Apps, Gift Ideas, Home

intelliPLUG App-Enabled Smart Home Plug

Thank you to intelliPLUG from CNCT for partnering for this feature

As we wait for our new home build to complete, I have been browsing so many new items for the home. The products that give you a smart home are popping up like crazy and I am loving how easy it is to control my home to make it safer and more convenient with such products. This feature is for the CNCT intelliPLUG app-enabled smart plug. Plug it into any outlet, connect via the free CNCTLife app on Android, iOS or Amazon devices and you have control from anywhere in the world.

What can you plug into this slick smart plug? Use it for appliances or hair electronics so you don’t ever worry you left the hot iron or coffee pot on again. Plug in lamps so you can show light in your home when it gets dark. Plug in your Alexa or Google Home for control when out of the house. The possibilities are plentiful.

Connecting was very easy within the set up after I downloaded the app. Once we get into our new home I will connect for good in that space. I love the size as it doesn’t overwhelm the socket space. You can plug in timers for even more home control as well. It is also great for the office or garage where there is an outlet and access to WiFi.

I also love the modern look. Having our new home built I  have been giving away so much old decor and home items to replace with new and modern so this is great and will fit in well within my home. Visit the Indigogo intelliPLUG page to learn more and see videos of it in action. Make your home smarter with their deal- contribute $40 and get 4 plugs! They make great gifts!

 

Apps, Car Talk, Sponsored, Tips and Tricks, Travel

Tips On Negotiating The Best Car Price

This post is in sponsorship with Cars.com. I was compensated but topic/words are my own

Tips On Negotiating The Best Car Price

Almost more dreading than deciding on the car you want is the negotiating process at the dealership. We have 2 older boys and my husband and I can’t hold onto cars for long so we are typically in a car dealership a few times a year. Not only are we in a dealership for ourselves but because friends and family ask my husband to come car shopping with them because they know how much my husband loves the negotiation process. It is a bit of a weird obsession he has as a negotiator. So I had him help me gather our thoughts into 3 (proven by us over and over again) negotiating tips when buying a new or used car.

Do Your Homework

You have searched cars galore and now you have narrowed it down to a model or 2 you may be leaning towards. This is where you begin your pre-dealership visit homework. When you hear the words from finance at the dealership “We’ll make you a great deal”, do you really know what a great deal on that car is? Not if you haven’t done your homework. We like using Cars.com to search for fair market values on the exact cars we want to look at.

Grab a notepad and pencil and write down the make/model of cars you want to see. List the fair market value that matches the exact features/series for that car. Do this for all of the cars you wish to see so it is handy in a moments notice. Make sure you keep Cars.com or the Cars.com apps available incase you find yourself liking a different model than you anticipated. Now, you have a number and a “great deal” will be that number or below.

Note Your Bottom Line

You know the fair value so now you can find your best bottom line! This will be what you want to pay after your trade in or down payment, etc.. Here is an example of the tone you can use in negotiation (right away) when it comes to fair value and your bottom line. For this example I plugged my car into Cars.com – 2016 Honda CR-V Touring Edition. I then clicked on comparison tool and see that the lowest it has sold for is $34,156 and the highest is $35, 139 with an average price of $34, 648. That gives me a good start to find my bottom line.

“I have a … to trade in. My bottom line is $34, 700. I know that fair value is $34, 735  so I am not asking for too much to come in at my bottom line. I don’t care how you work the numbers. You can discount the car or change the trade-in value on my old car but I need that bottom line top be $34, 735 (after registration fees).”

They may try and say you need to put more down (hence, the price becomes more than your bottom line), but you can tell them to please go back and rework the cost and trade in to get you to that number you gave. You may have to have a down payment especially if the car you trade in is a lot lower in value. Know your comfortable down payment mark and if they are close-get them closer!

Be Prepared For A few Hours Time (and no kids)

Most dealers play a game of wearing you down. You come in with a fair value, a bottom line and down payment and they will still try and stay away from your mark. Be prepared to send the dealer back to the sales manager again and again and be prepared for the finance guy to be “busy” and make you wait for a response. This wears you down fast. You just want to accept and go home. We have never walked out of a dealership because we allowed them to break us down-ever!

Keep the kids at home or with a sitter and most importantly, be prepared to walk away with no car! We have done that more than once. When they play hard to negotiate we turn to a phrase something like this,

” Listen. We don’t NEED this car today. You are our first dealership stop. It looks like we are too far apart so we will be taking off. Thank you so much for your time.”

If you have to walk away it is most likely because that truly is going to become your best deal. We have done it and we have been called back with the deal we wanted. We have also used it as leverage for the next stop by explaining to their team that we walked on place one for being too far off. It is a process and you need to be prepared to spend hours and even walk away and start again. In the end, it is your money and your monthly payment that will become your reward for taking the proper time.

So, head on out. Cars.com is truly a must visit before you head to the dealership. My note above says this is a sponsored post, but I am serious when I tell you that we never head out to shop before using their website to do our homework. I am honored now that I can team up with them for this post. We use it to browse cars, read reviews and find fair values. Plus, when you tell a dealership you found the fair value on Cars.com it is hard for them to argue with you. Hold your ground, it will work out for you and your wallet.

I’m curious, did you learn something new here? Are you less intimidated to car shop now?

Amazon, Apps, College Bound, Education, Gift Ideas, Money Saver, Parenting

Learn How To Invest in the Stock Market. It’s Fun!

In exchange for my honest and unbiased review, I received a $25 gift card to try out Stockpile.

Learn How To Invest in the Stock Market. It's Fun!

Let’s talk about the stock market (did you just yawn?)! Wait! Before you leave what if we talked about apple pie? How does apple pie relate to the stock market? No matter how much effort that goes into creating the recipe it is always worth the taste and fun to eat. Plus, a pie is sliced so you can enjoy only as much as you want. Making pie can be fun especially if you can find a recipe easy enough to get the entire family involved as so can making your very first stock market investment. Give me a try as I explain how easy it can be and in the end I have a little freebie for you to get you started.

Stockpile is a website and an app (if you prefer) that guides you from start to finish with your investments. So let’s make it simple. Think about that apple pie all baked and ready for you to take action and slice into it. Do you plan on eating the entire pie at once? Of course not. So you just want a slice? There are many slices available and you know what? No one is going to force you to eat your entire slice either. You may want the whole slice and all the goodness (and calories) it comes with, but what if you only want a bite or two? You want to start small and maybe you’ll finish the entire slice later on…or not. That is like investing with Stockpile.

When you sign up at Stockpile which consists of assigning an account someone (yourself or child) and giving some basic information you aren’t dealing with pies but businesses. I was given a $25 stock gift card to invest and I chose Amazon. Now I hold a stock that starts out as zero cash value on a number line and can check in anytime to see if it falls or rises.

Fact (lesson): ‘Prices go up when there are more buyers than sellers. Prices go down when there are more sellers than buyers.’ So let’s all buy a little piece of the business pie. You get to choose your flavor (Amazon, Apple, Nike and over a thousand more).

Remember my analogy of taking 1 slice of apple (or your ‘flavor’ of choice) and only wanting a part of that slice? Stockpile allows you to put the amount you want and that can be as low as $5 to start into 1 share. A share can go for as much as hundreds or even thousands of dollars in trade but you buy into it as much as you wish. Any return if it doesn’t fall is calculated based on your investment.

Now once you just start with a minor dollar amount you still cannot really dive in deep without an investment plan. Whoa! Heavy phrase! That’s OK, Stockpile will teach you about index funds (such as the S&P 500) and individual stocks. The difference in short? Index funds are a collection of companies that come together as one investment option and individual stocks is putting your money into only 1 company. There are risks and advantages to both and that’s the fun part. What would you choose to learn more about?

You won’t get rich quick. There are no guarantees. You can lose your investment. I chose Amazon so do you think that is a big risk or a little risk? Amazon has been around a while and is more established than a brand new start up. Amazon has had steady stock prices for the most part and are past the new start up price spikes. That makes a brand like Amazon a safer risk. Think about that as you invest your first $5.

Guess what? I am giving you your first $5 to start. Just for fun. Just to really feel motivated to dive more into Stockpile and learn about how you can sign up a child, family member or yourself. GET your FREE $5 (I promise there is no catch-I would never do that to you). I will say that if you sign up I get a $5 bonus to invest somewhere just like you did and that is a lot of fun. But I am not telling you to create this free and easy stockpile investment out of greed. Once you complete redeeming your $5 you can get a referral code to and pass it on to others yourself.

Start now with $5 from me (well, technically it is fro Stockpile). Ready? Go!

This post contains a referral link. I am not a market professional and not responsible for gains or losses that you may experience. I am not affiliated with or own an investment in any company or brand mentioned, and have no plans to do so. Securities products are not FDIC insured. Not bank guaranteed. May lose value.

Apps, College Bound

Finally! Easily Add Music to Your Photo Messages with Beatshare

Thank you to Beatshare and Quark for partnering with us for the feature

Working in the blogging world and using social media everyday there is one outlet I have not jumped on and that is Snapchat. Beatshare is NOT linked to Snapchat at all but it is the best way I can describe Beatshare at its foundation. Snapchat is a great ‘instant messaging’ app that allows you to more easily attach music to enhance your photo. There are 3 sources you can pull artists, songs and albums from to attach: Apple Music, Spotify and SoundCloud. So this is especially fun for the music lovers with active Apple Music and Spotify accounts. I find many options through SoundCloud too so that is a great option for those without music subscriptions.

Finally! Easily Add Music to Your Photo Messages with Beatshare

Take your photo and then in the message app menu, pull up your beatshare and add music from your accounts or search the SoundCloud. It is fun to find the right song that matches the mood of your photo you wish to share. Share it in text message form or with friends connected with you in the iOS app or iMessage.

Why use Beatshare? Because you love music, your friends love music and adding sound to a standard snap is a much more exciting message with lyrics behind it. What a fun way to share last nights photos with each other adding a beat to that share. Send a loved one a selfie with a song attached or even a snapshot of the kids with fun music attached for birthday and celebration messages.

Give it a try! Download it for free from the Apple store today Browse your photos, find a song and send it off. Once you realize how easy it is to add music to your photos you can share the app with friends and family to connect you and share even more easily with each other. Beatshare-Get started!

Apps, Healthy Living

Awakening to God Today App Will Restore your Faith in Life

Review of app in coordination with FlyBy

God

When I was asked to review this app for my readers and share with you an 8 minute daily journey you can take with God I agreed because I already have this app. I found it several weeks ago. I grew up Catholic, went to Catholic school and as an adult I have not established church with my family. I feel guilty about that at times, however I do talk about God, read children’s Bible stories with my son and give him faith reminders often. This app called, Awakening To God Today is a fantastic start to restoring your faith.

I am given a daily verse, many I recognize from my years of religion studies in school or mass. Then I add a daily entry. First you upload a photo-maybe it is of your family, friends, pet or a screenshot of a quote you found.

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At night I can revisit to complete my 8 minutes with God and will be asked how God may have touched my life that day and what more I could have done to reflect God’s love. This is where I make small commitments to myself about showing others love and kindness. Maybe you attend a bible or help group. Maybe you teach your children a verse or help a stranger with kindness.

The app seems so simple yet in our busy lives we need tools and reminders. It is fun to look back on past entries so the more you create the more you’ll have in the future to reflect back to. It’s a life journal of the positive moments. It is also a daily reminder to be kind and keep your faith alive. Give it a try. Download the app from http://awakeningtogod.org/today.

Apps, Easter, Gift Ideas, Kids, Spring 2017

Skylanders News: New from The Skylanders Imaginators Game

Sample toys sent for feature

images

Skylanders news from Skylanders Imaginators are some fun new Sensei characters, a new platform to play on and new guest characters. Lets’ take a deeper look

NEW Skylanders Imaginators Sensei Characters

  1. Pain-Yatta: Magic Sensei with a Smasher as his weapon of choice
  2. Grave Clobber: Water Sensei with a Brawler as his weapon of choice
  3. Hard-Boiled Flare Wolf (Easter edition): Fire Sensei with a Bazooker as his weapon of choice

skylanders new

NEW Skylanders Imaginators Guest Characters

  • Crash Bandicott and Dr Neo Cortex: play a level dedicated to the famous bandicoot, Thumpin Wumpa Islands, which pays homage to be beloved ‘90s video game icon.  

Skylanders Imaginators is on Nintendo Switch

  • Easily load and store your 300+ toys
  • Take your play wherever you want-internal library

skylanders news

Learn more by visiting https://www.skylanders.com/