It’s that heart-emoji time of year. If you’re looking for a last-minute Valentine, consider tapping into the apps — if only to score a free chicken sandwich. Or, for single parents, a $100 child care stipend from Hinge. But watch out for Tinder Swindlers.
Supply snags. The Consumer Price Index (hint: it tracks prices on common costs like food and housing) rose at a record pace in January, bringing inflation to a 40-year high. Price hikes on cars, furniture, and clothing were major contributors. Because demand for these goods was high while supply-chain issues kept them scarce or delayed in transit. (Reminder: High demand + low supply = rising prices.) Despite some calling for bigger and faster changes to the federal funds rate to help get inflation under control, the Fed isn’t taking emergency measures yet.
Justice (Department) for blockchain. The DOJ arrested a couple accused of trying to launder Bitcoin that was stolen in 2016 from the crypto exchange Bitfinex. The seized crypto is worth over $3.6 billion, making it the largest sum the agency has ever recovered. Investigators were able to track down the funds thanks to blockchain technology — evidence that crypto may not be the safe haven for criminal activity that some think it is.
Where them girls at? While the US added 467,000 jobs in January (good news), there are still more than 1 million fewer women workers now than in February 2020 (not good news). Though women made some employment gains last month, the Omicron surge — and subsequent school and daycare closures — likely contributed to keeping women out of the workforce in order to care for children or other family members.
Why Being Single Is So Expensive
Valentine’s Day can be tough for those living the single life. But your wallet may be feeling the sting of singledom every day. Without a partner to share the burden of housing costs and living expenses — or enjoy the many financial and tax benefits given to married couples (hello, marriage bonus) — almost everything is more expensive. So treat yourself this Valentine’s day…to a solid financial plan that will help you reach your money goals, with or without a significant other. We Skimm’d all the deets for you here.
If you want to do something small to promote racial equality…
Buy Black. A long history of heftier student-debt loads, lower pay, and less funding for businesses have all contributed to the racial wealth gap that persists between Black and white Americans. And between Black women and men. One small way you can help close the gaps: Shop jewelry, skincare, snacks, and more from these Black women-owned brands. Because consumer activism means spending to support what really matters.
If streaming costs are (cord) cutting into your budget…
Purge your subscriptions. With streaming providers like Netflix and Amazon Prime upping their prices, it might be a good time to streamline. One idea: Start fresh. Cancel all your subscriptions (stay with us), then re-subscribe as you discover which ones you actually use. Also, look into whether adding premium channels to a single streaming platform (think: adding ESPN+ and Disney+ to your Hulu account) is cheaper than paying for individual subscriptions. Still struggling to fit binge-watching into your spending plan? Here are other ways to make more room in your budget.
If you borrowed money in 2021…
Strategize. US households took on a whopping $1 trillion in new debt last year — the biggest jump since 2007 — much of it in mortgages and auto loans. Because of high demand for homes and cars. But credit card debt grew, too, with people returning to their pre-pandemic spending habits. Whatever debts you have, make sure you have a repayment strategy to go with them. See: the avalanche method. This plan has you prioritize paying off the debt with the highest interest rate (think: credit cards). Faster payoff = less interest paid. Compare it with the snowball method to see which is best for you.
If you’re watching the Super Bowl this Sunday, don’t be surprised to see celebs acting as cryptocurrency spokespeople in commercials for crypto exchanges. Aka where you go to buy and sell crypto. Think: Coinbase, Crypto.com, or Binance. But you'll need to see more than just an ad (or Matt Damon) to know which one is right for you. If you’re ready to invest in crypto, compare your options, and consider how each exchange stacks up when it comes to…
Fees: Many crypto exchanges charge a transaction fee based on the value of your investments.
Security: Two types of crypto exchanges — centralized and decentralized — offer different levels of security.
Centralized exchanges (hint: the platforms you’ll see ads for on Sunday) often run on private servers. Meaning hackers only have to hit one target to compromise your info. (Reminder: Enable two-factor authentication at every opportunity.)
Decentralized exchanges spread control across servers worldwide. Which often means less regulation and a little more individual security. But also no help if you lose your private key or want to cancel a pending transaction.
Coin availability: There are thousands of cryptocurrencies available (think: Dogecoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin), but each exchange might host just a few different types. Make sure the coin you're looking for is on the exchange of your choice.
A record number of Americans plan to bet on this year’s Super Bowl.
Workin’ 9 to 5 (or even part-time) at Dolly Parton’s theme park will soon pay for college.
Brands, public figures, and team owners are (finally) investing in the WNBA.
One study reportedly found houses on streets named after Confederates sell for 3% less, on average.
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Skimm’d by Liz Knueven, Kamaron McNair, Megan Beauchamp, Casey Bond, Niven McCall-Mazza, and Stacy Rapacon
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