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Brian Martucci
Brian Martucci is a freelance journalist and branding consultant who loves to provide practical personal finance advice for regular people. When he’s not writing about frugal living, long-term investing, or consumer-friendly financial products, he’s probably out exploring a new trail or sampling a novel cuisine.

What Is Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) – Comparison to Store-Bought Produce

By Brian Martucci

csaMy longtime girlfriend and I recently took a brief break from our busy lives to tie the knot. The whole experience was unforgettable, but one of the highlights was the amazing outpouring of generosity from our friends and family members, many of whom we hadn’t always been good about keeping in touch with. We got all sorts of presents, some of which are still sitting in storage as we get moved into our new place.

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7 Hotel Booking Websites With Private Sales & Exclusive Deals

By Brian Martucci

hotelThough changing technology and the digital revolution have put many travel agencies out of business, it has been a boon for the lodging industry. Thanks to travel booking sites such as Hotels.com, Hotwire, and Kayak, you can seamlessly book hotel rooms in every corner of the world without picking up the phone. With so many travel booking resources at your disposal, it’s easy to compare prices and accommodations at different sites to ensure that you’re getting the best deal.

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Ride Sharing and Car Sharing – Cheaper Than Owning a Car?

By Brian Martucci

carsharing and ridesharingI own a car, a bike, and two legs. When the weather is nice and I need to run to my neighborhood store or get to an appointment in another part of the city, I walk or bike. If the weather’s bad and I’m not in a rush, I take public transportation. And if I need to buy a lot of stuff at the grocery store or make a suburban rendezvous, I use my own car.

Lately, for a variety of reasons, I’ve been driving less. But since I like to feel mobile and want to keep my transportation options open, I’ve been reluctant to get rid of my trusty automobile.

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GE Capital Bank Review – Online Banking for Savings & CD Accounts

By Brian Martucci

ge capital bankFrom Ally Bank to Capital One 360, online banks have made FDIC-insured banking more accessible to regular consumers and business owners. Offering savings accounts and CDs – but not offering loans – GE Capital Bank is one such online bank. It’s worth noting that GE Capital Bank is distinct from GE Capital Retail Bank, which offers its own suite of products, including loans.

GE Capital Bank, which is headquartered in the Salt Lake City area, provides FDIC insurance – up to a maximum of $250,000 per individual – on its clients’ deposit accounts. It lacks physical bank branches, but enables its customers to bank online or over the phone.

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SoFi Review – Refinance Your Student Loans Peer-to-Peer

By Brian Martucci

sofi logoEven college graduates who find great jobs can struggle with debt for years after leaving school, especially if they have expensive private student loans. And, for borrowers who can’t make ends meet, it’s nearly impossible to discharge student debts in bankruptcy. The result is an unending cascade, possibly decades long, of financial repercussions.

Social Finance, Inc., known as SoFi, looks to change this glum reality. Using peer-to-peer lending between members of the public and qualified student borrowers, it provides student loan refinancing for graduates of more than 100 U.S universities. Recently, SoFi has also delved into peer-to-peer personal loans, mortgages, and primary student loan markets.

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FreshBooks Review – Online Invoicing Software for Painless Billing

By Brian Martucci

freshbooks logoIf you work as a freelancer or run your own small business, you probably can’t afford a full-time accountant – but you also can’t trust your finances to manage themselves. Fortunately, there’s an app for that. With about five million global users, FreshBooks is one of the most popular cloud-based accounting programs available. It provides intuitive, non-technical tools to help with invoicing, expense tracking, timekeeping, and basic project management.

FreshBooks has many competitors in the crowded online accounting space, including Kashoo, Zoho Books, Xero, and Wave. With versatile payment options and automated accounting functions, unlike some of its cheaper competitors, it’s especially useful for busy entrepreneurs who can’t afford to devote time to manual accounting activities.

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10 Best Cities for Food Trucks and Quick, Cheap Eats

By Brian Martucci

food truckSome parts of the country have a longer relationship with food trucks – or their predecessors – than others. The first mobile kitchen, the chuckwagon, catered to cattle drivers on the High Plains of Texas and Oklahoma from the mid-19th century onwards. In urban areas, the first food carts sold hearty meals to third-shift workers, long after regular restaurants had closed for the night. New York’s ubiquitous hot dog carts are remnants of this past as well. And starting in the mid-20th century, taco trucks – serving cheap, homestyle food to the region’s booming Latino community – appeared in southern California cities.

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What Is Credit Counseling – How Debt Management Plans Work

By Brian Martucci

credit counselingThere are a number of reasons people get into debt. Whether you’ve dealt with insufficient income and mounting bills for years, or face a new, unexpected challenge such as a big medical expense or a lost job, it can be frustrating to watch the interest pile up on your unpaid obligations – and to wonder how you’re going to make ends meet each month.

A billion-dollar industry, led by nonprofits and government agencies as well as for-profit companies, exists to help Americans address their debt problems. Some of the services available to folks who struggle with debt include loan refinancing, debt consolidation loans, debt settlement services, and credit counseling.

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14 Best Freelance Websites to Find Jobs Online

By Brian Martucci

freelancerFreelancing is in vogue. Established firms remain slow to hire full-time staffers, preferring instead to work with temporary or contract workers they don’t have to entice with benefits – and with whom it’s easier to cut ties when projects are completed. As a result, a rapidly growing cohort of startups is leveraging on-demand freelance labor like never before. An entire cottage industry has emerged to provide guidance for these workers in the U.S. and abroad.

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What Are Debt Consolidation Loans – Benefits, Risks & Alternatives

By Brian Martucci

debt consolidationDealing with debt can be a frustrating, emotionally taxing experience. Whether you carry high credit card balances, persistent medical debt, or a crippling mortgage, your financial obligations can interfere with your ability to live a balanced life. If you feel like you just can’t pay off your debts on your own, you may be considering an option that has provided relief for hundreds of thousands of other Americans: a debt consolidation loan, also known as a refinancing loan.

These loans can be a big help to borrowers who owe significant money – but they do come with risks. It’s important to understand the drawbacks and consider all your alternatives before deciding if a debt consolidation loan is right for you.

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Ally Bank Review – Online Bank With No Minimum Balance Required

By Brian Martucci

ally bank logoOnline banks are powerful personal finance tools that offer convenient access to funds – but, not all are created equal. As one of the first online-only institutions, Ally Bank has developed a reputation for responsive customer service, high interest rates on checking and savings accounts, and reasonable fees. Like many online banks, it has no physical branches, but it is an FDIC member, which means its customers’ deposits are insured up to $250,000.

Since its spinoff from GMAC in 2009, Salt Lake City-based Ally has accumulated nearly a million customers. With $54 billion in total deposits, it’s currently the 29th largest U.S. bank.

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10 Social Media Etiquette Tips for Personal & Business Accounts

By Brian Martucci

social phoneSocial media use is exploding. Facebook has more than a billion global users, with Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn boasting hundreds of millions of active accounts. From preteens to senior citizens, every major age group is plugged in, whether they’re engaged in social media marketing, keeping in touch with old friends, or seeking out new connections.

Given today’s prolific social media environment, it’s hard to believe that just 10 years ago, social media barely existed. While it’s great to connect with friends and colleagues anywhere and at any time, this connectivity carries risks. A careless tweet or Facebook post can alienate your loved ones and jeopardize your job.

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ETF vs. Mutual Fund – 7 Key Differences Between Index Funds & ETFs

By Brian Martucci

investment chartsBuilding a balanced portfolio with individual stocks can be expensive and time-consuming. If you’re looking to save for retirement, or you hope to earn supplemental income by dipping your toes in the market, you probably can’t afford to purchase dozens of individual stocks in appreciable quantities. Not to mention, brokerage commissions on smaller purchases of individual stocks can add up quickly. For example, if you can only afford to purchase a few shares of a $25 stock, the typical $7 to $10 commission for your purchase would account for a significant piece of your total investment.

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11 Best Part-Time Jobs With Health Insurance Benefits

By Brian Martucci

starbucks part-time jobAccording to a 2013 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 85% of all U.S. full-time employees have access to employer-sponsored health insurance, and about 75% have access to retirement benefits. But millions of Americans don’t work full-time jobs, which is defined under the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA, popularly known as Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act) as working at least 30 hours per week at the same employer. And according to a report from The Census Bureau in 2013, just 24% of U.S. part-timers have access to employer-sponsored health insurance, and just 37% have access to retirement benefits.

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EverBank Review – Full Service Online Banking and Mortgages

By Brian Martucci

everbank logoEverBank is a Jacksonville, Florida-based bank that serves Florida customers through its network of physical branches and national customers through its online bank. The company offered its first product, the extant Yield Pledge Checking Account, in 1999. Since then, it has dramatically expanded its offerings to cater to retirement savers, high-asset clients, business owners, and advanced investors who want access to currencies and precious metals. It offers a robust lineup of banking services, as well as brokerage accounts for investors through EverTrade Direct Brokerage.

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