Cyber Security Tips: How to Stay Safe While Shopping Online for the Holidays

With the holiday season just around the corner, chances are we will all do some online shopping at one point. Bear in mind, however, the need to keep your personal information secure from the growing number of hackers that want to steal your money or your identity.  Below are six cybersecurity tips to use during the holidays and beyond to ensure your personal information is protected.

Never use public WiFi for online purchases

Generally, local WiFi hotspots do not encrypt data. What this means is that it is MUCH easier for bad guys to hack into these networks to steal your information. In addition, it is very common for hackers to set up their own WiFi hotspots that appear to be legitimate by giving their network a name similar to the local establishment. For instance, they may simply name theirs ‘Airport WiFi’ (when the legitimate hotspot is ‘Dulles International WiFi’). Once you’re in, they not only can view every keystroke you make, but can infiltrate other data on your device.

 

Check every credit card statement

While using a credit card is the only smart way to make online purchases, equally important is the need to review your credit card statement each and every time. Check for unknown or suspicious charges. If you’re unsure about a purchase, immediately contact your credit card company to get additional details. The credit card company will proceed with investigating the charge.

 

Take other proactive steps to protect your card and banking information. For instance, sign up for notifications (emails or texts) that indicate each time a purchase is made using your card. Devote a single credit card to online purchases. If the card gets hacked and requires replacement, you’ll avoid the need to update any auto payments (like utility bills, etc.) that you may have set up using that card.

 

Use only websites that you trust

Fake stores exist that lure people into sharing their financial and personal information. However, there are ways to determine if a website is trustworthy. First, trust your instincts. If a website appears disreputable, it probably is. For instance, if the URL is a weird address (e.g., something other than .com, or a variation of a legitimate URL, like www.amazoncom.com) or fills your screen with pop-up ads, don’t even bother with it. Legitimate websites that have purchase forms for you to complete should have a lock () as well as ‘https’ (not just http) in the URL; these indicate that your information (name, address, phone, credit card, etc.) is sent securely.

 

An obvious red flag is when a website has grammatical errors; this is a clear indication that you’re dealing with a fake website. Of course, the old saying holds: If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. In other words, if you find deals much cheaper than you’d expect, the products are likely to be stolen or counterfeit if they exist at all.

 

Secure your devices

It has become necessary to protect every device that accesses the Internet, particularly those that are used to make online purchases this holiday season. Be sure to change your passwords regularly. Perform regular updates to the Internet browsers you use. Make sure each device has anti-virus software and that you’ve installed the latest version.

 

Members Choice Credit Union is a cooperative, non-profit association serving the Ashland, KY community, and dedicated to the motto: “People Helping People.”  We encourage thrift among our members, offer fair and reasonable interest rates, and allow members to use and control their own money on a democratic basis in order to improve their economic and social condition. Contact us at 606-326-8000 to review your financial services needs. Visit us online. Please also follow us on Facebook.

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Sources

https://www.ccinsb.com/cyber-security/

https://www.sans.org/security-awareness-training/blog/shopping-safely-online-over-holidays

https://www.lifelock.com/learn-internet-security-safe-holiday-online-shopping-tips.html

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/f/fair-credit-billing-act-fcba.asp

 

 

4 Super-Scary Scams To Watch For This Halloween

Don’t let a Halloween scam spook you! Stay a step ahead of those crooks by looking out for these four scams this season.

1. The shipping scam

The internet is brimming with Halloween-themed stores in the months leading up to Oct. 31. Lots of these retailers offer an impressive selection of costumes, accessories and decorations at great prices.

Unfortunately, though, some of the retailers that own such sites will never deliver the ordered goods. That’s because, though the company may exist, and will appear legit, at the end of the day there was never a real intent to ship the item(s). The delivery date may be postponed until after Halloween, or the order might get canceled without notification. Sometimes, the shopper will receive the promised package on time – only the package is empty!

Before placing an order with a seasonal store, look for the company’s physical address and phone number. Check what the  Better Business Bureau (BBB) has to say about it and look for information about return and refund policies in case things go south. Finally, as always, be careful about sharing your credit card information with an unsecure site. Look for the lock icon near the URL and the “s” after the “http” in the web address; both indicate you’re on a secure site.

It’s also a good idea to order your costumes and décor in September. This way, you’ll have time on your side if you need to return a costume or a product that didn’t turn out as expected. You’re also less likely to purchase goods from iffy retailers and vendors you don’t recognize when you aren’t pressed for time. Finally, you won’t be forced to spend a ton of money on last-minute shipping costs when you make your purchase early in the season.

2. The fraudulent offer

In this scam, a bogus company advertises a “Super Special Deal” for “Today Only” offer, or something similar. It will offer amazing Halloween goods for prices that are too good to be true and lure lots of unsuspecting customers into the trap. Unfortunately, the company is bogus and the offer doesn’t actually exist. If you purchase the advertised product, you’ll never see the product – or your money.

As with all potential scams, check out a company’s authenticity and a website’s security before purchasing.

3. The fake ticket scam

Planning to take a trip to an amusement park, attend a concert or take in another event on Halloween? Be wary of the fake ticket scam, in which third-party vendors sell bogus tickets to unsuspecting customers right before an event. They’ll also tack on an exorbitant commission, claiming that they need to charge extra because of the last-minute purchase. Of course, the ticket is bogus and they’ll pocket the ticket money, plus the commission.

Make sure to get your tickets to any event you’d like to attend well in advance. Contact the event organizers directly to make sure you’ve reached the right address. If you find tickets being sold online near Halloween time, do a quick online search to see if the event has already sold out. Check for spelling mistakes and erroneous information about the date and time of the event on the ticket, as well.

4. The bogus purchase scam

In this scenario, scammers try to convince you that you ordered something you have no recollection of purchasing just to get you to share your personal information. Once the scammers have this data, they’ll do anything from emptying your accounts to taking out loans in your name or committing full-blown identity theft.

If you receive any emails, phone calls or text messages asking you about a costume you never ordered or a ticket you never purchased, do not engage with the sender or caller. Delete the emails or flag them as spam. Also, block the contact from calling or texting you again. With any luck, the scammer will get the message that you’re not an easy target and leave you alone.

Here’s wishing you and yours a safe and frightfully fun Halloween from all of us here at Members Choice CU!

5 Apps To Download Before The Holiday Shopping Season

Before you start making your lists and checking them twice, check out our list of free apps that can help you save boatloads of money and stress this holiday season. It just may make holiday shopping fun again!

The Coupons App
Look up deals, coupons and special online promo codes from over 100,000 retailers on this nifty, free app. You can also find thousands of exclusive deals and offers at local chains and restaurants; sign up for alerts so you can be the first to know when your favorite stores and eateries are holding sale events or offers and get calendar reminders when your saved coupons are about to expire. Sign up now to find out why millions of happy users have trusted The Coupons App to help them save more since 2008.

Shopular
Another favorite coupon app,  Shopular, gives you the latest scoop on deals and coupons as well as location-based notifications. The app prides itself on getting you the best price wherever you are, and will alert you to a retailer’s trending deals as soon as you walk into the store. Redeem coupons and deals on your phone, and join the Shopular community to share savings tips and tricks with thousands of cost-conscious shoppers.

Santa’s Bag
Kick off your holiday shopping this Black Friday with Santa’s Bag, a handy Christmas gift list app. This free app allows you to create and store your lists, monitor your holiday budget, track your purchases and count down the days remaining until Christmas. Never forget a gift or go over budget again with this popular ad-free app!

Price Cruncher
Love saving on gifts but hate the math it takes to figure out which deals are worthwhile? Try Price Cruncher, the app that does the dirty work for you. For a one-time fee of just $1, Price Cruncher compares different sales to let you know which is actually the better deal; helps you calculate the price per product when purchasing items in bulk and tells you what the final price of a for-sale item will be after all discounts and coupons are applied. Use the app’s integrated shopping list for an all-in-one experience that makes shopping easy!

Slice
If you hate elbowing your way through crowded shopping malls and you do most of your holiday shopping online, this is the one for you! Slice will organize all the receipts that land in your inbox and track your packages so you know exactly how much you’ve spent. The app will remind you of Groupons and other deals or coupons you might want to use based on your online spending habits, and will also send you alerts about price adjustments for products you’ve been searching for. Best of all, the app safely stores all of the order numbers, tracking information and descriptions of your purchases so you can easily pull them up when you want to check an order’s status or delivery time. No more digging through dozens of emails to find out when that gift will arrive on your doorstep!

Download these apps and start saving on your holiday shopping today!

Can I Buy A House When I’m Paying Off A Student Loan?

Q: I graduated college with a huge student loan debt. Since then, I’ve landed a decent job and I’ve been making steady payments toward paying down my loan. Is it possible for me to buy a house while I’m still paying off this debt?
A: Student loan debt that is managed responsibly should not hold you back from purchasing a house. There are several important factors to consider before making this choice and steps you’ll want to take before you start house-hunting.

Are you really ready to buy a house?

Before you take a look at your finances to determine if you can pull off this purchase, make sure this goal is in your best interest.
For starters, do you really know which city or neighborhood you’d like to live in at this point in your life? You are likely just starting out in your career and you might be better off with the flexibility that comes with renting. This way, if an excellent employment opportunity requiring a move arises, you’ll be free to accept it. You also may or may not have settled down in terms of a life partner. It generally does not pay to buy a home you’ll only live in for a few years before selling.
Next, think about the financial ramifications of this purchase. Are you really comfortable taking on another huge loan right now? Also, you will likely have to live with a bare-bones budget to meet your mortgage payments without neglecting your student loan debt. Do you really want to live with a no-frills spending plan in the foreseeable future?
Consider these questions carefully before making your decision.
Getting started: Boost your credit
Once you’ve determined if it would be beneficial for you to purchase a home right now, you’ll want to start improving your credit. Your credit wellness is the primary factor that home lenders consider when deciding if you’re eligible for a mortgage. It also figures into the rate they will offer you.
Here are some ways you can boost your credit score in the months leading up to your mortgage application:
  • Pay all your bills on time. Set up automatic payments to make it effortless.
  • Keep your credit utilization at less than 30 percent.
  •  
  • Pay your credit card bills in full, and before they’re due.
  • Don’t close old accounts or open new cards. You want your credit history to be lengthy, and both of these steps can significantly bring down your average.
How high is your DTI?
Lots of young college graduates think it’s impossible, or difficult, to obtain a mortgage when carrying student loan debt. In fact, a 2018 Student Loan Hero survey found that 43% of college-educated Americans with student loans postponed buying a home because of their student debt.
Lucky for you, there is very little truth to this concern. As mentioned above, a student loan that is handled well should not be a deterrent to getting a mortgage. To make sure you’re managing your student debt responsibly, set up automatic monthly payments on your loan so you never miss a payment or a due date.
In addition, make an effort to pay your student loan back as quickly as possible so it doesn’t reflect badly on your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. Since taking out a mortgage means accepting more debt, lenders are careful to check that you aren’t carrying too much other debt. Ideally, your total debt payments, including your mortgage, should account for less than 36 percent of your income.
If your DTI is on the high side, you may not be eligible for a mortgage just yet. Consider refinancing your student loan to a loan with lower interest rates so you can pay it off sooner and then apply for a mortgage when your DTI improves. You can also look for ways to increase your income to tilt your debt ratio in your favor.
If you’re carrying any other debt, such as credit card debt, you’ll want to pay it down as quickly as possible as well.
Determine how much house you can afford
Before you start shopping for a home, find out how much house you can actually afford. The best way to obtain this information is by applying for a preapproval from a home lender. This will tell you exactly how high you can go while showing sellers that you’re serious about buying.

If you won’t need your pre-approval just yet, but you’d like an idea of how much you’ll need to save for a down payment, you can use an online mortgage calculator to get your magic number.

Start saving for a down payment
Once you have your numbers worked out, you’ll need to save up for a down payment. Trim your budget in any way you can and look for side hustles to boost your income and make saving simple. Then, set up an automatic monthly transfer to your Members Choice CU Savings Account so your money can grow while you sleep.
At this point, you may want to look into a local down-payment assistance program or a federal loan program, such as an FHA loan, which only requires a down payment of 3.5 percent. If you live in a rural area, you might qualify for a USDA loan, and if you’ve served in the military, you’re likely eligible for a VA loan.
[When you’re ready to take this step forward, call, click, or stop by Members Choice CU to find out about our home loans. Our fantastic rates and hassle-free pre-approval process make a Members Choice CU home loan an excellent choice!

7 WAYS YOU CAN USE A PERSONAL LOAN THIS SUMMER

Summer is a time for fun and excitement, but it can also be super expensive. Summertime can be a season of major life changes like household moves and weddings; purchasing that boat you’ve been eyeing and let’s not forget those dream vacations! 

Before you start swiping the plastic for everything under the sun, Members Choice CU recommends considering a personal loan to stay within your budget.

At, Members Choice CU, the application process is smooth and quick, and, as a member, you don’t need flawless credit to qualify for a great rate. We also offer fantastic terms, with interest rates on loan payments as low as 10.74% APR*. When you use a personal loan instead of racking up credit card debt, you are making a responsible choice that can positively impact your finances for years to come. 

To help you accomplish this, we have outlined seven ways to responsibly use a personal loan this summer.

1. Getting married 

According to Brides.com, the average wedding in 2018 cost more than $44,000. That’s a whole lot of money you may not have sitting around. 

If you’re tying the knot this summer, consider taking out a personal loan to help cover your wedding costs. Use your loan to fund the larger expenses, such as your rings, wedding dress and venue, or to cover the smaller costs like the flowers, travel arrangements and photographer. 

2.  Moving to new home 

Since the kids are out of school, summer is the most popular time of year for household moves. Whether you’re moving a few blocks or a few states away, moving costs can be prohibitive. You’ll need to consider the expense of moving supplies; paying the mover; plus the cost of new furniture and other household items to help turn your new residence into a home. Taking out a personal loan to help you cover these expenses can make a household move a lot less stressful. 

3. Purchasing a vehicle 

If you’re looking to buy a new car this summer, an option you may not have considered is a personal loan. Similarly, if you’re interested in purchasing a boat, ATV or an RV this summer, a personal loan can help you turn that dream purchase into a reality without the exorbitant interest rate. 

4. Consolidating debt 

Summer is all about freedom and what better way to feel free than getting rid of that nagging credit card and student loan debt? 

Paying off multiple loans and credit card bills each month can make you feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle thanks to skyrocketing interest rates. Wouldn’t life be simpler if you only had one debt with a nominal interest rate? A personal loan can make that happen. 

A personal loan can be used to pay off all your credit card and other outstanding debt, and with a single loan to pay off with a manageable interest rate, you’ll be able to make steady progress toward living a debt-free life. 

5. Taking a dream vacation 

Perhaps the road trip you take every summer is getting stale and you’re ready for something bigger, like a luxury cruise or trip abroad. You might be celebrating a milestone anniversary or college graduation, or maybe you want to cross something off your bucket list; however, your budget is not equipped for the tens of thousands of dollars you need for your dream getaway. 

A personal loan can help you fund the trip of your dreams with a payment plan you can afford so you won’t need a vacation from debt when you return. 

6. Renovating your home 

When the weather warms up, homeowners want to upgrade their homes. Whether it’s installing a swimming pool, giving your kitchen a complete makeover or turning your garage into a guest suite this summer, a personal loan can make it possible. Personal loans may be a better option for homeowners who don’t have a great deal of equity in their homes and consequently would not be a good candidate for a fixed Home Equity Loan, or a HELOC. 

7. Funding medical expenses 

If there are medical procedures you’ve been putting off because they’re not covered by your health insurance plan, a personal loan can help you look and feel great this summer. A personal loan can help borrowers fund elective cosmetic surgery, dental work, fertility treatments and consulting with alternative practitioners about chronic health conditions.  

Stop by Members Choice CU or give us a call at 606.329.7876 to ask how you can get started on your personal loan application. We’re always here to help make your summer dreams come true.

 

 

 

 

*Annual Percentage Rate.  Rate is current as of July 2, 2019. Rates subject to change and are based on creditworthiness, so your rate may differ.

Don’t Call Back One-ring Calls

It’s Murphy’s Law: The landline will always, always ring when you’re clear across the house. You leap over furniture and make a grab for it, only to find the caller has already hung up-after just one ring. You thumb through the Caller ID, poised to give your mysterious caller a ring back when you note the strange area code. You hesitate. Should you, or shouldn’t you, make this call?

Let’s play out the end of this story in two different ways:

In Scenario 1, you flippantly hit the Call Back button and wait until someone on the other end of the line answers the phone. However, instead of a live person picking up, you get a recorded message that says something like, “Hello? Can you hear me? Hello?”

Or, you might hear a recording like this: “You’ve received a song from someone who loves you. After listening to this song you will find out who sent this song as a gift.”

Both recordings are designed to keep you on the phone for as long as possible. Unfortunately, you’ve just called a foreign country and you’ll be hit with a sky-high phone bill for your overseas call. Worse, the bad guy who conned you into making this call will walk away with most of that money.

In Scenario 2, you stand with the receiver in hand, deliberating. After a moment, you shrug and return the phone to its base. You walk away, mildly curious about who has just called you, and blissfully unaware that you’ve only narrowly missed being targeted by an ugly scam.

The FTC is warning of a recent surge in one-ring scams. As detailed above, scammers lure victims into placing overseas calls by targeting them with one-ring phone calls. When the victim returns the call, the scammer will employ any of a number of means to keep them on the phone for a while, thereby extending the length of the call. Sadly, the victim will be hit with sky-high international rates and other connection fees, much of which will end up in the scammer’s hands.

Here’s how to spot these scams and protect yourself if you’re targeted.

Red flags

The primary clue that you’re being targeted by a one-ring scam is, quite obviously, a phone call that only rings once. If you get a call like this, by all means do not call back.

You can also be on the lookout for foreign area codes, particularly those of countries in the Caribbean, including the following: 284, 473, 664, 649, 767, 809, 829, 849 and 876.

Sometimes, scammers will spoof a local number, including those of recognized businesses, to get you to place a return call to foreign shores. They may even get your own name and number to appear on your Caller ID screen. Ignore these calls, as well. If you unknowingly return a scammer’s phone call, look for a plus sign to appear ahead of the area code. This is your clue that you’re placing an international call.

If you see a plus sign, hang up immediately.

If you’re targeted

If your phone rings once and then stops, follow these steps to protect yourself from this scam and help the authorities close in on the bad guys.

  • Don’t call back.
  • Ask your phone provider to block outgoing calls to international numbers. This way, you won’t be conned into thinking an overseas number is a domestic call. You’ll also be protected from accidental phone calls in which a simple mistake can end up costing you a pretty penny.
  • File a complaint with the FTC at www.donotcall.gov and to the FCC at www.fcc.gov/complaints.
  • Check your phone bill for suspicious charges. If you see a charge that has likely been incurred through one of these scams, speak to your phone carrier about resolving it.

Scammers are always looking for new ways to con people out of their money. Do your part in bringing an end to these nefarious schemes by arming yourself with the latest information about prevalent scams and reporting all scam attempts to the proper authorities. Together, we can put the bad guys out of business!

 

Recent Scam Update (9/16/2016): Members Choice Credit Union will never call you unsolicited to say you have been approved by a loan.  Never give out your personal information to someone over the phone and please stop by one of our branches, visit our website at www.mccu.net or contact us at 606.329.7876 if you are interested in any of our financial services.

SAVING ON YOUR FIRST TIME STOCKING THE KITCHEN

As a college student living away from home, perhaps for the first time in your life, you’re in charge of all your dietary needs. No one’s stocking the fridge and pantry with your favorite snacks, or whipping up your best dinner each night. If you want to eat, you’ve got to plan. 

All that shopping and food-prepping can be overwhelming—and expensive! With a bit of planning and prioritizing, though, you can master dorm-life eating without living on ramen noodles or going into debt. 

Here’s how to save on food costs in college: 

  1. Plan ahead. You don’t want to blow through your budget on a single trip to the supermarket or put on the “freshman fifteen” before you’ve taken your first exam. Keep yourself well-fed and your budget intact by planning your menu carefully. Set aside a few minutes at the start of each month to map out a menu for the next few weeks. Create a shopping list based on your menu and stock up on everything you need. This way, a balanced meal will be within reach at any time and you won’t be tempted to eat yet another meal out because you’re absolutely famished.
  2. Dare to share. Study groups can sometimes be less than productive, but food prep is always a good idea to share. Grab your friend who enjoys such activities and is great with details. Find another one who is an aspiring chef, and your buddy who always knows how to sniff out a deal. Then, see if you can share food costs and planning. Play on everyone’s talents to get your groceries for less and to plan out meals that are nutritious and delicious.
  3. Choose a food plan carefully
    If your school offers pre-planned meals, don’t sign up for anything until you’re certain you’ll eat it. Lots of menu options sound better on paper, and it doesn’t make sense to pay for food you won’t eat. Ask older students for help in figuring out what’s hot and what’s not when it comes to the school menu.
  4. Stay away from vending machines
    Don’t feed all the contents of your wallet into overpriced vending machines. Candy bars purchased in large packages at the supermarket can be 75% cheaper than what you’ll find in a vending machine. Stock up on your favorite on-the-go snacks and keep some in your school bag so you have something to munch on whenever the nibbles bite.

You’re in charge of your food now! Be smart and plan ahead for a well-balanced, inexpensive food plan. 

Summer Savings Challenge

School is letting out and now is the time to make the most of summer while still teaching kids the importance of saving with a little bit of fun added in.

MCCU has a Youth Summer Savings Challenge that not only rewards youth members for saving money when they make deposits into their accounts each month, but they also learn valuable information on how to save and spend wisely.

How do they earn rewards? Simple!

  • June – When they make a deposit into their account in June, they get a pass to attend any showing at KYOVA 10.
  • July – Make a deposit in July and you will receive a pass to one free hour of jump time at Extreme Air Trampoline Park
  • August – As summer is winding down and they are counting the days until school starts, they can beat the heat with a pass for free ice cream from Dairy Queen for a deposit made in August.

Bonus!

Plus, every time they make a deposit from June 1 through August 31 they will get their name entered in our Cash Vault Raffle where four lucky members will get $25 deposited into their MCCU savings account.

For more information, or to open a youth savings account, contact MCCU today.

*Must be an existing or new youth member between the ages of 0-18. Account must be in good standing and youth member must make a minimum deposit of $10.00 in person at a MCCU location between 6/1/19 – 6/30/19 to receive a movie pass, a minimum deposit of $10.00 in person at a MCCU location between 7/1/19 – 7/31/19 to receive a pass to  Extreme Air, and a minimum deposit of $10.00 in person at a MCCU location between 8/1/19 – 8/31/19 to receive a free ice cream pass at Dairy Queen. All deposits made in person by youth members from 6/1/19 – 8/31/19 will receive an entry in our Cash Vault Raffle. The raffle will be held no later than 9/1/17. Prize: The Credit Union will raffle a total of four (4) prizes consisting of the following; $25 cash deposited into the child’s savings account at MCCU. Maximum prize amount $25.

 

GAS PRICE AND STATION APPS

Don’t hit the brakes on your summer road trip plans just because of sticker shock at the pump. Use these gasoline pricing apps to help you find the cheapest nearby options, keeping your budget on full all summer long!   

1.) GasBuddy

This highly rated app is a favorite among 70 million users for good reason. GasBuddy allows you to search for gas stations near any ZIP code or city and then finds you the station with the cheapest gasoline. You can filter the options the app brings up by brand, price or location. You can also search for gas stations that have additional features, like restrooms, eateries and car washes.

Best features

GasBuddy takes its mission of saving you money very seriously. Sign up for the app’s loyalty program and you can save $0.15/gallon for your first pump and $0.05/gallon on every subsequent refuel. Enjoy additional perks by reporting price changes to help the app keep its information current. You can also sign up for daily alerts about price drops–and hikes–in your area.

The cost-free app also allows you to search according to very specific criteria, including the type of gas you need, such as diesel or premium unleaded. This can save you a frustrating trip to a gas station that can’t actually help you fill ‘er up.

Glaring glitches

GasBuddy depends on user input to maintain its accuracy, but correcting price listings on the app can be tedious. Of course, you can ignore all the app’s mistakes, but then you’ll only be contributing to its inaccuracy.

2.) GasGuru

GasGuru offers users a more streamlined interface than similar apps. Data is plucked off the Oil Price Information Service instead of being shared by users, so you don’t have to bother with updating gas prices after you pull into a station. The free app offers a super-comprehensive list of gas stations near your current location and places you often visit so you can determine whether it’s cheaper to fill up near your home or your workplace. Filter your search by fuel type and look up eateries, repair shops and more on the app.

Best Features

Say you’re out of town on a business trip and you need to refuel. You find the best-priced gas station in the area that meets your needs, but you have no idea how to get there! GasGuru makes it simple with an automatic navigation option. Just hit the “Get Directions” icon near a listed gas station and the app instantly launches Google Maps to show the way. Also, GasGuru uses just 3MB while still offering a fantastic interface. Contrast this with other gas apps’ 20-30MB and you’ve got one small, but super-powerful app.

Glaring Glitches

Despite its more professional approach toward obtaining gas prices, users complain that GasGuru’s listed prices are more often inaccurate than accurate. Another annoying aspect of the app is the fact that you can only view one category of locations at a time. Also, some users dislike the fact that GasGuru will not specify if the listed prices refer to cash or credit payments at the pump. 

3.) Waze

Yes, the app that has helped you get from point A to point B without getting lost more times than you can count is also a great resource for finding the cheapest gas. Just hit the Settings icon on the app, and then tap the Gas Stations option. You can now select a gas station brand or a type of gas you’d like to search for, and then sort your search by price, distance or brand. Of course, once you’ve found the station you want to use, Waze will show you how to get there as quickly as possible. Prices are updated constantly and are consistently accurate. Some stations even offer a “Waze-only” deal on their prices for users of the popular navigation app. 

Best Features             

Waze makes it super-easy to find the gas station with the best price at the best location. As soon as you hit the search button, it’ll show you a list of nearby gas stations with the exact amount of minutes each choice is off your route. Pricing is also easy to see at a glance; Waze color-codes its list of stations so you can easily compare prices. 

Glaring Glitches                         

Waze keeps itself going with ads for eateries, coffee shops and all kinds of attractions you happen to be passing on your way to your destination. Some users find these ads to be incredibly intrusive. 

How they stack up

App

Special Deals

 User dependent

Consistently Accurate

Built-in Navigation

GasBuddy

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

GasGuru

No

No

No

No

Waze

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

 

8 Side Hustles Anyone Can Do 

 

 

Who wouldn’t love some extra pocket money? Here’s eight ideas for easy side hustles. Maybe one or more of them is right for you.

 

 

 

1.) Play with dogs

When you offer your services as a dog-walker or pet-sitter, you can charge as much as $25 an hour, depending on the going rate in your area. Hang flyers to advertise your services or sign up with Rover, an Uber-like service that matches pet owners with sitters for a small fee.

 

2.) Social media guru

Offer your services to local and remote businesses as their social media brander. Depending on your skill set, you can write the company blog posts, manage their Facebook page, post new pics on Instagram and send out their tweets.

 

3.) Yard work

Do you wield real power with a weed-whacker? Are you an expert lawn mower? Get paid for tending to people’s yards. You can charge by the hour or per job. Check out some other local yard workers to get an idea of fair asking prices.

 

4.) Take online surveys for pay

Make the time you spend online count by taking surveys on sites like Survey Junkie and Swagbucks. Most of these sites will pay you as soon as you complete a survey. It’s an easy way to pad your wallet with extra cash.

 

5.) Turn trashed items into treasure

Take a spin around the neighborhood, scouring each block for curbside furniture in decent working condition. Haul your finds home and get to work, refinishing, painting, changing drawer pulls and more to give the tossed piece of furniture a second chance. Then, put it up for sale at a local flea market or market it online through eBay or Craigslist. You may be able to turn a trashed piece of furniture into several hundred dollars.

 

6.) Work for Uber

The ride-sharing giant allows you to set your own schedule and decide how many hours you want to devote to driving passengers. If you don’t like the idea of strangers riding in your car, work for Uber Eats instead. With this side hustle, you get paid to pick up fast-food meals and deliver them to customers, with Uber’s same flexible terms.

 

7.) It’s fair time!

Spend some time researching community fairs in your area. Is there a fair or festival scheduled that features a special talent of yours? You can earn hundreds of dollars in award prizes just for doing something you enjoy.

 

8.) Tutor

Are you a geometry whiz or a science buff? Offer your services as an individual tutor for school-aged children and you’ll have a meaningful way of earning some extra money.

 

Use this list to find the side hustle that works for you and start boosting your income.

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