AncestryDNA Vs 23andMe – Which Ancestry Test Is Best?

Over the holidays, I did something I’ve wanted to do for a long time: starting tracing my ancestry. Because both AncestryDNA and 23andMe had DNA tests on sale for Cyber Monday, I decided to get both – and compare.

AncestryDNA Vs 23andMe

Which DNA test reigns supreme?

For the basics, they’re pretty much the same – with an edge to AncestryDNA because of its bigger database.

But the health reports addition to 23andMe blew me away. And it’s worth spending the extra money to unlock a huge amount of personal information you might not even be aware of yet. That’s scary and exhilarating – and makes you consider how much you really want to know.

Dang it, I already let it slip which one I like more. #fairandbalanced 🤷🏻‍♂️

AncestryDNA Vs 23andMe Review

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Allbirds 6-Month Review: How Are These Travel Shoes Holding Up?

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A little over 6 months ago, I wondered if Allbirds might be the perfect travel shoe. I tend to replace my shoes about every 6 months. But I’m happy to report the Allbirds still look and feel great. Though there is the usual wear and tear.

Allbirds 6-Month Review

My Allbirds held up wonderfully. And I have NOT been kind to them

I’ve worn them nearly every day and along all my travels. I tend to wear out my shoes. But whereas my old New Balances would’ve been literally falling apart at the 6-month mark, the Allbirds still have plenty of life left in them.

I want another pair!

Allbirds 6-Month Review

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Use Earny for Automated Visa and MasterCard Price Protection

I wrote about Trim and Paribus to track price changes and get a refund from merchants. Now there’s Earny, which tracks price changes and uses price protection from many bank Visa and MasterCard credit cards – and files the claims for you automatically. In return, they take 25% of the bounty.

earny app

Earny automates price protection with several bank Visas and MasterCards

I shop online a lot with my Citi AT&T Access More card (no longer available although you can still product change to it). All Citi personal cards come with Citi Price Rewind, which puts the onus on you to file a claim if you find a lower price. But now Earny automates the work. After you link your cards, nothing else is required to file a claim when Earny finds a lower price.

If you shop online a lot, this could save you big bucks!

What’s Earny?

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Monaco: A Currency Exchange & Cryptocurrency Rewards Prepaid Card

Recently, a friend recommended now is a good time to buy a little of 4 big cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, the new Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin. So I bought $100 of each, mostly for the sake of curiosity. I do NOT recommend cryptocurrency as an investment (try these platforms instead!).

monaco review crypto

Monaco will exchange currency and earn crypto rewards with a prepaid debit card

And today, I heard about Monaco, which aims to exchange currency at perfect interchange rates (including crypto). And if you pledge to invest in the card, you can earn “crypto back” rewards – which you can redeem for real crypto.

There are NO fees because your money is always treated as local currency no matter if you’re spending US dollars, a foreign currency, or crypto.

Monaco isn’t available yet in the US. But they expect to launch globally any time now. If you use my link to sign up, you’ll get $10 added to your account for free. Ten US dollars. 😉

Exchange currency and oh god, do I have to think about crypto now?

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Best IRA Accounts: 8 Companies Compared (Self-Directed, Apps, & Roboadvisors)

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A couple weeks ago, I wrote about Acorns, an app I think is a great place to get started with investing (especially for millennials). Talking about investing is dicey. For one, because it’s personal (duh). For that reason, everyone has an opinion on it. And that’s where the confusion starts.

My view is: it doesn’t matter where you begin, so long as you do. You can always switch things around later. To that end, I feel Acorns has the most approachable interface for a beginner “despite” costing $1 a month. And there’s no minimum to start investing.

best ira accounts

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is RIGHT THIS SECOND. Start NOW!

That said, it’s an app and doesn’t let you choose your own funds (you pick from their portfolios). Same with StashWealthsimple, and Betterment. Of course, you’ll get the best deal with a self-directed account – but the minimums are dauntingly high for a beginner, with the exception of TD Ameritrade.

I’ll compare these companies for expenses, account and fund minimums, and quirky extras:

I am focusing on IRAs here – although they all have the option to simply be an investment account (which is why I excluded Robinhood – they do NOT have IRAs).

8 Best IRA Accounts Compared

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7 Holiday Gift Ideas for Travelers (Many With Discounts)

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Merry merry! What a year it’s been. Some amazing products and services crossed my path this year. And I want to share them in case you need some gift ideas for the travelers in your life.

I have personally used them all. And can attest to their quality. It can be a challenge to shop when you don’t know exactly what to get someone. Consider these!

(And for good measure, here are some stocking stuffer ideas.)

Holiday Gift Ideas for Travelers

1. A new blazer and/or chinos

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My Total Rewards Diamond Experience at Harrah’s New Orleans (Thanks to FoundersCard)

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This past weekend, I flew to New Orleans for a few days. I usually stay at a Hyatt (here are my reviews of the Hyatt Regency and Hyatt Centric French Quarter), but stayed at the Sheraton on Canal Street this time (for lounge access, mostly – review soon).

When I realized there was a Harrah’s only 2 blocks down Canal, I decided to pay a visit to grab some free drinks and a free $100 dinner at the steakhouse on property – thanks to my free Total Rewards Diamond elite status from FoundersCard. (Because Harrah’s uses the Total Rewards program and this one has a private lounge for elite members.)

Total Rewards Diamond

There are private lines everywhere for Diamond members

I went 2 days in a row. And between me and my guest, we had 4 drinks, 2 entrees, and a whole $100 dinner – all completely free.

The Palm Room

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Don’t Forget the Pups: First BarkBox FREE With 6+ Months of Toys & Treats 🐶

With all the holiday deals out there, here’s another I wanted to share: BarkBox. I’ve had this monthly subscription since December 2013 for my 7-year-old Corgi/Shepherd mix who is also the love of my life, Fenwick.

I wouldn’t share this if I didn’t truly love it. But it’s worth every last freakin’ cent. Every month, they stuff the boxes with:

  • 2 high-quality chew toys
  • At least 2 bags of treats
  • Something to snack on, like a bully stick

I have been continually impressed with the quality of the treats and toys. And Fenwick loves opening his BarkBox every month. It saves me on having to buy treats (I have bags and bags of extras). And if your dog likes to rip up toys or chew the hell out of ’em, they’ll get that moment of bliss every month.

barkbox free trial

Fenwick can’t decide which BarkBox toy to play with first!

I estimate each box is worth $40+. And I’d have to buy treats anyway.

The 12-month plan is $20 a box. And the 6-month plan is $25 a box. If you wanna try it out, your first box is completely free when you sign-up with my link. This is better than the best publicly available offer to get your first box for $5! To get the free box, you must subscribe to a 6- or 12- month plan.

Get a BarkBox free trial

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Trim + Paribus: 2 MUSTS for Online Holiday Shopping (Save Money & Time)

If you plan on purchasing gifts online this holiday season, there are two major things to watch for: price drops and missed delivery dates.

Price drops are extremely common with the onslaught of Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals – and often there are even more as “the big day” draws near.

Trim is useful to:

  • Track price changes on Amazon
  • Set spending alerts
  • Monitor your monthly subscriptions
  • Get the best price on your cable/internet bill
track price changes

Trim lets you know when a price on Amazon decreases

And I wrote about Paribus waaaay back in May 2015. Not only has their service improved – it’s now completely free.

It’s helpful for tracking price drops at tons of merchants. And helps you get a little something (refund on shipping, store credit, Amazon Prime extension) if there’s a late delivery.

Both of these tools can save you money automatically in the background while you go about your shopping. They’re even better when their powers combine.

Trim aims to help your overall financial life

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Need a Drink? Get a Free Cocktail Every Day for $10 a Month (in AZ, CA, FL, NJ, NY, TX, HKG)

How I did not discover by now is beyond me. If you need a nice stiff drink this holiday season, here’s an extremely good deal.

With the Hooch app, you get 1 drink per day (in select cities) for ~$10 a month. The list of bars is pretty solid – and more importantly, the drinks are good!

hooch app review

I am loving Hooch so far. A drink a day for $10 a month!

And if you use my link to sign-up, your first month is only $1 when you enter code “02803c“! Plus, they have a great deal on gift memberships until November 26th, 2017 (Sunday)!

I tried the app myself. Here’s what I think so far.

Out and Out’s Hooch app review

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New Credit Card Checklist: What to Do When You Receive Your New Card

Getting a new credit card is a big step for lots of peeps. It’s a new account, new financial history, and something else to track.

New Credit Card Checklist

Did you know your new credit card came with a checklist? It does. Sorry 

Some of you might be like “Ugh,” but I’m like “Yay!” Even though I have 33 credit cards right now (yep!).

Here are the steps I take with each new card. And you should, too. It’ll help maximize your benefits, earn more rewards, and keep track of what’s what!

So ya got a new card, eh?

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