Shopping en-US How an Expensive Wardrobe Saves You Money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-an-expensive-wardrobe-saves-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="shoe shopping" title="shoe shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>No one wants to spend more than they have to. Still, the saying &quot;you get what you pay for&quot; is a truism. While you might ask &quot;why pay more?&quot; when it comes to clothes there are ways that having an expensive wardrobe can actually save you money in the long run.</p> <p>Here are some ways that spending a little more up front will help you to avoid costs on the back end or even increase your earning potential. (See also: <a href="">8 Cheap Ways to Update a Wardrobe You Hate</a>)</p> <h2>Shoes</h2> <p>When it comes to shoes, there are basically two ways they're going to save you money: buying quality dress shoes and quality sneakers.</p> <h3>Dress Shoes</h3> <p>Dress shoes are a serious &quot;you get what you pay for&quot; kind of thing. People thought I was nuts when I shelled out $800 for a pair of biker boots. They thought I was less nuts when I told them the boots have a lifetime guarantee and that I met a guy once who owned his for over 20 years. A lot of companies have similar guarantees, be they lifetime, 25 years or 10 years. Divide $800 by 20 years and $40 a year doesn't sound that bad.</p> <p>When buying shoes with a 20-plus year guarantee, keep in mind that fashions change over time. As such, you're going to want to buy something basic and versatile &mdash; something that will go with your wardrobe just as well in 10 years as it does today.</p> <h3>Sneakers</h3> <p>Quality sneakers will save you money by saving on hospital bills. A pair of ten dollar running shoes from Payless just aren't going to get the job done &mdash; no matter what &quot;the job&quot; is. Good sneakers last longer, work better for what they're designed to do, and keep your feet and legs better protected.</p> <p>The National Center for Biotechnical Information found that 60% of running-related injuries were due to poor training, with <a href="">the wrong footwear cited</a> as a major contributing factor. The NYU Lagone Medical Center found that <a href="">poor footwear contributed to such injuries</a> and ailments as bunions, hammer toes, blisters, corns, callouses, and even athlete's foot.</p> <p>If you're just using sneakers to walk around the block, this might not be as much of a concern; But if you're engaging in any physical activity, get yourself a pair of good sneakers.</p> <h2>Denim</h2> <p>I don't wear cheap denim and I urge you to do the same. Not only will one pair of $150 jeans last longer than five pairs of $30 jeans, they also look and fit better. High-end denim is a huge trend right now. But again, the upside of it is that you only have to have a couple of pairs. Honestly, anything more than three is sort of overkill.</p> <p>Remember: You shouldn't be washing your jeans. No less a source than the <a href="">CEO of Levi Strauss</a> says so. Buy them, wear them and <a href="">throw them in the freezer when they start to smell bad</a>. This works because it kills the bacteria that create smell. Maybe wash them every six months or a year or so, if you must. And <em>hang</em> them in your closet &mdash; don't fold them or throw them in a heap. (See also: <a href="">25+ Secrets to Keep Your Clothes Brighter, Whiter, and Lasting Longer</a>)</p> <h2>Suits</h2> <p>To be honest, I think &quot;expensive&quot; is the wrong word here. <a href="">You <em>can</em> get killer suits from the thrift store for cheap</a>. However, you need to meet a minimum bar of quality.</p> <h3>Quality Materials</h3> <p>The suit has to look nice from far away and close up, even if you only paid $100 for it. Inexpensive suits can look nice. &quot;Cheap&quot; suits cannot. Look for things like wear (especially on the knees and elbows) or &quot;pilling&quot; &mdash; those little balls that form on cheap materials.</p> <h3>Canvas</h3> <p>If your suit is glued together, it's not going to last as long as a half-canvas or a full-canvas suit. There are several ways to <a href="">tell if a suit is canvassed or fused</a>, including feeling for a third layer of fabric on the jacket torso, looking for stitching underneath the lapel or just asking the salesperson if there is one.</p> <h3>Fit</h3> <p>Even if you get a made-to-measure suit it's going to require some tailoring. A good fit means a better-looking you, which can result in a higher earning potential. Nothing makes you look more pro than a well-tailored suit when you head down to that job interview.</p> <h3>A Good Suit Is Easy to Find</h3> <p>Again, the issue here is not &quot;more equals more.&quot; It's an issue of meeting some minimum requirements &mdash; no matter what they cost. So where do you find suits?</p> <ul> <li><strong>Thrift Store</strong>: This is a bit risky, but you can also score some <em>killer</em> finds for next to nothing. Still, if you're especially concerned that you <em>won't </em>be able to tell what's acceptable, try the next option. <br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Suit Outlets</strong>: These have the advantage of a salesperson on site who can answer your questions like &quot;Is this a full-canvas or a half-canvas&quot; and &quot;Do these suits pill quickly?&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Made-to-Measure Online</strong>: One of the great things about the 21st Century is that you can get a MTM suit for <em>cheap</em> online. My personal favorites are <a href="">Indochino</a> based in Canada and LA's own <a href="">Thick As Thieves</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Your Local Tailor</strong>: Yes, you can still get a suit from the local tailor. This is probably the most expensive way of doing it, but if you have the money to throw around, why not?</li> </ul> <h2>Dry Cleaning</h2> <p>Here's something else I do that people think is nuts: I dry clean all of my clothes. Seriously. I never wash anything.</p> <p>First of all, it's not as expensive as you think. <a href="">A home dry-clean kit</a> can be got for pretty much nothing and that will get you through 2-3 &quot;washes&quot; before you have to bring the heavy hitters in.</p> <p>When you spend more money on clothes, you're going to want to maintain them. I liken dry cleaning my clothes to putting gas in my car: Sure, I put low-octane regular in my 2002 Chevy Cavalier. But when it comes to my 1968 El Camino, it's premium <em>only</em>.</p> <p>Maybe have some stuff around you don't need to dry clean. But the stuff you spend money on you should treat as an investment; The more you wash it, the faster it depreciates.</p> <h2>Socks</h2> <p>Dress socks? Save your money. But when it comes to athletic socks, or socks you're wearing out hiking or hunting or doing other outdoor activities. Not only are they going to keep your feet in better shape (drier and warmer) when you wear them, they're also going to last longer, which as you might have noticed is a recurring theme here.</p> <p><em>What part of your wardrobe do you splurge on?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="How an Expensive Wardrobe Saves You Money" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Nicholas Pell</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Lifestyle Shopping clothing expensive clothing men's clothing wardrobe Wed, 23 Jul 2014 15:00:03 +0000 Nicholas Pell 1165665 at The 7 Dumbest Big Purchases People Make <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-7-dumbest-big-purchases-people-make" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="couple tv shopping" title="couple tv shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Retail therapy is no myth. Psychologists have found that there's a real science behind the burst of joy we feel when we <a href="">treat ourselves with a big, exciting purchase</a> &mdash; no matter how impractical it may be.</p> <p>Unfortunately, buyer's remorse also exists. Once the newness wears off, our prized purchase sometimes <a href="">becomes just another thing</a> in the pile of stuff that occupies so much of the space in our lives. We begin to compare it to other things like it that we don't have. A faster sports car. A bigger jacuzzi. The latest cell phone upgrade. And just like that our big buy loses its luster.</p> <p>Some items are prone to invoke buyer's remorse. Typically these items are just downright absurd, yet we've convinced ourselves that they're an important, practical, or smart purchase anyway. Thanks to the mistakes of thousands of consumers before us, we've been able to identify a few of them for you. (See also: <a href="">What Is Your Financial Kryptonite and How to Conquer It</a>)</p> <p>Read on for our list of the top seven purchases that are sure to leave you wallowing in your own tears of regret.</p> <h2>1. 3D TVs</h2> <p>The majority of <a href="">3D television owners regret their purchase</a>. It's not that the technology isn't cool. The leading complaint is that there just isn't enough 3D content to make ownership of one of these futuristic devices worthwhile.</p> <p>More than half the 50 movie titles offered in 3D in 2011 were kids' flicks, while <a href="!beO9si">most blockbuster movie titles opted out</a> of the 3D format altogether. When you're coughing up between $2,000 and $12,000 for the TV plus another couple hundred bucks a pop for the glasses, that's sort of a deal breaker.</p> <p>That leads us to another popular complaint: It can be a major annoyance to wear the glasses that make the third dimension pop. Sort of like wearing your sun shades in the house.</p> <h2>2. Whirlpool Tub</h2> <p>It's a vision of romance: Flower petals, candle light, a bottle of wine &mdash; and then you turn the thing on. Who wants to canoodle with that grumbling sound? Yeah, it's a vision alright.</p> <p>Jacuzzi-style whirlpool tubs can be a real mood killer. Not only are they noisy, they're time consuming to fill with water and prone to completely draining the hot water tank. Plus they're expensive to operate, not to mention expensive to buy and install.</p> <p>Bottom line: Most people don't use them enough to outweigh the negatives.</p> <h2>3. A College Education (No, Really&hellip;.)</h2> <p>Okay, so most people would say a college degree is a smart investment &mdash; but it can certainly be regrettable. A third of millennials say they would have been <a href="">better off working than going to college</a>, according to a Wells Fargo study. The reason? They're drowning in debt.</p> <p>More than half the 1,414 college grads surveyed by Wells Fargo said they afforded their education by taking out hefty student loans that have become the crux of their financial distress. Many said they think they'd have been better off with a less expensive, public education than a much more costly degree from a top-tier school.</p> <p>If given $10,000, more than half of those surveyed said the first thing they would use the money for is to pay off student loans or credit card debt.</p> <h2>4. A Timeshare</h2> <p>The cost of owning a timeshare extends well beyond the mortgage. Annual maintenance fees, property taxes, and special assessments are piled on top &mdash; and they can be quite expensive.</p> <p>Another major gripe among timeshare owners is that it's not always easy to schedule their allotted time at the unit. In fact, it can be downright maddening. Some timeshare contracts have so <a href="">severely misstated the ease in scheduling</a> that several states have passed laws to punish these misrepresentations.</p> <p>Timeshares are also difficult to unload. Few people are interested in purchasing a timeshare in the aftermarket, meaning you're very likely to lose money even if you do find a buyer.</p> <h2>5. A Car They Didn't Research</h2> <p>Nearly a third of all <a href="">motorists regret their most recent car purchase</a>, a consumer watchdog report found. Among the top triggers of dissatisfaction: The car is faulty, it costs more to run than they anticipated, or they simply didn't do enough research.</p> <p>A car is one of the most expensive purchases many of us will ever make. So before pulling the trigger on a flashy sport convertible or a clunker with the little engine that could, experts say it's important to weigh all your options and do your homework.</p> <p>Here are a couple good online resources to get you started: <a href="">Edmund's Guide for First-Time New Car Buyers</a> and <a href="">Popular Mechanic's How to Buy a Used Car Without Getting Burned</a>.</p> <h2>6. High-End Designer Bags, Clothes, and Shoes</h2> <p>Speaking of cars, a Gucci handbag can cost more than the down payment on your vehicle. Ditto that for many designer scarves, furs, and dresses. What you're really paying for is an air of luxury and exclusivity.</p> <p>Many of the clothes and accessories we find to be swoon-worthy at the store, high-end and otherwise, end up spending nearly their entire existence in storage. That's because the average person wears only about <a href="">20% of the clothes in their closet</a>, according to retail specialists.</p> <p>Among the top reasons our garments go unworn? The items no longer seem as unique or important as when first purchased, or we realize it was an impulse buy rather than a smart, practical purchase.</p> <h2>7. A $5,000 Watch</h2> <p>So you got a big promotion at work. Why not reward yourself with a Rolex? You earned it. Plus, what's more practical than a classic timepiece?</p> <p>Ted Jenkins, who co-operates a financial advisory firm focused on generations X and Y, speaks from experience when he says: &quot;Don't do it!&quot;</p> <p>&quot;<a href="">The dumbest purchase I ever made was spending $5,000 on a watch</a>,&quot; Jenkins wrote on his financial literacy blog. &quot;I wore two watches over the course of a year, one that cost $5,000 and one that cost $79. The $5,000 watch was a Panerai and the $79 was a Diesel&hellip; During that year, my compliment ratio was four to one in favor of the $79 Diesel watch. I never really cared that much about brand names and it taught me that nobody else really does as well. Now I don't even wear a watch because my phone can tell time.&quot;</p> <p><em>Have you ever made a big dumb purchase? Please share your experience in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The 7 Dumbest Big Purchases People Make" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Brittany Lyte</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Consumer Affairs Lifestyle Shopping big purchases buying expensive luxuries shopping Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:00:05 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1165663 at The 5 Best Solar Chargers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-solar-chargers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="solar charger" title="solar charger" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="138" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In our current age of constant connectedness through our myriad mobile devices, having our battery run out in the middle of the day can be a minor nuisance to a potentially dangerous predicament. Carrying a portable solar charger with you can help you avoid this situation, and with solar technology becoming more and more cost effective, getting a high quality solar charger is now more affordable than ever. Here are Wise Bread's picks for the top five solar chargers.</p> <h2>What Is a Solar Charger?</h2> <p>A solar charger is a portable energy supply that can charge electronic devices through the use of solar energy. While older solar chargers have received criticism for being highly inefficient, more recent models have improved solar panel performance and are capable of charging at higher speeds. Most common uses of solar chargers are to directly charge a device, store energy in a power bank that can be discharged later and also often include secondary features such as a flashlight.</p> <h2>Best 5 Solar Chargers</h2> <h3>JOOS Orange Portable Solar Charger</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005NK7ZAA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=IVIQLQ3QJRYG2YOU"><img width="180" height="180" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>The durable and high-performing <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005NK7ZAA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=IVIQLQ3QJRYG2YOU">JOOS Orange solar charger</a> is one of the top contenders in the solar chargers market. This charger is built to withstand tough conditions, and is completely waterproof. The JOOS Orange is also able to charge all sorts of personal electronic items, and its high efficiency promises 2 hours of talk time after an hour of sun exposure, and is able to capture energy even in the shade.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005NK7ZAA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=IVIQLQ3QJRYG2YOU"><em>Currently $149.00 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Poweradd Apollo 7200 mAh Solar Panel Portable Charger</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00FXWGRHU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=HGM4C6RMWUTOPOK7"><img width="180" height="180" align="right" alt="" src="" /></a>Highly reviewed by hundreds of users on Amazon, the <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00FXWGRHU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=HGM4C6RMWUTOPOK7">Poweradd Apollo solar charger</a> is a great affordable option for those that are looking for a functional solar charger. The 7200 mAh battery is capable of charging an iPhone to 100% three times over, and can charge up to two devices at once. This Poweradd charger also comes with a number of charging tips, so it can power a number of different electronic devices.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00FXWGRHU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=HGM4C6RMWUTOPOK7"><em>Currently $45.99 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Powertraveller Powermonkey Extreme Solar Charger</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00A3X3B5U&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=SIBXIZOYV4PIFDNA"><img width="180" height="207" align="right" alt="" src="" /></a>The <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00A3X3B5U&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=SIBXIZOYV4PIFDNA">Powertraveller Powermonkey Extreme</a> is a great traveling companion for on-the-go energy. This solar charger is not only waterproof, but it's also capable of being completely submerged to depths of three feet for 30 minutes. Its 9000 mAh battery capacity can completely charge a smartphone four or five times over, ensuring that you'll never run out of power. The selection of charging tips included in the package means you can also charge a variety of different electronic devices as well.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00A3X3B5U&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=SIBXIZOYV4PIFDNA"><em>Currently $179.99 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Solio Classic2 Battery Pack and Solar Charger</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B007S3KXDQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=O3MUTOHDLFCH27QT"><img width="180" height="180" align="right" alt="" src="" /></a>Small and compact, the <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B007S3KXDQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=O3MUTOHDLFCH27QT">Solio Classic2</a> is a favorite for its very portable nature. The Classic2 fans out to reveal three small solar panels that is perfect for powering mobile devices. Users report that it takes about a day in the sun to fully charge its battery pack, but once it's full, it's capable of fully charging a smartphone in about an hour. The battery pack on a full charge is also able to fully charge a smartphone up to three times.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B007S3KXDQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=O3MUTOHDLFCH27QT"><em>Currently $99.99 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Anker 14W Foldable Outdoor Solar Charger</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00E3OL5U8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=BDERGPW3NL5X2SSS"><img width="180" height="105" align="right" alt="" src="" /></a>The <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00E3OL5U8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=BDERGPW3NL5X2SSS">Anker 14W Foldable Outdoor solar charger</a> is a highly efficient charger for your electronic devices. Unlike other chargers listed here, the Anker charger does not feature a battery pack, and is used strictly for charging the battery on your devices. The monocrystalline panels ensure that you're getting capturing solar energy at the most efficient rate possible, while the PowerQTM technology intelligently identifies the device connected to it, for the fastest delivery possible.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00E3OL5U8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=BDERGPW3NL5X2SSS"><em>Currently $69.99 on Amazon</em></a></p> <p>And those are our recommendations for the best solar chargers. As always, be sure to check out the <a href="">Wise Bread Buying Calendar</a> to learn when and how to buy just about anything!</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The 5 Best Solar Chargers" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Jeffrey Pu</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping buying guide product reviews solar chargers Wed, 23 Jul 2014 09:00:08 +0000 Jeffrey Pu 1153762 at The 5 Best Photo Printers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-photo-printers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="printing photos" title="printing photos" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With the availability of online printing services and in-store photo kiosks, getting photo prints has never been easier. But if you want to get copies of your favorite photos whenever you want without having to leave your home, nothing beats owning a good photo printer. Not only are photo printers incredibly convenient, they can give you total control on how you want your printed photos to look like.</p> <p>Given the wide variety of photo printers available, searching for the best one can be quite the difficult task. Fortunately, Wise Bread is here to help simplify your search with our top 5 list of the best photo printers.</p> <h2>What Is a Photo Printer?</h2> <p>A photo printer is an inkjet printing machine that's optimized to publish high-quality digital photos and color projects with specialized color ink cartridges. Photo printers come in a wide range of sizes, from ultra-portable models to large professional versions. While most photo printers can produce 4-by-6-inch prints, there are some options available that are capable of making prints up to 8-by-10-inch in size as well as prints for CD/DVD covers.</p> <p>Although photo printers require a direct USB connection to your computer to make prints, they can print photos straight from a camera's memory card as well. There are even wireless photo printers available which allow you to print wirelessly from a computing device using a Wi-Fi connection. The most important factors to consider when buying photo printers are color quality, features, and ease of use.</p> <h2>Best 5 Photo Printers</h2> <h3>Epson Picturemate Charm</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002R0DWYM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=GMMWQDFAUL4XT72S"><img width="200" height="195" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>Both a Consumer Search and Consumer Reports top pick, the <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002R0DWYM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=GMMWQDFAUL4XT72S">Epson Picturemate Charm</a> is an excellent option for a photo printer that's small in size and big on quality and features. With the ability to reproduce up to 77% of a photo's original color gamut as well as a blazing fast printing speed of 34 seconds per print, users absolutely love the Charm's exceptional printing performance and color quality, with some saying it gives professional-grade photo printers a run for their money.</p> <p>It's incredibly compact design comes with a nice carrying handle for easy transport along with a 2.5&quot; LCD screen that lets you easily touch up your photos right on the machine before they print. Although replacement units can cost quite a bit, the Charm is still less expensive than most of its competitors overall.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002R0DWYM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=GMMWQDFAUL4XT72S"><em>Currently $167.62 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Epson Picturemate Show</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002P7H1MQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidewid-20&amp;linkId=XIC2NRMVM4UCDSCA"><img width="200" height="185" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>Another Consumer Reports top pick, the <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002P7H1MQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidewid-20&amp;linkId=XIC2NRMVM4UCDSCA">Epson Picturemate Show</a> is another fantastic option for a photo printer that essentially gives you your own personal on-the-go photo lab. The first thing you'll notice on the Show is its gorgeous 7.1&quot; high-resolution, widescreen display. Not only does it give you the freedom to edit and refine your photos with great precision before they print, it can also serve as a digital picture frame that can play slideshows of photos that you've saved on the printer's internal memory, and it even provides you with a wide variety of slideshow styles to choose from.</p> <p>This incredible feature comes in addition to the marvelous printing quality and speed that the Picturemate line of printers has been widely praised for. The Show is also optimally designed to easily go wherever you go, thanks to its lightweight body and a convenient carrying handle.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002P7H1MQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidewid-20&amp;linkId=XIC2NRMVM4UCDSCA"><em>Currently $256.90 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Epson Stylus Photo R2000</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00507NEBA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=ME3VNDTW6YWST5UL"><img width="200" height="133" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>For the serious artists and photo professionals, the <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00507NEBA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=ME3VNDTW6YWST5UL">Epson Stylus Photo R2000</a> is an outstanding wireless photo printer that delivers an uncompromising performance and a multitude of advanced features. Unlike most photo printers, this Consumer Search top pick utilizes seven individual large ink cartridges, each one filled with Epson's own top-of-the-line pigment ink, to produce high-quality color prints that are amazingly vibrant and long lasting.</p> <p>Having individual ink cartridges also allows you to just change the colors you need, which can save you quite a bit on replacement costs. The R2000 is also capable of printing on virtually any media you want, from papers up to 13-by-19-inches in size to CD/DVD covers to canvases. In addition, a built-in wireless card allows a whole network of computers to easily connect to this printer via Wi-Fi.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00507NEBA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=ME3VNDTW6YWST5UL"><em>Currently $697.50 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Canon PIXMA MX922
</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00AVWKUJS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=M63LJY2FC2WUZXGJ"><img width="200" height="167" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>With a 4-star Amazon rating averaged from over 1,000 reviews, the <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00AVWKUJS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=M63LJY2FC2WUZXGJ">Canon PIXMA MX922</a> is another terrific wireless photo printer that also provides the incredible functionality of an all-in-one printing machine. Beyond its wonderful ability to print photos with astoundingly rich quality and detail, the MX922 allows you to scan, copy, and fax your photos and paper materials as well. It also comes with a built-in auto duplex printing function that lets you print on both sides of a paper sheet simultaneously as well as a auto duplex document feeder that lets you load up to 35 pages at a time into the printer.</p> <p>A 3-inch LCD screen gives you easy control of the printer's editing and export functions. Many users also love the many options that the MX922 offers for wireless connectivity, which include printing via Wi-Fi, online cloud storage, or straight from your mobile device.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00AVWKUJS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=M63LJY2FC2WUZXGJ"><em>Currently $113.95 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Canon Selphy CP900</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B008FYGKES&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=2SF76AU2VNJW73CY"><img width="200" height="191" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>The <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B008FYGKES&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=2SF76AU2VNJW73CY">Canon Selphy CP900</a> offers a very affordable option for photo printer that delivers a solid printing performance along with a nice suite of handy features. The CP900 utilizes an exclusive dye-sublimation process that gives it the capability to reproduce about 16.8 million colors, which makes for some truly high-quality color photos. In addition, the printer applies a clear protective coating on each print, providing them with long-lasting protection from light and water damage. It also comes with a 2.5&quot; tilting LCD screen that lets you examine your photos closely before they print.</p> <p>At only two pounds in total weight, the CP900 is especially ideal for traveling, and you can purchase an optional rechargeable battery pack to truly turn it into a portable printing machine. Last but not least, the CP900 is Wi-Fi compatible, allowing you to wirelessly send images straight from your computer, smartphone, or tablet to print.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B008FYGKES&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=2SF76AU2VNJW73CY"><em>Currently $84.99 on Amazon</em></a></p> <p>And those are our recommendations for the best photo printers. As always, be sure to check out the <a href="">Wise Bread Buying Calendar</a> to learn when and how to buy just about anything!</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The 5 Best Photo Printers" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">William Tran</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping Buying Guides buying guide photo printers product reviews Tue, 22 Jul 2014 09:00:05 +0000 William Tran 1157279 at Zooey Deschanel Never Pays Late Fees and 5 Other Smart Money Lessons From Celebrities <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/zooey-deschanel-never-pays-late-fees-and-5-other-smart-money-lessons-from-celebrities" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="celebrity" title="celebrity" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="149" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you're Angelina Jolie and have Brad Pitt by your side, you can make anything look good.</p> <p>That's why Angelina spent a measly <a href="">$26 on a velvet dress</a> at a thrift shop for a major movie premiere. She is a good example of taking charge of your finances: while raking in the big bucks as the face of an American fashion brand, St John, she saved by dropping tags at the thrift shop. (See also: <a href="">The Surprisingly Frugal Lifestyles of 12 Famous Superheroes</a>)</p> <p>So crank up the <a href="">Macklemore and Ryan Lewis</a>, and let's learn some smart money lessons from six of our favorite celebrities.</p> <h2>1. Winona Ryder</h2> <p>If you think that a $26 dress is cheap, wait until you hear the price range for Winona Ryder. The star of <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001AGXEAG&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=FLFWNXVKPPYV7D2I">Beetlejuice</a> and <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0679746048&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=46SHNOYWOSWNENCO">Girl, Interrupted</a> confesses to wearing <a href="">$10 dresses to star-studded ceremonies</a>. But that's not at all. In an <a href="">interview with Red Magazine</a> she admits that she wore the same dress from a 2005 film premiere to Sean Penn's Haiti gala in 2014. Winona wears a dress until it falls apart.</p> <p><strong>Smart Money Lesson</strong>: In her own words, &quot;I know that's kind of a no-no in the fashion world, but why wear something just once if you love it?&quot; Don't become a fashion victim and avoid buying new clothes every single season.</p> <h2>2. Zooey Deschanel</h2> <p>If you're making $9 million annually (including a cool $95,000 to $125,000 per episode of New Girl), you'd expect to get an invitation from the ultra exclusive American Express Centurion Card, aka &quot;The Black Card.&quot; Well, not Zooey Deschanel. In <a href="">court papers</a> from her 2012 divorce with Death Cab for Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard, the actress/musician revealed that she has three credit cards and all with zero balance. Even more, two of her cards have a maximum credit line of $2,000 and one just $1,000. With a monthly budget of $500 for dining out, Zooey must be paying all meals with cash.</p> <p><strong>Smart Money Lesson</strong>: Have a credit card for emergency uses only. If you have to use it, pay the balance in full every month.</p> <h2>3. Tobey Maguire</h2> <p>Not just the ladies are frugal. For example, take the original Mr. Spiderman. While Tobey Maguire is estimated to have a <a href="">net worth of $75 million</a>, he is just comfortable wearing jeans and T-shirts. Google for non-gala pictures of him and all you will see are clothes that your neighbor down the street would wear. Tobey got his frugal mentality from his rough childhood. The star of The Great Gatsby confesses that <a href="">his family lived on food stamps</a>, used government medical insurance, and even had to wander into shelters every now and then. This explains why he is so structured in his spending and doesn't spend in frivolities.</p> <p><strong>Smart Money Lesson</strong>: Don't live beyond your means. Tobey explains his <a href=";pg=PA250&amp;lpg=PA250&amp;dq=%22I+just+never+wanted+to+put+myself+in+the+position+where+my+spending+was+so+huge+that+I+had+to+keep+making+movie+after+movie%22&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=HWr-vAUsYW&amp;sig=J59lc0Tz8ZHdJAissTU427Jh4qQ&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=U2K_U_CNG8K9oQSlxIGICA&amp;ved=0CCYQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&amp;q=%22I%20just%20never%20wanted%20to%20put%20myself%20in%20the%20position%20where%20my%20spending%20was%20so%20huge%20that%20I%20had%20to%20keep%20making%20movie%20after%20movie%22&amp;f=false">frugal philosophy</a>: &quot;I just never wanted to put myself in the position where my spending was so huge that I had to keep making movie after movie.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Mindy Kaling</h2> <p>The super funny comedienne is a great example of how to tame shopping addiction. Like plenty of people, Mindy loves to shop 'til she drops. She confesses to have even memorized her credit card number so that she can shop online anytime, anywhere up to three times a week. However, she keeps herself in check by forcing herself to return about <a href="">75% of what she buys</a>. Also, she is a big believer in sharing clothes with her girlfriends. In her book, <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0307886271&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=MLEV3BOM4LWXYLDP">Is Everyone Hanging Without with Me?</a>, she insists that best friends can borrow from each other anything in their closet, no matter how fancy. (See also: <a href="">Refresh Your Wardrobe for $25 or Less</a>)</p> <p><strong>Smart Money Lesson</strong>: If you have a shopping habit, kick it by returning clothes as much as possible and sharing cool clothes with your friends.</p> <h2>5. Kristen Bell</h2> <p>If somebody has the highest probability of leaving Hollywood and becoming the next host of <a href="">Extreme Couponing</a>, that has got to be actress Kristen Bell. On an <a href="">interview with Conan O'Brien</a>, she reveals: &quot;I shop almost exclusively with coupons&quot;. Like most of us, Kristen is a major fan of big box retailers, especially Bed Bath &amp; Beyond and is a major fan of its 20% discount coupon. Just the thought of saving $80 on a purchase puts Kristen in an ecstatic mood!</p> <p><strong>Smart Money Lesson</strong>: Whenever you need to shop, first look for coupons to maximize your savings.</p> <h2>6. Vincent Kartheiser</h2> <p>Another famous male celebrity is mindful of living on a budget is Vincent Kartheiser. Even though he plays an upper class slick ad salesman in <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000YABIQ6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=QIEST5HAVBXCYZGI">Mad Men</a>, Vincent is one of the 10% of Angelenos that relies only on public transportation. Yup, this big time actor doesn't own a car. He believes using <a href="">public transportation is wonderful</a>. &quot;Instead of driving and being stressed out about traffic, you can work your scene, you can do your exercises or whatever on the bus. Everyone's got their own deal.&quot; Vincent is not alone: the <a href="">average American household now owns fewer cars</a>, returning to the levels of the early 1990s.</p> <p><strong>Smart Money Lesson</strong>: Consider consolidating into a single car and increasing your use of public transportation. You'll save on gas, create an opportunity to relax, and reduce your carbon footprint.</p> <p><em>Any thrifty celebrities I've missed? Please share in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Zooey Deschanel Never Pays Late Fees and 5 Other Smart Money Lessons From Celebrities" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Damian Davila</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting Shopping famous thrifty people frugal celebrities money lessons Mon, 21 Jul 2014 11:00:03 +0000 Damian Davila 1161549 at Convert Your Crap Into Cash Without a Garage Sale <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/convert-your-crap-into-cash-without-a-garage-sale" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="girl clothes" title="girl clothes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="151" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all have extra stuff lying around that we'd love to pawn off for cash &mdash; in theory. But let's face it. Organizing a garage sale can be sort of like planning a dinner party without the payoff of good friends, good conversation, and a couple of refreshing gin and tonics. All that sorting and polishing and sticker-tagging and sign-making &mdash; not to mention the time you'll spend trying to shoo the neighbor who wants to take home your kid's $500 barely used air hockey table for 20 bucks &mdash; and you might not even earn enough to cover your expenses for that bottle of upholstery cleaner. (See also: <a href="">Have Your Best Yard Sale Ever</a>)</p> <p>Fortunately, it's true what they say: One man's trash is another man's treasure. The trick to making this maxim work for you is finding the right platform that will put your well-cared-for Coach purse before the eyes of fashionistas who deeply value the absence of scratch marks on the leather strap.</p> <p>The Internet is a brilliant resource for reaching your best-bet buyers. So is your flesh-and-blood network of family and friends. Here's our guide to getting the biggest bang for your leftovers and unwanteds using the basics of target marketing. It's all about finding your niche.</p> <h2>1. Clothing</h2> <p>The founder of <a href="">ThreadFlip</a> launched the up-and-coming online marketplace for second-hand garments and accessories two years ago after taking a peek at his wife's cluttered closet. What struck him was that most of the overflow was comprised of perfectly fashionable, cared-for pieces that she never even wears. When he asked his wife and other women why they hold on to clothing they know they'll never put on, they gave him the same answer: &quot;<a href=";_type=blogs&amp;_r=0">It's too hard to do anything else with them</a>.</p> <p>Sites like eBay and Etsy work great, too, but ThreadFlip offers the added benefit of a niche audience. This is fashionistas selling to other fashionistas, so you're bound to rake in more cash for those peach-colored stilettos than if you were to try and hawk them on a generalized resale site. (Another excellent option for pre-owned luxury clothing and accessories is <a href="">Portero</a>).</p> <p>When you sell on ThreadFlip, the site helps you lure in buyers by marketing your items with high resolution photos. (If you're clumsy with a camera, you can fork over a higher percentage of your earnings and the company will handle the photography for you.) Once you hook a buyer, an empty box arrives at your doorstep. Simply fill it with the items you've sold and call for a pickup. ThreadFlip will ship the box directly to the buyer, and for this the site takes a 20% cut of the sale.</p> <h2>2. Furniture</h2> <p>It's not easy &mdash; nor cheap nor in any way desirable &mdash; to sell a couch by mail. Sites that facilitate resale transactions with buyers right in your local community are your best bet for larger items, like furniture, swing sets, and pinball machines, that are too cumbersome for the postal service.</p> <p>While Craigslist is well-known, <a href="">Krrb</a> (pronounced &quot;curb&quot;) is a newer hyperlocal classifieds platform that's on the rise in popularity. The 75,000-member online consignment boutique caters to the bargain hunter with sophisticated taste. High-end furniture pieces go for anywhere <a href="">between $800 and $10,000</a> depending on condition and style. Recent listings include a Victorian aquarium, 19th century furnishings, and a vintage mahogany sideboard. There's also <a href="">a pair of taxidermy goats</a> that's going for $1,500.</p> <p>In most cases, the buyers on sites like Craigslist and Krrb are willing to come to you. And it's on them to hire a truck to transport the antique bed and night stands. All you have to do is hold out your hand. Ahh, how good it feels to have a fistful of cold, hard cash.</p> <h2>3. Electronics</h2> <p>Here's the good news: Amazon will buy your old electronics in exchange for money to spend on Amazon. And considering the breadth and depth of the Amazon marketplace, credit for this online shopping site is nearly as good as cash.</p> <p>It works like this: Check the <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;node=2226766011&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=WVMW4DSEZF3VHV4Y">trade-in page</a> to see if your old cell phone or video game console is eligible for the gift-card program. (Books are also applicable.) Then package up your gadgets and send them off to Amazon. The company will even pay for the shipping. Once the company receives the items, your Amazon account will be credited in about two business days.</p> <p>Amazon doesn't have a monopoly on the electronics trade-in industry, although its service in this department is streamlined and immensely easy. Still, there are other options to explore. <a href="">Nextworth</a> and <a href=";u=255320&amp;m=45652&amp;urllink=&amp;afftrack=">Gazelle</a> offer similar trade-in programs with an added benefit: They'll actually send you a check for your outdated iPad. On the downside, Nextworth can often take upwards of 10 days to reimburse you while Gazelle tends to lowball its offering price.</p> <h2>4. Valuables That Aren't Selling Online</h2> <p>There are certain items you won't want to part with unless you're getting what they're worth. Diamond earrings. The teak end-table. Those leather boots you bought on your honeymoon in Italy. You know they are high-value items, even if the bid amounts on your eBay auction suggest otherwise.</p> <p>Chances are that at least some of your friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors share in your taste and would love to go on a shopping spree at your house. So why not let them? Simply price the items you want to sell and invite a group of people over to browse.</p> <p>Or, take a hint from the minimalist, world-traveling duo Warren and Betsy Talbot and host a <a href="">Reverse Birthday Party</a>. The next time your birthday comes around, examine the stuff in your house and stick price tags on all those beautiful, loved items that you could only bear to part with for a fair price. Then invite over the friends and family members you know will appreciate just as you do that antique farmhouse spinning wheel or the cutesy Christmas china set and let 'em loose. In lieu of gifts, your guests will be doing you a favor by spending that gift money &mdash; and then some, if all goes to plan &mdash; on all that exquisite stuff you need to part with in order to declutter your life.</p> <p>Take whatever's left over to a brick-and-mortar consignment shop.</p> <p><em>How have you turned your old stuff into cash without bothering with a yard sale? Please share your secrets in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Convert Your Crap Into Cash Without a Garage Sale" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Brittany Lyte</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Consumer Affairs Lifestyle Shopping consignment declutter garage sale selling used yard sale Thu, 17 Jul 2014 15:00:05 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1160270 at The 5 Best Bluetooth Earphones <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-bluetooth-earphones" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="earphones" title="earphones" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="134" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you're commuting to work, working out at the gym, or just looking to relax, nothing passes the time better than listening to your favorite tunes on a good pair of earphones. Investing in a pair of Bluetooth earphones can improve on that experience even further since they eliminate the one annoyance that keeps holding you back from complete auditory bliss: wires.</p> <p>They can give you the freedom to comfortably listen to your music while being active without worrying about a cord suddenly getting caught and ruining your groove. Wise Bread is here to show you the best Bluetooth earphones worth your money with our top 5 list.</p> <h2>What Are Bluetooth Earphones?</h2> <p>Bluetooth earphones, also known as wireless earbuds, are small electronic speakers worn on the inside of your ear that wirelessly connect to another electronic device, usually smartphones or digital music players, using the Bluetooth radio frequency in order to listen to audio media from that device. Most sets of Bluetooth earphones also come with a built-in microphone that lets you take phone calls from the headset.</p> <p>The most important factors to consider when buying Bluetooth earphones are audio quality, design, and comfort. While Bluetooth earphones generally can't beat the audio quality of non-wireless models, the gap in quality has become significantly smaller with the newest models of Bluetooth earphones to the point where only audiophiles will notice a distinct difference.</p> <h2>Best 5 Bluetooth Earphones
</h2> <h3>Jaybird Bluebuds X</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00AIRUOI8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=TMKUKEDM6E43QX5F"><img width="180" height="302" align="right" alt="" src="" /></a>Despite their premium cost, the <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00AIRUOI8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=TMKUKEDM6E43QX5F">Jaybird Bluebuds X</a> Bluetooth earphones are an outstanding option that will satisfy both vigorous athletes and active audiophiles. Many users have praised the Bluebuds X for delivering incredible audio quality that's skip-free and static-free and sounds just as good as wired headphones.</p> <p>Named the official training headphones of the USA Triathlon, these earphones are optimized to complement your active lifestyle with their exclusive X-Fit design, which allows you to lift the cord between the earbuds off your neck during workouts for better comfort, along with unique ear cushions that hold the buds securely in your ear. They're also extremely sweat repellent and even come with a sweat-proof guarantee. A long 8-hour battery life and a convenient voice control function round out the Bluebuds X's amazing feature set.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00AIRUOI8&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=TMKUKEDM6E43QX5F"><em>Currently $139.44 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Motorola S11-Flex HD
</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B009M27MB2&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=NQRFO3GUDFUSYG7N"><img width="180" height="126" align="right" alt="" src="" /></a>The <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B009M27MB2&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=NQRFO3GUDFUSYG7N">Motorola S11-Flex HD</a> Bluetooth earphones provide another great choice for active individuals who want a comfortable headset that can keep up with their on-the-go lifestyle. The S11-Flex HD earphones stand out from the rest of the competition with their flexible, sweat-proof headband design, which comes with easy-to-use one-touch controls and an assortment of adjustment options on both the innerband and ear stems that lets you find the most ideal fit.</p> <p>Not only do these earphones feel great, they sound great as well, delivering high-quality audio whether you're listening to music or taking a call. You can even be 150 feet away from your media device and still remain connected with superb sound quality They are also capable of some remarkably fast charge times, giving you an hour runtime on just a five-minute charge and up to seven hours of battery life on a full charge.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B009M27MB2&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=NQRFO3GUDFUSYG7N"><em>Currently $69.99 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Phiaton PS 210</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0089V4ZGM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=YFDJPNUBTBPSNGTA"><img width="180" height="219" align="right" alt="" src="" /></a>The <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0089V4ZGM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=YFDJPNUBTBPSNGTA">Phiaton PS 210</a> Bluetooth earphones offer an excellent choice for commuters and travelers by combining great acoustics with a sleek look and built-in noise-cancelling technology. The PS 210 earphones utilize an exclusive half in-ear design to help deliver a sublime audio performance. In addition, these earphones do a great job of cancelling out ambient background noise with its Noise Blocker feature, letting you enjoy your music and calls in peace.</p> <p>Its built-in microphone also has noise reduction technology so that your calls are heard clearly as well. A small inline remote clip ensures that the earphones&rsquo; controls are always within reach. Not only do these earphones offer up to a staggering 14 hours of use per charge, you can continuing listening with them even after the battery runs out by plugging them directly into your media device.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0089V4ZGM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=YFDJPNUBTBPSNGTA"><em>Currently $129.00 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Plantronics BackBeat Go 2</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00DIOALPE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=K36REE7DLD36XXO4"><img width="180" height="243" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>The <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00DIOALPE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=K36REE7DLD36XXO4">Plantronics BackBeat Go 2</a> Bluetooth earphones deliver high-end features and sound quality without the expensive price tag. These earbuds definitely don't disappoint in the audio department, providing crisp, clear sound that impresses on all fronts. The BackBeat Go 2's simple, compact design is one of the smallest and lightest available, and yet they still manage to be surprisingly durable and moisture-proof, which make them great for outdoor use.</p> <p>While these earphones offer a decent battery life of 5 hours per charge, you can purchase an optional charging case that can extend their runtime to up to 15 hours. They also come with a special DeepSleep hibernation mode that keeps the earphones charged for up six months of inactivity, and you can monitor their battery life through a downloadable app on your smartphone or tablet.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00DIOALPE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=K36REE7DLD36XXO4"><em>Currently $65.98 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>LG Tone+
</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B009A5204K&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=QALARNL6UAP7HDFJ"><img width="180" height="156" align="right" alt="" src="" /></a>With a 4&frac12;-star Amazon rating averaged from over 4,000 customer reviews, the <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B009A5204K&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=QALARNL6UAP7HDFJ">LG Tone+</a> Bluetooth earphones have made many users happy by offering an affordable headset that's packed with quality features. Owners have commended this Amazon Best Seller often for its marvelous sound quality that's especially proficient in bass and definition. Users also enjoy the memory-flex neckband which allows you to wear these earphones comfortably throughout the day, and it keeps the music and phone call controls always within reach as well.</p> <p>The Tone+ earphones also offer a sufficiently long battery life of up to 15 hours per charge. Additionally, a unique multi-connection feature lets you connect the earphones to two media devices simultaneously, and the earphones can notify you with a voice or vibration notification when there's an incoming call or when the device is low on battery.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B009A5204K&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=QALARNL6UAP7HDFJ"><em>Currently $48.49 on Amazon</em></a></p> <p>And those are our recommendations for the best Bluetooth earphones. As always, be sure to check out the <a href="">Wise Bread Buying Calendar</a> to learn when and how to buy just about anything!</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The 5 Best Bluetooth Earphones" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">William Tran</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping bluetooth earphones buying guide product reviews Thu, 17 Jul 2014 09:00:07 +0000 William Tran 1149041 at The 5 Best Smartwatches <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-smartwatches-0" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="smartwatch" title="smartwatch" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="147" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Smartwatches are quickly developing into one of the top new trends of smart gadgets to hit the tech world. Designed to work with the current smartphones, smartwatches allow you to see any incoming call, text, or email received on your phone right on the watch, and that&rsquo;s just one of their many possible functions. Although the smartwatch market is still quite young, Wise Bread is here to give you the 411 on which ones you should consider getting now with our top 5 list.</p> <h2>What Is a Smartwatch?</h2> <p>A smartwatch is essentially a computerized wristwatch that can, beyond just telling you the time, run a number of small computer applications as well as wirelessly connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth to keep you updated with incoming notifications without the need to look at your phone directly. Smartwatches were created to complement and expand your smartphone's functionality rather than be used as standalone gadgets. The main factors to consider when choosing a smartwatch are design, features, and ease of use. It is also important to make sure that your smartwatch of choice is compatible with your smartphone's software.</p> <h2>Best 5 Smartwatches
</h2> <h3>Pebble Smartwatch
</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00BKEQBI0&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=IZSMW4YQY4MUDV7M"><img width="180" height="231" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>If you've heard anything about smartwatches at all, then you most certainly should've heard about the <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00BKEQBI0&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=IZSMW4YQY4MUDV7M">Pebble Smartwatch</a>, which has become a very popular choice that's been well-praised for its customization options and its wonderful app collection. This lightweight, water-resistant watch is the only one of its kind to have an e-paper display that lets you read all of your important notifications and social media updates clearly even under direct sunlight.</p> <p>The Pebble is also the only smartwatch with its own dedicated app store which offers many apps that allow the watch to cater to your specific needs. You can even download different face designs to the watch to really set your Pebble apart from the rest. Its battery life is quite impressive as well, capable of lasting up to a week on just a single charge.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00BKEQBI0&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=IZSMW4YQY4MUDV7M"><em>Currently $149.99 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Samsung Galaxy Gear</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00FH9I0FQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=NCUBBYYUL4W7675X"><img width="180" height="185" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>The <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00FH9I0FQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=NCUBBYYUL4W7675X">Samsung Galaxy Gear</a> is another popular option that's packed with a long list of great features that you'd come to expect from a Samsung product. Despite the Gear's large yet beautiful 1.6-inch AMOLED screen, many users say its still quite comfortable to wear. It also comes with a 1.9 MP camera as well as a built-in microphone that allows you to make and answer calls right on the watch itself.</p> <p>The Gear comes equipped with some very useful software features, including a Siri-like personal assistant called S Voice that lets you control your watch with voice commands. The Gear can also automatically lock and unlock your smartphone depending on how far away you are from it, and it can even send an alert to your smartphone in cases when you can't find it. Just be aware that the Galaxy Gear is only compatible with the Samsung Galaxy line of smartphones and tablets.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00FH9I0FQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=NCUBBYYUL4W7675X"><em>Currently $167.24 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Qualcomm Toq</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00GGGQHPO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=E2KUZRIEHVNA7NKP"><img width="180" height="197" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>The <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00GGGQHPO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=E2KUZRIEHVNA7NKP">Qualcomm Toq</a> delivers an exceptional smartwatch that has appealed to users with its unique design and features. The Toq's most exclusive feature is its innovative Mirasol reflective display which provides a nice colored screen that adapts its lighting to the environment for optimal viewing quality any time of day. The display is also touch-enabled, letting users easily scroll through and control the wide range of functions available on the Toq.</p> <p>The whole watch was ingeniously designed to use very little power, allowing its battery life to last for days. Many users also love its incredibly thin body as well as the ability to customize the clock faces and the icon designs. The Toq is compatible with Android smartphones and tablets only.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00GGGQHPO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=E2KUZRIEHVNA7NKP"><em>Currently $249.99 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Martian Passport
</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00FI16820&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=SWTXZBUK2GCML6B5"><img width="180" height="228" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>If you're looking for a smartwatch that looks more high class than high tech, then the <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00FI16820&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=SWTXZBUK2GCML6B5">Martian Passport</a> is the perfect choice for you. Unlike most smartwatch designs, the Passport is made with high quality leather and stainless steel, and it also retains a retro analog clock face that only provides a tiny screen for visual notifications. In fact, it barely looks like a smartwatch at all.</p> <p>However, what makes the Passport &quot;smart&quot; is its excellent voice command feature that allows you to talk to your watch. Its noise-cancelling microphone makes sure your voice is heard loud and clear, whether you're sending a text message or taking a call on the watch. Not only that, the watch can also speak its notifications to you thanks to a small built-in speaker.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00FI16820&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=SWTXZBUK2GCML6B5"><em>Currently $298.98 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>MetaWatch Strata</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00DOJCMBO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=SKVVFAFJDNIYRRKH"><img width="180" height="172" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>For those looking for a smartwatch at a more affordable price, the <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00DOJCMBO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=SKVVFAFJDNIYRRKH">MetaWatch</a> Strata is easily the smartwatch of choice. The Strata was built to handle the elements, thanks to its tough yet comfortable polyurethane strap, its water-resistant body, and its scratch-resistant reflective mirror display that keeps visibility clear under any light. All of this smartwatch's features are easily controlled through six physical buttons, each mapped out with their own dedicated function.</p> <p>The Strata also gives users the ability to customize the information they want on the watch's display through downloadable widgets. The watch can accommodate up to four screens with each screen able to hold up to four widgets.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00DOJCMBO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=SKVVFAFJDNIYRRKH"><em>Currently $129.99 on Amazon</em></a></p> <p>And those are our recommendations for the best smartwatches. As always, be sure to check out the <a href="">Wise Bread Buying Calendar</a> to learn when and how to buy just about anything!</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The 5 Best Smartwatches" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">William Tran</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping buying guide product reviews smartwatches Wed, 16 Jul 2014 16:35:42 +0000 William Tran 1149040 at The 5 Best Inkjet Printers <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-inkjet-printers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="printer" title="printer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="138" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While a lot of work is done through the Internet these days, printers still play an important role in our day-to-day lives. Whether it's to print out homework, business proposals or photographs, inkjet printers remain the go-to devices for versatile, all-purpose printing. With that in mind, Wise Bread is here to help you get the best bang for your buck when purchasing a new inkjet printer.</p> <h2>What Is an Inkjet Printer?</h2> <p>An inkjet printer is an electronic printing device that creates a digital image by propelling drops of ink onto paper. Inkjet printers are the most common type of printers used by consumers and are capable of doing well with just about any type of print. Inkjets can handle both text and photos, print on a number of different sizes as well as on various mediums, making them a perfect combination of versatility and cost-effectiveness.</p> <h2>Best 5 Inkjet Printers</h2> <h3>HP Officejet Pro 8100 Wireless Color Printer</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B006M1MFEA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=ZF33XJKWSBGSGPQV"><img width="180" height="102" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>The <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B006M1MFEA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=ZF33XJKWSBGSGPQV">HP Officejet Pro 8100</a> is a fantastic and affordable inkjet printer according to Consumer Search and user reviews. The most important thing to note is the quality of the printing given its speed. This HP inkjet printer prints up to 20 ppm, making it even faster than some laser printers. Users have also commented that ink cartridges last longer than expected as well, a strong selling point for many. Finally, this printer also features automatic duplex printing as well as Ethernet and Wi-Fi connectivity.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B006M1MFEA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=ZF33XJKWSBGSGPQV"><em>Currently $70.26 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Epson WorkForce WF-3520 All-in-One Color Inkjet Printer</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0091UBCB6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=SNILABYBEYSCWM5L"><img width="180" height="123" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>Well reviewed by hundreds of users, the <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0091UBCB6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=SNILABYBEYSCWM5L">Epson WorkForce WF-3520</a> is lauded for its ability to print, copy, scan, and fax. Print jobs of all kinds, from text, to color, to photos, are all of high quality. On top of that, this printer utilizes a number of connectivity options including standard USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi as well as the ability to print from a tablet or smartphone. An LCD touch screen and card holder also means that you can print directly off the memory without the need of a computer.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0091UBCB6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=SNILABYBEYSCWM5L"><em>Currently $119.99 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>HP Officejet Pro 251DW Wireless Color Printer</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00BEL5CDE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=4YHKDJNIYG6SG7NP"><img width="180" height="125" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>Well recommended by Consumer Reports, the <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00BEL5CDE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=4YHKDJNIYG6SG7NP">HP Officejet Pro 251DW</a> has great performance across the board. This HP printer includes a number of excellent features including print speeds of up to 20 ppm, Ethernet and Wi-Fi connectivity, duplex printing, as well as a 4.3&quot; touchscreen.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00BEL5CDE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=4YHKDJNIYG6SG7NP"><em>Currently $176.35 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Brother Work Smart MFCJ870DW Wireless All-in-One Printer</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00DHJ8QLQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=GHP53LRQLBY7KBHY"><img width="180" height="107" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>Another highly reviewed all-in-one inkjet printer, the <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00DHJ8QLQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=GHP53LRQLBY7KBHY">Brother Work Smart MFCJ870DW</a> does an excellent job with all of the functions we expect from an all-in-one. Additionally, this Brother printer also features myriad connectivity options including Ethernet and Wi-Fi, as well as the ability to connect to a number of mobile devices. Users also appreciate the general lower cost of operation with Brother ink cartridges costing less than competitors.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00DHJ8QLQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=GHP53LRQLBY7KBHY"><em>Currently $79.99 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Canon Office Products IP7220 Wireless Color Printer</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00AGV7TQ6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=BTTGVXUKCUR5IMO2"><img width="180" height="111" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>Another printer recommended by Consumer Reports, the <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00AGV7TQ6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=BTTGVXUKCUR5IMO2">Canon Office Products IP7220</a> stands out for its ability to print high quality photos. This Canon printer is capable of printing in resolutions of 9600 x 2400 dpi and can print photos relatively quickly. This printer features Wi-Fi connectivity, but no Ethernet, which makes it slightly more limited in its connection options than other printers on this list. Nonetheless, users and professionals alike still rate this printer highly for its high quality prints.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00AGV7TQ6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=BTTGVXUKCUR5IMO2"><em>Currently $79.98 on Amazon</em></a></p> <p>And those are our recommendations for the best inkjet printers. As always, be sure to check out the <a href="">Wise Bread Buying Calendar</a> to learn when and how to buy just about anything!</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The 5 Best Inkjet Printers" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Jeffrey Pu</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping buying guide inkjet printers product reviews Tue, 15 Jul 2014 09:00:06 +0000 Jeffrey Pu 1147193 at The One Tool That Assures You Never Pay Too Much for Groceries <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-one-tool-that-assures-you-never-pay-too-much-for-groceries" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="grocery shopping" title="grocery shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="145" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Couponing, price-matching, and clearance browsing are all valid ways to save big money on the food and supplies you need each week. Many books are written on these tactics, but there is one, less-exciting method that is often overlooked. (See also: <a href="">Grocery Shopping for the Cheap and Lazy</a>)</p> <p>What is it? <em>A humble price book</em>.</p> <h2>What Is a Price Book?</h2> <p>A price book is exactly what the name implies: a written record of all the prices you would expect to pay for common household goods to be considered a good value. While many people use their price books for tracking and taking notes, the main purpose of the book is to tell you &mdash; at a glance &mdash; what you should be paying at the store.</p> <h2>How Can You Create a Price Book?</h2> <p>Whether you use a spreadsheet, notebook, or app, the concept is the same. You want to have a record of the 30 to 50 most purchased items for your household, along with the best average price for each.</p> <h3>Starting Out</h3> <p>Take milk, for example. Visit your local store and write down that day's price for milk in a notebook or a &quot;notes&quot; page in your official price book. Whether you buy it or not, you want to record the price. If it is a sale price, and the &quot;regular price&quot; is listed, write that down, too. Then, each week that a sale flyer comes out with the price of milk listed, make a note of these prices. Any time you visit the store again, make note of the price of milk, as well.</p> <p>After about two months, you should have noticed a trend on milk pricing, and quite possibly when it goes on sale. At the very least, you should have a rock-bottom price recorded, an average price, and a most expensive price. Your price book would then have an entry for milk with the highest price you should be willing to pay for milk, all prices considered. For many people this is usually a sale price that occurs often (at least once a week for most people given that milk is perishable) or an average between the lowest and the average price. If you see milk go on sale at 50% off during a special 4-day sale, for example, this wouldn't likely be the price you would record, since your odds of getting that price again aren't very good.</p> <p>Once you have established a price for milk, the same process can be repeated for all the items on your frequent shopping list. If you are busy and can't take the time to write down prices at the store, use old receipts to at least record the prices you've already been paying for various items. Keep in mind that items with a long shelf-life can have a more aggressively low price in the book, since it's possible to stock up and buy infrequently. Lunch meats or fresh veggies have less flexibility, since they don't last as long and may need to be purchased at prices other than rock-bottom.</p> <h2>How Do You Use a Price Book?</h2> <p>Putting the book into practice is simple. Take it with you on your next shopping trip, keeping an eye out for items in your book that you don't necessarily have an urgent need for. If items are priced at or below your price book price, you buy! If you are completely out of something, and can't wait until the price is right, you may be forced to purchase anyway. By stocking up and planning ahead, however, you soon shouldn't have to resort to emergency buying (even for items like milk).</p> <h3>Things to Consider</h3> <ul> <li>Price books are usually good for a year before they need adjusting (or more often in times of hyperinflation or when current events raise prices quickly). Revisit your pricing annually to make sure your price goals are realistic.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Practice good inventory records at home to avoid overbuying. Even if the price is great, you don't need more than what you can consume before the expiration date.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>&quot;First-In, First-Out&quot; or FIFO consumption guarantees that the oldest items get used before newer purchases, further protecting your great deals from spoilage or quality issues.</li> </ul> <h2>Tech-Savvy Options</h2> <p>If you get a hand-cramp just thinking about keeping an old-fashioned, pen-and-paper price book, go high-tech with an electronic version. Snap photos of prices with your cell phone or use scanning technology to get pricing via the store's app. Import your data into a spreadsheet or document that can be accessed anywhere. (Or better yet, use an app designed to do the work for you. <a href="">Value Tracker</a> and <a href="">Cart Crunch</a> are just two options that give you intuitive price book functionality at your fingertips!)</p> <p><em>Do you keep a price book? Tell us about it in comments!</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The One Tool That Assures You Never Pay Too Much for Groceries" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Linsey Knerl</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping groceries price book shopping shopping strategies Fri, 11 Jul 2014 15:00:05 +0000 Linsey Knerl 1156977 at The 5 Best AAA Batteries <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-aaa-batteries" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="aaa batteries" title="aaa batteries" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Over the years, the world has become more and more reliant on new technologies. Most people don't go very long without using a cell phone, digital camera, or flashlight. Many of these gadgets are powered by batteries. The television remote, your child's favorite toy, and MP3 players would be useless without batteries.</p> <p>Batteries come in several varieties, including the less expensive, but quicker to die alkaline, the longer lasting but harder on the wallet lithium battery, and rechargeable batteries, which are the greenest choice of the three. They also come in many sizes, as indicated by a lettering system including AAA, AA, and D with almost every other letter of the alphabet in there.</p> <p>There are many brands of batteries and with all the devices they're used in, buying them can get expensive. That's why you want to make sure you get the longest lasting option. We here at Wise Bread have taken the guesswork out of powering your gadgets by finding the best, longest lasting AAA batteries out there today.</p> <h2>What Is a AAA Battery?</h2> <p>A AAA battery is a power source commonly used in small electronic devices such as flashlights, cameras, and toys. It is smaller than a AA battery and larger than a AAAA battery. It has a positive terminal button on one end and a negative terminal button on the other, usually indicated with a + and - sign to let the user know which way the battery fits in the electronic device. AAA batteries have limited amounts of power and will die out after a certain period of use, requiring them to be replaced.</p> <h2>Best 5 AAA Batteries</h2> <h3>Energizer Ultimate Lithium Battery</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0002DUQDQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=P4EFCCEBEM5KUNOK"><img width="180" height="214" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>The <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0002DUQDQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=P4EFCCEBEM5KUNOK">Energizer Ultimate Lithium Battery</a>, which is the highest rated lithium battery by Consumer Reports (tested on AA batteries), is said to last up to nine times longer than other batteries in digital cameras which are known for being high drain devices. They also have a 15 year shelf life when not in use, much longer than other options. Consumer Reports gave it a rating of &quot;excellent&quot; when used in both digital cameras and flashlights.</p> <p>Energizer uses a lightweight metal in construction, which means their batteries weigh ⅓ less than standard alkaline batteries. They are leak resistant and can perform at both extremely low and extremely high temperatures. Reviews on Amazon are very positive, with reviewers expressing surprise at just how long they last.</p> <p>The one downside to the Energizer Ultimate Lithium battery is that, at about $2.50 per battery, they are more expensive than alkaline options, however, most people seem to think the results are worth it, especially for devices considered high drain.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0002DUQDQ&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=P4EFCCEBEM5KUNOK"><em>Currently $7.95 (for a four-pack) on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Duracell Ultra Power Alkaline Battery</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005UUW1K2&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=YRV2ED6QXTGWQGXW"><img width="180" height="215" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>The <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005UUW1K2&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=YRV2ED6QXTGWQGXW">Duracell Ultra Power Alkaline Battery</a> has claimed that it lasts much longer than other brands. Amazon reviews and Consumer Reports back up this claim, with Consumer Reports making it a &quot;recommended buy&quot; and giving it a &quot;very good&quot; grade in flashlights and a &quot;fair&quot; grade when used in digital cameras. One Amazon reviewer claims the batteries lasted for 90 hours of continuous use in a camping head lamp, which was five hours more than the next option on the list. Alkaline batteries are ideal for use in low drain devices, such as remote controls.</p> <p>Duracell's most powerful alkaline battery will stay good for up to 10 years when not in use. It comes with a power check circle right on the side, which allows you to see how much power remains so that you're not caught off guard when they die and need to be replaced. At about $1 per battery, they are certainly cheaper than lithium varieties, however, do not last as long, therefore making them a good choice for devices that don't often need batteries replaced.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005UUW1K2&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=YRV2ED6QXTGWQGXW"><em>Currently $13.95 (for a 16-pack) on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Sanyo Eneloop Rechargeable Battery</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004SB1TD4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=3PHUP4LNKTSSDEAZ"><img width="180" height="261" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>An Amazon #1 best seller, the <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004SB1TD4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=3PHUP4LNKTSSDEAZ">Sanyo Eneloop Rechargeable Battery</a> is a greener choice than regular, disposable ones. They can be used in both high drain and low drain devices, although are probably best for those gadgets that you find yourself going to the store over and over again to buy batteries for. They can save both time and money in the long run, and cut down on garbage.</p> <p>The Sanyo Eneloop rechargeable battery can be recharged up to 1500 times, and maintains up to 70% of its charge for five years when not in use. They can be recharged when fully or partially drained, which means you don't have to wait until your flashlight is dead before recharging. They come pre-charged, unlike a lot of other rechargeable batteries, so they are ready to use straight out of the package. They work well, even in extreme temperatures. Reviewers have positive things to say across the board, however, some feel that the amount of time taken to recharge them fully is too long, so you'll want to have a couple ready to go at all times, just in case.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004SB1TD4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=3PHUP4LNKTSSDEAZ"><em>Currently $12.30 (for a four-pack) on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Panasonic Evolta Alkaline Battery</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004ZUXF12&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=OWWDVODJF5ANQS53"><img width="180" height="257" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>Consumer Reports gives the <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004ZUXF12&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=OWWDVODJF5ANQS53">Panasonic Evolta Alkaline Battery</a> very good ratings in low drain device such as flashlights and fair ratings in devices such as digital cameras. Although Panasonic claims it is powerful in all drain devices, from low, to medium, to high, the buyer will get the most out of it using it in gadgets that are low drain and don't need the batteries replaced often, such as smoke detectors.</p> <p>The Evolta battery can store up to six years when not in use, and is said to outperform other alkaline batteries by 20%. Reviewers back up this claim by stating they were surprised at how long the batteries lasted, and they seem to last longer than other, similarly priced batteries. They are recognized by the Guinness World Records for being the world's longest lasting alkaline battery cell in more devices.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004ZUXF12&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=OWWDVODJF5ANQS53"><em>Currently $7.45 (for an eight-pack) on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Kirkland Signature Alkaline Battery</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0015SB5WS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=SJDCLUIO33DE2DA3"><img width="180" height="290" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>The cheapest option on this list by far, the <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0015SB5WS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=SJDCLUIO33DE2DA3">Kirkland Signature Alkaline Battery</a> received the same ratings as the Panasonic Evolta from Consumer Reports. This is the perfect option for households that go through a lot of batteries and are looking to save some bucks by not simply going with the name brands. These batteries received a fair rating when used in digital cameras and a very good rating when used in flashlights.</p> <p>The Costco brand battery has a seven year shelf life and is, on average, around 50 cents per battery. Some reviewers claim that they noticed leakage when the batteries had been left in devices for long periods of time, therefore they seem to be best suited for gadgets that go through batteries fairly quickly, such as children's toys. Other reviewers claim they didn't noticed more leakage than in other batteries, but did states that they seemed to last just about as long.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0015SB5WS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=SJDCLUIO33DE2DA3"><em>Currently $19.49 (for a 48-pack) on Amazon</em></a></p> <p>And those are our recommendations for the best AAA batteries. As always, be sure to check out the <a href="">Wise Bread Buying Calendar</a> to learn when and how to buy just about anything!</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The 5 Best AAA Batteries" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Gina Ippolito</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping Buying Guides AAA batteries buying guide product reviews Thu, 10 Jul 2014 09:00:06 +0000 Gina Ippolito 1147078 at The 5 Best Swiss Army Knives <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-swiss-army-knives" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="swiss army knife" title="swiss army knife" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="145" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A quality Swiss Army Knife is a handy gadget not only for armed forces stationed in the Alps, but for any budget-minded consumer. Since it combines several useful, everyday tools into one compact design, it can save you both money and storage space.</p> <h2>What Is a Swiss Army Knife?</h2> <p>Technically, the term &quot;Swiss Army Knife&quot; is a registered trademark that refers only to products manufactured by two Swiss-based brands, Victorinox and Wenger (Victorinox recently purchased Wenger, but some models bearing the Wenger name are still available). Colloquially, however, the term has since come to refer to any brand of multi-tool pocket knife. In addition to a blade, these gadgets include various implements such as screwdrivers, bottle openers, and scissors. Models range from basic to highly elaborate. Here are the five best Swiss Army Knives on the market.</p> <h2>Best 5 Swiss Army Knives</h2> <h3>Victorinox Swiss Army Super Tinker Pocket Knife</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000MLU8PE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=6DQPFEMUWU7U4XNS"><img width="200" height="192" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>Of all the models by the sole &quot;genuine&quot; Swiss Army Knife company, Victorinax, the <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000MLU8PE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=6DQPFEMUWU7U4XNS">Super Tinker</a> pocket knife is the most versatile and best suited to the everyday consumer. Among its more than a dozen tools are the standard large and small blade, tweezers, bottle opener, and scissors. Consumers report using the large blade for such tasks as carving wood and gutting fish; the small blade for cleaning fingernails and opening letters; and the scissors for cutting string.</p> <p>Replacing the corkscrew from older models is a Phillips screwdriver, which can come in handy when working with electronics. Measuring a compact 3-1/2 inches long, and relatively lightweight, the Super Tinker is perfect for carrying in a purse or pocket. It comes with a lifetime warranty.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000MLU8PE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=6DQPFEMUWU7U4XNS"><em>Currently $30.26 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Wenger 16388 Swiss Army EvoWood 18 Pocket Knife</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0049THPNS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=AGR77DMNPPS2TPQX"><img width="200" height="190" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>Although Wenger was folded into Victorinox in 2005, there are still Swiss Army Knives on the market that bear the Wenger brand, and the <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0049THPNS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=AGR77DMNPPS2TPQX">Wenger 16388</a> pocket knife is the best of the bunch. Part of the company's environmentally-conscious EvoWood line, these knives are made from discarded pieces of walnut wood carved to fit the shape of your hand. Since each knife has unique shades and grain patterns, Wenger describes them as &quot;functional pieces of art.&quot; Consequently, this model is more expensive than many alternatives, but its peerless quality makes it an investment worth considering.</p> <p>Among the implements are a 2-1/2-inch blade, Phillips head screwdriver, can opener, wire stripper, awl, reamer, and nail file. Consumers praise the design, and the springless pair of scissors, unique among Swiss Army Knives. The model comes with a limited lifetime warranty.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0049THPNS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=AGR77DMNPPS2TPQX"><em>Currently $65.00 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Valtev 13 Function Folding Pocket Knife</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00COVES1K&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=B55NKUF3SHBX6LMG"><img width="200" height="148" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>Made in China, the craftsmanship of the <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00COVES1K&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=B55NKUF3SHBX6LMG">Valtev 13 Function</a> folding pocket knife may not compare to that of Victorinox or Wenger, but it offers features not found in more venerable brands, including an LED flashlight, saw, fish scaler, and leather punch. Consumers find it particularly well suited to younger users &mdash; it's popular with Boy and Girl Scouts. The Valtev is made of one hundred per cent stainless steel and comes with a nylon pouch and a 30-day money-back guarantee.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00COVES1K&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=B55NKUF3SHBX6LMG"><em>Currently $27.15 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Klein 1550-2 2-Blade Pocket Knife</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00176H2DE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=EZN7N24UGLQBZJXI"><img width="200" height="134" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>For those who prefer to keep things simple, and who'd rather not pay for features they don't need, the <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00176H2DE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=EZN7N24UGLQBZJXI">Klein 1550-2</a> pocket knife has two blades and nothing else. Both blades are 2-1/2 inches long, one with a screwdriver tip, the other with a standard spear point. Unlike most Swiss Army Knives, both blades lock open on this model, making it suitable for more heavy-duty work. Consumers love the 1550-2's durability, and find it particularly useful for electrical work. It comes with a crack-resistant plastic handle, and a lifetime warranty on material defects and workmanship.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00176H2DE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=EZN7N24UGLQBZJXI"><em>Currently $20.79 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3>Leatherman Crater c33Tx Combo Straight/Serrated Blade Knife</h3> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001EYU4KC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=SFLERYSGVT4BKGY6"><img width="200" height="171" align="right" alt="" src="" /></a>Consumers love how sharp the blade is on the <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001EYU4KC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=SFLERYSGVT4BKGY6">Leatherman Crater c33Tx</a> combo blade knife, while also singing the praises of the carabiner/bottle opener and removable pocket clip. Those who stress buying American will appreciate that the Crater is made in the USA. Complaints include the fact that the screwdrivers don't lock, and that the blade launcher is somewhat complex and may require some practice to get right. The Crater is encased in a sturdy, glass-filled nylon handle and comes with a 25-year manufacturer warranty.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B001EYU4KC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=SFLERYSGVT4BKGY6"><em>Currently $34.95 on Amazon</em></a></p> <p>And those are our recommendations for the best Swiss Army Knives. As always, be sure to check out the <a href="">Wise Bread Buying Calendar</a> to learn when and how to buy just about anything!</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The 5 Best Swiss Army Knives" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">John Moffatt</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping Buying Guides product reviews swiss army knives Wed, 09 Jul 2014 09:00:05 +0000 John Moffatt 1149835 at 10 Smart Ways to Make Yourself Love Saving Money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-smart-ways-to-make-yourself-love-saving-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="woman kissing piggy bank" title="woman kissing piggy bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="149" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Like most people, I have a love-hate relationship with saving.</p> <p>On one hand, I love saving because my endgame is always an investment that I'm confident will change my life for the better. On the other, saving causes me to cut back, miss out on certain activities, and otherwise frown when I'd rather be spending money on frivolous and fun things instead of staring at it in my online bank account. (See also: <a href="">10 Things Everyone Should Be Saving For</a>)</p> <p>While I can't take away all the pain of saving from you in a simple article, I can offer a few tips on how to get into a positive mindset that will make your decision to improve your life an easier pill to swallow.</p> <h2>1. Set Goals You Must Save For</h2> <p>When making any kind of resolution or major lifestyle change, you need to set goals. Why do so many people fail after three weeks into the New Year on their plan to get in shape? Because the only thought they put into it was taking their gym membership off hold and buying a new pair of sneakers. Unfortunately, that doesn't cut it. To succeed when you set goals that require a significant change in the way you live, you need to establish small, achievable steps that will hold you accountable on a regular basis along the way &mdash; and that will result in an achievement at the end.</p> <p>In my case, I'm in savings mode right now to buy a new home. In order to hold myself accountable, I've cut the fat out of my expenses, mapped out my income over the next six months, set dates by which I need to have a certain amount of money in the bank (for instance, $X,000 by July 31; $XX,000 by October 31, etc.), and a semi-solid plan to invest that money when I've reached that goal.</p> <h2>2. Establish Milestones and Rewards When You Reach Them</h2> <p>The end result of your savings effort is your final reward, but it doesn't hurt to reward yourself along the way for a job well done &mdash; if only to help you stay motivated. This tactic works especially well if you've set a long-term savings plan in place. These rewards shouldn't be huge, but rather a small prize in the form of whatever makes you happy. Personally, I enjoy traveling and shopping, so my reward when I've achieved a goal may be a new pair of shoes or a weekend trip to someplace affordable but new. By treating myself to something I love once in a while, I can pat myself on the back while re-energizing my motivation to stick to this challenge.</p> <h2>3. Think of Your Income in Terms of Specific Bills</h2> <p>I'll be completely honest in telling you that I don't have a monthly budget written on paper. Still, I'm able to manage my money effectively using a different method of spending and saving.</p> <p>First, I know how much I need to pay every month on necessary expenses, which includes my half of two mortgages and household expenses, my cell phone, my business phone, and two school loans. Essentially those are the only required expenses I have at the present time (because, as I mentioned earlier, I recently did a major trimming of fat to expedite the saving process), and they're pretty static from month to month.</p> <p>Next, I assign the monetary value of my projects (I'm self-employed) to a specific bill so I can be sure that I'm bringing in enough to cover it, to let me know when I need to work harder to earn more money, and gauge an estimated amount of money I can spend on non-essentials and how much I need to put into savings per month.</p> <p>As a personal example, I have to write X articles per month for Wise Bread to pay my cell phone bill and school loans. And I use this trick with all my clients &mdash; each one is assigned to a specific bill. I have to earn enough from each particular client to pay the bill to which they're assigned. Once I've met that goal on a monthly basis, everything else is surplus.</p> <p>For me at least, this is a great way to take the pressure off of earning and saving money.</p> <h2>4. Get Creative Socially</h2> <p>It's very easy to go to a sports game or out to a bar with your friends and spend upwards of $100 to have a good time; there's really not much thought involved in that process, in fact. But when you're dedicated to saving, changes will inevitably need to be instituted &mdash; most likely to your social life &mdash; if you want to meet your goal. This isn't necessarily a bad thing either. Rather, your dedication to saving gives you a chance to be creative with how you spend your time and money, which will most likely allow you to experience things you wouldn't have otherwise experienced while introducing a new lifestyle habit that will probably stick with you well after you've reached your goal. In this case, the grass is greener on the other side.</p> <h2>5. Find a Savings Buddy</h2> <p>We have friends and family to help us with countless other goals in our life &mdash; whether it's getting in shape, successfully completing school, getting a new job, etc. So it only makes sense that you find someone you can lean on during this goal as well. It will help the situation even more if you find someone who's in the same position as you &mdash; committed to saving &mdash; so you can relate to each other's struggles and accomplishments, and, frankly, spend time with each other when everyone else is out blowing their paychecks on a Friday night. You'll start to enjoy Saturdays much more when your bank account is growing &mdash; and you don't have a hangover.</p> <h2>6. Find Some Fun Money-Making Opportunities</h2> <p>Now that you're spending more time not spending money with your savings buddy, you can take advantage of your newfound physical wellness on the weekends by replacing your boozy brunch binges with money-making opportunities that will help you reach your goal faster. These don't have to be major commitments like a regular part-time job. Instead, I recommend one-off opportunities on Craigslist or another site conducive to these gigs. By picking and choosing short projects to take on &mdash; I used to help senior adults around their houses and yards when I was a teenager and in college to make extra cash &mdash; you'll keep the experience fun and fresh, and you might even make a few unexpected friends along the way.</p> <h2>7. Rethink Your Expenses</h2> <p>I've alluded to this tactic twice already in this post, so let's dive into it head on.</p> <p>First, identify what you truly don't need in your life and get rid of it. That will differ from person to person, but examples include ditching the cable and entertaining yourself with streaming content online, canceling subscriptions to other entertainment services you don't use often, dropping your gym membership and working out at home, carpooling to work to cut your monthly gas bill in half, and more. In my situation, I dumped my outside office space and got rid of my gym membership for the time being. These are things I can live without right now, and it's an extra $400 a month that I can put toward my goal without any extra effort. No brainer.</p> <h2>8. Turn Shopping Into a Fun Challenge to Maximize Your Savings</h2> <p>I love saving as much as I can when I'm shopping (I treat it like a game), so this is easy for me, but it may not be easy for you &mdash; and there are two main reasons why:</p> <ol> <li>You don't know how to save.</li> <li>You're too lazy to save.</li> </ol> <p>I can't do anything about the latter (expect to tell you that your laziness is costing you <em>a lot</em> of money in more ways than one), but I can do something about the former. And that's why I write for Wise Bread.</p> <p>You can browse the hundreds of posts I've written on the site about saving money &mdash; several of which specifically relate to shopping &mdash; but some quick examples of how to turn shopping into a fun savings challenge include learning how to coupon like a pro, download money-saving and cash-back apps (check out <a href="">Cartwheel</a> by Target and <a href="">Ibotta</a> &mdash; two of my personal favorites), always search for discount and free shipping coupon codes when shopping online, hit the clearance sections first (even in the grocery store), and sign up for email lists to score exclusive deals.</p> <p>Of course, you shouldn't go on shopping benders when you're in super savings mode, but when shopping is necessary, it's important to employ these tactics to pinch as many pennies as you can.</p> <h2>9. Put It &quot;Out of Sight, Out of Mind&quot;</h2> <p>A really simple trick to reduce your savings stress: Funnel a certain amount of money into your savings account via direct deposit every paycheck. After a while you won't miss what you don't have &mdash; except you do have it, just in a better place.</p> <h2>10. Give Yourself Plenty of Breathing Room</h2> <p>Whenever you set major goals for yourself, you run the risk of going off track along the way. You're especially susceptible to this inevitability when it comes to saving money &mdash; and there's only one way to deal with it: Relax. Accept that mistakes happen, and get right back on course. As they say, slow and steady wins the race &mdash; and this one is a marathon. Learn to love it along the way, however, and you'll finish in first.</p> <p><em>Do you have other tips on how to make yourself love saving money? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Smart Ways to Make Yourself Love Saving Money" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting Shopping cost cutting goals saving savings strategies Tue, 08 Jul 2014 21:00:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 1153957 at The 5 Best Counterop Burners <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-5-best-counterop-burners" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="electric hot plate" title="electric hot plate" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="157" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For those who find themselves running out of space on their kitchen stove while preparing a holiday feast or potluck, or frequently cooking on the go, a countertop burner may be a perfect solution. While the general concept of a countertop burner, also referred to as a hot plate, hasn't changed much since its inception, modern burners come with many additional features such as an automatic shutdown and an adjustable thermostat.</p> <h2>What Is a Countertop Burner?</h2> <p>A countertop burner, or hot plate, is a self-contained kitchen appliance that is made up of one or more electric heating elements. Power flows from a source to heat up the electric heating elements, once heated, you can proceed to cook food as you would atop your kitchen stove. Modern induction burners use magnetic coils to send most of the heat directly to the pan rather than heating surface, making them heat more quickly and efficient, but are generally more expensive as well.</p> <h2>Best 5 Countertop Burners</h2> <h3><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000I14C7I&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=SDYKNRBVULAFF2XY"><img width="200" height="113" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>Waring SB30 Countertop Portable Burner</h3> <p>The <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000I14C7I&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=SDYKNRBVULAFF2XY">Waring SB30</a> countertop burner is extremely well-rated amongst users. The 1300 watt plate allows for greater variety of cooking and users like the sturdy, brushed stainless steel casing. This Waring burner also features and adjustable thermostat as well as &quot;On&quot; and &quot;Ready&quot; indicator lights, allowing for greater precision while cooking. Additionally, this burner model is also available as a double burner, but the double version will run you a little more.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000I14C7I&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=SDYKNRBVULAFF2XY"><em>Currently $46.24 for the single burner on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0045QEPYM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=LEY6IFQIGUX6EOQL"><img width="200" height="134" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>DUXTOP Portable Induction Countertop Burner</h3> <p>The <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0045QEPYM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=LEY6IFQIGUX6EOQL">DUXTOP Portable Induction</a> burner comes with a number of features that make it a favorite for those looking to purchase a countertop burner. By heating with a magnetic field, its capable of heating faster than conventional burners. Its self-adjusting burners are capable of detecting the size of the cooking base, and adjusting itself in order to reduce the amount of energy wasted. This burner also features an automatic shutdown that will turn the unit off if no cookware is detected for 60 seconds.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0045QEPYM&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=LEY6IFQIGUX6EOQL"><em>Currently $64.99 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000690WNU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=U3C4G2ZGUPRCRKD6"><img width="200" height="143" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>Proctor-Silex 34101 Burner</h3> <p>The <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000690WNU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=U3C4G2ZGUPRCRKD6">Proctor-Silex 34101</a> countertop burner is a perfect choice for those looking for a functional and inexpensive burner. For a 1000 watt device, users report that it gets quite hot and heats up relatively quickly. This burner also features a temperature knob with low, medium and high heat levels. While this burner ultimately doesn't carry too many bells-and-whistles, users appreciate its ability to handle the fundamentals.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000690WNU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=U3C4G2ZGUPRCRKD6"><em>Currently $14.99 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0002D1FN6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=AF662TX733T45CH5"><img width="200" height="102" align="right" src="" alt="" /></a>Aroma AHP-312 Double Hot Plate</h3> <p>The <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0002D1FN6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=AF662TX733T45CH5">Aroma AHP-312</a> countertop burner offers two burners for greatly expanded cooking ability at a very reasonable price. Users note that the build is solid and sturdy while the plates themselves are made of strong die-cast metal. Each burner has its own temperature control and indicator light.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0002D1FN6&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=AF662TX733T45CH5"><em>Currently $27.99 on Amazon</em></a></p> <h3><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00DP6BJE2&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=UG7E2ZANBS47ZGKK"><img width="200" height="129" align="right" alt="" src="" /></a>Nuwave PIC 2 Precision Induction Cooktop</h3> <p>The other induction countertop burner to make this list, the <a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00DP6BJE2&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=UG7E2ZANBS47ZGKK">Nuwave PIC 2</a> offers a lot of adjustable settings to make cooking on the burner easier. Temperature on this countertop burner is adjustable in 10 degree increments. Additionally, this Nuwave burner is also capable of programmable cooking with up to 100 hours of program memory.</p> <p><a href=";camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00DP6BJE2&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=bguidelink-20&amp;linkId=UG7E2ZANBS47ZGKK"><em>Currently $94.99 on Amazon</em></a></p> <p>And those are our recommendations for the best countertop burners. As always, be sure to check out the <a href="">Wise Bread Buying Calendar</a> to learn when and how to buy just about anything!</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The 5 Best Counterop Burners" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Jeffrey Pu</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Shopping Buying Guides buying guide countertop burners product reviews Tue, 08 Jul 2014 09:00:05 +0000 Jeffrey Pu 1148484 at 13 Creative Ways to Avoid Spending Money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/13-creative-ways-to-avoid-spending-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="cutting credit card" title="cutting credit card" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="138" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Even if you know that your spending is out of control, you might not have the strength to break your shopping addiction. However, a spending problem isn't going away on its own. And although you might feel powerless over your addiction, you ultimately control whether you spend. (See also: <a href="">7 Bizarre Ways to Stay on Budget That Actually Work</a>)</p> <p>You're not likely to break your addiction overnight, but these 13 tips can give you power not to spend.</p> <h2>1. Freeze Your Credit Cards, Literally</h2> <p>If you truly want to stop spending, do not carry credit cards in your wallet. Better yet, make your credit cards as inaccessible as possible. Fill a small bowl halfway with water and freeze. Once solid, place your cards in the bowl on the ice (you may need to weigh them down with a nickel), add more water, and freeze again. With your credit cards on ice, you can't swipe your plastic for frivolous purchases.</p> <h2>2. Cancel Retail Emails and Catalogs</h2> <p>Those tempting emails from your favorite retailers do more harm than good. The less information you receive from the retail world, the better off you'll be. Unsubscribe to email blasts advertising discounts and sales; and if you receive mail-order catalogs, ask these retailers to remove your name from their mailing lists.</p> <h2>3. Get Rid of Your Debit Card</h2> <p>Your credit cards might be on ice, but you can still do plenty of damage with a debit card in your wallet. Cut your bank debit card in half. This will stop impulse purchases and alleviate unnecessary trips to the ATM.</p> <h2>4. Do It Yourself</h2> <p>Yes, it's easier to pay someone to do your grunt work. However, everyday conveniences come with a hefty price. If you're trying not to spend money, start doing things yourself. This can include your housekeeping, lawn care, laundry, and anything else you might usually pay other people to do for you. Handling your own chores might cut into your free time, but the payoff is a bigger bank account. (See also: <a href="">Should You Be Paying Someone Else to Do These 7 Common Chores?</a>)</p> <h2>5. Borrow Instead of Buy</h2> <p>If you need a new &hellip; whatever &hellip; call some friends to see if you can borrow it. Let's say you're attending a special event, and you don't have anything to wear &mdash; a friend might have exactly what you need in his or her closet. Borrow the item for a few hours, and save your cash.</p> <h2>6. Eat Your Pantry</h2> <p>Rather than weekly trips to the grocery store, only shop when you're actually out of food. Plan meals around what's already in your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. This approach cuts down on the number of times you visit the grocery store and significantly reduces your grocery bill.</p> <h2>7. Pay Your Bills Before Going Out</h2> <p>If you're meeting up with friends, paying bills or balancing your checkbook before leaving home might motivate you to spend less, or not at all. Sometimes, we forget about our financial state. However, reviewing your money before going out offers a dose of reality, providing the inner strength you need to watch your pennies.</p> <h2>8. Know the Company You Keep</h2> <p>Your friends might be genuinely good people, but their poor financial habits can rub off on you. And if you're trying not to spend money, spending your free time with shopaholics or those who don't care about personal finances doesn't make it easier to achieve your goals. (See also: <a href="">11 Ways Your Friends Can Save You Money</a>)</p> <h2>9. Wait at Least a Day Before a Major Purchase</h2> <p>Whenever there's the urge to spend, take a step back and give yourself at least a day to think about the purchase. Sometimes, the excitement of buying something new wears off the second you hit the parking lot.</p> <h2>10. If You Shop, Bring a List</h2> <p>Whether you're grocery shopping or buying necessary items for the home or yourself, always shop with a list, and only buy what's on the list.</p> <h2>11. Look for Freebies</h2> <p>You'd be surprised at the number of freebies you can find scouring the Internet. I put this to the test on Craigslist &mdash; there were all types of free stuff, such as jewelry boxes, tube televisions, old furniture, bicycles, and children's toys. You might find exactly what you're looking for without spending a dime.</p> <h2>12. Shift Your Focus</h2> <p>If you're fighting the urge to shop, all you need to do is redirect your focus. Clean out your closet, read a book, go for a walk, or start a project.</p> <h2>13. Reflect on Your Goals</h2> <p>Is there a reason why you're trying not to spend money? Some people stop spending to save up for a house, pay off debt, or build their rainy day fund. Whenever you're tempted to open your wallet, think about your goals and how happy you'll be once you achieve these. Don't let instant gratification derail your plans.</p> <p><em>Do you have more smart tactics to institute to avoid spending money? Let us know in the comments below.</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="13 Creative Ways to Avoid Spending Money" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Mikey Rox</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Budgeting Shopping control spending impulse spending saving spending Fri, 04 Jul 2014 15:00:05 +0000 Mikey Rox 1153225 at