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6 Apps and Browser Extensions That Make Your Deal Hunting Effortless

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Your time is more precious than money—don't waste it hunting for a good deal when there are a number of phone and web apps that will do the legwork for you. Download these six, and you'll never have to resort to paying full price again.

1. COUPON SHERPA

Coupon Sherpa is a smartphone app that makes it easy to find coupons for both online and in-store retailers, no clipping required. And there are a few different ways to use it. You can search for stores nearby to see which brick-and-mortar retailers and restaurants offer coupons: 40 percent off at Michaels, 25 percent off at J.Crew, for example. Once you’re in the store, simply show the cashier your phone, and they’ll enter the code Coupon Sherpa provides. This takes no time at all—you could even look up discounts while you’re waiting in line.

You can also search for retailers individually or by category. The app will tell you which stores and sites have coupons available, and you can save your favorites.

Get it: iOS, Android

2. PARIBUS

Let’s say you finally buy that expensive robot vacuum cleaner you’ve had your eye on, then Amazon drops the price a week later. If you email them, they may refund you the difference—but that requires noticing the price drop and reaching out to Amazon. Paribus will do all of this work for you.

Simply sign up at the web app’s site, connect your accounts, and Paribus will monitor prices on all of things you buy, after you buy them. If something you’ve purchased drops in price, Paribus will email the retailer requesting a refund, and you’ll get an automatic credit, depending on how you paid and the store’s policy. You do have to connect your email and Amazon account in order for Paribus to work (it scans your inbox for receipts), but the app uses multi-level security features including firewalls, VPN services, intrusion prevention systems, and strict access controls to protect your information. (Read its full privacy policy here.)

Of course, Paribus has to make money somehow, and that means it takes a 25 percent commission on whatever amount you’re refunded. Not a bad price to pay for zero effort, though (and a partial refund is better than no refund at all).

Get it: Paribus

3. SHOPKICK

Cash back sites let you earn points for purchases, which is awesome. Problem is, you have to remember to navigate through their shopping portals to get those points. Shopkick, an app for iPhone and Android, eliminates this step by automatically applying points to your account whenever you spend.

In order for this to work, you do have to link your credit card info to the app. Once the card is linked, Shopkick will detect when you make a purchase at a participating store and will automatically award you points. You simply spend as usual, and after a while, you’ll accumulate enough points to exchange for items or gift cards. 

Get it: iOS, Android 

4. HONEY

You can often find a coupon code for your online purchases, but it requires some searching and digging. Unless you have Honey. When you download this browser extension, it automatically searches for coupon codes when you’re checking out online. It will also find and apply the best one automatically. 

Get it: Chrome, Firefox 

5. INVISIBLEHAND

Beyond finding coupon codes, you want to make sure you’re getting the best price when you shop online, and InvisibleHand can find it for you.

Once you download the browser extension, it will pop up automatically when you’re shopping. Whenever you’re looking at an item online, whether it’s on Amazon, Target, or even airline websites, the InvisibleHand will appear and let you know if that product or flight can be found for less money elsewhere. This way, you can comparison shop without any extra effort. 

Get it: Chrome, Firefox 

6. CARDSTAR

Loyalty cards are a must if you want to get a store’s “discount” pricing, but keeping up with all of those cards can be kind of a pain. To save you from wallet or keychain overload, CardStar saves all of your loyalty cards in one spot: on your phone.

Once you download the app, simply link all your store loyalty cards. From there, you can access your digital cards in-store, then simply have the cashier scan your phone. The app also keeps track of in-store deals and discounts.

Get it: iOS, Android

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This AI Tool Will Help You Write a Winning Resume
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For job seekers, crafting that perfect resume can be an exercise in frustration. Should you try to be a little conversational? Is your list of past jobs too long? Are there keywords that employers embrace—or resist? Like most human-based tasks, it could probably benefit from a little AI consultation.

Fast Company reports that a new start-up called Leap is prepared to offer exactly that. The project—started by two former Google engineers—promises to provide both potential minions and their bosses better ways to communicate and match job needs to skills. Upload a resume and Leap will begin to make suggestions (via highlighted boxes) on where to snip text, where to emphasize specific skills, and roughly 100 other ways to create a resume that stands out from the pile.

If Leap stopped there, it would be a valuable addition to a professional's toolbox. But the company is taking it a step further, offering to distribute the resume to employers who are looking for the skills and traits specific to that individual. They'll even elaborate on why that person is a good fit for the position being solicited. If the company hires their endorsee, they'll take a recruiter's cut of their first year's wages. (It's free to job seekers.)

Although the service is new, Leap says it's had a 70 percent success rate landing its users an interview. The rest is up to you.

[h/t Fast Company]

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8 Tricks to Help Your Cat and Dog to Get Along
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When people aren’t debating whether cats or dogs are more intelligent, they’re equating them as mortal foes. That’s a stereotype that both cat expert Jackson Galaxy, host of the Animal Planet show My Cat From Hell, and certified dog trainer Zoe Sandor want to break.

Typically, cats are aloof and easily startled, while dogs are gregarious and territorial. This doesn't mean, however, that they can't share the same space—they're just going to need your help. “If cats and dogs are brought up together in a positive, loving, encouraging environment, they’re going to be friends,” Galaxy tells Mental Floss. “Or at the very least, they’ll tolerate each other.”

The duo has teamed up to host a new Animal Planet series, Cat vs. Dog, which airs on Saturdays at 10 p.m. The show chronicles their efforts to help pet owners establish long-lasting peace—if not perfect harmony—among cats and dogs. (Yes, it’s possible.) Gleaned from both TV and off-camera experiences, here are eight tips Galaxy and Sandor say will help improve household relations between Fido and Fluffy.

1. TAKE PERSONALITY—NOT BREED—INTO ACCOUNT.

Contrary to popular belief, certain breeds of cats and dogs don't typically get along better than others. According to Galaxy and Sandor, it’s more important to take their personalities and energy levels into account. If a dog is aggressive and territorial, it won’t be a good fit in a household with a skittish cat. In contrast, an aging dog would hate sharing his space with a rambunctious kitten.

If two animals don’t end up being a personality match, have a backup plan, or consider setting up a household arrangement that keeps them separated for the long term. And if you’re adopting a pet, do your homework and ask its previous owners or shelter if it’s lived with other animals before, or gets along with them.

2. TRAIN YOUR DOG.

To set your dog up for success with cats, teach it to control its impulses, Sandor says. Does it leap across the kitchen when someone drops a cookie, or go on high alert when it sees a squeaky toy? If so, it probably won’t be great with cats right off the bat, since it will likely jump up whenever it spots a feline.

Hold off Fido's face time with Fluffy until the former is trained to stay put. And even then, keep a leash handy during the first several cat-dog meetings.

3. GIVE A CAT ITS OWN TERRITORY BEFORE IT MEETS A DOG.

Cats need a protected space—a “base camp” of sorts—that’s just theirs, Galaxy says. Make this refuge off-limits to the dog, but create safe spaces around the house, too. This way, the cat can confidently navigate shared territory without trouble from its canine sibling.

Since cats are natural climbers, Galaxy recommends taking advantage of your home’s vertical space. Buy tall cat trees, install shelves, or place a cat bed atop a bookcase. This allows your cat to observe the dog from a safe distance, or cross a room without touching the floor.

And while you’re at it, keep dogs away from the litter box. Cats should feel safe while doing their business, plus dogs sometimes (ew) like to snack on cat feces, a bad habit that can cause your pooch to contract intestinal parasites. These worms can cause a slew of health problems, including vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and anemia.

Baby gates work in a pinch, but since some dogs are escape artists, prepare for worst-case scenarios by keeping the litter box uncovered and in an open space. That way, the cat won’t be cornered and trapped mid-squat.

4. EXERCISE YOUR DOG'S BODY AND MIND.

“People exercise their dogs probably 20 percent of what they should really be doing,” Sandor says. “It’s really important that their energy is released somewhere else so that they have the ability to slow down their brains and really control themselves when they’re around kitties.”

Dogs also need lots of stimulation. Receiving it in a controlled manner makes them less likely to satisfy it by, say, chasing a cat. For this, Sandor recommends toys, herding-type activities, lure coursing, and high-intensity trick training.

“Instead of just taking a walk, stop and do a sit five times on every block,” she says. “And do direction changes three times on every block, or speed changes two times. It’s about unleashing their herding instincts and prey drive in an appropriate way.”

If you don’t have time for any of these activities, Zoe recommends hiring a dog walker, or enrolling in doggy daycare.

5. LET CATS AND DOGS FOLLOW THEIR NOSES.

In Galaxy's new book, Total Cat Mojo, he says it’s a smart idea to let cats and dogs sniff each other’s bedding and toys before a face-to-face introduction. This way, they can satisfy their curiosity and avoid potential turf battles.

6. PLAN THE FIRST CAT/DOG MEETING CAREFULLY.

Just like humans, cats and dogs have just one good chance to make a great first impression. Luckily, they both love food, which might ultimately help them love each other.

Schedule the first cat-dog meeting during mealtime, but keep the dog on a leash and both animals on opposite sides of a closed door. They won’t see each other, but they will smell each other while chowing down on their respective foods. They’ll begin to associate this smell with food, thus “making it a good thing,” Galaxy says.

Do this every mealtime for several weeks, before slowly introducing visual simulation. Continue feeding the cat and dog separately, but on either side of a dog gate or screen, before finally removing it all together. By this point, “they’re eating side-by-side, pretty much ignoring each other,” Galaxy says. For safety’s sake, continue keeping the dog on a leash until you’re confident it’s safe to take it off (and even then, exercise caution).

7. KEEP THEIR FOOD AND TOYS SEPARATE.

After you've successfully ingratiated the cat and dog using feeding exercises, keep their food bowls separate. “A cat will walk up to the dog bowl—either while the dog’s eating, or in the vicinity—and try to eat out of it,” Galaxy says. “The dog just goes to town on them. You can’t assume that your dog isn’t food-protective or resource-protective.”

To prevent these disastrous mealtime encounters, schedule regular mealtimes for your pets (no free feeding!) and place the bowls in separate areas of the house, or the cat’s dish up on a table or another high spot.

Also, keep a close eye on the cat’s toys—competition over toys can also prompt fighting. “Dogs tend to get really into catnip,” Galaxy says. “My dog loves catnip a whole lot more than my cats do.”

8. CONSIDER RAISING A DOG AND CAT TOGETHER (IF YOU CAN).

Socializing these animals at a young age can be easier than introducing them as adults—pups are easily trainable “sponges” that soak up new information and situations, Sandor says. Plus, dogs are less confident and smaller at this stage in life, allowing the cat to “assume its rightful position at the top of the hierarchy,” she adds.

Remain watchful, though, to ensure everything goes smoothly—especially when the dog hits its rambunctious “teenage” stage before becoming a full-grown dog.

Cat vs. Dog Airs on Saturdays at 10 p.m. on Animal Planet

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