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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.

LOYAL3 Review – Buy & Sell Stocks Online for Free

By Brian Martucci

loyal3 logoThere are dozens of options for trading stocks online, but none quite like LOYAL3. This online trading platform caters to less experienced traders who want to demystify the stock market and own shares in recognizable companies.

It lacks many of the features of full-service brokerages, including stock screeners, retirement accounts, and securities other than stocks. However, LOYAL3 boasts several rare features: It makes it easy for relative novices to get in on corporate IPOs, it makes fractional shares of stock available for purchase, and it never charges commissions to buy or sell stocks.

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How to Make Hard Cider at Home – Brewing Process, Supplies & Cost

By Brian Martucci

ciderFor the past several years, I’ve been riding the homebrewing and craft beer bandwagons, sampling too many styles to count. My interest in cider, however, is a more recent development. Before I visited England a couple of years ago, I didn’t even realize alcoholic cider was a thing. To me, “cider” was that dark, cinnamon-tasting stuff that appeared in my supermarket’s produce section every fall.

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:DentalPlans.com Review – Find Discount Dental Insurance Alternatives

By Brian Martucci

Limited Time Offer: Click here and sign up for DentalPlans.com using coupon code MONEYCRASHERS to get 10% off any plan and 3 months extra free.

dentalplans logoHow often do you go to the dentist or eye doctor? If you’re like me, probably not often enough. Sometimes, though, whether you simply need a routine checkup or a more serious issue demands treatment, you’ve got to get your teeth and eyes examined by a professional.

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USAA Review – Financial Products for U.S. Military Members & Veterans

By Brian Martucci

usaa logoFor nearly a century, USAA (full name: United Services Automobile Association) has offered an ever-growing suite of financial products to active-duty and retired members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their family members. According to its website, the San Antonio-based private organization was started, back in 1922, by 25 military officers who couldn’t find an insurance company willing to cover their vehicles.

Today, USAA hawks everything from brokerage and retirement accounts to flood insurance, through about a dozen subsidiaries. USAA itself - the parent company of these subsidiaries - is member-owned, structured under Texas law as an inter-insurance exchange. This is a cooperative model, as opposed to a traditional corporation. All members can purchase insurance through this structure. As a member who owns a slice of the company, you’re eligible to receive a share of USAA’s annual profits.

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How to Make Beer at Home – Brewing Process, Supplies & Cost

By Brian Martucci

homebrewI live in Minnesota, one of the few states that bans Sunday alcohol sales – with the exception of specially brewed “near beer” varieties that have less than 3.2% alcohol by weight, or about 4% alcohol by volume. The limitation extends to retailers including grocery stores and gas stations, and the state legislature only just passed a law allowing breweries and distilleries to have onsite taprooms. Despite these restrictive statutes, or perhaps because of them, we’ve seen an explosion in the number of homegrown craft breweries since the beginning of 2010.

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What Is the Sharing Economy – Example Companies, Definition, Pros & Cons

By Brian Martucci

shared economyAn emerging, highly flexible economic network known as the sharing economy allows people to share resources – such as equipment, services, and skills – with one another, often at significantly lower cost than traditional retail or employment arrangements. You can now get a loan directly from your peers, share the same office space with dozens of different companies, and stay at a stranger’s house instead of a hotel when you’re traveling out of town.

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Car2Go Review & Promo Code – Flexible Self-Serve Carsharing

By Brian Martucci

Limited Time Offer: Click here and sign up for Car2Go using promo code BKLYN to get FREE sign-up and 30 minutes of drive time.

car2go logoThe rise of ridesharing and carsharing has greatly expanded the options available to urbanites who find car ownership to be costly and cumbersome.

Ridesharing and carsharing are like two sides of the same coin, as both make it possible for you to use your car less – or even ditch it altogether. Ridesharing is similar to using a taxi, but more flexible: You log into an app and hail a nearby driver, who picks you up in his or her own vehicle and drives you to your destination. Carsharing is more like renting a car: You reserve (or, in Car2Go’s case, find) a vehicle and drive it yourself, paying for the time you use.

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Is Zipcar Worth It? – Review, Membership-Based City Car Share Program

By Brian Martucci

Limited Time Offer: Click here and sign up for Zipcar to get a FREE $25 driving credit.

zipcar logoZipcar offers city-dwellers a viable alternative to traditional car ownership. Its hundreds of hubs around the globe make it one of the world’s largest carsharing companies, and once you have a membership you can use its vehicles anywhere – including Europe. Like fellow carsharing service Car2Go, and the locally based nonprofits it competes with, Zipcar is great for folks who don’t drive frequently. It’s also useful for travelers who want the peace of mind that comes with having on-demand access to a personal vehicle, but who don’t want to pay for – and park – a rental car.

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Sidecar Review & Promo Code – Get $5 Off Your First Ride

By Brian Martucci

Limited Time Offer: Click here and sign up for Sidecar using promo code GYUTAE1 and get $5 off your first ride.

sidecar logoSidecar is a ridesharing app that lets you hail point-to-point rides from your phone. Though not as popular or widely available as its two main rivals, Uber and Lyft, it is available in Seattle, the Bay Area, Los Angeles and Long Beach, San Diego, Chicago, Charlotte, Boston, and Washington, D.C. as of fall 2014 – though more markets are in the works.

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Lyft Review – How the Ride Sharing App Stacks Up to Uber

By Brian Martucci

Limited Time Offer: Click here and sign up for Lyft using promo code GYUTAE358731 and get $15 off your first ride.

lyft logoLyft is a popular ridesharing app - also known as a transportation network company, or TNC - that’s available in several dozen American cities. Like Uber’s similar app, Lyft lets you electronically hail cars driven by independent contractors. In practice, it functions a lot like a taxi service, although it’s far more technologically sophisticated, tends to have shorter wait times, and doesn’t directly employ any drivers (its drivers are independent contractors).

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Uber Review – The World’s Most Popular Ride Sharing App

By Brian Martucci

Limited Time Offer: Click here and sign up for Uber using promo code uberMoneyCrashers and get $30 off your first ride.

uber logoWith a presence in more than 40 countries and hundreds of cities, Uber is the world’s most popular ridesharing app. Like the Lyft app, it lets riders hail drivers electronically and compensate them for their services by credit card. Unlike Lyft, the Uber app offers access to several different levels of service, from a cut-rate option (UberX) that competes with Lyft and other ridesharing apps, to a luxury service (Uber Lux) that competes with limousine firms.

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Driving for Ride Sharing Apps Like Uber & Lyft – How It Works, Benefits & Drawbacks

By Brian Martucci

rideshareMaybe your personal budget isn’t as generous as you’d like it to be. Perhaps you’re getting tired of your nine-to-five grind. Or maybe you just want to earn some extra spending money. There are plenty of side hustles for folks in your shoes, from legitimate ways to make money from home, to part-time and seasonal jobs that put cash in your pocket. Now that ridesharing apps - also known as transportation network companies, or “TNCs” – such as Uber and Lyft are available in most major U.S. cities, you can add hiring yourself out as a personal driver to that list.

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What Is a D-U-N-S Number and What Is It Used For? (Dun & Bradstreet)

By Brian Martucci

d-u-n-s-Everyone born in the United States receives a unique, nine-digit Social Security number at birth. Without this identifier, you can’t enjoy many of the perks that American citizens and legal residents take for granted, including retired and disabled worker benefits. Of course, you also need a Social Security number to file your taxes.

Business entities don’t get – or need – Social Security numbers. However, they can obtain a unique, nine-digit identifying number through a system that’s nearly as ubiquitous as Social Security: the Data Universal Numbering System, or D-U-N-S. If you own your own business or are thinking about starting one, you should know more about the uses, benefits, and drawbacks of having a D-U-N-S number.

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How to Save Money on a Wedding – Top 10 Ways

By Brian Martucci

weddingIn May 2014, after what seemed like an eternity of planning and worry, my wife and I got married in a small-town Iowa church, just steps from her old high school. Our reception was a few miles down the road in a beautiful river valley with a hundred-year-old barn.

We were blessed to have a huge crowd of our friends and family, many of whom traveled from the coasts and the Deep South, to celebrate with us. The ceremony went off without a hitch, and aside from a brief, violent thunderstorm at the very beginning, the outdoor reception was an absolute blast. I don’t get emotional often, but I certainly did that day.

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11 Ways to Save on the Cost of Owning a Cat

By Brian Martucci

cat and ownerMy family currently has two cats. One is an orange barn cat that was foisted onto my wife’s parents, and then onto my wife, by a proverbial cat lady. He’s seven years old, give or take. The other is a former stray who appeared on our doorstep, cold and hungry, about four years ago. Our vet estimates her age at six or seven.

We find the experience of owning two cats to be manageable and emotionally rewarding, and we wouldn’t trade our particular two for the world. However, we’re also budget-conscious, which means we’ve developed some strategies for controlling the cost of owning cats without sacrificing their quality of life.

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