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Consumer Reports: Smart money strategies during COVID-19 pandemic

Consumer Reports: Smart money strategies during COVID-19 pandemic

For millions of Americans, this year has forced them to make very difficult financial decisions. And while the economic recovery is very uneven, for people with some money leftover at the end of each month, the question might be what to do with it: Spend it or save it?

Consumer Reports has some strategies to help you make smart money decisions in these uncertain times.

Andrea Bloome has devised a whole system, so she can zero her credit card bills and plan for her future, at the same time.

“My best plan is to take the money before I ever even see it, so I don’t even know it exists,” she said.

Money experts at Consumer Reports agree with her strategy, and say it’s important to find the right balance.

“It’s difficult to tackle two financial goals at once, but if you take a two-pronged approach, you can save for retirement and pay down your debt at the same time,” said Consumer Reports Money Editor Penny Wang.

Start by taking a good, hard look at where your money is going. Several online tools can help you track your spending, including Mint-dot-com, which is free — and YNAB, short for You Need A Budget, which costs $84 a year.

Then, look for ways to free up cash. You’ll have the biggest impact with big ticket items — such as housing or transportation.

But small fixes, like making coffee yourself or cooking at home, can also add up over time.

Next, prioritize your debt. High interest credit cards should go first and then lower interest debt, like student loans.

Setting up automatic payments, like Andrea has can help make it mindless.

“It makes it much easier, because that way, you don’t have to remember each month to send in the money and

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A Tech Mind With A Creative Spirit Competes For Top Prize At BE Smart Hackathon

A Tech Mind With A Creative Spirit Competes For Top Prize At BE Smart Hackathon

Jayla Williams’ passion is problem-solving, which is fortunate as the year 2020 delivered a surplus of practical problems that need solutions. The Fisk University sophomore is competing for the first time in Black Enterprise’s annual BE Smart Hackathon, hosted by American Airlines.

As part of a five-member team of Fisk tech wizards, Williams is contributing to a data-crunching project that will help airlines accommodate travelers with respiratory issues. As she explains it: “We can provide safe departure times and make sure passengers with health issues aren’t surrounded by people when they arrive at the airport.”

The effort is a creative technical adaptation to life under a pandemic designed to protect both lives and jobs – a perfect distillation of the BE Smart ethos, and a telling example of Williams’ creative spirit.

Speaking from her home in Hillsboro, Oregon, near Portland., where she distance learning her way to a degree in computer science, Jayla talked about her journey and where it might take her.

“I was born in Los Angeles, but we moved to Oregon when I was one. I have always been creative. I enjoyed art, painting, singing, playing instruments. I studied flute for seven years. I especially enjoyed writing songs. I guess I’ve always been attracted to the idea of creating something from nothing – making something just from the tools I have around me.”

At first glance, one might not see how a love for the creative arts connects a budding career in technology, but for Williams, it was a natural transition. She excelled at math and science, earning a 4.0 average in high school. College was a given, but where?

“I applied to 31 colleges and most accepted me, including Fisk. To be honest, I really wasn’t looking hard at Fisk; it was not my number one

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DNA Analysis Suggests Mother and Son Were Buried in Famous Viking Grave | Smart News

DNA Analysis Suggests Mother and Son Were Buried in Famous Viking Grave | Smart News

New DNA evidence has identified two people buried in a 1,000 year-old Viking grave as a mother and son, reports the Copenhagen Post.

Previously, researchers had speculated that the man, who may have been hanged, was an enslaved individual sacrificed and buried alongside the noblewoman he served in life.

“It’s an incredibly exciting and surprising result we have here,” Ole Kastholm, an archaeologist at Denmark’s Roskilde Museum, where the remains are on display, tells TV 2 Lorry. “We need to thoroughly consider what this means.”

Archaeologists excavated the burial, known as the Gerdrup Grave, in 1981. The fact that the woman was buried with what appeared to be a lance helped overturn scholars’ assumptions about gender in Viking society. Since the site’s discovery, researchers have found a number of other Viking women buried with weapons, which could identify them as warriors or symbolize their elite status.

“Bone and DNA analyses have gradually undermined the belief that men were buried with weapons and riding equipment and women with sewing needles and the house keys,” the Viking Ship Museum in Roskilde explains on its website. “Sometimes this is true, but other times the situation is reversed—there are lots of female graves that hold weapons and sometimes we even get situations where the skeleton we believe to be biologically a man … has been buried in clothing usually associated with women.”

In recent years, archaeologists have used genetic sequencing to disprove the assumption that a particularly grand tenth-century tomb filled with weapons and other artifacts associated with war belonged to a man. While 21st-century identities may not map perfectly onto the Vikings’ understandings of gender, the most likely explanation is that the Birka tomb’s occupant was a woman warrior. Viking mythology is replete with stories of such female fighters.

Skeletons on display at Roskilde Museum
The skeletons on
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