Debt can feel like a terrible thing, but paying off your debts is how you demonstrate that you can successfully manage your finances. Whether you make your debt payments on time makes up 35% of your credit score. Making on-time payments is one of the smartest ways to use your debt to your advantage.
If you need a little help, debt management apps can help you organize and manage all of your debts in one place. Just input all debt data into your phone and manage them there. Here are a few options to consider.
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Best Used For
Credit card management
Free to download
iOS and Android
Snowball Method, debt summary and tracking, progress bar
Pay Off Debt
Motivation to make your debt payments
iOS and Android
Budgeting for debt payments
Web, iOS, and Android
Student loan repayments
iOS and Android
Quick payoff calculator
Savings to apply to debt
iOS and Android
Credit Report Card
All-around financial wellness and credit score tracking
Web, iOS and Android
Tally is a debt management app that makes it easy to save money by automating your credit card payments to help you reduce your debt faster. The app is free to download, but the real value of Tally comes if you are approved for a Tally Line of Credit that consolidates your credit card debt with a lower APR. You’ll owe interest on that loan, but Tally will automate your credit card payments and determine the best way to save you money based on your credit card rates.
>> See our full review
Debt Book is an app for borrowers as well as lenders. It allows you to track and update your debt in a “Master Book,” which shows your borrowed/lent amount, how much has been paid/collected, and how much remains. The app also gives you options to view this data in a statistical chart for a visual representation of your current debt situation. And if the borrower and lender are both on the app, they can communicate and send payments through the app. This makes it easier to stay in contact with one another and to stay on top of existing debt.
Debt Manager uses your debt information to create progress bar graphs to help you see how far along you are in paying off each debt, how much debt is remaining, and your interest rate. The application specifically focuses on the Snowball Method to track and pay off all debts quickly and efficiently. The interactive app gives hints and tips based on your debt situation. You can also track monthly payments within the app manually or automatically and test out different “What If?” scenarios.
Pay Off Debt helps you choose the payoff method and order that works best for you. You can use the debt snowball method, debt avalanche method, or something else. Track your payoff progress and the interest you’ve saved. Pay Off Debt also prioritizes keeping you motivated during your debt payment journey: the app provides a burst of motivation with a PAID icon each time you pay off a debt, and you can add pictures to symbolize your “Why.”
You’ll need to budget in order to efficiently pay off your bills. Mint helps you do just that. It’s one of the best-known budgeting apps for good reason. It’s easy to use and is packed with extra features. Mint gathers everything in one place—your cash, credit cards, loans, investments, credit score, and more. Track your bill payments, budget for future payments, and get alerts when you overspend or a bill is due.
A round up app like Acorns, ChangEd is an easy way to automate regular extra payments to pay off your student loans early. Connect your loans and bank accounts and create an FDIC-insured ChangEd savings account. As you spend, ChangEd will roundup your purchases and transfer those roundups to your ChangEd savings account. Once you reach $100, they’ll send that money to the student loan you want to pay off first.
If you want a quick and easy way to visualize your debts and how long it will take you to pay them off, Unbury.me is a great tool. You don’t need an account to use it—just start entering your information—but you can sign up for a free account to save your information. Enter the principal remaining, interest rate, and monthly payment and see how long it will take to pay off those loans based on the payment methods you choose.
In order to pay off your debts, you need money. That’s where an app like Digit comes in. It’s not a traditional debt management app, but it’s definitely a debt management tool. For $5 per month, it helps you save automatically without even thinking about it. You won’t miss the money it puts in savings for you, but you will benefit from it when it’s time to pay your bills.
If you want to see how your debt management is improving your credit, sign up for Credit.com’s free Credit Report Card. Our Credit report Card is an easy-to-understand breakdown of your credit report information that uses letter grades so you can track —plus you get a free credit score updated every 14 days.
Get Your Debt Under Control
Regardless of what approach you prefer to manage your debt, these apps have options for everyone. We suggest taking a look at which app works best for you and personalizing it to fit your needs.
Ready to take your finances to the next level? Sign up for ExtraCredit. This five-in-one financial tool will help you build, track, protect, and restore your credit profile—and reward you while you’re at it! Learn more about all the amazing benefits of an ExtraCredit account at Credit.com/Extracredit.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more information.
This is where it all started guys. On a quiet summer afternoon I hit publish on my first post titled 10 Free Activities for Couples Paying off Debt and the rest is history. I thought it fitting to do one for the winter as well, seeing how we spend more money this time of year than any other.
1. Christmas Lights Home Tour
Every city has a neighborhood that really goes all out with the lights. Take a drive to look at them or walk if the weather isn’t frightful. In Florida, the weather is always great this time of year so we have a biking group that does a huge ride through the neighborhoods and ends back at a bar for beers.
You can make a trip out of it too. A city near us was featured on TV for their light displays so I’m looking forward to seeing it this year. Sometimes houses do the same thing every year so it’s fun to switch it up from time to time.
2. Holiday Movie Night
Put on your pajamas and pour the cocoa, there’s nothing better than a Christmas movie! While I’m partial to all holiday Claymation movies I loved the resurgence of quality seasonal cinema of the early 2000’s. For those with Netflix (or borrowing from a friend) here’s a list of movies for your viewing pleasure.
If you don’t have Netflix, channels like NBC, ABC, Freeform, etc always have a good variety (I’m judging you if you even try to add Hallmark Channel movies to that list.)
3. School Holiday Production
Elementary schools always have some type of performance with oodles of cute awkward kids singing carols and dressed like elves. The best part, these events are usually free. If you don’t have friends with kids that can keep you in the loop find some teacher friends with connections. They’ll know when all the good shows are. But word to the wise, don’t do this one if you look like these guys:
4. Live Nativity
These things can range from “plastic baby in a manger” to “drive-through re-creation of the gospels.” Even if you get a bad one there’s usually hot cocoa and cookies at the end so you win either way. The good ones really do bring the Christmas story to life and it’s a pretty cool experience. I highly recommend it.
5. Star Gaze
Winter is a great time for star gazing. Taurus, Perseus, and Gemini are some of the constellations you can find in the winter sky. Yes, I did Google that, so even if you’re not a budding astronomer who doesn’t enjoy looking at shiny things in the sky?
Download an app like SkyView Free and find all the starry patterns. If you’re lucky enough to live by a planetarium see if they do free shows. Ours does two every Friday that the college is in session.
6. Holiday Parade
Was anybody else in marching band? I was and it was absolutely for the parades. There are a lot in December! We have our pick of morning or evening throughout the month. And since we live near the water we even have a few lighted boat parades! Check your cities events calendar and cities around you to fill your weekends with candy canes and Santas!
7. Photo with Santa
Speaking of Santa, how ridiculous are the prices for photos with Santa these days!? I don’t even have kids and I feel like I need to start putting away for their Santa pictures fund. That was until I found out about Bass Pro Shop’s annual Santa’s Wonderland. On select days you can get a free personalized photo with Santa, free wooden picture frame, free crafts for the kids, and more!
And even if you don’t have kids you should definitely put on your tackiest Christmas sweaters and make this years’ card something the family will be talking about til next year. Why not? It’s free!
I included this in my last list but the opportunities for giving this time of year are too numerous not to share again. Aside from soup kitchens and caroling you can hand out Christmas cards at Hospice, collect cans of food from your pantry to give to a shelter, or connect with your local foster care licensing agency to help out a foster family in need. Your money is valuable but your time is just as needed.
9. Go Outside
This is the obligatory “make a snow angel or sled down a hill” spot. But I live in Florida so I don’t know how to do that stuff. Whether you’re in blizzard country or it’s a balmy 70 degrees outside (sorry not sorry) get your butt outside and experience the free entertainment mother nature has to offer. I for one love walks downtown during the day and bonfires with s’more at night.
10. Stay Inside
Okay, outside not your thing? Stay inside… if you know what I mean. When’s the last time you pretended you were on your honeymoon or your favorite vacation with your significant other? There’s never a good time to put on those nighties from your lingerie shower so make the time! Get romantic and see what happens. Hey, it’s free. 🙂
Any other ideas for free activities this time of year? I’m always looking for new things to try and include in new posts!
Jen Smith is a personal finance expert, founder of Modern Frugality and co-host of the Frugal Friends Podcast. Her work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Lifehacker, Money Magazine, U.S. News and World Report, Business Insider, and more. She’s passionate about helping people gain control of their spending.
Laura interviews Bruce Lubin, co-author of the best-selling Who Knew? series of household hints books—and a new QDT podcast by the same name. We talk about clever ways to reduce energy usage and save money. Find out how Bruce gets his entire family on board to cut their utility bills.
Laura Adams, MBA
June 15, 2016
[Listen to the interview using the audio player in the upper right sidebar of this page or on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify; for Spotify, just search the app for “Money Girl.”]
Free Resource: Laura’s Recommended Tools—use them to earn more, save more, and accomplish more with your money!
Some of the cool tips Bruce and I talk about in this interview include:
Knowing which appliances cost you the most and how to use less energy
A clever tip to cut the time it takes to dry your clothes by 25%
How to hack your water bills
Tips to cut back your air conditioning usage but still stay cool
How to keep your kitchen from overheating during the summer
Ways to get your entire family on board to save energy—especially teenagers
See also: How to Save Money on Your Electricity Bill
Cool Tips to Save Money on Utility Bills
No matter if you own a large house or rent a cozy apartment, this interview will help you cut the cost of energy and water and save money on your utility bills. Here are a few great tips from our interview:
With today’s high efficiency dishwashers and washing machines, the expense is really heating the water. So wash everything as cold as you can.
Q: What are the appliances that suck the most energy? What are some tips to use less energy with them?
If you’re like most Internet users, you’ve used a business listing or directory website to find a restaurant, specialty store, tax preparer, or other service provider in your area.
Yelp, arguably the most popular business information directory for customer-facing services businesses, welcomes many millions of unique visitors per month. According to Expanded Ramblings, Yelp draws more than 175 million monthly visitors, with mobile traffic accounting for the majority.
Consumers use Yelp to search for service providers near them, navigating to its website or mobile app for a few minutes at a time and closing out when they’ve found what they’re looking for. But business owners have a much more intimate relationship with business directory sites like Yelp. For many small, independent outfits, business listings represent a significant source of new customers — far more than word of mouth marketing alone. If your small business doesn’t yet have a listing, it could be time to set one up.
Yelp for Business Owners: Does It Make Sense to List Your Company?
Yelp isn’t ideal for every type of business. Generally speaking, the most popular Yelp searches pertain to businesses that offer sensory experiences, such as restaurants, bars, venues, and specialized experience providers like tour companies. Searches for retailers — both independent and those tied to a larger chain — are popular as well.
Other popular Yelp categories include:
Hotels and travel services
Beauty shops and spas
Home services, such as house cleaning, plumbing, and general contracting
Health and medical
Yelp also segments listed companies by location: county, municipality, and sometimes neighborhoods (mostly in bigger cities). If your business lives and dies by the number of people who walk into its physical location — for instance, you run a restaurant or retail outlet that does a large amount of business through a storefront — a business directory listing is basically mandatory.
On the other hand, if your company doesn’t have a storefront or doesn’t rely on one to drive sales — for instance, if you sell things online — then other means of driving customers to your business, such as social media marketing techniques or a listing on an e-commerce website like Etsy, are likely to offer a better payoff.
Pros of Listing Your Business on Yelp
Listing a business on Yelp has some key benefits, including legitimacy for businesses who’ve claimed their listings, high search rankings for Yelp business profiles and business owner accounts, and value for customer research.
1. Claimed Listings Confer Legitimacy
Regardless of how much effort you put into optimizing and curating it, the simple act of claiming your business directory listing can change how prospective customers see your business. On most business directories, including Yelp, unclaimed listings are plainly displayed as such. To the man or woman on the street, a highly visible prompt to claim a particular listing — which takes a matter of minutes — doesn’t inspire confidence that the listed business is well-run, or that the owner cares about courting new customers.
Although this is an admittedly subjective measure of an owner’s buy-in or a business’s quality, I know that I personally shy away from businesses with unclaimed directory listings unless they’re backed by a recognizable brand or I’m familiar with them by other means, such as word of mouth.
2. Listings Typically Rank Well in Organic Search (Good for SEO)
Although the details of popular search engines’ algorithms are proprietary and ever-changing, it’s clear that online directory listings rank highly in organic search results — the lists you see when you type a search term into the Google or Bing search bar.
The upshot of this: Unless its name can easily be confused with common or generic terms like “Tasty Pizza,” a typical business’s Yelp listings are likely to appear on the first results page of a search engine — an important point, since most searchers never make it to subsequent results pages. And because Yelp is a well-known and ostensibly unbiased source of information, searchers who want to get the unvarnished truth on a given business are likely to click on the results for its listings.
3. Consumers Rely Heavily on Directory Listings for Research
Despite a recent study reported by PCMag that found roughly 40% of online reviews to be bogus, 60% of consumers consider online review sites as useful as recommendations from real-life acquaintances, according to a 2017 ReportLinker survey. In an increasingly jaded world, that’s a pretty high mark — and a strong case for creating and maintaining listings on popular directory sites.
Cons of Listing Your Business on Yelp
Listing your business on Yelp does have some drawbacks, including a significant time component, limited control over reviews, and the potential for abuse.
1. Maintaining Your Business Profile Takes Time and Resources
Claiming or creating a business listing doesn’t take much time or effort. You can handle either in a spare moment.
However, optimizing and maintaining your listing is not so easy. Even free activities such as uploading photos, analyzing customer data, and responding to reviews all take time that you likely don’t have as a busy entrepreneur. If you have other social media accounts or an online store, your digital responsibilities could become overwhelming, diverting your attention from more immediate business needs.
One solution is to hire a part- or full-time marketing employee or social media manager, but that requires a new addition to the payroll — not always a realistic proposition for cash-poor small business owners. Another option is to retain an outside firm to handle your digital marketing needs, although that can be just as expensive as hiring a part-time employee.
If you currently lack the time or resources to produce a first-rate business directory profile, there’s no shame in concluding that it’s better to wait until you do have those luxuries. If you can’t do it right, don’t feel pressured to do it at all.
2. May Not Display All Users’ Yelp Reviews (or Any at All)
In the late 2000s and early 2010s, some online business directories — particularly Yelp — took lots of blowback for failing to do their part to contain the untold millions of fake reviews spreading across the Internet. Fake directory reviews came in several different flavors, but it was particularly common for listed businesses to purchase positive reviews — typically with gushing praise and the highest possible ratings — for their own listings, or post positive reviews themselves using dummy accounts. In competitive markets, less scrupulous companies likewise had no qualms about posting fake negative reviews on competitors’ listings.
Although they haven’t totally eradicated fake reviews, online directory sites have definitely cracked down on the practice. In fact, the crackdown has been so good that some legitimate reviews don’t make it through the directories’ quality filters, which are controlled by proprietary algorithms similar to those used by search engines.
If you want the opportunity to see — and ensure that your customers see — every review of your business, good or bad, this is a big drawback. And although the particulars of directories’ visibility-controlling algorithms aren’t public, one can envision an algorithm deciding that an overly enthusiastic but legitimate positive review is a fake while allowing a tepid review to be seen.
3. Directory Listings Contain Sensitive Information
If you need your customers to come to your physical place of business, they need to know where it’s located and how to contact it. A restaurant can’t survive if no one’s coming in to eat or calling to order takeout.
On the other hand, there are times when it’s better to conceal your business location, and possibly contact information, from the public. For instance, say you provide white-collar services, such as accounting or legal advice, to local businesses — but you typically visit with clients at their offices and don’t want them to know you work out of a home office or coworking hub. Listing your home address as your business address reveals where you live, while listing a coworking space can lead judgmental clients or your competitors to conclude that you can’t afford a “real” office.
Note that if an unclaimed listing already exists for your business, you may need to claim it and edit out sensitive information or request its removal altogether.
4. Your Listing Could Attract Abuse
Even if you’re not paranoid about people knowing where you live or looking down on you for basing your company out of a coworking space, there’s another reason to eschew a public business directory listing: the prospect that your listing could become a venue for abusive or hateful reviews.
Because business directory sites allow rank-and-file Internet users to post reviews on a given business’s listing without proving that they’ve actually interacted with the company in real life, it’s relatively easy to organize a negative publicity campaign utilizing Yelp or another directory site that permits user reviews. (Directories occasionally step in to delete or moderate obscene or threatening reviews, particularly in response to user flags, but you shouldn’t bank on this to single-handedly keep vitriolic reviews off your listing.)
These negative campaigns typically center around a major service gaffe or prominent public support for a controversial political position. A great example: In early 2015, the owners of a small-town Indiana pizzeria called Memories Pizza made headlines when they said they would follow the letter of the state’s recently passed Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which many observers interpreted as giving businesses wide latitude to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. The ensuing backlash saw thousands of sarcastic, occasionally obscene comments posted on Memories Pizza’s website. The Indianapolis Star reported that the shop closed shortly thereafter, with the owners citing safety concerns.
In the past, lower-profile incidents of a similar nature have hit businesses expressing opposition to state minimum wage increases or support for creationism and intelligent design. To be fair, some argue that the old saying, “All press is good press,” applies here, as negative directory campaigns sometimes spark a backlash that pays off for the affected business. It’s worth noting that, as reported by Forbes, Memories Pizza raised more than $800,000 in a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign in the four days following its closure.
How to Claim or Create Your Yelp Listing
Yelp uses publicly available and user-submitted information to generate listings for operational businesses. If you’ve been open for some time, there’s a good chance you’re already in Yelp’s database. Yelp allows the legitimate owners of such a business to “claim” their existing profile.
Claiming your profile provides certain privileges:
Updating Listing Information. You can edit critical information about your business, including its physical address, phone number, business hours, and website address. This is important because Yelp doesn’t guarantee that its unclaimed business listings are accurate.
Adding Photos and Links. You can upload photos of your storefront, merchandise, and the inside of your business. This is great for restaurant owners who want to show off tasty-looking menu items, or service providers who want to display photos of a van or truck bearing a distinctive logo, which users are more likely to recognize than a faceless storefront or generic uniform.
Interacting With Reviewers. Claimed profile owners can respond to user-generated reviews, either by sending the user a private message through Yelp’s system or making a public post on the comments feed. This is particularly useful for owners who want to address negative feedback from users and contain issues that could hurt business. Note that you can’t edit or delete negative reviews, which might call Yelp’s objectivity into question, but you can respond to them.
User Views and Leads. Yelp tracks your listing’s page views and displays this information to verified business owners. It also creates Customer Leads, which provide hints about how customers are interacting with your business. Data sources for Customer Leads include:
Mobile calls made directly to your business using Yelp’s on-site click-to-call feature
Click-throughs from your Yelp listing to your company website
User-uploaded photos on your business page
Bookmarks placed on your listing using Yelp’s bookmark feature
Claiming an Existing Business Listing
To get started, click Yelp’s “Claim Your Listing” button, then type in your exact business name and city. This takes you to a results page that displays similarly named businesses nearby and indicates whether they’ve been claimed. If your business is listed, it should say that it hasn’t been claimed.
To claim your listing, you need to create a Yelp account with your first name, last name, email address, and password. Make sure the phone number on your listing is accurate, then click “Call Me Now.” This prompts Yelp to robo-call the listed business number with a unique verification code.
Once you receive that code, you can enter it into the proper field and start editing your listing. If you’re unable to complete the phone verification process for any reason, you can also manually verify your identity as the business owner by emailing Yelp’s support team.
Creating a New Business Listing
If your business doesn’t have an existing listing to claim, you need to create one. At the bottom of the business search results page, click the “Add a Business” button and enter as much information as possible into the fields on the next screen: your business name, exact address, phone number, and website at a minimum.
After you submit this information, it takes Yelp some time — usually no more than two business days — to verify that the business exists and add it to its listings. Once added, you can search for it as described and claim the listing as your own.
How to Optimize Your Yelp Listing
Claiming or creating a Yelp listing is an important first step. However, building a top-notch Yelp presence takes time and effort.
These tips and resources are useful as you work to set your listing apart from your competitors’:
1. Fill Out Your Profile Completely
The more complete your listing is, the better it looks to Yelp’s internal algorithm — and the higher it’s likely to appear on Yelp’s search results pages. There’s no reason not to fill out your profile completely.
2. Use Google Keyword Planner or a Similar Tool
Yelp listings are visible to Google and other search engines, so it pays to use a keyword planning tool — such as Google Keyword Planner, which requires a free Google AdWords account to use — to identify keywords that relate to your company.
For instance, if you specialize in Neapolitan-style pizza and discover that your company website ranks highly for the term “Neapolitan pizza,” make sure that keyword appears at least once in your business listing.
3. Add Lots of Photos
Photos breathe life into your Yelp listing and boost customer engagement. An internal Yelp study found that consumers linger on photo-enhanced Yelp pages for two and a half times as long than on pages with no photos.
Photos are especially useful for showing off your logo — particularly if it’s already plastered on your company’s vans or outdoor advertising properties, and thus recognizable to prospective customers — as well as for highlighting particular products, especially food. If your business is open to the public, include pictures of its interior and outdoor seating areas to give visitors a sense of what to look forward to.
4. Solicit and Respond to Customer Reviews
Yelp frowns on businesses that court reviews by giving away free stuff or offering special deals to those who post positive reviews — it sees this behavior as a form of manipulation. However, you can skirt this prohibition and stay in Yelp’s good graces by placing the Yelp logo in a visible location in your store (such as at checkout or on a menu), linking to your Yelp page from your company website, and straight-up asking for reviews with no strings attached.
Separately, be sure to respond to detailed, thoughtful reviews, whether they’re good or bad. It’s especially important to respond to negative feedback, which shows other page visitors that you’re willing to address service issues and other problems. Just remember to follow social media etiquette best practices at all times.
5. Try Yelp Deals and Gift Certificates
Yelp Deals and Gift Certificates can help you monetize your Yelp listing and generate buzz around your business. Like Groupons and other social deals, both offer heavy discounts on transactions with the issuing business. Yelp Deals focus on discounts for specific local services — for instance, “20% off a haircut-and-shave package.” Yelp Gift Certificates offer across-the-board discounts — for example, “$20 in merchandise for $10.”
In both cases, Yelp takes a cut of the proceeds: 30% of face value for Deals and 10% of face value for Gift Certificates, subject to change with company policy.
6. Consider Buying Ads
If you can afford another line item in your marketing budget, consider buying ad space on Yelp. Yelp ads appear above the first non-promoted listing in Yelp’s internal search results pages, similar to the paid search ads you see on Google and other search engines.
Although they’re clearly marked “Ad,” they’re highly visible and appear only with relevant search terms, so they’re great for attracting people actively searching for what you have to offer. And because they effectively give you priority placement over competitors, they’re great if you operate in a crowded market.
Costs vary widely depending on your location and industry, but expect to spend at least $50 per month for a high-visibility ad campaign.
Yelp isn’t the only business listing site worth looking into. There are dozens of other sites that could get your company’s name in front of potential customers. Listings on some of these sites are free to claim, while others require a one-time or monthly fee. Each has its own set of benefits and drawbacks.
Rather than spend significant amounts of time and marketing dollars going after them all, take a weekend or evening to research the options that work best for your business’s needs. Don’t be afraid to talk to other business owners in your industry, even if you’d normally be reluctant to share trade secrets with them. After all, with everything else you need to keep track of, the last thing you need is to make an investment with little to no chance of paying off.
Rumor had it that the NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal was dabbling in the art of home flipping, when he put his luxurious home in a gated equestrian community in Bell Canyon, CA, on the market for $2.5 million in late 2019.
The big man purchased the place in February 2018 for $1,815,000, and owned the home for only a little more than a year before he decided to sell.
However, if Shaq harbors dreams of an HGTV spinoff show, he’ll have to improve his return on investment. He recently let the home go for $1.85 million.
The five-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom, traditional-style home is on a fenced and gated acre lot, ideal for an owner who craves privacy.
O’Neal perked up the 5,217-square-foot home with new carpeting, fresh paint, customized closets, and improved landscaping. The home was originally built in 1990, and its HVAC system, garage door, and some of the plumbing were also updated.
There’s plenty of proof of the property’s provenance. O’Neal’s images, trophies, and mementos greet visitors the second they set foot in the grand black-and-white, two-story formal entry, with a large staircase and circular gallery.
The home has a number of highlights: a wide-open floor plan, beamed ceilings, and hillside views. The kitchen, however, is the true showstopper, according to the listing agent, Emil Hartoonian of The Agency.
“Buyers loved the kitchen and its brightness. They also loved the open living space, with no shortage of natural light and flow,” he says.
Watch: NBA’s Blake Griffin Nets Another Home In Los Angeles
The kitchen has marble counters, a large center island, built-in stainless steel appliances, and designer cabinetry.
Other luxe features in the residence include a wine closet and wet bar in the great room, a media room with a convenient kitchenette, a screening room, and a spacious office with splendid views.
The luxury spills into the outdoor spaces as well. Out back, there’s a rock-rimmed heated pool and spa, a fire pit, multiple seating areas, and manicured lawns.
“We presented this property in the light it deserved, and helped buyers see the true value of a premier updated property behind guard-gates,” Hartoonian says.
He co-listed the property with Nicholas Siegfried, also of The Agency. Gary Keshishyan Pinnacle Properties represented the buyers.
But wait—there’s more. O’Neal’s sale in Southern California isn’t his only recent real estate success.
The famous “Shaq-apulco” in Windermere, FL, which has been on and off the market at varying prices over the past couple of years, appears to have found a buyer.
O’Neal first put the massive estate on the market in 2018, for $28 million. It was most recently listed at $16.5 million, and a sale is now pending on the 4-acre waterfront property, with its 31,000-square-foot mansion.
O’Neal, 48, is reportedly spending more time in Atlanta with his NBA on TNT gig. The Hall of Famer won four NBA titles during his 19-year NBA career.
For more photos and details, check out the full listing.
A megamansion that Dollar General built possesses everything a family would need for a retreat.
Owned by Cal Turner, Jr., the former CEO and chairman of Dollar General, the home on Evans Ridge Road in Parker, CO, is on the market for $12.9 million.
“It is a very unique property, and certainly one of the larger homes in the country,” says the listing agent, Liza Hogan.
The family built the 45,000-square-foot house in 2001 as a retreat, and it’s in pristine condition two decades later.
“It has never been used as a primary home, so it’s in beautiful condition,” added Hogan.
The mansion occupies 35 acres of land about 45 minutes from Denver. An adjacent 35-acre parcel is also up for sale, offering the potential for 70 acres of fenced-in privacy.
“The location is fantastic. You have beautiful, panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains,” Hogan says.
It’s approached by a long driveway that dramatically circles up to the house.
“When you come through the main gate, you can’t see anything of the property,” she adds.
Conceived as an ideal spot for a family getaway or corporate retreat, the massive house was built with fun and entertainment in mind.
Watch: Frank Lloyd Wright Home Is a Rare Find in Indiana
“It’s got a complete entertainment wing, with everything from a heated pool that looks like it was designed for a Roman emperor, Jacuzzi, steam room, and sauna room,” Hogan explains. “There’s also a home theater, a dance floor with a stage, a bowling alley, a billiard table, a pingpong table, arcade room, and a home gym. Outside, there are ponds that are stocked with fish.”
Guests who are exhausted after all the activities on tap will have plenty of places to sleep and recharge.
The main house offers six bedrooms, including a master suite as well as a one-bedroom apartment with a separate entrance. Two other apartments are on the property.
“You can go outside to get there, but they do connect to the main house. One is a two-bedroom apartment, and the other one is a three-bedroom apartment. That adds five more bedrooms,” Hogan says.
A large caretaker’s residence has two bedrooms. With this much space, there’s room for all guests to spread out and enjoy themselves.
Hogan tells us that the mansion’s layout is ideal for long-term guests.
“If you have guests that are staying for an extended period of time, whether it’s friends, family members, or business associates, they can have their own quarters,” she says.
Each apartment has its own kitchen, and the main house has a large main kitchen with a catering kitchen nearby. There are also two large dining areas, one more formal than the other.
Owners and guests will have plenty of places to park, thanks to a 29-car garage with space enough for an RV.
The house is being sold fully furnished, with the exception of a few personal items.
“We have had a complete inventory of all the furnishings done by a professional. It’s approximately 60 pages long, with every item, and photos,” Hogan adds.
The sale also includes all of the artwork and all the bottles in the extensive wine cellar.
The home has been on the market for a couple of years and was once listed for more than $20 million.
Hogan says the pool of possible buyers who want this size of house at this kind of price tag in the Denver area is limited.
“This is toward the upper end in Denver,” she says, adding that the current price reflects what the market can bear, rather than its true value.
“The seller probably has at least twice the current asking price into the property. You have to be realistic, and a property has to reflect the market.”
The Turner family isn’t using the house as much as they used to, so it’s time to sell.
“Lives changed, and people go in different directions. Kids grow up, and all the things that we see happen with these large, legacy homes,” Hogan says. “They still use the property, but not the way that they did for many years. It’s just time to move on.”
Although the house is huge, Hogan says it still feels warm and welcoming.
“There are many intimate areas within the house,” she says. “Every time I show it, people remark on the fact that they’re able to find spaces where they don’t feel like they’re overwhelmed with the size, and they can have privacy.”
For more photos and details, check out the full listing.
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I hope this list of income-earning blogs inspires you and proves you can make money online through blogging.
15. Making Sense of Cents
Founder – Michelle Schroeder-Gardner Income – $146,498 per month.
Michelle Schroeder-Gardner started Making Sense of Cents to “help improve my finances, keep track of my progress and to help readers improve their finances along the way.”
Well, let’s see — how has Schroeder-Gardner done in these areas?
She’s certainly improved her finances, paying off over $38,000 in student loan debt in just 7 months while growing the site’s revenue year-over-year.
Schroeder-Gardner has transparently tracked her progress in her popular monthly income reports. She says the reports act as a journal for her and keeps her accountable, while also showing others that side income is possible.
And she’s also helping others with their finances by publishing thousands of how-to articles about earning more, saving more, and becoming financially fit. Making Sense of Cents’ primary income comes from affiliate marketing. You can see a complete breakdown of this profitable blog’s earnings here.
#14. Smart Passive Income
Founder – Pat Flynn Income – $152,276 per month.
Smart Passive Income (SPI) founder Pat Flynn is a beacon of light in the sometimes dark and shady internet marketing space.
Calling himself a “crash test dummy of online business,” Flynn transparently shows what’s working and what isn’t working in his business.
His site details his online business experiments and gives readers actionable blueprints to follow and outlines mistakes to avoid.
Flynn didn’t invent the online income report, but he certainly popularized them. He’s been publishing monthly income reports on the blog since 2008, detailing his income sources, revenue figures, as well as his expenses. It’s still one of the most trafficked pages on the site.
Flynn is a great example of a blogger who has successfully branched out into other areas as well.
In 2010, Flynn launched the Smart Passive Income Podcast which is routinely in iTunes top 10 Business podcasts. To date, the show has been downloaded an impressive 33 million times.
He also broadcasts Ask Pat, a Q and A online business podcast, and SPI TV for visual learners.
Flynn is now a Wall Street Journal best-selling author with 2016’s release of Will It Fly?.
And while his individual success has been plentiful and hard-earned, Flynn gives back by serving on the board of the non-profit Pencils of Promise, helping to build new schools for children in underprivileged regions around the world. SPI’s primary income comes from affiliate marketing, with other earnings from podcast sponsorship and products.
Founder – Gina Trapani Income – $154,000 per month
Lifehacker was founded in 2005 by Gina Trapani as part of the Gawker Media network.
From the start, Trapani acted as the sole contributor, writing 8 articles a day. Talk about blogging like a boss!
She impressively launched the site with an exclusive sponsorship from Sony, rumored to be 3 months for $75,000. Yeah, she’s a boss.
Lifehacker eventually added other contributors and the blog continued to grow in popularity.
As its motto claims, the site’s content is about “tips, tricks and downloads for getting things done.”
Trapani moved on from the company in 2009, and Nick Denton has run it ever since.
The site still churns out 18 articles a day, all designed to make you more productive. Lifehacker earns its most of its revenue from advertising and it’s been one of the top-earning blogs since it’s inception.
#12. Timothy Sykes
Founder – Timothy Sykes Income – $165,000 per month
Timothy Sykes is a multimillionaire stock trader who famously earned $4 million while day trading in college.
As a high school student, Sykes took $12,415 of his bar mitzvah gift money and turned it into $1.65 million by day trading penny stocks.
Not stopping there, Sykes has created a hedge fund and starred in the television program Wall Street Warriors. These days, Sykes documents his trades and strategy on his popular blog, TimothySykes.com. His top-earning blog offers a Millionaire Challenge and a successful subscription service where users can get real-time trading alerts and access a vast library of trading videos.
Founder – Collis Ta’eed, Cyan Ta’eed and Jun Rung Income – $175,000 per month
Collis Ta’eed, Cyan Ta’eed and Jun Rung founded Tut+ as a modest blog with tutorials on freelancing and Photoshop.
The site ultimately grew into a network of 15 educational blogs, helping people learn profitable online skills, from coding to videography.
At the center of it all remains Tuts+. In 2014, the group combined all 16 blogs into one central hub called Envato Tuts+.
Envato Tuts+ Premium, a subscription-based membership area offering video courses and ebooks, is the primary source of the site’s income. You can still find plenty of free content to learn creative skills and yes, they still have tutorials on freelancing and Photoshop.
Tuts+ is one of my favorite blogs and it’s inspiring to know it started as a hobby and developed naturally and organically into one of the highest-earning blogs online.
#10. Smashing Magazine
Founder – Sven Lennartz and Vitaly Friedman Income – $215,000 per month
Smashing Magazine is the superb creation of Sven Lennartz and Vitaly Friedman.
The blog debuted in 2006 with the goal of helping people with web design and web development interests.
Today, Smashing Magazine is a go-to site for anyone looking to acquire these lucrative skills, with an enormous amount of informative and actionable content.
Not surprisingly, the blog receives 5 million page views a month.
The site now hosts frequent web development conferences and full-day workshops all over the world, to help both professionals and amateurs improve their craft.
This top earning blog’s main income comes from their membership area, where users can learn from an impressive number of tutorials covering everything from coding, web design, mobile app development, UX design, graphics and WordPress.
Founder – John Lee Dumas Income – $223,000 per month
I’m convinced John Lee Dumas never sleeps.
He operates EOFire.com, short for Entrepreneurs on Fire, delivers a daily business podcast, and in recent years has published two best-selling journals — The Freedom Journal and The Mastery Journal.
But his bread and butter is the EOFire podcast, which is fantastic. In 2012, he noticed none of his favorite podcasts were podcasting daily, leaving him wanting more. So he launched his daily podcast interviewing entrepreneurs, and the rest, as they say, is history.
JLD, as he’s affectionately known, has now interviewed over 1600 entrepreneurs, including Tim Ferriss, Barbara Corcoran, Seth Godin and Gary Vaynerchuk.
In 2013, EOFire was named Best of iTunes.
His journals wrote the book (no pun intended) on how to run a successful crowdsourcing campaign. And through a partnership with Pencils of Promise, Dumas is parlaying the success of his journals into the creation of schools in underprivileged countries. You can see one of the schools Dumas made possible here. EOFire earned a gross income of $595,936 in February of 2016. That’s an incredible feat for one month and well-deserved for JLD.
It’s always good to see good people doing good work and succeeding.
Founder – Peter Rojas Income – $325,000 per month
Peter Rojas is so awesome he’s on this list twice.
Rojas created Gizmodo to cover technology, entertainment, politics, science and science fiction.
Gizmodo launched in 2002 as part of the Gawker Media network run by Nick Denton with Rojas as Editor in Chief. The blog quickly grew in popularity by partnering with a variety of international firms to deliver translated versions of its content in Europe.
When you visit the site’s home page, one of the first things you notice is an above-the-fold banner that is larger than most. As you scroll down, you’ll find Gizmodo does a great job of showing a lot of content with only a couple of display ads along the side, with one of them being the same advertiser found at the top of the page. When you finally scroll past all the content (there’s a lot!) and reach the bottom of the page, you’ll find another large banner just above the footer, and yes, the advertiser is the same as in the other two spots. Gizmodo’s home page has a great balance of being heavily content-focused but still being able to make a tidy profit with ads. The ads are unobtrusive but still get noticed, and because of the repetition, the advertiser gets noticed too. It’s a win-win advertising model for other sites to emulate.
#7. Perez Hilton
Founder – Perez Hilton Income – $575,000 per month
Perez Hilton is a great example of a successful blogger who capitalized on other opportunities outside of blogging. He’s also a television personality, nationally syndicated host of Radio Perez, and author of a children’s book.
But what he’s most famous for is his celebrity gossip blog PerezHilton.com. Millions visit his site every day to revel in his brand of snarky gossip entertainment. Hilton, born Mario Armondo Lavandeira Jr, started his blog as a hobby and decided to focus on Hollywood “because it was something I was inherently curious about, and fascinated with. And, let’s face it, celebrities — a lot of them — are crazy.”
This profitable blog earns its revenue from advertising banners on the site.
Founder – Brian Clark Income – $1,000,000 per month
With Copyblogger, Brian Clark created an audience-focused content marketing machine.
In fact, Forbes recently called it “the most influential content marketing blog in the world.”
Copyblogger has been helping people write better, sell more, and get more traffic since 2006.
The site’s original tagline was “Internet Marketing For Smart People.” In other words, they’re not selling snake oil and get rich quick schemes.
Now the tagline is “Words That Work” and boy, do they ever. Clark and his team are outstanding at writing copy.
When I read they’re sales copy, I’m always compelled to buy. In fact, this site operates on their Genesis Framework and a StudioPress blog theme. Based on their audience research and communication, they’ve strategically added tools and platforms to help content marketers and digital entrepreneurs grow their businesses.
Founder – Pete Cashmore Income – $2,000,000 per month
Mashable was started in 2005 by Pete Cashmore, a 19-year-old who still lived at home with his parents in Scotland.
He began by documenting the latest news about social media and emerging Internet technologies.
His work resonated with lots of folks and Mashable became an immediate success, attracting 2 million readers within the first 18 months.
Mashable has come a long way since those early days. It’s no longer just Cashmore contributing Mashable’s content (they’re hiring!), and they are now headquartered in New York City. Mashable is positioned to be one of the top-earning blogs online for some time.
The blog is still growing with over 45 million readers a month and the content has expanded to cover business, entertainment and lifestyle and now offers 5 international editions.
Mashable’s income primarily comes from advertisements on the site.
Founder – Michael Arrington and Keith Teare Income – $2,500,000 per month
Michael Arrington and Keith Teare started TechCrunch in 2005 to cover technology industry news.
The blog has grown immensely and now features big-name columnists in the startup and venture capital industries.
AOL bought TechCrunch in 2005 for a rumored $25 to $40 million.. TechCrunch earns revenue from display advertising on the blog Specifically, they charge between $19.25 and $36.50 per CPM (Cost Per Thousand views).
According to the site, they receive 12 million visitors per month and 35 million page views per month. With such a high CPM, you can see how this top-earning blog makes its considerable income.
Founder – Rand Fishkin and Gillian Muessig Income – $3,300,000 per month
Moz is the go-to place for all things SEO. Search engine optimization pros check out Moz daily to see what’s happening in the space.
They also come to use their tools and resources to help them rank their sites and extend their visibility.
Rand Fishkin co-founded the site with Gillian Muessig, who happens to be his mother. The two initially operated a web design shop and Rand had to learn SEO to promote the business. He shared what he learned in SEO forums and quickly became known as an authority in the field.
Frustrated by the secretive world of SEO, they started SEOMoz in 2004 as a way to openly share the knowledge. In fact, the Moz part of their name is a direct nod to the open-source sharing philosophy made famous by the Mozilla Foundation and Dmoz Web directory project.
These days the profitable blog and community simply go by Moz, and Fishkin jokingly refers to his title as “Wizard of Moz.” Moz earned $42 million in 2016, primarily from its paid membership area, which offers valuable tools and services for the avid search engine marketers.
True to the name, Moz still offers numerous tools for free and even the membership area comes with a 30-day free trial.
Founder – Peter Rojas Income – $5,500,000 per month
We last saw Peter Rojas at #8 with Gizmodo and while that blog focuses on many topics, with Engadget, it’s all about tech.
Rojas created Engadget to give sound advice and detailed reviews on technology and consumer electronics. From the beginning, the site has employed numerous writers and editors to contribute to its content machine.
Engadget is now run by AOL, who acquired the blog in 2005. The lesson here is if you ever want to sell your blog, it’s best if it is a brand on its own and not a personal brand.
The company earns massive revenue from advertising on the site.
Founder – Arianna Huffington Income – $14,000,000 per month
In 2005, Arianna Huffington launched the Huffington Post with the goal of becoming a political counterpart to the popular Drudge Report. The blog provided a liberal view of politics and lifestyle and quickly gained a strong following.
The site has grown year after year and in 2011, Huffington sold the blog to AOL for $315,000.
Huffington received $21 million-plus stock options in the company as part of the sale and stayed on as Editor-in-Chief. She resigned from that post in August 2016, and now devotes her time to a new startup Thrive Global, a health and wellness site.
The site has rebranded and is now known simply as HuffPost.
It is the #1 most popular political blog according to a study by eBizMBA. Alexa Global, Compete and Quantcast.
The top-earning blog is an enormous success, earning $14,000,000 in revenue in 2016, and it is estimated to be worth $1 billion currently.
Sponsored advertising revenue provides the majority of HuffPost’s income. The site provides banners and other ads across it’s variety of channels.
What do you think?
I hope this list shows you what is possible and inspires you to follow your own path to the top.
As always I would love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think
15 Top Earning Blogs Making Money Online Infographic
As always I would love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think
As always I would love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment below. What did you think?
Those ubiquitous checklists of “dorm room essentials” for college freshmen are filled with items that will be ditched by the end of first semester.
Some parents “go to the store and grab a list like they did when their kids were in elementary and high school and just go straight down the list,” says Lisa Heffernan, mother of three sons and a college-shopping veteran. Or they buy things they only wish their students will use (looking at you, cleaning products).
You can safely skip about 70% of things on those lists, estimates Asha Dornfest, the author of Parent Hacks and mother of a rising college sophomore who’s home for the summer.
What Not to Buy or Bring
Freshmen really need just two things, says Heffernan, co-founder of the blog Grown and Flown: a good mattress topper and a laptop.
Here are seven items you can skip:
Printer. Don’t waste desk space or, worse, store it under the bed; printers are plentiful on campus.
TV. Students may watch on laptops or on TVs in common areas or in someone else’s room. Bonus: Your teen gets out and meets others.
Speakers. Small spaces don’t require powerful speakers; earphones may be a good idea and respectful of roommates.
Car. Some colleges bar freshmen from having cars on campus or limit their parking. You also may save on insurance by keeping the car at home.
Luggage. If you bring it, you must store it. Heffernan suggests collapsible blue Ikea storage bags with zippers.
Toiletries to last until May. Bulk buying may save money, but you need storage space.
Duplicates of anything provided by the college, such as a lamp, wastebasket, desk chair or dresser.
Items left behind when students pack for the summer are telling. Luke Jones, director of housing and residence life at Boise State University, sees unopened food — a lot of ramen and candy — and stuffed animals and mirrors.
Jones says many students regret bringing high school T-shirts and memorabilia and some of their clothes (dorm closets typically are tiny).
What Can You Buy, Then?
Before you shop, find out what the college forbids (candles, space heaters, electric blankets and halogen lights are common). Have your student check with assigned roommates about appliances (who’s bringing a fridge or microwave?) and color scheme if they want to set one. Know the dimensions of the room and the size of the bed. And most of all, know your budget. Not everything has to be brand new.
Ten things — besides the all-important mattress topper and laptop — that many students consider dorm room essentials include:
One or two fitted sheets in the correct bed size, plus pillowcases. Heffernan says most students don’t use top sheets.
Comforter or duvet with washable cover.
Towels in a distinctive pattern or light enough for labeling with laundry marker, plus shower sandals.
Power cord with surge protector and USB ports.
Basic first aid kit.
Easy-to-use storage. If it’s a lot of work to get something out, your student won’t, Heffernan says.
Cleaning wipes. Students might not touch products that require multiple steps, but they might use wipes, according to Heffernan.
Reading pillow with back support for studying in bed.
Area rug. Floors are often hard and cold.
Comfort items. Dornfest says it could be a blanket or a picture of the dog — something from home that will make the space a bit more personal.
Afraid you’ll forget something important? You might, Heffernan says. But chances are, you or your student can order it online and get it delivered. Consider doing this with some items simply to avoid the hassle of bringing them yourself, and remember that “dorm necessities” often go on sale once school starts.
Do a Reality Check
If you or your student still want to replicate the rooms you’ve seen on Instagram and Pinterest, think about how the room will actually be used.
Once your son or daughter moves in, the room will never look like that again. Opt for sturdy items and be realistic. Will throw pillows make the place look more homey and inviting, or will they be tossed on the floor until parents’ weekend?
Dornfest, a co-host of the Edit Your Life podcast, offers a compelling reason not to make things too comfortable. “A freshman needs to be encouraged to get out of the dorm room,” she says. “Anything that pulls you into campus life can be good.”
She’s not advocating a monk-like environment, but rather one that encourages breaking out of routines. College should be a time to try new things and meet people from different backgrounds. Dornfest advises making the bed as comfortable as possible and keeping a few reminders of home. The ideal dorm room is more launch pad than cocoon.
More from Nerdwallet
The article 7 Things College Freshmen Don’t Need — and 10 They Do originally appeared on NerdWallet.