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Free $20: This App Will Pay You Cash to Buy Beer or Wine This Week

I didn’t realize this until I moved out of my home state of Wisconsin — but alcohol is expensive.

Unless you’re a pro at finding nightly specials, know a lot of bartenders, or are willing to choke down well cocktails all night, an evening out is going to be hard on your wallet.

Until now… We’ve found a way to actually save money on drinks at bars, restaurants, grocery stores and liquor stores.

Ibotta is a fun rebate app that lets you get cash back on drink deals. It’s available all over the country, and you’ll get a $20 bonus after uploading your first 10 receipts.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Download the app and start a free account to browse drink deals in your area.
  1. Choose the deals you want, and buy the items.
  1. Click “Redeem” on the offer in the app, and take a picture of your itemized receipt.
  1. Cash will be deposited into your PayPal account within 48 hours. You can also redeem for gift cards.

What Kinds of Deals Will You Find?

Ibotta is always updating with new deals, so check back before you go out.

For example when I checked, some of the latest liquor store deals included:

  • New Belgium Fat Tire Belgian Style Ale: $2 back on 12-pack bottles
  • Shiner Bock beer: $5 back on 12-pack bottles
  • Absolut vodka: $5 back on 750-milliliter or 1-liter bottles
  • 1800 tequila: $3 back on 750-milliliter bottles or larger
  • Sutter Home: $1 back on 750-milliliter or 1-liter bottles
  • Eppa SupraFruta sangria: $1.50 back on 750-milliliter

Ibotta also features deals for any restaurant or bar. Here are some deals I found:

  • 1800 tequila: $3 back on any mixed drink or cocktail
  • Budweiser or Bud Light: $3 back on any pitcher or bucket
  • New Belgium beer: $1 back on any bottle or draft

There was even a deal for $2 back on the purchase of a Budweiser beer and any sandwich.

Redeem these anywhere — you’re not restricted to specific locations. However, you do have to be 21 or older to take advantage of these deals!

Originally posted at The Penny Hoarder.

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Manage Money

“Money and success don’t change people; they merely amplify what is already there.” — Will Smith

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Make Money

We Asked 3 People What Teaching Yoga is Really Like. Here’s What They Said

Whether we’re talking hatha or Ashtanga, yoga is hot.

More than 20 million Americans practice this ancient fusion of exercise and spirituality, fueling a multi-billion-dollar industry.

For many new yogis, falling in love with yoga is quickly followed by the thought of becoming a yoga instructor. And that thought is then quickly followed by many questions.

Like… Do I have the right body? How much does training cost? Will I make money? How do I actually become a yoga instructor?

The answers are “yes,” “it depends” and “maybe,” according to Taya Smythe.

I asked her and two others for their advice on how to become a yoga instructor— as well as the inside scoop on what this career is really like.

So if you’ve ever daydreamed about downward dog-ing for a living, keep reading.

Do You Have the Right Body?

Truth time: to become a yoga instructor, do you have to be a size zero who can turn yourself into a pretzel upon command?

The answer is an unequivocal “no,” according to the teachers I spoke to.

“There is absolutely nothing physical or body-related to being a yoga teacher,” says Dave Ursillo.

“Great yoga teachers excel at holding space for students, creating nurturing environments for one and all, and sharing the gift of yoga with presence and humility.”

Lindsay Hogg, who teaches yoga in Canada, agrees: “I am not a typical [yoga] body type at all… I’m sure some people judge me sometimes, but then they take my class and it rocks.”

How Much Does Yoga Teacher Training Cost?

If you’d like to become an official yoga teacher, you should complete a certification course —  preferably one recognized by Yoga Alliance, a nonprofit organization that certifies Registered Yoga Schools.

The most basic level is the RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) 200-hour course, which involves classroom training, hands-on instruction and a final exam.

The timeline and costs of these courses vary widely: Ursillo’s course lasted six months and cost $2,000, while Hogg’s intensive course lasted two weeks and cost CA$5,000 (approximately US$4,000).

PRO TIP

Some teachers choose to attend yoga school in India or other foreign countries, where courses (and cost of living) are much cheaper.

Training is available in many different styles of yoga, from hatha to Bikram to vinyasa, so it’s wise to try as many as you can before committing to a course.

“Find a style that complements what you enjoy and what feels good and natural in your body,” recommends Ursillo.

And wherever you go, consider your decision carefully.

“Training can vary so much in type, destination and cost,” explains Hogg. “Make sure you talk to some other teachers that have completed the training, so you can have a game plan on how to start teaching right after.”

Smythe trained in Indiana in 2009; her course lasted six months and cost approximately $3,000.

She emphasizes the importance of interviewing your potential teacher(s) before committing to a course. Specifically, she recommends you ask these questions:

  • What their outline looks like IN DETAIL so they cannot trail off about how “I see how the energy of the group is” — that means they have nothing planned, and that’s not acceptable when you’re paying thousands of dollars.
  • What will happen weekly during the training, so you have clear expectations if you sign up, and you get a feel for the pace and workload that will occur.
  • Their personal experience with yoga, [to help you] get a feel for if you resonate with this person before you.

How Much Do Yoga Instructors Make?

With an influx of yoga teachers in the past several years, yoga teaching jobs are becoming more competitive.

The majority of teachers I talked to found their first jobs at the studios where they did their training — another reason to choose your course wisely.

That’s how Ursillo found his first job; he now teaches yoga one to five times per week.

“I am grateful for the income and treat it like a little bonus to doing something I love (teaching people, sharing, serving) while developing key skill sets and experience that money can’t buy.”

Dave Ursillo

Hogg, the Canadian yogi, also earns a part-time income from her work as a teacher, making up the rest through website and social media work.

Like Ursillo, she teaches at the studio where she trained — and had to “put in a lot of volunteer/trial hours” before earning her first paycheck.

She teaches a handful of classes each month, earning CA$40 CAD (approximately $32 US) per class.

That seems to be a fairly standard rate, though Ursillo notes some studios pay up to $60-$100 per class if they include bonuses for student turnout.

Keep in mind that although your actual teaching time may only be one hour, most studios require you to be there 30 minutes before class to sign students in, as well as 30 minutes afterwards to close up shop.

If you make an average of $30 per class, that works out to around $15 an hour.

See how one woman made $6,000 in one year with her yoga instructor side gig.

Should You Become a Yoga Teacher?

As you can see, becoming a yoga teacher is not a path to monetary riches (though spiritual and physical wealth are different).

The industry may be booming right now — and you may enjoy yoga — but that still doesn’t mean teaching yoga is a fit for you.

“Maybe it seems like the ‘right path’ because it’s established rather than it being what is really calling you,” Smythe warns.

“Following your highest excitement is what will ground you and support you. Check in with that often.”

For example, let’s say your training costs $3,000, and you earn $15 an hour and teach two classes per week. Although it might be a fun side gig, it’ll still take you more than two years to recoup the cost of your investment.

In other words, don’t become a yoga teacher if you’re in it for the money.

Only do it if you’re committed to bettering the lives of your students.

“The most important thing is realizing you’re stepping into that yoga room for others,” says Hogg. “The class is not about you; it’s about your students.”

“Being a great teacher is remembering and continually renewing your commitment to students,” Ursillo adds.

“In the end, [it’s] about leading by example as you strive to be the best soul that you can be.”

Originally posted on The Penny Hoarder.

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Make Money

5 Sites That Can Turn Your Ugly Bridesmaid Dress into Cash

I have been a bridesmaid not one, not two, but seven times.

Words can’t describe how incredible it felt to stand next to my best friends on their wedding days. The only thing that kept me from completely enjoying each experience was the cost.

Being a bridesmaid is expensive: the bachelorette party, bridal showers, lingerie shower, transportation to and from each event. And, oh yes, the bridesmaid dress.

Most of the dresses I bought for these occasions set me back at least $100.As a woman in my early 20s, still in college on a couple of occasions, those dresses hurt my bank account big time.

Thankfully, dresses are one aspect of being a bridesmaid where it’s possible to earn some of our money back! It didn’t occur to me until recently that I could have lessened the pain of those purchases if only I had planned ahead of time to sell my dresses.

It’s never too late. After doing a little research, I’ve narrowed down my selling options to five websites.

1.   Pre-Owned Wedding Dresses

PreOwned Wedding Dresses is great for both bridal and bridesmaid dresses.  The website is also a good match for brides wanting to sell their wedding dresses.

My favorite part is the Wedding Dress Value Calculator. This tool helps you determine how much your dress is worth, which may be helpful if you bought the dress a while back or if the dress has some wear and tear.

For each bridesmaid dress you post for sale, you pay a $5 listing fee. While this is lower than the commission fee of other sites, you do have to pay it whether your dress sells or not.

2.   Bridesmaid Trade

Bridesmaid Trade has very comprehensible user guidelines, so this website is arguably the easiest to use. (All of them are pretty user-friendly, but that’s just the opinion of this technologically un-savvy gal.)

There is no listing fee, but if your dress does sell, Bridesmaid Trade charges a $15 fee. So, for example, if you want to pocket $75 for your dress, list it at $90.

3.   Etsy

I mean, come on, who doesn’t love Etsy?

As of September 2017, Etsy boasted 30.6 million active shoppers, so there may be a better chance your dress will be seen. I’ve had several friends shop for wedding and bridesmaid dresses on Etsy. They fell in love with their purchases and sing Etsy’s praises.

Etsy charges 20 cents per item that you list, a 3.5% transaction fee, and a 3% + 25-cent fee for processing the payment. Broken down, that means that if you listed a dress for $100, you would end up paying Etsy $6.95.

That equation seems unnecessarily complicated, but it still works out to be quite affordable. So it’s okay, Etsy, we still love you!

4.   Forever the Bridesmaid

Forever the Bridesmaid is for bridesmaid dresses only. My favorite part is its Tips for Sellers section. This page gives advice regarding dress upkeep, photos, descriptions and pricing to increase the likelihood of selling your dress.

Rather than charging a specific dollar amount, Forever the Bridesmaid takes a 15% commission fee for each dress you sell.

5.   Tradesy

Although Tradesy has a lot of high-quality bridesmaid dresses listed, the website sells much more than just wedding-related items. The potential downside of this feature is that people wanting to buy bridesmaid dresses might not think of searching Tradesy first.

However, I must say that Tradesy seems mighty convenient. The site has representatives available 24/7 to answer your questions. Their team also sends you, the seller, a free shipping kit and even handles returns if your buyer changes her mind!

If your dress sells for under $50, Tradesy takes $7.50. If your dress sells for more than $50, Tradesy switches from dollars to percentages, taking 14.9%.

Hopefully you feel a little less anxious about being a bridesmaid now that you have options for selling your dress. Just focus on being there for the bride and thinking of the perfect wedding hashtag.

Originally posted on The Penny Hoarder.

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Amazon Might Owe You: Here’s How to Find out How Much

You mean well, but sometimes you forget that wedding, baby shower or birthday is coming up until it’s three days away. So you order the perfect gift on Amazon and fork over a week’s salary for expedited shipping.

But here you are, ready to leave for the party (dressed spectacularly, we might add) — and the package hasn’t arrived. Ever had that happen?

Amazon Will Give You a Partial Refund

You could call Amazon and negotiate a refund. But that involves a whole set of #FirstWorldProblems, like waiting on hold and talking on the phone.

With a new delivery monitoring system from Paribus, you could get a refund with no extra work.

We’ve talked about Paribus before. It’s the tool that scans your online shopping receipts and monitors major retailers for price drops. If the price goes down on something you bought, Paribus gets the retailer to pay you the difference.

Its new delivery monitoring service has a similar mission: Save you time and effort getting refunds you deserve. Here’s how it works:

  1. It checks your email for receipts to find guaranteed delivery dates.
  2. It tracks the package using UPS or the retailer’s shipping tracking.
  3. If the delivery is later than guaranteed, Paribus will send you an email with instructions on how to file a claim with the retailer to get you compensation.

How Much Money Can You Get Back?

Paribus monitors dozens of retailers — including Amazon, Best Buy and more — so your refund will depend on the store’s shipping policy.

With Amazon, for example, a late delivery means you’re eligible for “a refund of any shipping fees associated with the order in question,” according to its policy. Prime members (who get free two-day shipping) may also be eligible for additional compensation.

Paribus has negotiated everything from full or partial cost-of-shipping refunds and store credit to one-month extensions of memberships in rush-shipping programs like Prime.

Paribus’ price-match and delivery monitoring services are totally free. That means all that shipping cost goes back in your pocket.

Disclosure: Paribus compensates us when you sign up using the links we provide.

This was originally posted on The Penny Hoarder.

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Manage Money

If You Need to Add 284 Points to Your Credit Score: Try This 90-Second Move

Everyone who’s saddled with bad credit has a unique story.

A man burdened with $6,000 in unpaid bills. A couple recovering from job loss and foreclosure. A woman who fell behind on payments while living abroad. A single mom with a terminally ill child. A young woman with so much debt she couldn’t even get a credit card.

One of the toughest parts about paying down debt and fixing your credit score is knowing where to begin.

To create a rebuilding plan, first you have to know what you’re dealing with.

Your credit report will give you this information. You can get a free copy of it once every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus — but they can be tough to decipher.

If you want to keep a closer eye on your credit, get your credit score and “credit report card” for free from Credit Sesame. This website breaks down exactly what’s on your credit report in layman’s terms, how it affects your score and what you should do about it.

Folks who’ve used it tell us it’s a lifesaver, and they’re not alone: 60% of Credit Sesame members see an increase in their credit score; 50% see at least a 10-point increase and 20% see at least a 50-point increase after 180 days.

5 People Who Raised Their Credit Scores Using Credit Sesame

We spoke with five different people who’ve had profound problems with their credit. All five turned things around with Credit Sesame.

James Cooper: +277 Points

Matt Odom for The Penny Hoarder

James Cooper knows all about having bad credit. As recently as 2017, his credit score was a lousy 524.

“I never had a credit card,” he says. “I had $6,000 worth of unpaid bills.”

He vowed to sort out his financial situation and fix his credit.

Although there are legitimate credit repair services, there are also shady ones that demand money upfront and promise way more than they can deliver. Then they’ll milk you for money until you wise up.

Cooper and a friend went through this ordeal with three companies. Then they found Credit Sesame, and the free credit monitoring service taught them how to fix their credit.

Cooper raised his score by 277 points — from 524 to 801 — over the six months from June to November 2017.

Inspired by his experience, now Cooper teaches high school students the importance of good credit.

Jerry Morgan: +120 Points

Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

In 2008, the housing bubble burst. The three-bedroom home in New Port Richey, Florida, where Jerry Morgan and his wife, Vivienne, had lived for 10 years plunged into the foreclosure process.

Then Vivienne lost her job.

By 2017, the family’s financial situation started to look up again. So in September, Morgan decided to address his credit score.

“Frankly, with the experiences we have gone through, I was embarrassed to even check my score,” he said.

Before coming across Credit Sesame, Morgan hadn’t bothered to check his credit score in, well, quite a while. He says finally getting his finances on stable ground encouraged him to take a peek at this three-digit number.

Following recommendations from the service, he’s raised his score 120 points in six months.

Elisabeth Nyang: +168 Points

Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

At the end of 2016, Elisabeth Nyang was in debt to the tune of $17,500— a mix of credit card debt, overdue bills and lingering student loans. She found herself there after two years of living in China.

In China, where it’s difficult to send money to the U.S., Nyang fell behind on her payments. In hindsight, she admits, the difficulty in transferring money was just an excuse — out of sight, out of mind.

But when she decided to move back to the States, she knew she needed to get her finances back on track.

“I can’t live like that,” she remembers thinking.

Since signing up for Credit Sesame in January 2017, Nyang has paid off that $17,500 pile of debt and raised her score from 495 to 663. That’s a 168-point jump.

Melinda Smieja: + 284 Points

Photo courtesy Melinda Smieja

In 2005, Melinda Smieja’s 13-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor.

“So here I am a single mom, and my daughter gets sick,” she explains. “And I’m like, ‘What am I gonna do?’”

Between continuing to care for her younger daughter and moving from Seabeck, Washington, to Seattle to be near her 13-year-old’s medical care, she racked up credit card debt.

“I used [a credit card] for dinners, I used it for food,” she says. “For a place to stay. It got to the point where all of my credit cards were maxed out.”

Her credit score was down to 480 by the time she checked. And she’d racked up somewhere between $20,000 and $30,000 in debt on 11 credit cards.

In 2010, an email campaign led her to Credit Sesame, a new company (at the time) offering an easier way to monitor your credit history.

“It was something that I had been searching for [without realizing it],” Smieja explains.

It made her overwhelming situation manageable.

“I could look and I could say, ‘Okay, this is what’s all going on here. This is my debt. This is what’s happening. This is what’s making my credit [interest] high.’”

And she could finally tackle her debts, one at a time. The work wasn’t quick. It was slow and steady — but it paid off.

In 2016, for the first time, Smieja’s credit score hit 680, crossing the line of what lenders consider “good credit.” By late 2017, it was up to 764.

Dana Sitar: +68 Points

Carmen Mandato/The Penny Hoarder

At 30, Dana Sitar’s history with credit cards, student loans and medical bills was pretty bad.

Student loan interest was piling up. Hospital bills were out to collection agencies. No one would give her a credit card. She landed a loan for a new car by the skin of her teeth. Her security deposits for car rentals and apartments were through the roof.

She wanted to fix it, but didn’t even know where to start.

Sitar, an editor for The Penny Hoarder, found Credit Sesame in 2016, and today, she’s breathing a little easier.

Credit Sesame, Sitar writes for The Penny Hoarder, is “answering all the questions swirling in my head, keeping me awake at night and threatening a panic attack every time I authorize a credit check.”

Since she started tracking her credit score with the app, she’s watched it rise — slowly but surely — by 68 points.

“Motivated by the easy access to my free credit report card through the app,” she says, “I haven’t been able to ignore my credit like I used to.”

Keep an Eye on Your Credit Score

Your credit score is important.

And why is that?

The better your score, the better deal you’ll get on a mortgage, car loan or credit card. We’re talking big money here.

To keep a closer eye on your credit, get your credit score and a credit report card for free from Credit Sesame.

Credit Sesame does not guarantee any of these results, and some may even see a decrease in their credit score. Any score improvement is the result of many factors, including paying bills on time, keeping credit balances low, avoiding unnecessary inquiries, appropriate financial planning and developing better credit habits.

This was originally published at The Penny Hoarder.

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Make Money

If You’ve Paid a Utility Bill in California This Year, This Might Get You a Check for $300

Let’s get straight to the point: We found a program that will pay you $300 a year (or more!)for turning out the lights, shutting off your energy-consuming appliances and going outside for an hour.

Do we have your attention? We thought so.

If you have a utility account with PG&E, SDG&E or Southern California Edison, which cover nearly every single county in California, listen up.

OhmConnect is a free tool that will pay you to help save energy when the grid gets stretched. These earning periods are called “OhmHours” and  during this time, your job is to simply use less power.

Go outside. Take the dog for a walk. Or take the kids to the park. If you can successfully reduce your energy usage, OhmConnect will send you a check!

Here’s how to get a check from OhmConnect:

  1. Sign up for a free OhmConnect account here.
  2. Sync it with your online utility account through PG&E, SDG&E or Southern California Edison. You must have an online account with one of these electric companies to qualify for OhmConnect.
  3. Receive energy usage notifications during “#OhmHours” — high-energy-consumption hours that trigger non-green power plants to activate in order to support the overtaxed grid.
  4. Head outside or at least turn the TV off until the #OhmHour is up. Heck, you can even play games on your phone during this hour — just resist plugging in any electronics.
  5. Profit! OhmConnect rewards you with cash.

This all works because the California electricity market (or California ISO) pays OhmConnect to help them avoid turning on an expensive, dirty power plant. The company then passes the savings on to you.

#OhmHours only occur a couple of times a week, and in addition to earning money, you might see a reduction in your power bill each month, too — not to mention the benefits of getting some sunshine!

How to Maximize Your Earnings

Your earnings are based on how much power you save. The more you save, the higher your “status,” which helps you earn even more.

For example:

  • Platinum status requires an average savings of 40% or more beneath your forecasts for at least 10 OhmHours. You’ll receive the 2x multiplier on your payout.
  • Gold status requires an average savings of 15% or more for the past 10 OhmHours. You’ll receive the 1.5x multiplier on your payout.

Once you’ve earned rewards, you can choose to cash out or donate directly to your favorite charity.

The downside?

Like we mentioned, this cool program only works for Californians for now, and you have to have an online account with one of the electric companies mentioned above.

Before you leave, be sure to read about how one San Diego resident made up to $487 a month by saving energy through OhmConnect.

Originally posted on The Penny Hoarder.

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Make Money

Illinoisans Are Getting Free $25 Target Gift Cards When They Alter Their Utility Bill

Did you know that you could get paid to use more wind energy?

With renewable energy company Arcadia Power, you can offset up to 100% of your monthly energy consumption with 100% renewable sources in about two minutes.

Arcadia Power matches each kilowatt-hour of power you use with a kilowatt-hour of wind energy. Basically, the company purchases certified renewable energy certificates in your name, so others can take advantage of clean energy in their area.

And, because you’re such a good person, the company will throw in a free $25 Target GiftCard™

Why you should connect your online electric utility account to Arcadia Power:

  1. It’s free, and only takes a few minutes.
  2. Arcadia Power matches your usage to clean energy sources and automatically gets you lower energy prices when they become available in your area, while your utility continues to deliver reliable electricity.
  3. You rest easy knowing you’re being green while helping your wallet — all without having to install or commit to anything.

Eric Hanson wanted a cleaner energy source, but didn’t have the option in his area — and didn’t want to install pricy solar panels.

So he went with Arcadia Power, which offers him a way to drive the demand for sustainably sourced electricity, even though it’s not available in his area yet.

“On a fundamental level, the power that I use in my house is coming from renewable sources,” Hanson says. “By providing financial support for renewable energy sites, I can disrupt the market. I’m willing to support green growth.”

Bonus: Arcadia lets you see an online dashboard to track your power usage  — and Illinoisans can sign up for price alerts to find the cheapest energy rates available.

You can sign up to qualify for your free Target GiftCard™ in about two minutes.

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Save Money

Which Fitness Chain Has the Best Gym Membership for Your Budget?

Despite years of adding “lose some weight” to my list of New Year’s resolutions, I have yet to join a gym.

Not to make excuses (well, let’s be real — everyone who wants to avoid the gym is making excuses), but I’m incredibly indecisive when it comes to spending money on myself.

Except when it comes to food.

But getting in shape requires making a decision and a commitment to putting in the work. And it takes an investment — in time and often in money.

With so many options out there, how do you pick the best gym membership for you?

Our Guide to Finding the Cheapest Gym Membership

Let me start by saying choosing a gym is a very personal decision.

Size might be a significant factor. Location might be also important to you — maybe if you pass the gym along your normal commute, you won’t be going out of your way.

Well, to help make your decision a bit easier, we compiled information from six national workout chains so you can compare availability, costs and features.

Some gyms provide free trials, so be sure to take advantage of those offers before signing up for a membership.

Writer’s note: Individual membership costs are published as listed online as of May 17, 2019, and they are subject to change. Rates may vary based on location and current promotions.

1. Youfit Health Clubs

Where: Youfit Health Clubs has more than 100 locations in 15 states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

How Much: The base membership fee is $10 a month. The premium tier (known as “Lime Card” access) costs $21.99 a month. When you sign up for the base membership, you’ll also pay for first and last month dues. Initiation fees vary depending on the membership package.

What’s Included: Depending on location, these clubs include top-of-the-line equipment, free weights, group fitness sessions, express circuits, personal trainers, tanning beds and childcare. Premium members can also bring a free guest with them for every visit and can visit any YouFit location.

Try It: Get a free guest pass for one-time use.

2. Planet Fitness

Where: Planet Fitness has over 1,800 locations in all 50 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Canada and the Dominican Republic.

How Much: Monthly dues are $10 for just one location or $19.99 to use any location. Annual fees are $39.99 and the start-up fee is $1. The $10 membership has no commitment.

What’s Included: These gyms include cardio and weight-training equipment, plus fitness training programs for all members. Some locations include massage chairs and tanning services. Many locations are open 24 hours a day.

Try It: Find the location nearest you.

3. Crunch Fitness

Where: Crunch Fitness has more than 300 locations for its regular gyms and 30 locations for its Signature gyms (which include more classes, upgraded amenities and more). Its gyms are located in 30 states, as well as Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and four Canadian provinces.

How Much: A base membership is $9.95 a month, a Peak membership is $21.95 a month and a Peak Results membership is $24.95 a month. Enrollment fees vary from $10 to $49.99 depending on your membership level. The annual fee is $78, prorated at $6.50 a month.

What’s Included: Depending on what type of membership you choose, you can take advantage of multiple perks at this gym, including a training orientation with a fitness expert, group fitness classes, online video workouts, tanning and Hydromassage. The Peak and Peak Results memberships can be used at multiple locations.

Try It: Try a free one-day trial.

4. LA Fitness

Where: LA Fitness has more than 675 locations in 27 states, Washington D.C. and Canada.

How Much: Monthly fees start at $24.99 for single-club access or $29.99 for multiple clubs within the same state. Initiation fees are $89.

What’s Included: Gyms include state-of-the-art equipment and cardio areas, group fitness classes, indoor heated pools, whirlpool spas and saunas. Some have kids’ clubs, juice bars and basketball and racquetball courts.

Try It: Find your local club to request a guest pass online.

5. 24 Hour Fitness

Where: 24 Hour Fitness has over 400 locations in 13 states — California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Texas, Hawaii, Florida, Virginia, Maryland, New York and New Jersey.

How Much: Monthly fees start at $29.99, but can vary based on location and membership level. Members pay a one-time initiation fee, which starts at $29.99, and there’s also a $49.99 annual fee.

What’s Included: Gyms include studio and cycle classes. Most facilities also have an indoor lap pool and a Whirlpool. Members can take advantage of personal and group training. Get access to digital workouts you can complete at home without stepping foot in an actual gym. Parents of children ages 6 months to 11 years can drop their kids off for supervised fun time at nearly every location.

Try It: Use this three-day free pass.

6. Anytime Fitness

Where: Anytime Fitness has more than 4,000 locations in all 50 states and 36 countries across six continents. (That’ll likely soon change, as the chain recently announced plans to expand to Antarctica.)

How Much: Membership starts at $29.99 per month, but prices vary depending on location and current promotions. According to Anytime Fitness’s spokesperson, the average membership is $40 a month. Members also pay one-time initiation and key activation fees, which vary depending on the franchise.

What’s Included: Members have access to cardio machines, weights and strength training equipment, as well as classes and wellness programs. Some locations offer tanning and personal training. They are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Try It: You can get a free seven-day pass.

Other Alternatives to Popular Chain Gyms

If none of these chain gyms suit your fancy, you could always join your local YMCA or set up a home gym to get your workouts in.

You could also incorporate fitness into your daily routine by trying one of these nine inexpensive gym alternatives. Running is one of the options on that list; this post on tips and tricks for finding discounted running shoescan help ease your stride.

Or you could lace up those shoes and march right into the gym!

Originally published on The Penny Hoarder.

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Make Money

7 Legitimate Ways to Get Free Target & Walmart Gift Cards This Week

You know it’s going to be a good day when you have a gift card burning a hole in your wallet.

It’s like your personal free admission pass to all your favorite stores — Amazon, Starbucks, Target, Walmart… you name it. Instead of holding your breath at checkout, you can let out a sigh of relief. That little piece of plastic just freed up room in your monthly budget for other expenses.

Sadly, you might think you can only land gift cards around your birthday or the holidays. But we’re going to show you how to get free gift cards online — it’s basically free money!

7 Easy Ways to Get Free Gift Cards

If you’re looking to pocket some free gift cards, we’ve got your guide right here. We’ve searched the internet high and low and have tested each of these strategies. No need to worry about internet scams; we’ve battled all those for you.

Without further ado, here’s how to score free gift cards today:

1. Get a Free $25 Target GiftCard™ When Your Home Goes “Green”

Most of us can’t afford to install pricy solar panels, so that’s why Arcadia Power will offset your energy consumption with 100% renewable sources.

When you sign up your home or apartment (yup, renters are eligible, too!) with Arcadia, you’ll get a free $25 Target gift card.

It takes about two minutes to sign up, so this is about as easy as it gets.

2. Scratch Off Free Lottery Tickets to Earn Gift Cards

A man uses the Lucktastic app.
Katherine Taylor for The Penny Hoarder

There’s something so satisfying about those gas station scratch-off tickets, but it’s better to avoid them because, well, that’s not Penny Hoarding.

Instead, try scratching for free using an app called Lucktastic, available via iOS and Android. (Note: Lucktastic is called Lucktastic Match in the iTunesstore.) Each day, it releases a new assortment of digital scratch-off tickets. Lucktastic says instant wins range from $1 to $10,000.

You can also earn tokens that you can exchange for free gift cards to retailers including Amazon, Walmart, Kohl’s, Sephoraand more.

You’re basically earning free gift cards when you play games!

The app is supported by advertising, which allows it to keep the payouts high and the games free.

3. Get Free Gift Cards for Completing Mini-Tasks

Have you heard of Mypoints?

It’s a long-time reader favorite around here. It’s basically an online money-making portal. You’ll complete tasks on the site — watch videos, shop at your favorite stores, take surveys, participate in polls and peruse the web with its search engine— to earn extra money.

Mypoints rewards you in points which you can exchange for Amazon, Walmart and even Visa gift cards.

Mypoints is easy to get the hang of — and even kind of fun!

4. Watch Movie Previews for Free Gift Cards

Carmen Mandato/ The Penny Hoarder

Most of you already know about InboxDollars, but did you know that it will pay you to watch movie previews, celebrity videos, the latest news and dozens of other videos? Plus, you’ll get a bonus $5 just for signing up.

You need to watch all of the shows in a specific playlist to earn your bucks, so be prepared. InboxDollars lets you know how long the playlist runs before you start watching, and playlists range from a few minutes to about a half hour.

5. Snap Photos of Any Receipt to Start Earning a $10 Gift Card

Blue selective focus image of till receipts.
peepo/Getty Images

Yes, cash-back apps are an awesome way to make moneyand pocket free gift cards, but it can take time claiming those offers, uploading photos of your receipts and scanning barcodes.

If you don’t have time for that, then you’ll want to download the Fetch Rewards app.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Once you download the app and create an account, enter the code PENNY to earn 2,000 free points.
  2. Now, take a photo of any of your grocery receipts (must be from the past 14 days) to start earning rewards. It’s that simple.

Every time you scan a receipt that includes one of more than 250 participating brands, you’ll earn points — without worrying about matching specific product offers.

If the app does find a match, you’ll earn even more. For example, we recently saw an offer of 2,000 points when you purchase a Suave female hair product. And another for 2,000 points for a 12-pack of Blue Moon.

Once you collect enough points, cash out for a gift card to any of a number of retailers. For example, 10,000 points will get you a $10 Sephora gift card. Or 3,000 points will get you a $3 Panera Bread card.

6. Get a Free $10 Walmart Gift Card

One of our favorite ways to save moneyis with Ebates, a cash-back site that rewards you nearly every time you buy something online. For example, Ebates gives you up to 10% cash back on online purchasesat Walmart.

Plus, you’ll get a free $10 gift card to Walmart for giving the site a try.

To earn your gift card:

  1. Sign up for Ebates with your email or Facebook account.
  2. Use the Ebates portal the next time you need to buy something. It’s connected to thousands of stores, including Walmart, Amazon and Target. You’ll need to make your first purchase through the site within 90 days and spend at least $25.

Your account will automatically be credited with rewards points you can cash in for your $10 Walmart gift card.

7. Exchange Your Grocery Receipts for Gift Cards

After elbowing your way through grocery store aisles, you deserve a gift card, right?

Before your next grocery haul, download the free Ibotta app.

Before you shop, search for items on your shopping list within the Ibotta app. When you get home, snap a photo of your receipt and scan the items’ barcodes.

Bam. Cash back.

Ibotta is free to download. Plus, you’ll get a $20 sign-up bonus. Here’s how to get it:

  1. Download the Ibotta app.
  2. Create an account.
  3. Shop, and take a photo of your grocery receipt.
  4. Redeem 10 offers within 14 days, and you’ll get that $20 bonus.

Every time you scan a receipt that includes a participating brand, you’ll earn cash back.

For example, we recently saw an offer of $5 back on a case of Shiner Bock beer.

Once you earn at least $20, cash out via PayPal.

Go ahead, and start earning cash by downloading Ibotta.