ScoreCard Research Staff Writer

How much fun would it be to work in a toy store? You’d get to play with stuff all the time — or at least when you’re on break.

Toys R Us is hiring more than 12,000 part-time seasonal employees to work in stores and fulfillment centers across the country.  

The company’s customer service partner is also hiring over 900 people to fill work-from-home jobs in virtual call centers in 25 states.

Toys R Us recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, but don’t let that stop you from applying. It simply means the company is working on new ways to pay down its debt — something a lot of us can relate to.

“As the holiday season ramps up, our physical and web stores are open for business, and our team members around the world look forward to continuing to put huge smiles on children’s faces,” said Dave Brandon, chairman and chief executive officer at Toys R Us in a statement on the company’s website.

If this isn’t the kind of job you’re looking for, don’t forget to check out our Jobs page on Facebook. We post new positions there all the time.

What Kind of Seasonal On-Site Jobs are Available?

Several different kinds of jobs are available at Toys R Us stores and fulfillment centers:

  • Cashier
  • Sales Associate
  • Stock Associate
  • Toy Demonstrator
  • Order Fulfillment Associate (daytime and overnight)
  • Distribution Center Warehouse Associate
  • General Labor (DHL Supply Chain Fulfillment Center)
  • Clerical (DHL Supply Chain Fulfillment Center)
  • Forklift Operators (DHL Supply Chain Fulfillment Center)

Where Are the On-Site Jobs Located?

Toys R Us has hundreds of stores across the U.S. The largest seasonal hiring markets include:

  • New York: more than 3,800
  • Los Angeles: more than 2,400
  • Groveport, Ohio (DHL Supply Chain Fulfillment Center): more than 2,400
  • Philadelphia: more than 1,400
  • Chicago: more than 1,100
  • Boston: more than 950

Tell Me About the Work-From-Home Jobs

Toys R Us partners with Acticall Sitel Group to staff its 25 virtual call centers in 25 states.

As a work-from-home Toys R Us customer service agent, you’ll answer phone calls and assist customers with billing or account questions, product inquiries and more.

Do the Jobs Include benefits?

Yes! Benefits include competitive pay, flex hours, varied shifts, and a Team Member shopping discount.

Part-time seasonal workers may also be eligible for long-term jobs once the holiday season ends. “Over the past several years, Toys R Us hired thousands of its holiday workforce after Christmas to fill permanent roles,” the company states.

I’m Interested! How Do I Apply?

It’s easy, and you can even apply right from your mobile phone! Here’s how:

  • To apply for DHL Supply Chain Fulfillment Center jobs, visit dhlsupplychainjobs.com or text “TOYS2017” to 31996 for job information.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She loves telling readers about new job opportunities, so look her up on Twitter @lisah if you’ve got a tip to share.

Our world is not lacking in natural disasters. In any given month, communities are experiencing or cleaning up from a hurricane, flood, earthquake or other unexpected event.

Whether watching events unfold from near or far, many people have a natural inclination to provide compassionate assistance in any way they can.

But it can be difficult to decide where to donate supplies, money or boots-on-the-ground labor where it will do the most good.

Here are some resources to help you decide.

How to Donate Supplies

People in disaster-stricken areas almost always need food, water and other basic supplies. But each disaster also brings its own set of unique needs based on the type and duration of the event, how much time residents had to prepare and how badly the disaster impacted the community’s infrastructure.

"Generally after a disaster, people with loving intentions donate things that cannot be used in a disaster response, and in fact may actually be harmful," Juanita Rilling, former director of the Center for International Disaster Information told CBS News. "And they have no idea that they're doing it."

Here’s what to do instead:

  • Check the affected area’s official website and Facebook page for information. Local officials often post lists of supplies victims and relief workers need most.
  • Check with the area’s local food bank to see whether it’s accepting food deliveries.
  • Look around your house for unused medical equipment like CPAP machines and wheelchairs. Type the item’s name and “donate to disaster victims” to find out where to send your donation.

How to Donate Money

Several national and international organizations accept financial donations to assist with specific disasters.

Be sure to do your homework before donating money to a relief fund. These independent watchdog groups provide insight into the reputations of charitable foundations and how contributions are spent.

Groups That Provide Local and International Disaster Assistance

These organizations provide disaster assistance to stricken areas:

Groups that Provide Specific Types of Disaster Assistance  

These groups provide disaster aid for animals, children and people who need or want specific types of assistance:

  • Goonj: Assistance for disasters that occur in India.
  • Portlight: Disaster assistance for people with disabilities.
  • Support the Girls: Bras and feminine hygiene products for people in disaster-affected locations .

How to Donate Time and Labor

If you plan to donate time and labor after a future event, consider taking the free disaster training course though the American Red Cross to understand how communities are affected by disasters and how they recover.

Here are some organizations to connect with if you want to help out in person in the wake of a disaster. Note: Some of these opportunities require volunteers to meet certain eligibility requirements.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Follow her on Twitter @lisah.

After cleaning the bathroom, my least favorite chore is cleaning my kitchen appliances.

No matter how carefully I tidy up after myself while cooking, little bits of food still end up wedged in the crevices of my stove.

It doesn’t matter how tightly I screw lids on the jars in my refrigerator, something is always destined to leak.

It seems like my oven, cooktop and microwave get grungy in the time it takes to fry an egg.

As part of my cleaning schedule, my kitchen appliances get a good deep-cleaning about every three months. Here’s how I tackle the job.

How to Clean Refrigerators and Freezers

How to clean your Refrigerators and Freezers

What you need:

  • A cooler large enough to hold the food in your freezer. In a pinch you can also stack your frozen food in the kitchen sink and cover it with a heavy blanket to keep it insulated
  • Cleaning cloth or non-abrasive sponge
  • Toothbrush
  • Plastic spatula
  • Thick towels (for manual-defrosting freezers)
  • Vacuum cleaner with hose attachment

How to clean the interior of your fridge:

  1. Remove everything in your fridge and put it in the cooler or sink.
  1. Detach all removeable shelves and drawers. Soak in hot, soapy water or run them through the dishwasher.
  1. Remove stuck-on food by soaking a cloth or paper towel in hot water and laying it across the food stain for about five minutes. Once the food softens, wipe it up with a cloth or paper towel or gently scrape it up with a spatula.
  1. Spray the interior with all-purpose cleaner and wipe dry with a sponge or cloth.
  1. Scrub the refrigerator door seal with a damp toothbrush and wipe dry.
  1. Replace the shelves, drawers and food.

How to clean the interior of your freezer:

  1. Remove all food and ice trays.
  1. Detach all removeable shelves and drawers. Allow them come to room temperature to avoid cracking, then soak then in hot, soapy water or run them through the dishwasher.
  1. Remove stuck-on food by soaking a cloth or paper towel in hot water and laying it across the food stain for about five minutes. Once the food softens, wipe it up with a cloth or paper towel or gently scrape it up with a spatula.
  1. For auto-defrosting freezers with no ice build-up, spray the interior with all-purpose cleaner and wipe dry with a sponge or cloth.
  1. For manual-defrosting freezers or freezers with ice build-up, line the bottom of the freezer with towels then leave the freezer door open for a few hours to allow the ice to melt. The towels will absorb the water so it doesn’t pool on your floor.
  1. Scrub the freezer door seal with a damp toothbrush and wipe dry.
  1. Replace the shelves, drawers and food.
  1. Make fresh ice.

How to clean the exterior of your refrigerator and freezer:

  1. Clear the refrigerator’s exterior surface of magnets, clips, papers, pictures, etc.
  1. Spray the exterior with all-purpose cleaner. Wipe dry beginning at the top to catch drips and streaks.
  1. A bit of furniture polish will make the exterior sparkle.
  1. Remove and clean the drip pan (see your owner’s manual for details).
  1. Unplug the refrigerator and pull it away from the wall. Vacuum the refrigerator coils.
  1. Plug the unit back in and move it back to its original spot.
  1. Replace magnets, pictures and your kid’s artwork.

How to Clean Cooktops and Stovetops

How to clean your Cooktops and Stovetops

What you need:

  • Cleaning cloth or non-abrasive sponge
  • Toothbrush
  • Sewing needle or toothpick

How to clean a glass cooktop:

  1. Make sure the cooktop is completely cool.
  1. Remove detachable dials and knobs, hand wash and dry.
  1. Follow Real Simple’s advice for removing stubborn baked-on stains before cleaning.
  1. Wipe down the surface with a cleaning product specifically designed for glass cooktops.
  1. Use a damp toothbrush to clean crevices and ridges.
  1. Spray with water to remove residue, wipe dry.

How to clean an electric stovetop:

  1. Make sure the cooktop is completely cool.
  1. Remove detachable dials and knobs, then hand wash and dry them.
  1. Separate burner coils from the stove (see your owner’s manual for details).
  1. Use a damp toothbrush to clean stuck-on food from burner coils, then dry them with a clean towel. (Do not submerge burners in water.)
  1. Remove drip pans and soak in hot, soapy water or run them through the dishwasher.
  1. Spray the cooktop with all-purpose cleaner and wipe dry.
  1. Replace the drip pans and burners.

How to clean a gas stovetop:

  1. Make sure the cooktop is completely cool.
  1. Remove detachable dials and knobs, then hand wash and dry them.
  1. Remove burner grates and drip pans. Soak them in hot, soapy water or run them through the dishwasher.
  1. Use a toothbrush dampened with water to clean burner caps.
  1. Inspect burner holes for trapped food or debris that may block gas flow. Use a sewing needle or toothpick to clear clogs.
  1. Spray the exterior with all-purpose cleaner, taking care not to extinguish the pilot light, and wipe dry.
  1. Replace drip pans and grates.

How to Clean Ovens

How to Cleaning Your Oven

What you need:

  • Rubber gloves
  • White vinegar in a spray bottle
  • Plastic spatula
  • Non-abrasive sponge or cloth
  • Toothbrush
  • 12 to 24 hours to let the cleaning solution work its magic

How to clean the interior of your oven:

  1. Remove oven racks and soak them in a bathtub filled with enough hot, soapy water to cover the racks, or run them through the dishwasher.
  1. Spread baking soda paste all over the oven’s interior.
  1. Let sit 12 to 24 hours, then wipe the interior with a damp cloth or sponge dipped in water.
  1. Use the spatula or paint stirrer to scrape up any remaining dried-on food.
  1. Continue wiping the interior with a wet cloth or sponge until no trace of baking soda remains.
  1. Scrub the oven door seal with a damp toothbrush and wipe dry.
  1. Replace the oven racks.

How to clean the exterior of your oven:

  1. Spray with all-purpose cleaner and wipe dry

How To Clean Dishwashers

How to clean your Dishwasher

What you need

  • One cup of white vinegar
  • One cup of baking soda
  • Dishwasher-safe bowl
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Cleaning cloth or non-abrasive sponge

Interior  

  1. Remove all dishes from the dishwasher.
  1. Check to make sure the drain on the floor of the dishwasher is clear of food and debris.
  1. Pour vinegar into the bowl and place it on the upper rack of the dishwasher. Run the dishwasher through one hot-water cycle.
  1. Sprinkle the bottom of the dishwasher with the baking soda. Run the dishwasher through another hot-water cycle.

Exterior

  1. Spray with all-purpose cleaner and wipe dry.

How To Clean Microwaves

How to clean your Microwave

What you need:

  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Cleaning cloth or non-abrasive sponge
  • Large bowl
  • One cup of water
  • One lemon, roughly chopped or 6 tablespoons of white vinegar

Interior

  1. Put water and lemon or vinegar into the bowl.
  1. Place the bowl in the microwave and run on high until the water boils (one to four minutes).
  1. Let the water cool for 15 to 20 minutes, then carefully remove the bowl. Grind the lemon peels in the garbage disposal to freshen it.
  1. Wipe the interior of the microwave and dry.
  1. If you have a removable turntable, wash it in hot, soapy water or run it through the dishwasher.
  1. Return the turntable to the microwave.

Exterior

  1. Spray with all-purpose cleaner and wipe dry

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She looks forward to the age of self-cleaning kitchen appliances.

All header graphics of supplies needed illustrated by Kristy Gaunt, Illustrative Designer at The Penny Hoarder.

What’s not to love about sleeping? It’s free, refreshing and doesn’t require any special skills to master.

In fact, a good snooze can make you feel like you won the lottery.

No wonder so many people sleep like it’s their job.

Alas, all good slumber must come to an end, and waking up can be a real drag.

According to a new survey by the “lifetime insomniacs” at Sleep Junkie, how and what time you wake up may have a direct impact on your relationship satisfaction, happiness and even your income.

Take a look at these results to see how your morning wake-up habits line up with those of others.

Penny for Your Thoughts

Sleep Junkie asked people what they think about when they first wake up. It’s no surprise that money and work topped the list.

People also think about food, health and hygiene, as well as errands they need to run.

Friends and family made the list too — but barely.

Researchers say, “women were three times more likely than men to wake up thinking about their loved ones — 9 percent of women compared to only 3 percent of men.”

Back Away From the Snooze Button

According to the survey, people with partners who repeatedly hit the snooze button report lower overall relationship satisfaction. Indeed, people with the highest relationship satisfaction say their partner never snoozes their alarm.

Sleep is a precious commodity, so it’s understandable that jolting your bed partner awake every nine minutes with a nagging alarm might make your loved one a bit testy with you.

Here’s a related data point for you: Researchers discovered that people who wake up thinking about work and money are less likely to hit the snooze button.

Researchers don’t explain the correlation, but it may have something to do with the way financial stress affects sleep in general.

Get Up Earlier. Seriously.

The survey also took a look at how the time we wake up impacts our lives. Unfortunately, the news isn’t great for people who don’t like getting up with the roosters.

“Both job satisfaction and salary were higher with earlier wake-up times,” researchers say. “The peak salary ($46,000) was associated with a 5 a.m. wake-up time. However, the peak for job satisfaction was at 6 a.m. with an average salary of about $41,000.”

So whether you work to make money or just because you love what you do, the optimal time to get up and get moving is between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. Researchers say income and job satisfaction steadily decreased the later people woke up.

Our mental health doesn’t fare much better when we sleep late, either.

“With regards to our respondents who described their mental states as ‘completely healthy,’ the average wake-up time was 6:49 a.m.,” researchers report.

“From there, the self-described ‘mostly mentally healthy’ group woke up at 7:15 a.m. The later the wake-up time, the less healthy our participants felt, with 8:57 a.m. and later contributing to feeling completely unhealthy.”

Sorry, sleepyheads.

In fairness, the wake-up window in this survey was from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. so maybe the results are different for people who get up at 4 a.m. or sleep until noon. (I have no idea, I’m just trying to give those of you who love to sleep in a little hope here).

A Field Report From an Early Riser

I leapt at the chance to write this because I have a long and checkered sleep history. As it turns out, my experience is pretty similar to these results. I, too, wake up thinking about money or work more than I do about food, errands or my husband (sorry, honey!).

And that bit about the snooze button affecting relationships? My husband once repeatedly snoozed his alarm for two hours. He woke up to find me sitting up in bed like this:

I can also attest that getting up at o’dark-thirty positively impacts my mental health and career because I feel like I have more time to get stuff done without rushing around.

If you want to try waking up earlier for a while to see how it affects your life, the internet is filled with advice on how to get used to it.

But remember, a good night's sleep is more important than what time your alarm goes off, and sleep deprivation is legitimately bad news.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She gets up at 4 a.m. because if she doesn’t her cats will eat her face.

The U.S. workforce is weird.

We’re always talking about how busy we are or sharing the latest productivity hacks to squeeze every last bit of usefulness out of our workday.

But the minute we volunteer for extra shifts or projects, we’re deemed workaholics who need to slow down and take it easy.

I get it. Working to excess has been linked to all kinds of physical and emotional issues, including an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, anxiety and depression.

Some medical professionals even equate workaholism with addiction.

However, according to a recent study, it’s perfectly all right to be a workaholic -- as long as you love what you do.

Researchers discovered long work hours can negatively affect people who don’t enjoy their jobs, but not necessarily those who are highly engaged with their work.

They also discovered “engaged workaholics [have] more resources, which they may use to halt the health impairment process.”

Researchers concluded “work engagement may actually protect workaholics from severe health risks.”

Workaholics, Unite!

These findings might help explain the psychology behind why some people enjoy working jobs with long hours.

For instance:

  • Medical professionals, firefighters, police officers and first responders typically work 12-hour (or longer) shifts
  • Many entrepreneurs or business owners work much more than eight hours per day
  • The workdays of teachers and college professors often extend beyond classroom hours

One thing many people who work in these professions have in common is that they genuinely love what they do. But people in other industries also work a lot of hours, sometimes doing jobs that don’t seem quite as rewarding.

Perhaps people who work long hours in, say, food service aren’t as engaged with their jobs as a registered nurse, but that doesn’t mean their apparent workaholism is a cause for concern.

Someone may choose to live the workaholic life because:

  • It allows someone else to stay home to care for children or a sick family member
  • They’re working toward long-term goals like building a retirement fund or socking away money to start their own business
  • It’s a form of escape from issues in their personal life
  • They’re challenging themselves to reach personal or professional goals
  • It brings them personal satisfaction

The bottom line is, we shouldn’t be so quick to judge people who work longer hours or take on more job responsibility than friends and colleagues.

There are a lot of reasons why people lean towards workaholism, and they aren’t all bad.

Check Yo’self Before You Wreck Yo’self

But if you think (or know) you’re a workaholic, be sure you’re not letting it negatively affect you.

1. Look at how working long hours makes you feel.

"When a workaholic is not working, he feels guilty and restless," says Wilmar Schaufeli, professor of work and organizational psychology at Utrecht University. "To avoid those negative feelings, he starts to work. This is totally different than when you work intensely because you like the job."

2. Examine your reasons for working long hours.

“Honestly analyze your motivations,” recommends entrepreneur Alyssa Gregory. “Is your work compensating for other areas in your life that are lacking? Are you comfortable with your motivations as they are? Do your motivations support your goals?”

3. Use your powers for good.

“You can use your workaholic tendencies to pull all-nighters to finish big projects on time or even before the deadline,” says business writer Charlene Jimenez. “Being known as a workaholic can actually increase your clientele and improve your professional reputation.”

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s a diehard workaholic with the best of intentions.

There’s a lot to love about working from home, but I’m going to level with you.

It can also be a soul-sucking experience that makes you question your sanity and life choices.

For one thing, anyone who says working from home reduces distractions is a lying liarface. Between my insolent pets and never ending chore list, there’s always an animal, load of laundry or dusty coffee table vying for my attention.

In some ways, having a job that requires you to leave the house beats the daylights out of working from home. If you need convincing, take a look at 12 things no one warns you about when you have a work from home job.

1. People think you goof off all day so you constantly hear, "Can you watch my kid, walk my dog, water my plants, pick me up at the airport, meet me for coffee?”

2. You miss a lot of inside jokes that crop up among co-workers during the course of a day.

3. You also miss all the snacks, birthday cakes and surprise donuts.

4. Let’s face it. You pretty much miss everything that happens when you’re not in the office.

5. Holy smokes, the loneliness and isolation is a drag.

6. You spend so much time in your desk chair that it eventually becomes a part of your body.

7. You get to a point where you’ll try anything to entertain yourself during downtime between projects or calls.

8. If you freelance or run your own business, stalking the mailbox for your next check is no fun.

9. Meetings go on without you if your internet flakes. (Bonus: Sometimes your coworkers won’t even notice you’ve dropped off the call.)

10. You will never know the joy of an unexpected work-from-home day when the weather is bad or the power goes out at the office.

11. Your co-workers forget who you are.

12. Your posture sucks because you don’t have to sit up straight in your chair and look professional. (I see you slouching right now.)

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She wrote this from her home office while her colleagues stuffed themselves with pizza during the company book club meeting. No, she’s not sad about that AT ALL.  

From hurricanes and forest fires to earthquakes and tornadoes, most U.S. residents are at risk for natural disasters of one form or another.

While it’s nearly impossible to anticipate some emergencies, advance warning about tropical weather, wildfires, jittery volcanoes and extreme cold emergencies do give people the chance to evacuate to safety.

Well, in theory anyway.

Why Some People Don’t Evacuate in Emergencies

People don’t heed evacuation warnings for a number of reasons, instead choosing to shelter in place:

  • They don’t want to leave pets behind and can’t find a hotel or emergency shelter that allow animals
  • They’re afraid looters will rob their unattended homes
  • They want to deal with roof leaks, downed branches or other small problems before they become huge
  • They lack confidence in the severity of weather forecasts or warnings from local government officials
  • They simply can’t afford it

These are all valid reasons, but I want to talk about that last point in particular.

Evacuating your home is expensive. Even if you aren’t living paycheck to paycheck, the costs involved in packing up and leaving at a moment’s notice can be downright prohibitive.

What It Costs to Evacuate in an Emergency

The amount you’ll spend to dash to safety in an emergency depends on a number of variables, including the size of your family, how many pets you have, whether you can stay with friends or family instead of a hotel, and so on.

No matter what, though, it won’t be cheap.

My husband and I recently fled our home with four pets ahead of Hurricane Irma. We were fortunate to be able to stay with friends instead of booking a hotel, but it still cost us a small fortune.

Here’s a breakdown of our expenses:

  • Gas for two cars (round trip): $100
  • Non-perishable food and incidentals: $200
  • Extra pet food and supplies: $25
  • Extra medication refills: $80

The total: $405

We had reliable cars plus a large stock of bottled water, batteries and flashlights in the emergency prep kit that we took with us. If we hadn’t, our expenses would have been even higher.

For additional peace of mind, our employers allowed us to evacuate without worrying we would lose our jobs. Others weren’t so lucky.

The bottom line: Some people risk their jobs and extreme financial hardship if they choose to evacuate ahead of an emergency.

It’s a terrible position to be in and certainly not an easy decision to make.

The Stigma of Being Poor During an Emergency

People who lack the financial resources to get out of harm’s way during an emergency face a multitude of conflicting issues.

The shame of being poor often keeps people from asking for the help they need to evacuate, yet people who don’t evacuate are often vilified for staying.

It’s a senseless situation that makes an already stressful experience worse.

“You should probably not try to guilt people into leaving unless you are willing to buy plane tickets for the whole family including the dogs and also fly down and help with the storm prep,” suggests Miami resident Connie Ogle.

What to Do When You Can’t Afford to Evacuate

If you need or want to evacuate your home ahead of an emergency but can’t afford it, keep these five things in mind:

1. There is no shame in your game. A lot of people are struggling to get by under the best of circumstances — including people around you that you’d never suspect — so evacuation expenses can be a significant additional burden for many people. You aren’t alone so don’t be afraid to ask for help.

2. Consider seeking temporary shelter for your pets. It can be unthinkable to be away from our pets when they need us — and we need them — most, but it might be necessary if it’s the best way to keep all of you safe.

A number of people I know offered to take in their friends’ pets while evacuating during Hurricane Irma, freeing their owners to seek shelter in places animals weren’t allowed.

3. Offer to house-sit in a non-evacuation zone. Some people don’t need to evacuate but are already out of town when an emergency looms or simply choose to wait it out far from home. Let friends know you’re willing to keep an eye on their home and help with prep and clean-up in exchange for a safe place to stay during the crisis.

4. Monitor your local information channels. Local governments pull out all the stops to reach residents during an emergency. Check local news channels and citizen information centers for what to do if you need help evacuating. Ahead of Irma, Florida Gov. Rick Scott pleaded with residents, "We cannot save you when the storm starts. So if you are in an evacuation zone and you need help, you need to tell us now.”

5. Be willing to rely on the kindness of strangers. There will always be opportunists who try to take advantage of people during an emergency. Fortunately, there are far more people willing to help others out of a jam whether they know them or not. Check with local churches and aid organizations to see what private shelter opportunities are available near you.

Evacuating your home ahead of an emergency is an anxiety-filled situation that cuts across economic and social lines, so don’t let your financial situation keep you from asking for assistance if you need it. You’d be surprised how many people want to do what they can to help.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s evacuated ahead of two major hurricanes and is always gratified by how quickly people come together in a crisis.

My neighbor is a terrible liar.

My house is right in the path of Hurricane Irma so I popped next door to ask my neighbor if she needed help with anything.

“Oh, no. I’m fine. We’re fine. Everything’s fine,” she assured me. The staccato tapping of her foot and the way she kept twirling a lock of hair around her finger told me otherwise.

She finally admitted she’s a nervous wreck (me too!) but her body language gave her away long before that.

Bodies are funny like that. They can betray the words coming out of our mouth because some body language is an unconscious behavior.

With the possible exception of professional poker players, most of us don’t go around monitoring our body language all the time. There’s one situation, however, where you probably should.

Watch Your Body Language During Job Interviews

Hiring managers say body language mistakes are a huge deal-breaker during job interviews. As many as 30% of candidates display negative body language during job interviews, according to a recent survey.

Senior managers say several non-verbal cues can tell them a lot about the person they’re interviewing. Candidates who do things like cross their arms, play with something on the table or slouch in their chairs can torpedo their chances of landing a job.

The top behaviors that are likely to make or break your interview include:

  • Eye contact
  • Facial expressions
  • Posture
  • Handshake
  • Fidgeting
  • Hand gestures

"Providing thoughtful responses and asking intelligent questions carry a lot of weight during a job interview, but your body language can also speak volumes," said Brandi Britton, a district president for staffing company OfficeTeam. "Candidates need to do everything they can to increase their chances of receiving an offer — and that includes avoiding negative and distracting nonverbal behaviors."

Hiring managers expect candidates to be nervous during interviews. It’s how you manage your anxiousness that can make the difference between getting the job or getting passed over.

One way to take the edge off is to practice answering common interview questions before your appointment. It’s also a good idea to prepare a few questions for your interviewer to make a great impression.

The more relaxed you are going into your interview, the less likely you are to fidget, glance around or wear a terrified expression on your face.

Learning to control your unconscious body language has benefits outside the job interview process, too. It can help you keep your cool during negotiations like asking for a raise or buying a new car.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Her favorite expression about body language is “ she looks as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.”

Do you have an Android smartphone and a Gmail account? This work-from-home job might be perfect for you.

Marketing services company Lionbridge is hiring work-from-home U.S. Android and desktop internet search reviewers right now.

As a reviewer, you’ll use both your desktop or laptop computer and your Android phone to evaluate websites to make sure they’re accurate and relevant.

You must own an Android smartphone with the latest version of the Android operating system (currently 6.0 Marshmallow).

If this reviewer job doesn’t grab you, check out our Jobs page on Facebook. We post new jobs there all the time.

Here’s What You Need to Know About This Work-From-Home Job

Applicants for this position must be:

  • Tech savvy
  • A daily user of Gmail
  • Familiar with downloading apps on your Android smartphone
  • Familiar with social media, news, sports and current affairs
  • Willing to download and install certain required apps through Google Play
  • Available to work a minimum of three to five hours of your choosing per week
  • Fluent in written and verbal English
  • A U.S resident for the last three consecutive years

Check out all the requirements to be an internet search reviewer and then hop over here to apply for the job.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She loves telling readers about new job opportunities so look her up on Twitter @lisah if you’ve got a tip to share.

“Ssshhh! Don’t say a word. There’s someone at the front door!” I hissed at my husband.  

For the third time that week, one of our friends dropped by unexpectedly to shoot the breeze and see what we were up to. I was busy working and didn’t want them to know we were home (though our cars in the driveway were probably a dead giveaway).

I normally welcome visits from friends and family -- but not in the middle of a workday.

I wish someone had told me when I started out as a work-from-home professional just how important it is to set boundaries for my daily schedule; I found out the hard way that a lot of people think anyone who works at home is free to babysit, pop out for coffee or do favors for others at any time.

For most work-from-home professionals I know, nothing could be further from the truth. People who work remotely for a company are expected to be available during their scheduled hours, not off running errands with a friend.

Freelancers, consultants and other people who run a business out of their home usually don’t get paid when they aren’t working and certainly aren’t generating income when they’re chatting with friends.  

I know many of our readers work at home, so I asked our Penny Hoarder Facebook Community what they wish they had known when they started out as a work-from-home professional.

Since work-from-home days are part of the awesome benefits we get here at The Penny Hoarder, I also asked my co-workers what avoidable things trip them up when they work remotely.

Here’s what I learned.

[caption id="attachment_71696" align="alignnone" width="1200"]A woman works from the comfort of her home in St. Petersburg, Florida. Heather Comparetto/The Penny Hoarder[/caption]

Work-From-Home Professionals Weigh In

It’s Easy to Forget the World Exists

“I am definitely an introvert, but I was amazed by how quickly I began to miss my normal day-to-day interactions with other people,” says Jeff Proctor.

“For me, working from home actually made me place a higher priority on everything outside of my work: going to the gym regularly, planning weekend trips in advance, etc. Basically, I had to make sure the entirety of my life didn't unfold within my own house!”

Time Zones Are a Pain

Josh Darby, a developer at The Penny Hoarder, says, “The main thing I wish I realized beforehand was that time zones can be a terrible thing.

“The team I worked with were all based in California so I was consistently working 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. just to fit their schedule and finish same-day projects.”

Boundaries Are Your Best Friend

“The aspect that sometimes causes issues for me has to do with setting boundaries with my family,” Gus E Layla Kong told us.

“While my schedule does allow me the flexibility to throw in a quick load of laundry, or drop a package off at the post office, sometimes there is the expectation that ‘mom is home,’ therefore she can [run errands], and it won't be a problem. I think it's important for family members to realize that when I'm working, that needs to be my main focus.”

The True Cost of Working From Home

“I wish I'd known how much time I'd spend chasing down work, and how much of my time is unpaid,” says Esperanza Baca Gonzales. “I'm still not convinced this is better than just working a predictable job outside the home.”

Don’t Sell Yourself Short

“It's easy to lose track of your hours and quote less for a job because you are working from the comforts of home,” says Penny Hoarder video manager Michael House.

“I wish I knew the importance of keeping a log of my hours and charging accordingly. Time is money and when you work from home alone often it's easy to lose perspective.”

Say Yes to the Dress [Shirt]

[caption id="attachment_71729" align="alignnone" width="1200"]A woman dresses in professional attire as she works from home. lechatnoir/Getty Images[/caption]

Jessica Szabo says, “I have found that the ‘[it’s great to stay in] pajamas all day’ part is not necessarily true. I tried that, and learned quickly that I have trouble focusing and taking my work seriously when I'm dressed to lounge around. I also work online in an environment that does not require me to go on webcam… [so] I can wear a much more casual outfit than I'd need if I were going into the office for that amount of time. But I still get up and get dressed for work.”

Quiet, Please

“Often times it is easy to get distracted because you get too cozy. It is easy to mix home and work, which is not necessarily a good thing,” says Taylor Nix. “Also, sometimes it is really hard to find a really quiet environment for focus.”

A Case for Office Space

“Having a separate office space is important,” says Krystall Mirdad.  

“I've been at it for years and since I work in my living room (or even bed if I'm sick) the line has blurred between home and work. I don't feel that relaxing sense [of] being away from my job, I feel as though if I'm sitting on my couch I should be on my computer and working.”

Forget Phone Fear

Lexie Machado says she wishes she’d known “that the phone is a key tool to make a connection with a potential client and that talking on the phone actually isn't as scary as my inner introvert led me to believe.“

Food for Thought

[caption id="attachment_71675" align="alignnone" width="1200"]Carson Kohler works from home in St. Petersburg, Florida. Penny Hoarder writer Carson Kohler works from her kitchen. Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder[/caption]

My fellow writer Carson Kohler says, “I wish someone had reminded me about the importance of keeping the fridge stocked with healthy food to keep my energy levels up.

“I also I wish I’d known how hard it is to remember to eat. It’s easy to forget when you’re sucked into your own little world at home.”

I’m Lovin’ It

Tracie Crisante sums up what a lot of people had to say about working from home.

“What do I wish I knew? How much I would love it.”

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She once hid in her kitchen for 10 minutes so an unexpected caller wouldn’t see her through the window. Seriously, people. Call first.

Between weekly meal prep and making at least two full meals every day, sometimes I feel like I never leave my kitchen.

Don’t get me wrong: I love to cook, so I enjoy being in the kitchen. It’s the room itself I’m not too crazy about.

My house was built in the 1950s so the kitchen is… well, let’s just say it could use an update.

My husband and I recently bought a gorgeous new refrigerator (we skipped the protection plan), but unless a huge chunk of money falls out of the sky and into my lap, I’m stuck with the kitchen I have for the foreseeable future.

So, like any good Penny Hoarder, I poked around the internet to find some easy, affordable kitchen upgrades I could do that don’t cost a king’s ransom.

These five projects are my favorites. As a bonus, they’re easy to undo if you’re living in a rental home.

1. Beautify Your Backsplash

The wall between the countertop and overhead cabinets is one of the most important visual elements in a kitchen.

We spend a lot of time at the kitchen counter prepping and cooking food, so that area is directly in our line of vision. Since we see it so much, it might as well look nice, right?

The trouble is, a simple coat of paint is boring, but backsplashes can be expensive.

The answer is something you probably use every day.

Plates!

Danielle over at 2 Little Superheroes came up with the idea to use plastic plates to create a backsplash effect for only a few dollars.

You could pick up a set or two of sturdy melamine plates online for about $15 to $25, but you already know there’s an even better option: Hit up a thrift store or yard sale and look for inexpensive plates wherever you find picnic items.  

When you’re ready to decorate your backsplash, craft a hanging point on each plate by popping the tab off a soda can and hot gluing it on the back of the plate.

Tap tiny nails into the wall and hang the plates to create a DIY backsplash that’s as unique as you are.

Renter restoration: When you take down the plates fill in the tiny holes left behind by the nails with toothpaste or a bar of soap.

2. Dress Up Your Cabinets

Aside from being dated, I like my kitchen just fine. The cabinets and cupboards, however, are another story.

They’re cheesy, brown faux wood-grain monstrosities that date back to when the house was built. I haaaaaate them.

If your cabinets are as unsightly as mine, consider covering them in contact paper.

Self-adhesive contact paper comes in pretty much every style and pattern you can think of -- even chalkboard.

If that seems like too much work, go radical. Take the cabinet doors off completely and use these four open shelving tips to keep everything tidy and company-ready.

Renter restoration: To be sure the contact paper won’t leave any residual damage when you remove it, test it on an inconspicuous area first.

As you’re removing kitchen cabinet doors, number them (and the corresponding cupboard) using a small piece of masking tape so you know where to rehang each one.

3. Upgrade Your Hardware

My kitchen cabinet door handles and drawer pulls may have looked nice at one time. (Oh, who am I kidding? They’ve always been ugly.)

Removing and replacing them with updated modern hardware made a world of difference.

Renter restoration: Gather all the old hardware and screws in a plastic bag and store the bag in a kitchen drawer so they’re handy when it’s time to replace them.

4. Take Control of Your Countertops

Clear and declutter your countertops for an immediate cosmetic lift. Stash the small appliances you rarely use in cabinets and corral cooking utensils in that pretty vase you picked up at a garage sale.

Check out these other genius ways to get countertop clutter under control:

  • Build some pretty DIY storage boxes for smaller items and stack on top of the refrigerator

If you’re willing to ruthlessly get rid of kitchen stuff you don’t need rather than just rearrange it, sell it on LetGo to make a few bucks.

Renter restoration: Label small appliances and kitchenware that came with your rental to easily sort them from your own possessions when it’s time to pack.

5. Throw in Some Textiles

New textiles are an inexpensive and endlessly customizable way to freshen your up kitchen.

Pretty dishtowels will only set you back a few dollars, especially if you pick them up at a secondhand store.

Rugs tie a room together and make even the most uninviting spaces seem cozy. Unfortunately, they can be pricy, so don’t splurge on a new one until you’ve read how easy it is to make a rug of your own using easy-to-wash material.

Don’t overlook what the right window treatment can do to spruce up a space. I’m not talking about tacking up some color-coordinated dishtowels across the kitchen window, either. Depending on the size of your window, a nice set of curtains can run you as little as 10 bucks -- less if you can find some you like at the thrift store.

Renter restoration: The great thing about upgrading your kitchen with rugs and towels is that you can just take them with you when you move out.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She so excited about her new refrigerator she practically hugs it every time she gets home.

If you’ve got customer service experience and want to put your skills to work helping victims of Hurricane Harvey, take a look at this opportunity to work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster relief efforts.

FEMA is hiring temporary full-time customer representatives across the country. The jobs are scheduled to last 120 days with a possibility of extension, and the pay range is $15 to $19 per hour, depending on location.

If these customer representative jobs aren’t right for you, check out our Jobs page on Facebook. We post new opportunities there all the time.

FEMA Customer Representative

Customer representatives work in call centers as FEMA’s point of contact for people with questions about disaster relief assistance or need help filing claim requests.

Jobs are available in these six locations:

The application deadline for the jobs in Hyattsville, Pasadena and Winchester is Sept. 25, 2017. The deadline for Baton Rouge, Carson City and Raleigh is Sept. 30, 2017.

This job’s responsibilities include:

  • Provide information about disaster assistance to people over the phone and in person
  • Verify applicant eligibility for disaster assistance
  • Provide information and explanations of Housing Assistance, Other Needs Assistance Grant and other programs
  • Process applicant cases, re-certifications, audits and recoups and lodging reimbursement

To be eligible for this job, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • U.S. citizenship
  • Pass a background check
  • Selective Service registration is required for males born after Dec. 31, 1959
  • Paid or unpaid professional customer service experience
  • Excellent phone skills
  • Basic computer skills and working knowledge of Microsoft Office
  • Fluency in communicating, comprehending, and translating Spanish and English is preferred

Follow these steps to apply for the Customer Representative job.

  1. Click the link above to your preferred location
  1. Create a free account with USAJOBS if you don’t already have one
  1. Provide some basic contact and eligibility information
  1. Submit a resume using USAJOB’s resume builder to access FEMA’s job listing
  1. Create a free account with FEMA
  1. Answer a series of eligibility, job experience and demographic questions  
  1. Review and submit application

FEMA expects to make job offers within 30 days of the application deadline. You can check the status of your application at any time in the Dashboard section of your FEMA account.

If being away from home for several weeks doesn’t work for you, there are other ways you can help with Hurricane Harvey relief. Just be sure to watch out for scammers.

The Real Story About FEMA Field Representative Rumors

You may have noticed reports on Facebook and other social media sites that FEMA is hiring field representatives at a high rate of pay to help deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

While it’s true that FEMA is hiring home inspectors, the jobs aren’t new and don’t necessarily pay thousands of dollars per week as Facebook rumors would have you believe.

According to a page on FEMA’s website dated January, 2016, “Currently, FEMA contracts with two companies for their home inspections. These job opportunities must be pursued through these individual contractors. They are Vanguard EM and PB Disaster Services.”

Vangaurd EM and PB Disaster Services (now known as WSP USA Inspection Services) are hiring independent contractors to complete disaster housing inspections.

Vanguard EM pays between $35 and $45 per inspection. WSP USA pays an “apprentice rate” or “inspector rate,” depending on experience.

To see if you qualify to be a Disaster Housing Inspector visit the information portals at Vanguard EM and WSP USA.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She loves telling readers about new job opportunities, so look her up on Twitter @lisah if you’ve got a tip to share.