Everything You Need to Know About Thumbtack: For Users & Contractors

Ultimate Guide to Thumbtack header

Thumbtack.com is a great resource for finding local contractors to do any kind of work around your home. Though this sounds like a great way to simplify the process of finding contractors, it of course, comes with the same potential risks of other websites that help you hire contractors online.

One of the great things about Thumbtack is that it is an improvement over other sites like Angie’s List because it works well both for people looking for contractors, and for contractors looking to drum up some extra business. If you’re new to Thumbtack and want to know how it works, we’ve got you covered in this complete guide to Thumbtack.

What is covered in this article

If you need a reliable source for contractors that are reviewed or need to learn whether or not Thumbtack is a great platform for contractors to get more business, read on!

 

What is Thumbtack and how does it work?

Thumbtack.com is a website that allows users to search for local contractors to perform work within their homes, and allows contractors a way to advertise their business, and obtain a good reputation. Thumbtack brings together people who do good work, and people who need reliable contractors.

Examples of services advertised on Thumbtack

Thumbtack for users

This is the basic principle of how Thumbtack works, allowing users to search for local contractors that can help them in their home. You set your search parameters, including where you are located, what type of work you’re looking for, the time commitment you want, and specific services you need.

After you answer a few questions about what you’re looking for, you’ll have a list of matches sent right to your inbox. You can also simply explore the site and browse around for contractors you think might be what you’re looking for.

Common categories of work people search for include:

Thumbtack for Contractors

If Thumbtack offers services to its users, it also needs to offer a platform for contractors to advertise their business. Contractors create a profile and are shown to people searching in their area for free. Contractors can also purchase credits to promote their business over other results in the area.

Example of a contractor page on Thumbtack

One of the great things about Thumbtack for contractors is its app: Thumbtack for Professionals. Its an app specifically designed for contractors, to facilitate all your business using Thumbtack. You can update your information, check for new leads, and communicate safely with Thumbtack users – all in one place.

Download It Now: Android | iOS

Check This Out:Best Home Service Websites Comparison thumbnail

Thumbtack vs Angie’s List vs HomeAdvisor | Home Service Sites Compared

If using Thumbtack sounds like something you want to do, check out how it stacks up against its top two competitors: Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor.

 

 

How to use thumbtack to find contractors online

If this is all sounding good to you and you’re interested in using Thumbtack to help you find reliable contractors, then here is how you use the website to find a local contractor:

1. Go to the website and enter a general search phrase.

Visit www.Thumbtack.com and in the search bar, type a general phrase that best describes the work you need done. Be sure to enter your postal code in the box to the right. Click the blue magnifying glass when you’re ready.

Using the search interface on Thumbtack

2. Enter additional search parameters.

On the left side, Thumbtack will offer industry-specific questions to help narrow down your search. Use the drop-down menus and calendar to add additional information. Watch the prices update, and then click View Profile to see more information about the contractor you are most interested in.

Adding additional conditions to narrow your search

3. Read about the contractor and find out what they have to offer you.

Some quick things you can see at the top of this screen include:

  • How long they’ve been in business
  • How many people have hired them from Thumbtack
  • Their rating (out of 5 stars)
  • If they are a Thumbtack “Top Pro”
  • How many people they bring with them (other employees)

You can also click any of the sub-menus including “About,” “Reviews,” “Credentials,” and “FAQs” to read more about what this pro has to offer you. Contractors also often show proof of their work here, with photos and videos of past completed jobs.

PRO TIP

A person’s rating is a good indicator of how trustworthy they are, and of course, higher is better (closer to 5.0). However, it’s not always easy how to determine if an online review is legitimate. In general, a person with a 4.5 rating by 453 people is still more trustworthy than a person with a 5.0 rating from 2 people.

If you’re interested, click Check Availability, making sure all the details you entered earlier are still correct.

Checking a contractor's credentials and availability

4. Confirm and add details for your project.

From here, Thumbtack will ask you a series of questions dependent on the type of job you need done, so confirm each detail and click Next when you’re done.

Choose a time to book with the contractor

5. Enter your email to get in touch with the pros that match what you need.

Once you’ve confirmed all the necessary details, enter your email address (the one you want to use to communicate on Thumbtack) and click Next. Thumbtack will send all the information you filled out to the pro you selected, and now all you have to do is wait and see if they get back to you.

Entering an email address to direct information from contractors to

PRO TIP

If a Thumbtack Pro doesn’t get back to you within 48 hours, it’s probably best to seek out another pro. Contractors highly value the leads they pay for and are often competing with a handful of other contractors who also receive your lead. They have significant incentive to contact you as soon as possible to win the job.

 

Thumbtack Credits and costs + what is free + how they make money

The cost of using Thumbtack is completely dependent on what you are using it for and where you live. Here are the answers to some common questions about Thumbtack pricing:

How much does Thumbtack cost for users?

Thumbtack for users is free to use, though you will have to pay the contractor you hire the amount that they quote you – which varies significantly depending on the job, the contractor, and the region you are located in. Thumbtack has a national average cost to go off for the most common jobs users hire for.

Here are some examples of common averages paid by users on Thumbtack:

The average cost of a wedding coordinator in America

  • Photographer: $850
  • Handyman: $50
  • House Cleaner: $160
  • Plumber: $130
  • Pet Sitter: $30
  • Yoga Instructor: $90
  • Massage Therapist: $90
  • Personal Trainer: $60
  • Wedding Coordinator: $1200
  • Bartender: $250
  • Exterminator: $120

 

How do Thumbtack credits work?

Thumbtack credits are a way for Thumbtack Pros to pay to get leads on Thumbtack. The contractors buy groups of credits they can spend in the website to continue getting leads and promote their service on the website. They cost $1.50 per credit, which is good for one lead – whether you get the job or not.

This is how Thumbtack makes money. Pros can advertise their offering for free, but to appear higher in the search results on the website, and get send emails or phone calls from Thumbtack, contractors must pay for their leads with credits.

When you spend credits to promote yourself, you will automatically receive emails (and maybe phone calls) with the description of interested users. You can reply with a quote or specific details about their project, and hope that they want to hire you!

Examples of what Thumbtack considers "big" or "small" leads

What Thumbtack considers a “bigger lead” costs you more than what they think is a “smaller lead.” A house remodel for example is a “big lead” because they person hiring you will end up paying you a lot of money. They also differentiate within the same type of business; for example, a house cleaning for a 4-bedroom home will cost more than in a 1-bedroom apartment. Thumbtack makes this decision and these prices can vary.

How to get Thumbtack free credits

The only way to get free credits on Thumbtack is if no other contractors are available or can’t complete a job requested by a user. You won’t actually receive a free credit, but you will receive that lead for free. Since leads always cost varying amounts of money, this is the only way to get them for free.

This is always the case, unless Thumbtack is running a promotion to encourage more contractors to sign up and pay for credits. In this case, you may get credits for free for buying a large amount of them. You can also get a reduced price per credit if you buy them in bulk, and you get a 20% discount if you turn on Thumbtack Promote.

 

Is thumbtack legit?: 3 things to know before using

These three issues mentioned below are the most common Thumbtack.com complaints. Though they are all legitimate complaints, these typically exist on any website that connects users together in this manner.

1. Thumbtack scams of contractors by users

On any website that functions similarly to a classifieds site, you are basically advertising yourself and hoping someone will want to pay for your services. However, some people who aren’t serious about getting work done by contractors still use the site maliciously to try to obtain personal information or put you in a dangerous position.

Always be careful when giving out personal information, and it’s generally good practice to meet with potential clients with at least one other person to make sure you stay safe. Check out this list of Craigslist scams to see the same types of things some users may try to pull on Thumbtack.

SAFETY TIP

Because Thumbtack contractors have to pay for their leads, it is far more likely a contractor will find themselves in an unsafe situation than a user will because of a contractor.

2. Thumbtack fake leads for contractors

One of the biggest concerns for Thumbtack Pro users is the idea that fake leads might exist on Thumbtack. Some contractors believe that there is a chance that some of the leads they receive are illegitimate and are produced by Thumbtack itself.

The idea is that Thumbtack sends fake leads to its contractors, so they spend more money on credits to try to attract more potential customers. In this case, Thumbtack will make more money off their contractors, and encourage them to continue using the service, though the contractors are getting very little out of it.

Despite a considerable number of contractors believing in it, there is no conclusive proof that this issue exists on Thumbtack.

Examples of leads sent to contractors on Thumbtack

3. Contractors wanting more money / won’t properly finish the job

As is the case with hiring any contractor, before the job is done, you receive a quote on how much the work is expected to cost. However, with home repairs especially, it is often the case that problems you didn’t know existed are present, and it can cost more than originally anticipated to finish the job.

In other cases, sometimes the contractor does not follow exactly what the client wanted, or doesn’t complete the job within a reasonable amount of time. Many Thumbtack users have complained that contractors intentionally do a poor job, or don’t complete a job within a reasonable time frame so they can ask for more money.

You’ll want to take these issues up with the contractor as soon as possible – preferably before the situation gets out of hand. It’s always best to hammer down the costs at the earliest stage of your project that is possible, and it helps to know the difference between an estimate and a quote.

PRO TIP

This issue needs to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, and unfortunately, there is not a lot Thumbtack can do if you haven’t already tried to resolve this issue directly with the contractor.

To learn more about this, check out our review of Thumbtack Pro for contractors. If you’re using Thumbtack and encounter any issues like this, you’ll want to make sure you contact Thumbtack right away.

 

How to contact Thumbtack customer service

If you need to contact Thumbtack for any reason, you have a few options. We’d recommend the following:

Thumbtack Phone Number

1-866-501-5809

Use When: Your problem is serious, and you need to speak to a person who can give you immediate support

Thumbtack Email

support@thumbtack.com

Use When: You have a general comment or concern that isn’t time-sensitive

Thumbtack Facebook Messenger Account

https://www.messenger.com/t/user:159298128452/

Use When: You want a quick response and your query is not serious/urgent

Thumbtack Live Chat

https://help.thumbtack.com/contact-thumbtack/chat 

Use When: You need a quick answer to a question, and don’t require a record of the conversation

Thumbtack Help Desk

https://help.thumbtack.com/

Use When: Your question is general rather than specific to you, and is probably covered in a basic help page

 

Sites like Thumbtack for finding contractors

These websites are similar to Thumbtack, allowing you to find and review local contractors.

Angie's List logoAngie’s List

One of the top Thumbtack competitors, Angie’s List provides a similar service, allowing you to find great local contractors that have been reviewed, and helps contractors find new leads.
Porch logoPorch

This site specialized in home repairs and renovation. Simply enter the details of your project and a description, and local professionals will connect with you if they can do the job, and provide you with estimates of the cost of the work.
HomeAdvisor logoHomeAdvisor

Similar to the other sites listed here, HomeAdvisor provides the same service, but they curate the results for you, making you answer more questions about your job or project, and then presenting you with 4 qualified professionals that meet your needs. That means you’re always getting the best!
Houzz logoHouzz

This site is like Angie’s List or HomeAdvisor, but it also contains extensive resources to help you along with the progress of your home renovation. The help comes both from the site itself, and from other users in your community.
Consumer's Checkbook logoConsumer’s Checkbook

An independent, non-profit consumer advocacy group, this site provides ratings for local businesses like a directory, and helps with anything from home renovation to health care to car repair to personal finance.

 

Sites and Apps like Thumbtack for contractors to find more leads

If you’re a contractor looking for more work, these are the top apps to help contractors find work in their local areas.

Angie's List logoAngie’s List

One of the top alternatives to Thumbtack for contractors as well, with Angie’s List you’re gaining access to one of the biggest user bases out there.
Logo for ServiceWhaleServiceWhale

This website for home improvement contractors will let you advertise your prices, so long as you’re willing to estimate costs in general, as they offer their users instant custom quotes.
Logo for ProReferralProReferral

A website powered by The Home Depot, this site advertises for qualified professionals in your area, for any type of work that you might do on your home.
Logo for FiverrFiverr

This app helps you offer your on-demand freelance services, in any industry. However, this app isn’t nearly as focused on home renovation as others.

Check This OutBest online local business finding tools header

The 10 Best Sites and Apps to Find Local Businesses

If you’re looking for something more than just a contractor, these websites can get you info on local businesses in seconds flat.

 

 


The Most Convenient Online Stores for Christmas Shopping

Person shopping online on smartphone

You promised yourself you wouldn’t, but yet again, you left your Christmas shopping to the last minute. Or maybe you just want online stores that aren’t complicated and are actually easy to use. Maybe you just really want a site that offers you free or quick shipping so you can get your Christmas shopping done fast this year. Whatever the reason is, we can help simplify your holiday shopping with this list of the most convenient online stores. We’ve sorted them into these categories to help you find the perfect one for you.

Shopping sites covered in this article

We don’t want you to have to read through a long list, so we’ve chosen the best two sites in each category! Read on and learn more about convenient online shopping, and get your Christmas shopping done ASAP!

 

Easy-to-use sites for everyday gifts and shopping

These sites have everyday items, customs deals and sales each day, and have a variety of items to choose from, so you can find something for everyone on your list!

1. eBay

eBay website

eBay.com is a well-known online ecommerce website, and there’s a clear reason why it has become one of the world’s most successful online shopping sites: the bidding. On eBay, you can place a bid on items up for auction, and if you have the winning bid, you can get your items for (often) much less than retail. You can also use the “Buy It Now” feature to pay a flat rate for items, or make an offer to the seller by sending them a message through the website.

Why eBay is convenient: You can watch your bid, knowing the auction will end at a certain time, or you can use “Buy It Now” to make instant purchases.

If you want to learn more how eBay works, check out our course on how to buy on eBay, and you’ll learn even more about making your eBay shopping trip a quick and easy one! We can also teach you 15 eBay bidding tips to help you win auctions.

eBay button

 

2. Bonanza

Bonanza website

Bonanza.com is a site similar to eBay that also facilitates bidding from its users to help them get lower prices. They are also well known for treating their sellers better, by doing things such as allowing them to list their items for free, and charging less fees on their sales. It also has user-to-user instant messaging which helps sales and negotiations to occur faster in many cases. Bonanza aims to stand out from the bigger ecommerce sites like eBay by offering “everything but the ordinary” – so you can find more unique items or things that are harder to find on other online shopping websites.

Why Bonanza is convenient: Their user-to-user instant messaging helps you contact sellers immediately, and because it’s easy to use, they often get back to you with answers very quickly.

Bonanza button

 

Gift websites with free shipping

Free shipping is important because the prices seem to really go up – especially around the holidays. These sites offer free shipping (in many cases), which can save you a lot of money on your overall bill.

3. Amazon

Amazon website

With Amazon.com, you know you are shopping on the world’s most popular online store. As they say, Amazon has “everything from A to Z!” – so you know you can find a great gift for absolutely anyone in your life. Amazon attracts sellers of all kinds, including big name brands selling off stock from their stores from last season, so you can get great deals on items from the brands you know and love. They also offer free shipping on most items when you spend a total of $35.

Why Amazon is convenient: Their free shipping, that they allow easy tracking of your orders, and that they have thousands of sellers, so if you can’t get what you want for the price you want, you can find a similar alternative.

We even have a course on buying on Amazon! Use it to learn more about buying on the world’s most popular online shopping website.

Amazon button

 

4. Zappos

Zappos website

Zappos.com is actually a subsidiary of Amazon, so you know you’re getting the same great service and variety with this website. They, however, specialize in clothing, shoes, and accessories, so are a great option for you if you need to do a lot of fashion shopping this season. Zappos gives you points as you shop, so if you continue to use it for your shopping, you can save money off of future orders. It also offers free shipping and free returns, in many instances.

Why Zappos is convenient: Free shipping and free returns means you don’t need to worry about your purchases; if they aren’t completely to your satisfaction, you can send them back at no risk to yourself.

Zappos button

 

Sites that can personalize your gifts

These websites offer services that let you customize your gifts before you pay for them – anything from engraving to monogramming to basically whatever you can think of.

5. Etsy

Etsy website

Etsy.com is a great place to find special, personal gifts, as everything sold on Etsy is handmade by artisans who are selling you their work. Because of the handmade nature, each item is unique and made with care. You never have to worry about the poor quality of mass-produced items, and the person you are giving the gift to is likely not only not going to have the same thing, but will probably never have even seen it before!

Why Etsy is convenient: It’s easy to browse around the site until you find exactly what you want, and because the sellers hand-make the items, you can easily contact them and make special request.

Learn more about buying gifts with our Etsy course, and you’ll be able to make the perfect purchases in no time at all!

Etsy button

 

6. Zazzle

Zazzle website

Zazzle.com is a great website that allows for almost total customization of the items you are going to buy. When making your purchase, you can change specific elements of the item you’re looking at, including its colour, moving graphics, and adding texts or engraving. Because of this, most of the things available on Zazzle make for great gifts; the only trouble is you’ll want to buy something for yourself as well!

Why Zazzle is convenient: You can change elements of the gifts you’re buying down to the last detail, including adding the name of the person you are getting the gift for!

Zazzle button

 

Sites that can expedite your shipments

If you left your Christmas shopping to the last minute, these websites can help get items to you within a maximum of 3 days, and sometimes, can even get them there within 24 hours!

7. Newegg

Newegg website

Newegg.com is your one-stop shop for the tech geek in your life! It has everything you need, from laptops and computers (and their components) to digital storage solutions to video games, and so much more! The best part is, they always offer 2-day shipping on all of their items, which means you can buy your gift at the last minute, and not sweat about it arriving in time for Christmas. Newegg also advertises sales right on their homepage, and often offers name-brand items for far less than what you would have to pay in a retail store!

Why Newegg is convenient: 2-day shipping means your shopping can be done last-minute with no worry!

Newegg button

 

8. Jet

Jet website

Jet.com is another great option for online shopping, and they offer 2-day shipping on most of their items as well – you just need to make your order by 2 p.m. to get it within 2 days! Shipping is also free on almost all orders over $35, and you get free returns! Jet offers extremely low prices on everyday items you buy, the difference is, you must sign up for a membership to get access to these deals. However, the membership is only $50/year, and the savings you can get (if you shop often enough) will be far more than that amount over the course of a year – especially if you use Jet to do your Christmas shopping!

Why Jet is convenient: Free 2-day shipping means you can get your gifts quickly and conveniently!

Jet button

 

Now you’re on track to finish your Christmas shopping – hassle free. If you are looking for something a little more personal for the loved ones on your list, check out our article on where to find unique holiday gifts online. We’ve also got a huge resource of articles about online shopping, which highlight many of the Internet’s best sites for getting great deals and making your life easier!


Free E-Cards and Online Greeting Cards: The 7 Best Places to Get Them

Best Free Online Greeting Cards header

It’s nice to take the time to reach out to people during the holidays or on special occasions. Even a small memento can make a celebration special, or brighten someone’s day if they’re feeling down. But what if you have a really big social circle? It can be costly and time-consuming to hop from store to store, trying to find the perfect card for everyone you want to reach out to. And then you have to personalize them all!

One solution is to use “e-cards,” greeting cards that you can send and receive over the Internet. They’re quick and easy to create, and you can make one about any special occasion you want (even if it isn’t in season right now). Plus, they arrive on time (at least more often), and protect the environment by saving trees. Best of all, in a lot of cases, they’re free!

What this article will cover

Ready to get your greeting on? Great! Let’s start with a little bit more about what e-cards are.

 

What are online greeting cards, or “e-cards”? How do they work?

E-Cards are Internet-based pictures, animations, or interactive apps that contain stylized greetings or invitations. Usually, they involve the use of web-based apps to personalize a pre-existing design. They can then be sent to recipients through email, or shared on social media via hyperlinks.

Depending on the site you find them on, there are all sorts of different ways you can customize e-cards. You can pick one based on a theme or special occasion, insert recipients’ names (or even faces!), base one off your own photo, write your own message (separately or as part of the card), set one to automatically go out on a specific date, or even attach a gift card to one!

So where do you find free e-cards? The following 7 sites are some of the most popular picks, and we’ll explain why for each one.

 

Top 7 best free e-cards sites

1. Blue Mountain

Blue Mountain greeting cards website

Blue Mountain isn’t just an e-card website – it’s a miniature online greeting factory! In addition to e-cards for all occasions – some animated, and some even interactive – Blue Mountain also has printable greeting cards, postcards, and stationery. Some can be accessed with a free account, but a paid account – which you can get a free, weeklong trial for – gets you the full library. But you also get tons of other handy tools, too, like the ability to schedule when your greetings are shared or even attach electronic gift cards to them!

What it’s best for: Someone who wants a unique, all-in-one greeting solution with plenty of extra features and options.

Button to go to BlueMountain.com

 

2. 123 Greetings

123Greetings website

Started in 1997, 123 Greetings was one of the first Internet-based greeting companies. Since then, they’ve become one of the biggest free e-card repositories on the web. You can personalize a pre-built card from one of their contributing artists, or create a custom one from a photo that you upload. You can also sign up for an account to save contacts, schedule card sharing, or follow events and artists that you like. And it’s all paid for through advertising, so it won’t cost you a dime.

What it’s best for: Free e-cards for any occasion. And when we say “free” and “any,” we mean it.

Button to go to 123Greetings

 

3. American Greetings

American Greetings website

American Greetings has been a brick-and-mortar greeting card and party supply business for over 100 years, and now they’ve made the move to the online world. They offer a limited selection of free online greeting cards (about 300 or so) that you can personalize and send without an account. A paid membership (which you can get a free 7-day trial of) lets you access all cards, including some that you can print out. You also get address book and reminder features, the ability to attach e-gift cards to your greetings, and more. The website also sells other products for celebrations, should you need them.

What it’s best for: If you’re looking for an e-card based on a specific pop culture theme, or are planning an event beyond just the greeting, consider American Greetings.

Button to go to AmericanGreetings.com

 

4. Some E-Cards

Some E-Cards greting card website

Since its launch in 2006, Some E-Cards has become one of the most popular websites for getting free funny e-cards. Though each card has a simple design, it also comes with a hilarious caption – sometimes provided by a staff writer, and other times by one of the site’s many dedicated users. You can also browse the website for general articles with humorous takes on world events.

What it’s best for: Anyone with an adult sense of humor. The mature subject matter and sarcastic, satirical tone on Some E-Cards aren’t really meant for kids.

Button to go to Some E-Cards

 

5. JibJab

JibJab "Starring You" greeting card section

JibJab is probably best known for their short animations that poke fun at American politics, especially their parody of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land” – concerning the 2004 presidential election – that became a viral hit. However, they now offer an e-card service called “Starring You” that allows you to insert the faces of you and your friends into animated greeting cards! Some cards can be created with only a free membership, while others require a paid subscription to make.

What it’s best for: Free JibJab e-cards are a good choice if you like your greetings funny, animated, and able to be personalized with more than just words.

Button to go to JibJab

 

6. Punchbowl

Punchbowl greeting cards

Punchbowl has a selection of standard e-cards for various occasions. But its specialty is custom invitations to events, such as birthday parties, weddings, baby showers, retirements… whatever you want to celebrate with friends and family! Some have designs from familiar characters and brands, while others are uniquely handcrafted.

Punchbowl also lets you track who responds to your invitations, so you can plan a party AND create the stylish invites for it all in the same place! A paid account gets you even more designs, the ability to add your own photos to e-cards, and a host of other cool features.

What it’s best for: Turn to Punchbowl when you want your greetings to get people together, not just say “hello.”

Button to go to Punchbowl.com

 

7. Smilebox

Smilebox e-card creation app

Smilebox is for people who believe that, if you want something done right, you do it yourself. It’s a free and easy-to-use digital publishing program that lets you create all sorts of online greetings, including e-cards, invitations, slideshows, and collages. Simply choose a design template, and then let your creativity run wild! Select the title, font, and color scheme; move design elements around, swap your photos and videos in or out, and more!

When you’re done, you can share your creation over email or post it on your social media accounts. If you have a paid membership, in addition to getting more templates to choose from, you can even add music to your e-card, print it out, or save it on your computer or a DVD disc!

What it’s best for: Someone who’s a little more comfortable with how to work digital technology, and who wants greater control over how their e-cards look in order to make them supremely unique and personal.

Button to go to Smilebox.com

 

We’ll leave you with one very important tip for using e-cards.

 

The most important tip for sending out free online cards

Make sure that you give your e-cards creative, personalized titles and/or descriptive sharing text! This helps to differentiate them from fake e-cards, which often have generic titles such as “You’ve received a postcard from a family member!” These fake online greetings will often trick people into downloading malware programs – either directly or by visiting a malware-infected website – that can damage or steal computer data.

Make sure your friends and family know how to avoid these threats, and also take care that your own e-cards stand out enough that they’re not mistaken for phonies and thrown in the trash!

 

Well, that wraps up our list of the best places on the Internet to get free e-cards! No matter the occasion you’re celebrating with them, be sure to stay safe and speak from the heart! And browse the rest of our online fun & games section for more ways to entertain yourself and others on the Internet!


7 Best Sites for Unique Holiday Gifts, Stocking Stuffers, and More

Person wrapping a holiday gift

If you want to be different, and put a bit more thought into your holiday gifts this year, we’ve got the best advice for where you can go. You can’t just visit huge websites like Amazon year after year; even though they are convenient, they don’t make for very unique gifts, as the things you’re buying are also purchased by thousands of others this year!

In this article, we’re going to help you find the best 7 sites for buying unique gifts, your stocking stuffers, small party favors, and anything else you need! Don’t let mass-produced consumerism get the best of you this holiday season. Instead, check out these best websites for finding unique gifts.

What is covered in this article

Let’s jump in with the most important part: where to get unique Christmas gifts online.

 

7 best sites for unique Christmas gifts

1. Etsy

Etsy.com is a popular online platform for finding all things unique, as sellers on Etsy make hand-crafted products, and ship them directly to you. Many sellers on Etsy work out of their own homes, and make their items for sale all by hand. They are artisans who are prepared to offer you unique gifts and things for your home – and you won’t be able to find these anywhere else!

Etsy website

With Etsy, you know you’re getting “unique everything” as they would say, so you know your gift will be very special. You’re also buying from independent sellers, so you know your money is going towards a hardworking individual who is trying to keep their business expenses low. You are also guaranteed secure shopping, and have easy ways of contacting Etsy sellers, or leaving reviews if you aren’t totally satisfied with your order.

Etsy button

 

2. Pinterest

Pinterest.com is an amazing resource for finding a unique gift because, in most cases, you would want to make it yourself! Pinterest is an idea-sharing platform where people post pictures, blog posts, and mainly, instructions for how to do something, and Do-It-Yourself (DIY) gifts is one of the categories most popular on Pinterest.

Pinterest website

Not only can you see great DIY gifts and get inspiration from Pinterest, but many people will sell their own handmade, unique crafts and gifts – using Pinterest as a platform. You can’t currently buy (many) items right through the Pinterest website, but by visiting another site through any “pin,” you can find items for purchase. Just make sure you’re using a secure website to make your online transactions!

If this sounds like a good match for you, save some time by reading through our free tutorial (with step-by-step pictures) of how to search on Pinterest to find what you want!

Pinterest button

 

3. Zazzle

Zazzle.com is an amazing online store for unique gifts because, though it’s like eBay.com in the sense that it allows users to list their own products online for sale to other site users, it’s unique itself because it offers users the ability to customize the items they are purchasing. Almost all items on Zazzle allow for customization in some way: from something as minor as choosing the color you want, to engravings and name personalization – in the exact place of your choosing on the item.

Zazzle website

Imagine finding the perfect Christmas gift, and being able to add your friend or family member’s name to it before it is shipped to you! You can also very often add gift wrapping, so you can ship the presents directly to your recipient(s) if you like! On Zazzle, the possibilities are nearly endless, so even if you don’t find that exact thing you are looking for, you have the power to turn it into what you want!

Zazzle button

 

4. Pop Chart Lab

PopChartLab.com offers you “The Things You Love. Charted.” They mainly offer great-quality prints of almost anything you could think of! Their team does careful research to create the best possible prints, and works with a talented team to bring you the best “ch(art).” They also use environmentally-friendly ink, and museum quality paper, so you know you won’t be receiving any cheap knock offs, or something you could easily buy off the shelf in any department store.

PopChartLab website

If you’re looking for a great holiday gift that suits the personality of the person you’re buying for, be sure to browse their Gift Guides, where you can choose gifts from categories such as:

  • Beer and liquor enthusiasts
  • Bookworms
  • Gadget gurus
  • Gourmands
  • Kids (and those young at heart)
  • Nature lovers
  • Sports fans
  • TV & Film fanatics

And much more! You’re sure to find something creative and beautiful to give to that special someone.

PopChartLab button

 

5. Firebox.com

Firebox.com claims to be a website with great and unique homeware and lifestyle gifts that are “Not for Everyone” – as much of what they offer is very sassy and cheeky. To some, these gifts may seem offensive, but to others, they are a perfect match! We all have that one person that’s hard to buy for, and Firebox may be your perfect solution.

Firebox website

If you’re looking for an easy place to start, you may want to try their Alternative Christmas Gifts page, where you can find gifts for any price range. With offering including make-your-own liquor kits, to pop culture-themed paraphernalia, personalized photo pillows, to Whiskey advent calendars, and more – we bet you’re going to find so many things you love, you’ll have to buy a few gifts for yourself!

Firebox button

 

6. PersonalCreations.com

At PersonalCreations.com, you can personalize the gifts you buy, and get inspired with custom gift ideas – no run-of-the-mill, standard shopping here. Because they know you’re giving gifts, Personal Creations will personalize the gift, allow you to add a special message, and offer to gift wrap your items. They also guarantee the quality of the items through shipping, and generally still ship items within 3 days!

PersonalCreations website

If you’re looking for a place to start your gift hunt, try their Christmas Collection for great, themed gifts. You can also browse through their categories, finding something for any age and personality. Try a monogram stocking, an etched cutting board for the kitchen, or a child’s toy with their own name on it! Any time you find an item you want, just click Personalize to add names, dates, messages, or anything else you can think of to make that gift extra special.

PersonalCreations button

 

7. Cherishables

Cherishables.com offers you the chance to reflect on your own unique story by personalizing special, meaningful gifts. You can create personal cards, announcement messages, calendars, photo panels, invitations, and, you can completely customize gifts with photos and words. You can make special coffee mugs, device cases, mouse pads, and of course, Christmas stockings and ornaments.

Cherishables website

If you already have something in mind, especially that you would like a photo to be added to something, then Cherishables is a great way to make that perfect photo into the perfect gift. They also offer you the chance to request samples of some of their items, so you can get a much better idea of how your photos will look when added to an item, and the quality of the work you will receive when your items are shipped!

Cherishables button

 

3 ways to get deals on customized gifts

1. Check the banner advertisement at the top of the website’s homepage.

Websites that sell Christmas and holiday gifts tend to offer sales during the season – typically starting in November. The best way to see what the seasonal sales are to get cheap unique gifts is to go to the site and check out the banner on the homepage. It will look something like this:

A banner advertisement for Christmastime deals on a website

And don’t forget about getting great deals on Black Friday!

2. Search Google for the specific website you want to use.

The easiest way to find coupons for websites is to use a search engine like Google.com to do a generic search for deals. Try searching “[name of site] coupons” or “[name of site] deals” and review the websites that pop up. Sites like Groupon.com, Ebates.com, RetailMeNot.com, and TopCashBack.com are all examples of popular, trustworthy sites for getting coupons and deals online.

Performing a Google Search for deals on Etsy

3. Use a deal alert site/app.

These websites and apps allow you to “watch” items you want to buy, and get alerts when the prices drop, when the items go on sale, or when the website is having a site-wide sale. Just sign up for the service, and save the items/sites you want to watch. Great deal alerts sites and apps include SlickDeals.net and DealNews.com. Both will help you see what’s going on Internet-wide, so you can get inexpensive Christmas gifts that are still special and unique from the sites you love.

 

Great resources for saving money while Christmas shopping

These websites should help you find exactly what you’re looking for to give to that special someone this year, but if you’re still struggling, make sure to check out these articles that can help you save more money, and find other great types of Christmas gifts.

Where to Get the Best Last-Minute Christmas Gifts Online

This article will show you the best sites with fast shipping, who can guarantee you’ll get the things you buy, in a matter of 3 days over the holiday season – some can even do 24 hours!

The Most Convenient Online Stores for Christmas Shopping

These websites may not have the most unique Christmas gifts, but their websites are easy to use, they have cheap or fast shipping, and they can help you cross of many things on your list in a very short period of time.

19 Bargain Shopping Sites Cheaper than eBay

If you’re looking for bargain Christmas gifts and need to stay within a budget, these sites can help bring in the presents you need – without breaking the bank.

The Master List of the Best Shopping Apps

This list has all the top shopping apps (and sites) online, so if you have a lot of shopping to do, then this list will help you find the perfect site for any type of person you’re shopping for.

How to Get Free Shipping on Amazon

Shipping can be the real killer while shopping – and change your perspective on whether you’re really getting a deal or not. Check out this quick guide to how you can get free shipping while shopping on Amazon.com – the world’s biggest online retailer.


Ride an Uber/Lyft Home from an Office Party: Stay Safe and Save Money

Car driving down a dark road

Getting together with co-workers and friends to party this Christmas is all well and good. However, it’s important to have a plan for getting yourself home safely afterward, especially if you’re worn out or have had a little too much eggnog. December is one of the most dangerous months to be out on the roads due to impaired driving. But taxis can be expensive, and buses usually don’t take you exactly where you need to go. Plus, you may not be able to catch them at the exact place you’re leaving, and it’s often a guessing game as to when they’ll show up – or even if they’ll show up at all.

A better option is to use a ride-sharing service, which is basically an independent taxi company. Two of the most popular ones in the United States today are Uber and Lyft. They are great alternatives to traditional taxis, and can save you a lot of money. We’ll show you how.

What is covered in this article

Let’s get you on your way to a safer ride home from your office party – or whatever kind of party you’re having this holiday season!

 

5 reasons why Uber or Lyft is the best choice for a cheap and safe ride home

1. You can get picked up and dropped off virtually wherever you want.Select destination for Uber ride

With a ride-sharing service, there’s no need to rush to a bus stop or a busy (and potentially dangerous) urban center to catch a bus or flag down a taxi. Just indicate where you are and where you want to go, and then sit tight and wait for your driver to arrive. They’ll take you right to your door, and there’s no need to fumble around for cash to pay them – your credit card is automatically charged.

Lyft fare estimator2. You get an estimation of your fare before you accept the ride.

One of the things that can make taxi rides expensive is that you usually aren’t privy to how the meter works. If you get stuck in traffic or bad weather, your fare can keep going up until it ends up being way higher than you anticipated! Ride-sharing services fix this by being upfront about how their pricing works, including giving you a fare estimate before you even complete your ride request.

3. You can easily split fares with your co-workers.Split Uber fare with other drivers in app

Another cool feature of ride-sharing services is that your fare doesn’t have to be all on one bill. If you and your workmates all use the same ride-sharing app, you can split the cost of the ride equally among everyone taking the ride together (plus a small sharing fee). If everyone chips in, everyone pays less!

Track driver on their way to your position4. You can track the location of the driver and get an ETA.

Buses and taxis are somewhat notorious for showing up late… or even not showing up at all. That isn’t the case with ride-sharing services. Their GPS networks will show you approximately where your driver is and how long it will take them to get to you. Drivers can’t cancel after they have accepted your ride (without being charged a fee), so if your driver can’t honor your ride request for some reason, they will let you know. Then you can start requesting another ride instead of waiting for one that’s never going to come.

5. You can report any issues you have with your driver.Rate driver in app after ride

While we hope it doesn’t happen, some bus or taxi drivers can be rude, abusive, or just not offer very good service. And often, there’s very little you can do about it, since you don’t know who these people are. Ride-sharing companies, on the other hand, track their drivers through the app, so you can anonymously rate their performance and report any bad behavior from them. They can do the same for you, though, so try to keep things civil on your ride.

You can see more of what makes Uber and Lyft different from other transportation options, and each other, in our Uber course and our course for Lyft.

Uber vs. Lyft thumbnailPRO TIP: How do you choose between Uber and Lyft?

 

 

If you’re not sure which one is better, check out this article comparing Uber and Lyft to determine which one is better for you, or which one is available in your area.

 

 

How to request an Uber or Lyft ride

Here are the quick steps:

  1. Download and log into the appropriate app on your mobile device.
  2. Select a pick-up point and tier of service.
  3. Select a drop-off point and confirm your ride request.
  4. Track your driver and select other options while you wait.
  5. When your ride is done, rate and tip your driver.

That’s really all there is to it, but if you’re a stickler for details, we’ll give a more thorough explanation below. You can also visit our lessons on how to ask for an Uber ride or how to get a ride from Lyft if you need specific instructions for either app.

1. Log into the Uber or Lyft app on your mobile device.

You’ll first need to boot up your mobile device – usually a tablet computer or smart phone – and get the Uber or Lyft app for it. If you haven’t downloaded it already, go to the Play Store (on Android OS) or App Store (on Apple iOS), search for “uber” or “lyft”, find the app, and then tap Install (or Get and then Install on iOS devices). Then tap Open, or just tap the app icon itself.

Alternatively, you can download and install Lyft or Uber from these links:
Download it now: Uber for iOS | Lyft for iOS | Uber for Android | Lyft for Android

Lyft app icon on device home screen

From there, you’ll need to log into your account. If you don’t already have one, you’ll need to register one with your full name, email address, phone number, and – depending on which service you use – your billing information or some other type of verification. If you already have an account, just enter your email address and password, and you’re in!

2. Select what you want to be picked up by, and where.

Once you’re in the app, you’ll need to let your ride-sharing service of choice where you are and what you want to be picked up by. If the GPS functions on your device are active, the app should set your location automatically. If not, you can tap a location on the map to select it. Or, you can tap the location bar, type in exactly where you want to be picked up, tap the location you want to select it, and then tap Set Pickup.

Set pickup point for ride

You will also need to select your tier of service. Uber and Lyft both have multiple options for vehicles to get you from A to B, though not all options are available in all areas. Some vehicles may have more seats or more luxury features, or may be specially equipped for those with accessibility needs. For more information, read our comparison of Uber services or this help page on Lyft.

PRO TIP

Lyft has cheaper options than the ones listed in that article, such as Lyft Original, Lyft Plus, or Lyft Line.

3. Choose where you want to be dropped off, and send your ride request.

Next, you’ll need to tell the app where you’re going. It’s very similar to manually setting a pick-up point: tap a location on the map to select it; or tap in the location box, type in and select a destination, and then tap Set Pickup.

Set destination for ride

You will also usually have other options here, such as getting a fare estimate, entering a promo code, selecting how you’re going to pay, or changing your trip start and end points. When you’re all set, hit Request.

4. Track your ride and use any other options.

While you’re waiting for your ride, you can use the app to track approximately where they are and how long they’ll be until they show up. You’ll also see pictures of your driver and their car (or at least a description of the car make and model), along with their license plate number, so you won’t get in the wrong car by accident.

Options for tracking driver in Uber app

While you’re waiting for your ride – and sometimes during your ride – you will also have other options available to you. You may be able to cancel your ride, split the cost of the ride among other riders, call your driver on their phone, or even send your ETA to someone waiting at your destination!

5. Give your driver a rating and a tip after the ride.

Once you’re at your destination, you can use the app to rate and comment on your driver’s performance. In some cases, you can even give your driver a tip. Then you simply get out and go wherever you need to – the app takes care of all the billing!

Rate and tip driver screen in app

 

5 tips for staying safe when using a ride-sharing service like Lyft or Uber

1. Ensure that you have a way to stay connected to a friend or family member.

Using a ride-sharing service basically means riding in a stranger’s car, so it’s a good idea to keep someone whom you trust in the loop. For example, before you request a ride, a wise decision would be to call a friend or family member and let them know where you are, where you’re going, and that you’re getting between the two places by using Uber or Lyft. Another good idea is to call or text that person to check in during the ride. This all helps them react more efficiently if something goes wrong.

2. Wait in a safe place for your ride to arrive.

You can get a Lyft or Uber taxi to pick you up pretty much anywhere you like, so take advantage of that! If you can, avoid asking to be picked up in potentially dangerous areas, such as dark, isolated neighborhoods or overly-busy city centers congested with traffic and other hazards. Better yet, wait inside a building and don’t come out until your Lyft or Uber app tells you that your driver has arrived.

3. Make sure both the driver and car that pick you up are correct.Information about driver screen

Uber and Lyft drivers use their own personal cars, which aren’t distinctively marked like regular taxis are. That’s why it’s important to check your driver’s information in the app, and make sure that all of it matches the person and car that come to pick you up. It’s also good to ask the driver if they know your name(s); this also protects them, because they’ll know they aren’t picking up freeloaders or other potentially dangerous people.

4. Flag drivers who provide poor service.

If your driver arrives late, takes off before you get a chance to get in, exhibits poor driving skills, behaves abusively towards anyone in the car, or gives you any other sort of trouble, make sure Lyft or Uber knows about it. Give them a low rating and detail your problem(s) with them in your rating comments. Repeated low ratings will help warn other riders away from the driver, and may force Uber or Lyft to monitor them more closely – and perhaps take disciplinary action – unless their performance improves.

Screen in app for reporting issues with Uber ride

5. If all else fails, contact Uber, Lyft, and/or your local emergency

services.

In the event of an emergency, you should probably call 9-1-1 or your local emergency services number and let them know what’s going on. You should also contact Lyft over the phone or Uber through their app, and talk to a customer service representative – and/or fill out a report form – about the details of your incident.

 

How to get free credits from Uber and Lyft

To get free ride credits from Uber:

  1. Open the Uber app and tap the menu.
  2. Tap Free Rides.
  3. Tap Invite Friends.
  4. Select text message, email, social media, or any other option from your smartphone.
  5. Enter a contact’s name and send the message.
  6. You will be credited with a free ride up to $15 after they have taken their first ride.

To learn more, check out this full article on how to get free Uber rides.

To get free ride credits from Lyft:

Visit the Lyft promo website to see if there are promotions running in your area. If you haven’t signed up for Lyft yet, you can get free rides.

Well, about wraps up our guide to taking an Uber or Lyft taxi home from your office (or any other) party! Remember to be responsible and stay safe, whether it’s the holiday season or any other time you’re having a celebration!


How to Post GIFs on Facebook

How to Post GIFs on Facebook header

Posting the same old kinds of things on Facebook might get boring after a while, so why not spice things up with some fun animated GIFs? Facebook has added some awesome GIF-sharing features to their site, making it easy for users to share them with their friends in multiple ways. Want to learn how to use these new GIF Facebook features, or upload GIFs you’ve created yourself? We’ll show you how it’s done!

What is covered in this article

An example of an animated GIF Another example of an animated GIF A third example of an animated GIF

To begin, we’ll show you how to easily share an animated image on your profile with the built-in GIF search and sharing feature.

 

How to post a GIF on your Timeline

1. Open Facebook.com in your browser and log in.

Using whichever web browser you prefer to use on your computer, navigate to Facebook.com. Then, log in to your account.

Logging into a Facebook account

2. Click in the text box that says “what’s on your mind” to start creating a new post.

Now, start making a new Facebook status as you normally would. At the top of the page, click the text box to begin.

Starting a new post on Facebook

3. Select the GIF option.

In the options that appear below the text box in the new post window, you’ll see various options of things to add to your post. Click GIF to access Facebook’s database of animations.

Select to add a GIF to your Facebook post

4. Find a GIF you like and click on it to add it to your post.

In the pop-up window that appears, you can browse featured animations, or search for something more specific. Scroll through the featured images, or click in the search bar at the top of the window and type in what you’d like to find. When you see one that catches your eye, click the image to add it to your new status.

Choose a GIF to add to your post

5. Add any other details you’d like to include, then share it to your timeline.

If you’d like, you can add a caption, tag friends, add a location, or anything else you want to include in your post. Then share the post to your timeline as you normally would.

Add additional details to the post, and then share it

That’s all it takes to share a GIF on your Facebook timeline. If you’d like to post one in a comment on someone else’s post, we’ll show you how to do that next.

 

How to post a GIF in a Facebook comment

1. Find a friend’s post you’d like to comment on, then click in the text box labelled “Comment on This Post.”

Scroll through your Facebook feed to see posts your friends have shared. When you come across one you’d like to comment on, click the text box at the bottom that says: “Comment on This Post.”

Comment on a Facebook post

2. Then click the GIF icon on the right.

Within the comment text box, you should see a few different icons on the right side. Click the GIF icon to access the browse/search pop-up menu, just like the one that comes up for posting a GIF in a status update.

Post a GIF as a comment

3. Search for and find an animated GIF you like, then click one to post it as a comment.

Browse through the featured images that appear in the menu automatically, or use the convenient search bar to find images related to a certain topic. When you see one you’d like to post, click on it to share it. The image will automatically be shared as a comment when you click it, so be sure you’ve chosen the right one!

Pick a GIF to share as a comment

4. Write anything else you’d like to say in a separate comment.

If there was anything else you wanted to leave in a comment, you can click in the comment text box and write a separate comment after you’ve posted the GIF you selected. You cannot add text to GIF comments – the images speak for themselves!

Want to share a GIF with one of your friends without anyone else being able to see it? Luckily, you can also use a similar image sharing feature in private or group Facebook messages. Check out the next section to find out how.

 

How to send a GIF in a private message or group message

1. Go to Facebook in your browser and sign in.

As usual, start by going to Facebook in your web browser and logging in to your account with your email address and password.

Logging into a Facebook account

2. Click the Message icon at the top of the page.

Near the top of the page on the right side, click on the Message button to access your recent conversations.

View recent Facebook conversations

3. Select the conversation you’d like to send a GIF to, or create a new one.

Click on a conversation to open it. If you don’t have an existing conversation with the friend(s) you want to share an animation with, you can create a new chat by clicking New Message (for one friend) or New Group (for multiple friends).

Open an existing conversation, or create a new one with a single person or a group

4. In the chat window, click the GIF icon.

Once you open a conversation, you’ll see a small chat window pop up at the bottom of your screen. In the bottom menu bar, click on the GIF button.

Add a GIF to a chat message

5. Find a GIF you’d like to send by searching or browsing, and click on one to send it.

Just like how we showed in the previous sections, you can now look through featured animations, or search for something in particular. When you find an image you want to send, simply click on it to send it to your friend(s).

Send a GIF as a message in a chat

Those are all the three ways to use Facebook’s built-in animated GIF sharing features. If you have found a GIF somewhere else online, or created your own and want to share them with your friends, we’ll show you how to upload existing GIFs to Facebook next.

 

How to upload an existing GIF as a video

1. Find a GIF online or create your own and save it on your computer.

There are many free GIF databases online, like GIPHY and Tenor. If you’ve found one on a site like these, or have created your own original animations (like with a YouTube video to GIF converter), save them to a folder in your computer so you can upload them to your Facebook profile. The steps to do this may vary from one source to the next, but most of these sites will either have convenient GIF download buttons – like the one shown below, from GIPHY – or allow you to right click on the image to save it.

An example of a button for downloading a GIF, from GIPHY

2. Open Facebook.com and begin creating a new post.

Log in to your Facebook account and click on the “what’s on your mind” text box to start drafting a new status update.

Starting a new post on Facebook

3. Click Photo/Video at the bottom.

From the various options below the text box, select Photo/Video, like you normally would to post Facebook images.

Add a photo or video to your Facebook post

4. Find the image file on your computer and click Open to add it to your post.

In the window that appears navigate to the folder where you saved the GIF and click on it to select it. Then, click Open to upload it.

Find the GIF saved on your computer and upload it to Facebook

5. Share the GIF video to your timeline so your friends can see it!

The animated image you’ve uploaded will be converted to Facebook’s video format, as you cannot post an existing animation in its normal format – it will automatically be posted as a video. Once you’ve added any other details you want to include, like tags, captions, etc. you can post the video to your timeline for your friends to see.

Add details to your post and share your GIF as a video

 

Other guides to working with GIFs

How to Make Your Own GIF

If only an original creation will do, we have a guide on how to make your own custom GIFs using services like Adobe Photoshop, GIPHY, IMGflip, or Flixel Cinemagraph Pro.

How to Find GIFs Online

Our friends at HubSpot have compiled a list of 10 great websites to find GIFs on.

 

That’s everything you need to know about posting GIFs on Facebook and how to share them in messages. If you want to share these kinds of animations on your other social media, check out our tutorial on how to post GIFs on Instagram. If you’d like to learn about other cool things you can do on Facebook, check out our free course. We’ve also got amazing helpful tips and tricks for other cool things you can do with social media.


The Definitive Shopper’s Guide to Online Black Friday Deals

Ultimate Guide to Black Friday header

Black Friday is always such a big deal – but why? This year, sales are starting even sooner than ever! How did the prominence of online shopping turn Black Friday into an event that everyone needs to hop in front of their laptop for? We’re going to answer all of your Black Friday-related questions, and give you the best tips you need to ensure you’re actually saving money this year, and know the best websites to shop on.

What is covered in this article

Read on to make sure you make the best choices this Black Friday, and don’t get caught up in phony deals and discounts!

 

What and when is Black Friday, and why do businesses offer discounts?

Interior of a large mall

Black Friday is the day that follows American Thanksgiving each year, during which retailers offer promotional deals and sales, and typically offer longer shopping hours at physical store locations to mark the beginning of the holiday shopping season. Black Friday takes place on November 23rd in 2018.

Because many retailers change their store hours specifically for Black Friday, it can start as early as 12:00 a.m. on the 23rd, and end as late as 2:00 a.m. on Saturday morning.

Woman riding mall escalator with full shopping bags

 

Depending on the type of business, there are various reasons why a business would offer Black Friday promotions. It helps to convince people to make purchases for their holiday shopping at their store rather than at others, and helps sell off summer/fall inventory before the winter shopping season.

Black Friday deals are also a great way to get customers interested in a retailer’s products before the holidays, as the month of December is often a month within which many consumers spend a lot of their money.

 

5 tips for getting the best Black Friday deals

If you’re going to put in the work of shopping on Black Friday, you need to know how to get the deals. Here are 5 tips for making sure you actually save money while shopping on Black Friday.

1. Don’t start this process on Black Friday – start earlier.

If you’re waking up that morning and just browsing through sites, you probably won’t come out of Black Friday having saved any money at all. Make a list of the products you know you want to buy, so you don’t get sidetracked when looking through websites. Think of a budget you want to stick to, and what you would be willing to pay for items you want, but don’t really need.

SlickDeals.net daily deals and offerings

2. Use a “deal alert” website as a starting point.

Online deal alert websites such as SlickDeals.net are great starting points to save you hours of browsing through site after site looking for the perfect deal. These websites will let you search for products, and see if any website is offering a deal on the typical retail price.

3. Know what you want to buy beforehand and check the prices.

You’ll also want to make note of the prices of the items you want most weeks before Black Friday; just because a website advertises something as a deal, it doesn’t mean that it is! You’ll want to know the prices of the main things you’re looking for beforehand, and focus on the key things you want to buy so you don’t end up filling up your online cart with a bunch of things you don’t really need. You’ll also know not to spend more money than you should if the advertised price isn’t really that low.

4. Give yourself time to compare products on multiple websites.

If you have the time, once you find something you like, make sure you check out its price on multiple sites. You don’t want to just buy the first thing you see, because if it’s a popular item this year, it might be offered even cheaper on another website that is trying to be competitive. There’s no harm in quickly searching the price of the same item on multiple sites.

Secure webpage URL prefix

5. Always make sure you are using a secure, encrypted website.

There is no point to saving a ton of money on Black Friday if you get taken for an online scam. Make sure you are using only websites with proper SSL encryption, and don’t give away your personal information to an unsecure source. Make sure you see the “lock” image in the page URL when paying, and that your payment page begins with the prefix: https (the extra “s” means “secure”).

 

5 sites that always offer amazing Black Friday discounts

These websites are some of the biggest retailers that offer the best Black Friday deals this year in 2017. If you want to find some more of your own, check out websites like this one that show you individual items on sale at specific stores. You can also try Googling “best black Friday deals” to find great sites that list sales for you!

1. Walmart

Walmart logo

Walmart.com has a little bit of everything for you and your home, and they are notorious for bringing it during Black Friday. You can get great deals in any department, which is great for anything missing from your home, and for your holiday shopping for any person.

2. Amazon

Amazon logo

Amazon.com is one of the biggest online retailers, and offers you everything, as they would say, “from A to Z!” You can find virtually anything, for prices often lower than what you find in retail stores, and discounted even further thanks to Black Friday. Many of Amazon’s biggest alternatives also offer great Black Friday discounts!

3. Best Buy

Best Buy logo

BestBuy.com sells the best in electronics and home entertainment, and generally goes crazy on Black Friday. They offer amazing deals, and since items there are generally a bit more expensive, it’s great to get a deal.

4. Target

Target logo

Target.com is another great retailer that offers Black Friday deals and discounts on many household items, including clothing. If you want an amazing deal on everyday items you purchase anyway, check out Target on Black Friday

5. Newegg

Newegg logo

You’re shopping online – that probably means you are tech savvy. If you’re into tech gadgets, Newegg.com is the website for you. It has everything you can think of from Assassins Creed Origins to the Z370 Intel Gaming Computer Motherboard!

 

5 questions to ask on Black Friday to know if you’re getting a good deal

Before you click that “Buy” button, ask yourself these few questions. You won’t regret how much money you save!

1. What price is listed based on a cursory search?

Once you find something you think is a good deal, do a quick search on other websites for the same item and see what price they are offering. There’s a chance you may be able to find it for an even lower price!

2. What was the price two weeks ago?

If you had the time to look for the items you were interested in before Black Friday, make sure to note the prices. That way, you’ll know for sure if the price the website is advertising is a deal you should jump on.

3. Would you pay this price on a normal day?

[shopping-cart-with-shopping-bags-on-laptop]

Think carefully about this question, because it takes more thought than you might originally think. When a business advertises a sale, and especially when they tell you how much money you’re saving, it can make you think you’re saving more money than you actually are. If you think that’s roughly the same price you’d pay for that item on any other day, then it may not be as amazing of a Black Friday deal as advertised.

4. Are you only getting this deal if you’re buying other things you don’t need?

If the website you’re shopping on requires you to buy multiple items to receive a discount, then chances are you aren’t actually saving money. In fact, you’re probably spending more money than you originally intended.

5. What do you have to pay for shipping?

So you see a good deal, but are you paying more than $10 for shipping? If so, then the website has likely jacked up the price of their shipping fees to compensate for some of the discounts they are giving you. Make sure you’re not being taken for a ride, and know what the shipping costs are going to be before you start browsing the deals.

 

Other great resources for finding the best prices online

Now you’re a Black Friday pro – and you’re all set to master your shopping this holiday season. If you want some more tips, check out these helpful articles:

19 Bargain Shopping Sites Cheaper than eBay

These 19 sites can get you items cheaper than on eBay. Make sure you’re making use of new sites and apps that can save you a lot more money!

Best 8 Sites like Ebates for Getting Cash Back While Shopping Online

Ebates gives you money just for shopping! You’re doing that anyway – might as well get some cash back while you’re spending it…

The Best of Online Shopping Tips and Tricks

Our collection of articles on everything related to online shopping can help you find new great sites and apps to use, and give you hints on how to save money on all of them!

The Most Convenient Online Stores for Christmas Shopping

These websites will help you find the best presents for everyone on your list. Don’t leave it until the last minute!

The Master List of the Best Shopping Apps

This giant list of shopping apps (sorted into categories) will help you find the perfect place to do your Black Friday shopping, depending on what you need.


How to Delete iCloud on Mac in 2 Ways

How to Delete iCloud on Mac header

If you’ve decided to switch from Mac to PC, or don’t want to use iCloud or any of its services on your Mac computer anymore, you may be looking to remove the service from your computer, or completely delete the account permanently. Since iCloud is connected to your Apple ID, you have to delete your Apple ID from your Mac in order to delete iCloud from the device. There are two ways you can remove your Apple ID account from your Mac, and we’re going to show you how to do both processes.

What this article will cover

  • Can you permanently delete your iCloud account?
  • How to remove Apple ID from all devices on the web
  • How to remove Apple ID through Mac settings

The first topic we’re going to discuss is whether or not you can permanently delete your iCloud account. Are the tutorials for how to delete an Apple ID legit?

 

Can you permanently delete your iCloud account?

There isn’t a process that allows users to delete their own Apple ID and iCloud account permanently. To have your account and information erased, you will need to contact Apple’s customer support team and request that they delete the account for you. You can get in touch with Apple support here.

If you see tutorials like “How to Delete Apple Account” that claim you can delete the account yourself, don’t trust them. Although you cannot permanently delete the account yourself, there are ways to remove the account from your devices so you can’t use it anymore and it won’t be connected to your device.

If you have more than one device you want to remove your Apple ID account from, you can do so through the Apple ID account manager using any web browser. We’ll show you how delete Apple ID from Mac through your browser next.

 

How to remove Apple ID from all devices on the web

1. Open your web browser and go to appleid.apple.com.

Using your preferred web browser, navigate to AppleID.Apple.com on any computer to access the “My Apple Account Manager.”

Go to the Apple ID management website

2. Log in to your Apple ID.

In the corresponding text boxes, enter the email address and password you use for your Apple ID account to sign in.

Log in with your Apple ID

3. Scroll down the page to find the devices signed into your account. Click a device you want to remove your Apple ID from.

Once you’ve signed in, you’ll be able to see some details about your account. If you scroll down, you’ll see a section that lists all the devices signed in to your Apple ID, including any Mac computer, iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch you use. If you want to remove your account from one of these devices, click on the device.

Select a device to disconnect your Apple ID from

4. Click Remove to delete the account from the device.

When you click on a device, a small window will pop up below it. To indicate that you want to remove your Apple ID from the device, click the Remove button.

Remove your Apple ID account from a device

5. Confirm you want to remove your account.

To confirm that you’d like to remove your Apple ID from that device, click Remove this Mac (or Remove this [name of device], depending on which device you’re removing your Apple ID from).

Continue with the removal of your Apple ID from a device

Once you’ve completed these five steps, you can repeat steps 3-5 to remove any other devices you no longer want your Apple ID attached to.

If you’d prefer to remove your Apple ID using your Mac’s settings instead of the Apple Account Manager online, we’ll show you how to delete iCloud from Mac settings next.

 

How to remove Apple ID through Mac settings

1. In your Mac’s home screen dock, click System Preferences.

At the bottom of your Mac computer’s home screen, click on System Preferences to access your Mac’s settings.

Access your device's settings

2. In the settings menu, click iCloud.

When the System Preferences menu opens, you’ll see several options of categories of settings. To access the settings for your Apple ID, select iCloud.

Manage iCloud settings

3. In the bottom left corner, click Sign Out.

Now, at the bottom left of the iCloud settings window, click the Sign Out button.

Sign out of iCloud

4. Choose what data you want to keep on your computer.

A small window will pop up, presenting you with the option to keep a copy of certain important data from iCloud on your computer if you want to. If you’d like to keep any of that data, make sure the box beside it is checked off. Deselect the box beside any data you don’t want to keep. Then click Keep a Copy.

Keep a copy of iCloud data on computer before signing out

If you don’t want to keep any of that data from iCloud on your computer, click each check box to deselect it, then click Continue.

Deselect data you don't want a copy of and continue log out

5. Type in your Apple ID password, then click Continue.

To confirm that you want to remove your Apple ID, and to turn off the Find My Mac tracking feature, you’ll need to enter your password. This is done for security reasons. Enter your account password, then click the Continue button.

Enter your Apple ID password to continue

6. Wait for your account and data to be removed.

Once you’ve entered your password and clicked Continue, your computer will begin the process of removing your Apple ID and iCloud data. This can take a few seconds to a several minutes, depending on how much iCloud data you had on your computer. Wait for everything to be erased. When the process is complete, an Apple ID sign in window will appear on your screen. If you ever decide you want to go back to using iCloud on your Mac, you can sign in to your Apple ID again.

Reconnect a device to your Apple ID

 

That’s all it takes to delete your iCloud account from your Mac computer through the web or through your Mac’s system preferences. If you’d like to learn about other things you can do with your Mac, check out our tutorials on how to sync messages from iPhone to Mac, how to use iMessage on Mac, and how to upload to Instagram from Mac.


How to Save a GIF on Your Computer

How to Save a GIF on Computer header

If you’re on the Internet regularly, you’ve probably come across tons of awesome and funny awesome and funny animated GIFs. Whether you’re browsing your social media feeds like Facebook or Twitter, reading your favorite Tumblr blog, or scrolling through an image database website, you’re sure to happen upon some here and there. Ever wished you could save them to your computer to use yourself later? If so, you’re in luck! We’ll be showing you just that in this tutorial.

What is covered in this article:

To start out, we’re going to give you general guidelines to save animated images from almost any website you may be browsing online.

 

How to save GIFs from any website

If you’re browsing databases like GIPHY, Tenor, or GIFs.com, there are a couple different ways you can save images to your computer. Many of these sites will have convenient Download buttons visible once you click on an image you’re interested in.

Button for downloading a GIF

If you don’t see a download button on the page, you may also be able to save the image by hovering your cursor over it, right clicking on it, and then selecting Save As.

Save a GIF as an image

A window will appear on your screen allowing you to choose a folder where you’d like to save the image. Navigate to the folder you’d like to save it in, then click the Save button.

Choose a location to save the GIF to

That’s all you need to do to save an animation from most websites. However, if you’re looking to save one you found on social media sites, the steps can be a little different. Looking to save one from Facebook? We’ll show you how to do that next.

 

How to save GIFs from Facebook

Follow these five steps to save GIFs from Facebook.

1. Open Facebook.com and log in to your account.

In your computer’s web browser, go to Facebook.com. Then enter your email address and password to sign in to your account.

Signing into an account on Facebook

2. Browse your timeline and find a GIF you’d like to save.

Now you can scroll down through your timeline to see posts from your friends. Browse through the posts in your feed to find animated images your friends have posted.

Browse your Facebook timeline for a GIF to save

3. Click on the GIF source that appears in the bar at the bottom.

When you come across an image you want to save, click the source of the image, located along the bottom of the image. This will open another page in your browser where you’ll be able to see the image on the website it was sourced from.

Go to the source website of the GIF

4. On the next screen, right click on the image and select Save As.

Now you’ll be able to see the image on the source page. To save it, move your cursor over the image, then right click. In the small window that pops up, click Save As.

Save GIF from source website

5. Choose where you’d like to save the image, then click Save.

A window will appear on your screen allowing you to indicate where on your computer you want the image file to be stored. Open the folder you want to save the image in, then click the Save button.

Choose where you want to store the GIF

That’s all you need to do to save animated images from Facebook. Want to learn how to save them from Twitter? Read our instructions in the next section.

 

How to save GIFs from Twitter

On Twitter, these images are actually displayed as videos, so you can’t simply right click and save them. In order to save them to your computer, you’ll need to use a third-party downloader, like EZgif.com. Follow the steps below to learn how the process works.

1. Go to Twitter.com and sign in.

In your web browser, go to Twitter.com and log in to your account.

Logging into a Twitter account

2. Find a tweet that contains an animation you’d like to save.

Scroll through your Twitter timeline to find a tweet from someone you follow that contains a GIF you want to save to your computer.

Find a tweet that contains a GIF

3. Click the downwards arrow in the top right corner, then click Copy Link to Tweet.

Once you’ve found a tweet with an image you want to save, click the downwards arrow icon in the upper right-hand corner of the tweet. In the pop-up menu that appears, select Copy Link to Tweet.

Copy the hyperlink to a tweet

4. In a new tab, go to EZgif.com. Then click Video to GIF.

Open a new tab in your web browser and go to EZgif.com. On the home page, click the Video to GIF button.

Convert a video to a GIF

5. Convert the URL to a GIF.

Click in the text box labeled “Paste Video URL,” and right click. Then, select Paste from the menu that appears. Once you’ve pasted the URL, click the Upload Video button.

Paste the URL of the GIF and upload it

On the next page, scroll down and click Convert to GIF.

Convert the video to a new GIF

6. Save the image to your computer.

Scroll down to find your final result. Now that you’ve converted the video from Twitter to an animated image, you can save it to your computer. To do this, click Save. The image will be saved to your computer’s Downloads folder.

Save the GIF you created

Saving animations from Twitter is a little more complicated than saving images from other sites, but those six steps are all it takes! Next, we’ll show you how to save GIFs from Tumblr.

 

How to save GIFs from Tumblr

Saving GIFs from Tumblr is really easy! Just follow these 4 steps.

1. Go to Tumblr.com in your browser. Enter your email address and password to sign in to your account.

In your favorite browser, go to Tumblr.com and log in to your account as you normally would.

Signing into a Tumblr account

2. Browse your timeline of posts to find an animated picture you want to save.

Once you sign in, you can browse through posts from the users you follow. Scroll down on your timeline until you find an image you’d like to save to your computer.

Browse Tumblr for a GIF

3. Right click on the picture, and select Save As.

Move your cursor over the image you want to store on your computer, then click Save As in the menu that appears.

Save GIF from Tumblr

4. Choose where you want to save the file, then click the Save button.

A window will pop up allowing you to choose a folder to save the image to. Once you’ve chosen a location, click Save.

Select where to save your GIF from Tumblr

Saving GIFs from Tumblr only takes four simple steps! Now that we’ve outlined the instructions to save animated images from a variety of sites and social media platforms, it’s time we showed you how to open the images that are now stored on your computer.

 

How to open GIFs you’ve saved

Once you’ve saved some images to your computer, here’s how you can open and view them.

1. Launch File Explorer on your PC or Finder on your Mac computer.

In the bottom bar on your PC, click the File Explorer icon to browse files on your computer. If you’re using a Mac computer, you’ll need to open Finder.

Open the File Explorer or Finder application

2. Navigate to the folder where you saved the image(s).

Now, find the folder where you decided to store the image(s) you found online.

Locate the folder with your saved GIFs

3. Find an image you’d like to view, and double click on it to open it.

When you find a GIF you want to open, double click on it to view it.

Open and play a saved GIF

4. Share the animated images with your friends and family members on your social media or in email messages.

Now you can keep these images for your own enjoyment, or share them with your friends and family. Check out our tutorials on how to share GIFs on Instagram or post GIFs on Facebook if you’d like. You can also attach the images to an email to add some fun and whimsy to your messages.

 

That covers everything you’ll need to know to save GIFs from any website or social media site you might be using. Interested in saving GIFs to your iOS devices as well? Learn how with our tutorial here. Find out about more related topics in our video and image sharing section.

 


How to Transfer All Data and Apps from Old iPhone to New iPhone

 How to Transfer Data Between iPhones header

It’s common for people to want to upgrade to a new smart phone every few years. If you’re looking to get the newest iPhone to replace your current one, or have already purchased one, you might be wondering what the best way would be to go about switching to your new device without leaving all your data behind. That’s where we come in!

There are a few different ways you can transfer all your important information like calendars, contacts, pictures, messages, and apps. We’re here to tell you about the various methods and how to do them.

What this article will cover:

Old and new iPhones

To begin, we’re going to explain a bit about each of the methods we’ll be showing you in this tutorial and telling you what’s so great about them. Since there are a few methods to choose from, this should help you narrow down the options to pick which one will work best for you.

 

Choosing the best way to transfer all data from iPhone to iPhone

A new feature Apple has introduced to make it easy for people to switch from one iPhone to another is the ability to transfer data between iOS devices during the setup process when they’re in close proximity to each other. It guides you through relocating content to your new device while you’re setting it up. To use this method, your current iPhone needs to be running iOS 11 (or newer.)

If you have a device that’s too old to run iOS 11, you can try out one of the other two methods. With Apple’s iCloud storage system that comes built-in to iOS devices, you can wirelessly transfer information and files between your devices. However, since you only get 5GB of free storage space on iCloud with your Apple ID account, you might not have enough storage on iCloud to store all the data on your device. If that’s the case for you, you can try moving your data using iTunes. This method will allow you to use iTunes on your computer as a sort of middle-man between your iPhones.

All three of these methods are fairly easy to use and completely free. All of them will allow you to transfer the most important data from your current phone to your new one, so use whichever method sounds like it will suit your needs the best.

Now that we’ve outlined and explained the three methods we’ll be showing you for how to switch iPhones, let’s get into the instructions for the first method, using Apple’s automatic setup system.

 

Method 1: Transfer data to new iPhone with automatic setup

1. Turn on both devices and put them near each other.

Grab both your current iPhone and your new one and turn them both on. Make sure Wi-Fi is enabled on your current device so you don’t use up your mobile data.

Then, move the devices close together. They need to be in close proximity to one another in order to use the “Quick Start” feature.

Moving iPhones close together

2. Select the Quick Start option on your new device.

On your new device, select the language you want to use your device in.

Select iPhone setup language

On your current device, the Quick Start option will appear. Tap Continue to start setting up your new device.

Continue with iPhone Quick Start

3. Arrange the transfer of data between the devices.

An image will appear on your new device. Pick up your current device and hold it above your new one, so that the image is centered in the view finder. Then wait for a message to finish setup on your new device.

Align iPhones around image to continue setup

4. Set up your security system.

Enter your current device’s passcode on your new device when the system prompts you to do so.

Set up Touch ID or passcode for security

Then, follow the instructions on your screen to set up Touch ID (fingerprint scanning) or Face ID (facial recognition) on your new device, based on what is available for your device and your personal preferences.

5. Choose the data you would like to transfer.

You will be presented with the option to restore your data from an iCloud backup, or creating a new backup of your current device to transfer over to your new one. We’d recommend choosing the option to create a new backup so your data is as up-to-date as possible.

Once you’ve chosen a backup option, you’ll also be presented with the option to choose if you want to transfer data and settings for location services, privacy, Siri, and more.

6. Wait for the process to complete and enjoy your new phone!

Keep your two devices together until the data transfer has been fully completed. Don’t try to use either device during the process to eliminate the risk of interfering with the data transfer. Once the transfer is complete, plug your new device into a power source and make sure it’s connected to your home Wi-Fi network. That way, your music, apps, and other data can sync to your device from your iCloud account.

That’s all you need to do if you want to use the quick start method to transfer information and data to your new iPhone. Check out the next section to find out how to switch iPhones using iCloud.

 

Method 2: Transfer data to new iPhone with iCloud

1. Back up your current iPhone to iCloud.

In order to transfer data from your current/old phone to your new one, you’ll need to back up your data to iCloud. To do this, open your Settings.

Launch the settings manager on your iPhone

Then, navigate to your iCloud settings by tapping your name, then iCloud, then iCloud backup.

Manage iCloud settings

If you haven’t enabled it yet, tap the switch at the top to enable iCloud backup. Then tap Back Up Now.

Turn on iCloud Backup and back up now

2. Start setting up your new device.

While your current device is being backed up, turn on your new device and start the setup process. This includes selecting your device’s language, country, and setting up your Wi-Fi.

 Begin iPhone setup

3. Select Restore from iCloud Backup on the Apps and Data page.

When you get to the “Apps & Data” screen, select Restore from iCloud Backup.

Restore data from an iCloud backup on a new iPhone

4. Sign in to your Apple ID account.

When prompted, enter the email address and password you use for your Apple ID account to access your iCloud backups.

Sign into your Apple ID account

5. Choose your most recent backup to restore.

Now, select the most recent backup you just created to load that data to your new device.

Select an iCloud backup to restore from

6. Wait for the transfer to complete, then get started with your new device.

Leave your device alone until the data from your backup has been loaded on to your new phone. All your information, messages, photos, apps, and more.

Wait for backup data to transfer to new iPhone

Once the data transfer has finished, you can finish setting up your device following the instructions presented on your screen.

Those are all the steps you need to take to transfer data to your new iPhone using iCloud. If you’d like to use the iTunes method instead, follow the instructions in the next section.

 

Method 3: Transfer data to new iPhone with iTunes

1. Backup your current phone to iTunes on your computer.

To start, launch the iTunes software on your computer.

Open iTunes on your MacOS computer

Then plug your old iPhone into your computer. You’ll see an iPhone icon appear at the top of the iTunes window. Click it to access your iPhone’s details page.

View details of a connected iPhone

In the “Backups” section of the iTunes window, click Back Up Now.

Back up iPhone manually to your computer

Wait for the backup to complete, then click the Eject button next to your iPhone’s name on the left. Then you can unplug your device from your computer.

Eject and unplug your old iPhone from your computer

2. Plug your new iPhone into your computer.

Now, with iTunes still open, plug your new device into your computer. You’ll see the iTunes screen change to say “welcome to your new iPhone.” If this doesn’t come up right away, click on the iPhone icon at the top of your screen.

Welcome to new iPhone screen on iTunes

3. Select to restore data from an iTunes backup.

In order to load your data from your current iPhone to your new one, click Restore Backup.

Restore phone data from an iTunes backup

4. Restore your new phone from the backup you just created.

Your most recent iTunes backup will be selected by default. Click Restore to begin transferring the data to your new phone.

Choose an iTunes backup to restore phone data with

5. If necessary, enter your Apple ID password, then wait for your data to be synced to your new device.

All that’s left to do is wait for the data transfer to complete. You may be asked to enter your Apple ID password if any of your information was encrypted. If this happens, simply enter your password to continue on with the transfer. Then, leave your device alone until the data has been moved. You may want to leave your device plugged in even after your computer indicates the process is complete, as your device will still be downloading apps and other data from the Internet, which can drain your battery.

 

That’s everything you need to know to move all your data and apps from one iPhone to another. No matter which method you choose to use, you’ll now have all your pictures, messages, calendars, contacts, apps, and all your other important data moved over to your new device, so you can pick up where you left off with your old one. If you’d like to learn more about the things you can do with your iOS devices, check out the iOS section of our site.