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Online Shopping Tips this Holiday Season

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online shopping holiday

The holiday season is around the corner and there is so much to buy for everyone. Like every other consumer nowadays, if you are also planning to shop a major part of your shopping list online, then follow these tips to make it a hassle-free experience. People nowadays shop from the convenience of their home with the help of their smartphones and tablets throughout the year. And there is no better time to shop online than this holiday season, as most of the sites offer free shipping and many other attractive deals. It also helps you to beat the huge crowd in brick and mortar shops and spend quality time with your near and dear ones. However, as you get tempted by the fantastic online deals, you need to be safe while making the online transactions.

Use your credit card

Using your credit card is a better option than using your debit card for online purchase. If you use your debit card, the money is debited from your account instantly and there is very little chance to get it back if you fall prey to a fraudulent transaction. With your credit card transaction, you can take a step back in case of any disputes. Also, there are special promotional offers by credit card companies in association with various businesses. It is definitely a wise decision to gain from these offers rather than using your debit card.

Always look for trusted retailers

Always try to shop from trusted and renowned retailers as they have better security mechanisms in place to facilitate genuine hassle-free transactions. They also provide better customer service. In case of any complaints, you can ask for a refund. You can also give your credit information to a brand you trust as you go back to these sites frequently. They keep it safe and confidential for you.

Shop only from encrypted sites

Before you visit an online shopping platform, make sure it is a secure site. The latest and updated browsers can help you identify if the sites are secure or not. If the browser shows the prefix ‘https’, it means the site is encrypted and information you share is secured.  You should never share your credit card details in a non-encrypted or untrusted site.

Strong passwords for safety

If you a frequent online-shopper, try to create a unique password for every shopping site you visit. Most of the retail sites ask you to enter a secure password which is not easy to decode. Your password should be long enough (at least eight characters) and it should preferably be a mix and match of letters and numbers. If you do not use a site any longer, make sure to delete all your personal information shared there.

Secure Network connection

If you want to shop online, try to avoid public Wi-Fi connections. The information you share through these public networks can be hacked easily. Instead, use your workplace internet or home network for shopping.

Avoid the ad links on your email

It is best to avoid the links delivered to your inbox. They can offer lucrative deals, but you never know how your sensitive data can be compromised through these sites. Most of these links are not verified, and they can steal your credit card details.

Check your accounts regularly

If you are a regular online shopper or shopping for the first time this holiday season, check your bank accounts regularly. The chances of hacking increases during the holiday season.  You can also do a quick Google search on recent hacks on any retail site and avoid such sites.

Do not be tempted by too good to be true offers. These are made to the lure the customers to make online transactions so that they can steal confidential data.

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Top 5 Cities To Move To For Millennials On A Budget

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At some point in our lives, we’ve envisioned living comfortably in LA, NY, or other big cities in the US. It’s all thanks to what we view in movies or TV shows. Sadly, due to rising costs and unforeseen economic circumstances, we may no longer attain our dreams to become a big shot in a big city.

However, hope’s not all lost for millennials. There are still areas in the US where you can make a decent living without breaking the bank. In this article, we discuss the top 5 best cities for millennials to live while on a budget.

1. Raleigh, NC

Average cost of living:

  • Food: $388.12
  • Rent: $1,214.35
  • Utilities: $127.21
  • Internet: $55.79

Raleigh has become one of the best cities for Millennials because of the growing number of tech companies setting up camp in the city. Sure, there’s Silicon Valley and Seattle, but East Coast millennials won’t have to travel far to achieve their dreams of working with a tech company.

If you plan on working in the Research Triangle Park, you won’t have problems with the commute. Bus fares are cheap, and some buses have Wifi installed.

It’s not all work in Raleigh, though. Raleigh residents will have a lot to explore in their city because of their museums, parks, and attraction. Among the cities in the list, Raleigh hosts music shows almost every day in different venues. Music lovers will enjoy their time living here to discover various artists.

Besides that, Raleigh has a booming nightlife thanks to its bars. You’ve got choices between hidden or underground bars, so that you can visit a different one after work or on the weekends.

2. Columbus, OH

Average cost of living:

  • Food: $302.97
  • Rent: $1060.74
  • Utilities: $170.83
  • Internet: $57.40

Just like Raleigh, Columbus, Ohio, also has a thriving tech hub. In connection to that, Columbus is making developments in becoming a Smart City. Since their win in the 2015 Smart City Challenge, they’re making commitments to transform the city through technology. Who knows, when you move there, you might get to see a glimpse of the future.

As for the commute, you might have to take the bus or bike around the city. You can even ride an open-air golf car for free in Downtown Columbus.

People have also started to take an interest in Columbus because of its culture and breweries. One of their most popular attractions is the German Village. So, if you’re craving German food or want to learn more about German culture, that’s the place you want to be.

As for the breweries, Columbus has the famous Brewery District, where you can try out their most popular brews. Plus, it’s right beside the German Village, so you have more booze choices.

Also, Columbus is dubbed as America’s test market. People in Columbus get the first taste of the hamburgers and wear the newest designs. So, if you want to become a trendsetter, pack your bags to Columbus and take snaps for the ‘gram!

3. Grand Rapids, MI

Average cost of living:

The Right Place finds the city is the number two destination for millennials to live. Aside from its affordability, its overall atmosphere is what attracts people to visit and live there.

If you plan to or want to work for the healthcare or manufacturing industry, you can thrive in the Grand Rapids, since those have prospered in the city. However, you’ll still find work for any industry since there’s a high demand for employees there. According to Area Vibes, there’s a 6% unemployment rate in the city, so you still have a high chance of getting employed anywhere. That’s why it’s one of the best cities for Millennials.

Cycling is a much more affordable alternative to driving a car in Grand Rapids. You can take a bus, though, but the stations are limited.

Grand Rapids is almost an hour’s drive to the beaches in the state if you want to live in an affordable city and go to a beach. However, much as you would like to go to the beach in your swimwear, you might have to prepare winter jackets because the weather is unpredictable. You can still enjoy some activities like visiting breweries and cafes to warm you during winter or become your hangout place with friends.

4. Austin, TX

Average cost of living:

  • Food: $320.04
  • Rent: $1,660.45
  • Utilities: $154.52
  • Internet: $59.83

As compared to other cities on the list, Austin may have a higher cost of living. Still, Austin appeals to millennials because of their booming economy and sustainability measures.

In terms of commute, you may face challenges with traffic. You may use the bus instead or ride a bike to divert from the traffic.

If you’re saving up for something, but want to skip out on doing something extravagant, there are free events like live performances and music fests.

The one thing any Austin resident shouldn’t miss out is to try food trucks in the park too. It’s something you can splurge on once in a while. Plus, Austin is the home to the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival happening every March. Here, you can discover new artists or catch their faves. These should serve as a reason why Austin is one of the best cities for Millennials to move to and build up their career.

5. Boise, ID

Average cost of living:

Boise has emerged as one of the leading cities to live in because of its affordability. Even California and Washington millennials move to the city for a lower cost of living. One thing that may stop you from relocating is limited public transportation.

However, Boise is also making developments in becoming a greener city like bike rentals and geothermal energy. So, this is perfect for the environmentally conscious millennials. That’s why it’s beginning to set itself up as one of the best cities for millennials.

In terms of work prospects in Boise, you can work for any industry, but you can consider becoming an entrepreneur. It’s gaining attention as one of the fastest-growing cities to launch a startup.

Residents of Boise rave about the Boise River Greenbelt, where one can enjoy biking and scenic views. If you’re an outdoorsy person, you’ll enjoy hiking and skiing as well. If you’re into art and theater, you’re in luck because you can visit museums during the weekend and watch a production by the Boise theater companies.

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Lifestyle

Top 10 Android Phones Under $500

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If you are scouting for quality Android phones under 500, look no further.

We all know that smartphones are almost a necessity nowadays. But some models are just too expensive to obtain. And that is why we are here to help you. 

Here are the best Android phones under 500. Our list was based on overall performance, display, features, and price. 

1. Oppo Reno Z

A quality smartphone doesn’t have to be expensive. And that’s what Oppo Reno Z shows us all. One of the best things we love about this Oppo model is its sleek and stylish design. You will also enjoy the gadget’s AMOLED display.

Now, if you are a fan of bigger devices, this should do you good. However, if your hands are quite small, it could be a challenge to use. While it isn’t readily available in the US, you can get yours from other regions. 

Price: $499 

2. Sony Xperia 10 Plus 

With Sony Xperia 10 Plus, you can enjoy watching videos for hours because of its decent-sized screen. There are different colors to choose from. They have black, silver, gold, and navy. As for its fingerprint sensor, left-handed users might find it a bit hard to use. 

Price:$345 

3. Google Pixel 3A XL

Google Pixel 3A XL has an amazing camera so you can enjoy immortalizing memories. It also has good battery life. Couple that with a great display, and you have the perfect device for watching videos. The performance is one of the best in its tier. We have to say, the software build is also commendable. For its price, we honestly think that you get more. It is indeed worthy of your investment. 

Price: $479

4. Nokia 7.2

Here’s another smartphone that boasts strong performance. Nokia 7.2 is one of the best devices in its category. You will be pleased with its design and the camera is fairly decent as well. The display is not the best, but it isn’t too bad either. 

Price: $371

5. Samsung Galaxy S9

Even if this model was released last year, we can still say that it’s an outstanding smartphone. It has great hardware, impeccable performance, and a quality camera that can take decent photos and videos.

You might want to get yours in coral blue. Other choices are lilac purple, titanium gray, and midnight black. The battery is phenomenal as well. This is ideal if you are traveling for long hours and you forgot your charger or portable power banks. And lastly, the speaker gives a clear sound which is perfect if you are streaming videos.

Price: $399.77 

6. Xiaomi Mi 9T

Xiaomi Mi 9T has a 6.39-inch full display and uses an outstanding screen technology. You will enjoy vivid colors when you look at the photos and watch videos. The fingerprint sensor works seamlessly as well.

One downside though is that the screen tends to be slippery. You better get a separate silicone case if you are to choose this. The pop-up selfie camera is interesting and the mechanism is said to be good for 300,000 cycles.    

Price: $245 

7. OnePlus 7T 

We’ve heard a lot of raves about OnePlus 7T and that’s why we were so excited to test it out for ourselves. Indeed, this smartphone has quality software, top-notch performance, good build, and a fast-charging feature. There’s one thing that we didn’t like about it though. The camera bump isn’t too appealing and can be distracting. But overall, it’s a great buy.  

Price: $499 

8. Huawei P30 Lite

Huawei P30 Lite looks fancy which is why you won’t think that it’s a smartphone below $500. The design is also eye-candy. While the display is not top quality, it’s not mediocre too. You can still enjoy videos with ease using this model from Huawei.

And if you want amazing photos that you can post online or even possibly print, this phone will surely deliver. It honestly deserves a spot in our list of Top 10 Android Phones Under 500.  

Price: $250 

9. Moto G8 Plus

Motorola has been creating quality budget-friendly smartphones and we expect nothing less from Moto G8 Plus. First of all, it has a decent battery life that can last for longer hours. They also made the model more user-friendly so that’s another reason to get your hands on this unit. Although, this is not the best smartphone if you love to take photos. 

Price: $205 

10. Samsung Galaxy A50

And the last one from our top Android phones under 500 is from Samsung. The best things about the smartphone are the camera, battery, and its in-screen fingerprint feature. The build is strong and the design is pretty straightforward. Some areas of improvement could be on the speakers. But for the price, we should expect minor shortcomings.

Price: $349

Conclusion 

Affordable phones do not mean that you have to compromise the quality. That has been proven with our Top 10 Android Phones Under 500 list. But personally, our team recommends  OnePlus 7T. It is one of the high-tiered models on the list, but you get to enjoy more than what you have paid for.  

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Hedgehog Umbrella: The Umbrella For All Seasons

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With the stormy season just over the horizon, what better time to invest in a high-quality umbrella other than now?

Introducing the Hedgehog Umbrella; a compact umbrella that is able to withstand strong winds up to 70mph without breaking. Yes, 70 miles per hour winds, that’s a category 1 hurricane.

The structure was inspired by automobile technology. Its WINDFlex system can confidently withstand anything nature has to offer. Its carbon fiber construction, a sturdy stainless steel frame, and polycarbonate joints makes it feel indestructible.

You might be wondering, why in the world would someone need an umbrella that can hold up or withstand hurricane-level winds? Why not? I can’t even count how many umbrellas I’ve gone through these past few years. Not many can survive an entire year of normal wear and tear. And if ever given the opportunity to go Mary Poppins in a Category 1 hurricane, count me in!

But the hedgehog umbrella provides a solution to a problem we always tend to sometimes overlook. As its company has boldly stated, “the hedgehog umbrella is engineered to be unbreakable, tested to the extreme, and backed by a global lifetime warranty.”

To understand this statement, let’s have a look at the different aspects of what makes the hedgehog umbrella amazing.

Fashionable and Customizable Canopies

With the hedgehog umbrella, you can choose from a variety of colors. The canopy is comprised of a 210 thread count Pongee fabric that is water repellent – which is thin sturdy. It is also built in a way that you can easily switch out canopies if the need arises.

The hedgehog umbrella will also be releasing an option in the near future to customize your own canopy via uploading an image. Now your dream of having an umbrella with your dog’s face on it can come true- or not.

Short and Practical Umbrella Shaft and Handle

The hedgehog umbrella also comes with a nylon slip-on cover so you can easily store it all tight and snug like. Once collapsed and ready for storage, the umbrella is only 13 inches long and weighs 1 lb, making it easy and practical to bring along with you anywhere.

Unfortunately, the hedgehog umbrella does not come with an automatic button for deployment. Though priced at $99, it is a fully manual umbrella. But at the same time, the automatic machinations are what makes umbrellas weak, so though the hedgehog umbrella sacrifices a little bit of luxury, it makes up with emphasizing its bold statement of being “unbreakable”.

On that note, to deploy the umbrella, one just needs to hold the handle and use the other hand to push the frame up towards the lock at the top. To close it, one just needs to press the button at the center to unlock the lock mechanism.

The handle is thick, making it easy to grasp giving out a feeling of sturdiness and dependability. The overall feel of the hedgehog umbrella gives out a sense of comfort. Even though it’s made of high-grade materials able to withstand hurricane-level winds- it’s petite structure and design can sometimes make you forget.

Width Capacity

When fully deployed, the hedgehog umbrella can comfortably fit two people within its canopy span. So you don’t have to worry if this umbrella can fit you and your significant other because yes, it can.

To summarize, the hedgehog umbrella has the ability to:

  • Be unaffected  by 70MPH winds
  • Interchange canopy 
  • Design your own canopy (for the fashionista inside all of us)
  • Provide lifetime warranty
  • Ensure practicality and be built using high-grade materials

Wrap Up

Gone are the days when you have to lower your umbrella or to make sure you’re walking downwind just so your umbrella won’t break. Gone are the days where you have different separate umbrellas for different occasions; be it windy, rainy, or sunny – the hedgehog umbrella is a star for all seasons. The hedgehog umbrella can be the best friend you never knew you needed. Be it rain or shine, it will be there for you – protecting you. 

At $99, the Hedgehog umbrella is an investment. Given the solid and unbreakable construction, elegant design, and life-time warranty, it’s well worth it. There aren’t many premium umbrellas at this price range that can compete with the Hedgehog in terms of sheer value and utility.

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