If You Pay for Netflix or Hulu Through iTunes, You Could Be Saving 15 Percent Each Month

KellyISP/iStock via Getty Images
KellyISP/iStock via Getty Images

For prices ranging from $8.99 to $15.99 a month, streaming services like Netflix offer some of the best value in entertainment. But a growing number of platforms—including Amazon Prime, Hulu, and forthcoming services from Disney and Apple—means that viewers might be looking to cut costs. Fortunately, there’s a way to do that that requires only minimal effort. Is there a catch? Naturally. We’ll explain.

In a post for MoneyTalksNews, writer Donna Freedman points out that warehouse chains like Costco offer gift cards for iTunes at a 15 percent discount. A $100 card might cost just $85, for example. You can then use the card to pay for your Netflix or Hulu subscription if you currently pay for the service through iTunes.

Here’s the first of two wrinkles: Costco runs these deals only periodically, so you’ll have to catch the cards—which are usually limited to two per customer—during their window of availability. Second, Netflix is no longer using iTunes as a pay portal for new members. Members who use iTunes will be redirected toward Netflix’s own billing interface. That’s because Netflix was apparently tired of giving Apple a cut of membership revenue. However, existing Netflix members who are still tied into iTunes billing prior to the switch in late 2018 are able to apply the iTunes cards as payment. By purchasing them from a warehouse club, they’ll be able to save the 15 percent. So can new or existing Hulu members, who can opt to subscribe via iTunes.

Not a Costco member? There’s a workaround for that, too. Have a friend or relative purchase a Costco Cash Card, which can be used by non-members but tacks on a 5 percent surcharge, reducing the iTunes savings to 10 percent. Alternately, just have them buy the iTunes card on your behalf.

Does this seem like a lot of effort for minimal savings? For some people, it might. But if your streaming platforms are beginning to add up, knocking the price down by 15 percent might be worth the hustle.

[h/t MoneyTalksNews]

Scotland Could Become the First Country to Provide Universal Period Products to Citizens

emapoket, iStock via Getty Images
emapoket, iStock via Getty Images

Fears over where to find—and how to afford—sanitary products before their next menstrual cycle may no longer be an issue for people in Scotland. Earlier today, as the BBC reports, Members of Scottish Parliament passed the first part of a bill that would make items like pads and tampons free to the public.

The Period Products Bill was first put forth in 2017 to address period poverty, which affects people who are unable to afford essential menstrual hygiene products. Pads, tampons, and some reusable menstrual items are currently available to students in primary schools and universities in the country. The Scottish government has also expanded the program to include additional public places and sports clubs, but this new bill goes even further. If passed, Scotland would become the first country to provide free period products to citizens on a universal scale.

Ministers in the Scottish Parliament were initially concerned about the bill's £24 million ($31 million) annual price tag, but earlier this month, members of all parties in the government came out in support of the legislation. Though the bill passed through the first stage of parliament today, February 25, the BBC wrote that "The government is expected to put forward a raft of amendments to address their 'significant' concerns about the legislation," including the aforementioned cost.

Period poverty is an issue that's felt around the world. In America, many lawmakers are fighting to end the "tampon tax": a sales tax that's added to sanitary products and waived from other hygiene products deemed essential in many states, like dandruff shampoo.

[h/t BBC]

10 Simple Tricks for Charging Your Smartphone Faster

Makidotvn, iStock via Getty Images
Makidotvn, iStock via Getty Images

Smartphones always seem to reach low power at the least convenient moments possible. If you've ever urged your device to charge faster in the minutes before a phone interview or when you're about to board a plane, you can relate. While the easiest way to avoid this scenario is to plug in your device before the battery dips into the danger zone, if you've already reached this point, there are simple ways to speed up the charging process.

Some hacks for charging a phone faster involve steps you can take in anticipation of the next time you're surviving on minimum energy. Certain gadgets, like special chargers and battery packs, will power-up your device more efficiently than others. For moments when your phone is dying and all you have is your regular charging cable, adjusting your phone's settings to minimize the power it consumes also works in a pinch.

You can find some specific ways to charge your phone quickly below: 

  1. Plug it into a wall outlet instead of a USB port.
  1. Use a portable battery pack.
  1. Buy a special "fast" phone charger.
  1. Switch to low power mode.
  1. Switch to airplane mode.
  1. Let your phone drain completely on its own once a month to the extend the battery life.
  1. Close any background apps.
  1. Stop automatic app updates.
  1. Don't check your phone while it's charging
  1. Keep your phone out of the heat.

For more tricks for making your phone usage more efficient, check out these tips for typing faster.

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