payment fees are USD 25/first late payment (six months) increasing to USD 35. USAA charges USD 25 for returned checks (first returned check in six months) increasing to USD 35.

Military Benefits

USAA offers many benefits to military members and families, including:

  • Deployment or PCS rate: Four percent on balances up to 12 months during deployment/PCS.
  • If you’re carrying a balance on the USAA secured card when you become active duty, you receive a four percent APR on the balance (up to 12 months after you return from active duty).
  • If you’re active duty, you receive a rebate on interest that accrued during your period of campaign service.

There are many valuable benefits offered to USAA secured credit cardholders. USAA users say this is a valuable secured credit card program.

#3: Discover it Secured Credit Card

Several years ago, applicants for the Discover it secured credit card had to apply for the unsecured version first. If denied, Discover was supposed to refer applicants to the unsecured program but that didn’t always happen.

Today, it’s possible to apply for the Discover it secured card from the start to fix your credit. Discover will automatically review payment history data to determine if and when you may graduate to an unsecured card. Discover automatically refunds the cardholder’s collateral deposit at that time.

If you’re concerned about CRA reporting, it’s possible that Discover might report the Discover it secured card as a secured card. Ask Discover about this fact if you’re concerned that a reporting secured card could lessen your chances of getting credit elsewhere.

Rewards

The Discover it Secured card pays one percent cashback on each purchase:

  • You receive two percent at gas stations and restaurants up to USD 1,000 per quarter.
  • After the cap is reached, you earn one percent on purchases.
  • Once your account is open and in good standing for at least 12 bill cycles, Discover doubles the cashback bonus.

APR and Fees

The Discover it secured credit card has a variable 23 plus percent APR:

  • If you don’t plan to carry a balance from month to month, don’t worry about the APR. Pay all balances before they’re due.
  • Like other secured credit cards, the Discover it secured card requires a collateral deposit to establish the credit line (from USD 200 to 2,500).
  • Check special balance transfer deals. As of this writing, Discover it secured card’s transfer fee is three percent.
  • Don’t take cash from your Discover it credit card. You’ll pay more than 25 percent plus a five percent transaction fee.
  • There’s no annual fee or foreign transaction fee structure.
  • The first late payment fee is waived but, after that, you’re charged USD 35.

Pay your secured credit card bill on time and, preferably, in full. Maintain low balances and soon you’ll build good credit.

Users report that the Discover it secured card is a great credit card. It’s one of the few secured cards that offer cashback rewards. If you want to check how your FICO credit score is improving, Discover it secured credit card offers free access to TransUnion’s FICO score. When you’re ready to graduate to an unsecured credit card, Discover it lets you know in writing that your security collateral deposit is being returned within a short time.

Savings Secured Visa Platinum Card: The State Department Federal Credit Union

Some credit unions, like the State Department Federal Credit Union, offer outstanding secured credit cards to their members. This secured credit card adds a bit of extra cache’ to your wallet while rebuilding your credit.

Anyone can join the State Department Federal Credit Union even if you’ve never worked for the State Department. You must become a member of the credit union to apply for the Savings Secured Visa Platinum card and it’s easy to join.

Simply get a job at the U.S. Department of State or pay USD 15 to the American Consumer Council to secure lifetime membership.

Like most secured credit cards, applying for the Savings Secured Visa Platinum card will create an inquiry on your credit reports. Expect your credit score to decline a few points from the inquiry. When the new credit line appears on your Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion reports, you may see your score drop 10 to 50 points. It’s important to limit the number of credit card applications you make within a short time. Focus instead on limiting the number of credit cards in your wallet and then pay your bills on time each month.

Flexpoint Rewards

Cardholders receive a flexpoint per dollar spent. If you maintain a checking account at the State Department Federal Credit Union, you’ll automatically increase your flexpoints. Use flexpoints for credit union special offers.

APR and Fees

If you plan to carry a balance on your secured credit card, consider the Savings Secured Visa Platinum card:

  • The current APR is variable 7.24 percent APR.
  • There’s no annual fee to hold the card.
  • Zero foreign transaction fees for cardholders.

You must make a minimum collateral deposit of USD 250, and you earn interest from the credit union. Like many other secured credit cards, your collateral deposit establishes the amount of the credit line.

#1: Navy Federal Credit Union nRewards Card

In order to qualify for the Navy Federal Credit Union nRewards secured card, you must be in the military (or a close relation of someone in the military):

  • Eligibility for the program is met if you’re family – household military member agrees to sponsor you for the program.
  • Navy Federal requires a minimum USD 500 collateral deposit to open the secured credit card. If you need a larger credit line, deposit more money.
  • If you’re hoping to build your credit, or fix your credit, the Navy Federal secured card could be a valuable option. This card reports as an unsecured card to CRAs.

Rewards Points

Members earn one point for each dollar they spend. Points are redeemable for gifts or gift cards. For instance, you can earn a USD 25 restaurant gift card for each 3,500 points accumulated. Reward points are unlimited but they do expire. Plan to use points earned within four years.

APR and Fees

The Navy Federal secured card offers a flexible APR rate structure:

  • Good credit is rewarded with a lower APR.
  • Fair credit means you’ll pay more to carry a balance on this card (up to 18 percent APR).
  • Qualified cardholders can score low balance transfer rates and no transfer fees.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • Cardholders aren’t charged an annual fee.

Don’t withdraw cash from your card because, like other secured cards and most unsecured credit cards, you’ll pay more for the privilege.

Top 5 Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Transferring high-interest credit card debt to a new credit card with a lower interest rate can help you pay off your debt faster and save hundreds or thousands in interest charges.

There are two main types of balance transfer cards: those with a 0% introductory APR for a certain amount of time and those that offer an ongoing low interest rate. With the former, you will pay no interest charges while you pay off your balance for up to 21 months.

Before choosing a balance transfer credit card, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. Always check if the card has a balance transfer fee, which is a percentage of your transferred balance that is added to your new balance. Most cards card a balance transfer fee of 3-5%, but some cards waive this fee to save you even more. Make sure you calculate your savings as well to make sure the fee is worth it and you will pay less in interest if you don’t have the balance paid off before the promotion ends.

To give you an idea of how much a balance transfer can save you, assume you have a $10,000 balance on a credit card with a 22% interest rate and a $281 minimum payment. If you only make minimum payments, it would take 27 years to pay off that balance and cost $9,000 in fees!

If you transfer the balance to a card with a 15-month 0% offer and no balance transfer fee, however, you can pay it off in 39 months with only $810 in interest charges.

Here are five of the best balance transfer credit cards available to help you improve your credit and pay off your credit card debt for good.

Chase Slate Card

The Chase Slate offers one of the best balance transfer offers available if you qualify. While most credit cards require paying a balance transfer fee of 3-4% — even with a 0% introductory offer — the Chase Slate waives the balance transfer fee for any transfers during the first 60 days. The 0% introductory APR applies for the first 15 months, followed by an ongoing low interest rate of 13.24% to 23.24%.

While the Slate card doesn’t have the longest 0% interest offer, it makes up for this by waiving the balance transfer fee. The larger the balance you transfer, the more this can save you. Even better, the card has no penalty APR if you miss a payment and there is no annual fee. Keep in mind you are limited to transferring $15,000, no matter your credit limit. Any balances transferred after the first 60 days will be subject to a 5% balance transfer fee so be sure you transfer your balances as soon as possible. Unlike most balance transfer credit cards, the Chase Slate only requires average credit.

Discover it Card

The Discover it is best known for its amazing rewards program with 5% cash back on up to $1,500 per quarter in rotating bonus categories and 1% cash back on everything else. The card also has another nice perk: one of the longest 0% APR balance transfer deals in the industry.

With the Discover it card, you a 0% introductory APR on all balance transfers for 18 months and 0% APR on purchases for 6 months. The card also has a low interest rate afterward starting at 11.24%. With no annual fee, you can transfer a balance and potentially save hundreds or thousands in interest charges. One major drawback is this card has a balance transfer fee of 3%, or $30 for every $1,000 you transfer. Make sure you take this into consideration before transferring a balance. You will also need a good FICO score to qualify for the Discover it card.

Citi Simplicity Card

The Citi Simplicity wins for the longest 0% APR offer available. With the Citi Simplicity, you will enjoy a 0% intro APR for a full 21 months on balance transfers. If you have a large balance and need extra time to pay off debt, this card is a good choice. You will still need to pay a balance transfer fee of 3% of the transferred balance, or $30 for every $1,000.

The Citi Simplicity card has more to offer than its balance transfer deal, however. This card is designed to be straightforward with no rewards program. The Simplicity has no annual fee, no late fees, and no penalty APR if you make a late payment. You will need a good credit score to qualify.

Barclaycard Ring Mastercard

Not all balance transfer cards come with a 0% interest promotion, but that doesn’t mean you should write them off. The Barclaycard Ring Mastercard is one of the most unique credit cards available as the only crowdsourced credit card. Cardmembers vote on the features and fees for this card and enjoy the benefits.

The Ring has a variable APR of just 8.25% that applies to purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances. This is one of the lowest interest rates you can get and it even applies to cash advances, a true rarity. With a low APR, you can save hundreds on interest charges as you pay down your debt. The card also has no balance transfer fees to save even more.

Additional features you may appreciate include no foreign transaction fees, no annual fee, and free access to your FICO score to help you fix your credit. You will also have a say in which features make its way into the credit card to shape the product you are using.

Citi Double Cash Card

Want to pay off your debt while still enjoying a credit card with a solid rewards program? The Citi Double Cash card is unique in that it doesn’t just reward you for spending — it also rewards you for paying off debt. This card gives you 1% cash back on all purchases and another 1% back as you pay off your balance. It also offers a great balance transfer offer: get an introductory 0% APR for 18 months on balance transfers with an ongoing low APR of 13.24% to 23.24% afterward.

While the Double Cash card combines rewards for responsible credit use with a very long 0% interest offer, keep in mind you still need to pay a 3% balance transfer fee on transferred balances. You will also need good credit. This card is a good choice if you want a card you will keep using after you pay off your balance and like the idea of being rewarded for paying your bills.

Top 5 Best Daily Use Credit Cards

Everyday spending is something most of us do regularly, and it there’s nothing better than being paid with rewards points, cash back, and other bonuses to do that. If you’re in the market for an everyday credit card perfect for use at any location, you’re going to want one that pays you to shop.

When you use this card to grocery shop, pay your monthly bills and expenses, and you use it to pick up anything else you need, you’re going to earn points, miles, or cash back at a rapid rate.

The only way to take advantage of a card like this is to pay the balance in full each month. This allows you to maximize your rewards, keep your credit score high, and still end up with perks other consumers don’t have. These are the five credit cards that fall into the category of best credit card for the average person.

Citi Double Cash Card

It’s not easy to find consumers who don’t enjoy the Citi Double Cash Card. Cash back cards are exceptionally popular for everyday use, and this one is among the best. There aren’t many frills associated with the Citi Double Cash Card, and that’s just another perk of carrying this card versus any others.

  • Earn 1% cash back on all purchases
  • Earn 1% cash back each time you pay off a purchase
  • There’s no annual fee

Cardholders aren’t going to see a sign-up bonus with this card. They’re not going to get flashy points or miles, or be able to get any upgrades on flights or in hotels.

However, this card is a consumer favorite because it highlights and rewards responsible use. It’s the only card on the market that drives consumers to maintain a great credit score by paying off their balance in full each month. Consumers are paid to remain debt-free, which is why this is one of the most popular everyday use cards on the market.

Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card

When you use this card to make at least $1,000 in purchases during the first three months of your new card, you’ll earn 15,000 membership rewards points. These points can be used for travel redemptions such as airline tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, and entertainment.

This is a great card for everyday use because the rewards points you accrue with the card can be broken down to equal more value per point than most other rewards cards available.

  • 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases for 12 months
  • $95 annual fee
  • Earn 3 points for every dollar spent at the supermarket up to $6,000 per year
  • Earn 2 points for every dollar spent on gas station purchases
  • Earn 1 point for every dollar spent on all other purchases

What cardmembers love about this card is they are rewarded for using it regularly. if you use your card for 30 or more purchases in a single billing period, you earn 50% more rewards points. Let’s say you spend $1,500 at the supermarket, $500 on gas, $500 at restaurants, and $3,000 on your other expenses and shopping, and you did this over the course of 35 purchases in a single billing period. That’s 9,000 points earned for the month, and you get to add 50% more to make it 13,500 points for the month.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard

If you love to travel, this is a great card for your everyday purchases. Each dollar you spend earns 2 miles. There are no restrictions, no limits, and there is nothing you can buy that won’t earn you this many points. It’s more than most cards offer to any cardholder for everyday purchases, which is why frequent travelers prefer this card to the other cards available.

  • Earn 40,000 bonus miles when you spend $3,000 in the first three months you own this card
  • Earn 2 points for every dollar spent
  • Redeem your rewards for statement credits
  • Earn 5% of your miles back each time you redeem them for a statement credit or book travel using your miles
  • Annual fee is waived for one year
  • $89 annual fee beginning year two

The miles you earn using this card are valued at approximately 1.05 cents per mile, which his higher than almost any other mileage cards. You can get a little more for every dollar you spend, which makes this card more profitable to have in your wallet.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

This is a fairly new card from Chase, but it’s one people are falling in love with. The unlimited earning potential this card offers makes it one consumers can’t get enough of. With no restrictions on how many points you can earn, it’s one of the easiest cards to use daily.

  • Earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase without limits
  • Earn $150 cash back bonus if you can spend $500 in the first three months your account is open
  • Earn $25 cash bonus when you add an authorized user to your account and they make any purchase in the first three months your account is open
  • Cash back is redeemable at any time in any amount
  • No annual fee

Being able to buy anything you want and earning more cash back than most cards offer without worrying about revolving rewards or limitations makes it much easier to use on a daily basis.

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express

Everyday cards aren’t limited to cash back cards, because many everyday shoppers love to earn travel rewards. The Starwood Preferred Guest card is one of the best hotel cards for everyday use, because it benefits users immensely.

  • Earn 25,000 bonus Starpoints when you spend $3,000 in three months
  • No annual fee for one year
  • Annual fee is $95 each year after
  • Earn 5 points for every dollar you spend at any Starwood property
  • Earn 2 points per dollar at any Marriott property
  • Earn 1 point for every dollar spent elsewhere
  • Free in room internet service
  • No foreign transaction fees

Carrying this card allows you to earn major points with purchases at hotels all over the world, including hotels not in the Starwood brand at a higher rate. The points are some of the most valuable points in terms of redemption with hotels, which leaves you with ample room to spend.

Each of these credit cards is exemplary for everyday use, and each one offers substantial points for anyone who wants to earn a bonus for their everyday spending. If you use one of these everyday cards as often as possible, you give yourself the opportunity to get paid to shop, to get paid to pay your bills, and to get paid to vacation. Redeeming free hotel nights, free airline tickets or upgrades, and redeeming cash back feels good, and it feels even better when it’s earned doing something you must do regardless. Each card requires applicants with good to excellent credit, and they’re the best all-around cards available right now.

Top 5 Student Credit Cards

If you are studying at college, one of the most important lessons you can learn is how to manage your money. Having access to a credit card can help you learn how to manage credit and your finances more efficiently. It seems like every credit card company has a card tailored for students, but how can you find the best card? Which cards offer the best student deals?

There are several types of cards to look at and see which offer the best student deals. Rewards cards are popular because they provide a reward to card users. The more you use your card, the more points you get to buy rewards. Another popular type of card is the cash back card that provides a percentage in cash back to the cardholder depending on how much they spend. This cash back can come in very handy for students on a tight budget, especially between semesters. Finally, some cards forgo rewards and cash back to provide a low interest rate.

Here’s a list of the top 5 student credit cards. You’ll certainly find one or more than can help you achieve your financial goals.

Capital One Journey Student Rewards

The first card on the list is one from Capital One. The Capital One Journey Students Rewards card is the flagship student card for Capital One. As a major credit card issuer and auto finance company, they are an important company for students to build a relationship with. There are several good benefits to the Capital One Student card.

  • 1% cash back on all purchase, pay on time and it increases to 1.25% cash back
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Higher credit line after 5 on-time payments in a row
  • No annual fee
  • Unlimited Credit Score access

If you are planning to do a study abroad semester or year, the Capital One Journey Student Rewards card could give significant savings because it’s set up for international travel with their zero foreign transaction fees. Another bonus is the higher credit line and cash back percentage just from making your payments on time.

BankAmericard Cash Rewards for Students

Next up is a student card from Bank of America. The BankAmericard Cash Rewards for Students is a cash rewards card designed for students. The card is designed to provide solid cash rewards as students learn how to use credit responsibly. Check out some of the benefits of this card:

  • Get 1% cash back on all purchases, 2% cash back on groceries and 3% cash back for gas purchases
  • Get $100 in a welcome bonus after spending $500 on your card in the first 90 days.
  • Free FICO Score
  • No Annual Fee
  • 0% Interest for the first 12 billing cycles

The cash rewards seem pretty standard for a cash rewards card and FICO score is becoming standard for credit cards. The 0% interest for the first 12 billing cycles is a very good deal. It not only applies to purchases but also any balances transferred in during the first 60 days the account is open. The $100 Welcome Bonus is very good if you make the BankAmericard Cash Rewards for Students card your main card.

Citi ThankYou Preferred Rewards for Students

Citibank has an interesting rewards card for students. The Citi ThankYou Preferred Rewards for Students credit card is touted by Citibank as their best card for students. The card awards Thank You points for purchases on the account. These Thank You points can be used for rewards like gift cards, travel rewards, and even cash.

Like other Citi cards, it comes with Citi Private Pass. It’s an entertainment pass that gives you access to tickets to special events. It also comes with Price Rewind that can automatically provide you with a refund if a purchase of yours is found cheaper.

Here are some of the features of this card:

  • 2500 bonus Thank You points by spending $500 within the first 3 months
  • 0% APR for the first 7 months
  • No Annual Fee

While the points can be converted to cash, most of the value for the Thank You points are in using them to purchase the rewards. The 2500 Bonus points are useful if there are rewards that you want to buy and certainly are worthwhile. The 0% APR for 7 months is not as generous as other offers, but it does represent some good savings.

The biggest reason to get a student credit card with Citibank is that you’ll start building a credit relationship with them. They are one of the premier credit card issuers.

US Bank College Visa

US Bank isn’t that well known when it comes to credit cards, but they have a Visa card that makes the grade. The US Bank College Visa is a very basic Visa card focused on students. It doesn’t have any rewards or cash back, but it does provide a few basic card features. It’s a card for students wanting to build their credit who might already have a US Bank relationship.

The main features of the card follow:

  • No annual fee
  • Variable Interest rates as low as 12.24%
  • Easy integration with US Bank account

The interest rate range on the US Bank College Visa is a little lower than the other cards in this list make it a low interest rate card. The controls and easy payment options, especially if you have a US Bank account, make it very easy to make your payments on time and build your credit.

Discover IT for Students

The Discover Card may not have the name recognition that Visa or Mastercard does, but it’s still one of the four major credit card companies in the US. They have one of the best credit cards for students. It’s the Discover IT for Students. It’s got a load of features that are very consumer friendly. For students, it’s a great choice.

  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 5% cash back on rotating categories and 1% cash back on everything else
  • First-year cash back matching for new card members
  • Cash Back for good grades
  • Switch your card on or off from an app
  • No Late fee on first late payment

These are just a few of the features that sets the Discover IT for Students card apart from other cards. With multiple ways to earn cash back and not needing to worry if you misplace your card, they have the features that students expect in a card.

There is a trade-off when it comes to places that accept Discover Card. The big retailers all take the Discover IT card including Walmart and Amazon. Your school may or may not accept it, though Discover says they can be used in nearly as many places in the US as Visa or Mastercard cards.

While there are no foreign transaction fees, Discover card acceptance outside the US is abysmal. One notable exception is Mainland China. Generally outside of the major Chinese cities, Visa and Mastercard cards simply don’t work. Because of its agreement with UnionPay, Discover cards are accepted anywhere UnionPay cards are accepted which is pretty much everywhere in Mainland China. If you are doing a study abroad in China, you need the Discover IT student card.

Overview

It may be hard to figure out which card is the best for your personal situation in college from these top 5 student credit cards. Don’t worry, you aren’t limited to just one choice. You can choose more than one card to help get your financial education started. By paying attention to the features that make the most sense to your situation, you can ensure that you have the cards you need to build your credit and prepare to start your career after university.

Top 5 Business Credit Cards

Small or large, businesses can’t survive without a business credit card. It makes purchases, travel, and keeping adequate business expense records simpler and more effective, and it helps the overall growth of a company. Small business credit cards help small business owners get their business up and running from the start, and the features of business credit cards are what help business owners decide which card is right for their venture.

Whether it’s features such as currency transfer, no foreign transaction fees, or cash back, the features of business credit cards matter more to business owners than anyone else. Here are the best business credit cards of the year narrowed by their best features for business owners.

The Enhanced Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN – Best for Airport Lounge Access

If you own a business and spend ample time traveling to visit clients or projects, you might want to have a card that offers the best airport lounge access. Work travel is tedious at best, and spending ample time in the airport is made more comfortable when it’s in an airport lounge. This card offers significant perks for those who travel for business, but it comes with a hefty $450 annual fee.

  • Earn 50,000 membership rewards points after spending $5,000 in three months
  • Earn 50,000 additional rewards points after spending $10,000 in three months
  • Access to 900 airport lounges across the world
  • Free Priority Pass Select is free
  • Free Gogo and Boingo Wi-Fi
  • $200 annual airline incidentals statement credit
  • Earn 2 points for every dollar spent booking travel through American Express
  • 1 point for every dollar spent elsewhere
  • No credit limit

This is not a credit card. It’s a charge card, which means the balance is due in full each month. It’s a great card for disciplined business owners who will pay the balance in full each month, and it’s also great for helping keep business credit clean and open.

Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card – Best for Cash Back Rewards

Chase offers some of the best cards on the market for anyone, and the lender has not forgotten about business owners big or small. This card offers substantial cash back each year when it’s used regularly.

  • Earn $300 cash when you spend $3,000 in three months
  • No annual fee
  • 5% cash back on office supply purchases
  • 5% cash back on cell phone plans and purchases
  • 5% cash back on internet, cable, and landline phone service
  • 2% cash back on gas station and restaurant purchases
  • No APR on balance transfers and purchases for one year

The cash back earnings are up to $25,000 per year, and the rate of earnings following that capped limit is 1% cash back. Business owners can order cards for their employees at no charge, and each employee card is fully customizable so business owners can set spending limits for each employee based on their spending habits and job description.

Capital One Spark Miles for Business – Best for Travel Rewards

Business owners who travel a lot to no specific location or to any specific hotel brand or airline love this card. The travel rewards are impressive, and the customer service with Capital One is among the best in the business.

  • Earn 50,000 miles when you spend $4,500 in three months
  • No annual fee for one year, $59 per year after that
  • 2 points for every dollar spent anywhere you go
  • Employee cards are free
  • Quarterly itemized statements for all business owners

Business owners love this card because of the high rates of rewards. The 2 points for every dollar is not limited to a specific category or co-brand, and it’s unlimited. Many cards cap the amount businesses can earn such a high rate of rewards, but not the Capital One Spark Miles for Business card. No matter how much you spend, you earn 2 points for every dollar.

SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card from American Express – Best for Small Business Owners

If you’re a small business looking for a big credit card, this is the one for you. It’s a great card for making your business spending easier and more comprehensive. It also offers a nice sign-up bonus, which is exceptionally helpful for many small business owners.

  • Earn $250 statement credit for spending $5,000 in six months
  • Earn $250 statement credit for spending $10,000 in one year
  • No annual fee
  • No APR on purchases for nine months
  • Purchase Protection Plan for 90 days on all purchases
  • Earn 5% cash back on all office supplies and cell phone purchases
  • 3% cash back on purchases from the category of your choice
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases

This card is beneficial to small business owners because it lacks an annual fee, which is often expensive for those who are running a small business. It’s all profit, and it’s going to put a substantial amount of cash in your pocket each year just for using the card to make your business purchases.

Gold Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express – Best for Delta-Loyal Travelers

Delta is one of the largest airlines in the country, which means many business owners are loyal to the brand. If you prefer to earn free miles and flights with an airline you trust and use frequently, this is the best business credit card for you and your business.

  • Earn 30,000 miles when you spend $3,000 in three months
  • Earn $50 statement credit when you make one purchase with Delta in three months
  • Earn 2 miles for every dollar spent with Delta
  • Earn 1 point for every dollar with any other purchase
  • SkyMiles are redeemable for travel, statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, cash, and more
  • No annual fee for one year, $95 per year after that
  • No introductory APR
  • Priority boarding on all Delta flights
  • First checked bag per passenger is always free
  • 20% off all in-flight purchases when you use the card to make the purchase

The Delta SkyMiles card for business is best for business owners who need to travel frequently and save money on the things that cost the most. Business owners understand it’s often the littlest things that make the most substantial differences, which is why they want to save money on things like checked luggage on every flight and discounts on-board. These fees add up significantly for frequent travelers, and the savings exceed thousands of dollars each year for businesses that spend ample time in the airport for business travel.

Business credit cards are highly personal to each business owner. What works most for you and your business practices and spending habits might not always correlate with what works best for another business owner. Calculating your spending habits, your business needs, and what works for you in the most financially beneficial way is what helps makes the business credit card decision simpler. Choose what works for you, and your business credit card will work for you.

Top 5 Credit Cards for Earning Gas Rewards

Gas rewards cards are an easy way to earn free gas in the form of rebates and discounts. When choosing a good gas credit card, keep in mind there are two main options: general rewards cards that offer a high cash back rate on gasoline and gas station credit cards, which typically only earn rebates toward gas purchases at branded stations.

Here’s a look at the five best credit cards that earn gas rewards.

Costco Anywhere Visa by Citi

In 2016, Costco ditched its long relationship with American Express and unveiled the new Costco branded card with an even better rewards program. The new Costco Anywhere Visa is hard to beat if you’re a Costco member with the ability to earn rewards on Costco purchases and everything else.

The Costco Anywhere card has the best cash back rate on gas among nationwide credit cards. You’ll earn:

  • 4% cash back on gasoline, including gas purchased at Costco, on the first $7,000 per year (then 1%)
  • 3% back on travel and restaurant purchases
  • 2% back on Costco purchases
  • 1% back on everything else

Along with earning a very high 4% back on gasoline, it’s important to note that you actually earn the same high rewards rate on discount gasoline purchased at Costco. Many other gas cards, by comparison, specifically exclude warehouse purchases from their boosted rewards rate, meaning you need to buy gas at a stand-alone gas station with most rewards cards.

The Costco Anywhere Visa has no annual fee, but it does require a paid Costco membership of $55. The main downside of the card is your rewards are redeemed as an annual credit card reward certificate on your February statement that can be redeemed for cash or merchandise at Costco. While this does remove a great deal of flexibility, the high rewards rate makes up for the disadvantage.

American Express Blue Cash Preferred

The American Express Blue Cash Preferred card is one of the most popular gas credit cards that also rewards you for other common household spending categories. With the Blue Cash Preferred, you will earn:

  • 6% cash back at supermarkets on the first $6,000 per year (1% afterward)
  • 3% back at U.S. gas stations and department stores
  • 1% cash back on all other spending
  • 10% back on Amazon.com purchases during the first 6 months (up to $200)

The Blue Cash Preferred card has a fairly decent signup bonus worth up to $350. You can earn up to $200 cash back on Amazon spending during your first 6 months and earn a $150 cash back statement credit after spending $1,000 during the first three months.

The Blue Cash Preferred card has a $95 annual fee, although it’s worth it if you use the card for grocery, gas, and department store spending. If you hit the $6,000 cap on supermarket spending, for example, by spending an average of $500 a month, you can earn $360 back a month. The gas reward rate is also unlimited.

PenFed Ultimate Cash Rewards Visa

The PenFed Ultimate Cash Rewards card has the very best gas rewards rate in the industry, although the card is only available to active Pentagon Federal Credit Union members.

To qualify, you will need to become a member by making a $20 or more donation to an eligible charity or qualify based on government work or military affiliations. You also need to maintain an active account with the credit union to avoid paying an annual fee and keep the excellent rewards rate.

The PenFed Ultimate Cash Rewards card offers an impressive rewards rate:

  • 5% unlimited cash back on gas
  • 3% unlimited cash back at supermarkets
  • 1% back on everything else

The card has no annual fee as long as you maintain eligibility. If you don’t, you will automatically be dropped down to the standard Visa card with a reduced 3% rewards rate on gas and a $25 annual fee.

BP Visa Credit Card

The BP Visa is one of the best all-around gas station credit cards that earns gas points redeemable for rebates on BP gas. Issued by Synchrony Bank, the BP earns 5% rewards on BP charges plus 3% back on dining, travel, and groceries. You earn a flat 1% back on all other spending.

The BP Visa rewards program is a bit confusing at first glance because you don’t actually earn cash back but rebates on gas:

  • $0.25 off per gallon for every $100 you spend at BP
  • $0.15 off per gallon for every $100 spent on eligible travel, dining, and groceries
  • $0.05 off per gallon for every $100 spent everywhere else, except non-BP gas stations

During the first 90 days, the reward rate is boosted to $0.25 off per gallon for every $100 you spend everywhere, with the exception of non-BP gas stations which earn no rewards. You can also earn a $20 cash back statement credit after making a purchase within 60 days.

The BP Visa has no annual fee and it’s a good choice if you often fill up at BP. Your rewards can be redeemed directly at BP gas pumps and you can choose which type of rebate ($0.25, $0.15, or $0.05 off) to use at each fill-up.

Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks to the program. When you want to use your rebates, you can only apply them to one fill-up and your rebates will only apply to the first 20 gallons of any fill-up.

Chase Freedom

The Chase Freedom isn’t strictly a gas credit card as it doesn’t always earn a boosted reward rate for gas purchases. Still, you have the potential to earn 5% cash back on gas. The Chase Freedom card has rotating bonus categories that change every quarter and often include popular spending categories like gasoline, wholesale clubs, department stores, and groceries. Spending in bonus categories is capped at 5% on the first $1,500 in combined spending each quarter. All other spending earns 1% back.

The Chase Freedom has no annual fee and a $150 cash back signup bonus once you spend $500 during the first 3 months. While it doesn’t always offer gasoline at a boosted cash back rate, it’s still an excellent card for earning gas discounts. One downside to keep in mind is you need to activate bonus categories every month by the deadline if you want to earn 5% cash back on your eligible purchases.

Top 5 Pre-Approved Credit Cards

Your credit history plays a significant role in your financial endeavors. People with good credit history enjoy healthy relationships with most financial institutions. Among the benefits enjoyed by people whose credit history is impeccable is a preapproved credit card.

A pre-approved card is an offer given to select candidates who meet certain underwriting criteria of credit card issuers. The card issuer checks your consumer report from the three credit bureaus after which they send you a mail, informing you that they have preapproved you for a particular credit card.

In most cases, people with a good credit score are the ones selected as candidates. After receiving the pre-approved offer, you can choose to accept or dismiss it. However, most people are not able to determine the financial benefits that the offer can give them.

Accepting the offer in your mail does not guarantee instant approval credit card; your credit issuer may turn down the offer upon a further credit check. Below are some factors that can help you decide to either accept or turn down an offer:

  • Checking details of a prescreened offer does not affect your credit history.
  • You have the freedom of stopping prescreened offers for as long as you want.
  • Prescreened credit cards have more offers compared to the regular credit cards. For instance, you can get the advantage of 0% balance transfers.
  • You get cash back offers after spending some amount of a specified time
  • Lower interest rates when purchasing goods.
  • You get easy approval compared to the direct application of a credit card.

Here are some of the best-preapproved cards that you should consider accepting if they pop up an offer into your mail.

American Express’ Blue Cash Preferred Card

American Express’ Blue Cash Preferred card comes with a lot of benefits that can be a relief to your financial life. New users who apply for the card receive a bonus of 10% money back on all purchases transacted on Amazon.

The 10% bonus is valid for the first six months of owning the Blue Cash Preferred Card. Also remember that the maximum bonus amount you can receive in this bonus is $200. Additionally, American Express will give you $150 money back if you spend $1000 within the first three months of owning the card.

In the initial year of the card ownership, you will be charged 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases. After the 12 bonus period is depleted, your APR will be charged at a rate falling between 13.24%-23.24%. The APR rate will depend on your credit score and other underwriting factors.

Other Blue Cash Preferred Card bonuses that you will receive are;

  • 6% cash back bonus on purchases done in US supermarkets per year.
  • 3% cash back on purchases done at US gas stations.
  • 1% cash back on other purchases not listed above.

All cash back bonuses are received in the form of reward dollars. Therefore, the rewards are redeemable as a statement credit. The annual fee for the card is $95.

Citibank’s Citi Simplicity Credit Card

The Citi Simplicity credit card is designed to simplify your savings. The top benefits of this card are beneficial is the fact that you will never receive a penalty for late fees and you won’t pay an annual fee.

After acquiring the Citi Simplicity Credit Card, Citibank gives you the freedom to enjoy 0% APR for the initial 21 months after enrolment. The 0% APR applies to credit transfer transactions and purchases.

After the bonus period is depleted, your APR will fall within 13.24%-23.24% depending on your credit score. You will also be charged a 3% of amounts transferred. Your application will take a maximum of four weeks to complete.

Purchases are charged a minimum interest charge of $0.50. Foreign purchases will be charged a rate of 3% for the total purchase amount. You can check if you pre-qualify for the benefits by entering your name, address, and last four digits of your social security number. Inquiries do not affect your credit score.

Capital One’s Platinum Credit Card

There are very many reasons you can approve a pre-approval request from Capital One. If you apply for the Platinum Credit Card, you will stand a chance to enjoy the $0 annual fee that comes along with benefits like;

  • Using the card helps to boost your credit score. Ensure that your first monthly payments are timely to get the advantage of increasing your credit score.
  • If your Platinum Credit card gets lost, you don’t need to fear of paying a fraud liability fee.
  • Capital One gives you the benefit of monitoring the progress of your credit score.
  • You won’t be charged a transfer fee.

Your account will be monitored, and capital one will notify you whenever they realize a suspicious activity. Likewise, you will be asked to pick your suitable due date and payment method. It saves you from harming your credit score by failing to meet the unrealistic deadlines set by some credit issues.

In case you have trouble with your account, contact Capital One’s customer desk which is accessible online or through phone contact. The customer representatives are available for 24 hours a day.

Discover’s Secured Credit Card

To find your offer on Discover, you have to fill a form with your name and your social security number. The data you give is used to determine the offers that you are eligible for. Therefore, you credit score will not be affected.

You will be required to make a refundable security deposit in which the minimum amount is $200. With the card, you will start enjoying benefits like;

  • 1% cash back on all purchases.
  • 2% cash back on purchases are done in eateries and or gas stations.
  • During the first year, Discover matches all cash back earned.
  • You will not be paying the annual card fee.
  • Discover has a standard APR of 23.24%
  • You will be receiving free monthly updates of your credit score.
  • Customers with a good credit record will be approved for a no security credit card.
  • You can stop suspicious purchases using a mobile application within seconds.

US Bank’s Visa Platinum Card

US Bank’s Visa Platinum Card comes with a lot of benefits that will give you a chance to save more. Your initial 12 billings will be charged a 0% APR on purchases and credit transfers. After the introductory APR is depleted, your successive APR will be levied within 10.24%-21.24%. The APR depends on your credit worthiness.

Other benefits that your Visa Platinum Card will give you include;

  • Secure online banking services like confirming account balances and viewing bank statements.
  • You can withdraw cash from over a million ATMs worldwide.
  • The card has an automatic payment option that can relieve you from late payments, thus leading you to good credit.
  • The card gives you the freedom of selecting your due date.
  • You will receive a notification if US Bank suspects an unusual activity.
  • You can manage your account through a mobile application.

Accepting a pre-approved credit card requests comes along with many benefits compared to the direct application. However, you should be wise to accept requests that match your financial goals. A good pre-approved credit card will give you the advantage of easy approval and saving while making purchases.

Top 5 Rewards Credit Cards

Rewards credit cards can be used on an everyday basis and are a great way to earn money back on what you already spend. There are a number of types of rewards offered by credit card companies, including cashback, reward points, and travel miles.

In order to get a card that offers generous rewards, you usually need to have a credit score in the good to excellent range. People with scores below 690 will struggle to qualify for cards that offer top-tier benefits. However, if you do qualify for these cards, you can also benefit from the relatively low interest rates and no annual fees that come along with them.

Here are five of the best reward credits cards out there.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is great for people who love to travel. Unlike many travel reward cards, this one isn’t affiliated with an airline or hotel company, and you can spend your rewards in a number of ways. Cardholders earn 1 point per dollar on general purchases. Dining and travel expenses will earn you 2 points per dollar. Points are worth one cent and can be redeemed for cashback or a statement credit. If you use your points to book travel via the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, you can get a bonus of 25%, so the reward rate will increase to 1.25% or 2.5%.

Another perk of this card is the massive bonus they offer for opening an account. Spend $4,000 within the first three months, and you’ll get 50,000 extra points added on. If you redeem those points through Chase Ultimate Rewards, you’ll have $625 to spend on airfare, hotel costs, and other travel expenses. The card does have an annual fee of $95, but it’s waived the first year. There are no foreign transaction fees, and it has a variable APR of 16.24%-23.24%.

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Reward

The Capital One Quicksilver card offers some of the best cashback overall cashback rewards available. With every dollar you spend, you earn 1.5% in cash. The rewards are the same for all purchases, so there are no special categories to worry about. Although the Chase Sapphire Preferred card may offer a slightly better rate, this card is a better option for people who don’t travel much or would rather redeem their points for a statement credit.

Like the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, this one comes with a sign-up bonus, although it’s not quite as impressive. If you spend $500 within three months of opening an account, you’ll earn $100 in rewards. It might not seem like much, but it’s an easy goal to achieve even if you’re not a big spender. Plus, there’s no annual fee with this card, and there’s 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first nine months. There’s a 13.24% – 23.24% variable APR after that.

Citi Double Cash Card

This card offers one of the highest percentages of rewards of any on this list. Cardholders earn 1% cash back when they make a purchase and 1% back, which means you earn 2% in rewards in total. Rewards can be earned on every dollar you spend, regardless of the category, and the amount you can earn is unlimited. You can start redeeming your rewards once you’ve accumulated $25. The money can be applied toward statement credit, a gift card, or a check.

The downside of this card is that it doesn’t offer any kind of sign-up bonus, so it may seem unappealing when compared to some of the others. When considering long-term usage, however, it will give you good returns, and it offer flexibility in the way you redeem your cashback. There’s an 18-month introductory period of 0% APR on balance transfers, which makes this one of the best rewards cards if you’re planning on carrying a balance. There’s an ongoing 13.24% – 23.24% variable APR on purchases.

Chase Freedom

The Chase Freedom card offers 5% cashback on purchases made in categories that rotate each quarter. All other purchases earn rewards of 1%. This card is an outstanding option for people who are new to reward credit cards, as it is easy to qualify for with a credit score below the excellent range. Cardholders can earn the 5% cashback on up to $1,500 worth of purchases each quarter. The rotating categories include:

  • Gas stations and commuter transportation
  • Grocery stores and wholesale clubs
  • Restaurants and wholesale clubs
  • Department stores, wholesale clubs, and pharmacies

If you spend the maximum of $1,500 each quarter, you can earn $300 in rewards over the course of the year. The downside of using this card is that you have to keep track of which categories are active during which quarter, and you’ll need to remember to activate your account online in order to be eligible for the 5% rewards. However, you probably spend money on things like groceries and gas anyway, so it’s not difficult to earn rewards.

When you sign up for this card, you’ll be able to take advantage of the 15-month introductory period of 0% APR. The card offers a bonus of $150 if you spend $500 on purchases within the first three months. In addition, your account gives you access to the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, which can give you up to 10% off on purchases you make with your cashback rewards. There’s no annual fee.

Discover It

The Discover It card has many similarities to the Chase Freedom card with some added features. Each quarter, cardholders can earn 5% rewards on up to $1,500 worth of purchases in rotating categories. All other purchases earn 1% rewards. Cardholders will need to log on to their account each quarter to activate their ability to earn rewards. Categories include:

  • Gas and Ground Transportation
  • Restaurants and Movies
  • Home Improvement and Amazon.com
  • com, department stores and Sam’s Club

The reward level is quite generous, and it’s definitely worth it to get this card if you make a lot of purchases on Amazon.com. In addition, Discover offers the Cashback Match program to new cardholders. At the end of your first year, they’ll automatically match the cashback you earned. If you accumulated $100 in rewards, they’ll give you another $100.

The main downside of using this card is that you have to remember what categories are active each quarter. It only offers 1% on general purchases, which isn’t as good as the Citi Double Cash card. However, the Discover It card has no annual fee, and they give cardholders free access to their FICO score. You’ll get an 14-month introductory period of 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers. The variable APR is 11.24% – 23.24% after that.

Top 5 Zero Percent Interest Credit Cards

People who want to consolidate debt or who are gearing up to make a big purchase would benefit greatly from a 0% interest credit card. Often, these no interest deals last for a year or more, depending on the card you choose. That’s a lot of time to pay off a chunk of your debt or purchase!

These five cards are great options of you’re looking to pay no interest for the next several months.

Chase Slate

Chase Slate does not charge a transfer fee when you transfer a balance within 60 days of opening the card. Often, credit cards charge between three and five percent to transfer a balance. Additionally, the 0% interest offer is for 15 months, not just twelve, and applies to both balance transfers as well as purchases. If you want to eliminate debt and make a big purchase, this card is an excellent option. If you have to make a payment late, you won’t have to pay a penalty APR (although it could affect your credit score, so always try to make your payments on time). Chase Slate will also let you check your FICO score every month for free. Another great advantage of this card is that there is no annual fee.

While Chase Slate has a lot of advantages, it does not have a rewards program. It’s better for consolidating debt and making big purchases than it is to use every day on your regular purchases. Also, you won’t be able to carry out a balance transfer from another Chase card; you have to transfer the balance from a card by another provider. The balance you transfer must be $15,000 or less. Also note that if you make transactions abroad, you’ll be charged a 3% fee.

Chase Freedom

After signing up for Chase Freedom and spending $500 within the first three months, you’ll get a bonus of $150. Other perks of this card include no annual fee; no interest on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months; 5% cash back on as much as $1,500 in specific categories; and 1% back on all other purchases. The rewards is an excellent benefit of the Chase Freedom card because many no interest cards don’t come with a rewards program at all. The signing bonus is also rare, especially on cards that allow for a balance transfer.

The rewards program with this card is great, but it can be a little tricky to understand. In order to get 5% back, you have to make purchases within a certain category, and those categories change. In order to know if you’ll be getting either 1% or 5% back, you’ll need to keep track of which category is currently offering the biggest rewards. Also, this isn’t a good card to bring with you while traveling abroad because you’ll be charged 3% on all foreign transactions.

Overall, this is a great all-around card. You can take up to 15 months to pay off your balance transfer without paying any interest, and you can use the card daily while earning cash back on all purchases.

Discover it

When you transfer a balance to the Discover it card, you’ll have 18 months to pay it off before being charged interest. You’ll also get 0% interest on purchases for six months. This card also comes with rewards: you’ll get 5% back on purchases in categories that regularly change and then 1% back on your other purchases. Unlike many other 0% interest cards, this one doesn’t charge a transaction fee on foreign transactions, so it’s a great one to bring with you while traveling. There also is not a penalty APR for late payment. However, when you transfer a balance, you’ll be charged a 3% fee.

This card also comes with a bunch of other perks. You can access your FICO score for free. You’ll get warranty protection. There’s also a Freeze It option that you can easily turn on if you misplace your card; it will protect your card from making any new transactions when turned on. One of the drawbacks of this card is that there’s a short no interest period for new purchases, so some people may opt to use it only to transfer a balance. Also, Discover isn’t accepted by every retailer, so it’s not a good option if you’re only going to have one credit card.

Citi Simplicity Card

The Citi Simplicity Card’s biggest perk is that there are never any late fees or penalty interest charges for paying late. Don’t be too swayed by the “no late fees” offer – it’s a great backup if you accidentally miss a payment or two, but paying late will still affect your credit, so it shouldn’t become a habit. The introductory 0% APR is for 21 months, which is a very long time compared to other no interest credit cards. This makes the card a fantastic option if you have debt or purchases that you know you won’t be able to pay off in one year. There’s also no annual fee, so you can put even more money toward paying off the balance.

If you do use this card to transfer a balance, keep in mind that you’ll have to pay 3% of the balance as a fee. Depending on how large the balance is that you’re transferring, this could cost a lot – compare the cost to how much you’re saving with 0% interest to make sure this card is a smart option. Also, this card does not have a rewards program, and if you use it in a foreign country, you’ll be charged a 3% fee per transaction.

Citi Double Cash Card

The Citi Double Cash Card has 0% interest for 18 months on balance transfers. The rewards program is pretty good, too – you’ll earn 1% on purchases and then another 1% when you pay them, and there’s no limit to how much you can earn back. However, you’ll have to wait until your cash back balance has reached at least $25 in order to claim it. The Citi Double Cash Card has no annual fee. Note that you’ll have to pay a 3% fee on balance transfers; if the fee is less than $5, you’ll pay a flat rate of $5. Overall, this card is good for people who need a long time to pay off their debt. It also has a great cash back program, so a lot of people opt to use it for daily purchases even after the 0% interest rate period has passed.

If you’re currently in debt, there’s no need to pay interest every single month on what you owe. Instead, transfer your balance to your 0% interest card and get more time to pay it off. A no interest card is also a great option if you’re about to make a huge purchase. Buy the item or gadget now and don’t worry about interest for the next 12 months. You can also find a 0% interest card that meshes well with your lifestyle, whether you travel abroad, make several purchases daily or want a rewards program to earn cash back.

Top 5 Pre-Paid Credit Cards

For people who don’t have a bank account or a regular credit card, a prepaid credit card is an excellent option. Even some people who have a bank account and credit card opt to use prepaid credit cards as a way to budget effectively.

With a prepaid credit card, you’re not at risk of paying interest or being charged an overdraft fee. Prepaid cards also don’t require a credit inquiry, so they’re great for people who may have bad credit at the moment. Since prepaid cards are safe and relatively fool-proof, they’re also among the best credit cards for teens.

Here are five of the best prepaid credit cards available.

Bluebird

The Bluebird card by American Express and Wal-Mart has a variety of loading options, all of which are free. For example, you can make a cash deposit at a Wal-Mart location or you can use the Bluebird app to deposit checks via your mobile device. There are also several payment options, including online and by check. You can also make withdrawals from the card for free at a MoneyPass ATM, or for a fee at any other ATM or at a Wal-Mart store.

The Bluebird prepaid card will work wherever American Express is accepted. It also has both purchase protection and fraud protection. It’s free to register for a Bluebird count and to get the card, and you can sign up online or via the mobile Bluebird app. You can also get a Bluebird kit at Wal-Mart for just $5. You won’t ever pay a monthly fee and no credit inquiry is required in order to get this card.

American Express Serve

The American Express Serve is one of the best prepaid credit cards because it doesn’t cost a lot, it makes it easy to steer clear or fees, and it’s simple to add cash to the card. There’s a monthly fee of just $1, but if you add a minimum of $500 to your card monthly, or if you use direct deposit, you won’t have to pay the monthly fee. By enrolling in direct deposit, your paycheck will go right into your Serve account.

Visit a 7-Eleven or CVS to load cash onto the card for free. While there are other prepaid cards that are partnered with bigger retail stores, many times those stores will charge a fee to add cash to the card. American Express Serve is really great if you have kids who you want to connect with the card. You can create accounts for each child and then set limits when it comes to how much they can spend. The card is also great for planning and saving, because you can move money into the reserve account to keep it separate from your spending accounts.

This card also comes with around-the-clock customer support and security. When you shop either offline or online, you’ll be safe thanks to Purchase Protection. Withdraw cash from approximately 24,000 ATMs around the country. The mobile app can be used to make deposits, pay bills and manage your accounts.

American Express Serve Free Reloads

The American Express Serve Free Reloads has different perks than the basic American Express Serve prepaid card. This is the best card to choose if you want one that’s easy to load with cash. There are over 45,000 partners across the U.S., including Wal-Mart, 7-Eleven and Rite Aid, that will let you add cash to the card for free.

This card comes with a $4.95 fee per month, except for people who live in New York, Texas and Vermont, where there is no monthly fee. You can link sub-accounts for up to four people who are 18 years old or older, though in some states the account must be for someone who’s at least 19 years old. You can deposit checks via the mobile app and you can also use the app to pay bills.

To purchase this card, you can order it online for no cost or you can buy it in a retail store for $3.95. There is no credit check necessary in order to get this card.

Kaiku Visa Prepaid Card

The Kaiku Visa Prepaid Card from The Bancorp Bank and Kaiku Finance are partners with Allpoint ATMS. You can access any of these ATMs for free and there are 55,000 throughout the U.S. With the mobile app, you can find the ATM that’s closest to you. The app will also let you find out your balance, transfer money to other people, deposit checks, and pay bills.

The Kaiku Visa Prepaid Card has easy-to-understand, low fees, especially when you compare them with many other prepaid credit cards. You’ll have to pay $3 per month, but you can avoid the fee if you add a minimum of $750 to the card each month. If you use an ATM that’s not in the network, you’ll pay a fee between $2.95 and $4.95. You can also add cash to the card at a MoneyGram or Visa ReadyLink location.

It’s important to know that when you make a mobile check deposit, it can take up to 10 business days to show up in your account. Or, you can pay $5 or 1%, whichever is more, to the third party service Ingo to get your money sooner. The card will work wherever Visa cards are accepted.

PayPal Prepaid Master Card

PayPal is one of the best companies around when it comes to making and receiving online payments, so it’s no wonder that they have a great prepaid card, too. The monthly fee for this card is $4.95, but the card comes with a lot of perks that seem to out-value the charge. You can make an unlimited number of PIN and signature purchases, and you’ll get cash back on your purchases from certain restaurants and retailers. You can also move money from the card to your PayPal account and vice versa.

While there are some other prepaid cards that you can technically link to your PayPal account, none seem to work as well as the PayPal Prepaid Master Card. Also, with this card you can add money to it via direct deposit or at a NetSpend Reload Network spot (there are more than 130,000 in the U.S.).

Prepaid cards aren’t simply a last option for people who can’t get a traditional bank account or credit card, or who are trying to get back on their feet after bankruptcy. Valuable features have made prepaid cards a mainstay for a lot of people, regardless of their financial situation. They’re a great alternative to traditional credit cards if you need a way to spend daily while you build credit with another card, or if you’re looking to curb your spending by managing how much you have on hand. Since prepaid cards can usually be used at various ATMs for no fee, some people prefer to use prepaid cards simply for convenience.

Top 5 Travel Credit Cards

The best credit cards for travelers are the cards offering travel perks, upgrades, and no foreign transaction fees at any foreign ATMs for those who spend ample time out of the country. Whether it’s an airline card, a hotel card, or a travel card in general, the credit card industry is overwhelmed with credit cards that offer travelers the best travel rewards.

Compare the best cards available right now before you decide which one is right for you. Take into consideration your travel habits, your favorite brands, and whether you travel often enough to make a travel card beneficial in your wallet.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

What makes the Chase Sapphire Preferred card unique is its lack of brand loyalty. It’s not specific to one hotel group, airline, or other travel brand. This means the card is meant for maximum benefits in every situation no matter where you travel. Unlike a branded travel card, the Chase Sapphire doesn’t limit your reward earnings potential to just one airline or hotel.

  • Earn 2 points on every dollar spent dining in restaurants or on any travel purchase through hotels, airlines, and rental car agencies
  • Earn 1 point for every dollar spent on everything else
  • Book through Chase Ultimate Rewards and points are worth 25% more than they are when you book travel through other carriers
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points when you sign up for the card and spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening your account
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points when you add an authorized user and they use their card to make a purchase within three months of opening your account
  • $95 annual fee waived the first year you have this card
  • No foreign transaction fees

Southwest Rapid Rewards Travel Card

If you are brand-loyal to Southwest, you’re going to love the airline’s credit card perks. This low-cost airline is one of the best for those who travel domestically, and the card offers many perks that other airline cards might not offer on such good travel deals.

  • Earn 6,000 bonus points every year on your cardmember anniversary
  • Points never expire
  • Earn 2 points for every $1 spent on all Southwest Airlines purchases as well as with any Rapid Rewards member hotel and car rental partner
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 spent elsewhere
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Luggage flies free
  • No fees to change your flights
  • Earn 40,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 during the first three months your account is open

Frequent travelers understand the value of saving money on the little things, which includes things like checked luggage. Anyone with a card has first priority when it comes to boarding, they receive special offers in the mail, and they are considered some of Southwest’s favorite customers.

Barclay Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard

Designed to benefit frequent travelers, this travel card isn’t loyal to one brand. If you’re not loyal to one specific travel brand, it’s the right card for your wallet. You aren’t limited to where you earn your points, how many points you can earn, or where you can spend them.

  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in purchases in only 90 days
  • Bonus points can be redeemed for a $500 statement credit
  • Get 5% of your miles back when you redeem them for travel
  • Earn 2 miles for every dollar you spend anywhere, any time
  • No APR on all balance transfers for the first 12 months your account is open
  • $89 annual fee is waived for one year
  • No foreign transaction fees

The most spectacular aspect of this travel card is the way in which you can redeem your miles. Rather than redeeming them for free travel, they can be redeemed as cash toward your travel purchases. This breaks down so that 10,000 points equals $100 worth of free travel.

Discover it Miles

Discover makes a no-frills credit card for anyone who loves to travel, but doesn’t have any loyalty to any hotel or airline group. There’s no annual fee on this card, the miles earned with each purchase are higher than most every other travel card, and the rewards are simple.

  • Earn 1.5 miles for every dollar spent anywhere you go
  • Earn double the miles at the end of the first year you have this card
  • Points are redeemable for cash at anytime
  • Rewards never expire
  • No fraud liability
  • No penalty APR
  • No annual fee
  • No overlimit fees
  • No late fee on one late payment
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Free FICO score on statement each month

Discover it Miles also allows travelers the chance to take advantage of the Freeze It account. If you want to freeze your card because you cannot find it, suspect someone else has it, or you’re worried about it, you can do it yourself with your mobile app in as little as a minute. Once you’re satisfied all is well with your card and you’re ready to use it again, you can unfreeze it the same way in a matter of seconds.

BankAmericard Travel Rewards Card

Without an annual fee to worry about, every travel reward you earn with this card is profit to you. The sign-up bonus isn’t as strong with this card as it is with others, but it’s not exactly pointless. You’ll earn 20,000 reward points for spending $1,000 in a matter of 90 days, and the other perks are amazing.

  • Earn 1.5 points for every dollar spent on any purchases, all the time with no limits
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Points never expire
  • Points are redeemed as a statement credit
  • No APR for one full year
  • Earn 10% more bonus points when you use a Bank of America checking account or savings account

It’s a no-nonsense travel card that offers more than other travel cards. The points are limitless, and they’re higher with each purchase than they are on most other hotel or airline branded cards. This is one you’ll appreciate, and most people end up profiting with this card.

Many people think of travel credit cards as cards co-branded by a specific airline or hotel, and that’s not untrue. However, they’re also cards that are used to earn miles or points redeemable for travel. These cards all offer travelers a chance to save money by not charging foreign transaction fees, money exchange, and each one allows you to earn points at a rapid pace.

To make the most of each card, use it for your everyday purchases, your living expenses, and any other purchases you make throughout the year. Pay the balance in full each month to keep your credit score high and your debt-to-income low. This helps build your credit score and make you look more favorable to other lenders. These cards benefit anyone who travels often, but they might not be the best for those who don’t travel frequently. Compare them to your travel habits, and see which one best fits your lifestyle.

Top 5 Hotel Rewards Credit Cards

Earning free hotel stays with hotel credit cards is a perk travelers enjoy immensely. Free travel is something people rarely turn down, and there’s no better way to ensure you’re going to get a free night in a hotel than with a hotel credit card. They’re best for frequent travelers, but not all cards require you stay in a specific hotel brand.

If you are loyal to one specific hotel family, it makes sense to apply for that hotel credit card. If you’re not loyal to one hotel brand, you might want to take a look at the five best hotel credit cards available right now. Each one has something to offer the rest don’t, but they all work hard to ensure travelers are cared for each and every time they use their card.

Hyatt Visa

Hyatt Hotels are plentiful in many countries, and there’s a Hyatt brand for every budget. From high-end luxury hotels to affordable suites-only hotels for those with a tighter budget, there’s nothing you can’t book through Hyatt. The Visa card is great for those who love a Hyatt property but still want to use their card for everyday purchases.

  • Earn two free nights at any Hyatt after spending $1,000 in three months
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points when you add an authorized user and make a purchase with that card
  • Earn 3 points for every dollar spent at all Hyatt properties
  • Earn 2 point for every dollar spent on airline tickets, restaurants, and rental cars
  • Earn 1 point for all other purchases
  • Earn a free night at Hyatt every year on your cardholder anniversary

As long as you remain a Hyatt Visa holder, you are given complimentary access to Hyatt Gold Passport Platinum Status, which offers even more perks. You’ll get first choice of your rooms at any hotel, free upgrades, free perks, and even guaranteed rooms even when a hotel is listed as sold out. There’s no annual fee the first year, and it’s only $75 per year after that.

IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card

This is a great card for those who like to travel without spending too much money. The sign-up bonus is worth $455 in free travel, and people who carry this card love the options they have when they present it at check-in.

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in three months
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points when your authorized user makes their first purchase within three months
  • Earn 5 points for every dollar spent at any IHG property
  • Earn 2 points for every dollar spent at gas stations
  • Earn 2 points for every dollar spent at grocery stores
  • Earn 2 points for every dollar spent at restaurants
  • Earn 1 point for every dollar spent elsewhere
  • Earn a free night each year on your cardholder anniversary
  • Annual fee is only $49, and it is waived the first year

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

One of the best travel cards on the market, this is a travel card that offers a myriad of hotel perks even though it’s not a specific hotel credit card. Chase Sapphire does work closely with Hyatt’s Gold Passport, IHG’s Rewards Club, and Marriott/Ritz-Carlton Rewards programs, so brand-specific travelers to any of these hotels will reap the biggest benefits.

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points by spending only $4,000 in three months
  • Earn 2 points on every dollar spent on airlines, hotels, rent cars and dining
  • Earn 1 point for every dollar spent anywhere else
  • Use anywhere Visa is accept
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No annual fee for one year, $95 fee after that
  • 20% discount on all hotels, airfare, and rental cars when you book through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express

This card is great for anyone who loves a wonderful value during their hotel stays. The perks are numerous, and SPG hotel locations are all over the world. Anyone with this card will earn serious points with SPG hotels, making it one of the best for various methods of travel.

  • Earn 25,000 bonus points for spending $3,000 in three months
  • Earn 5 points for every dollar spent at SPG hotel locations
  • Earn 2 points for every dollar spent at Marriott properties
  • Earn 1 point for every dollar spent elsewhere
  • No annual fee for one year, $95 after
  • Free internet access in room
  • Unlimited Wi-Fi at all Boingo hotspots
  • There are more than 1,300 SPG hotels in the world

What makes this card stand out among the rest even with the lower sign-up bonus, the lack of anniversary nights offered free of charge, and the lower number of hotel properties across the world is the rate of redemption. Starpoints are more valuable than any other hotel reward point, valued around 2.3 cents for each point your account accrues. This means your dollar goes a lot further with SPG than it does at many other hotel brands. Additionally, SPG hotels are among the nicest in the world.

Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card

If you love free nights and rewards points, this is the hotel card you want in your wallet. This card offers the best anniversary bonus. Each year, cardholders are offered a free night at a hotel in the 1-5 categories anywhere in the world. One free night at a hotel in a tropical destination or expensive city goes a long way in helping travelers afford the vacation of their dreams. Other perks this card offers travelers are just as impressive.

  • Earn 80,000 points by spending $3,000 in three months of opening your account
  • Earn 5 points for every dollar spent at a Marriott hotel or on a Marriott property
  • Earn 2 points for every dollar spent on airline tickets through airlines
  • Earn 2 points for every dollar spent at rental car agencies
  • Earn 2 points for every dollar spent at a restaurant
  • Earn 1 point for every dollar spent otherwise
  • Use anywhere Visa is accepted
  • No foreign transaction fees makes this card great for international travelers
  • Low $85 annual fee

Marriott hotels are numerous. There are more than 4,300 properties located in more than 80 countries, which means you’re almost guaranteed to find a property anywhere you go.

To maximize hotel rewards points to earn more free hotel stays, use your hotel card for every major purchase you make. Pay your mortgage and your utilities with it, and use it as your everyday card for purchases and bill pay purposes. Pay it off in full each month, and you’ll be able to earn more points than you imagined. Depending on the card you choose, you could earn several free nights each year with your hotel credit card, which can make personal travel more lucrative than ever.

Using your car responsibly is the best way to earn points and free travel, and staying out of debt is what makes life more enjoyable and affordable. Use your card as often as possible, but always pay the balance in full to maintain an excellent credit score.

Top 5 Credit Cards for Earning Airline Miles

With the right airline credit card, you can earn free domestic and international trips. These cards are great for frequent travelers looking to cut down on costs. If you love to game the system, they’re also a fun way to score free trips.

You’ll need a credit score of at least 700 to qualify for these top-tier cards, and a household income of at least $50,000 will help your applications be more successful. These top five cards include options for beginners to reward travel and choices for long-time churners.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Everyone who cares about reward points should have this card in their wallet. Chase’s Ultimate Rewards give you so many travel options. You can use the points to purchase airfare, hotels and car rentals for your vacation, or you can transfer them to travel partners. There is an annual fee, but it’s waived for the first year so you can explore all this card has to offer.

Chase gives you a 1:1 ratio for air miles programs like Southwest’s Rapid Rewards, United’s MileagePlus and British Airway’s Avios. If you pick up an airline credit card from one of these companies, you can build up your frequent flyer account then transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards points. You could end up with enough air miles for a first class ticket on an international flight.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred offers a number of great benefits, including these:

  • Beautiful design and heavy-weight card that makes a serious impression
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Earn double points on travel and dining charges
  • Great sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points if you spend $4,000 in your first 3 months
  • Primary rental car coverage protects you on the road

Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard

Who doesn’t want a free round-trip flight to Hawaii? With this card, you can shop, surf and soak up the sun. New users get 35,000 Hawaiian Air Miles after spending just $1,000 in the first 3 months. You can meet that spending goal with just regular monthly charges. That makes this card perfect for churning beginners who don’t want to bother with manufactured spending.

You also get a companion certificate for 50% off a round-trip coach ticket. You can book your free flight with the 35,000 Air Miles you’ll earn and pick up a discounted fare for a friend or romantic partner.

  • The Hawaiian Airlines card has no foreign transaction fee. The annual fee of $89 is waived for the first year.
  • $100 discount on any coach-level companion fare
  • 5,000 bonus miles if you spend $10,000 annually
  • Double miles on Hawaiian Air purchases and 1 mile for every dollar spent elsewhere
  • Your first checked bag is free when you purchase your fare with your card

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Like the Chase Sapphire Preferred, this card from Capital One isn’t tied to a specific airline or hotel rewards system. Instead, the miles you earn can be used to pay for any travel-related expenses. That means you can book a rental car, pay for baggage fees or pick up tickets to a museum and you’ll be covered by Capital One.

With a non-branded travel card like this one, you don’t get the maximum value possible. You’d need to combine multiple cards and book international flights to drive up your cents-per-point reward. So why get this card? It’s easy to use. This is a great option if you’re new to travel credit cards and want to start with something simple. If you’re only open to one card, pick up the Chase Sapphire Preferred Plus. When you’re ready to expand your credit card library, the Capital One Venture Rewards card is a great second pick.

You’ll get these benefits:

  • Double miles—2% back—on every dollar you spend
  • Erase any travel purchases, including flights, fees and event admissions
  • Hefty sign-up bonus is worth $400
  • $59 annual fee waived for the first year
  • Price protection gets you reimbursed if you purchase something that goes on sale within 120 days

Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card

Come fly the friendly skies with Southwest. This airline card from Chase Bank is a great way to start your Rapid Rewards account. Southwest has some of the best customer satisfaction in the aviation industry, and their frequent flyer rewards system is top-notch.

When you spend $1,000 in your first 3 months, you’ll earn 40,000 Rapid Rewards points. You can use those points with no black-out dates, no seat restrictions and no baggage charges. If you need to change your flight, there are no change fees.

Rather than a flat rate based on flight time or distance traveled, Southwest pegs their award prices to the dollar value of a ticket. That means you can squeeze multiple round trip vacations out of a single sign-up bonus. Simple tricks like flying to Newark Liberty International Airport instead of JFK can save you thousands of points. So can taking a later flight or flying during the week. You can score flights for as low as 4,000 points one way. That makes this card a great value for frequent travelers.

If you’re ready to invest serious time and energy into credit card churning, this card is the first step in earning the coveted Southwest Companion Pass. You can score free flights for a travel companion for over an entire calendar year. You’ll need to earn 110,000 Rapid Rewards points to score the pass. Start with this card, and you’ll be almost halfway to your goal.

You get other great benefits with this card:

  • 6,000 bonus points every anniversary
  • 2 points per $1 spent with Southwest and travel partners
  • No foreign transaction fees

Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express

Why is a hotel card on a list of the top cards for airline miles? It’s because Starwood has a generous transfer policy. You can move your Starpoints to many partners in a 1:1 ratio, including these airlines:

  • Alaska Airlines Air Miles
  • American Airlines AAdvantage
  • Korean Air
  • United MileagePlus
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

If you combine the Starwood Preferred Guest card with an airline credit card, you can rack up some impressive reward points totals and redeem them for free flights. This card is a good way to beef up a frequent flyer account once you’ve tapped out the airline’s cards.

American Express offers a sign-up bonus of 25,000 Starpoints if you make $3,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. You’ll also get double points for every Marriot and Starwoods hotel charge and 1 point for every other dollar you spend. The $95 annual fee is not charged your first year.

You also get no foreign transaction fees and free internet at all Starwoods properties.

Top 5 Credit Cards for Poor Credit

Using a credit card responsibly is a great way to fix your credit, but if you have bad credit, you might assume that it will be hard to get approved for a credit card in the first place. It can seem like a bad situation to be in if you are trying to build credit after bankruptcy or if you just have a low score and would like to bring it up, but luckily, there are credit cards out there that are perfect for those with poor credit. These are a few of the best.

Capital One Secured MasterCard

One of the best options for those who have bad credit is the Capital One Secured MasterCard. As with other secured cards, you will be expected to make a security deposit. However, this card is a bit unique from some of the other secured cards that are out there.

With most secured cards, your credit limit is equal to the amount that you deposit, period. In some cases, though, Capital One gives customers a higher credit limit than their initial deposit. The minimum deposit will be either $49, $99 or $200. This is based off of just how bad your credit really is.

These are some of the top benefits of this card:

  • The Capital One Secured MasterCard has no annual fee. Since many secured cards charge rather high annual fees, this is a big plus for this card.
  • You do not have to pay your entire deposit at one time. Instead, you have 80 days after opening your account to do so.

The goal of opening up a secured card is often so that you can improve your credit score and eventually qualify for a card without a deposit. Some secured cards do not offer this option, but once you establish a good history with Capital One, you may qualify for a higher credit limit without being required to make an additional deposit.

Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa

The Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa is unique in that it is designed for individuals with bad credit but is not a secured card. Here are some of the perks of this card:

  • You do not have to make an initial deposit in order to get approved for this card, even if your credit score is low. With so few unsecured options out there for individuals with bad credit, the Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa is very unique.
  • The website allows you to pre-qualify, so you can get an answer in just one minute.
  • Credit One Bank offers flexible payment dates. You do not have to worry about your credit card payment being due on the same day as your mortgage, for example. Instead, you can request a certain payment date that is more suitable for you.
  • In many cases, rewards are only available on credit cards for people with good credit. However, Credit One Bank’s card is unique because it does offer one percent in cash back on gas and grocery purchases. This can really add up if you use this card for everyday use.
  • Credit One Bank reports payment history to all three credit bureaus, so you can build your score by making payments on time.
  • You may be able to score a credit line increase after establishing a good payment history.

Milestone Gold MasterCard

No list of credit cards for people with bad credit would be complete without the Milestone Gold MasterCard. These are a few perks of this popular card:

  • Even some bad credit credit cards are not an option for people with a previous bankruptcy, but Milestone Gold MasterCard does approve applications for people who have filed bankruptcy in the past.
  • You can pre-qualify online without worrying about an impact on your credit score, and you can get a fast answer.
  • This credit card has free online access, making it easy for you to keep track of charges on your account and to pay your credit card payment online.

Digital Federal Credit Union Visa Platinum Secured

You do have to be a member of the Digital Federal Credit Union in order to apply for this card, but the good news is that you can do so easily; all you have to do is make a one-time donation to one of the credit union’s list of eligible charities. These are a few reasons why it might be worth it to do so and to apply for this card:

  • There is no annual fee with this card, which is uncommon among secured credit cards.
  • The interest rate on this card is relatively low, currently at 11.75% variable.
  • This card reports to all of the major credit bureaus, allowing you to rebuild your credit if you pay your credit card bill on time each and every month.
  • Unlike with many secured credit cards, you can actually earn interest on your deposit while it sits in savings. Even though the interest rates aren’t high, it is still a little something.

OpenSky Secured Credit Visa

As yet another secured credit card, the OpenSky Secured Credit Visa is easier to obtain than many of the other bad credit credit cards. These are a few perks of this card:

  • Even many secured credit cards require you to have a bank account. This is not a requirement for the OpenSKy card.
  • OpenSky does not perform a credit check at all, so you do not have to worry about being denied because of anything on your credit report, and you do not have to worry about a “hard pull” making your score go down.
  • If you would like a card with a higher credit limit, such as one that you can use while you are traveling, the OpenSky card is a good choice. You can start your account with a deposit of anywhere from $200 to $3,000, but once you have the card, you can increase your limit to $5,000 at any time. Since many secured cards come with rather low limits, even when secured by your deposit, this can be a good thing for those who need a little more spending power.
  • OpenSky reports to all three major credit bureaus, making it possible for you to build your score up fast.

It’s true that it can be challenging to find a credit card when you have bad credit, but you shouldn’t give up on getting a card. First, you may want to apply for an unsecured option, which will not require you to put down a deposit. However, even if you do need to put down a deposit, a secured card can help you achieve your goal of rebuilding your credit while also allowing you to enjoy the benefits of a credit card, such as using it to pay for things when you are traveling. If you check out these top five credit cards for poor credit, you’re sure to find one that is right for you

Top 5 Credit Cards for Cash Back

The best cashback credit cards on the market are akin to a side job. If you do it right, you can earn cash on the side in substantial numbers. What’s so amazing about cash back credit cards is you don’t have to do much of anything to earn cash back other than shop. Consumers are good at that, so it shouldn’t be too hard to earn ample cash back throughout the year.

The best way to use a cash back card is to make all your purchases with the card each month. Pay your bills, buy your gas, charge your groceries, and use the cash you normally use on those expenses to pay your credit card off in full each month. The more you spend, the more you earn, and these 5 cash back credit cards are among the best in the business.

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

What makes this card such a great cash back card is the rate it offers for each purchase. All purchases earn you 1.5% cash back. There are no limits to how much you can earn, how much you can spend and still take advantage of this offer, and you can redeem your cash back in a way that works best for you. It’s one of the best cards to use if you don’t enjoy a rotating rewards category each quarter, and the rest of the perks are substantial.

  • Spend $500 in three months and earn $100 cash bonus
  • Redeem cash back for gift cards, statement credits, cash, bank deposits into checking or savings
  • No penalty APR
  • No annual fees
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Visa Signature benefits
  • Travel upgrades
  • Preferred seating at concerts and sporting events

Anyone who carries this card is able to access the Capital One Credit Wise Credit Tracker each month to view activity on their credit report both positive and negative, see how they can improve their credit, and see how much everything is affecting your credit.

Blue Cash Preferred Card by American Express

This is one of the best cash back cards on the market because of the earning potential in the revolving categories. There are some spending limits, but the cash back to that point is so high it makes up for it for many consumers.

  • Earn 6% cash back on all supermarket purchases up to $6,000 per year
  • Earn 3% cash back on all gas purchases with no spending limit
  • Earn 3% cash back on all department store purchases with no spending limit
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Earn $150 statement credit if you spend $1,000 in the first three months you open your account
  • Earn 5% cash back on all travel purchases for six months
  • All cash back is redeemable in the form of a statement credit
  • $95 annual fee
  • 7% foreign transaction fee
  • Amex return policy

Chase Freedom Unlimited

This Chase card is accepted anywhere Visa is accepted, and it comes with the perks of being a Visa Signature cardholder. You’ll get priority seating at events, concierge services, and other benefits no one else gets without a Visa card. The cash back bonuses are great, too.

  • Earn $150 cash bonus when you spend $500 within three months of activating your card
  • Earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases without any limits or thresholds
  • No APR for 15 months from the date your account is open on balance transfers or purchases
  • No annual fee
  • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • Balance transfer fees are the greater of $10 or 5% of the balance
  • Purchase protection
  • Price protection
  • Redeem points at any time for cash back, statement credits, gift cards, purchases made through Chase’s shopping portal, or bank account deposits into checking or savings.

Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express

American Express offers some of the most comprehensive cash back cards on the market, and this card is no exception. The biggest perk of the Blue Cash Everyday Card is the sign-up bonus and extra methods for earning cash back. Anyone who obtains this card can earn $100 statement credit by spending $1,000 in three months. The other perks add up to even more cash back.

  • Earn 5% on travel purchases for 6 months
  • Earn 3% cash back on supermarket purchases up to $6,000 per year
  • Earn 2% cash back on all gas station purchases
  • Earn 2% cash back on all department store purchases
  • Earn 1% cash back on every other purchase
  • Redeem cash back in $25 increments as often as you’d like for statement credits
  • No APR for 1 full year
  • No annual fee
  • 7% foreign transaction fee
  • Amex Return Protection

Discover it

What consumers love most about this card is the double cash back for one full year. Anyone approved for the Discover it card is going to earn a cash back bonus at the end of the year in the amount of the cash back they already earned throughout the year. it’s double cash back for one full year, which is always welcome.

  • Earn 5% cash back on rotating categories every three months up to $1,500 each quarter
  • Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Double cash back for one year
  • Cash back can be redeemed as a statement credit, bank account deposits into savings or checking accounts, Amazon purchases, or checks in the mail
  • No interest on all purchases and balance transfers for a full year
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Discover Freeze It feature

The freeze it feature is the best thing to come out of this card. Discover wants their customers to spend comfortably and safely, which allows you to turn off any features you want at the touch of a button. If you are traveling and cannot find your card, log on to your account and turn the card’s purchase feature off. While it’s off, no new purchases can be made. If you get back to your hotel room and find the card in the pocket of the pants you thought you’d wear that day, you can log back onto your app and turn your purchase feature back on and carry on with your purchases as usual.

Each of these cash back cards is designed to help you earn cash back throughout the year. Each card has the ability to offer you serious cash back if you charge everything and pay it off in full each month. A cardholder who spends $6,000 per month in expenses and other purchases and pays it off has the option to earn $60 per month cash back on a card that only earns 1% cash back. Add bonus categories and cards with 1.5% cash back as well as signing bonuses, and you’re going to rake in the big bucks using your card. If you save your redemptions for the end of the year, you might be able to pay for a significant portion of your Christmas shopping and save money in the process!

Cable And Internet Providers Offer New Technologies To The Public

Did you know you can access some serious savings on all the latest cable and internet technologies – just by knowing where to look?

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With today’s fast-paced cable and internet landscape, service providers are more motivated than ever to be the first to bring new technologies to new customers. And to make this happen, they’re willing to offer incredible features like exclusive sports packages, and mobile television access, at huge discounts.

Why? Cable and internet companies know how easy it is for busy customers like you to get stuck in a rut when it comes to their service provider.

That’s why they’re going out of their way to bring you exceptional deals on all your favorite television shows, alongside top-speed internet services and the convenience of DVR – just for switching companies.

Maybe you’ve heard someone at work talking about what a great deal she just got on her Wi-Fi hotspot service. Or perhaps one of your friends has recently moved, and he can’t stop boasting about how much he saved on his HBO and Showtime premium cable package.

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Want to get in on the savings like everybody else?

It’s true that the biggest discounts aren’t always advertised, but that doesn’t mean they’re hard to track down – if you know where to go. The fact is that many people are stunned when they learn how easy it is to find the best deals on the latest cable and internet technology.

Pay Less for Cable and Internet

Bargain-hunting experts know that to get discounts on the cable and internet services they want, they have to take advantage of special online sites – sites that are dedicated to bringing great deals to subscribers who want to pay less.

With so much that’s new to offer, cable and internet providers are furiously competitive. And that means there’s never been a better time to pocket incredible savings on everything from connection speed upgrades to exclusive cable bundles.

Find Cable and Internet Deals Online

No matter what your budget is, and no matter what you’ve paid in the past, there’s a cable and internet deal online that might just be perfect for you. If you want the premium services and bundled extras that everyone else is getting in on, finding them couldn’t be easier.

Want to save big on the latest technology? Click here to find great cable and internet deals!

Unsold Inventory Requires Dealers To Offer Deep Discounts On New Cars

Have you ever driven away from a car dealer in your newly purchased car and thought to yourself “did I just get taken advantage of?  Is it possible I could’ve gotten a better deal?”  I know I have.

car dealer lowres

Car dealerships are notoriously good negotiators and sometimes it can leave even a self-proclaimed ‘skilled negotiator’ feeling a little deflated.  What if I were to tell you that there is a way to get the car of your dreams at it’s TRUE price?  It’s “true price” meaning the best price available….does that sound like something you might be interested in?

I’m going to let you in on a little secret….it’s actually a two-part secret.  The first part is that you’ve probably overpaid for at least one car in your lifetime.  The second part is that there are ways that you can ensure that you’ve gotten the best price available; a deal that you probably wouldn’t have received had you not read this post first.

I know what you’re thinking “this is probably just a regurgitation of tips I’ve heard before…” Hear me out and see for yourself.  I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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I want you to abandon all the previous advice you’ve ever received about buying a car.  As soon as your friends and family learn that you’re in the market for a new car, I’m sure they line up to start piling on advice.

Things like “never give a number first…always act like you’re not interested…don’t be afraid to walk away…” Now, I’m not saying that this isn’t good advice but let’s be honest with ourselves, buying a car isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ endeavor.  There are a number of variables that come into play that could make your car buying experience much different than theirs.

Finally…A “NEW” Way To Shop For Cars

With the advancement of the internet, people just like you now have access to the “tips and tricks” of car buying that were normally reserved to knowledgeable and skilled shoppers; great savings may just be a few clicks away.

Simply walking into a car dealership isn’t the best way to score deep discounts on new cars anymore.  The internet has paved the way for huge savings on the same inventory that is being sold in dealerships.

What could possibly be better than saving money from the comfort of your home without having to deal with pushy and sometimes aggressive sales people?

Search now and see what type of amazing car deals await you!

Top 4 Sedans Available Right Now

The four best sedans of 2017 are the Honda Fit, the Honda Accord, the Honda Accord Hybrid, and the Chevrolet Impala. The Honda Fit has a 9.4 rating, the Honda Accord a 9.3 and a 4.5 rating, the Honda Accord Hybrid a 9.5 and a 4.4 rating, and the Chevrolet Impala a 9.1 and an overall 5-star rating. The MSRPs are respectively $17,525, $23,006, $30,440, and $27,300.

The 2017 Honda Fit

This subcompact car is built to combine fashion with function. While large enough to hold even a kayak, its aerodynamic profile enhances fuel efficiency. Its dimensions are 160 in. long, 67 wide, and 60 high, and it seats 5 with adequate head- and leg-room. Plus, it is designed to maximize the utility and size of the space and so can accommodate much stuff despite its small cabin size. The rear seats can be brought right behind the front seats, their bottom can be flipped up, and the bench can be folded onto the floor – cargo permitting.

Other features include headlights that turn on automatically in the dark, Eco-Assist coaching bars (which tell you how efficiently you are driving), and illuminated door sill trim. This last spiffs up the interior and simultaneously protects your car from scuff marks. The car also has Bluetooth Streaming audio and a 180-Watt, 6-speaker audio system. Then, there is keyless ignition, Honda LaneWatch, connected audio, and Smart Entry features.

The 2017 Honda Accord

At 190-193 in. long, 73 in. wide, and 57-58 in. high, this car is comfortably spacious, even for adults, and well-equipped with features. For instance, it has a new collection of safety features. Also, there are a variety of ways to personalize your vehicle. Designed with the highest technology, it has auto delay off headlamps that sense low-light, child seat anchors, daytime running lights, an engine immobilizer, front and rear head airbags, front fog/driving lights, a pre-collision safety system, and a remote anti-theft alarm system. Plus, it has stability control, tire pressure monitoring, traction control, 4-wheel ABS, emergency braking assist, airbags that turn off without a passenger in the seat, rear center 3-point belts, child safety locks for the rear doors, and turn signal mirrors, as well as ventilated front disc/solid rear disc brakes. The transmission is continuously variable-speed automatic, the engine is a hybrid, and the gas mileage is 47-49 mpg.

Customers say the handling on turns is reassuring and enjoy the increased power of the engine, and the improved fuel economy, but they complain about the touchscreen interface, the absence of a fold-down rear seat and of a rear-seat pass-through. The collision warning system is also irritating, and adaptive cruise control leaves much to be desired in the way of maintaining or regaining speed.

The 2017 Honda Accord is very stylish. Blue accent lighting crosses the grill, connecting the blue daytime running lights, increasing the amount of attention other drivers give to the car. Then, there are numerous ways to personalize your car and add features to make it yet more stylish and appealing.

The 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid

194 in. long, 73 in. wide, and 58 in. tall, this car has a clean, attractive design and, like the Honda Accord, can be customized further with Honda Genuine Accessories. The interior is leather with wood-grain appointments, and it is altogether a solid car.

In keeping with a tech-filled cockpit, this car, too, has a keyless ignition. One handy feature is the wireless phone charger, which is easy to access and to use. There is also Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Lanewatch, and the HondaSensing safety suite (i.e. lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control, road-departure mitigation and so on).

As for the negative points of this car, drivers have commented that the Accord Hybrid felt heavy towards the rear on turns, that the weight transfer could be felt through the seat. Then, the springs should be stiffer – though the MacPherson strut suspension in front, in addition to the multi-link rear, kept the body roll very low. As in the 2014 model, the steering is properly responsive and the brake blending impressive – even upgraded. You see, the Honda increased the amount of regenerative braking that the improved powertrain can handle. The Intelligent Power Unit and the Power Control Unit has been made lighter and smaller. The motors are dreamy, and Honda has added an exhaust heat recovery heating system to improve the efficiency even further.

The 2017 Chevrolet Impala

This car has something for everyone. One especially delightful feature is 4G LTE Wi-Fi, which allows access to high-speed internet connectivity. Add that to that Chevrolet MyLink, a touch-screen display, and you can send and receive texts and emails, play music, download files, and more. Additionally, you can connect up to seven devices, while getting a more powerful connection than on your smartphone, as the signal is fast and reliable. The hotspot is powered by your vehicle; while the vehicle is on, the hotspot will work, saving the battery of your mobile device.

The advanced technology and considerable safety features should give you driving confidence front, back, and sides. This car has Available Forward Collision Alert, Available Side Blind Zone Alert, 10 standard air bags, and a rear-vision camera, as well as OnStar Automatic Crash Response System standard for three months if you purchase the Guidance Plan. One driver remarked that this car balanced aggressive performance and intelligent engine efficiency perfectly.

With this car, the Chevrolet Complete Care plan guarantees two maintenance visits (oil change, tire rotations, 27-point inspection, etc.), 5 years or 60,000 mi. Of 24-hour roadside assistance and courtesy transportation, 5 years of the standard OnStar Basic Plan, and 3 months of the OnStar Guidance Plan.

 

Top 4 Pickup Trucks Available Right Now

Decades ago, pickup trucks were only used by farmers, tradesmen, and commercially-oriented operators. In a ploy to increase sales and counter the SUV’s immense popularity, pickup truck manufacturers added more amenities and tech features, making the once rugged utility vehicles luxurious enough for daily use.

Their efforts paid off because, in the last decade, pickup trucks have risen to become the top-selling vehicles in the USA. However, the car-like feel and SUV-rivalling interiors are inadequate without performance, practicality, and reliability. The manufacturers are aware of this and so year after year, they strive to outdo each other in the production of new models — and the improvement of existing ones.

Needless to say, the constant growth and revolutions in the pickup truck segment can be confusing to even the most seasoned user. Therefore, we have selected four of the most dependable pickup trucks, from the compact, light duty, and heavy duty categories, with particular consideration to value, dependability, and versatility.

Compact Category

The compact trucks are small and offer the best value to consumers with occasional hauling or towing needs.

2017 Chevrolet Colorado

The 2017 Chevrolet Colorado is arguably the best compact-sized pickup truck in the market. Its offers the ride and interior amenities of a luxury crossover without sacrificing its ability to handle the demands of work. Equipped with features that most trucks in its class can only dream of, it offers a rather choppy ride, as befitting a pickup, and highly responsive handling.

The Colorado offers an array of three versatile engines: A vigorous 4-cylinder, a capable V6, and the only diesel in the class. The standard 2.5-liter I-4 engine is good for 200 hp and 191 lb-ft of torque and can tow up to 3500 pounds. The engine is fitted with either manual or automatic transmission and EPA fuel estimates shows that a gallon of fuel is sufficient for 20 miles in the city and 27 miles on the highway.

The optional 3.6-liter V-6 cranks out 305 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque and tows a maximum of 7000 pounds. It is backed by a highly responsive automatic transmission, and a gallon will carry you for 18 miles in the city and 26 miles on the highway. The new 181-hp “Duramax” four-cylinder diesel engine produces best-in-class 369 pound-feet of torque and hauls a respectable 7700 pounds. Fuel efficiency is estimated at 22 mpg city and 31 mpg highway.

The Chevy Colorado is available in RWD and 4WD drivetrains and can seat five adults. Featuring advanced safety features, it received an overall government safety rating of 4 stars. Its closest competitor is its more upscale sibling, the GMC Canyon, which offers almost identical capabilities with more high-end features. Regardless, the Colorado’s lowest 5-Year Cost to Own for the second year in a row reputation puts it at an advantage over its rivals.

Light Duty Category

Perhaps the most common pickup truck segment, it strikes a balance between the other two categories and offers the widest variety of vehicles.

2017 Ford F-150

Undoubtedly America’s sweetheart, two Ford F-150s are sold every minute — and for good reason. They are refined and sophisticated but still brutish and brawny enough to tackle just about anything. Step into the F-150 and you will realize just how much the truck world has revolutionized. It was redesigned in 2015 and now features an elaborate infotainment system that is intended not just to entertain and keep you connected but also to show you the way and help you park. The use of aluminum instead of steel makes the body more resilient and substantially reduces the truck’s weight.

2017 Ford F-150 is available in six trim levels: The XL, the XLT, the LARIAT, the King Ranch, the Platinum, and the Limited. It is available as a 2WD Regular Cab and 4WD Super Cab and Supercrew Cab, but only the XL and the XLT offer all three cab options.

Before the latest F-150, we could not imagine that six-cylinder engines could drive full-sized trucks. In a show of innovativeness, Ford availed the F-150 in a choice of three V6 engines. The highly popular 2.7L EcoBoost® V6 gives 325 horsepower and 375 lb-ft of torque while the high-performing 3.5L EcoBoost® V6 releases 365 hp and 420 pound-feet of torque. The model’s middle child, the 3.5L Ti-VCT V6 coughs out a respectable 282 hp and 253 lb-ft of torque whereas the most powerful 5.0L Ti-VCT V8 spits out 385 galloping horses and 387 pound-feet of torque.

Electronic 6-speed automatic transmission drives all 2017 Ford F-150 trucks, and EPA estimates place them at 16-22 mpg combined. Following a 5-star collision rating from NHTSA on every side and an IIHS Top Safety Pick for every cab configuration, the 2017 model was dubbed the safest F-150 ever. A properly equipped Regular Cab 4×2 with 5.0L V8 and Heavy Duty Payload Package can carry 3,270 lbs and tow a maximum of 12,200 pounds.

Its only con is that the MSRP is quite hefty at $39,245 to $57,240, but the truck’s durability sufficiently compliments this.

2017 Ram 1500

Although not as sought-after as its Ford counterpart, the Ram 1500 truck is just as appealing and is in itself a force to reckon with. It is available in four trims and special editions: The Tradesman, the Ram 1500 Express, the Big Horn, and the Rebel. It has received several awards and accolades for fuel economy and off-road performance. With a price range of between $27,340 and $53,860, it is better priced than the F150, ultimately offering better initial value to owners.

The current Ram 1500 truck comes with a choice of two V6 engines and one V8 engine. The entry level 3.0L EcoDiesel V6 engine makes 240 horsepower and an impressive 420 lb-ft of torque. It boasts of a Payload capacity of 1,600 pounds and tows a maximum of 9,210 pounds. Its fuel economy is ranked at 21 mpg and 29 mpg in the city and highway respectively.

Second in line is the 3.6L PENTASTAR® V6 engine that employs Variable Valve Timing (VVT) technology to produce 305 horsepower and 269 pound-feet of torque. The engine has a towing capacity of 7,610 pounds and a payload capacity of 1,880 pounds with 18/25 mpg (city/highway). Both V6 engines make use of a Torqueflite® 8 eight-speed transmission. The 395 hp 5.7 HEMI® V8 engine gives 15 city/22 highway mpg and 14 city/20 highway mpg with eight-speed and six-speed transmissions respectively. It tows a capacity of 10,650 pounds and carries a load of 1,810 pounds.

Heavy Duty Category

The trucks in this segment are mainly suited for buyers that use their trucks for hauling and towing heavy loads as opposed to those that require a truck for day to day usage.

2017 Ram 2500

Most heavy-duty pickup trucks feel like lumbering lugs and are a task to maneuver. Although the manufacturers of the Ram 2500 trucks do not eliminate this problem, they go a great way in reducing it and improving drivability. They have also managed to create the classiest interior on the market without the truck losing its beastly demeanor. They have also made the usual unladen pickup bounciness a thing of the past with the standard coil-spring rear suspension.

With over ten configurations ranging from the entry level $31,780 Tradesman to the class-topping $57,680 Power Wagon Laramie, the latest Ram 2500 ensures that shoppers are spoilt for choice.
Consumers can opt for a six-speed automatic or manual transmission and a 410-hp 6.4-liter V-8 engine; a 383-hp 5.7-liter V-8 engine; or a 6.7-liter turbodiesel inline-six engine with 350 or 370 hp, depending on transmission. Maximum towing capacity is 17,980 lb; payload is 3990 lb. Apart from the fact that it guzzles like a camel — certain trucks can travel for as little as 11 mpg — the Ram 2500 is the best heavy duty truck in the market.

 

Top 4 Crossover SUVs Available Right Now

High gas prices changed the trajectory of the SUV market among major auto manufacturers forever.

Though gas prices have declined from their near-record highs during the early part of this decade, major manufacturers learned that consumers simply don’t have the appetite for a heavy, inefficient SUV that could potentially cost them a third of their take-home income at the pump.
To that end, automakers have crafted a new line of crossover SUVs, designed to blend the size and comfort of SUVs with the performance and efficiency of sedans. Though many options are available today’s buyers, four models stand out as the best of the best.

1. 2017 Nissan Murano

Since 2002, the Nissan Murano has been the Japanese car company’s flagship crossover for American buyers. In that time, the Murano has attracted a loyal following for its interior comfort, its larger amount of cargo space compared to the competition, and its sporty design. The first generation of the Murano was one of the most attractive crossovers on the market in 2002, and the car remains the best designed, non-luxury crossover today. A slightly refreshed design for the 2017 model year makes the Murano feel even more premium than its competitors.

Inside the cabin, drivers will enjoy the most comfortable seats of any crossover on the market. Other interior upgrades this year include a soft-touch dash, a redesigned rear bench seat, and the ability to choose real woodgrain accents on the high-end trim level of this model. The infotainment screen at the center of the dashboard has been upgraded to an 8-inch screen and infused with both Android Auto and CarPlay compatibility.

Climate controls have been redesigned for more intuitive use, while rear cargo space has been slightly retooled so that even more personal belongings can fit into the Murano when needed. An entry-level MSRP of $29,740 makes the Murano one of the most expensive crossovers outside the luxury market, but the interior upgrades and high level of comfort merit the higher relative pricing.

2. 2017 Kia Sportage

Kia has experienced a massive turnaround in recent years, both in terms of its cars’ overall quality and in the court of public opinion. Once rightly perceived as a risky, cut-rate, and underwhelming budget manufacturer, the company now excels in offering a powerful blend of exciting design, capable engines, and long-term durability. Backed by the longest bumper-to-bumper warranty in the industry, Kia’s vehicles also benefit from greater peace of mind than the competition’s.

For 2017, the Kia Sportage is one of the best crossover models on the market. The vehicle features a slightly refined version of the same design it’s had for the last four model years, which was already one of the best. Inside the cabin, Kia has equipped the Sportage with roomy front and rear seats, 60.7 square feet of potential cargo space, and the innovative UVO infotainment system by Microsoft. The Shortage’s infotainment system is also CarPlay-compatible as of the 2017 model year, making it a natural fit for Apple users.

Despite the company’s reputation as a budget manufacturer, the Sportage can be upgraded to the SX trim, with leather seats, soft-touch dashboard materials, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, built-in navigation, alloy wheels, and several semi-autonomous driving features. The Shortage’s starting MSRP, at $22,990, makes it one of the best values on the market.

3. 2017 Ford Escape

The Ford Escape has had a long and storied history, longer than any of the other three models on this list. The crossover has come in hybrid designs and high-end trims, has featured all kinds of powerful and fuel-sipping engines, and has gone through numerous design changes.
In 2017, the Escape has once again been rethought by Ford engineers. The car’s new design is sportier, with more chrome on the front grille and a sleeker rear design that improves both head room and cargo space. Ford’s latest version of SYNC is present inside, complete with voice control, Apple CarPlay compatibility, and navigation on upgraded models. Cabin materials are also upgraded this year, with a new fabric for seats on the entry-level and midrange trims.

The Ford Escape was once known for getting decidedly poor fuel economy, but that’s not the case with the latest iteration of Ford’s most popular crossover. This year, the Escape gets 23 miles per gallon in city driving and 32 miles on the highway. Some manufacturers struggle to make their sedans and subcompact crossovers this efficient.
Along with excellent upgrades for the high-end trim level, including blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, leather seating, and upgraded wheels, the combination of features and performance makes the Escape particularly compelling. MSRP for this year’s Escape starts at $23,590, which is exceedingly affordable for a crossover of this quality.

4. 2017 Mazda CX-3

Mazda’s SUV lineup expanded this year with the introduction of the company’s first “subcompact crossover.” Named the CX-3, the car’s design is clearly inspired by the highly successful CX-5 crossover and CX-9 full-size SUV. The CX-3 is smaller in size by quite a bit, however, and is just a touch larger than the Mazda6 sedan.
Inside the cabin, familiar Mazda features await, including the redesigned MazdaConnect infotainment console and the potential for fully upgraded dashboard materials and leather seats. The mid-range Touring model adds blind spot monitoring to the mix, while all models come with a backup camera. CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are a welcome addition, as is the built-in GPS navigation feature of the Grand Touring trim.

The benefit of a subcompact crossover in today’s marketplace is one of both cargo space and efficiency. The CX-3’s fuel economy is 29 miles per gallon in the city and 34 miles per gallon on the highway, making it among the most economical crossovers on the market. Inside, the CX-3 offers up to 44.5 square feet of cargo space, which is nearly twice the amount of space in a Mazda6 sedan. The car is also quite fun to drive, with a powerful engine that expertly manifests the “soul of a sports car” mantra of all Mazda models. Starting at $19,960, the MSRP on the CX-3 also makes it one of the most accessible crossovers on the market for first-time and value buyers.

Four Excellent Crossovers for Today’s Buyers

Crossovers are selling at record levels in 2017, driven by a combination of low gas prices, an increasingly good economy, and an upward trend in fuel economy for these larger vehicles. The quality of crossovers across the board has also increased, and these four models exemplify the best in quality, technology, and refinement for today’s buyers. Whether it’s the value-centric Kia Sportage or the high quality Nissan Murano, buyers will love what awaits them at today’s dealer lots.

Vote It Up When Signing Up for VoIP Service

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, a standard technology for making and receiving phone calls over Internet data connections rather than traditional phone lines. Standard phones and enterprise PBX systems use analog signals sent over a wire, while a VoIP system translates communications into data. You can use a digital phone over traditional phone lines, but VoIP is data-centric and requires an Internet connection. To use VoIP, you need phone system devices hooked to an Internet broadband connection along with one or more IP-capable phones. Unlike traditional phones, data-based VoIP solutions can also be integrated with other types of software.

Vote It Up When Looking for Medical Billing and Coding Schools

Health-care providers have incredibly important and demanding jobs. Physicians have enough on their hands without needing to worry about the intricacies of applying for payment to an insurance company. And as the number of patients covered by Medicare and Medicaid increases, the need to interact with the federal government adds to the burden of seeking payment for medical services. That’s why there’s a growing demand in hospitals, clinics, and treatment centers around the country for workers trained in medical billing and medical coding. These two activities streamline the interaction between the doctor and the agency responsible for payment, and greatly increase the ease and efficiency with which health care is provided in both medical clinics and hospitals.

Vote It Up When Getting Dental Implants

Dental implants are a permanent replacement for lost teeth. Because of their many advantages over dentures or bridges, many people are interested in getting implants but have questions about the process, cost and procedure. Below are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about dental implants.

Vote It Up When Getting Eye Surgery

Your eyes are a very sensitive organ and need to be the given the best care. The decision to get Lasik eye surgery can be a very difficult choice to make. Lasik stands for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis, in which a laser is used to change the shape of the cornea to improve your vision. While the surgery may be beneficial, there are many factors to consider before opting to get the surgery. The following are some questions that may help with the decision to get Lasik eye surgery:

Vote It Up When Going to Alcohol Rehab

In 2012, over 7% of Americans ages 18 and up had what is known as alcohol use disorder (AUD). Unfortunately, very few people who could benefit from alcohol rehab actually sign up for it. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 1.4 million adults sought out treatment for their addiction in 2012. This is about 8.4% of adults who need the help. Admitting that you need help for your alcohol addiction is the bravest thing that you can do. But the possibilities for alcohol rehab are practically endless. This Q & A session will answer the top 5 questions that a person who is considering entering rehab for alcohol abuse will have.

Vote It Up When Going to Drug Rehab

Making the decision to enter into a rehab center for drug abuse can be scary, as well as a life-changing experience. Rehabilitation from the nightmare of addiction opens the door to a whole new way of life and gives recovering addicts the freedom to live without the weight of the shame and immense loneliness that often accompanies the disease of addiction. Here are five of the most common questions that arise when discussing going to rehab.

Vote It Up When Getting Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal has been used by millions of people around the world as a hair removal treatment. The results from laser hair removal are drastically different than what you would get from manual hair removal processes such as shaving, waxing, tweezing, or using hair removal creams. All of these processes provide temporary results, in some cases requiring you to remove unwanted hair again in less than 24 hours. Laser hair removal, however, can lead to permanent hair loss in the treated area in some instances. Here are a few frequently asked questions about laser hair removal.

Vote It Up When Applying for a Reverse Mortgage

Reverse mortgages can be a very useful financial tool for older people who would like to supplement their incomes during retirement. These financial products are designed to provide access to the equity in a home without creating a new bill to be paid each month. If you’re considering a reverse mortgage, you will benefit from knowing the answers to these most commonly asked questions.

Vote It Up When Buying Accounting Software

There are many questions that must be answered in order to find and select the accounting software best suited to the needs of your business. With numerous vendors to choose from and countless applications available, purchasing an option that will provide a superior return of investment and the means to more easily and accurately record and manage finances can feel like an overwhelming undertaking. Asking yourself the following questions can help you find the right software with greater ease and success.

Vote It Up When Checking Your Credit Score

Most people understand the importance of a good credit score — and those who don’t seem to be concerned about their score will usually change their tune the first time they face higher interest rates on a car loan, home mortgage or other purchase they finance. You may be at a point where you understand the importance of your credit, but have questions relating to checking on your score. The following are five of the questions most commonly asked about checking your credit.

Vote It Up When Going To School For Medical Coding And Billing

With the job market still in recovery after the United States financial collapse of 2008, some individuals are still finding that landing a good job, that pays well, can be a difficult task. Unfortunately, having a High School diploma, GED, or even an undergraduate degree from a good university, doesn’t necessarily guarantee you a job. Possessing a certificate or diploma for in-demand jobs can help elevate your prestige amongst other job candidates. The job market for medical billing and coding is thriving – according to some estimates, the job market for the healthcare industry could grow by as much as 22% over the coming years. If you would like to pursue a career in medical billing and coding, you might want to consider enrolling in a certificate program; here are some questions you should ask:

Vote It Up When Buying a Television

You are considering buying a new television because yours has broken down or you want to upgrade to a new one. When buying a TV, it’s not just about the size and clarity. Every year, TV manufacturers are adding new features to suit the needs of users. Every manufacturer is trying to outshine others with different features. They are also producing various models to meet the needs of specific users. With all the features and model variations, finding the perfect one that will suit your needs many be a tough challenge. To make the right decisions, here are five questions to guide you.

Vote It Up When Buying a Refrigerator

Purchasing any large appliance is always a big decision, but knowing what questions to ask can help you in making the best choice for your home and family. Here are five important questions you should get answers to before buying a refrigerator:

Vote It Up When Buying a Dishwasher

Buying a new dishwasher doesn’t have to be a nerve-racking experience, but with all the latest dishwasher models and their various conveniences, capacities, and cycle options, there can be confusion and concerns as to just what machine is the best to purchase. There’s a lot to think through when it comes to buying a high-end appliance, and there are questions that should be asked to make the whole process a lot less stressful, which makes your purchase a positive experience.

Vote It Up When Buying a Washer and Dryer

Buying a new washer and dryer is an experience that’s often filled with questions. There are many new and technologically advanced models available, with a variety of new and exciting functions. Owning a washer and dryer may be a necessity, but the type chosen is based on many factors ranging from different design types and featured functions to capacity and energy-efficiency. Here are some of the most frequent questions that come up during the process of choosing the perfect washer and dryer for your needs:

Vote It Up When Buying a Home Security System

When you are thinking about purchasing a home security system, you have to consider a few things like your habits and the neighborhood where you live. If you’re apt to leave windows open for a burglar or forget to turn on the system when you leave, an alarm system would be a wasted expense. If you are careful and want to keep your home secure, there might still be a few questions you have before purchasing an alarm system.

Vote It Up When Selecting an Internet Service Provider

With the aggressive advertisements carried out by Internet Service Providers (ISPs), it’s easy to get confused and end up selecting an ISP that doesn’t actually meet your needs. Even when you take the time to do a thorough comparison of the ISPs, you may have a hard time sorting through the complex combo packages they offer. To cut through the confusion and end up with the right ISP for you, ask yourself some key questions.

Vote It Up When Buying a Laptop

When purchasing a new laptop, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the number of choices. By taking a few key questions into consideration, the selection process can be simplified into something enjoyable.

Vote It Up When Planning a Cruise

For those who have never had the pleasure of taking a cruise might be a bit daunted by what’s involved in the planning process. While you might know where you want to take your cruise, like the Caribbean or the Greek Isles, there are certain common questions you’ll want to answer as you’re planning the rest of your cruise.

Vote It Up When Booking a Flight

The process of booking a flight can be intimidating, especially for first time flyers. By engaging in a little planning, you can secure that coveted window seat with extra leg room. Below are some questions that may be helpful to you as you prepare to book your flight.

Vote It Up When Booking a Hotel Room

With the plethora of information available today via the internet, trying to decide where and with which hotel to book can be quite overwhelming. Travelers must research and compare many options before selecting accommodations. After looking at so many options and the wide range of amenities they each offer, it’s easy to forget a few basic considerations. Below are five questions many people find worth asking before making a reservation.

Vote It Up When Leasing a Car

When it is time to get a new set of wheels, there are many options on the market. Leasing a car is an alternative to buying, and is great for people who want to drive a brand new car every few years. Leasing also allows drivers to obtain more high-end cars without incurring long payments over several years. Whether you are buying a brand new family car or a luxury sports sedan, leasing is a viable option that allows you to enjoy the car you deserve.

Vote It Up When Living With Diabetes

According to a report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are more than 29 million people who have diabetes, a figure that has drastically increased from the 2010 estimate of 26 million. One in three adults in the United States has pre-diabetes, a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be considered as type 2 diabetes. Here are 5 helpful questions to ask when you or someone you love may be living with diabetes:

Vote It Up When Selling a Car

Selling a car privately is a fairly simply process, but it is one with legal requirements that must be followed in order to protect both buyer and seller. Always go along on the test drive and never invite strangers into your home. Meet potential buyers in a public place whenever possible and always have someone with you when showing the car.

Vote It Up When Buying a Truck

Buying a new truck is a big step, but it should also be one of the most fun and exciting purchases you ever make. Knowing the answers to some of the most common questions about choosing your new ride can relieve the stress of not knowing and help you simply enjoy committing to that new truck purchase.

Vote It Up When Living With Depression

Depression is a disease that affects millions of people every day. One of the most difficult factors of living with depression is that most people feel as though they are all alone in their depression. They assume that no one understands their pain and suffering. The more we talk about this disease, the better our chances are of fighting it.

Vote It Up When Applying for a Credit Card

Getting your first credit card can be an exciting experience if you know what you are doing. The freedom that the right credit card can give you is what connects people to their dreams. As a financial tool, a credit card is the best way to build a good reputation with lenders. Here are some of the most common and important questions you should ask when you are applying for a credit card.

Vote It Up When Opening a Savings Account

Opening a savings account can seem difficult, especially if it’s your first. With changing regulations that vary by bank, everyone has questions about how to deposit money and begin to accrue interest. We’re here to help you simplify the process and make opening a savings account easy. Our members have voted these questions among the most valuable when it comes to understanding your savings account.

Vote It Up When Signing Up for a Cell Phone Plan

Cell phone plans come in various packages depending on what you want your cell phone to do for you. The complicated plans include talk, text and data packages ranging from a low 1GB of data to unlimited talk, text and data plans. The simpler cell phone plans offer only talk and text options. The most helpful questions to ask when looking at cell phone plans are:

Vote It Up When Getting Your GED

In today’s job market, there are more job openings than you may think. However, there is a phenomenon known as the education gap that is preventing a surprising percentage of jobs from being filled. If you want a shot at one of those available positions, you need an education – and the first step in getting an education is obtaining your GED. Here are the 5 most helpful questions you should ask yourself before taking this important step in life:

Vote It Up When Renting a House or Apartment

In today’s economy, more and more people are putting off home ownership. Renting comes with its own concerns, and whether you’re a seasoned renter or looking for your first place, here are five questions to ask before renting a house or apartment:

Vote It Up When Buying a Car

When buying a car, there are several things to consider before taking the plunge and driving it off the lot. Below are five questions and answers our members have voted most likely to help you make the right decision before buying a new car.