5 Amazon Scams You Need to Know About

When it comes to convenience, service and sheer scope of products, nothing beats Amazon. The world’s largest and most popular online marketplace is the 21st century shopper’s go-to for virtually any product under the sun. Unfortunately, though, Amazon is also rife with scammers. Here are five Amazon scams and tips from the e-commerce giant for protecting yourself from falling victim to these schemes.

  1. Update your order

In this scam, a shopper places an order on Amazon and waits for it to arrive. Before it shows up at their doorstep, though, they receive a phone call or written notification via email or text message, informing them that there is an issue with their account. It further claims that the customer must update or confirm their information before they can receive their purchase. The contact may ask the target to re-share their payment information or other personally identifiable information (PII). Often, the target believes the request is legit and willingly shares this information.

Don’t get scammed: If you’re asked to update your payment information and/or something seems off, go directly into your Amazon account and check the “Your Orders” section. If you aren’t prompted to update your payment method on that screen, the message you received is from a scammer. Amazon will never ask for payment over the phone, by text or via email.

  1. You’re owed a refund

In this scam, a target receives a text or email stating they’ve been overcharged for a recent Amazon purchase and are owed a refund. The target is directed to call the provided phone number. When they call, an alleged Amazon rep will ask to be granted access to the target’s computer so they can issue the refund. Unfortunately, doing that will give a scammer direct access to the victim’s computer and financial accounts. 

Don’t get scammed: Any notification from Amazon will be available on the company’s website. If you are owed a refund, you’ll find all the information you need to know within your secure account.

  1. Off-platform payments

In this scam, a target finds a product they’d like to purchase on Amazon. However, when they try to complete the transaction, the seller asks them to follow a link for an off-platform payment, usually via a P2P payment platform like Zelle or Venmo. While these platforms may be secure, completing the purchase off Amazon’s site or app means losing all purchase protection that Amazon provides. The customer will also likely end up with a faulty product, or no product at all. 

Don’t get scammed: Authentic Amazon sellers will never ask for payment outside the actual Amazon site. 

  1. Amazon Prime Video scams

In this scam, consumers looking to set up Amazon Prime Video on their SmartTV are lured into bogus sites by clicking on pop-up ads including keywords like “Set up Prime on TV”. The fake sites look identical to Amazon’s SmartTV setup page, so the victim believes they’ve landed on the correct page. The target will be asked to enter Amazon’s six-digit code on their TV and then call the phone number the site provides. Once on the phone with a victim, the scammers will direct them into sharing the two-factor authentication code that was sent to their device via Amazon. Unfortunately, if the target complies, they’ll be giving a scammer access to their Amazon account. Don’t get scammed: Never share your passwords, authorization codes and/or login credentials over the phone. If you need to set up Amazon Prime Video on your SmartTIV, visit

Amazon’s website directly and follow the instructions here. It’s also good to know that all legitimate Amazon websites have a dot before “amazon.com,” such as “pay.amazon.com”. Any link to a website that contains the words “amazon” but does not follow this rule is a scammy site.

  1. Mystery boxes, prizes and crazy-low deals

Here, a scammer tries to snag a victim by offering something that sounds too good to miss. Of course, it’s also too good to be true. The scam may take the form of a “mystery box” sold on Amazon, prizes the target has randomly “won” or deals that practically give the item away. In each of these cases, the victim receives a message allegedly from Amazon, claiming they’ve won a prize. It may also promote a mystery box sale or a once-in-a-lifetime deal. The victim will be directed to click a link or call a number to receive the prize or item. Of course, doing so will lead them right into the hands of the scammer, who will ask for their PII, or download malware onto their computer. 

Don’t get scammed: Never follow a seller’s directions away from the actual Amazon site. Also, if something seems too good to be true, it likely is.

Stay alert and follow the tips mentioned here to enjoy shopping on the world’s largest marketplace without compromising on your safety.

TikTok Inspo: Can you scam us? Impersonate an Amazon scammer using one of the schemes described above or another one you’ve come across. Catch us in your scam … if you can!

Can a Budget Wedding be Beautiful?

Q: My partner and I are preparing for our wedding, and due to financial constraints it will need to be planned on a strict budget. I’m glad we aren’t racking up huge bills, but I don’t want to compromise on the day of my dreams. Can a budget wedding still be beautiful?

A: Your desire for financial responsibility is commendable. Fortunately, a budget wedding can still be beautiful – even on a tight budget. Here’s how to plan the wedding of your dreams without breaking your budget.

Set a budget

The first step in planning a wedding on a budget is to actually set a budget. Determine how much money you can afford, and are willing to spend, on your wedding and allocate your funds accordingly. Jot down a list of all the wedding expenses you expect to incur, such as venue rental, catering, photography and decorations. Then, prioritize them based on their importance, attaching a higher dollar amount toward your top priorities.

When setting your budget, be realistic about what you can afford. Don’t take on more debt than you can handle, as it can put a strain on your relationship in the long run. Consider cutting back in areas that aren’t as important to you. This might include having a smaller guest list or opting for a simpler, or secondhand, dress. On the flip side, remember that your budget does not need to be evenly balanced as long as the total does not exceed your maximum budget. For example, you can decide to spend a lot of your wedding money on an elaborate dessert table, and hire a no-frills caterer for the rest of the meal. 

Remember, a budget is an opportunity to get creative. Together with your partner, you can find unique ways to make your wedding special without spending a fortune.

Choose a venue

One of the biggest expenses of a wedding is the venue rental. The good news is, an out-of-the-box venue can save you boatloads of money without sacrificing on style and beauty. Consider having your wedding in a park or on a beach; many public spaces offer affordable or even free venue rentals. Alternatively, if you’re set on having a traditional venue, look for off-peak times or consider a weekday wedding, as these can often be more affordable.

Another option for saving on the venue is to have your ceremony and reception in the same location. This can save on transportation costs and can be more convenient for your guests, too. Look for venues that offer both indoor and outdoor spaces so you have a built-in backup plan in case of inclement weather.

When choosing a venue, be sure to keep your overall wedding theme in mind. For example, if you’re going for a rustic feel, look for venues with natural elements like wood and stone. If you’re going for a more modern look, go for venues with clean lines and minimal decor. The venue sets the tone for your entire wedding, so it’s important to choose one that reflects your personal style.

DIY Decorations

Another big-ticket item likely to be on your wedding budget is the decor. To save in this area, consider DIYing some, or all, of your wedding decorations. You can look up tutorials online to learn how to do a job that will bring professional results, and with the help of a few friends, and a minimal investment in materials, you can create beautiful, low-cost decorations for your wedding. This can include centerpieces, floral arrangements, favors and more. 

Another way to save on wedding decor is to repurpose items you already own. Mason jars, vintage books, old picture frames and unique vases can all serve as decor elements for your wedding. You can pick up more low-cost decor items in secondhand shops or borrow from friends. 

Finally, consider renting decorations instead of buying them. Many rental companies offer affordable options for wedding decor, such as tablecloths, chair covers and ceremony arches. This can shave lots of money off your budget wedding while also reducing waste.

A beautiful budget wedding is more doable than you may think. Follow these tips to plan the budget wedding of your dreams.

TikTok Inspo: Did you plan a budget wedding? Tell us about it in the comments. 

Affordable Sustainability 5 of 12-Grow Your Own Greens

If you’re looking for a way to save on grocery bills while reducing your carbon footprint, growing your own vegetable garden can be a fabulous and rewarding endeavor. Follow these tips to learn how to successfully grow your own greens.

Choose the right greens

First, you’ll need to choose which greens you’d like to grow. Vegetable salads have come a long way in the last decade, and you can choose from a wide variety of greens to grow, aside from the ubiquitous iceberg and romaine lettuces. These and other leafy greens, like kale, spinach, mustard and arugula, are fairly easy to grow and extra-tasty when fresh from the garden. 

Aside from choosing your favorite greens, be sure to take your hometown’s climate into account when selecting which plants to grow. Do some research to identify what kind of temperature and care each of your chosen plants will need (start with the USDA’s Hardizone Zone map for general climate info). Pay attention to how much shade, sunlight and watering each vegetable requires so you will be able to care for them properly. 

Once you’ve chosen your greens, you can pick up seedlings in a local nursery, farmer’s market or home improvement store. If you prefer to grow your greens from seeds, select packets that include instructions for good germination. 

Plant your garden

If you’re working with seeds, follow the instructions on the packet to bring the seeds to germination. Depending on the veggie type, you’ll likely need to plant the seeds inside, in a small pot or shallow container, and then transfer them to the outdoors after they sprout. Tools like rockwool cubes, grow lights and a small fan, can help you provide the ideal conditions for your seeds. 

If you’re working with seedlings, prepare a garden bed or pot with fertilized, moist soil for planting. Dig just a bit to plant the seedling, allowing space to cover the seedling with approximately ¼ inch of soil. Working gently, tamp down the soil around the seedling so there’s strong contact between the seedling’s roots and the soil.

Your greens are ready to grow!

Let your garden grow

Now that you have planted your greens, it’s important to take good care of them to ensure that they grow healthy and strong. 

The most important factors to consider when caring for your greens are water, sunlight and soil. Most greens prefer consistently moist soil, so be sure to water your plants regularly. However, be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to root rot. Additionally, make sure your greens are getting enough sunlight. Most greens prefer at least six hours of sunlight per day, but some varieties, like lettuce, prefer partial shade. Finally, make sure your greens are growing in good soil that is nutrient-rich. If you’re planting in pots, use a high-quality potting mix. If you’ve planted in the ground, upgrade your soil with compost or other organic matter to improve its quality.

Harvesting your greens

The best part of growing your own greens is getting to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Most greens can be harvested once they’ve reached their desired size, usually around 4-6 weeks after planting. Don’t wait for the plants to bolt (send up flower stalks), or you’ll be left with bitter greens. 

To harvest your greens, use a pair of scissors to snip off the leaves at the base of the plant. Be sure to leave some leaves on the plant so it can continue to produce new growth. When harvesting your greens, it’s important to do so in the morning when they are at their freshest. Store your greens in the refrigerator in an air-tight plastic bag or container to keep them fresh for up to a week. Alternatively, you can use your greens immediately for a perfectly fresh garden salad.

Growing your own greens is a uniquely rewarding experience, and it’s great for the environment, too. Follow these tips to successfully grow your own greens.

TikTok Inspo: Do you have a green thumb? Tell us your secrets to growing a beautiful garden.

Does Good Debt Exist?

Q: I’ve been thinking about debt, and I’ve been wondering: Is all debt bad? Does good debt actually exist?

A: Despite its bad rap, not all debt is bad debt. Some debts are actually beneficial for the debtor and can be considered “good debt.” Let’s take a look at the factors defining good debt, the various types of good debt and how to keep this debt from going bad.

What is good debt?

Good debt is a term used to describe types of debt that help you build wealth or increase your net worth. Unlike bad debt, which includes long-term credit card debt and other forms of high-interest debt that don’t add value to your financial situation, good debt is an investment that can ultimately pay off and benefit you.

Types of good debt

Now that we’ve established what defines good debt, let’s explore several kinds:

  • Mortgages

A mortgage is generally considered good debt because it allows you to buy a home, which can appreciate in value over time. Each monthly payment you make on your mortgage builds equity in your home, which can be used as collateral for future loans or as a source of funding for retirement.

  • Home equity loans and lines of credit

Another option for accessing the equity in your home is through a home equity loan (HEL) or line of credit (HELOC). These loans, which are secured by your home, can be used for a variety of purposes, such as home renovations or debt consolidation. In many instances, the rates of these loans make for a much lower cost than carrying it on higher interest credit cards.

  • Student loans

Student loans are generally considered good debt because they can lead to higher-paying jobs and increased earning potential. By investing in your education, you can improve your chances of achieving financial stability and your long-term goals. In addition, some student loans only begin accruing interest following a grace period after you leave school.

  • Auto loans

An auto loan can be good debt if it enables you to purchase reliable transportation that you need to get to work or to run a business.

  • Business loans

  A business loan can fall into the category of good debt if it allows you to start or grow a business that generates income and increases            your overall financial health. 

Can good debt turn into bad debt?

While good debt can help you build wealth and improve your overall financial wellness, it can quickly turn into bad debt if you miss a few payments or the investment does not quite turn out as planned. 

For example, if you take on too much mortgage debt or buy a car you can’t really afford, you may struggle to make the payments and risk foreclosure. Similarly, if you invest in a business that doesn’t generate income, you may struggle to repay the loan and risk bankruptcy. Finally, defaulting on a student loan can have serious consequences, like hurting your credit score and having your wages garnished. 

Be sure to carefully consider the risks and rewards of taking out a loan and to have a solid plan in place for repaying the debt before applying for any loan.

How can I keep my good debt from going bad?

If you have one or more good debts that you don’t want to turn into bad debts, we can help! Follow these tips to keep your debts from going bad.

  • Only borrow what you can afford. Determine how you will fit the payment into your budget before applying.
  • Choose loans with favorable terms. Look for loans with low interest rates, reasonable repayment terms and no prepayment penalties.
  • Make timely payments. Pay your bills on time to avoid late fees and to keep your credit score high.
  • Monitor your credit score. Check your credit report regularly to ensure that your debt is being reported accurately and to identify any errors or fraud.
  • Stay informed. Keep up-to-date on changes in interest rates or other factors that may affect your debt.

Good debt does exist! It can be a valuable tool for building wealth and strong creditworthiness, but it needs to be managed responsibly to keep it from going bad. Use the tips outlined here to identify your good debts and learn how to manage them well.

TikTok Inspo: It’s good debt! It’s bad debt! It’s… can you help us out? Show us how to tell a good debt from bad debt in just 15 seconds. 

The Anxious Achiever: Turn Your Biggest Fears into Your Leadership Superpower

Title: The Anxious Achiever: Turn Your Biggest Fears into Your Leadership Superpower  

Author: Morra Aarong-Mele

Hardcover: 272 pages

Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press

Publishing Date: April 11, 2023

Who is this book for? 

  • Anyone in a leadership position who’s ever stressed about feeling anxious in the workplace. 
  • Readers looking to turn their anxiety into success in their career. 

What’s inside this book?

  • A compelling guide to managing the anxiety that accompanies success and leadership from a top-rated podcaster, entrepreneur and mental health advocate.
  • Morra’s personal stories, research-based insights into mental health and practical advice culled through her years in the field of workplace mental health.

3 lessons you’ll learn from this book:  

  1. Anxiety is built into the nature of leadership.
  2. Anxiety should be harnessed into a force for good.
  3. You can learn to resist perfectionism, manage social anxiety and set boundaries to prevent burnout.

4 questions this book will answer for you:  

  1. How can I confront my bad habits and unhealthy coping mechanisms?
  2. How do I deal with feedback, criticism and impostor syndrome?
  3. How do I model and communicate healthy behavior as a leader?
  4. How do I figure out my own anxiety profile so I can recognize and avoid common thought traps and triggers?

What people are saying about this book: 

“Aarons-Mele has written an astonishing book. This is not a book for just anxious achievers–it’s a book for any human being who wants to transform their mental health.” – Andy Dunn

“Armed with the concepts in this well-researched, raw and vulnerable work, you will learn how to take anxiety and channel it toward a powerful purpose.” — Rita McGrath

“Great leaders take their mental health seriously. The Anxious Achiever gives you the skills to do it.” – Dorie Clark

TikTok Inspo: What did you think of The Anxious Achiever? Share your own review with us in a 15-second video. 

Travel Hacks 5 of 12-Your Complete Guide to Vacation Budgets

It’s great to get away from the daily grind, but budgets never go on vacation. The classic rules of sticking to your spending plan and not racking up bills you cannot pay still apply when you’re on vacation. The good news is, a vacation budget will actually make your trip more relaxing. When every dollar is accounted for and you know exactly how much money you have to spend in each expense category while you’re on vacation, you don’t have to stress about how you’ll pay for this getaway when you get back to real life. 

Making a vacation budget is not as difficult as it may seem. All it takes is some careful planning, quick calculations and the willpower to follow it. Here’s what you need to know about making a vacation budget.

Set your budget

First, determine how much you can actually spend on your trip. It’s important to be realistic as you complete this step or you may end up paying off this vacation for months, or even years, to come. Do some research on the location you want to visit, how much it’ll cost to get there and the price you’ll pay for accommodations and transportation. Also, look up local attractions to get an idea of how much these will cost. Make a basic list of anticipated expenses and work with that number to set your vacation budget. 

As you set that budget, be sure to consider any money you may have saved up for your trip. If you’re planning this trip well in advance, take into account how much you can afford to save each month leading up to the vacation. 

Plan your expenses

Once you have your set budget and a basic list of expenses, you can work on setting an exact dollar amount for each expense category of your vacation. Use the amounts you researched in the previous step and write out your vacation budget so the individual expense categories total the same as your overall budget amount. If the total amount is way outside your affordable range, consider swapping out some expenses for cheaper, or even free, options. For example, you can choose to use public transportation instead of renting a car, dine on street food instead of eating out in classy, expensive restaurants and book activities in advance to save on the admission price. 

Track your expenses

Once your vacation budget is set up, you’ll need to track your expenses to ensure you stick to your spending plan. When purchasing airline tickets, making hotel and car rental reservations and purchasing items for your trip, be sure to record these expenses in your budget. Similarly, when on vacation, keep track of your spending so you stick to your budget. A budgeting app, like Mint or YNAB, can make this easier. 

If you find yourself overspending in any category, look for last-minute ways to cut back on your expenses. You may choose to cut out an expensive activity or to cook your own meals for quick, easy savings.

Tips for sticking to your vacation budget

The hardest part of vacationing on a budget is sticking to it while you’re away. These tips can make it easier for you to actually keep your vacation budget:

  • Use cash. Keeping the plastic out of sight while on vacation will force you to stick to your spending plan. You may also find it easier to track your expenses when you only have the exact amount you planned to spend in a specific category. Be sure to keep your cash in a safe place, such as a secure wallet or purse. 
  • Book in advance. Try to book as much of your vacation as possible in advance. Hotel stays, car rentals, tours and more are nearly always cheaper when reserved ahead of schedule. You’ll also leave fewer spending choices for your actual vacation when your willpower may be weaker. 
  • Keep a copy of your budget with you on vacation. Make a physical or digital copy of your vacation budget to carry around with you during your trip. The simple act of reviewing your budget will make it easier for you to stick to it as planned. Pull out your copy whenever you come up against a spending challenge on vacation.

Follow the tips outlined here to enjoy the trip of a lifetime without letting your budget go on vacation.

TikTok Inspo: What if budgets DID go on vacation? Shoot a 15-second video playing the role of a traveler who ignores budgets when on vacation.

Travel Hacks 4 of 12-How to Choose a Vacation Destination for Less

Looking to save on vacation costs? One of the best ways to do so is to smartly choose your destination. Here’s how to find a budget-friendly trip of a lifetime!

Set a budget

To keep vacation costs down, pre-set an amount to spend. You can choose to blow a lot of money on airline tickets to get there, but then you’ll need to spend less on lodging, food or attractions. Work out your complete vacation budget before choosing a spot so you have enough money left to spend in other categories. 

Pick your top priorities

Narrow down what’s most important to you in a vacation destination. Are you set on jetting off to Europe? Do you need to travel somewhere family-friendly? Or, are you willing to visit any city or state that’s not your own?

Jot down your priorities in order of importance, and when choosing a vacation destination, look for those that satisfy as many of your first few priorities as possible. 

Consider vacationing close to home

To save big on your vacation, consider traveling somewhere close to home. You may be able to find fascinating attractions and sites just two or three states away. You’ll likely save a day or two in travel time as well, giving you more time to enjoy your vacation. 

Look for deals and discounts

One of the best ways to save money on your vacation is to take advantage of deals and discounts. Many travel companies offer promotions, such as discounted airfare, hotel packages or all-inclusive deals. 

Consider alternative accommodations

You can save a boatload of money by staying at an Airbnb instead of a hotel. Be sure to do your research well to avoid getting scammed. 

Choose a budget-friendly destination

Look for vacation hotspots that are known to be budget-friendly. This includes countries with a low cost of living, like Nepal and India, as well as areas that offer inexpensive hotel stays and free or low-cost attractions.

By following these tips, you can find a destination that ensures the trip of a lifetime without breaking your budget!

TikTok Inspo: Can you convince us that your recent getaway was the ultimate in budget vacations? Sell us on your chosen destination in a 15-second video by showing us how much money we can save vacationing there.

Money and Mental Health

For many people, the mere mention of the word “money” spurs feelings of stress and anxiousness. In fact, a Bankrate study of nearly 2,500 U.S. adults found that 70% of respondents feel stressed about their finances.  At the same time, living a financially responsible life can help one maintain optimal mental health. In observation of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, let’s take a look at the connection between money and mental health.

How do financial struggles impact mental health?

There are lots of ways money troubles can influence one’s mental health:

  • Stress and anxiety. Financial struggles are one of the leading causes of stress and anxiety. Feeling stressed and anxious can also impact a person’s physical health, often leading to insomnia, headaches, weight gain/loss and other physical symptoms.
  • Depression. Money struggles can also lead to depression, which can cause a person to lose interest in activities they once enjoyed and affect their ability to function in daily life.
  • Strained relationships. Financial issues are famously a primary cause of divorce, but it doesn’t end there. Money issues can put a strain on many other relationships as well, including those between parents and children, siblings, friends and more.

It is essential to recognize the signs of financial stress and take steps to manage it. Seeking support from friends, family or a mental health professional can help alleviate some of the stress and anxiety associated with financial struggles.

How does financial stability impact mental health?

Now, let’s explore how financial stability can impact one’s mental health:

  • Peace of mind. A stable financial reality can provide a sense of security and peace of mind, reducing stress and anxiety.
  • Increased opportunities. Living a financially responsible life can provide a person with the opportunities to pursue their interests and passions, such as travel, hobbies and new learning experiences, all of which can improve overall mental health and well-being.
  • Improved relationships. Financial stability can also improve relationships, reducing stress and tension associated with financial struggles.

It’s important to aim for financial stability to improve your overall mental health and well-being. This can involve taking steps to save money, reduce expenses and invest in a financially secure  future.

The link between money and self-worth

Unfortunately, too many people link their self-worth to their financial situation. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem when experiencing financial struggles. However, it is essential to recognize that self-worth is not tied to financial success. Instead, focus on developing yourself as a person in ways that are not related to your financial situation. Set personal goals, practice self-care and seek fulfillment in areas outside financial success.

Debt and mental health

Debt is often the most significant financial problem that people face, and it can have a strong impact on mental health. Research shows that people who are in debt are more likely to experience mental health problems like anxiety, depression and even suicidal thoughts.

People who’ve been caught in the debt cycle may feel like they are trapped in their situation with no way out. This can lead to feelings of hopelessness and despair. Debt can also cause a great deal of stress, which can lead to physical health problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease.

If you are struggling to escape from under a mountain of debt, there are steps you can take to kick your debt for good. Consider consolidating it through an unsecured personal loan that may include one low-interest, and possibly lower, debt payment each month. You can also pay off one debt at a time by maximizing your monthly payment toward that debt until it’s paid off, which is often called the “snowball method” of debt payoff. If you choose this route, be sure to continue making all your minimal monthly payments on your other debts as you focus on the one.

Managing your finances for improved mental health

Are you struggling with money challenges that are negatively impacting your mental health? Here are ways you can improve your financial and mental health:

  • Create a budget and stick to it.
  • Trim your discretionary spending for extra breathing room in your budget.
  • Seek support from a financial counselor or therapist.
  • Practice stress-reducing activities such as meditation, yoga or exercise.
  • Avoid using credit cards or taking out loans unless absolutely necessary.
  • Set realistic financial goals and work toward them.
  • Focus on personal achievements and growth unrelated to your financial worth.

Money is intimately connected with one’s mental health. By managing your finances and seeking help when needed, you can improve your mental health and overall well-being.

TikTok Inspo: How do you maintain your mental health and financial wellness? Share your best tips in a 15-second video.

Don’t Fall for a Home Improvement Scam

Scammers are always looking for new ways to deceive people for a quick buck. With home improvement season upon us, related scams are common. Here are some of the most common home improvement scams and how to avoid them.

The door-to-door scam

Knock-knock. There’s a scammer at the door! They’ve shown up, pretending to be a contractor or representatives of a home improvement company. They may offer to do work for a low price or even for free, claiming they’ve just finished working in the neighborhood and have extra materials, so they’re happy to work at a reduced or no cost. 

Cheap or free labor sounds amazing, doesn’t it? And it is – until you realize the “contractor” is unlicensed or not insured, uses subpar materials and does shoddy work. They may also try to get you to sign a contract on the spot, not leaving you any time to research or get competing quotes. 

Stay safe: Never hire a contractor on the spot. Always ask for proof of license and insurance and references of previous clients. 

The high-pressure sales scam

“If I leave here without a signed contract, the deal’s gone!” Some scammers use high-pressure tactics to get you. They may offer a special deal you can only get for a very limited time. It’s take it (now) or leave it. Unfortunately, though, these tactics are only a ploy to pressure you into making a decision before you’re able to think twice. They may also hide extra fees or charges in the contract, and/or promise things that they cannot deliver.

Stay safe: Never rush to hire a contractor. Don’t be swayed by limited-time offers, and always read the contract carefully before signing.

The “as seen on TV” scam

Some home improvement scams use the “as seen on TV” approach to trick you into thinking their product or service is endorsed by a reputable source. They claim their service has been featured on a popular TV show, but these claims are false or exaggerated. 

Stay safe: Always do your research and read reviews from other customers on multiple platforms before hiring a contractor. Don’t assume claims of popularity are legit without verifying them first.

Follow these tips to protect yourself from a home improvement scam. Stay safe!

TikTok Inspo: Can you scam us? Try impersonating a home improvement scammer using one of the ruses described above.

Is the Work-Life Balance a Myth?

Balancing a personal life with a career can be a lifelong struggle. Work obligations, stresses and interruptions can impinge on the time you spend with family, friends and pursuing your own interests. On the flip side, family and other personal obligations can interrupt work responsibilities and professional goals. Fortunately, the perfect work-life balance is not a myth. All it takes is some focused prioritizing and practical measures.  

Here are seven tips for achieving that elusive work-life balance. 

1. Prioritize your time

The first step in achieving the perfect work-life balance is deciding what is most important to you. If your goal is to spend more time with your family, you may need to cut back on work hours or delegate some responsibilities to your team members. If you feel like you’re neglecting your work, you may need to set aside more time for focused work. To do this, you may need to create a schedule that establishes specific times for work, exercise, family time and self-care. Stick to your schedule as much as possible to ensure you’re using your time effectively.

2. Set clear boundaries

It’s best to create clear boundaries between your work life and personal life to avoid burnout and stress. For example, you can establish a designated workspace for when you work from home. This will help you focus and be more productive during work hours. You can also establish specific work hours and learn to ignore work emails and/or calls during family time. Don’t be afraid to turn off your phone during dinner! 

3. Practice mindfulness

When your mind is pulled in two different directions, you can feel unfocused and unsettled. Instead, try to practice mindfulness, which allows you to be present in the moment and avoid distractions. Start by taking a few minutes each day to meditate or practice deep breathing. This will help you clear your mind and reduce stress. You can also take breaks throughout the workday to stretch, meditate or take a walk. This will help you stay focused and avoid burnout.

4. Carve out time for self-care

Self-care is an essential component of the perfect work-life balance. Consider scheduling it into your daily routine so you never forget to incorporate it into your day. Self-care can include anything that relaxes and recharges you, like exercise, reading or spending time with friends and family.

5. Delegate

Delegating allows you to focus on the tasks that matter most. To delegate effectively, start by identifying the tasks that can be delegated. This may include administrative tasks or tasks that don’t require your specific expertise. Next, identify team members who have the skills and expertise to handle these tasks. Delegate the tasks to them, providing clear instructions. Finally, trust your team members to handle the tasks you’ve delegated and resist the temptation to micromanage.

6. Stay organized

Staying organized is essential for achieving a work-life balance. It allows you to manage your time effectively to avoid becoming overwhelmed with responsibilities. To stay organized, consider using a planning app or calendar to keep track of your schedule. Make sure you schedule time for both work and personal activities.

7. Be flexible

Life is unpredictable, and you’ll inevitably face unexpected challenges and responsibilities.

To be flexible, learn to adapt to changes in your schedule or plans. Be willing to adjust your priorities when necessary, and don’t be too hard on yourself if your plans don’t go exactly as planned.

Follow these tips to achieve that elusive work-life balance.

TikTok Inspo: What does a messed-up work-life balance look like? Shoot a comic scene of a family person whose work-life balance is completely tangled.