There are some neat new sites, services and deals out there that can either boost your bottom line with minimal effort or flat out provide entertainment value with no discernible benefit. Here are a few in no particular order:
Blippy – Blippy is perhaps one of the strangest new services I’ve seen this year. I have yet to figure out what the actual value or utility is to society, but I’ve gotta admit, it’s an interesting concept and rather amusing to watch. Frankly, I’m not sure if I’m more amused by the content of the site or the fact that multiple legitimate venture capital firms are backing this garage experiment. Basically, you create a profile and publicize for the world to see every purchase you make. On one hand, this sort of voyeurism is sure to be a hit for the same population that loves reality TV and blogs that share relatively insipid yet personal details about the author that for some reason draw massive readership. Conversely, from the participant’s point of view, perhaps it’s either narcissism or a last-ditch attempt to force some sort of fiscal restraint by just putting it all out there for all to see. For instance, many studies have shown that people are more likely to lose weight if they face public shame or embarrassment by not meeting their objective once their journey is tracked by a viewing public. i.e. The Biggest Loser, someone posting a before/after body shot on their blog, etc.
Whatever the outcome of this venture, it’s worth at least looking at once to just ask, “Why?”
6-Figure Salaries – If you’re making $75,000 or more and want to at least keep tabs on what your market value is outside your current role, The Ladders is such a cool site. I signed up a while back and I get automated emails based on my preferences for region, the field I’m in, positions I’d consider, etc. I get an update weekly or so with Director of this, Project Manager of that, salaries list, locations, etc. It’s pretty neat – and it’s FREE to sign up and get the initial updates. Since so many job postings out there aren’t aligned with your actual interests or they have lousy salaries, The Ladders is great at screening just what you’re interested in (or finding out what your boss makes!).
A CD You Control? – There’s a pretty interesting new product from Ally Bank that I’ve never seen before. The Rising Rate CD is a certificate of deposit that allows you to actually increase the rate once during the term in case rates rise on the same term CD and you feel you’re missing out. Feel like a sucker locking in a low rate today so it’s just sitting in an even lower yielding savings account indefinitely? This may be the solution. If rates spike as the Fed reacts to inflationary forces, you can jump your rate up at will. Check out the Rising Rate CD details.
No Penalty CD – Ally Bank also has a No Penalty CD that combines a competitive rate with the ability to break the CD and withdraw funds without the downside of a CD penalty. More info on the No Penalty CD.
$100 Signup Bonus – at OptionsXpress. This is a top options trading outfit that of course, allows you to trade stocks as well. Given the $100 signup bonus, even if you already have an online broker you like using, it’s worth setting up this extra account for a free $100. You only need $500 to open the account so it’s a 20% ROI right off!
0% Down Mortgage? In 2010? You’re not seeing things. Under an obscure US government program that isn’t widely publicized, thousands of American families are still getting mortgages with NO money down. It’s called the USDA Farm Loan but most of the people partaking live on anything but a farm.
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