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The best way to build a client base and make 6 figures as a freelance graphic designer, according to 6 people who are currently doing it


graphic designer

  • The median annual wage for full-time graphic designers was just over $50,000 in 2018, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. 
  • But you can earn even more — six figures or higher — if you become a freelancer.
  • We asked six freelance graphic designers their tricks to the trade.
  • They've been successful as a result of finding clients that champion their work, networking not just online but in person, and working on retainer whenever possible.
  • The experts also noted that counterintuitively, you may need to turn down some work to make more money.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

The median annual wage for full-time graphic designers was just over $50,000 (or $24.21 per hour) in 2018, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

But if you want to raise the ceiling on your income potential in this field, freelancing may be the ticket. 

"Unless you're the exception, the only way to make a lot of money as a graphic designer is to freelance," said Reagan Burns, owner/creative director at Lime Creative, LLC and owner of Element Cowork. "There's a salary cap and a gender gap in advancing into the art director roles in creative fields." 

Veteran freelance graphic designers can make well into the six figures by charging as much as $150 per hour. Yet hourly rates can vary widely among designers depending on their background and experience level, with low-end designers netting only $20 an hour and on average freelance designers charging a rate of $45 an hour.

This variation means that the little things you do as a freelance graphic designer can make the difference between a modest salary and one that's $100,000 or higher. To learn best business practices on what freelance designers can do to up their game, win more clients, and make more money, Business Insider interviewed six experienced freelance graphic artists to learn their tips and tricks.  

Educate and understand your clients, and find ones that will champion you

After graduating from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a BFA in graphic design, Burns took a job as a graphic artist at the advertising agency R&R Partners in Las Vegas. When she first entered the workforce, Burns believed all she needed to be successful was to "think creatively, and outside of the box, and to wow [her] managers with unique and visually appealing design." 

Reagan Burns

However, she quickly learned that while she prioritized the art of design, it was actually the client and agency who paid her salary, and that their satisfaction and preferred direction was what mattered the most. After becoming aware of the salary limitations of staff design positions she decided to leave the agency after just one year and went out on her own, founding Lime Creative in 2009.

"Once I was signing and managing my own clients, I had the freedom to prioritize design and also the client," Burns said. As she did so, she relied on the following strategies to develop and build her business, which netted her around $115,000 in 2019:

  • Show your clients what they don't know they need. Burns suggested that freelance artists keep in mind that clients are outsourcing or hiring a designer because they do not have familiarity with what they need for their brand. This creates an opportunity to add value as a freelance resource. "By educating them, you can guide them on why certain design aspects matter and define your authority on the matter," Burns said. "This will also lead to greater trust and respect and loyalty."
  • Get to know your client. Honing your connection with your client beyond just the cursory business transaction will help you cement a bond that can extend the life of your partnership. For example, by taking the time to understand their larger business needs as well as learn something about their personal interests, you're giving your client more reasons to rely on you. "When you develop a personal relationship with [your client], you will demand respect from them, and any issues that arise will have the opportunity to be discussed before any rash decisions are made," Burns said.
  • Be super reliable. Burns pointed out that while creativity is a right-brain trait, organization and timeliness — key concerns of most clients — are left-brain traits. "Clients need their freelance creatives to fight their natural instincts and work against a deadline," said Burns. One way to showcase your reliability is to offer resources to your clients, including information that highlights your business processes. "Build a blog where the client can do their research and learn about what services you're providing to them," she said. 

TJ Harley headshot

T.J. Harley is the president and creative director of Atlanta-based graphic design studio Harley Creative, which he formed in 2012 after serving as creative director of sports marketing company IMG College for over a decade. He added another important element of client management: identifying clients who will be champions for you.

"Ninety percent of my business comes via word of mouth and referrals from current and former clients," said Harley. "It's the absolute best advertising there is. It's important to find clients who are going to be cheerleaders for you and say your name when they're asked for recommendations."

Rub elbows with potential clients — in person 

Much networking today, particularly for work-at-home freelancers, is done online. But Dale Johnson, cofounder of travel blog Nomad Paradise, suggested that the most effective way to find high-paying clients is by getting in front of them in person — for example, by attending industry conferences and events. 

Johnson, who has been working remotely as a designer, content marketer, and publicist since 2016, explained that he used this strategy to land "$10,000's worth of work" with a large SEO and marketing agency that needed infographics. The designer accomplished this by going to one large digital marketing conference, MozCon. Once there, he leveraged social media to gain attention for his services, which led to face-to-face meetings that led to landing a significant new client.

"While being prolific on Twitter at the conference, which gave me visibility, I also posted a blog post about being a non-marketer [at] one of the world's largest marketing conferences in the official Facebook group of MozCon," Johnson said. "This piece gained serious traction in the group, and the content manager of the agency reached out to me directly to discuss working together." 

Dale Johnson

Johnson has had similar success at other conferences and ceremonies, with IKEA being one of his highest-profile clients landed through this method. 

"If you want to be paid highly, you have to do business with people willing to pay a premium for quality design," Johnson said. "These people do not hang about on freelance boards, and more often than not, work on a word-of-mouth referral basis." 

It's well worth it, Johnson concluded, to do what you can to put yourself in front of these influencers. Altogether the cost of traveling to the conference was around $2,000 for him when airline tickets were factored in, he maintained that "the reward of the work at the end of it made it a more than worthwhile investment." 

Go niche rather than broad

When Adrienne Johnston first went freelance in January 2018, she offered general graphic design services. But a few months into her new line of work, she realized that accepting such a broad range of gigs was inefficient and didn't allow her to maximize her income. 

So after doing some research to determine which of her design projects offered the highest price for the least amount of time spent on them, Johnston decided to limit her offering to freelance presentation design. 

"Presentation design ticks a lot of boxes for a highly profitable design niche," Johnston said. She noted that in addition to the fact that there's a large market size with around 35 million PowerPoint presentations given each day, there's also a big demand for these services, since many of her clients have PowerPoint on their computers but lack premium design software like the Adobe Suite, creating a gap for presentation designers to fill. 

Adrienne Johnston

Her research also found that clients were willing to pay for presentation design for decks they could often use more than once, and there was a budget for them in many companies as a line item tied to revenue.

After identifying her niche, Johnston capitalized on it by building an SEO-optimized website and web presence to support her new, more focused business. 

"That website was generating two to three leads a day at the six-month mark," Johnston said. Her niche strategy paid off quite rapidly, as she earned $200,000 in 2019, her second year of freelancing.

Keep increasing your rates 

On her rapid ascension into six-figure freelancing, Johnston also effectively leveraged an intentional rate strategy that helped her ratchet up her earnings. The first step to her strategy was ensuring that clients would be aware of her positive track record of performance and skill set. To do this, she relied on earning positive reviews from clients on the global freelance platforms Upwork and Fiverr

Once she had a strong reputation on these sites, she used that public knowledge to gradually inch up her rates. "I started with a full calendar of clients at a $40 hourly rate," Johnston said. "I increased that rate to $100 in my first year of freelancing by adding new clients at the $100-an-hour rate and slowly asking clients at the lower rates to move up or offer[ing] to refer them to other designers." 

Johnston found that most of her clients were willing to accept the price increases for her services based on their previous work together.

Work on retainer whenever possible 

Harley explained that one of the top ways he grew and maintained his own graphic design business was by always presenting an option for a retainer fee —  an advance payment from a client that a contractor can draw funds from — when starting work with a new client.

"Charging a monthly fee in exchange for a certain amount of projects or time can be a great alternative to project-based pricing, especially if a client has multiple projects they need done," said Harley. "It's also a great option for clients, because you can act as their in-house designer at a fraction of what they would pay a full-time employee." 

Harley added that when a client puts him on retainer, he in essence becomes part of their team, which makes the partnership much more efficient and productive.

However, he added, "once someone has you on retainer, you need to be flexible, which also means being available and reliable if they need something in a pinch. You're not only being paid to do design work, but also to be a reliable member of their team."

To that end, doing great work is essential. "You're only going to be as successful as the work you put in," Harley said. "Make sure you're doing quality work that will speak for itself when a contract renewal comes up or someone asks for a referral for a good designer." 

Be prepared to turn down some work

Husband-and-wife creative team Theo Fels, creative director, and Julie Fels, content director, at Feisty Brown— which offers print, branding, and web design — have over 30 years of experience working with recognizable American and global organizations like American Express, Capital One, and Johnson & Johnson. The Fels pointed out that being deliberate about which jobs they take and which they turn away is important to their six-figure business.

Theo Fels and Julie Fels"Sometimes we have to say no, but it's not easy," said the Fels team. "Turning away work seems like an odd way to generate income, but each job you take on needs to be balanced with your other work."

The couple said that they ask themselves the following questions when weighing decisions about whether or not to accept or reject a project: 

  • What does this job bring to our organization?
  • What complications will it bring? 
  • Is it a job that will end up dominating our time for very little return? 
  • Do we think we'll work well with the team hiring us? 

They added that as freelancers, they have to be prepared to not always expect to make six-figure salaries. 

"Every year is different," the couple explained. "We plan as much as we can so that we're prepared for slow times. By budgeting and keeping money in the business, we are able to maintain some consistency and weather the storm when it hits."

SEE ALSO: The best way to teach yourself to code and land a six-figure job, from 5 people who've done it

READ MORE: How to become a freelance ghostwriter, according to someone who left her $50,000-a-year banking job and now makes $80,000 a year on her own time

Join the conversation about this story »

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Cuffing season is over, and filings for divorce are on the rise. Here's a divorce lawyer's advice on how to cope with a breakup.



  • Valerie H. Tocci is a partner at Stutman, Stutman, & Lichtenstein, LLP. She represents individuals and families in all aspects of matrimonial and family law, including divorce, custody, spousal and child support, equitable distribution of property, pre-nuptial, post-nuptial, and divorce agreements, post-judgment matters, hearings, and trials. 
  • Tocci writes that January has been unofficially dubbed "divorce month" in legal circles. Monday, January 6 is called "Divorce Day."
  • A study from the University of Washington found that filings did indeed increase in January.
  • Some tax professionals and attorneys advise couples to wait to file until the new year to take advantage of tax breaks or dodge new legislation.
  • If you're considering divorce, reach out to an attorney and get as much information as possible. The more they know, the less stressful the process will be.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Matrimonial attorneys across the nation have prepared for this January, when divorce filings peak. Unofficially dubbed "divorce month" in legal circles nationwide, there's a variety of reasons why couples have historically chosen to separate after the holidays — and a number of ways for clients to cope. 

The phrase "divorce month" became so prevalent in matrimonial law that, in 2016, a study from the University of Washington was conducted to see if there was any statistical evidence to back up the anecdotes. Researchers examined divorce filings from 2001 to 2015 in the state of Washington and determined that filings did indeed increase in January, compared to December. 

Ohio, Minnesota, Florida, and Arizona were also found to exhibit similar patterns; according to Google Trends, the topic of "divorce" peaked the week of January 6 through 12. But while divorce filings spike in January, couples begin their search for legal resources during the holidays when many attorneys are out of office. 

On Pinterest, searches for "divorce party" rose an average of 21% from December to January in 2019. This interest is confirmed in matrimonial law offices, where the last two weeks of December are often the busiest of the year as attorneys prepare for the influx of filings. 

But why the increase in the first place? For many, the new year often reminds us that we need a fresh start. This is particularly common in unhealthy relationships and dead-end marriages, where couples may decide the best resolution is to part ways. It's also important to remember that winter and summer holidays are culturally important times for families with children, and filing for divorce during them may be seen as inappropriate. 

Other troubled marriages may see the holidays as a time to patch things up, with hopes that things will improve. People often raise their expectations during the holidays, despite past troubles in their relationship. Coupled with an expectation for positive change at the new year, many couples attempt to stick it out through the holidays. 

But for others, the University of Washington study found the holidays to be exhausting and emotionally demanding, exposing cracks in their marriages. According to the report, "the consistent pattern in filings, the researchers believe, reflects the disillusionment unhappy spouses feel when the holidays don't live up to expectations." 

But anyone considering divorce should always remember that fear of separation and holiday tunnel vision are never rational reasons to stay in toxic relationships. While most clients fear divorce, very few ever regret going through with it. In the end, all parties end up happier and better off, and the experience becomes liberating. 

Valerie H. Tocci

Sometimes couples are advised by tax professionals to delay filing until the new year. In most instances, filing jointly as married can help couples take advantage of tax breaks before separation. Attorneys may also advise clients to wait until the new year to take advantage of or avoid new legislation, such as The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which enacted new tax rules regarding alimony payments. 

In divorces finalized after January 1, 2019, spousal support can no longer be deducted from taxes. And for those receiving alimony, spousal support is no longer considered taxable income. This significantly increases the burden on the individual paying alimony and ultimately means more money for the government.

So before making an appointment with an attorney in January, there are a few things couples should consider. First of all, it's not uncommon for couples considering separation to simply be victims of holiday stress. Take some time to reflect upon your relationship and determine if it is really worth salvaging. If both partners agree it's time to move on, it's typically in everyone's best interest to proceed with commencing the divorce process. 

If you do decide to proceed with divorce, don't be afraid to ask your therapist, attorney, or a support group for help, and be sure to make time for self-care and positive thoughts. The holidays are a stressful time, and the New Year can bring much needed clarity, regardless of your ultimate decision. 

During the separation process, your attorney will help you decide how to best reach your financial and parenting goals. As previously noted, they will consider, among other things, the tax implications of your decision and potential new legislation that may take effect in the new year.

When clients decide to begin the divorce process, we advise that they should explore therapy as early as possible. There is no longer a stigma attached, and you cannot afford to neglect your feelings — negative emotions and hurt feelings can cloud judgment. Therapy can help you prioritize your thoughts, providing you with a trustworthy third party while separating knee-jerk emotional reactions from what's best for you, your children, and your future. 

Clients should also reach out to their attorneys for as much information on the process as possible. The more they know about the legal process, the less stressful it's likely to be. Lawyers can also give advice on how to reach support communities, as well as ways to best proceed emotionally. 

We recommend staying off social media, and urge clients not to use it to air grievances. Avoid following your spouse's feeds too closely so that you can stay focused on ending your marriage as quickly and equitably as possible. 

Practice self-care instead. Make sure you're eating right, exercising, and taking time for your own recreation. Twenty minutes of exercise a day goes a long way in helping clients cope by lowering anxiety and stress and helps to deter depression and negative emotions. 

A healthy social life is another excellent way to maintain positive thoughts. Focus on staying out of the tunnel vision divorce can cause and remember that life will go on. Many clients fear the end of the process the most, but, once it's over, the vast majority of them experience instant relief and go on to happier relationships. 

If your marriage is putting pressure on you this holiday season, just know you're not alone should you make the decision to file for divorce. The holidays can be a stressful time, but remember that in addition to your attorney, therapists and other wellness providers can be great resources. 

Overall, take your time and do what's right for you. And, once you make your final call, don't look back.


SEE ALSO: 8 mental habits that will keep you from being successful

READ MORE: I'm a full-time 'divorce concierge' who shepherds individuals through tricky splits. This is what my day-to-day routine looks like.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Taylor Swift is the world's highest-paid celebrity. Here's how she makes and spends her $360 million.

The secret to success is a question of habit. Here's 10 powerful habits practiced by top executives, and a guide for how to perfect them.


Laura Garnett 2019

  • Laura Garnett is a performance strategist and TEDx speaker who works with CEOs and executives to identify their unique genius and purpose and craft an actionable plan to leverage them.
  • She says that there are ten powerful habits successful people practice — and they're not difficult to adopt.
  • They use time efficiently, know what their strengths are, and are proactive about being happy in their careers. They enjoy the process of work — not just the ends. And they're always asking for feedback.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The new year (and decade!) always brings a renewed energy. We're excited about change, eager to set resolutions, and have a newfound willingness to work on ourselves.  

However, most people fail to conquer their resolutions because they don't create new habits around the behaviors that they want to change. 

Building new habits isn't hard, but it does require diligence, discipline, and commitment to following a plan for at least 60 to 90 days. The key is to start small and pick one or two habits you want to focus on. Once those habits are ingrained, you can add more over the course of the rest of the year. 

Here is a list of the most powerful habits successful people incorporate into their lives. When you're committed to not only starting these behaviors but to making them an ongoing part of your life, your potential is truly endless.

SEE ALSO: Here's how to uncover your 'Zone of Genius' — the sweet spot between what you're great at and what fulfills you at work

1. They work smarter, not harder

The most successful executives I know don't log 90-hour weeks. Instead, they look for ways to be more efficient with their time. 

How to build it: Start to notice when you're most productive. Do you get twice as much done in the mornings? Do you get your second wind after dinner? Identify the times when you do your best work, and carve out an hour or two every day to get a lot done in that time frame. 

Breaks are equally important. See if you can "block" your schedule and accomplish brief chunks of focused work, then take breaks to recharge. The Pomodoro technique— 25 minutes of work followed by five-minute breaks — is one method, but choose the lengths of time that work best for you. You'll be surprised at how much more you can get done.

2. They value who they are

I truly believe that each of us has our own unique genius: the type of work and thinking at which we are best. The most successful people know their genius well — they value it in themselves, and they seek to use it every day. 

How to build it: If you're not sure what your genius is, this article can help you identify it. Every day, read the language that defines your genius, then say to yourself, "I value who I am and the value I bring to the world." Do this at least twice per day, every day for two months. You will quickly see how amazing it feels.

3. They continually educate themselves

Even the most successful people I know are never content with the status quo. They're constantly learning and looking for ways to grow.  

How to build it: With the abundance of information at our fingertips, this is simple. Think through the skills you'd like to hone or the subjects you'd like to learn more about, and find books, videos, or classes that will take your expertise to the next level. The hard part is sticking to these assignments — but try to make it fun by tackling one per month and rewarding yourself for completing it.

4. They're proactive about their career happiness

All of us, from time to time, feel stuck or unhappy at work — or have a sneaking suspicion that something's not working. But successful people don't let that paralyze them. They get curious, they start looking for data, and they take action. 

How to build it: For starters, download my Performance Tracker, a weekly check-in exercise that helps you measure aspects of your professional life — like how often you're "in the zone" and doing work that's meaningful to you. Do this for a month, and you will be able to clearly identify what's working in your job and what's not. You will have the data you need to be more proactive with your career, whether that means spending less time on tasks that aren't fulfilling or looking for a new role altogether.

5. They build their confidence

There are a lot of misconceptions about confidence. Many people think you're either born with it or you're not. That's simply not true. Confidence is a skill, and people who have a great deal of it have typically worked diligently over a long period of time to achieve it. 

How to build it: Pay attention to negative messages you're telling yourself. Do you compare yourself to your colleagues, or beat yourself up after tough conversations? See if you can just notice that thought process for a week or so. Once you're in the habit of noticing, tell yourself a different, more positive message, like "I am just as talented as my co-workers," or, "Everyone makes mistakes. I have the skills I need to learn from this and move forward."

6. They aren't deterred by failures

Ask any successful person, and each will have a long list of failures. They aren't deterred by these stumbles; rather, they learn from them. 

How to build it: This can be scary, but start tracking your failures as they happen — without judgment or blame. When something doesn't go the way you want it to, pause and write down what happened. Then (later, if you need to), think through what you might be able to learn from the situation. If it's hard to find opportunities for growth, think about the advice you might give a friend in a similar situation. Do this for two months, and you'll start to equate failure with a tool for being better.

7. They ask for feedback regularly

Similarly, the strongest leaders aren't afraid of feedback — from their peers, their higher-ups, or even their subordinates. Done right, this can be an equally powerful tool for learning and growing.

How to build it: Make a list of 10 people you work closely with or know well and trust. Create three questions that are specific to the feedback you desire. 

For example, if you're looking for feedback on your leadership style, you might ask: "What's one quality that you really enjoy about my leadership?" or, "What's one time in the past month you think I could have handled a conversation differently?" 

Mention that you're seeking more feedback and will reach out again in three months with additional questions. Encourage them to do the same and let them know you're more than willing to reciprocate.

8. They enjoy the process of their work — not just their achievements

Our society tends to focus on achievements: landing a promotion, scoring a big new client, or making a higher salary. But it's healthier, more fun, and less taxing to enjoy the process of your work, rather than living for the wins. 

How to build it: Each day, ask yourself: "Am I enjoying the process of doing my work just as much, if not more, than achieving the goals I've set?" When you start to answer "yes" more than "no," you're on the right track to receiving happiness from the right place. If you're not there yet, do the work to understand why achievements are driving you and how you might be able to add more enjoyment into your work.

9. They don't listen to society's rules — they make their own

This is all about being who you are — no matter how different that may be from others, your friends, or society. If you can make this a habit now, your career and life will be much happier and better for it.

How to build it: Every time you need to make a big decision, write down all of the pros and cons. Go through them again to reveal the origin of these ideas. Are they true to what you actually believe, or are they messages from your parents, workplace, or society? If it's the latter, scratch those items out. Do this for every big decision, and you will start to trust yourself and make the decisions that are right for you. You will soon find that you're living a life for yourself, and not for others.

10. They make health a priority

Finally, remember that success isn't just about your work; it's about you as a whole person. You will struggle to thrive if your health and wellness takes a back seat.

How to build it: You've heard most of this before, but it bears repeating: Get good sleep (I love Michael Breus's newsletter, which shares tips and products to help you sleep better). Exercise several times per week . And if you haven't already, build a meditation practice. Download an app, hire a meditation coach, find a meditation center, or book at least 15 minutes in your calendar to pause and focus on your breath. Do this for at least 30 days, and before you know it it will be something you can't live without.

JPMorgan Chase posted record earnings on Tuesday. Here's how CEO Jamie Dimon, who has a net worth of $1.7 billion, became one of the richest men in banking.


jamie dimon net worth

One of the richest men in banking just got even richer.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon saw his net worth skyrocket on Tuesday after the bank reported record earnings, Forbes' Billionaires List shows. The bank announced fourth-quarter earnings of $2.57, blowing past the $2.36 figure expected by Wall Street analysts, Markets Insider reported.

Dimon became one of the few billionaires in banking in 2015, Bloomberg reported at the time.

Representatives of JPMorgan Chase did not respond to Business Insider's request for comment on Dimon's net worth or earnings.

Keep reading to learn how Dimon built his $1.7 billion fortune.

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Dimon, 63, is a native New Yorker.

Dimon was born and raised in Queens, New York, Business Insider reported. He has an undergraduate degree from Tufts University and an MBA from Harvard Business School, according to Forbes.

After graduating, Dimon took a job at American Express, where he met his mentor Sandy Weill, according to Bloomberg.

Dimon is credited with helping to invent the megabank.

Dimon followed Weill from American Express to Citigroup, before Weill forced Dimon out of the bank over personal differences in 1998, Bloomberg reported.

During his time at Citigroup, Dimon was tasked with integrating the companies that Weill acquired into the larger bank, Bloomberg reported. Dimon focused on cutting costs, all the while buying stock in the firms he worked with.

Together, Dimon and Weill turned Citigroup into the world's biggest financial-services firm at the time, according to Bloomberg. Dimon later used similar tactics to grow JPMorgan Chase.

Dimon was fired from Citigroup in 1998, but he made $110 million selling the Citi shares he owned.

Dimon was later named the CEO of Chicago-based Bank One, and joined JPMorgan when it acquired Bank One in 2000, according to Bloomberg. He became the combined company's CEO in 2005.

Dimon was paid $115 million in salary alone between 1991 and 2015, according to Bloomberg.

Dimon's employers seem to have gotten a lot of bang for their buck, however. Bloomberg's Hugh Son and Pamela Roux called JPMorgan Chase the "best-run of the universal banks" in 2015. Under Dimon's leadership, it surpassed Bank of America and Citigroup to become America's largest lender, according to Bloomberg.

Dimon is significantly richer than his peers in the banking industry.

He's now estimated to be worth $1.7 billion, according to Forbes.

Dimon joined the three comma club in 2015, Bloomberg reported at the time. 

"The odds are much, much lower for a bank CEO becoming a billionaire than a guy going to a hedge fund or private equity," said NYU Stern School of Business professor Roy Smith told Bloomberg. "The real lucre in this business has always been on the transactional side. The CEOs of Wall Street have to deal with litigation, regulation, and the relatively short tenures you have at the top of the pile."

Weill is one of the few other bank executives to become a billionaire, according to Bloomberg.

Chase's CEO spent some of his riches on an apartment on New York's Upper East Side.

Dimon purchased the Fifth Avenue apartment for $10 million, Vanity Fair reported.

The prewar building boasts a drive-through circular driveway, white-glove service, a concierge, private elevator landings, and 24-hour security guards and doormen, according to Forbes.

Forbes also called the building an "architectural treasure" that is "considered by many the Upper East Side's most distinguished address." It is also home to Travelers Companies CEO Alan Schnitzer and former United Nations diplomat Matthew Niemetz, according to Forbes.

Dimon also owns a "weekend house" in Bedford, New York.

Dimon purchased the home in 2004 after finalizing Bank One's merger with JPMorgan Chase, Vanity Fair reported. The house has 10 bedrooms and 10 bathrooms, and sits on 34 acres of land.

"Dimon is perfectly happy spending his two-week vacation there alone, making his own coffee and wandering around the local Target in his jeans," Vanity Fair's Bethany McLean wrote.

Dimon shares his wealth with his wife, Judith Kent Dimon.

The couple met as students at Harvard, according to Money Inc. At the time, Dimon was too poor to pay for their first date, so his future wife footed the tab.

They now have three daughters — Laura, Julia, and Kara — according to Vanity Fair.

33 useful tech gifts for Valentine's Day to buy on Amazon at any budget


Amazon Tech Gifts 4x3

  • Amazon is a convenient place to shop for tech gifts for Valentine's Day, especially if you're a Prime subscriber. 
  • There's a lot for sale on Amazon, probably too much, but we've rounded up the 33 best Amazon tech gifts for Valentine's Day at all budgets. 
  • Whether you're looking for a laptop, speaker, headphones, or anything else, you're bound to love one of these Amazon tech gifts for Valentine's Day. Shopping elsewhere? Read all of our 2019 - 2020 holiday gift ideas here.

If you don't live near a mall, can't find time to drive to the store, or would just prefer not to leave your couch, Amazon is here for all your tech-gifting needs this Valentine's Day. But, there's so much tech for sale that it can be hard to know where to start. 

Never fear: we've searched high and low for the best tech gifts for Valentine's Day available on Amazon to help you out. Some of these are budget-friendly small buys, while others are premium technology that should last several years. No matter what kind of tech you're looking for, you'll be able to find something here.

The 5 best tech gifts on Amazon:

Check out all 33 Amazon tech gifts for Valentine's Day:

An affordable wireless charging pad

Anker PowerWave Wireless Charging Pad, $9.99

A wireless charger is a great gift for anyone with a glass-backed smartphone that supports the feature. Our reviewer called this one "the perfect wireless charging pad." It charges quickly, looks nice, and can even accommodate thick phone cases.

A cheap, effective headphone hanger

Brainwavz Hengja Headphone Hanger, $12.99

This handy headphone hanger is super easy to screw onto a table, shelf, or even a thin wall. It's quite sturdy, and can hold pretty much any pair of on-ear or over-ear cans. 

A clever reusable notebook

Rocketbook Smart Reusable Notebook, $16

This smart notebook is a great gift for students, journalists, or anyone else who takes a lot of notes. Write or draw on its 36 pages with the included FriXion pen, and you can easily save your work as a PDF or JPEG with your phone. The pages are also re-usable; just wipe them down with a wet cloth to start again.

An extra-wide gaming mouse pad

Turtle Beach Wide Drift Fast Gaming Mouse Pad, $19.65 

There are millions of mouse pads out there, but the Turtle Beach Wide Drift Fast Premium Gaming Mouse Pad is our favorite. It's nice-looking, comfortable to use, and has a nice ridge around the edge to let you know when you're about to run off. 

An affordable, good-looking smart camera

Wyze Cam, $23.57

Don't let the low price fool you: This tiny security camera is one of the best that money can buy, and it makes a great stocking stuffer. It shoots 1080p video, which you can access from your phone, and will send an alert if it spots an intruder. 

A tech bag for frequent travelers

Lay-n-Go Wired Tech Bag, $31.45

The Lay-n-Go Wired is my go-to gift for tech enthusiasts – they always love it. The bag has mesh pockets and straps to hold your headphones, dongles, cords, chargers, phones, e-readers, and whatever other tech you may need to carry around. It's also easy to fold into a compact shape, and you can hang it from the car's seat in front of you with an attached strap. 

A portable charger for multiple devices

Jackery Bolt Portable Battery, $32.99

A power bank is an excellent gift for anyone who travels or spends a lot of time out and about. This one has both a lightning and a Micro USB connector, so it can accommodate iPhones, older Samsung phones, and Amazon Kindles and Fire tablets. If you have a newer Android phone, you can also buy a version with a USB-C connector. 

A smart power strip to automate almost anything

Monoprice Smart Power Strip, $33.99

This power strip consists of four outlets and two USB ports, which you can individually turn on and off and automate using Alexa and Google Assistant. It's an easy way to get started on a smart home; you can turn up to six devices into smart devices! 

A smart speaker with a clock

Amazon Echo Dot with Clock, $34.99

Amazon's newest Echo Dot is an excellent gift; it's one of the best smart speakers around, it's just $34, and it won't take up much space on their nightstand or coffee table. It sounds great for such a small device, and your friend or relative will love playing around with Amazon Alexa. As a bonus, it displays the time with some handy LEDs. 

A tracker for misplaced items

Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker, $27.99

We all have that friend who's always losing their keys. Gift them the Tile Pro; it will be a godsend. They can stick this tiny battery-powered device on their key ring and, if they lose their keys, they can remotely activate an alarm. If the Tile Pro is out of Bluetooth range, they can still locate it using a crowd-finding network in the Tile app, which draws from other Tiles in the surrounding area.

A 4K-ready streaming stick

Roku Streaming Stick+, $42.91

Anyone who owns a TV will enjoy the gift of a 4K streaming stick. This is one will give your friend or relative access to hundreds of streaming services and apps, and it comes with a handy remote. 

A noise machine for troubled sleepers

LectroFan White Noise Machine, $38.96

If you have a friend or relative who has trouble sleeping, you need to buy them this white noise machine, which plays 10 different types of fan sounds. It's the most calming ambient noise I have ever heard. (For more traditional users, it plays 10 levels of white noise as well).

A gaming mouse with 11 buttons

Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum Gaming Mouse, $49.99

Any friend who games will appreciate the gift of the Logitech G502, which is one of the best gaming mice on the market, and also cheaper than many of its competitors. It has 11 buttons, all of which can be programmed to fit your friend's or relative's needs, adjustable sensitivity, and customizable RGB color schemes. 

A drone for newbie aviators

Drocon Drone for Beginners, $59.99

For any kid or geeky adult who wants to fly a little thing around, a cheap starter drone is an excellent choice. This is the best drone for beginners; you can control it with the included remote or Drocon's smartphone app. Its built-in camera can capture either photos or video footage.

A fitness tracker with heart rate monitoring

Fitbit Inspire HR Fitness Tracker $78.98

A fitness tracker is a great gift for anyone who loves to exercise or just wants to keep an eye on their steps. The Fitbit Inspire HR is one of the cheapest Fitbit products, and also one of the best ones. It tracks a number of metrics, including steps, heart rate, calories burned, and sleep, and can also log runs and bike rides with built-in GPS. 

A smart light bulb starter kit

Philips Hue White Smart Light Bulb Starter Kit, $99.97

Gift this to a friend who wants to equip a full room or apartment with smart lights. This kit includes four white bulbs, which you can control with Alexa, Google Assistant, and HomeKit, and a Philips Hue Bridge that connects them to your router. You can automate the bulbs with timers and schedules, and create gorgeous lighting effects. With the Philips Hue Sync feature, they can even sync up with the audio of your music, movies, or games.

A smart TV with Amazon Fire built in

Toshiba 55-inch Fire TV, $129.99

If you're looking to gift a TV, especially to a student or recent grad, this is a good affordable option. It comes with Amazon's Fire TV platform built in, so they won't need to buy a streaming stick to access Netflix, Hulu, and other apps. It is only a 720p display, but it should offer a decent viewing experience to the untrained eye. 

A colorfully back-lit gaming keyboard

Corsair K70 RGB MK.2 Mechanical Gaming Keyboard, $143.66

This keyboard is a fantastic gift for PC gamers; our reviewer called it "one of the most diverse and feature-rich mechanical keyboards on the market." It feels great to type on, and can come equipped with a number of different switches to suit your friend's or relative's typing style. They can also customize the RGB lighting to find a pattern they'll love.

A robot vacuum on the cheap

Eufy Robovac 11S (Slim), $238.99

Many people think of a robot vacuum as a luxury purchase, but it doesn't have to be. The Robovac 11S is just $159.99, but it can clean just as well as more expensive models. Plus, at just 2.85 inches tall, it's small enough that it can slip under radiators and bed frames. 

A waterproof Bluetooth speaker

UE Boom 3 Bluetooth Speaker, $149.99

Ultimate Ears makes some of the best Bluetooth speakers on the market, and the Boom 3 is the best the company has to offer. It pumps out serious audio with booming bass, and you can use UE's Boom app to adjust the equalizer settings to your taste. In addition, it packs up to 15 hours of battery life, and it's waterproof, so you can use it in the shower or blast it at the pool without fear. 

A fun way to video chat

Facebook Portal Smart Display, $166.40

The Facebook Portal makes a great gift for any parent or older relative who wants an easy way to video chat with loved ones. It supports voice control, so all they have to do is say "Portal, call Jennifer" to start video chat over Facebook messenger. The Portal also includes Amazon Alexa, and a number of third-party apps including Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, and more. 

A Nintendo Switch Lite handheld game console

Nintendo Switch Lite Console, $199.96

A console may feel like an expensive gift, but for under $200, you can gift the Nintendo Switch Lite to anyone who wants to get started with gaming, or who might want a secondary gaming device. Whether they're on their couch, on the bus, or on their lunch break, they can whip this out to access a massive selection of games. 

A VR mask

Oculus Go VR Headset, $190.95

A virtual-reality headset is a fun device, but it can be a risky gift if you're not sure that the recipient has a PC powerful enough to run VR. That's why the Oculus Go is the best VR headset to buy for a friend or relative. It's completely portable, with no wires or computer necessary. It's also comfortable to wear, and they'll be able to use it to play games, watch Netflix, hang out with friends in Facebook Spaces, and more. 

A Wi-Fi-connected digital photo frame

Pix-Star 15-inch Wi-FI Cloud Digital Photo Frame, $199.99

A connected photo frame is a great tech gift for older relatives. They can easily upload photos over email, or by connecting a Facebook or Instagram account, and they'll be able to look back on dozens of fond memories 24/7. You and other loved ones can also add photos to keep them posted on the best moments in your own life. 

Apple's best AirPods ever

Apple AirPods Pro Wireless Earbuds, $249

Apple's brand-new AirPods Pro aren't a bargain, but they are the best wireless earbuds you can buy for a friend or relative who uses Apple products. They sound great, they're sweat- and water-resistant, and they support noise cancellation. 

A high-end e-reader

Amazon Kindle Oasis E-reader, $249.99

There's no better gift to give a reader than the Kindle Oasis, which is the best ebook-reader you can buy. It gives your friend or relative access thousands of titles through Amazon's library, and the display limits the amount of blue light it emits to prevent eye strain.  

A pair of noise-canceling Bluetooth headphones

Bose QuietComfort 35 II Noise-Canceling Headphones, $349

When it comes to noise-cancelling headphones, Bose is the gold standard; any tech enthusiast will be stoked to receive a pair. The nice thing about the QC35 II is that they're a few years old, so they're a bit cheaper than the most recent Bose models, but they still sound incredible, and sport Bose's unparalleled noise-cancelling technology. I have a pair of these, and they're my most valuable possession; I don't know how I ever lived without them. 

Apple's latest entry-level iPad

10.2-inch Apple iPad, $379

An iPad is a great gift for a student going away to college, or anyone else who spends a lot of time out and about. This latest-generation iPad is more affordable than many of Apple's top-tier tablets, and it sports a gorgeous screen and high performance with Apple's proprietary processor. It also supports Apple's stylus, the Apple Pencil, which your giftee can use to take notes and create art. 

A smart speaker built for quality sound

Sonos Move Smart Bluetooth Speaker, $399

The Sonos Move is the best Bluetooth speaker you can buy, delivering truly premium, booming audio in a portable form. It can come with either Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, so it's a great gift for a smart-home enthusiast. It's also a great gift for anyone who already has other Sonos speakers, as it will integrate with them for a multi-room audio experience. 

The newest Apple Watch

Apple Watch Series 5, $399

If you want to gift a smartwatch and money is no object, then the Apple Watch Series 5 is the one to get. It tracks a number of advanced metrics, including activity trends, menstrual cycles, and run distance with built-in GPS. It sports an always-on display, so you'll never have to wake it up to see the time, and you can choose between a number of different watch faces to find one that suits your style.  

A high-quality DSLR camera

Nikon D5600 DSLR Camera, $696.95

If you're gifting a DSLR camera, this is the best one to give. It takes excellent, detailed images with its 24.2MP sensor, has an easy touchscreen for beginners to operate, and supports Nikon's SnapBridge app, which allows you to easily share photos from the camera. 

A high-end Chromebook straight from Google

Google Pixelbook Go, $649

A Chromebook makes a great gift for a high school or college student, and the Pixelbook Go is one of the best you can buy right now. It's light, compact, and easy to fit into a backpack, and with over 15 hours of battery life, it will easily get them through a school or work day. 

Dell's most popular, flagship laptop

Dell XPS 13 Windows Laptop, $1,419

If you're gifting a Windows laptop, there are dozens of excellent models you could buy. But, if you want to give the very best, you want the Dell XPS 13. This computer is best known for its striking, almost bezel-less touchscreen with 4K resolution. It's also an immensely powerful laptop, equipped with Intel's 8th-Gen processors. And it comes with three Thunderbolt USB-C ports, so you can connect most modern peripherals, including large monitors and external GPUs. 

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is still a great option for frequent travelers — and it's hard to beat for bonus points


Chase Sapphire Reserve

When Chase launched its Sapphire Reserve credit card in 2016, it got the kind of hype normally reserved for the newest iPhone. 

Part of the buzz was the incredible 100,000 points that Chase offered as a sign-up bonus when approved applicants spent $4,000 within the first three months of card membership. Those points were worth anywhere from $1,000 - $1,500, or even more if you were savvy about transferring them to frequent flyer partners.

Even with the since-lowered bonus of 50,000 points (with the same spending requirement), the Sapphire Reserve is an extremely valuable card. The annual fee recently increased to $550 (up from $450), which puts it on par with the Platinum Card® from American Express, the other high-profile luxury travel card. But even with the higher annual fee, the Sapphire Reserve can be a great choice for frequent travelers who value luxury perks and bonus rewards.

Click here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve »

Keep in mind that we're focusing on the rewards and perks that make these credit cards great options, not things like interest rates and late fees, which will far outweigh the value of any points or miles. It's important to practice financial discipline when using credit cards by paying your balances in full each month, making payments on time, and only spending what you can afford to pay back. 

Chase Sapphire Reserve card details

Annual fee: $550 

Sign-up bonus: 50,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months

Points earning: 1ox points on Lyft rides, 3x points on travel and dining, 1x on everything else 

Foreign transaction fee: None

Sign-up bonus

The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers a sign-up bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months. That's a solid bonus — based on travel website The Points Guy's subjective valuations, Chase points are worth 2 cents apiece, so 50,000 gets you $1,000 in value — but the Sapphire Reserve's sibling, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, actually offers a higher bonus. With that card, you can earn 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months. 

Of course, sign-up bonus is only one factor to consider about a credit card, and the Sapphire Reserve is more rewarding for travel and dining purchases, and offers more benefits overall.

See also: Preferred vs. Reserve: How the Chase Sapphire credit cards stack up

Points earning on the Sapphire Reserve

The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a popular choice for dining and travel thanks to its strong earning rates on this spending. It has the following bonus categories and earning rates:

  • 3 points per dollar on dining — which includes everything from delivery services like Seamless to restaurants around the world to some bars
  • 3 points per dollar on travel — which includes airfare, parking fees, tolls, hotels, subway fare, cruises, and many other purchases
  • 10 points per dollar on Lyft rides — this is one of the new benefits that coincides with the Reserve's increased annual fee, and it provides an outstanding return on your spending with Lyft.

You'll earn 1 point per dollar on everything else with the Sapphire Reserve.

Using Chase Ultimate Rewards points

The Chase Sapphire Reserve earns Ultimate Rewards (UR) points — this is the points currency of Chase's in-house rewards program.

Ultimate Rewards points can be exchanged for cash back, gift cards, or statement credits, with each point worth 1 cent. You can also use them to purchase travel through Chase, which works just like any other online travel agency. When you use points that way, you get a 50% bonus — in other words, each point will be worth 1.5 cents instead. Finally, you can transfer points to Chase's airline and hotel partners' loyalty programs — transferring points is generally the most valuable way to use them.

The Sapphire Reserve's 50,000-point sign-up bonus is worth $500 as cash back, $750 for travel purchased through Chase, or more if you transfer the points to an airline or hotel program.

Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits

$300 travel credit

Each cardmember year (meaning every 12 months starting the month you open the card), the Sapphire Reserve offers a $300 credit toward travel purchases. The credit will be applied to the first $300 worth of purchases you make that year in the travel category, including things like subways, taxis/ridesharing, and parking, as well as hotels, airfare, and cruises.

When you subtract the travel credit, the Chase Sapphire Reserve's annual fee is effectively $250.

Up to $120 in statement credits for DoorDash food delivery

Chase was clearly feeling the pressure from updates to American Express cards like the Amex Platinum, American Express® Gold Card, and American Express® Green card— which have all added benefits including statement credits over the last few years.

To kick off 2020, Chase announced the addition of DoorDash benefits for Sapphire Reserve cardholders. In addition to a complimentary year of DashPass membership (for waived delivery fees on qualifying orders), the card comes with up to $120 in statement credits with food delivery service DoorDash. This breaks down into up to $60 in credits in 2020, and up to $60 in credits in 2021.

If you already use food delivery services and DoorDash is available in your town, this credit can be taken at face value: up to $120 in value. This would bring the card's effective annual fee down to $190 per year ($550 minus the $300 travel credit minus $60 in DoorDash credit). However, if you're not interested in this perk, it could be harder to justify the newly increased annual fee.

A year of complimentary Lyft Pink membership

This is another new benefit that took effect on January 12, 2020. Lyft Pink membership gets you perks such as:

  • 15% off Lyft rides
  • Priority airport pickups
  • Relaxed cancellation policies
  • Up to three 30-minute bike or scooter rides per month

The last benefit is only available in select metropolitan areas, so not everyone will be able to use it. If you're a frequent Lyft user, this perk could be great, but if not, it could be harder to justify the increased annual fee.

Airport lounge access

Having access to airport lounges is one of my favorite perks of the Sapphire Reserve. Lounges are comfortable, relaxing, and exclusive areas where you can enjoy comfortable seats, an internet connection, food and drinks — often complimentary — and sometimes other amenities.

The Sapphire Reserve comes with a Priority Pass Select membership. Priority Pass is a network of more than 1,200 airport lounges around the world, any of which you and your travel companions can access for free when you have your membership card.

With the Priority Pass membership provided by the Sapphire Reserve, you can bring in two guests. So whether you're traveling alone or with your family, you can enjoy free snacks, drinks, newspapers and magazines, showers, and more, all separate from the hustle and bustle of the main terminal.

Global Entry or TSA PreCheck 

TSA PreCheck and Global Entry (which comes with PreCheck) are absolute musts for just about any traveler. Once you enroll, you can use special lanes to breeze through airport security — you won't have to remove shoes and light coats, and you can leave your laptop in your bag.

With Global Entry, you can use a fast lane when you return to the US from abroad, which makes clearing immigration and customs easy and quick. The programs cost $85 to $100, and Chase will provide a credit for that fee every four years (memberships are valid for five years).

Primary rental car insurance and rental elite status

The Sapphire Reserve offers a primary auto rental collision damage waiver, or free loss and damage coverage when you use the card to pay for a rental car. Just decline the collision/damage/loss coverage offered by the rental agency. Keep in mind you may still want to opt for the rental company's liability insurance.

When you have the Sapphire Reserve, you can also get complimentary elite status with Avis, National, and Silvercar rental agencies. The benefits vary a bit between the companies, but generally include a car class upgrade, easy pick-up/drop-off, and more.

Other benefits

The Sapphire Reserve comes with a handful of other benefits, including various travel and purchase protections.

In my opinion, one of the most useful is trip and baggage delay insurance. When you're traveling and you're delayed for at least six hours, or overnight, you're covered for up to $500 of incidentals per person traveling with you whose ticket was purchased with the card. That covers things like hotel accommodations, meals, toiletries, and a change of clothing — really, anything that can be considered a "reasonable" expense.

Similarly, if your baggage is delayed, things like clothing and toiletries are covered up to a certain amount until your bag is delivered.

Other protections include travel accident insurance, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, extended warranty, and return protection.

Other cards to consider

When it comes to alternatives to the Chase Sapphire Reserve, one of the first things to consider is what level of annual fee you're comfortable paying. If you're happy to pay a high fee in exchange for luxury travel benefits that matter to you, there's another premium card to consider — while those who'd prefer to spend less on the annual fee have a few strong alternatives as well.

If the Sapphire Reserve's $550 fee feels too steep, the most obvious alternative is the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. Like the Sapphire Reserve, it earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points (2x points on travel and dining, 5x points on Lyft rides, and 1 point per dollar on everything else) and offers travel protections like primary car rental coverage and trip delay insurance — but its annual fee is just $95 per year.

The Sapphire Preferred card even offers a higher sign-up bonus than the Sapphire Reserve: 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months. See our comparison of the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Sapphire Preferred for more details and for help deciding which is best for you.

Click here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Preferred card »

Another travel rewards card to consider if you want to avoid a premium-level annual fee is the Amex Green card. This card has a $150 annual fee and earns 3x points in similar categories to the Sapphire Reserve: travel and restaurants worldwide. With the Amex Green card, you'll earn Amex Membership Rewards points rather than Chase points — the two programs have different selections of airline and hotel transfer partners, though they do share some partners such as Marriott and Virgin Atlantic. See our comparison of the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Amex Green card for more information.

Click here to learn more about the American Express Green card »

If a high annual fee doesn't deter you but you're not sure the Sapphire Reserve's Lyft and DoorDash benefits are the best fit, you can also consider the Amex Platinum card. Like the Sapphire Reserve, it has as $550 annual fee, and it comes with plenty of luxury travel benefits, like airport lounge access via Amex Centurion Lounges and Delta Sky Clubs (when you're flying Delta) in addition to Priority Pass Select membership. 

The Amex Platinum earns 5x points on flights booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel and 1 point per dollar on everything else. So, it can be easier to rack up bonus points with the Chase Sapphire Reserve. But the Amex Platinum card also stands out for offering several annual statement credits, including an airline fee credit of up to $200, up to $200 in Uber credits, and up to $100 in Saks credits.

See our comparison of the Amex Platinum and the Chase Sapphire Reserve for more details if you're not sure which card is a better fit for you.

Click here to learn more about the Amex Platinum card » 

Bottom Line

While the Chase Sapphire Reserve doesn't offer the same sign-up bonus as when it launched, it's still an incredibly valuable card.

Its appeal isn't as broad now that the annual fee is $550, since the new benefits won't be useful to everyone. But for frequent travelers who can utilize most of the perks, it's still a top option to consider — and it earns some of the most valuable points around.

Click here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve »

SEE ALSO: Here are all the amazing ways you can use the points from your Chase credit card

Join the conversation about this story »

5 millennials who became homeowners in their 20s share their best advice for buying your first house


moving home

Millennials are waiting longer to buy homes— but that's because buying a home is harder than it was for their parents' generation.

Even adjusted for inflation, millennials buying their first home in 2017 were likely to pay 39% more than baby boomers who bought their first home in 1980, according to Student Loan Hero. Housing is also less affordable for millennials compared with the overall population, whose incomes are likely to be higher because they have more work experience.

Millennials are also spending more on renting and are busy tackling a record level of student-loan debt, making it hard to take on a mortgage loan, Business Insider's Akin Oyedele previously reported.

As a result, it's taking millennials longer to save. But while it's no easy feat, becoming a homeowner is possible. We talked to five millennial homeowners who managed to save enough to buy their first home.

They shared the savings strategies and tactics they used to become first-time homebuyers, from house hacking and assistance programs to budgeting and opting for lower down payments, as well as their advice on how to pave your own path toward homeownership.

SEE ALSO: Millennials are waiting longer than ever to buy homes — here's how many years it takes to save for a down payment in 25 major US cities

DON'T MISS: The only right way to save money for a house

Remi Ishizuka, 30, bought an $875,000 home in Los Angeles by creating a separate savings account and visiting a financial coach.

Home location: Los Angeles
Home price: $875,000
Down payment amount: $262,500
Monthly mortgage: $3,800
The method she used: Old-fashioned saving with help from a financial coach.

Ishizuka saved diligently for five years before purchasing her $875,000 home in 2018.

"I cut back on expenses, and had a really strict monthly budget that I stuck to, and used a financial coach to help me stay accountable and within this budget each month," Ishizuka, now a full-time blogger at Rrayyme, told Business Insider.

Her financial coach advised her to open a separate account for money allocated for a down payment.

"I would save in chunks whenever I got paid," she said. She recommended that those who do the same keep their home savings account separate from their emergency savings account so they never have to touch it.

Ishizuka opted for a 30% down payment, meaning she paid $262,500 up front and has a 30-year fixed mortgage of $3,800 a month. She suggested meeting with several loan companies before choosing one — she said she nearly got scammed into a bad loan without realizing it because it was the first person she met with.

To her, old-fashioned saving is the key to buying a house.

"Save, save, save as much as you can, even though it may suck in the short term," she said. "And set a minimum amount that you put down to save for the down payment no matter what."

She added: "Think of the bigger picture. It's easier said than done, but by saving up you're investing in something bigger that's going to benefit greatly down the road. Imagine no more rent one day!"

Willy Harris and his girlfriend hired contractors to build a $204,000 house in Jacksonville, Florida, using a state assistance program.

Home location: Jacksonville, Florida
Home price: $204,000
Down payment amount: $6,150
Monthly mortgage: $1,503 
The method they used: A state assistance program for first-time homebuyers.

Instead of purchasing a house, Harris and his girlfriend had a new house built in 2017 — and they used Florida's first-time-homebuyer program to help afford it.

The assistance program allows first-time homebuyers with qualified income and purchase-price limits up to $15,000 to be used toward a down payment and closing costs. If the homebuyer lives in the home for five years, the loan is forgiven.

Qualifying for the program also qualified him for a Federal Housing Administration home loan that required a 3% down payment, Harris, who was 24 at the time, told Business Insider.

They put down a $1,000 deposit to reserve the lot, while the grant covered their $7,750 closing costs and $6,150 down payment. The remaining amount of the grant went toward the principal of the home loan, Harris said.

"Since we only put 3% down on the loan, we elected to pay a monthly mortgage insurance of $109," said Harris, who oversees online and warehouse operations for a local interior-design firm. "The way to get out of paying mortgage insurance is putting down 20% on the home loan. We plan on staying in this house five years or less. Paying mortgage insurance for five years will cost $6,450. Paying the 17% more at closing would have cost $34,680."

Their mortgage is now $1,503 a month.

Harris recommended creating a savings plan. Figure out how much you will be able to afford, and keep in mind mortgage amounts are based on the length of the loan, the interest rate, and the amount of owner equity, he said.

Build a spreadsheet to track your expenses, then get prequalified for a loan so you can crunch all the numbers and make an educated decision on purchasing a home, he said.

"The key to being successful when purchasing your first home is purchasing a home that is significantly less than what you qualify for," he said.

A couple in their mid- to late 20s saved enough money for a $400,000 home in Atlanta by adhering to a strict budget.

Home location: Atlanta
Home price: $400,000
Down payment amount: $80,000
Monthly mortgage: $2,000
The method they used: Following a strict budget.

A couple in their mid- to late 20s (who requested anonymity) working in development for a children's hospital and as a sales manager at Pepsi purchased their house in 2018 without doing a "crazy savings program," the wife told Business Insider.

But before moving to Atlanta, they had a gap in their rent that helped boost their savings, she said.

"When we were moving, it ended up taking much longer than expected, so we ended up moving into a family member's house for about eight months, which allowed us to save about $20,000 since it was rent-free," she said.

But that was only one-fourth of their 20% down payment of $80,000. They said they saved the rest by adhering to a strict budget, frequently sitting down to talk about what they thought was reasonable to spend on things like food, eating out, clothes, and the like.

"Our mortgage is about $2,000 a month, but that's what we were used to paying in rent," she said, adding that they hoped to pay off the 30-year mortgage sooner by paying double in months when they didn't have a lot of expenses.

"Paying rent year after year will drain a bank account, so as soon as you have the money aside for a down payment, it's a good idea to invest in your own home," she said. "However, at the same time, you also need to have a rainy-day fund for large unforeseen house expenses in case your AC breaks or roof leaks."

By living with their parents, Jessica Booth and her husband were able to save the money they would have put toward rent to purchase a $360,000 home in Long Island, New York.

Home location: Long Island, New York
Home price: $360,000
Down payment amount: $18,000
Monthly mortgage: $3,000
The method they used: Living with their parents to save rent money.

Two years ago, at ages 28 and 26, Booth and her husband purchased their house for $360,000, not counting expenses for lawyers and other fees.

By purchasing their home during a time of low interest rates, they could opt for a lower down payment of 5%, or $18,000, leaving them with $3,000 monthly payments on their 30-year mortgage, Booth told Business Insider.

They tucked money away for several years and spent a full year of "really trying to save," she said.

"We both made it a point to put a portion of our money aside each paycheck," said Booth, who was an editor at the time.

She said her husband (then her boyfriend) "cut back on expenses, although I wasn't as good with it."

"We also both chose to continue living with our parents to save money on rent," she said. "In the end, I also received financial help from a family member that also made a big difference in my savings."

Booth advised being patient and not getting overwhelmed when it comes to saving for your first home.

"It's going to take at least a year to put aside enough money, more if you haven't been saving before that, and more if you're buying on your own," she said. "It can be really intimidating, but it's not impossible."

She added: "Cut back on spending, and before any big purchase, picture your dream house and think about if you really need the item or not. I would also suggest looking into the prices of the kind of home you want so you'll have a better idea of exactly how much you need to save."

Paula Pant purchased a $225,000 triplex in Atlanta and used "housing hacking" to bring housing expenses down to zero.

Home location: Atlanta
Home price: $225,000
Down payment amount: $26,000
Monthly mortgage: $1,200
The method she used: House hacking — renting out rooms in their house to cover mortgage costs.

In early 2011, at age 27, Pant and her boyfriend (now her husband) purchased their first home with a down payment of $26,000, slightly over 10% of the home's $225,000 cost.

Between the two of them, it took a year to save. While they didn't use a regimented savings budget, they averaged saving $1,000 a month each.

"I was self-employed, and my income was volatile; I just adjusted to living on the lowest amount I would make a month," Pant, the founder of the site Afford Anything, told Business Insider. "The month I made more, it would go to savings. I wasn't consciously thinking I was saving for a home — I was saving money for a safety net."

They purchased a triplex and rented the other two units to their roommates. The rent was enough to cover their $1,200 monthly mortgage, bringing their housing expenses down to zero, Pant said.

This is what Pant calls "housing hacking," which she highly recommends to every first-time homebuyer.

She said that if you can fill your home "with rooms and tenants and get yourself to a point where you don't pay a mortgage from your paycheck, that's a great way to start yourself in homeownership because you have so many other bills — it really changes your ability to save."

It worked for Pant. She now owns her eighth home, and though she and her husband no longer live in the triplex, they still rent it out.

But she warned that there's more to save for than the down payment — it's the ongoing costs you need to keep in mind.

"There's all this stuff you never imagined you would buy — a garden hose, a lawnmower — and having money for repairs and maintenance," she said. "It takes a lot of money. Every paycheck was going to Home Depot for all the little things."

The hardest job on a cruise ship can lead to blindness and burned skin from dangerous chemicals, according to a lawyer who represents cruise ship workers


cruise ship kitchen

There are many difficult jobs on a cruise ship, but the hardest, most physically demanding position requires working up to 14 hours a day for less than $700 a month, according to a lawyer who represents cruise-ship employees.

That job belongs to a utility galley worker, the maritime lawyer Michael Guilford told Business Insider. Utility galley workers are responsible for a number of tasks related to food service, including handling heavy trash bags, washing cooking equipment with scalding-hot water, and using dangerous cleaning chemicals without proper protective clothing. Some clients have come to Guilford after being blinded by cleaning chemicals that have splashed in their eyes or having skin burned off their hands, he said.

"This is not your average Mr. Clean that you're using around the house," he said. "This is serious stuff."

Utility galley workers often work 12 to 14 hours a day, seven days a week, for just $500 to $700 a month, Guilford said. In some cases, they're not able to take scheduled breaks but are later required by their supervisors to change their time sheets to make it appear as if they took the breaks. Guilford said time-sheet manipulation was a common issue he heard from clients.

"The wage fraud that goes on on these boats is unbelievable," he said.

While the difficulty of the utility galley job exceeds all others on a cruise ship, waiters and room stewards, who clean passenger cabins, also have some of the most difficult jobs, Guilford said. Waiters have to carry heavy trays that can lead to back and shoulder injuries, while room stewards have to clean at a rapid pace, especially before or after passengers board their ship. Sometimes, they'll have to clean as many as 20 cabins in just three hours, Guilford said.

Each position makes $1,200 to $1,500 a month, Guilford said. While waiters work 10 to 12 hours a day, room stewards are on call for 24 hours.

"The conditions are harsh," Guilford said.

A representative for the Cruise Lines International Association, a trade association for the cruise industry, told Business Insider that all member cruise lines must follow regulations set by the International Maritime Organization and the International Labour Organization that govern the treatment of cruise-ship employees.

"The cruise industry strives to provide a high-quality work environment for its seafarers by offering ongoing training, career advancement and the opportunity to travel the world," the representative said.

"The cruise industry also fully supports the International Maritime Labour Convention, also known as the 'Seafarers' Bill of Rights,' which sets international standards addressing hours of work and rest, health and safety, and living conditions for seafarers and requires governments to ensure ships are in compliance," the representative added.

Among the CLIA's members are Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean International.

Have you worked on a cruise ship? Do you have a story to share? Email this reporter at mmatousek@businessinsider.com.

SEE ALSO: Flight attendants reveal 10 things they notice on planes that you probably miss

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The world's largest cruise ship landed in Miami — here's what it's like on board

An executive who worked in banking for 20 years quit her job to found a female-focused members space in New York City. I spent a day there to see if I would pay $150 a month for it — here's what it's like.


Lobby View Toward Desk - Luminary NYC

  • Founded by a former bank executive, Luminary is a two-story, ultra-chic members space for women in New York City's NoMad district complete with a beauty salon and brand "Glass Ceiling" rooftop lounge.
  • Since opening in November 2018, it has gained over 600 individual and corporate members.
  • Individual membership costs between $150 and $450 per month for varying levels of access to Luminary's programming and spaces. Day passes are also available.
  • I spent a day at Luminary, during which I met women of all ages who work across industries. I left thinking that a membership would be a smart investment in both my professional and personal development.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

"Come sit at our table," one wall read in large, elegant black letters. "In this together," said another in gold cursive. "You're a "#boss," the tabletop sculpture told me.

Nowhere in recent memory have I felt as affirmed as I did visiting Luminary NYC last month.

Founded by former bank executive Cate Luzio in November 2018, Luminary is a two-story, ultra-chic members space for women located in Manhattan's NoMad district.

In the wake of the Me Too, Time's Up and Women's March movements, a handful of members spaces geared toward women have cropped up within the United States and overseas. In New York City, these include Luminary; The Wing, which opened its first location in October 2016 as a coworking and community space geared towards women; Chief, a Tribeca-based members club for high-powered women executives; and Maison, a members club on the Upper East Side geared toward mothers. Both Chief and Maison opened in 2019.

Luminary defines itself as a "collaboration hub for women to develop, network and connect" as opposed to a coworking space or a club. What also distinguishes Luminary from other women's spaces is that while it requires its members to pay dues, it doesn't require them to fill out an application.

"You can no longer wait for your job or boss to give you a career roadmap," Luminary's website states."We are cultivating the learning community and networks you have been looking for."  

The above piqued my interest. Could $150 a month fast-track my career and network development? Could it save me precious time, spare future headache?

I spent a day at Luminary to see for myself. Here's what Luminary NYC is like: 

SEE ALSO: The bootstrappers' guide to a winning business plan, from a former bank exec who wrote hers in a week and added hundreds of clients to her startup in her first year

NOW READ: Inside Chief, a swanky clubhouse for female CEOs in New York City where members pay up to $8,000 a year to network with high-level execs from more than 400 companies

Luminary NYC occupies two stories, plus a rooftop, in a building on Broadway in New York's NoMad district.

I visited on an overcast Monday in December, and the space was a welcome change from the weather outside.

Luminary's new "Glass Ceiling" rooftop lounge, which opened earlier this month and looks out over the Empire State building, was not yet finished.

The space opens at 8 a.m. on weekdays, 10 a.m. on Saturdays, and is closed on Sundays.

Walking in, everything was — fittingly with its brand name — luminous. Bubble-like lights hung from the ceiling, and the front desk sported a glowing "Luminary" sign.

According to Luminary's website, the definition of "luminary" is "a person who inspires or influences others; a guiding light, an inspiration, a role model, a heroine, a leader, a legend."

I arrived in the morning and sat down with Cate Luzio, Luminary's founder.

My gaze wandered to the mint-green couch, which was adorned with a decorative pillow embroidered with the words "BOSS LADY." Everything in the room was clean, polished, and exceptionally chic.

Cate and I spoke about her reasons for founding Luminary.

In short, after two decades working as an executive at HSBC, JP Morgan and Bank of America, Cate was not seeing enough investment in female talent.

"If I hear one more time, 'she's just not quite ready yet,' you know, I want to punch the person because the reason she's not ready is because you're not investing in her and developing her," she told me.

Cate then gave me a tour of the space, introducing me to other members of the Luminary team and a few members before leaving me to my day.

Past the lobby is a kitchen with a long white marble island and several bar-style seating areas.

Coffee, tea and wine are offered in the kitchen and are complimentary for members. Snacks under $10, like nuts and wraps, are available for purchase. 

I noticed women of all ages entering the space. Many people greeted each other by name. Luminary has over 600 members now — a mix of entrepreneurs, corporate professionals and students, Cate told me. Male allies are welcome as well. 

Luminary's membership options make it accessible to a wide range of people.

Individual memberships range from $150 to $450 per month and offer varying levels of access to Luminary's spaces and events. Luminary offers discounted plans for students, members under 25, seniors, and those working in the non-profit space. Additionally, it grants membership to one "woman in need of a community" for every 10 memberships purchased. Day passes are another option, costing $40 for adults and $20 for students under 21.

Companies can purchase memberships for their employees as well. Current corporate members include JP Morgan and UBS. 

Beyond the kitchen is Luminary's largest room. Mint-green couches line the windows, and earth-toned seats fill the space in between.

This is where most people gather for socializing and connecting, and where Luminary hosts many of its larger programs. During the day, the volume ranged from hushed to coffee-shop-level.

To date, Luminary has hosted more than 200 events and workshops, 70% of which are member-led. Programs focus not just on networking, but also on building personal and professional skills like "Hacking the Fear of Public Speaking."

The concept of "collaboration over competition" is integral to Luminary's DNA, Cate told me. "I still think there is this idea that there can only be one woman that's successful in a company, in a field. And I don't buy it. I think we're successful if we work together," she said.

I camped out at one of these tables for the majority of my morning and was quite comfortable.

In the far corner is another seating area and a row of phone booths.

Beyond the main room is a salon, where members can book hair and makeup services with Glam+Go beauticians.

Services range from a 15-min blowout ($29) to one-hour wedding day makeup application ($250).

There is also a fitness studio, open to members and non-members. "Drunk yoga," I was told by several members, is a popular offering.

A Drunk Yoga class costs $45. Other options including DivaDance ($24 per class, and the first class is free for members) and Body by Fleur ($28 per class for members; $35 for non-members). 

Esteem-boosting details are spread throughout the entire Luminary space.

I wasn't feeling so glam the day of my visit — a bad hair day, and my jeans shrunk in the wash, but seeing this made me smile. 

The downstairs rooms lend themselves to more focused work. Overall, the lower level was quieter.

Two rows of rooms feature a mix of phone booths, conference rooms, a lactation room, and a wellness room.

The wellness room can be used for prayer or meditation, and is, like most spaces, tastefully decorated.

Beyond the conference rooms were three art-filled rooms as well as a second kitchen, where members can store personal food.

One of my favorite details was this pair of books sandwiched between pineapple bookends in the largest conference room.

"The Myth of the Nice Girl" and "Leaders Eat Last" are two titles about succeeding in the world of business. In the former, author Fran Hauser "proves that women don't have to sacrifice their values or hide their authentic personalities to be successful," according to the book's Amazon description.

Then there's the pineapple, the traditional symbol of Southern hospitality.

Whether or not the combination of traditional symbol and forward-thinking books was intentional, it indicated to me what Luminary sets out to do: To embrace all that women are.

This #goaldigger sign, a play on "gold-digger," was another nice touch.

As I wandered through the space, multiple members stopped me to ask who I was and what brought me to Luminary. 

That's one of the biggest reasons why women join Luminary, Cate told me. In the workforce, women usually find themselves surrounded by people similar to them — caught in the same circles. Luminary brings people from across industries together into a single space. 

"Women are looking to invest in themselves and further develop their skill sets, wanting access to other ideas and perspectives ... They want that opportunity to cross pollinate with one another," she said.

It didn't take me long to feel at home at Luminary, and by the end of the day I really felt like I was part of the community.

One member, an entrepreneur I met in the morning, returned in the afternoon with a pair of her designer comfort pumps for me to try on.

I witnessed interactions like this taking place throughout the day. The desire to connect, share, and help was palpable and genuine.

By way of decoration, Luminary feels similar to other women's space I've visited and read about. In the fall, I toured Maison as part of Open House New York, and in 2017, Business Insider visited The Wing's Dumbo and SoHo locations. All interiors feature glowing orbs of light suspended from the ceiling as well as earth-toned furniture with accents of green, pink and cold. Both Maison and The Wing also offer programming for members. 

While I have not experienced Maison or The Wing's community, after speaking with Luminary members and guests who either belonged or belong to The Wing, I got the sense that Luminary's community is a large draw. 

To preserve the feeling of community, Luminary has no plans to build a new location in NYC, Cate told me, but she isn't ruling out other cities in the future. 

I can see how Luminary's single location would be inconvenient for members who do not live close to NoMad. But as someone who lives nearby, I believe that a membership would be a worthwhile investment.

Luminary's starting memberships for adults over 25 is $150 per month, or $5 per day. To put that in perspective, The Wing's membership starts at $185 per month, and Maison's starts at $275 per month.

While events and fitness classes are not included in the $150 per month, I would consider joining for the sole reason of infusing my life with the type of women I met during my visit — kind, interested, supportive. I have a hunch that spending time here would create connections I didn't even know I needed.

This high chair can be used 3 different ways as your baby gets older — it will take my daughter through toddlerhood


Graco DuoDiner 3 in 1 High Chair

  • The Graco DuoDiner 3-in-1 Convertible High Chair can be used three different ways to accommodate a growing child.
  • I love this because it helps you stretch every bit of the $120 price tag when you're on a tight budget.
  • My 1-year-old daughter is safe and properly positioned in this high chair — she sits up straight, her feet are supported, and her tray is at a comfortable level.


Before I started feeding my daughter Ellie solid foods, I didn't realize how much work went into teaching a human how to eat food. I also had no idea that a proper sitting position in a high chair played an integral role in how well a child eats.

We all want our kids to eat balanced meals and gain weight according to their growth curve, so it can be frustrating and worrisome when they refuse to eat. Think of a time you ate at a restaurant where the table was too low or high, or you sat at on bar stool without back or foot support. It's not easy to enjoy your meal in these situations, and the same goes when our kids don't have proper seating for their meals. 

I love the Graco DuoDiner 3-in-1 Convertible High Chair because it's designed to give babies and toddlers up to three years old all the support they need to sit up and learn how to eat with three different chair settings that accommodate a growing child.

This chair will continue to work for Ellie for years. It's hard to tell what products babies and toddlers actually like when they're not speaking yet, but this chair must be comfortable because Ellie even fell asleep eating dinner one day.

Before I go into my experience with this high chair, please note that this is not the Graco high chair that was recalled in 2018 — that was the Graco Table2Table 6-in-1 High Chair

Read more: The best high chairs you can buy


The Graco DuoDiner 3-in-1 has a very sturdy base with a set of wheels on the front legs, so it's easy to move around, but won't just roll away on its own. For safety, never move a high chair with your child inside. 

The five-point harness is easy to buckle and can be converted into a three-point harness as your child grows up. It safely holds your child in every chair stage — of which there are three. 

Stage 1 is reclined for infants who aren't eating, Stage 2 is upright for babies and toddlers who are eating solids, and Stage 3 is detached as a booster seat for older toddlers and young kids. In Stage 2, there are five different height positions and three different footrest positions depending on your baby's size.

The reclined infant setting allowed Ellie to be a part of family meal time even when she was only a few months old. I hated putting her down when she was a newborn — I just wanted to hold her all the time. This high chair was the perfect solution when I couldn't hold her or carry her in a sling around my body while cooking a meal. She could safely sit in her high chair away from the stove but still be right with me. 

There are also a lot of different color options to choose from for the fabric; we have the "Asher" pattern.

How to use the Graco DuoDiner 3-in-1 safely

Before beginning to feed your baby solids, be sure to check with your child's pediatrician to make sure he or she is ready.

When placing your child in a high chair, there are a few things that should indicate when your child is properly positioned for a more successful mealtime. Your child should be sitting upright (not leaning, reclining, or slouching), his or her feet should be on a footrest they can reach, and the tray or table should be low enough for them to easily reach too. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a comprehensive list of choking hazards, and some of the biggest choking hazards are walking, running, reclining, or lying down while eating. I never want Ellie to run away from me with food in her mouth, so she eats almost all of her meals and snacks in her high chair.

Cleaning the Graco DuoDiner 3-in-1

With three meals and two snacks a day, it's safe to say the high chair has already gotten a lot of use in the six months she's been eating solids.

The straps, fabric, and chair itself have all held up extremely well. The fabric and straps are easy to take off and throw in the wash, and even though Ellie has gotten pizza sauce, avocado, strawberries, blueberries, and all sorts of other foods all over the fabric, it always comes out of the washer looking brand new. 

It's very easy to pull the tray off with one hand to get Ellie in and out, and the top of the tray snaps off for easy cleaning — which just means a quick wipe down.

The chair does fold up quickly and easily if you want to store it, but we always just keep ours right at the table. 

Graco DuoDiner Highchair

Cons to consider

Although this chair has a movable footrest, Ellie's legs couldn't reach it properly until she was 12 months old so we taped a rolled-up towel onto the footrest so her feet were still supported. 

The chair will obviously take up space when it's fully set up. We leave it up in our dining room, but even when pushed against the dining table, it sticks out a few feet. And when stored away, it still takes up a lot of room. This could pose a problem if you have limited space in your kitchen or dining room. 

Bottom line

This high chair keeps Ellie comfortable, safe, and properly positioned while she's eating. She's always able to find a comfortable position in the chair where her feet are on the footrest and she's sitting up straight, which helps her have success when she's eating. 

If you're looking for other options, the Stokke Tripp Trapp is another excellent high chair that accommodates growing babies. It has a very solid footrest and even transitions into a regular chair for older kids. It's a pricey option at $270, but that's offset a bit by the fact that it can grow with your child even once they're out of a booster seat.

If you're looking for a cheaper option, the Ikea Antilop chair provides excellent positioning, but it does lack a footrest. 

If you don't want to splurge, but still want to make sure you're getting a good high chair for your baby, the Graco DuoDiner 3-in-1 Convertible High Chair is an excellent option. It's not the fanciest high chair you can buy, but considering you can use it at three different stages of your child's life, it's a great choice for the price. 

Pros: Convertible to accommodate your child's growth, encourages proper sitting positioning, fabric is machine washable 

Cons: Footrest might be too low for young babies, takes up a lot of space even when folded up


Join the conversation about this story »

38 clever gifts from Amazon that are perfect for Valentine's Day — all under $50


gifts under $50

  • Great news: Affordable gifts can be just as useful and thoughtful as expensive gifts. 
  • Below are 38 presents that anyone will actually be excited to receive. You can get them all on Amazon and for less than $50. 
  • If you're looking for more Valentine's Day gift ideas under $50, check out this guide of 50+ thoughtful gifts for her or 80+ gifts for him.

Your partner doesn't necessarily need or want an expensive gift. And it's a myth that a higher price tag equals a more thoughtful gift. It doesn't take more than $50 to pay homage to an interest of theirs or to improve day-to-day life by fixing the squeaky cupboard or replacing a beat-up coffee thermos with a much, much better one.

Thoughtful gifts don't need to be expensive. And they don't necessarily require an hour of your time in the trenches of Amazon search results. Below, I've rounded up 38 of the best finds on Amazon below — with all the perks of easy, fast shipping and saved payment information. 

The top 5 best gifts under $50 on Amazon:

  1. A 3rd Generation Echo Dot
  2. A variety pack of famous hot sauces made from community garden peppers
  3. A JBL Clip 3  portable waterproof speaker
  4. A WiFi-Enabled Plug-in for outlets
  5. A Hydro Flask travel mug

Check out all 38 cool gifts under $50 on Amazon:

A media streamer that can turn a basic TV into a smart one

Roku Streaming Stick+, $42.87

Essentially, the Roku Streaming Stick+ is your standard media streaming stick, and can convert a basic TV into a smart one that can stream Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, and more. It's Alexa-enabled, too, so you can control it by voice.

Homemade breakfast made with a heart-shaped waffle maker

Dash Mini Waffle Maker Machine, $14.99

Get up early, and make them heart-shaped mini waffles for breakfast. The Dash Mini Maker is compact enough to keep for special occasions without cramping your kitchen, too.  

A wooden caddy tray for the world's most luxurious bath

Royal Craft Luxury Bathtub Caddy, $47.97

Few things are as luxurious as a long bath filled with plenty of activities and treats. This one is waterproof, slip-resistant, and designed to accommodate one or two bathers at once. 

A compilation of the love letters of great men

"Love Letters of Great Men", $13.95

If you find yourself at a loss for words, let the love letters of great men do the talking for you. This volume includes love letters written by Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, Napoleon Bonaparte, James Joyce, John Keats, Dylan Thomas, and more. 

A vacuum insulated stainless steel water bottle that people swear by

Hydro Flask 12 oz Travel Coffee Mug, $29.95

Hydro Flask is a cult favorite for their water bottles, and these vacuum insulated stainless steel mugs work just as well. It'll keep hot drinks hot for up to six hours, and cold drinks cold up to twenty-four hours.

An unfussy cookbook meant for hosting one person or many

"Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking" by Samin Nosrat, $20.98

"Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat" is a New York Times bestseller and a James Beard Award winner for a reason. This book offers a great explanation of exactly why food tastes so good, breaking it down to four main elements.  

A powerful wireless charger for their desk

Anker Wireless Charger, $49.99

Get them a wireless charger that lets them charge their phone without having to plug it in or take off their phone case first. 

A durable, inexpensive Fire tablet

Fire 7 Tablet, $49.99

Amazon's Fire tablets are a relatively great deal for a tablet if you're not looking for anything super high-performance driven or luxe. For the average user, they're a good fit. It's Alexa-enabled, so you can ask for quick access to music and entertainment or messages and calling, and it has up to seven hours of battery life. 

You can shop the latest versions for a bit more money here.

An all-new Echo Dot

3rd Generation Echo Dot, $34.99 (originally $49.99)

The newest Echo Dot is a great gift for expert or amateur tech users. It has thousands of skills, but doesn't require much once it's set up. Alexa can control smart lights, outlets, TVs, and more to make life more seamless, and she can tell you the forecast, find and check recipes, and play music or set alarms and timers. For $35, you can order the new version with a built-in clock, but it won't be in stock until the end of January. 

A popular reusable shopping bag in a fun print

Baggu Standard Reusable Shopping Bag (3-pack), $36

Baggu bags are popular for a reason — they come in tons of fun prints and can fold down to pretty much nothing even though they can hold 50 pounds of stuff. If you're looking for another option, we also like Ecobags

A cheeky "I love you" mug

Olive Ewe Coffee Mug, $13.50

A subtle, aloof way to say the L-word — and in a puzzle they can decode even without the help of their first cup of coffee.

A candle that pays homage to their favorite place on Earth

Homesick Candles, available at Amazon, $24.67

Gift them a candle customized to smell like their beloved hometown, college town, or favorite getaway. There's also a dedicated option for "Love". 

One of the bestselling books of the year

"Where the Crawdads Sing" by Delia Owens, $9.59

One of the bestselling and most talked-about books of the year, "Where the Crawdads Sing" is an ode to the natural world and a heartbreaking coming-of-age story. It's set in a coastal town in North Carolina and follows a possible murder and the local suspect, the misunderstood Kya Clark, who's been known simply as "Marsh Girl" for years. 


A tough, wind-resistant umbrella they can rely upon

Repel Windproof Travel Umbrella, $22.95

Hear me out. It may seem boring, but everybody needs an umbrella, and this is way better than whatever version they bought the last time they veered into a CVS while it was raining. We think it's the best umbrella you can buy thanks to how well it resists wind and how long it lasts, and they'll find themselves thankful for it often. 

A portable and waterproof speaker

JBL Clip 3 Portable Waterproof Wireless Bluetooth Speaker, $49.95

This wireless Bluetooth speaker is waterproof, durable, and comes with a carabiner attached so it can be clipped for easy carrying. It has 10 hours of playtime and maintains sound quality even at high volumes. 

One of the year's most noteworthy books

"On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel" by Ocean Vuong, $17.29

Ocean Vuong is an American poet, and "On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous" is his much-anticipated debut novel. Published in 2019, it's a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read that delves into family history, addiction, violence, trauma, and compassion and tenderness. If they're a bookworm looking for the next bittersweet American classic, you may want to start here. Looking for other options? Amazon has a list of 2019 bestsellers, and a list of 100 books to read in a lifetime

A cast-iron skillet with almost 10,000 five-star reviews

Lodge 10.25-Inch Cast-Iron Skillet, $14.88

This 10.25-inch cast-iron skillet is one that became minorly famous online and garnered over 16,000 Amazon reviews. Lodge has been making cast iron cookware since 1896, so they've learned a thing or two about what makes a great kitchen tool. 

An electric bottle opener

Oster Cordless Electric Wine Bottle Opener with Foil Cutter, $14.99

This slim device cuts foil and uncorks wine bottles seamlessly, then stows easily out of sight. It has to be charged, but it'll open 30 bottles per charge. 

Highly rated in-ear earbuds

Panasonic ErgoFit In-Ear Earbud Headphones, from $9.99

Whether for everyday use, the gym, as a backup, or just for travel when Bluetooth headphones won't connect to the in-flight entertainment, there are ample uses for really solid in-ear buds with a stereo plug. This pair has an extended cord and three sets of ear pads for the perfect fit.

A famous hot sauce made from peppers grown in over 30 community gardens in the Bronx

Small Axe Peppers Variety 3-Pack, $27.99

This all-natural, tangy hot sauce is best known for its part in the popular Youtube series "Hot Ones." It's made from peppers grown in community gardens across the US. 

Anthony Bourdain's best-selling culinary and travel memoir

"A Cook's Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines" by Anthony Bourdain, from $7.39

This is Anthony Bourdain's New York Times best-selling chronicle of traveling the world in search of the globe's greatest culinary adventures. From California to Cambodia, Bourdain spent much of his adult life searching for the perfect meal.

A cold brew coffee maker

Takeya Deluxe Cold Brew Coffee Maker, $17.99 

This cold brew maker is as inexpensive as it is convenient, and it saves me hundreds of dollars per year. It easily fits into most refrigerator doors, is simple to use, and makes a good amount of cold brew at once. If they need more than one quart, there's also a two-quart option under $40. 

A powerful external battery

Portable 6000 mAh Charger, $32.99

It's not groundbreaking to give your partner a portable charger, but they'll find themselves grateful for it repeatedly. It's perfect for traveling and commuting, and as insurance for long days away from home. We rated this model by Jackery the best portable charger iPhone users can buy. It reportedly charges iPhones twice as fast as the original iPhone charger.

The cult-favorite clay mask that took over the internet

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Facial & Body Mask, $7.99

The Aztec Clay Mask is one of those cult-favorite products of the internet that's driven from the obscure depths of Amazon to beauty vlogs, Youtube testimonials with over 4 million views, and even the Sephora beauty blog.  

It's been called "the world's most powerful facial," and it's also under $10. It can be mixed with water, but it works best with a little bit of apple cider vinegar. You can read a full review here.

A salt plank for cooking

Himalayan Salt Plate and Holder Set, $35.55

A salt block is a multipurpose tool. It's a stable crystal structure, which means it can hold a temperature very well. It can be chilled and used as a serving platter for sushi or heated over a grill or stovetop to cook flavorful veggies. Himalayan salt is more nuanced than table salt, and the amount of saltiness imparted varies with the type of food (moist foods absorb more salt, fatty foods repel it, etc.). It's also long-lasting and naturally antibacterial. 

A universal USB wall charger that fits four devices

Anker 4-Port USB Wall Charger with Foldable Plug, $25.99

Double the outlet space with this four-port USB wall charger. Its advanced charging capacity also means their tech will charge faster than average.

An Atlas Obscura calendar full of daily photos and tidbits about the world's strangest and coolest places or festivals

Atlas Obscura Page-A-Day 2020 Calendar, $7.49

The Atlas Obscura calendar is a fun, novel way to infuse each day with an anchor of appreciation and wonder for the world. There are hundreds of photos that celebrate the world's strangest and coolest places, festivals, and foods. Travelers and life-long learners are particularly good candidates for this one.

A milk frother so they can make their favorite coffee or hot chocolate drinks from home

PowerLix Milk Frother, $12.97

A milk frother is an unexpectedly convenient tool to have around the house, and it can make an otherwise normal cup of coffee or hot chocolate closer to what you'd buy at the cafe. With it, they can make lattes, cappuccinos, and frothy coffees every morning for less.

The best travel pillow we've found

Trtl Travel Pillow, $29.99

We know it sounds gimmicky, but these travel pillows from Trtl really do make a difference, which is why we've voted them the best travel pillows you can buy. It won't make the frequent traveler feel like they're in bed at home, but it will offer a better, more restful sleep on the move. There's a slightly more expensive version that's even better, too. 

A soap bar that's a great life hack for tough stains

The Laundress Wash & Stain Bar, $5.69

This is another early Insider Picks favorite because it's relatively cheap and works exceptionally well. The Laundress Wash & Stain Bar is one of the only things that can bring white clothes back from the brink of donation piles, as we've attested in our roundup of the best things we bought on Amazon under $25

A delicious gift basket of caramel, chocolate, and crunchy gourmet treats

Chocolate, Caramel and Crunch Grand Gift Basket, $36.50

For less than $40, you can gift gourmet chocolates and caramels already pre-wrapped in a keepsake basket. The set includes seasonal favorites like caramel corn, chocolate pretzels, and peanut brittle. 

A hair turban that will cut drying time in half

Aquis Original Microfiber Hair Turban, from $20.99

Aquis' cult-favorite hair towels have inspired a slew of rave reviews online, including one from our own team of product reviewers.

The towels are made from a proprietary fabric called Aquitex that's composed of ultra-fine fibers (finer than silk) that work to reduce the amount of friction the hair experiences while in its weakest state. It also prevents hygral fatigue — the stretching and swelling of wet hair that makes it vulnerable to frizz and damage — by cutting the hair's drying time by 50%.

A keychain that finds their keys for them

Tile Pro with Replaceable Battery, $25

Never let them lose their keys again. This new Tile keychain pairs with their smartphone so they'll always be able to locate them. Conversely, you can press the Tile button to locate your phone if it's lost, even if it's on silent mode. 

A charging case that protects and charges wireless devices on the go

Mophie Wireless Power Capsule External Battery Charger, $15.99 (originally $39.95)

This compact, travel-friendly case charges wearables like the Fitbit Flex, Beats by Dre, and JBL Wireless Earbuds on the go. The 1,4000 mAh rechargeable battery translates to about 60 hours of audio playback in wireless earbuds. 

Alexa-enabled smart plugs

Wemo Mini Smart WiFi-Enabled Plug, $19.98

These plugs turn your devices into smart tech. They help your giftee control their lights and appliances from a free app on their phone, or by voice using Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit. 

A hilarious card game

What Do You Meme? Party Game, $29.99

This hilarious popular card game brings together the funniest memes of the Internet with over 350 caption cards for funny combinations. 

A highly rated pump with universal wine stoppers to keep open bottles fresh for longer

The Original Vacu Vin Wine Saver with Two Vacuum Stoppers, $11.89

This hyper-popular pump and universal wine stopper set keeps open bottles of wine from prolonged exposure to the air, which is what causes the breakdown of its character and taste. This version makes a "click" sound when the user has managed to create an airtight seal, and has almost 3,000 five-star reviews.

A photo book from one of the most renowned wildlife photographers

"Polar Obsession" by Paul Nicklen, $34.24

Paul Nicklen is an acclaimed Canadian photographer, film-maker, and marine biologist known for his work in the Arctic. He's a frequent contributor to National Geographic and has won the BBC Wildlife Photographer award of the year as well as the prestigious World Press Photo award for photojournalism, and this coffee table book is a beautiful homage to polar landscapes. 

The best smart light bulbs

  • Smart light bulbs bring your home into the 21st century, allowing you to control your lights straight from your phone or with your voice.
  • After much testing, it's clear that the Philips Hue light bulbs are still the best ones you can buy because they are reliable, consistent, easy to use, and work remotely.

If you're looking to smarten up your home, there are two things you can buy to get started. The first is a smart speaker with a smart assistant, like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. The second is a set of smart light bulbs. These two are the easiest and most affordable entryways into building a smart home, and a gateway to future smart devices like smart plugs, security cameras and sensors, door locks, etc. 

When it comes to smart light bulbs, there are lots of different options available, with the most recognized ones being the Philips Hue bulbs. But before you settle on any particular brand, there are a number of things you should think about beforehand, especially if you plan on outfitting your entire home. Here's a quick rundown of things to consider:

  • Color or white: Smart light bulbs generally come in two flavors — color bulbs or white bulbs. White bulbs, as you might assume, really only turn on and off like your standard light bulb, while color bulbs can change colors. Of course, white bulbs are also generally cheaper than color bulbs because they are less technically complex to create. The nice thing about either is they're dimmable.
  • Connectivity: Most smart bulbs "talk" to a central hub (using a technology called Zigbee), which is then connected to a home's network via Wi-Fi (wireless) or Ethernet (wired). But some smart bulbs use other routes: The C by GE bulbs work through Bluetooth, for example. So, what are the pros and cons?

    Wi-Fi connectivity means that you can control your bulbs anywhere you have an internet connection, so you can turn them on or off remotely with your phone even if you're miles away. But as mentioned, you'll need a separate hub, and each brand will require its own dedicated hub. Bluetooth bulbs can only connect to a phone within a certain range (approximately up to 33 feet), but the trade-off is that Bluetooth bulbs don't require a hub and use less energy. Hub-based bulbs can work independently or as a collective and can be controlled by multiple users, while a Bluetooth bulb can only talk to one phone at a time.
  • Smart home compatibility: Looking to integrate the bulbs with smart home platforms like Google Home, Amazon Alexa, or Apple HomeKit? You might want to check that your bulbs are compatible before you buy them. That way, you can control your bulbs with your voice, and your bulbs can interact with other smart devices in your home.

We tested several smart light bulbs to find the best ones you can buy. We picked bulbs at various price points and included some that don't need a hub. The lights that have hubs do work better and more consistently. The hub also enables you to control your lights remotely, so we think it's worth the price if you're really serious about building a smart home.

You can also check out our guide to the best normal light bulbs if you're not convinced that smart bulbs are for you. Read on to learn all about our top picks for the best smart light bulbs. 

Here are the best smart light bulbs you can buy:

Updated on 11/27/2019 by Caitlin Petreycik: Updated prices, links, and formatting. Added related guides. 

SEE ALSO: The best light bulbs you can buy

The best smart light bulbs overall

The Philips Hue light bulbs are easy to use and set up, and they are the most reliable bulbs we've tested.

Philips is arguably the most famous smart light bulb manufacturer, and for good reason. In our testing, not only were the Philips Hue light bulbs extremely easy to set up, but they were also easy to use and very consistent.

Perhaps the best thing about the Philips Hue bulbs is their versatility. You could go for the color-changing bulbs, which are a little more expensive, but there's also the option for the simple white bulbs, which are cheaper and could offer a better option for those looking to set up their entire home. No matter which set you buy, all Hue bulbs are dimmable and can be controlled remotely with the Hue app.

The light bulbs themselves output 800 lumens, which is more than enough for most small to medium-sized rooms, and while larger rooms could benefit from multiple bulbs, that's also true of your standard 60W light bulbs that your home may already be using. On top of that, they're relatively small, unlike bulbs from the likes of LIFX, so they'll be able to fit into most places that your average light bulbs fit.

You can also control the bulbs with your voice if you have Google Home, Apple HomeKit, or Amazon Alexa. It's extremely convenient when you don't want to go get your phone or your hands are busy. You can also control the lights using the respective apps for the aforementioned platforms. The bulbs also support both Bluetooth and Zigbee, which means you can use them with or without a Hue Bridge hub that's included in the starter kit.

There are a few downsides to using Philips Hue bulbs, including the high startup cost. The Hue Bridge hub will not support other brands' bulbs, even if they use Zigbee, but some Zigbee-certified hubs will support Hue bulbs. Of course, the upside to that is reliability and the ability to remotely control your lights, so it is well worth it.

We weren't the only ones who liked the Philips Hue smart bulbs — both CNET and Trusted Reviews rated them highly. Experts and buyers alike agree that these bulbs are the best ones you can buy. Having purchased and tested various smart bulbs, Guides Editor Les Shu eventually settled on Philips Hue for his home, citing the easy set-up and operation with both HomeKit and Alexa.

Pros: Reliable, versatile, easy to use, easy to set up, consistent, voice control, dimmable

Cons: Hue Bridge hub not compatible with other smart bulbs, a little pricey

The best smart light bulbs without a hub

LIFX's bulbs are easy to use and offer a ton of customization in the awesome app, but best of all, they work without a hub.

Interested in setting up your home with smart lighting but don't necessarily want to deal with a hub and the cost associated with one? LIFX's bulbs are probably your best bet.

LIFX has been around for a while now, and the company makes some excellent bulbs that can be set up completely hub-free. Simply screw the bulb in and follow the instructions in the app. The app is pretty easy to use, and it allows you to control bulbs individually or in groups to set scenes, schedule the lights to turn on and off, and even turn on effects like a strobe light for parties.

There are also a few different bulbs available, including the standard A19 bulb and the BR30 model, so you should be able to find the right bulb for most situations.

There are a few downsides to these bulbs. For starters, they're somewhat large, and because there's so much tech packed into each individual bulb, the cost for a bulb is a little higher than the Philips Hue, though these LIFX bulbs don't require a hub. We also found in our testing that at times the app could be a little buggy and not recognize when bulbs were on, though that was rare.

Budget alternative: We like the LIFX bulbs because they support Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit platforms. If you don't need HomeKit support, we recommend the Kasa smart light bulbs from TP-Link. We've had great success with Kasa bulbs, which work similarly to LIFX bulbs — no hub needed. A dimmable white bulb and a multicolor variant are both great affordable options. A dimmable soft white bulb and tunable white bulb (adjustable from soft white to bright white) are also available.

Pros: Excellent app, very bright, easy to set up, no hub required

Cons: Somewhat large, can sometimes have trouble connecting

The best Bluetooth smart light bulbs

The C by GE Bluetooth smart bulbs are easy to set up and use in the app, and they cost far less than Wi-Fi bulbs.

Looking for a bulb that connects through Bluetooth? GE has the solution for you: C by GE light bulbs. This starter pack comes with two bulbs, called C-Life and C-Sleep, and each is designed for different uses. The C-Life is for everyday use, and the C-Sleep is for use in the bedroom.

What's the difference between the bulbs? C-Life is really only a white color (if white can be a color), while C-Sleep offers three different settings: a cold light, to energize you in the morning, a normal white light, and a warm light to promote sleep at night.

Because the bulbs connect through Bluetooth and don't require Wi-Fi, they're pretty small and also relatively cheap, because you don't need to factor in a hub — great for homeowners who are just stepping into the smart lighting world and aren't yet ready to commit to a full lighting system. This two-pack is also less expensive than our hub-less Wi-Fi options, the LIFX and TP-Link Kasa bulbs.

The trade-off is that you have to be within Bluetooth range — 10 meters or 33 feet — to use the bulbs, so forget about using them while you're out of the house or even at the other end of the home. That can be a real problem for some users, especially those who want to really turn their home into a smart home. You may also run into connectivity issues.

Still, that doesn't mean you shouldn't go for these bulbs. The app is quite easy to use — although perhaps not as easy as Philips and LIFX — and the C By GE bulbs represent a great introduction to smart lighting.

The C by GE Life and Sleep bulbs also support Google Assistant, no hub necessary. With a device like a Google Nest Mini, you can control the bulbs with your voice or remotely. If you're looking to expand the C by GE bulbs' capabilities, connect them to the C by GE smart plug, which adds support for Amazon Alexa and Google Home, as well as away-from-home control.

Pros: Cheap, easy to connect

Cons: Limited color options, app could be more user-friendly

The best decorative smart lights

The Nanoleaf's smart lighting system is a work of art that you can customize to suit your desires.

Looking for some smart lighting that bucks the trend of standard screw-in light bulbs? The Nanoleaf Light Panel kit not only serves as a great way to bring some light into your home, but it can be configured to suit your home's color scheme and set up in shapes to really accent the room.

The Nanoleaf lights are flat triangles, and you essentially connect a series of them together to create fun shapes on your wall or any other surface. It's available in a starter kit with nine lights, as well as an expansion pack with three more lights. Simply attach the lights to the wall, boot up the app, and go through setup. Then, you can set each light to a different color, all to the same color, or set effects. You can control them with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple HomeKit.

Of course, as cool as these lights are, they may not be as practical as standard smart light bulbs, and they won't necessarily fit in every home as standard light bulbs will. In our testing, we found that the app could also only connect with the lights when on the same network, which might be a problem for some. Still, those things don't make these lights any less cool when they're mounted on the wall.

In our testing, the Nanoleaf lights were extremely easy to use, and while it often took a few seconds to connect, once they were connected, the app was a pleasure to use. CNET and TechHive both gave the lights 4 out of 5 stars.

Pros: Unique, decorative, easy to use

Cons: Requires a home network, not as practical as standard light bulbs

The best portable smart light

The Philips Hue Go offers all the advantages of a standard Philips light, but it also adds portability, too.

This is the second Philips light to show up on this list, but for good reason. Philips's Hue lighting system is arguably the best smart lighting system out there, but if you go for Philips you don't have to stick with stuck-in-place lights. Philips also offers the Hue Go light, which is a light you can take with you around the house, rather than keeping it in one spot.

The light itself plugs in through a standard power outlet, but it also has a built-in battery that can power the lamp for up to three hours, so if you want to unplug it and take it to the living room for a few hours, you can do so. That battery life isn't long, and you'll probably want to recharge it after each use, but if you're good at charging things up, you shouldn't have too much of an issue.

Like other Hue products, the Hue Go is easily set up in the app, where you can tweak things like colors, brightness, and so on.

It's important to note that this light isn't necessarily meant to be taken on a camping trip. It still connects through Wi-Fi via the Hue Bridge hub, so it's really aimed at being an in-home light — one that can quickly and easily be taken anywhere in the home.

Pros: Portable, easy to use, not overly expensive

Cons: Requires home network

The best Zigbee smart light bulbs

The Cree smart bulbs connect to your smart home hub through Zigbee, and the best thing about that is that they're inexpensive.

Cree's smart light bulbs are not as well-known as the likes of Philips or LIFX, but its bulbs have a lot to offer. Why? Well, the bulbs connect through Zigbee — so if you have a compatible smart hub, you could set up your home with these smart bulbs at a fraction of the cost.

The reason the bulbs are so inexpensive is that they don't need Wi-Fi radios built into them, and the technology they do need is much more basic. So long as you have a Zigbee hub like the ones from Wink, WeMo, or Samsung's SmartThings, the bulbs will connect to it and you'll be able to control the bulbs from your phone.

Note that not all Zigbee hubs are compatible. The Philips Hue Bridge is a Zigbee-compliant product but it only supports Philips Hue bulbs.

The Cree bulbs are also dimmable, which is great for those of you who want to set different scenes and lighting profiles. The companion app is relatively simple, and if you already have a Zigbee-friendly hub, these bulbs are a very cost-effective alternative to our top pick, the Philips Hue.

Pros: Inexpensive, work with SmartThings and Wink, Zigbee compatible, affordable

Cons: White only, needs hub

Check out our other smart home guides

The best smart displays

Smart displays can be used to control your smart home while offering visual, on-screen controls. On top of that, they can show you things like the weather and upcoming appointments that you might have on your calendar. These are the best smart displays you can buy.

The best smart speakers

Smart speakers can do a number of different things, including answer questions, control smart home devices, set alarms, play music, and more. Whether you're a loyal Google fan or an Amazon fan, these are the best smart speakers for your home.

The best smart doorbells

These days, doorbells can connect to your Wi-Fi network to offer enhanced home security with built-in cameras and microphones. You can even interact with people at the door when you're not home. These are the best smart doorbells you can buy.

The best smart outlets

With the ability to remotely control home electronics and appliances, smart outlets are a smart-home component that smartens up any dumb device, letting you "talk" to it from almost anywhere — through an app on a phone or with a command to a voice assistant ("OK, Google, turn on the coffee maker"). These are the best smart outlets.

The best smart locks

Home security is a big focus for tech companies. From smart security cameras to smart doorbells, connected technology can allow you to keep a much closer eye on your home. But what about your actual door? It turns out that there are a ton of great smart locks that you can install in your front door. These are the best.

The best online deals and sales happening now


best online sales deals

We rounded up the 10 best sales and deals happening online today, with savings on STATE Bags, TCL TVs at Best Buy, menswear at Bonobos, outdoor gear at REI, and more.

Deals in this story are subject to change throughout the day. The prices listed reflect the deal at the time of publication. For even more deals and savings across the web, check out Business Insider Coupons.

The best sales and deals happening today at a glance:

Additional Business Insider-exclusive deals and longer-term sales going on now:

Find the details of each sale below:

SEE ALSO: The best mattresses you can buy

DON'T MISS: I got my teeth straightened through an online service called Candid for under $2,000 — here’s how it works

1. Save up to 70% on bags at STATE Bags

Shop the STATE Bags sale now.

State Bags makes a wide range of backpacks and handbags for a good cause. For every purchase, one bag is filled with supplies and donated to a child in need. Right now, you can save up t0 70% during the end-of-season sale, and you'll feel particularly good knowing your purchase benefits a kid in need. Prices are as marked, so you won't need a promo code. 

2. Save an extra 15% on TCL TVs at Best Buy

Shop the TCL Smart TV sale at Best Buy now.

Best Buy has hard to beat deals on all kinds of tech and electronics, but one of the best savings is on TCL TVs. Now through January 19, you can save up to $400, plus an extra 15% off already discounted TCL 5, 6, and 8 Series TVs by using the promo code "TCLDOLBY15" at checkout.

3. Save an extra 40% on sale styles at Bonobos

Shop the Bonobos sale now

With the ethos of a startup and the backing of a large corporation (Walmart), Bonobos is currently the fastest growing menswear brand out there. Right now, you can save an extra 40% on sale style by using the promo code "SALEAWAY" at checkout. The brand just added more than 250 items to its final sale section, so you'll find a great variety of button-up shirts, chinos, jeans, sweaters, activewear, and much more.


4. Save 20% on prescription glasses at Westward Leaning

Shop the Westward Leaning sale now.

Westward Leaning started out as an eclectic sunglasses brand favored among the Hollywood crowd, but recently launched a collection of prescription eyewear. The brand offers a variety of timeless, gender-neutral styles. Right now, you can save 20% on optical glasses during its current New Year sale by using the promo code "NEWYOU" at checkout. Read our full review on Westward Leaning here.

5. Save up to 50% on sale items at REI

Shop the REI sale now

From apparel and footwear to gear and accessories, REI has everything you could possibly need for adventuring into the outdoors — or simply staying warm during the winter. As part of the brand's huge January clearance sale, you can save up to 50% on select items.

6. Get four months of Apple Music for free at Best Buy

Sign up for a free four-month Apple Music trial here.

Apple Music is one of the most popular streaming services available, and Best Buy is offering a free four-month trial with no purchase required. All you have to do is make sure you're signed into your account — and if you don't have one, you can sign up here.  

7. Get a 1-month free trial through ClassPass

Start your one-month free trial with ClassPass.

After the holidays, you may have resolved to get back to the gym and start fresh in the new year. ClassPass is offering a one-month free trial for all new sign-ups from now through the end of January. Your free trial will give you 35 credits that can be used to access thousands of studios and gyms in over 2,500 cities. Click here to find out more about ClassPass and this deal.

8. Get 50,000 miles when you sign up for a Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Click here to learn more about the Capital One Venture.

If traveling is on your bucket list for the new year, then you might want to consider signing up for a Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. You'll get 50,000 miles when you spend $3,000 in your first three months, and your first year's annual fee of $95 is waived. This card will also earn you 10x the miles when you book hotels through hotels.com, and for every 10 nights you book through Hotels.com, you'll earn a free night. Learn more about the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and other credit card deals here.

Business Insider may receive a commission from The Points Guy Affiliate Network if you apply for a credit card, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

9. Save 30% off your first delivery and get free cookie dough for the life of your subscription at Hungryroot

Browse Hungryroot's meals.

Hungryroot is a health-conscious meal delivery service that allows you to customize your preferences based on dietary needs and likes. Meals are delivered on a weekly basis, and all of them can be made in approximately 10 minutes. Now through January 23, receive 30% off your first delivery plus get free almond chickpea cookie dough in every box for the life of your subscription. You can read our full review here.

10. Save up to $250 on a Bear Mattress and get 2 free pillows

Shop the Bear Mattress sale now

Bear Mattresses goes far beyond the standard of plush memory foam by incorporating Celliant into its mattresses. The material is designed to convert heat from the body into far-infrared — a type of energy that's been proven to help rebuild cells. The technology can help you wake up feeling well-rested and free of aches and pains. Right now, you can save $150 on orders over $700 with the promo code "WS150," $200 on orders of $1,000 with the promo code "WS200," and $250 on orders over $1,300 with the promo code "WS250" at checkout. Plus, you'll receive two free pillows. 

A $17.5 million penthouse is being built on top of a Tiffany store in Palm Beach, and it comes with its own pool and putting green


Penthouse atop Tiffany

A $17.5 million penthouse is being built atop a Tiffany & Co. store on the corner of one of America's most famous high-end shopping destinations, Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, Florida. It will be the only private residence in the building. 

According to the Wall Street Journal, ultra-luxury residential developer Kean Development and its partners, Fortress Investment Group and Hyde Retail Partners, purchased the building for $20 million in 2018 and started the penthouse project.

Listed by Gary Pohrer and John Reynolds of Douglas Elliman, the 13,000-square-foot penthouse will feature five bedrooms, seven and a half bathrooms, maid's quarters, three fireplaces, private elevator access from the ground floor, fully equipped indoor and outdoor entertaining spaces, and a rooftop with panoramic views of Worth Avenue. 

Here's a look inside.

SEE ALSO: Inside the $72 million ranch the size of San Francisco and 1 hour east of the Bay Area that the state of California may want to turn into a state park

The penthouse will be situated directly above the Tiffany & Co. store on Worth Avenue, an iconic address in the heart of Palm Beach, Florida.

It will be the only private residence in the building.

The 13,000-square-foot penthouse will have five bedrooms and seven and a half bathrooms, including a master suite.

The penthouse has enormous windows and doors maximizing natural light and views of its distinct location.

The rooftop will boast an infinity edge swimming pool, sunbathing areas, putting green, outdoor bar, dining area, fireplace, and exclusive panoramic views of Worth Avenue.

For indoor entertaining, there will be a spacious lounge with a full bar, billiard area, and bathroom.

The owner will enjoy private elevator access from the ground floor, with a custom-built lobby.

Expected to be completed in the winter of 2021, the penthouse is on the market for $17.5 million.

Australian billionaires have donated at least $54 million to wildfire relief efforts. Here's how that stacks up to billionaires' donations after the Notre Dame fire.


Australia brushfires billionaires

  • Australian billionaires have collectively pledged at least $54 million to wildfire relief efforts, Business Insider estimates. The largest single private donation has been from Andrew Forrest, who donated $48 million to the cause.
  • To put that number into perspective, one social-media influencer said she was able to raise $700,000 for the relief efforts by selling nude photos of herself online.
  • And within hours of the Notre Dame fire in April, three French billionaires had collectively pledged to donate $565 million to the cathedral's rebuilding.
  • An estimated 25 million acres of Australia's brush have burned since September, killing at least 28 people, forcing hundreds of thousands of others to evacuate, and blanketing cities in dangerous smoke.
  • All figures in the article below are in USD unless otherwise specified.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Jeff Bezos was slammed on Twitter after announcing that Amazon would be donating $690,000 to the wildfire relief efforts in Australia, but he's not the only billionaire whose donations — or lack thereof — are drawing criticism.

An estimated 25 million acres of Australia's brush have burned since September. The fires have killed at least 28, forced hundreds of thousands of others to evacuate, and blanketed cities in dangerous smoke — and there are still at least two months left in fire season.

In response, Australian billionaires have pledged at least $53,680,380 to relief efforts, according to a calculation by Business Insider. That estimate does not include the gifts that were made privately, including that of Australia's richest person, Gina Rinehart. Several famous Aussie multimillionaires, including Liam Hemsworth and Nicole Kidman, have pledged hundreds of thousands of dollars to relief efforts, but their donations were not included in this estimation.

Billionaires' donations pale in comparison to those made after the Notre Dame fire

Australian comedian Celeste Barber has been one of the leading voices behind the criticism of billionaires' lack of reaction to the massive fires. Barber led the largest Facebook fundraiser in the platform's history to benefit relief efforts. In just 12 days, 1,307,939 Facebook users gave more than a total of $34 million USD to the Trustee for NSW Rural Fire Service & Brigades Donations Fund on Facebook.

Only one Australian billionaire, Andrew Forrest, has donated more than that. Forrest donated $48 million, Business Insider Australia reported. 

For comparison, within hours of the fire that swept through the Notre Dame in Paris in April, three French billionaires had already pledged $565 million for restoration efforts, Business Insider's Katie Warren reported at the time. While those French billionaires — LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault, Kering founder François-Henri Pinault, and L'Oréal heiress Françoise Bettencourt Meyers — are all significantly wealthier than anyone in Australia, the difference in reactions is one Barber was quick to highlight.

"Hey billionaires, Notre Dame burning down sucked," Barber tweeted January 7. "I get it. Times that by a trillion and that's what's happening in Australia. Feel free to flick us a quick couple of million. You make it seem pretty easy."


Billionaires' gifts have also been compared to the $700,000 USD one social-media influencer said she was able to raise for the relief efforts by selling nude photos of herself online. That would mean her contribution outnumbers that of real estate billionaires John and Pauline Gandel.

The single biggest private donation to the Australian wildfire relief totaled $48 million

Here's a look at the Australian billionaires who have pledged donations so far. All figures are in USD.

  • Casino mogul James Packer was among the first Australian billionaires to donate, making two gifts totaling $3.45 million through his company and family foundation in November, The Australian reported.
  • The cofounders of software company Atlassian, Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar, each donated $770,000, Forbes reported.
  • Real estate billionaires John and Pauline Gandel donated $690,380 to a group of organizations involved in the relief efforts, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
  • Gina Rinehart — the richest person in Australia — said she "privately" donated after Barber called her out on Twitter, her spokesman said in a statement to The Daily Mail.
  • Andrew Forrest donated $48 million, which is believed to be the largest private donation to relief efforts, Business Insider Australia reported. 

A handful of American billionaires have also announced plans to contribute to the relief efforts:

  • Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg announced that the social network would donate $173,000 ($250,000 AUD) to the Australian Red Cross and match up to $671,000 ($1 million AUD) in donations made to GlobalGiving.
  • Jeff Bezos was slammed on Twitter for donating $690,000 — roughly the amount of money he makes in five minutes — to the recovery efforts, Business Insider reported.

SEE ALSO: Australia's fires are 46% bigger than last year's Brazilian Amazon blazes. There are at least 2 months of fire season to go.

DON'T MISS: Here's how much Australia's billionaires have donated to relief efforts for the wildfires that have destroyed 25 million acres of land and have killed at least 28 people

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NOW WATCH: The surprising reason Americans drop a ball on New Year's Eve

REI's January clearance event is running all week — save up to 50% on gear from The North Face, Patagonia, and more


rei end of season clearance

REI is running its first sale of the year, the January Clearance event, now through Monday, January 20.

You can save up to 50% on women's and men's clothing, women's and men's jackets, women's footwear, men's footwear, and camping and hiking gear from popular brands like Prana, Patagonia, Hydro Flask, and The North Face.

If you're looking for some cozy wintertime gear or year-round staples like tents, hiking gear, and sleeping bags, now is a good time for both seasonal must-haves and year-round items that rarely see a discount. 

We put together a list of the 14 best deals from the sale below. Keep reading for our top picks, or check out the different deals in each category on REI's site:

Shop REI's January Clearance event now, or see our top picks below:

Mammut Men's Chamuera Hooded Fleece Jacket

$73.83 (originally $149) [You save $75.17]

Hydro Flask Coffee Flask

$20.39 (originally $27.95) [You save $7.56]

GoPro Hero8

$349.99 (originally $400) [You save $50.01]

Rumpl Down Puffy Blanket

$118.93 (originally $159) [You save $40.07]

REI Co-op Women's Revelcloud II Jacket

$59.93 (originally $149) [You save $89.07]

Mountain Hardwear Men's Ghost Shadow Insulated Hoodie

$174.93 (originally $250) [You save $75.07]

MPOWERD Luci Color Essence Inflatable Solar Lantern

$14.83 (originally $24.95), available at REI [You save $10.12]

Sea to Summit Double Pro Hammock Bundle

$59.93 (originally $104.95) [You save $45.02]

Merrell Men's Ontario Low Hiking Shoes

$69.83 (originally $140) [You save $70.17]

The North Face Women's Glacier Fleece Jacket

$48.93 (originally $70) [You save $21.07]

Pacsafe Metrosafe Shoulder Bag

$39.93 (originally $79.95) [You save $40.02]

Vuori Women's Chase Performance Shorts

$22.83-$33.83 (originally $68) [You save $34.17-$45.17]

Sorel Women's Joan of Arctic Boots

$149.93 (originally $200) [You save $50.07]

Kelty Trailogic TN4 Tent

$199.93 (originally $379.95) [You save $180.02]

85 Valentine's Day gifts for her — from classic cashmere sweaters to monthly wine subscriptions


Insider Picks Holiday Gift Guide Gifts for Her

Here to help you choose the perfect gifts for everyone on your list, be they funny, kid-friendly, cost-conscious, or something handmade, are the editors and reporters from the Insider Picks team.

If you need some inspiration for what to get for her (whether she's your girlfriend, best friend, wife, mom, daughter, or aunt), we have you covered with some truly excellent gift ideas. Though you can never go wrong with flowers, chocolates, and a thoughtful card, we've also included some more unique gift ideas, like a custom map poster and a book about "Friends" on our list. 

Many of these gifts should arrive before Valentine's Day, though the timing might differ depending on your location. And if a gift doesn't arrive in time, we've got a hack for that over here.

The 5 best gifts for her:

  1. A set of red wines and rosés from VineBox
  2. A soothing, all-natural body lotion
  3. A scented, fancy Diptyque candle
  4. A Disney + subscription
  5. An affordable cashmere crew from Everlane

Check out all 85 gifts for her:

This list includes a Sponsored Product that has been suggested by M.M.LaFleur; it also meets our editorial criteria in terms of quality and value.*

A Valentine's Day-ready set of wines

Reds and Rosés Set, available at Vinebox, $85

Vinebox is a fun subscription service that sends vials of some of the best wines in the world by the glass, so she can discover new blends she loves. This gift set comes with 9 vials of reds and rosés that go perfectly with her Valentine's Day chocolates. You can also gift her a subscription so she can try some new wines every few months. 

A calming weighted blanket

Weighted Blanket, available at Casper, from $168

Weighted blankets are filled with pounds of microbeads that provide constant pressure. The result is a hug-like sensation that soothes, relieves anxiety, stress, and makes going to bed super comfortable. 


A luxe body lotion

The Body Lotion, available at Nécessaire, $25

Upgrade their post-shower routine with this super hydrating, skin-smoothing body lotion. It's filled with nourishing, clean ingredients that will keep dry winter skin at bay. 


A sheet set that makes bedtime better

Brooklinen Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle, available at Brooklinen, from $219

Brooklinen has a well-earned reputation as the internet's favorite bedding startup. Its bedding is comfortable and luxurious, and any of the 14 colors and patterns can instantly elevate the look of her bedroom. If she's not ready to revamp her whole bedding set, gift her a pair of pillowcases to start. 


A chunky, cozy scarf

Free People Fringe Blanket Scarf, available at Nordstrom, $39.95

This chunky, fringed scarf is equal parts cozy and cool. She'll love wrapping this plush knit around her neck on chilly days. 

A chocolate and card combo

With Love Chocolate Cards, $9, from Uncommon Goods

This looks like a regular card, but inside there's a delicious dark chocolate bar filled with creamy caramel. And of course, room to leave a sweet personal note. 

A luxe cashmere sweater

Everlane Cashmere Crew, available at Everlane, $100

Gift an Everlane E-Gift Card, from $25

Everlane's clothing prices are much more affordable than most brands, thanks to its commitment to radical transparency. We also love how soft and cozy its cashmere sweaters are, and bet that she'll probably wear the cold-weather essential every week. It currently comes in 17 colors, so you can choose one that fits her style best. 


A Disney Plus gift subscription

Disney Plus gift subscription, 1-year subscription for $69.99

Give her unlimited access to movies and shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and 20th Century Fox — pretty much everything she needs to pass the time while home for the holidays.

Read everything there is to know about Disney+ over here and, if you need some binge-spiration, here are all the new movies available to stream.

A cozy cashmere shawl

M.M.LaFleur Angelou Shawl, available at M.M.LaFleur, $225

If she already has enough cashmere sweaters, consider gifting her this elegant cashmere shawl from M.M.LaFleur, which is an Insider Picks go-to for timeless and high-quality workwear staples for women. Available in three timeless neutral colors — black, deep indigo, or taupe heather (pictured) —  you can't choose wrong.

* Sponsored by M.M.LaFleur

A pain-relieving seat cushion

Purple Seat Cushion, available at Purple, from $39

Sitting all day in uncomfortable chairs can really strain her back. Show her you care with a seat cushion to help alleviate some of the pain. Purple makes pillows in different shapes and sizes to target and support specific areas, but all are very supportive and comfortable.

Read our full review of the cushion here


A cold brew coffee maker for her mornings

OXO Good Grips Cold Brew Coffee Maker, available at Amazon, $54.98

If she always craves cold brew, give her the tools to make it herself from the comfort of her own kitchen. This device is super easy to use and can make a cup that rivals the cold brew from the coffee shop since she can use her favorite grounds.

May arrive after Christmas.

A cute and practical charging pad

Catch:3 Wireless Charger, available at Courant, $175

While charging pads are useful tech gifts, many are made with generic and unsightly plastic. Courant is changing that with the Catch:3. The wireless charging pad is made with sleek aluminum and pebbled leather that comes in appealing colors like Dusty Rose, and doubles as a catchall tray for all their knick-knacks.

A gift set of delightfully scented candles

Otherland Single Flame Gift Set, available at Otherland, $36

Otherland Threesome Candle Gift Set, available at Otherland, $89

Candles make a great gift for just about every occasion. Otherland combines gorgeous packaging with incredible scents for candles that will transport her with their whimsy. Choose from scents like Canopy, which blends fresh fig with herby ivy greens and mint, or Chandelier, which mixes light Champagne with saffron and musky leather.

A nourishing hair mask for dry hair

Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair! Honey Deep Conditioning Mask, available at Briogeo, $36

Heat-damaged, color-treated, or just plain dry hair will love this deep conditioning mask. Organic honey is the hero ingredient here and will help refresh their strands with some much-needed moisture. Plus, we love the sweet honey bear packaging. 


A Kindle so she can read literally anything, anywhere

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, available at Amazon, $84.99

While there's no denying that flipping through real, paper pages is a great feeling, an ebook reader is a great option for travelers and commuters. She can access her entire library of ebooks on this thing, which makes it easy to always dive into a new book. We're partial to Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite with its glare-free display and waterproofing, which allows you to read literally anywhere.

Here's our full review of the Kindle Paperwhite.

A smart fitness tracker

Fitbit Inspire HR, available at Best Buy, $79.95

This Fitbit is an all-in-one smartwatch and a fitness tracker with plenty of great features that she'll enjoy using. From 24/7 activity and sleep tracking to water resistance, call and text capabilities, and more, she can wear this everywhere she goes. 

A Polaroid camera for instant snapshots

Fujifilm Instax Mini 9 Instant Camera, available at Urban Outfitters and Amazon, from $49.95 (prices vary based on color)

In a world where most of our pictures stay on our smartphones, having a Polaroid camera makes snapping life's everyday moments a little more exciting. Waiting for pictures to develop is always exciting, but what she'll love even more is actually getting to hold onto them.



An Amazon Echo that matches her style

Amazon Echo (3rd generation), available at Amazon, $89.99

The Echo is the perfect addition to her nightstand or countertop. It uses Alexa to accomplish any number of tasks, from answering questions to reordering supplies on Amazon and comes in five colors that'll complement her style.

A lip gloss that has all the benefits of a balm

Tower28 Beauty Jelly Lip Gloss, available at Credo Beauty, $14

This clean-beauty favorite delivers the glossy sheen of a lip gloss but with the nourishing ingredients of a lip balm. The non-sticky consistency is perfect for everyday wear and the pocket-sized tubes make great stocking stuffers. 

Read a review of the lip gloss and other popular Tower28 products here

A new and entertaining Echo Show

Echo Show 5, available at Amazon, $79.99

Whether she has a host of Alexa-enabled devices or is new to smart home technology, she'll love using the Echo Show. The latest version is sleeker and more compact than ever before, with a bright display which she can use to watch her favorite shows, video call her friends, keep an eye on her security cameras, and more. 

A mini waffle iron for cute and quick breakfasts

Dash Mini Waffle Maker, available at Amazon, from $9.99

Not only does this mini waffle maker take up a little counter space, but it also heats up in minutes, so she can make her favorite breakfast in a flash. 


A small smart speaker

Google Home Mini, available at Best Buy, $25

This little Google Assistant speaker is loaded with smart features. She can play music, check the weather, and control the rest of her smart home system with just her voice. 

An electric toothbrush she didn't think she needed

Goby Brush Kit, available at Goby, from $50

The direct-to-consumer model has found its place in almost every industry, toothbrushes included. Goby is a startup making great electric toothbrushes at more reasonable prices than most by selling them straight to their customers. Plus, the bright colors will make brushing her teeth a little more fun.  


A cult-favorite candle

Diptyque Baies Candle, available at Nordstrom, $36-$68

Gifting candles is an art and Diptyque works for every lady on your list. She'll swoon over the chic French aesthetic and the aromatic blend of rose petals and blackcurrant leaves. 

A reusable bag that comes in dozens of fun prints

Standard Baggu, available at Amazon, $12

You can never have too many reusable bags, especially when they're as cute as the ones Baggu makes. The Standard Baggu is designed to hold up to 50 pounds and folds into a flat 5-inch by 5-inch pouch for easy storage in her purse. 


A set of silk hair scrunchies

Slipsilk Hair Tie Holiday Bauble, available at Beautylish, $25

These silk hair elastics create less friction than cotton ones, which means less breakage and frizz for her strands. If she wouldn't likely splurge on these for herself, she'll appreciate receiving them as a gift. 


A book club that will never cancel on her (unless she wants to skip a month)

Book of the Month 3-Month Gift Membership, available at Book of the Month, $49.99

A Book of the Month membership is the perfect gift to satisfy the bookworm on your list. This gift membership gets your bookworm their pick of the best new books for $12.50 to $15 a month depending on the length of subscription you choose to gift (three, six, or 12 months). They can also request extra books for an additional $9.99 each if they read more than one book a month. 

A set of sheet masks for all of her winter skin woes

Dr. Jart+ 7 Day Mask Experiment Kit, available at Sephora, $27.50

Whether she wants to hydrate her winter-ravaged skin or clear out congested pores, this sheet mask set can help address them while she catches up on Disney+.


Hand sanitizer that looks cool while fending off bacteria

Power Mist Hand Sanitizer, available at Touchland, $12

Let's face it — no one has ever loved the gift of hand sanitizer. But it's actually really practical! Touchland is a new startup that's out to make attractive and efficacious hand sanitizers that they'll want to use. The spray formula is moisturizing, doesn't smell like alcohol or leave hands sticky, and comes in a sleek modern packaging they'll be proud to show off. 

Read our full review of Touchland's hand sanitizers here.

A piece of cast iron cookware she'll use to make all of her favorite dishes

Le Creuset Cast Iron Braiser, available at Le Creuset, from $200

Unlike most cooking tools, a cast iron pan actually gets better with time. This braiser from Le Creuset is loved by Insider Picks editors; it comes in a bunch of colors (so you can choose her favorite), and it's the perfect size for the kinds of one-pot, saucy pasta dishes we make all the time.

It's wide enough and deep enough that she won't have to worry about adding too much liquid and having the contents spill over the sides. It's also great for cooking meats and veggies since there's plenty of surface area, so everything has room to get nice and crispy.

A fresh take on classic pearl earrings

Catbird Baby Pearl Hoops Pair, available at Catbird, $176

Gift a Catbird E-Gift Card, from $25

Pearl earrings are a feminine classic. This pair blends the timeless style with a modern touch, with little pearls wrapped around a small, ear-hugging hoop that's great for everyday wear and special occasions. 

A stylish and comfortable pair of shoes

Allbirds Wool Runners, available at Allbirds, $95

Popular shoe startup Allbirds is equal parts cool and comfortable. You can't go wrong with any of its styles, but if she's already got a pair of the original Wool Runners, try the Wool Runner Mizzle or Tree Runners, both styles that we love around here at Insider Picks. 

A frame to show off her favorite Polaroid shots

Instax Multi Picture Frame, available at Urban Outfitters, $14

This frame is the perfect addition to go with her Polaroid camera. With slots made to fit the miniature prints, she'll love using this to show off her best snapshots. 

Beautiful floral bouquets

The Bouqs Co. bouquets, available at The Bouqs Co., from $36

UrbanStems bouquets, available at UrbanStems, from $35

Both of these online florists offer stunning arrangements made from only the freshest blooms, and they're delivered quickly too.


A trendy and warm puffer jacket

Everlane Re:Down Puffy Puff, available at Everlane, $168

A puffer is absolutely necessary for cold winter days. This one is made from 100% recycled materials, which is especially cool if she's passionate about sustainability, and has a boxy fit that's trendy yet cozy. 


A practical everyday bag that looks good too

Dagne Dover Ryan Laptop Bag, available at Dagne Dover, from $135

Gift a Dagne Dover E-Gift Card, from $25

We're huge fans of Dagne Dover's thoughtfully designed bags. Their Weston and Ryan bags are laptop bags with the brand's signature sleek neoprene fabric and smart design that keeps everything she'll need organized and easily accessible.

Read our full review of the Dagne Dover Ryan Laptop Bag here

A little box of cute trinkets

Greetabl Custom Holiday Gift Box, available at Greetabl, from $9

Customize a little box for her full of cute trinkets and sweet messages. Pick the print of the box, what little gifts you'd like to put inside, then fill in your own message and pictures you want to be included. It's a small but sweet gift that works for just about anything.


Heart-shaped succulents to add some green to her space

Succulent Trio, available at The Sill, $60

Bring some life to her space with these adorable succulents. With little attention needed, they're a great gift for amateur plant parents and experienced ones alike. 


A surprisingly elegant headband

Lele Sadoughi Velvet Pearl Padded Headband, available at Shopbop, $185

Sleek velvet is studded with faux-pearl accents for a headband that'll add a feminine touch to every outfit she pairs it with. 

Cups of healthy food she can take on the go

Daily Harvest 9-Cup Gift Box, available at Daily Harvest, $75

If she's always trying to find new ways to prioritize health into her busy schedule, help her out with some Daily Harvest cups. You can prepay for nine cups, which she can redeem and pick out herself. She can choose from smoothies, oat bowls, soups, and other bowls of healthy food that are super easy to take on the go. 

Fancy olive oil

Alive Olive Oil, available at Brightland, pre-order for $37

If she spends a lot of time in the kitchen, she'll appreciate this high-quality olive oil. A drizzle of Alive from Brightland adds a vibrant, zesty flavor to any dish, plus the beautiful bottle will look great on display in her kitchen. 


A creative subscription for coffee lovers

Atlas Coffee Club Gift Subscription, available at Atlas Coffee Club, from $55

Atlas Coffee Club is an affordable subscription service that'll send her a new bag of globally-curated, single-origin coffee beans each month. Each shipment comes with brewing information, a postcard from the country of origin, tasting notes, and packaging inspired by the country of origin's culture for an immersive and educational experience. 

A simple and uplifting necklace

Good Intentions Necklace, available at Bando, $38

A sweet necklace with an even sweeter mission, each one is emblazoned with a positive intention like "optimism," "strength," or "gratitude," which they can carry with them throughout the day. A portion of the proceeds for every necklace sold will be donated to the non-profit Girls Inc.

A pair of leggings that are just as fashionable as they are comfortable

Outdoor Voices 7/8 Springs Leggings, available at Outdoor Voices, $85

Outdoor Voices has made its name in the athleisure world for offering high-quality workout apparel that women feel great and look great in. This pair comes in six color options and has a unique colorblocked style, plus a snug compression fit that actually works to keep her comfortable through a long workout.

A box full of team pride

FanChest Gift Box, available at FanChest, from $59

She represents her team with pride, so help her out with a FanChest. This box is the ultimate in sports fan gifts, filled with apparel, accessories, and more team swag than she really needs, but will definitely love. 


Really durable winter boots

UGG Adirondack III Waterproof Insulated Winter Bootie, available at Dick's Sporting Goods, $249.99

If she lives somewhere where it snows, she needs really durable winter boots. This UGG pair is waterproof, has a super-soft wool lining, and is temperature rated to sustain temperatures as low as -25ºF. 

The best socks she's never tried

Bombas Gripper Sock 4-Pack, available at Bombas, $53.20

They may just seem like a basic, everyday accessory, but socks are among the most underrated gifts you can give. Bombas spent two years perfecting its gym socks, and we think they got it right. With thoughtful innovations, like a blister tab and cushioned footbeds, her feet will notice the difference as soon as she slips on the socks.

A luxurious and relaxing bubble bath

L'Occitane Foaming Lavender Bubble Bath, available at Amazon, $39

Just because she's not a kid anymore doesn't mean she's too old for a bubble bath. This foaming bubble bath is the upgraded adult version, with the calming properties of lavender sure to soothe her body and mind. 

A soft pair of socks

Women's Second Skin Knee High Sock, available at Tommy John, $18

There's nothing better than slipping on cozy socks in the winter. With a stretchy, light compression fabric, this pair is sure to do the trick. 


Sophisticated and tech-friendly leather gloves

J.Crew Cashmere-Lined Leather Tech Gloves, available at J.Crew, $98

Leather gloves are a classy way to protect her hands from winter weather. A supple leather exterior, cashmere lining, and touch tips on the thumb and index fingers make this pair a no-brainer for keeping her hands toasty on even the coldest of days. 


A set of loose-leaf teas that even Oprah loves

Vadham Chai Tea Reserve Set, available at Amazon, $29.99

This set of loose-leaf teas made it into Oprah's Favorite Things back in 2018. It's filled with three variations of chai that she'll enjoy sipping. If she's exclusively a tea drinker, check out our gift guide for tea lovers


A sleek suitcase that'll be her travel go-to

Aviator Carry-On, available at Paravel, from $255

If she's trying to live a more sustainable life, try this carry-on spinner from Paravel. The hard polycarbonate exterior, interior lining, aluminum handle, and zippers are all made with recycled materials, and the sleek detailing on the body is made with vegan leather. It's a gorgeous and thoughtful gift that she'll love using even at a packed airport.


A pressure cooker she'll use to make everything

Instant Pot DUO60, available at Amazon, $79

Whether she loves to cook decadent meals, is adamant about meal prepping, or likes to make her time in the kitchen as efficient as possible, the Instant Pot can help her out. The kitchen gadget has 14 smart programs, like saute, simmer, and slow cook, that make cooking a breeze and can save her lots of time in the kitchen. 

A customized map of her favorite place

Grafomap Custom Map Poster, available at Grafomap, from $49

Nostalgic gifts always make great ones. Pick any location you want, whether it's a whole city or a very specific address, then customize the map with colors, labels, frames, your desired orientation, and more. It's an undeniably cool gift and one that's sure to make her sentimental.

Read our review of Grafomap here.


Chocolate-covered strawberries

Dozen Gourmet Dipped Fancy Strawberries, available at Shari's Berries, $39.99

These are so good that you'll want to eat all of these rich milk, dark, and white chocolate strawberries by yourself.

A cookbook full of unique and delicious recipes

"Molly on the Range: Recipes and Stories from An Unlikely Life on a Farm" by Molly Yeh, available at Amazon, $23.64

Urbanite turned farmer's wife with a Chinese and Jewish background, Molly Yeh has lots of unlikely stories and recipes to share. Her book delves into her life story between recipes which blend cooking techniques, ingredients, and dishes she's picked up from all corners of her life. The result? Unusual and delicious creations, like Scallion Pancake Challah and Asian Scotch Eggs. It's a great pick for adventurous cooks who can appreciate a good laugh along the way. 

A Champagne flute that'll keep her bubbles chilled

Corkcicle Stemless Champagne Flute, available at Amazon, $19.95

She enjoys her bubbles best when cold, so make sure they're always just the way she likes them, with the inventive Corkcicle flute. The shatterproof stainless steel and triple insulation promise crisp Champagne every time. 

A dainty jewelry holder

Catbird Swan Ring Holder, available at Catbird, $32

This pretty little swan will look great on her nightstand or dresser. It's a small, but beautiful piece of decor, and super practical in that it can hold rings, necklaces, and more. 

A watch that nails the minimalist aesthetic

Linjer Petite Watch, available at Linjer, $249

With smartwatches and phones that act like appendages, it might seem like the classic analog watch is disposable. Yet, there's something about the timeless style of an analog watch that no piece of modern tech can match. This watch is well made and dainty, with a small face that is prominent without being obtrusive, making it her next great accessory.

A heated massager to melt the day away

InvoSpa Shiatsu Back, Neck, and Shoulder Massager with Heat, available at Amazon, $39.99

After a long day, all she wants is some true relaxation to melt away the tension that's built up. While she can't get a real massage every day, you can give her this at-home shiatsu massager, which can give her a quality massage for much less. 


A cute and convenient everyday bag

Circle Crossbody Bag, available at Cuyana, $160

Gift a Cuyana e-gift card, from $25

She might have a lot of bags or she might have none, but whatever her style, she'll love this one from Cuyana. The silhouette has a structured but still feminine style, the tassels add a little flair to the otherwise simple piece, and there's plenty of convenient storage. 

The one that she'll never be able to put down

"I'll Be There for You: The One about Friends" by Kelsey Miller, available at Amazon, from $9.99

Real "Friends" fans have already seen every episode (more than once), but they probably haven't read this book. Miller dives into "Friends," analyzing the show's history, '90s history in general, and more to create a picture of how this show came to be the phenomenon that we're still watching today. 

A cutting board of her favorite state

Totally Bamboo State Bamboo Serving and Cutting Board, available at Amazon, $30

Whether she's cutting veggies or preparing a lovely cheese plate, she'll love to do so on this unique bamboo board. The boards come in the shapes of all 50 states and Puerto Rico, and each is engraved with artwork that highlights important cities and sights.

A great pair of wireless earbuds for working out

RHA MA650 Wireless Earbuds, available at Amazon, $99.95

Once she tries wireless earbuds, she won't want to go back to the regular kind. This pair is compatible with Google Assistant and Siri, plus they're sweatproof and water-resistant, making them the perfect pair for her next workout. 

A fun and informative cooking class

Gift card, available at Cozymeal, from $10

If she values experiences more than things, she'll love the chance to take a cooking class led by a local chef. Put aside an afternoon to learn how to make pasta from scratch, create decadent desserts, and assemble sushi together. Of course, you'll both get to eat your dishes and take home the leftovers. 

A powerful wireless speaker

Sonos One (Gen 2), available on Amazon, $199

Sleek and minimal, the Sonos One won't overwhelm or distract from her existing decor. It can play music and podcasts via Bluetooth so there won't be unsightly cords to deal with either.

A cozy beanie for cold days

Donegal Kent Beanie, available at Madewell, from $24.99

A beanie is not just practical for staying warm on cold days, but it adds an air of cozy chicness to any outfit. This rib-knit beanie made of speckled yarn is warm and cute, so she can wear it whether she's freezing or just wants to add it to her look for style points. 

A set of great makeup bags

Leatherology Clamshell Makeup Bag Set, available at Leatherology, $180

Every woman needs some nice bags to hold her makeup and toiletries, whether for traveling or keeping on her dresser. This leather set comes with two sizes, one smaller and one larger, and can even be monogrammed if you want to make it a little more personal. 

A cute way to show off her zodiac sign

Mejuri Zodiac Collection, available at Mejuri, from $70

To the average eye, this necklace just looks like a cool piece of jewelry, but it actually represents her zodiac sign. It's a fun way to gift her some jewelry with a special meaning, but subtle enough to make its way into her everyday wear. Mejuri's zodiac collection includes rings too

A really good mug she can take camping or into the office

Yeti Rambler 14 oz. Mug, available at REI and Yeti, $25

With a vacuum-insulated interior and secure top, this mug works for just about any occasion. Whether she wants to tote her hot oatmeal to the office or enjoy some chili while camping, this is what she'll want to use. 

Hair-care products that have her name written all over them

Personalized 8 oz. Shampoo and Conditioner Set, available at Function of Beauty, $29

Ordinarily, it might seem strange to gift someone bottles of shampoo and conditioner, but not with Function of Beauty's highly giftable products. They take her hair concerns into account when developing her personalized hair-care system. She can also choose the color and fragrance of her formula, and even the labels on the bottles.

A serum that holds up to its name

Maelove Glow Maker Serum, available at Maelove, $27.95

There are a lot of serums out there, making lofty claims about how much they'll improve skin, but Maelove's Glow Maker really lives up to the hype. If the fact that it was developed by MIT scientists is not enough, it also costs less than $30, and it really will get her skin glowing in no time.

An artistic vase for a pop of color

Now House by Jonathan Adler Terrazzo Hourglass Vase, available at Amazon, $34.16

Sometimes it's all about the aesthetic. This modern-shaped vase is stylishly speckled and adds an instant revamp to any space. 

A soft robe she'll love to wrap up in

Unisex Organic Waffle Robe, available at Coyuchi, $98

Anyone who appreciates the little comforts will love slipping into this soft cotton robe. The flattering fit, side pockets, and lightweight waffle fabric make this something she'll want to wear all the time (when she can, at least).

Read our full review of the robe here


A pair of joggers made for just lounging around

Tommy John Lounge Jogger, available at Tommy John, $78

Gift a Tommy John E-Gift Card, from $25

Sometimes, she just wants to lounge around in something super soft. And by sometimes, we mean all the time. Treat her to some super-soft loungewear so she can feel great when loafing around. 

A handy streaming device

Roku Ultra, available at Amazon, $83

Maybe she's trying to cut the cord with cable, or maybe she's just sick of watching Netflix solely on her laptop. Whatever it is, a Roku Ultra is an easy-to-use device that gives her access to plenty of awesome content to stream. 

Read our full review of the Roku Ultra.


A flask that brews her tea on the go

T2 Tea Stainless Steel Flask, available at Amazon, from $35

She loves having her tea every morning, but there's no way for her to brew the loose-leaf in a travel mug. That's exactly what the T2 does. All she has to do is fill with water, load up the infuser with her favorite tea, and let it brew. Plus, the T2 keeps tea warm for up to six hours, so she can enjoy it throughout the day.


A hype-worthy pullover

Patagonia Organic Cotton Quilt Snap-T Pullover, available at Patagonia, $149

There's a lot of hype around Patagonia apparel, but we think it's warranted. This sweater embodies the Patagonia ethos of great fitting, high-quality, performance apparel with its super-soft, warm cotton and a quilted exterior that looks nice too. 

A surprise set of new undies

MeUndies Mystery Cheeky Brief 3-Pack, available at MeUndies, $42

MeUndies makes shopping for underwear a lot more fun, and this gift set is just one example. All you do for this mystery pack is pick out a size, and she'll receive a set of three surprising new pairs. 

A month of unlimited shopping

RTR Unlimited 1-Month Membership Gift Card, available at Rent The Runway, $159

Okay, so not all the shopping, but RTR Unlimited is a great choice for shoppers who constantly want to update their wardrobe without spending major bucks. With the Unlimited plan, she can rent four styles at a time and swap her picks anytime. Rent the Runway has great luxury brands for her to choose from, with everything from casual weekend wares to special occasion outfits.

Read our full review on Rent the Runway Unlimited here

A cute pair of sunglasses

Warby Parker Haskell Sunglasses, available at Warby Parker, from $95

Gift a Warby Parker E-Gift Card, from $50

Sunglasses are one of the most fun accessories to accumulate. With different shapes, colorful lenses, and frames, she can have a bunch of different pairs to match different looks she's going for. This pair is a great place to start, with a simple shape but options for fun colored lenses and frames. Or if you're not sure of her style preferences, an e-gift card would give her the flexibility, and it's delivered immediately so you won't stress about shipping.


All she needs for a perfect movie night in

Winc The Art of Caramel Gift Box, available at Winc, $50

If her ideal night is wine, popcorn, and a movie, don't miss this great gift box curated by Winc. Filled with a bottle of Dime Red Blend and four uniquely flavored caramel popcorns, like caramel vanilla bean or caramel bourbon black pepper, this is sure to up the ante for movie night.


The gift of delicious cheese

Cellars at Jasper Hill Cheese Collection, available at Williams Sonoma, $79.95

Delight her with a gift box of handcrafted cheeses from Vermont. There's some English-style cheddar, a cave-aged semi-firm cheese, a mild and salty blue, and a bright rind cheese, so she can stick to what she knows or try something new. Let's face it, it's all delicious.


A set of dark towels that won't show her makeup stains

Makeup Towels (Pair), available at Weezie, $40

These gentle and fluffy towels were made to help her wash off the day's makeup with ease. There are three different patterns you can choose to embroider onto the towels, all of which are adorable.


A face mask fanatic's dream set

La Mer Treatment Lotion Hydrating Mask, available at Sephora, $155 

A set of six luxurious face masks from La Mer will give her everything she needs to achieve a radiant glow and smoother skin.


This multipurpose lip scrub and balm has saved my dry lips this winter — it removes flaky skin and moisturizes all at once


lanolips scrubba balm

  • Dry, chapped, flaky lips can seem unavoidable during cold winter months — no matter how much lip balm you slather on. 
  • Luckily for me, I found an easy-to-use product that works wonders at keeping my lips soft and smooth. 
  • The Lanolips Lemonaid Scrubba-Balm ($17) is a lip exfoliator and balm housed in one convenient, twist-up tube. It makes buffing and hydrating my lips quick and easy.


I use a comical amount of Aquaphor. At this point, I feel like they should sponsor me. Every night before bed, I slather an abnormally thick layer onto my lips with the hopes that when I wake up, they'll feel soft and supple. It works, for the most part. But sometimes Aquaphor alone (or any thick lip balm for that matter) is not enough to truly get rid of dry, flaky, chapped lips. For that, you'll need a good lip scrub. 

This article isn't about Aquaphor anyway, it's about Lanolips — the Australian beauty brand that infuses hydrating lanolin into all of its products — including its Lemonaid Scrubba-Balm, also known as my favorite new beauty product right now. 


The Lanolips Lanostick Lemonaid Scrubba-Balm is a two-in-one lip exfoliator and balm.

It's simple, but that's what makes it so great. 

The product is housed in a twist-up tube that makes for easy application. Instead of having to dip your fingers in a messy pot, you can just quickly swipe a layer on your lips. There are extra-fine sugar crystals and crushed orange peel to gently exfoliate. But unlike most scrubs, which can sometimes leave your lips feeling almost raw, there is lanolin in the formula to protect your lips from too much friction. Lanolin is a 100% natural wax that holds up to 400% of its weight in moisture. It's used to help heal wounds and burns, so you can imagine what it would do for something as simple as chapped lips. 

How to use it:

To use, just swipe a layer of the Scrubba-Balm on your lips and rub lips together to buff away dead skin cells. You can pat away or lick off any leftover bits — don't worry, it's all-natural. The final reveal? Soft, smooth, hydrated lips. Use it once a week or whenever you feel like lip balm alone just isn't cutting it. If your lips are particularly dry, I'd recommend following up with an extra layer of balm to lock in all the moisture.

The bottom line? This is $17 well spent. 

Get the Lanolips Lanostick Lemonaid Scrubba-Balm for $17 at Nordstrom



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The most expensive watches worn by the British royal family


Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Doria Ragland, mother of the bride, depart after the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018 in Windsor, England.

The British royal family is estimated to be worth $88 billion.

Given their staggering net worth, one would expect the wrists of Britain's monarchy to be glinting with the finest Swiss timepieces available, common accessories among the rich and famous. However, that's not necessarily the case.

It's surprisingly rare to see a royal sporting a watch at all these days — let alone one with a huge price tag — and it's even less common for those in direct line to the throne.

This might be because royals don't want to be seen checking the time at an event, because they know the tabloids would have a field day commenting on how bored they looked. Or, it might be because the royal family is playing down its opulence at a time when many Brits are bemoaning them as an outdated institution and a waste of taxpayers' money.

That being said, when the royals do step out wearing a timepiece, it's usually a very elegant choice.

Business Insider spoke to the experts at Crown & Caliber to determine the make and models of seven timepieces worn by key members of the royal family.

Scroll down to see them ranked in ascending order by the estimated price of a preowned model.

SEE ALSO: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry plan to become 'financially independent' upon stepping back from royal life. Here's how much the British royal family is worth.

DON'T MISS: These are the watches worn by some of the most powerful businessmen and CEOs in the world

Prince William, Omega Seamaster 300M — $2,050

Prince William's Omega Seamaster holds great sentimental value to the royal — it was reportedly a gift given to him by his late mother, Princess Diana.

Pricing source:Crown & Caliber

Meghan Markle, Cartier Tank Française — $3,000

Meghan Markle is seldom seen with a watch on since becoming a member of the royal family.

Back when Meghan was just a celebrity, she was often spotted wearing a Cartier Tank Française.

Pricing source:Crown & Caliber

Prince Harry, Breitling Aerospace Avantage — $3,300

Prince Harry has a number of expensive watches in his collection, including a more valuable Rolex Explorer II, but he hasn't been spotted wearing either of them out and about in a number of years.

Pricing source:Crown & Caliber

Princess Beatrice, Rolex Air King — $3,850

While she is frequently spotted watchless, Princess Beatrice has been seen sporting her Rolex Air King in stainless steel to fashion shows and other high-profile events.

Pricing source:Crown & Caliber

Kate Middleton, Cartier Ballon Bleu — $8,214

Like Meghan, Kate Middleton is also a Cartier fan, as it turns out. Kate is often spotted wearing her Cartier Ballon Bleu to public events.

Pricing source:Crown & Caliber

Prince Andrew, Rolex Day-Date — $11,500

According to Crown & Caliber, the Duke of York has been sporting his Rolex Day-Date for about 25 years — so it's safe to say he's a one-watch kind of guy.

Pricing source: Crown & Caliber

Prince Charles, Parmigiani Fleurier Toric Chronograph — $12,500

Parmigiani Fleurier, one of the more niche Swiss watch houses, is the Prince of Wales' brand of choice. His chronograph is often tucked discreetly beneath his cuff (as above).

According to Crown & Caliber, he's also been seen wearing Cartier and Patek Philippe watches in the past.

Pricing source:Chrono24

15 Valentine's Day jewelry gifts she'll swoon over — no matter your budget



  • Jewelry is always a great gift, especially for Valentine's Day
  • We rounded up 15 swoon-worthy pieces she'll love, no matter her style. 
  • Check out all of our Valentine's Day 2020 gift guides for even more inspiration. 

No matter the occasion, jewelry makes a great gift. Whether it's a luxury necklace that she'll save for once-in-a-lifetime events or a simple pair of hoops she'll add into her everyday rotation, great jewelry has a place in every wardrobe, and is always a welcomed present. 

If you're looking for a Valentine's Day gift for a special lady in your life, jewelry is a no-brainer. If you're not sure exactly what kind of jewelry to get her, don't worry — we've got you covered. We looked all over the internet to find an assortment of pieces that'll show off her style, spunk, and unique personality. Plus, we covered a huge price range — so you can be sure you'll find something in your budget. 

The top 5 best jewelry gifts:

  1. Celestial-inspired charm hoops from Missoma
  2. A birthstone and initial necklace from Edge of Ember
  3. A zodiac ring from Catbird
  4. Simple diamond studs from Vrai & Oro
  5. Funky martini glass earrings from Sydney Evan

Keep reading for 15 Valentine's Day jewelry gifts she'll love:

Missoma Mini Star Moon Charm Hoops

Mini Star Moon Charm Hoops, available at Missoma, $84

Mismatched jewelry is all the rage these days. Help her stay on trend with this set of simple gold hoops, one adorned with a moon charm and the other with a star. 

Mejuri Editor Hoops

Editor Hoops, available at Mejuri, $70

Every woman needs a great pair of gold hoops. This pair from Mejuri is so lightweight, she won't even notice they're on. Made in gold vermeil, these easy hoops are one she'll wear every day. 

Missoma Love Amulet Necklace

Love Amulet Necklace, available at Missoma, $114 (originally $162) [You save $48]

Worn alone or layered with other gold chains, this necklace is a perfect expression of your love. The 18-karat gold vermeil amulet hangs on a trendy, long bobble chain. Take a closer look and see the love amulet is engraved with a heart and holds a small pink zircon stone. Symbolizing love, passion, and friendship, this makes for a unique piece for Valentine's Day.

Catbird Zodiac Ring

Zodiac Ring, available at Catbird, $124

The traditional signet ring gets a modern update with whimsical astrological imagery. Each brass ring is adorned with a zodiac sign — just make sure you pick the right one. 

Jennie Kwon Lexie Emerald Ring

Jennie Kwon Lexie Emerald Ring, available at Catbird, $980

This splurge-worthy ring is sure to dazzle. The rich, green emerald sits between two dainty, three point diamonds, all on a 14-karat yellow gold band — it's a simply stunning piece she'll want to slip on right away. 

AUrate Connection Bracelet

Connection Bracelet, available at AUrate, $300

Solidify your connection with this aptly named bracelet. It features two interlocking loops on a 14-karat gold chain (white, yellow, or rose), meant to symbolize harmony. It's a dainty piece that'll add a sweet meaning to her next outfit. 

Vrai & Oro Trillion Diamond Bezel Earrings

Trillion Diamond Bezel Earrings, available at Vrai & Oro, $390

Every woman needs a simple pair of diamond studs — they transition from everyday to elegant seamlessly, and look great with pretty much everything. This pair comes in 14-karat yellow, rose, or white gold, and has a simple bezel setting to show off the sparkling diamonds. 

The Last Line Rainbow Huggie

Tiny Yellow Gold Rainbow Huggie, available at The Last Line, $210 each

A rainbow of precious stones line this 14-karat yellow gold, lobe-hugging pair that's sure to add a pop of color to all of her ensembles.

Stone and Strand In the Stars Ring

In the Stars Ring, available at Stone and Strand, $195

This 14-karat yellow gold band is dotted with conflict-free diamonds for a dainty, celestially-inspired ring that looks great alone or stacked with others. 

Bittersweets Lil ID Bracelet

Bittersweets Lil ID Bracelet, available at Catbird, $425-$575

With room for up to 12 characters, this dainty little ID bracelet can be customized in endless ways. You can even add a diamond or a stamped heart for an extra-special, personalized piece she'll never want to take off her wrist.


Missoma X Lucy Williams Coin Choker

Lucy Williams Legion Coin Choker, available at Missoma, $214

Plenty of gold coins make this classic choker effortlessly cool. Plus, she can layer it right on top of her favorite long necklace. 

Vrai & Oro Solitaire Diamond Necklace

Solitaire Round Diamond Necklace, available at Vrai & Oro, from $650

Like diamond earrings, a diamond necklace is a timeless addition to any woman's wardrobe. This singular diamond in a simple, minimalist setting is a beautiful piece that adds just enough sparkle to her everyday look. 


Edge of Ember Initial and Birthstone Necklace

Initial & Birthstone Necklace, available at Edge of Ember, $195

Combine her initial and birthstone on this gold chain for a personalized gift that's one of a kind. 

The Last Line Diamond Tennis Bracelet

Perfect Diamond Tennis Bracelet, available at The Last Line, $3,555

If you're looking for something really special to splurge on for your loved one this Valentine's Day, this tennis bracelet is a great choice. A 14-karat gold chain laden with diamonds makes for an elevated everyday look. 

Sydney Evan Martini Glass Studs

Sydney Evan Martini Glass Stud Earrings, available at Shopbop, $770

Light-hearted and quirky, these studs are the perfect pair for anyone who loves to have some fun with fashion. These little martini glasses are made out of 14-karat yellow gold studded with diamonds, and each one is topped off with an emerald olive. 

Check out even more of our Valentine's Day gift ideas

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