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12/15/15 Travel , Work # , , ,

Less Karma Than Expected From Mobile Hotspot

Less Karma Than Expected From Mobile Hotspot

I’ve been working at home as a freelance writer for more than seven years, and most of my writing has been done in my home office. The recent purchase of a mobile hotspot from Karma, however, is expanding my office to anywhere else.

I became a fan of Karma since hearing about it a few years ago as a way to share Wi-Fi while at an airport. I’ve never found good Internet connections at airports, and Karma sounded like a great way to get online quickly, and to also share the connection with others. In return, I’d get free data for sharing my Karma connection.

It wasn’t until about a year ago that Karma was available in my area, so I bought one in October 2014. Production delays meant it didn’t arrive at my door until this summer, when I eagerly tried it out. But in my haste to try out the mobile hotspot, I somehow lost it in my house, and bought another one that I’ve now had for about two months. (To keep it from getting lost, I’ve added a TrackR to it so that I can at least find it more easily at home. I expect a thief would rip the tracker off it.)

So far, it has worked great. I’ve discovered a few drawbacks, the main one being that the data that Karma says users can share with others doesn’t add up to much and is a one-time share. I’ll get into that more later, but first I wanted to highlight the benefits. Continue reading

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09/21/15 Children , Personal Finance , Travel # ,

Teaching Kids Household Finances

Teaching Kids Household Finances

I’m still trying to teach my 11-year-old daughter the value of a dollar, and I try to remind myself that it’s a constant teaching process. But it’s now always easy, especially in the area of household finances.

Household chores, for example, don’t always get done, which results in no allowance being paid and no TV or Kindle time. That’s a fun time.

Middle school is a key time to introduce a child to household finances, though I’m not too optimistic about my chances with the lackluster success on her chores. Still, I’m willing to give more things a try in an effort to teach my daughter as much as I can about money before she goes out into the world, and things are going to ramp up this year.

Plenty of household finances

She already has plenty of questions about how much things cost, and earning money to pay for some of her own things is a habit we’re working on. Kids are very curious, and they observe how their parents spend money on household finances — from clothes to cars, groceries and a summer vacation — that they should have an idea of how much is needed for certain things.

Here are some ways to help your kids learn about household finances so that they not only understand why you go to work each day, but hopefully appreciate it and can better see the value in a dollar: Continue reading

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02/11/15 Sharing Economy , Travel # ,

Travel Like a Local and Get $10 to Start

Travel Like a Local and Get $10 to Start


If you’re going to travel like a local, you’ve got to save for it. It can be an expensive pleasure, and even when it isn’t too expensive because you’ve found deals, it still costs money to travel like a local.

It’s too easy getting sucked into visiting the landmark highlights of a new city. The Eiffel Tower is a must-see, but a tour by a local of the best places to photograph in Paris at night is a sidetrip that’s a little more difficult to find.

Travel like a local

After you’ve gone through the travel guide and gotten tips from your friends who have been to your travel destination before, how do you find the best activities to do there? And at a reasonable cost? Enter, a website I discovered while researching an earlier post I was writing for CashSmarter.

Vayable offers unique tours from locals with inside information that you might not get anywhere else.

For example, for $14 you can meet a local in Amsterdam over a beer and hear their tips for places to visit. Or for $75 you can skip the line at the Louvre in Paris and get a one-hour tour of the highlights, then stay on your own to explore it more. Continue reading

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Hi, I'm Aaron Crowe. Welcome to CashSmarter. I'm a personal finance freelance writer who enjoys spending my money wisely and using minimalism to make my money last longer while increasing income.