ScoreCard Research Nicole Dow - The Penny Hoarder

I’m not one to really play the lottery, but on occasion, I dream about what it’d be like if I scored a random windfall.

Other times, I fantasize about how life would be if my essential expenses would just disappear.

Like, what would I do if I didn’t have credit card and student loan debt to pay off?

What if I didn’t have to bother with the cost of groceries or meals out?

What if I didn’t have to pay rent?

Well, one lucky individual will be able to see that last wish turn into reality. Apartment Therapy is teaming up with 9JKL, a new comedy premiering this fall on CBS, to sponsor a sweepstakes to win free rent for a year.

The prize money totals a single payout of $12,000, which breaks down to $1,000 for your monthly rent bill -- not factoring in the taxes you’ll pay on your winnings, of course.

The storyline of 9JKL centers around a main character named Josh Roberts, who lives in an apartment wedged between his parents’ and brother’s apartments, which is too close for comfort when it comes to dealing with their meddling ways. (I bet he wishes he had free rent for a year.)

The show’s executive producer, Mark Feuerstein, stars as Josh and based the comedy on his experience living in a New York apartment next door to his parents -- a situation many millennials can relate to (though we may be actually living with our parents, not next door).

Entering the free-rent sweepstakes is easy. Just go to this site, enter your name and contact information and agree to the official rules. Apartment Therapy will automatically subscribe you to its giveaway alert emails -- which means more opportunities to snag freebies in the future.

The contest ends Oct. 2 at 11:59 p.m. EDT, so don’t forget to enter before then. One winner will be selected at random and notified using the contact information provided.

Good luck!

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Free rent for a year sounds awesome to her.

A smart Penny Hoarder with a mind for making money knows owning something that’s not being used is a good opportunity to earn some cash.

Those old CDs and DVDs collecting dust -- sell them on Decluttr.

That car sitting in the garage -- use it to make money through Uber or Lyft.

That spare bedroom that only sees guests a few times a year -- rent it out on Airbnb.

Heck, you could even rent out your couch or backyard.

So when we came across this Curbed article on GetMyBoat, we knew we had to share.

GetMyBoat, an app that launched in 2013, allows boat owners to rent out their watercraft online. The app contains listings for over 75,000 boats in 171 countries, according to the app’s site.

Now, I don’t have a yacht or a houseboat just lying around to rent out (nor does anyone I know), but I was pleasantly surprised to find out you can also use the app to rent out smaller watercraft like kayaks and jet skis.

In my local area, one owner is renting a specialty fishing kayak for $30 an hour, while another is renting kayaks for $30 a day.

I checked on the prices to purchase a kayak (because I don’t have one of those lying around either), and Dick’s Sporting Goods has this one for sale for $199.98. Renting it out for $30 seven times would cover its cost (not factoring in taxes or shipping).

So whether you’re looking for a way to make purchasing a new watercraft more affordable or you want to make money from the one you already have, GetMyBoat is a resource you should keep in mind.

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. The closest thing to a watercraft she owns is a pool float. Maybe she’ll have to rent a boat.

‘Tis the season for holiday hiring.

Yes, I know it isn’t even Halloween yet, but as stores are increasing their staffing to handle all the upcoming seasonal demand, you’ll continue to see these types of job openings on our site and Facebook page.

The latest holiday job we’re highlighting: Williams-Sonoma, the coveted kitchen-and-home brand, is looking for full-time seasonal customer service associates.

Get Paid for Good Customer Service

This work-from-home position connects associates with customers by phone, email or live chat to provide assistance with orders, returns and replacements, among other related duties.

To score this gig, you should have a high school diploma or equivalent, as well as strong data entry, typing and communication skills. You’ll need to be able to navigate through multiple systems and internet pages.

Having a year or two of previous customer service experience will look good on your application.

Since this is a remote job, you’ll need a desktop computer or laptop, high-speed internet and a home phone or cell phone with a compatible headset. The listing says you’ll receive more detailed requirements about what else you’ll need during the application process.

Enjoy Sweet Benefits

According to the job listing, the salary for seasonal customer service associates is $11 an hour, and associates are expected to work 30 to 50 hours a week. You could end up earning between $330 and $550 a week, pre-tax.

Don’t delay turning in your application, because the company plans to conduct the virtual training for this position Oct. 2 through Oct. 20. Training is paid.

Williams-Sonoma also offers promotional opportunities, contests and reward and recognition programs, but I saved the best work benefit for last -- a 40% employee discount on most merchandise!

Just be careful you don’t spend all your hard-earned money buying kitchenware and home decor items with your discount!

See here to apply for the seasonal customer service position with Williams-Sonoma.

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. The 40% discount has her thinking about filling out an application herself. She wants ALL the things!

It’s not even Halloween yet, but people already have Santa on the brain.

Before you groan and roll your eyes, consider the upside.

Those mythical elves aren’t building all those toys, games and goodies to deliver from a magical sleigh. (If only it were that easy.)

The reality is that millions of people will flock to stores over the next couple of months to fulfill their loved ones’ Christmas wish lists, meaning retailers all over will need more workers to deal with the additional business.

One giant retailer is on a hiring spree, but if these jobs aren’t for you, be sure to check out our jobs page on Facebook, where we post interesting jobs all the time.

Target Is Hiring Even More Seasonal Workers This Year

Target -- a store I could spend all day in -- is hiring about 100,000 temporary workers for the holiday season, USA Today reports. That evens out to an average of about 55 new workers at each of the retail chain’s 1,816 stores.

Last year, the company hired about 70,000 temporary employees for holiday help, according to the USA Today article.

USA Today reports the company will hire an additional 4,500 temporary workers at its distribution and fulfillment centers.

How to Score One of These Gigs

To get a job with Target this holiday season, check for openings at a location near you.

From Oct. 13 to 15, all Target stores will hold hiring events, at which interested job candidates can come in between 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., learn about open positions and potentially land a same-day interview that ends in a job offer.

If you’re looking for a seasonal job, make sure to mark those days on your calendar!

The company is currently accepting applications online for cashiers, sales floor members, backroom members, food service employees and workers for its logistics teams.

They promise “market competitive pay” and flexible schedules. Salary reports from thousands of Target employees on Glassdoor show the average hourly pay for cashiers ranging from $9.20 to $9.45.

According to Glassdoor reports, backroom team members bring in an average $10.07 to $10.10 an hour, and team leaders earn an average hourly wage of $15.21 to $15.67.

Benefits for seasonal workers also include store discounts from 10% to 20% -- a bonus for when you do your own holiday shopping at Target!

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s still not sure whether it’s a good or bad thing that she lives so close to a Target store.

New moms who are working moms face many challenges.

Keeping up with the typical workload while handling all the needs of a new infant who really can’t do anything on its own presents a major juggling act.

And sometimes a ball — or two — gets dropped.

For many, dealing with that juggling act often means making sacrifices on the career end, like opting out of the workforce for a period of time, losing wages and opportunities for advancement.

So when a company offers new moms special assistance through its employee benefits package, it’s something to be celebrated. It shows they care about retaining good workers.

Help Is One Call Away at Fifth Third Bank

Fifth Third Bank, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, and with locations in 10 states, offers a maternity concierge program for employees who are pregnant, on maternity leave or simply have a child under age 1.

The service helps with a wide array of tasks, including picking up dry cleaning or groceries, ordering breast pumps, organizing a baby’s nursery and planning gender-reveal or first birthday parties, according to a recent Fast Company article.

Teresa Tanner, Fifth Third’s chief administrative officer, told Fast Company there isn’t much the concierges won’t do, outside of transporting children or pets. She told the publication two full-time concierges work at the company’s headquarters and part-time concierges serve the bank’s other locations.

The benefit is free for employees.

Charnella Grossman, a vice president and senior portfolio manager for Fifth Third Bank, uses the maternity concierge service and told Fast Company, “It serves as a show of commitment to women in the workplace… and signals that management is committed to investing in employees.”

Hopefully other companies will take note and make similar additions to their benefits package. Because a little help goes a long way in juggling all the demands new moms face.

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s a working mom all too familiar with the juggling act.

The regular ole gym membership is becoming passe for millennials.

Instead, according to a recent article in The Los Angeles Times, young adults’ fitness choices have become more selective, more exclusive and more expensive.

More millennials are dropping their coins on trendy classes at boutique fitness studios, the article claims, spending $30 a class at studios instead of paying $30 a month at big-box chain gyms.

“They don’t want an annual gym membership commitment and a contract,” Greg Skloot, vice president for growth at Netpulse, a company that creates mobile apps for health clubs, told The L.A. Times. “They want to be able to make physical fitness choices on demand, and they are willing to pay for it.”

The L.A. Times article discusses how the social interaction at these trendy studios is the reason some favor those fitness options.

“Millennials may be ready to forgo an alternative social activity -- going out for dinner and drinking and dancing, for example -- where the cost can easily run $100 or more,” the article states.

Bert Culha, co-owner of fitness studio Cycle House in Los Angeles, said classes may be costly, “but this place has become part of their social activity because a lot of our members switched from going out and partying to going out to take care of their bodies.”

As someone who struggles with working out, I find exercising with friends increases my motivation and makes the experience much more fun. However, as someone conscious about spending, I know there are other ways to get fit without spending a bunch.

Try These Low-Cost Fitness Options

You don’t have pay the costs at fancy boutique gyms or even at big-box chains to get a good workout in. Include friends in one of the options below, and you’ll increase your enjoyment -- plus you’ll have a built-in accountability partner.

You could set up a home gym. It’ll cost about $100 to get it all set up, but you’ll have it for a very long time (no annual renewal costs here).

You can check out these nine inexpensive fitness options -- including tried-and-true exercises like running and swimming. There’s nothing wrong with the classics.

You could also get certified as a fitness instructor -- teaching yoga, for example -- and get your workouts in while earning money.

Have Fun With Friends When You’re Not Working Up a Sweat

If you’re looking for other ways to socialize without sweating -- or spending a ton of money -- here are a few ideas:

  • Organize a group of friends to volunteer together.

And the money you save from cutting down on entertainment costs could be the funds you tap into for a boutique fitness class splurge. That’s an indulgence that can make you feel good inside and out.

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.

Editor's Note: This position is currently on hold.

Here at The Penny Hoarder, we’re not only looking for full-time writers and remote freelancers to join our growing team — we’re also always looking to share good job opportunities, including other writing jobs.

Right now, Idealist is looking for freelancers to earn money from the comfort of their homes writing about social-impact and career development topics for its Idealist Careers publication.

If you’re not familiar with Idealist, it’s a site that connects people with information about jobs, internships and volunteer opportunities in the nonprofit sector or with other organizations that help society-at-large.

According to this job listing, writers will be paid $50 a post and are expected to write at least two posts a month, either from ideas they’ve pitched or topics assigned by an editor.

Idealist is looking for people who have experience writing for an online publication. They want fact-checking grammar whizzes who are detailed-oriented and yet have an eye for brevity.

It’d be a plus if you understand SEO fundamentals, have worked in the social-impact space before or have previous experience conducting interviews for articles.

To score this gig, you’ll need to submit a resume, cover letter and 400- to 600-word writing sample on one of two previously determined topics.

See here for more information on applying to be an Idealist Careers writer.

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She loves it when writing makes a positive difference.

Amazon continues making headlines.

This time around, the retail giant announced plans to build an 855,000-square-foot fulfillment center in New York, which the company estimates will create more than 2,250 jobs.

The jobs will be full-time positions where workers will pick, pack and ship consumer items alongside the company’s advanced robotics technology, according to the company’s press release.

The center will be located in the West Shore section of Staten Island and will be the first Amazon fulfillment center in the state of New York.

“This project will be the biggest single job creator in our borough’s history,” said Staten Island Borough President James S. Oddo.

The jobs that will be created will offer “competitive hourly wages” and a host of benefits including:

  • health insurance
  • 401(k)
  • company stock awards
  • parental leave options
  • access to a program that funds education for in-demand fields

Business Insider reported the company was offering fulfillment center jobs during its nationwide jobs fair last month with salaries starting at $12 an hour.

Though the New York fulfillment center hasn’t been built yet, interested candidates can go here to check when those jobs are available.

For other fun and interesting jobs, like The Penny Hoarder Jobs page on Facebook.

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.

A few months ago, we wrote about an awesome, dream-job opportunity that included traveling the world, staying in expensive digs and making your friends jealous by posting about it on social media -- all while earning $10,000 a month.

Sadly, ThirdHome, the company sponsoring this amazing gig, could only pick one person for the job, and that person has already been chosen.

Sorelle Amore is now ThirdHome’s lucky travel ambassador, Travel and Leisure reported. Her job includes hanging out in destinations including Scotland, London, the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and more.

Feeling jealous yet?

Well, don’t just spend all your time scrolling through her Instagram account or ThirdHome’s. There may be a great travel job out there that’s perfect for you!

We’ll admit, it’ll probably be a little less grand than what ThirdHome is offering Amore, but check out these opportunities that will get you to new destinations -- or at least will have you working in the world of travel.

And if traveling isn’t a must-have for you, but you’re looking for a new job, check out The Penny Hoarder Jobs page on Facebook for other fun and interesting open positions.

For Those Who Like to Fly

Get ready for the jet setter life. Spirit Airlines is hiring flight attendants out of Dallas, Las Vegas and Detroit.

They’re looking for people who have at least two years of customer service, hospitality or sales experience. You’ll also need to be a good communicator, be able to lift up to 50 lbs and must be at least five feet tall (yes, that’s a thing).

As a flight attendant, Spirit will expect you to have a valid passport and any necessary travel documents, and you’ll have to complete a four-week training course in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The expected salary was not included in the job listings, but self-reported salaries on Glassdoor show Spirit flight attendants making an average of $22.36 an hour. The company also offers benefits like medical and dental insurance, 401(k) offerings and more.

If you want to learn a little more about what it takes to work in the sky, this United Airlines flight attendant spills all the details about her job experience in this post.

To apply for a flight attendant gig with Spirit, click here if you’re based in Dallas, here if you’re based in Las Vegas or here if you’re based in Detroit.

For Those Who Like to Cruise

Imagine grabbing a drink while in the middle of the ocean. Sound relaxing?

Well, this job will have you serving the drinks to a multitude of customers, but hopefully, there will be ample time for fun and relaxation during off hours.

Norwegian Cruise Line is looking for a wine steward to serve drinks to customers on board its ships.

You’ll be responsible for providing optimal beverage service to guests, so the ideal job candidate will have extensive knowledge of the different wines served and be able to make suggestions on how best to pair wine with meals.

To score this gig, you need to have at least two years of bartending experience on a cruise ship or large hotel bar, including some supervisory experience. You must have great customer service skills, be able to work seven days a week and be fine with living in close quarters with other crew mates.

The job listing did not include the salary offering, but self-reported salaries on Indeed show Norwegian Cruise Line bartenders averaging about $40,066 a year.

There’s also the cool perk of cruising to coastal locales.

See here for more details and to apply.

For College Students Needing a Spring Internship

Ready for an internship that’ll get your career off the ground, literally?

Well, Southwest Airlines is looking for an inflight operations onboard experience and support intern for spring 2018. This internship is based at the airline’s headquarters in Dallas, Texas.

You’ll be providing project management support for the crew inside the cabin, including helping with “onboard product offerings, hospitality initiatives, mobility, fleet design, international efforts, and future provisioning strategies,” according to the internship listing.

Compensation isn’t just college credit. You’ll make $15 an hour, working at least 40 hours per week, plus you’ll enjoy flight privileges.

Southwest is looking for full-time students studying business who are at least in their junior year. You must have a 2.75 GPA or higher.

So get your resume, transcript and letters of recommendation handy. You’ll also be asked to pen an essay on the topic: “Why Southwest Airlines.”

Check here to apply for this internship.

For Travel Lovers Who Want to Work From Home

Kind of ironic, but not all travel-related jobs actually require workers to travel.

Sykes Enterprises is hiring work-from-home corporate travel agents. You’ll help corporate clients arrange and book all types of travel.

For this full-time role, you’ll need to have at least one year of travel agency experience (or two years of experience working for an airline) and know how to work with Sabre Red GDS software.

A college degree isn’t required, but you’ll need good communication, customer service and geography skills.

If hired, your home office must include a Windows-based personal computer, high-speed internet, an analog phone line and two headsets -- a USB one for online training and a telephone headset for once you get into the real work.

Speaking of training, those hired will go through 20 days of paid training making $10.50 an hour. After training, pay jumps to $14 an hour.

Additionally, this job includes include medical, dental and vision benefits, 401(k) contributions, tuition reimbursement and more.

And if you decide do some traveling of your own on your days off, borrow some tips from this budget-conscious, travel-loving family.

See here to apply for the travel agent job with Sykes.

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She enjoys traveling but has never found herself swept up by wanderlust enough to want a traveling job. She’s more interested in exploring her new community and putting down roots.

Here at The Penny Hoarder, we read job posting after job posting from companies desiring workers who are flexible.

They want employees willing to work changing schedules, who can simultaneously balance multiple projects and who can sometimes carry out work outside their job descriptions.

But sometimes those companies are a little, well… rigid themselves.

So what do you do if you wish your workplace were more flexible for your benefit?

Thankfully, 1 Million for Work Flexibility, the advocacy arm of FlexJobs, has laid out a plan for you to approach your boss to get the work flexibility you crave.

“[1 Million for Work Flexibility] wants to give workers guidance around how to approach the issue of flexibility in a way that will hopefully get them the change that they need, and also in a way that will help that change be most successful,” said Emma Plumb, the director of 1 Million for Work Flexibility.

A Step-By-Step Guide to Asking for a Flexible Work Schedule

The organization has created a step-by-step guide with three phases: preparation, proposal and discussion.

During the preparation phase, you’ll want to ask yourself questions to figure out what your ideal working situation would look like. The guide suggests rehearsing your pitch with a friend during the proposal phase and asking your boss to implement a trial period for the new flex schedule during the discussion phase.

The resource also includes suggestions for what to do if your company doesn’t respond exactly in your favor. Getting a “no” doesn’t necessarily mean giving up completely on the thought of work flexibility at your job.

“Going to your boss with any request can be difficult,” Plumb said. “But it’s especially hard when you’re asking for something that could be interpreted as a sign that you are less committed to your job.

“That’s why in the 1MFWF guide, we stress how important it is to emphasize all the ways that your employer will benefit from offering flexibility. Work flexibility isn’t a perk or an accommodation, it’s a strategy for ensuring that workers can [get] their jobs done most effectively. There’s nothing less committed about that.”

Plumb said all types of workers -- parents, people caring for aging relatives or ailing partners, people with physical or mental health issues, military spouses, people living in rural communities, people who have volunteer commitments, night owls, early birds, hobbyists and more -- have the need for more flexible work options.

“The traditional, rigid workplace model makes it impossible for the majority of workers to succeed at their jobs and also succeed in their personal lives,” she said. “And that disconnect is not only unfortunate, it’s also unnecessary. We have all the technology we need to change the way work gets done for the better.”

If you’re looking for a new job altogether, check out FlexJobs’ employment listings which show openings from companies known for their flexible work practices, and bookmark The Penny Hoarder’s jobs page, which continuously features jobs that give you the flexibility of working from home.

While you’re at it, like The Penny Hoarder Jobs page on Facebook for more fun and interesting job opportunities!

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She really appreciates work flexibility.

Affording day care is a challenge many Americans face.

Nearly a third of families spend 20% or more of their income on child care, according to

But affordability aside, what do you do when there aren’t any child care options available where you live?

The Center for American Progress recently studied child care availability in 22 states -- representing roughly two-thirds of the nation’s population -- and found 51% live in day care deserts, or areas with a significant lack or undersupply of licensed child care providers.

Who Are Most Affected by Day Care Deserts?

Of the 22 states studied, California and New York had the highest percentage of people living in a child care desert -- 62% and 61%, respectively. Illinois (59%), Pennsylvania (59%) and Missouri (55%) rounded out the top five.

Those living in low-income, rural communities were found to be impacted the most by day care deserts.

A higher percentage of American Indian, Alaska Native, Hispanic and Latino families were found to live in communities without enough child care options compared to other races and ethnic groups.

How Does Your Neighborhood Measure Up?

The Center for American Progress has an interactive map that shows just how much your location is impacted by this issue.

For example, I live in the state of Florida, where 38% of the population lives without adequate child care availability. The good news is that much of my city, St. Petersburg, is not considered a day care desert.

Yet, the interactive map allows users to go a step further than city level. You can plug in your address to get information based on your individual census tract.

The bad news? The census tract where I live is considered a child care desert. There are only two licensed child care providers (able to care for a maximum of 76 kids) in an area where there are about 256 children under the age of 5.

What Can You Do If You Live in a Day Care Desert?

Families stuck in day care deserts don’t always have the most ideal options to help their situations. Some resort to having one partner leave the workforce to be a stay-at-home parent, while others try to alternate their schedules so one parent is always home to provide care.

Some parents, like myself, rely on low- or no-cost care from a relative or friend. For other parents, hiring a nanny or babysitter is their solution to dealing with a day care desert.

There are also parents who reserve day care spots for their kids while they’re still in the womb, those who commute to day care centers outside of their neighborhoods and families who send their tots to unlicensed child care providers.

The authors of the Center for American Progress study say government policies should be put in place to mitigate the widespread problem of inaccessible child care.

“First, the federal government must make a substantial and sustained investment that helps low-income and middle-class working families afford child care,” the study states. “Until families have the resources to afford child care, the market will be driven by parents’ ability to pay, leaving communities of color and those living in rural areas behind.”

Solving America’s day care woes isn’t going to be an easy, overnight solution, but hopefully something will be done to fix the unavailability -- and unaffordability -- of quality child care for so many across the nation.

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She is the mother of one.

We’re always hearing about how kids are so darn expensive.

From hospital delivery fees to college tuition and everything in between, the costs can really add up.

But here’s one area where having kids may help you save: nursing home costs.

A new study shows having children significantly lowers the out-of-pocket costs for nursing home care, Bloomberg reports.

The Long-Term Financial Impact of Having Kids

When it comes to saving to cover future costs of nursing home care, the study estimates a 57-year-old without children should have about $8,900 set aside.

On the other hand, if that parent has up to three children, they should have about $6,400 saved, while a parent with four or more kids would only need to have about $5,500 saved, according to the research.

“Having children doesn’t affect the odds of having a nursing home stay,” Bloomberg reports, “but kids tend to delay the entry of a parent into a nursing home or help a parent transition out of one faster.”

The study indicates childless older Americans will spend an average of 279 days in a nursing home over their lifetime, while parents of one to three children will spend an average of 233 days. Parents with four or more offspring will spend only 206 days in nursing home care on average.

Who’s Got Your Back?

The study also showed having daughters over sons makes a difference. The research indicates a 57-year-old with daughters should have $6,100 saved for future out-of-pocket nursing home costs, while a 57-year-old without daughters should set aside $6,700.

In addition, the study showed men spend less money on nursing home care on average -- and also less time in nursing facilities -- than women do. That’s because they have their wives to take care of them.

Talk about girl power.

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She wants to have about four kids.