skills http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/10801/all en-US 10 More Hobbies You Can Start for Free http://www.wisebread.com/10-more-hobbies-you-can-start-for-free <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-more-hobbies-you-can-start-for-free" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000036662410_Large.jpg" alt="she&#039;s taking up a fun hobby for free" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In a 2014 time use survey, the Bureau of Labor Statistics uncovered that Americans &mdash; on average &mdash; spend <a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/atus.nr0.htm">2.8 hours watching television</a> each day. That's a lot of time staring at a box, right?</p> <p>Well, instead of straining your eyes and allowing your brain to transform into mush, maybe it's time for a new hobby. Here are a bunch <em>more</em> cool hobbies you can start today for free! (Related: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-hobbies-you-can-take-up-for-free?ref=seealso">10 Fun Hobbies You Can Take Up for Free</a>)</p> <h2>1. Cooking or Baking</h2> <p>Learning to make better dinners or desserts doesn't have to cost anything outside of your normal grocery budget. There are millions of recipes you can access for free online. To make sure you have the right ingredients and don't go over budget, try meal planning. All you have to do is find recipes that look good, write down what you'll need, and head to the store. You might not be able to make something special every night of the week, so start by cooking on a weekend when you might usually go out.</p> <h2>2. Nature Identification</h2> <p>Take out some books from your local library on nature identification. You can focus on birds, plants, insects, stars, or whatever else interests you most. Then step into your backyard and take a look around. I used to collect leaves so I could figure out the exact type of trees that we had growing in our neighborhood. Now that my daughter is older, she can join me on the adventure.</p> <h2>3. Weather Reporting</h2> <p>Are you always watching the precipitation or other weather events in your area? Your local branch of the National Weather Service likely runs free training sessions on how to become a weather spotter through the <a href="http://skywarn.org/about/">SKYWARN volunteer program</a>. After you've taken the class, you'll work to identify and describe severe weather in your area and report back to your local station.</p> <h2>4. Drawing</h2> <p>I've never been good at art, so I was delighted to find <a href="https://www.drawspace.com">Draw Space</a>. This corner of the web offers free tutorials and instruction on drawing and other art for beginners all the way to advanced artists. Focus on contours, shading, composition, or any other area that interests you.</p> <h2>5. Photography</h2> <p>Yes! You can take up photography for free, provided you have an iPhone (or other cell phone with camera capabilities). And though you might not believe me, you can shoot DSLR-quality photos with your phone and a little knowledge. The <a href="http://iphonephotographyschool.com/iphoneography/">iPhone Photography School</a> has a number of tutorials on everything from &quot;making the most of light&quot; to photo editing.&nbsp;</p> <h2>6. Whittling</h2> <p>Whittling is a relaxing craft that also happens to be free if you have an old pocket knife. According to The Art of Manliness, <a href="http://www.artofmanliness.com/2011/12/12/a-beginners-guide-to-whittling/">softwoods work best</a> (you can find basswood, pine, and others at your local craft shop), but backyard twigs work just as well. Make sure your knife is sharp, learn the basic cuts, and get creative. Your library might have books with ideas for projects.</p> <h2>7. Vlogging</h2> <p>If you're not into writing or blogging, considering heading over to YouTube and starting your own vlog. Creating an account is free and &mdash; if you get popular &mdash; you may even make some money on the side if you link up your channel to Adsense. You can take videos and upload them in no time using your cell phone. What you talk about is up to you, so long as you follow the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/yt/policyandsafety/communityguidelines.html">community guidelines</a>.</p> <h2>8. Dancing</h2> <p>Could your moves use some work? Check out <a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCl5BOPEjOB6kR8IxzWy3bWg">Club Dance Lessons</a> for free videos on hip-hop, electronic, salsa, and all other types of dance. Whether you're looking for twerking lessons, dance seduction moves, or freestyle grooves, you're covered. Plus, dancing is great exercise if you hate going to the gym.</p> <h2>9. Couponing</h2> <p>I still haven't gotten into coupons, but some of my friends swear this ever-popular hobby saves them tons of cash. You'll likely want to get the Sunday paper, and scour the web for digital deals, but the savings you'll see is most usually worth the few dollars you'll spend. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/score-coupons-for-every-online-store-even-the-ones-that-dont-have-coupons?ref=seealso">Score Coupons for Every Online Store</a>)</p> <h2>10. Meditating</h2> <p>Sure, your body might be fit and active, but what about your mind? Try meditating to relieve stress, lower blood pressure, improve circulation, and more. Gaiam offers a wonderful (and free!) start-up guide for <a href="http://life.gaiam.com/article/meditation-101-techniques-benefits-beginner-s-how">How to Meditate</a>. Start by sitting and closing your eyes. Breathe naturally. Focus your attention on your breath and work up to concentrating in this way for two to three minutes. From there, work your way to longer periods of time.</p> <p><em>Did we miss any cool free hobbies? Let us know in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-more-hobbies-you-can-start-for-free">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-35-best-ways-to-spend-your-free-time-frugally">The 35 Best Ways to Spend Your Free Time (Frugally)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/learn-something-new-with-these-9-cheap-apps">Learn Something New With These 9 Cheap Apps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/great-ways-to-invest-in-yourself">Great Ways to Invest in Yourself</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-hobbies-you-can-take-up-for-free">10 Fun Hobbies You Can Take Up for Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-best-hobbies-for-introverts">8 Best Hobbies for Introverts</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living activities free fun free hobbies hobbies learning resolutions skills Fri, 05 Feb 2016 16:00:05 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1649860 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Ways a Second Language Can Boost Your Career http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-a-second-language-can-boost-your-career <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-ways-a-second-language-can-boost-your-career" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_foreign_language_000025445637.jpg" alt="Woman learning second language to boost her career" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="143" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I will just come out and say it in plain English: The American job market sucks.</p> <p>However, for those who can say that in a second language, the job market sucks just a little bit less. Learning a second language can boost your career, and here's how.</p> <h2>1. It Puts You First in Line for Government Jobs</h2> <p>Although my best friend has been out of the job market for 18 years raising her kid, her application to the FBI has been bumped to the top of the pile because she is a Defense Language Institute graduate.</p> <p>Although the FBI is her first choice, there are <a href="https://cllc.osu.edu/undergraduate/careers/broad-spectrum/government">many government departments and agencies</a> that are actively recruiting foreign language speakers.</p> <h2>2. It Creates Other Job Opportunities</h2> <p>I have an extreme pro-polyglot bias based on personal experience. I work as a book scout. Because I can read book manuscripts and news stories in Italian, this gives me a leg up on monolingual scouts. I can find the next best seller/blockbuster film idea before it's translated into English.</p> <p>But publishing is far from the only industry that has become global. Four out of new five jobs in the United States are directly linked to foreign trade. In fact, in some sectors, the language deficit is so huge, that jobs are going unfilled.</p> <h2>3. You Can Use It to Get a Second Chance</h2> <p>I asked my friend, Darren, a fellow <em>francophonie</em>, if his time spent in France as a high school exchange student was worth the money. Here's his response:</p> <blockquote><p>&quot;I have to say that I honestly owe every meaningful job I've ever had to the fact that I speak fluent French. It also got me a degree.</p> <p>When I decided to go back to school after dropping out of college, I didn't have many prospects and little chance of obtaining a student loan or scholarship in the U.S. But university is free in France for anyone who can pass the exams and speak the language, and I managed to do both. So it gave me a second chance. I finished at the top of my class at the Sorbonne, in Paris.&nbsp;</p> <p>When I returned to the US, I got a temp job at a large corporation. I was just a temp admin assistant, replacing a woman who left on maternity leave. I was filing and making copies, biding my time. But then they received a request for proposal written in French from a French-speaking country in Africa, and they didn't have anyone there who spoke the language. They were going to send it out to translate, but I did it for them overnight. They immediately hired me on as a full-time contract manager, gave me my own office and admin support, and paid for my night school, so that I could learn about government contract law. I was quickly promoted to an office next to the president of the company, and was soon accompanying him on trips overseas, and managing contracts in Europe.&quot;&nbsp;</p> </blockquote> <h2>4. You Become a Better Communicator in Your First Language</h2> <p>People who learn a second language have greater metalinguistic awareness, which is the science-y way of saying they have a better grasp on grammar and sentence structure because they can compare the mechanics of two different language systems. This focus on language mechanics improves the clarity of their writing and speaking in their mother tongue. Also, polyglots have bigger vocabularies. To quote Geoffrey Willans: &quot;You can never understand one language until you understand at least two.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Body Language Is Not Universal</h2> <p>My friend Charles, who speaks fluent Japanese and English, has seen translation failure many times in meetings between the Japanese and American executives at his company. According to Charles, one of the major translation problems at work is the differences in body language.</p> <p>&quot;People who don't speak a second language don't understand that translation between languages is not one-to-one. There is culture, context, and worldview attached to language that cannot be learned from a book. People who only speak English can only understand how communication breaks down&hellip; in English. For example, there are many degrees of politeness in the Japanese language. Because politeness is expressed through the verb conjugations, I've watched the level of politeness drop sharply in meetings. The Japanese team immediately knows that the bosses are frustrated when they start using more direct speech, but the Americans have no clue that the Japanese project leads are unhappy, as the tone of voice of the Japanese execs never changes. Since there is no equivalent to this in English, the company interpreters are sometimes at a loss on how to translate this rudeness or anger into English without sounding offensive or unprofessional,&quot;Charles says.</p> <h2>6. Interpreters Don't Interpret Everything</h2> <p>Another problem with interpreters is that no one wants to bite the hand that feeds them. Explains Charles, &quot;Company interpreters know that their income is tied to the duration of the project. They may intentionally soften harsh words in their translation between the two languages to prevent a potentially project-ending argument from escalating.&quot;</p> <p>Even the most honest interpreters don't want to be the bearer of bad news, and may subconsciously work to keep the peace through overly civil translations, even if this is bad for business.</p> <h2>7. Learning Another Language Improves Memory</h2> <p>At a certain point during my adolescence, my brain lost its ability to effortlessly absorb 100 new vocabulary words a day. Fortunately, research shows that <a href="http://www.omniglot.com/language/articles/languagelearningbrainsize.htm">learning new languages improves working memory</a> and increases attention span... which makes all the rote memorization I do now as an adult almost worth it.</p> <h2>8. Bilinguals Are Better Multitaskers</h2> <p>If you could listen to my brain skip like a record through French, Italian, and Spanish, then you would probably believe the common misconception that bilingualism creates confusion. However, toggling between languages, or code switching, makes <a href="http://news.psu.edu/story/160653/2011/02/18/juggling-languages-can-build-better-brains">bilinguals better at cognitive skills</a> like prioritizing relevant information over the irrelevant, and working on multiple projects at once. In one study, test subjects used a driving simulator while simultaneously doing distracting tasks. Bilinguals made fewer driving errors than monolinguals.</p> <h2>9. Bilingualism Boosts Creativity</h2> <p>When people learn a second language, they generally become more tolerant of new ideas and experiences that open up their brains to divergent thinking. Dystopian associations aside, scientists use divergent thinking as a <a href="http://www.ccsenet.org/journal/index.php/elt/article/view/15947">measurement of creativity</a>. Bilinguals score much higher on the <a href="http://www.ststesting.com/ngifted.html">Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking</a>, which measures mental characteristics like fluency, elaboration, originality, and flexibility than monolinguals. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-creativity-9-surprising-ways-to-generate-new-ideas">Boost Your Creativity: 9 Surprising Ways to Generate New Ideas</a>)</p> <h2>10. A Second Language Makes For Better Decision-Making</h2> <p>People who can think in a foreign language are more level-headed problem solvers, especially when it comes to decisions about money. Researchers at the University of Chicago discovered <a href="http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/04/18/0956797611432178.abstract">The Foreign Language Effect</a>. In a nutshell, the researchers found that people are more systematic in their decision-making process when presented information in their second language. Specifically, thinking about financial decisions in a foreign language reduces <a href="http://loss-aversion.behaviouralfinance.net/">loss aversion</a>, a cognitive bias that leads people to pass up financial opportunities.</p> <h2>11. Mental Gymnastics Can Stave Off Dementia</h2> <p>According to a recent Gallup poll, <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/182939/americans-settling-older-retirement-age.aspx">37% of Americans expect to retire</a> after age 65. For those who want to push back their retirement date, maintaining peak mental fitness is mandatory for staying in the workforce long term. A Study at Edinburgh University found that learning a second language delays the onset of several types of dementia by as much as five years. While five years does not seem like a lot of time, according to researcher Thomas Bak, &quot;Bilingualism might have a stronger influence on dementia than any currently available drugs.&quot;</p> <p><em>What benefits have you experienced at work due to your language skills?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-a-second-language-can-boost-your-career">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bosses-say-these-are-their-6-favorite-qualities-in-employees-do-you-have-them">Bosses Say These Are Their 6 Favorite Qualities in Employees — Do You Have Them?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-generosity-is-key-to-everything-including-your-career">Why Generosity Is Key to Everything — Including Your Career</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-in-the-wrong-career-heres-how-to-tell">Are You in the Wrong Career? Here&#039;s How to Tell</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-answer-23-of-the-most-common-interview-questions">How to Answer 23 of the Most Common Interview Questions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-career-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Career Changes You Can Make Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Personal Development career foreign language professional growth second language skills Tue, 29 Dec 2015 10:00:03 +0000 Max Wong 1626820 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Transition to a New Career After 30 http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-transition-to-a-new-career-after-30 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-transition-to-a-new-career-after-30" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/career_focused_woman_000021163237.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to transition into new career after 30" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The average American <a href="http://online.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748704206804575468162805877990">changes jobs seven times</a>&nbsp;over a life time of work, and the pursuit of better job satisfaction and financial stability are among the top reasons. Most of these career shifts happen in a person's teens and twenties, when hop-scotching from bartending to telemarketing is more common than not. Mid- and late-career changes, however, are less common, largely because they require the implicit trade of the familiar for the unknown. The risks may be bigger, but the rewards are sweeter.</p> <p>If the mere thought of jumping from a well-heeled spot on one industry ladder to the bottom rung of another is intimidating enough to prevent you from pursuing the job of your dreams, you're not alone. Later in life <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-signs-its-time-to-make-your-side-gig-your-career">career changes</a> can seem impossible when you weigh the financial risks of starting anew with the responsibilities of child-rearing and mortgage payments. But if you're truly unfulfilled at work, over time it will take a toll its toll. So don't let a little fear of failure hold you hostage.</p> <p>Read on for our roundup of the best ways to transition to a new career after 30.</p> <h2>1. Skill Shift</h2> <p>Grab a pen and pad and take a few minutes to list all your skills &mdash; and not just the ones you acquired on the job. Be sure to include those you picked up while volunteering for the Parent Teacher Association, leading your child's Girl Scouts troop, caring for an ailing relative, paying down your debt, fundraising for cancer research, and building the new deck in the backyard. Now brainstorm all the ways you can apply these strengths of yours to a brand new business venture. You just might surprise yourself with how quickly your experience planning a neighborhood block party complete with food vendors, a bouncy house, and live music seems to become more beneficial than what you learned from your collegiate calculus homework. Especially if it's a new career in event planning that you're pursuing. So don't be afraid to acknowledge your outside-the-box accomplishments and play to them.</p> <h2>2. Get Educated</h2> <p>While you may find you have a slew of transferable job skills, the likelihood that you'll need to acquire some new ones is pretty high. That doesn't necessarily mean you need to dole out tens of thousands of dollars for a new degree &mdash; although, depending on your new occupation of choice, it might. Education, in all its forms, will counter what you lack in experience. And it will show potential employers that you are committed to your new career choice and driven enough to do what it takes to land a job in your new field. Books, lectures, certification courses, and volunteer opportunities are all great ways of snuffing up.</p> <h2>3. Go Where the Growth Is</h2> <p>There's something to be said for career fields that are forecast to add future jobs. And that something is stability. Job growth means there's less likelihood that your bread and butter will be rattled by economic turmoil. It means you'll have a better shot at securing promotions and making lateral moves with pay increases. So you might want to jot down these fastest-growing occupations: industrial-organizational psychologist, personal care aide, home health aide, mechanical insulation worker, interpreters and translators, diagnostic medical sonographer, and brick mason. All these fields are on pace to see stellar growth rates, which means you'll have an easier time finding a niche for yourself.</p> <h2>4. Stage a Dress Rehearsal</h2> <p>A travel magazine editor might seem like the ultimate occupation, but how often does he or she actually get the opportunity to fly to Morocco for an all-inclusive stay at a posh new resort? There's only one way to find out: Network with people in your desired field, mine for opportunities to shadow folks working in your desired role, and ask a lot of questions. When possible, try out the work for yourself on a limited, exploratory basis to see if it's really for you. You just might find that the travel editor gig you've been swooning for actually brings about more computer eye strains than passport stamps.</p> <h2>5. Tap Your Network</h2> <p>Determining your new career calling is half the battle. The other, of course, is getting hired. But when you lack the typical resume for a career that lies outside your realm of experience, it can be difficult to secure a position &mdash; no matter how captivating your cover letter is. So don't rely on a piece of paper to get your foot in the door. Instead, tap your network: Friends, family, former colleagues, past classmates, neighbors, and mentors. These are the people who know your work ethic, smarts, and potential for success in ways that can't be captured in black ink. They can vouch for you. They might even be able to help you land an interview you otherwise wouldn't have scored. The rest is up to you.</p> <h2>6. Rebrand Yourself</h2> <p>If you're going to take on a new role, it will serve you well to look the part. That goes for your online persona as much as your wardrobe. Before you begin the interview process, be sure your social media accounts, websites, business cards and voicemail greetings are reflective of the professional life you want. The fact that you're in a period of transition is no excuse for an outdated or sloppy digital presence.</p> <p><em>Have you made a career change? What worked for you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-transition-to-a-new-career-after-30">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-to-do-on-your-first-day-at-a-new-job">6 Things to Do on Your First Day at a New Job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-splurge-resume-writer">When to Splurge: Resume Writer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-skills-that-helped-your-boss-get-ahead">6 Skills That Helped Your Boss Get Ahead</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/finding-the-right-job-there-s-plenty-of-phish-in-the-sea">Finding the Right Job: There’s Plenty of Phish in the Sea</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-jobs-you-may-not-have-considered-but-should">9 Jobs You May Not Have Considered (But Should)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building employment jobs skills transitioning working Tue, 21 Jul 2015 09:00:12 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1490872 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Skills That Helped Your Boss Get Ahead http://www.wisebread.com/6-skills-that-helped-your-boss-get-ahead <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-skills-that-helped-your-boss-get-ahead" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_triumphant_000038262530.jpg" alt="Man using skills to help him get ahead like his boss" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Do you ever look at your boss and wish you had his or her job? Or maybe you wonder how in the world they got to where they are, given the fact that you are struggling with your own position.</p> <p>The fact of the matter is, somehow your boss got ahead. They stood out from the rest. Here are some of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-life-skills-every-freelancer-needs">skills</a> that helped them land that big promotion &mdash; and that can help you, too!</p> <h2>1. Cut the Negativity</h2> <p>No one likes being around someone who is always negative. It's hard, and eventually you either get dragged into their negativity, or you have to put distance between the negative person and yourself. So don't be that person!</p> <p>Yes, every workplace probably has something to be negative about. Maybe it's a rough time of year, or you're currently being asked to do someone else's job on top of your own. But keep the negativity to yourself.</p> <p>Being negative drags everyone down, and companies don't promote people who are going to make teamwork harder. When your boss got promoted, it's likely that he or she was known for being positive or, at least, for keeping negative comments in. Do the same if you want to get ahead.</p> <h2>2. Line Up the Right Support</h2> <p>Most of us can't be the lone wolf at work. We need some sort of support to be able to do our jobs successfully. When we aren't getting that, we won't perform as well and, therefore, will be less likely to get ahead.</p> <p>In today's work environment, it often falls to the individual to find the support he or she needs to get the job done. Be proactive and ask your boss for a meeting. Go over expectations, especially if you feel like these aren't clear. Ask your boss how they prefer to manage and work from there. For instance, a boss who prefers weekly check-in meetings may be willing to let you have two weeks between meetings, especially if you've proven yourself trustworthy and can show how the extra time would help you do your job better.</p> <p>Getting the support they need is something your boss most likely excels at, and one of the skills they used to do their job well enough to get ahead. Figure out what you need in order to exceed expectations and ask for it.</p> <h2>3. Take on Challenges</h2> <p>Taking on something that is new, different, or difficult is scary, especially when you feel like your livelihood may depend on it. However, being willing to take on a challenge, being the person who steps forward and says &quot;I'll do it!&quot; makes a huge difference when it comes to getting ahead.</p> <p>Think about it this way: When you are considering who you want to lead something, do you want a person in charge who isn't daunted, who can outthink and outmaneuver obstacles, or do you want someone who is afraid, stuck in an old way of doing things, and who can't think outside the box? Most of us want the first kind of person.</p> <p>Even if your boss seems stuck in her ways now, it's likely she was once willing to innovate and take risks. Be the person who steps up to the challenge, and you can be the one who gets ahead, too.</p> <h2>4. Understand the Current Goals</h2> <p>If you want to get ahead, make sure you understand your organization's current goals and how your job fits into those. See your work as part of the whole and make sure you are doing your best to make the whole function well.</p> <p>It's easy to get lost in the details of your job and to forget about the role you are playing in the overall company. It's also easy to misunderstand where your company is currently focused. For instance, you may think that your company is trying to land new accounts, when the current focus is actually on giving existing clients a better experience.</p> <p>Most people who get ahead in a company do so because someone thinks they will be able to help the company achieve their current goals. You boss probably focused on these when he was working to get ahead, and doing the same should help you, too.</p> <h2>5. Take Responsibility for Your Mistakes</h2> <p>It may seem counterintuitive to think that owning your mistakes will help you get ahead. However, taking full responsibility for yourself and your actions generates trust, and so it helps you build stronger relationships with both your coworkers and your clients/customers.</p> <p>Before you can take responsibility for any errors, you need to know your own role. Make sure you really know it, inside and out, so that you can honestly tell someone whether a mistake was yours or whether it occurred elsewhere. If you did make a mistake, be sure to apologize and, if necessary, change the way you do things so that it doesn't happen again.</p> <p>Most managers have, at some point in their career, demonstrated their ability to own their role, including any mistakes that are made. If it helped your boss get to where she is today, it can help you get ahead, too.</p> <h2>6. Find the Right Communication Style</h2> <p>Different people communicate in different ways. We use different words, different tones, and even different body language when we talk to one another. When you use your boss's communication style, you are more likely to get ahead because you'll be more likely to persuade him of the points you try to make and because he will see you as compatible with the overall company.</p> <p>Before you do this, you have to determine how your boss communicates. Listen to the words he says, whether he speaks quietly or loudly, quickly or slowly, and how he uses his hands, face, and body when he is speaking. Then try to do some of these same things when you are communicating with him and with your team.</p> <p>Matching communication styles probably helped your boss get ahead, and working to do it will help you, too. Don't worry about being false, because the ideas you want to communicate will be the same as they would be if you were using your natural communication style.</p> <p><em>How are you trying to get ahead at work? Is it helping you?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-skills-that-helped-your-boss-get-ahead">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-tips-for-better-workplace-body-language">7 Tips for Better Workplace Body Language</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ace-your-next-performance-review-with-these-7-tricks">Ace Your Next Performance Review With These 7 Tricks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-bug-your-boss-for-more-money-and-get-it">4 Ways to Bug Your Boss for More Money – and Get It!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-youre-sabotaging-your-next-promotion">5 Ways You&#039;re Sabotaging Your Next Promotion</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-transition-to-a-new-career-after-30">6 Ways to Transition to a New Career After 30</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building boss jobs Office promotions skills success Thu, 09 Jul 2015 17:00:11 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1478349 at http://www.wisebread.com 11 Life Skills That Are Now Completely Obsolete http://www.wisebread.com/11-life-skills-that-are-now-completely-obsolete <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-life-skills-that-are-now-completely-obsolete" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_reading_map_000040537316.jpg" alt="Woman using life skills that are now completely obsolete" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Just 30 &mdash; heck, even 20 &mdash; years ago we had to do most things using our hands and our brains. Some would argue that life is more convenient because of our technological advances since then, but somewhere along the way we lost a few <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-life-skills-you-must-learn-in-your-40s">valuable skills</a>. From reading paper maps to balancing a checkbook to resume writing, take a look at all the things we used to know how to do that &mdash; for better or worse &mdash; are now becoming obsolete.</p> <h2>1. Reading Paper Maps</h2> <p>I remember riding to West Virginia when I was a kid for a weekend getaway with my parents who were using a paper map to navigate. As was common back then, we got lost, my dad's pride wouldn't let him ask for directions, and it took far longer than it should have to arrive at our destination. That's the upside to having GPS systems show us the most efficient way to get someplace nowadays. The downside, however, is that nobody &mdash; myself included &mdash; knows how to read a map anymore; it might as well be an abstract drawing of a fictional land.</p> <h2>2. Cursive Penmanship</h2> <p>Most of us know how to write in cursive &mdash; it was a big deal back in the day. Everything had to be in cursive from grade four onward, and if you didn't do your swirls or hooks correctly (or if you made your lowercase Ds look like lowercase Cs &mdash; and maybe still do), you got points taken off and a letter sent home to your mother explaining how if you didn't become a master of cursive by age 11, you would essentially fail at life. Ah, the good ol' days.</p> <p>Yet as obnoxious as it seemed in elementary school, today the nostalgia of cursive reminds us of how important it is to writing correspondences (well, the one correspondence we send per year anyway; more on that coming up), plus it's just easier to beautifully blend all your letters together instead of writing them out individually like a weirdo. Personally, I don't trust anyone who can't write in cursive (I'm suspicious of people who didn't have cable as a kid, too, by the way), and you shouldn't either.</p> <p>Alas, if you're hoping against hope that cursive will make a comeback, put on the brakes. Headline after headline is decreeing the death of cursive penmanship &mdash; &quot;Cursive handwriting is disappearing from public schools,&quot; &quot;Cursive writing is obsolete; schools should teach programming instead,&quot; &quot;Cursive handwriting will no longer be taught in schools because it's a big, old waste of time&quot; &mdash; which probably means that the government will make the replacement of our useless human hands with voice-activated smartphones mandatory by the year 2025.</p> <h2>3. Letter Writing</h2> <p>It wasn't long ago that I was in college dating a guy several hundred miles away, and we wrote letters to one another. We had email, but that was fairly new to the mainstream world, and it was still common to sit down and write your thoughts on paper and take them to the post office. Seems like a whole other life now, doesn't it?</p> <p>As such, today's youth not only lack the wherewithal to form coherent sentences that they'll write using opposable thumbs, but they also have no idea how to properly format a letter (ask your child to do that and see what kind of look you get). How do I know this as a non-parent? Because as a small business owner, I sometimes receive letters from recent college graduates that I swear were plagiarized from cave people seeking employment in the Bedrock.</p> <h2>4. Writing Checks and Balancing a Checkbook</h2> <p>I learned how to write checks in 8th grade as part of a Junior Achievement class, and it made me feel like a boss. From that moment I embraced adulthood, and I wanted to buy everything by writing out checks with the zero dollars I had in my fake bank account. Now 20 years later, I still prefer paper checks to pay my bills and for accounts receivables because it feels like tangible money in my hands &mdash; and that's psychologically important for me whether it's coming or going. Talk about being a weirdo, eh?</p> <p>Can't say I miss the old days in this regard, but as a personal-finance expert I do wish people took their bank accounts more seriously and monitored them more closely. Millions of us teeter on the edge of broke because, partly at least, that money is just numbers on a computer, not ones that we're logging by hand as a representation of our actual funds. Those two distinctions subconsciously affect how we regard our cashflow, according to the School of Because I Said So.</p> <h2>5. Telephone Etiquette</h2> <p>Have you heard a teenager answer a phone call recently? Traditional and acceptable greetings like &quot;Hello&quot; and &quot;How are you?&quot; are all but dead, having been replaced with more modern equivalents like &quot;Sup,&quot; &quot;Yo,&quot; and &quot;What's poppin'?&quot; And that's if they even pick up the phone. It's not just the youngins who have an aversion to calls though; increasingly, our society is transitioning to communication completely by text, and I'm not exempt. Much to my mother's chagrin, I rarely answer my phone, instead preferring short messages. Because why do we need to have a 20-minute conversation that can be accomplished in a few quick clicks? I know, I know, I'm part of the problem.</p> <h2>6. Proper Grammar Skills</h2> <p>I feel like I can serve as an authoritative voice on the value of proper grammar skills and the impending disaster that is our future since I'm an observant writer who has solid grammar skills. As one of the last living bastions of hope, I can tell you that the problem didn't just start a few years ago. It started <em>way</em> before that, somewhere around the time of the tail end of the Boomer Generation who were school age in the 1970s. How can I be sure? Because based solely on the speech patterns of most of the adults in my life growing up, they wouldn't know a past participle if it was stuffed in their cigarettes.</p> <h2>7. Sewing</h2> <p>I could sew a button back onto my shirt if my life depended on it, but everything else is a job for my tailor or my mother. Though I do envy people who can work a needle and thread like it's their magic wand. My grandmother in particular was a boss on her Singer, making whole outfits, quilts, curtains and more like a pioneer who just got off the Oregon Trail. Her prickly prowess saved me a lot of money when I was starting out on my own, too. Thank you, lady.</p> <h2>8. Ironing</h2> <p>I have an old college friend, who I love for her incredible sense of humor, who said that she's successfully navigated her whole life without ever ironing a single article of clothing &mdash; and she wasn't kidding. She's sadly not alone. My observation is that the majority of Americans in this new millennium are now split into two factions: Those who have only seen an iron on a classic TV show, and those who get their clothes pressed by a third party (significant other, mom, lady/gentleman at the press-and-fold, etc.). Me on the other hand, I hold my head high as a member of that third party. I iron everything I pull out of my closet, and I'll iron your clothes too if it means we don't have to go out in public looking like you pulled your outfit from a ball on the floor. It only takes five minutes to look pressed and put together.</p> <h2>9. Resume Writing</h2> <p>When I first moved to New York City, I was jobless. I left Baltimore with about a thousand dollars to my name, banking on getting hired once Manhattan met my awesome personality. Stop laughing.</p> <p>Of course, I didn't land a gig immediately so I had to find work wherever I could. One of those places was on Craigslist helping people write their resumes. Notwithstanding the irony of the situation (a boy who couldn't get a job was writing resumes for professional candidates), it was the single most exhausting thing I've ever done. Based on what I was provided by the clients, you would have thought I had posted an ad offering magician services. Nearly every resume I received was abominable. Zero formatting, spelling and grammar errors throughout, hardly any real skills to speak about, and I was supposed to turn it into a glowing testament of their work ethic that Donald Trump himself would endorse.</p> <p>I'm so glad that's coming to an end. Personally, I want to see what a potential employee has done in the past &mdash; actual work that they've completed, whether it be in a portfolio, on a website, via photos, whatever. Show me &mdash; don't tell me &mdash; what you can do. The rest of the information I need to make a sound judgment on the person comes via social media, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Some of you may roll your eyes at that, but there's much more value in learning about people where they're being real opposed to the BS they cram onto a single sheet of paper. I haven't hired a lackey yet.</p> <h2>10. Driving a Manual Transmission</h2> <p>Why would I want to drive around town grinding gears when I can put the car in one gear and go about my business? The manual transmission isn't 100% obsolete yet &mdash; though its <a href="http://www.roadandtrack.com/car-culture/a6308/whats-really-killing-the-manual-transmisson/">death is on the horizon</a> &mdash; so it still may not be a bad skill to learn. Ya know, for those times you're trapped in the desert with your friend who drives a Jeep and he gets bitten by a rattlesnake and you're his only hope for survival. Everyday occurrences like that.</p> <h2>11. Finding Dates IRL</h2> <p>We swipe left and right, we &quot;friend&quot; each other, and we hook-up. But personally, I love dating and connecting with someone on a one-on-one level. I like organically discovering their idiosyncrasies, sharing experiences together like going to a ballgame, and feeling their hand in mine. I'm afraid I'm in the minority in that regard, but I wholly believe that there's no possible way that we can continue to shut one another out emotionally and survive as a species. It's not altogether biologically impossible to continue on that path, but it would certainly be unfortunate.</p> <p><em>Do you have other life skills to add that are now completely obsolete? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-life-skills-that-are-now-completely-obsolete">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-life-hacks-you-should-master-by-age-30">10 Life Hacks You Should Master by Age 30</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/standout-stuff-to-put-on-your-resume">Standout Stuff for Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-many-reasons-besides-frugality-to-do-for-yourself">The many reasons--besides frugality--to do for yourself</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-finally-make-your-finances-paperless">5 Ways to Finally Make Your Finances Paperless</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-yoga-can-teach-you-about-money">5 Things Yoga Can Teach You About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks cursive ironing maps obsolete old fashioned resumes sewing skills Thu, 18 Jun 2015 15:01:12 +0000 Mikey Rox 1455422 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Life Hacks You Should Master by Age 30 http://www.wisebread.com/10-life-hacks-you-should-master-by-age-30 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-life-hacks-you-should-master-by-age-30" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_cooking_000057441244.jpg" alt="Woman learning to cook by age 30" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you a 20-something trying your best to transition fully into adulthood? We've all been there. It's time to start developing those go-to skills that will make adult life much easier. Get started on these 10 life hacks you should master by age 30.</p> <h2>1. Changing a Flat Tire</h2> <p>As with most <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-survive-the-5-most-common-emergency-situations">unexpected emergency situations</a>, you should be prepared for the worst. Sure, AAA is great, but what if you're in the middle of nowhere, or in the middle of rush hour? A flat tire is relatively easy to fix, so learn <a href="http://www.dmv.org/how-to-guides/changing-tire.php">how to change a tire, now</a>. (You can practice in your driveway.)</p> <h2>2. Repairing Your Pipes</h2> <p>Leaky pipes and clogged drains are the kinds of nuisances that we live with until something worse happens &mdash; and that shouldn't be the case. Look like a boss with your wrench or drain snake and <a href="http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/plumbing/how-to-fix-pipes1.htm">fix leaky pipes</a> without a plumber. Your roommates or your significant other will thank you.</p> <h2>3. Assembling an Emergency Kit</h2> <p>Everyone should have an <a href="http://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit">emergency kit</a> for their home, car, and even for their work desk. Buy three nylon duffel bags, then head to the hardware store and fill them with the essentials. In addition, have a &quot;top five&quot; of close people you'd call for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-people-you-should-have-in-your-personal-emergency-kit">help in an emergency</a>.</p> <h2>4. Mixing a Signature Cocktail</h2> <p>Having a <a href="http://www.popsugar.com/food/What-Your-Signature-Drink-35633409">go-to cocktail</a> that you can make for yourself is a classy life hack that will make you a better host. In the process, you'll likely want to learn more drinks. For bonus points, learn to make your signature drink in <a href="http://drinks.seriouseats.com/2011/12/cocktail-101-how-to-make-cocktails-for-a-crowd-big-batches-martinis-margaritas-manhattans.html">large cocktail batches</a> for parties.</p> <h2>5. Cooking at Least One Dish</h2> <p>Learn how to cook something from scratch! It's about time. It's always impressive to others and delicious for everyone. Pick a dish that requires a mix of multiple ingredients at different times. Spaghetti doesn't count, but spaghetti carbonara does. Start here with some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-restaurant-dishes-you-can-make-at-home">great restaurant dishes</a> you can make at home.</p> <h2>6. Wrapping a Present</h2> <p>How often have you struggled to wrap a gift last minute only to reuse an old gift bag instead? Learn how to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cheap-clever-and-attractive-ways-to-save-on-gift-wrapping-paper">wrap presents creatively</a> with all kinds of materials. You may find that your recipients will enjoy your gifts even more because they love how beautiful they look before even opening them.</p> <h2>7. Calculating Tips</h2> <p>It's not difficult to calculate a tip in your head. Find it hard to solve for 20% right away? Simply take 10% of the total (move the decimal once to the left), and double that. At group meals in which the restaurant doesn't add gratuity, do the same thing, then divide that by the number of people at dinner &mdash; and make sure they don't add the tip until after they are charged for their share of the total. In the worst case scenario, Google has you covered with a <a href="https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&amp;rlz=1CAHPZY_enUS620US621&amp;ion=1&amp;espv=2&amp;es_th=1&amp;ie=UTF-8#q=how+to+calculate+tip&amp;spell=1">tip calculator</a>.</p> <h2>8. Creating a Monthly Budget</h2> <p>Saving for the future is one of the most important things you can start doing in your 20s. These days, we have tons of programs to help <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-sites-and-apps-to-help-you-track-your-spending-and-stick-to-your-budget">track your spending</a> and expenses. Pick one and start budgeting month-by-month. Once you get the hang of it, start a year-long savings plan.</p> <h2>9. Effectively Packing Luggage</h2> <p>No, we don't mean <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-youre-traveling-with-these-8-things-youre-overpacking">cramming your belongings</a> into a carry-on! Consider your mode of travel, destination, and duration of the trip. Bring exactly the amount of undergarments, shirts, and pants you'll need, and only essential toiletries. Tip: try rolling your clothes together instead of folding for more space.</p> <h2>10. Mending Clothing</h2> <p>Wardrobe malfunctions can happen to anyone at anytime, so basic clothes mending should be in your repertoire. One should know how to sew a button, quickly re-stitch a hem, patch a small hole, and other <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-clothing-fit-perfectly-with-these-10-no-sew-fixes">basic clothing fixes</a>. Study a few <a href="http://diyfashion.about.com/od/mendingandalterations/ss/10-Clothing-Fixes-That-Everyone-Should-Know.htm">mending tutorials</a> and start practicing on old garments.</p> <p><em>What other basic life skills have you found essential to know by 30?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-life-hacks-you-should-master-by-age-30">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/51-uses-for-coca-cola-the-ultimate-list">51 Uses for Coca-Cola – the Ultimate List</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-spectacular-uses-for-that-lone-can-of-fruit">8 Spectacular Uses for that Lone Can of Fruit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tips-for-camping-cooking">10 Tips for Camping Cooking</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-adventurous-things-you-should-do-before-you-die">15 Adventurous Things You Should Do Before You Die</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-kitchen-mistakes-good-cooks-make">10 Kitchen Mistakes Good Cooks Make</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Cooking emergency household skills travel twentysomethings Tue, 24 Mar 2015 11:00:07 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1351148 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Old Fashioned Skills That Save You Money http://www.wisebread.com/7-old-fashioned-skills-that-save-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-old-fashioned-skills-that-save-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/old-fashioned-vintage-woman-sewing-machine-Dollarphotoclub_70883513.jpg" alt="vintage woman sewing" title="vintage woman sewing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Home brew? Urban gardens? What's old is new again, and those old fashioned homemaking skills from yesteryear are often more eco-friendly, sustainable, and &mdash; yes &mdash; less expensive than modern conveniences. They're also easy once you get into a routine. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-awesome-practically-free-upcycled-craft-projects?ref=seealso">18 Awesome, Practically Free, Upcycled Craft Projects</a>)</p> <p>So, check out these important skills from yesteryear that let you live on the cheap today. You may even develop some new hobbies in the process.</p> <h2>1. Bread Baking</h2> <p>Have you paid attention to the prices in the bread aisle recently? No, really. Store bought bread is expensive and contains all sorts of strange ingredients. I've started baking most of our bread at home to save money and keep our food simple. Some of the best recipes I make require nothing more than flour, yeast, and water. The rest is in the mixing, rise time, and actual baking. Start with this ubiquitous <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/081mrex.html">no-knead bread</a> recipe by master baker Jim Lahey. You'll let it rise overnight and then bake in a Dutch oven for an amazingly crisp crust. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-beginners-guide-to-homemade-bread?ref=seealso">A Beginner's Guide to Homemade Bread</a>)</p> <h2>2. From-Scratch Everything</h2> <p>In the past, most people actually made their pantry items from scratch. For example, oat flour is nothing more than rolled oats pulsed in your food processor. Same goes with almond meal. With some practice, you can blend together an amazing batch of hummus that costs half as much as its store-bought counterpart. The list goes on. And after a while, making wholesome foods in your own kitchen becomes automatic. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/35-grocery-items-you-should-make-at-home-and-5-to-buy?ref=seealso">35 Grocery Items You Should Make at Home</a>)</p> <h2>3. Food Preservation</h2> <p>Eating local, seasonal produce is usually the cheapest, healthiest option for feeding your family. But what about in the off season? Instead of forking over extra cash to eat tomatoes from who-knows-where in January, consider learning the re-emerging art of canning. You'll need a few tools and some know-how (I love the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0762441437/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0762441437&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=YPURNI7KXULSVNMU">Food In Jars</a> book, which breaks down the method of small batch canning into bits and pieces). I have yet to master it fully, so I choose to prep and freeze a lot of my ingredients to enjoy year round &mdash; most produce lasts a year this way. You can also pickle and dehydrate foods for unique taste and texture. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/preserving-in-season-foods-for-off-season-feasts?ref=seealso">How to Preserve In-Season Foods for Off-Season Feasts</a>)</p> <h2>4. Gardening</h2> <p>Better yet, learn how to grow your own food in your backyard (or, for those of you with small outdoor spaces, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/garden-ideas-for-small-spaces">on your patio</a>). There are a number of hearty plants even beginners can cultivate and harvest with much success. Start with easy-to-grow beets, snap peas, carrots, radishes, squash, peppers, lettuce, and a variety of herbs, like dill, cilantro, and basil. Just be sure to pay attention to the soil, light, and watering suggestions on your seeds' or plant's guide. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-a-great-container-garden-started-with-this-guide?ref=seealso">Get a Great Container Garden Started With This Guide</a>)</p> <h2>5. Sewing</h2> <p>There was a time not so long ago when a hole in a shirt didn't mean it was fated for the donation or garbage pile. Instead, a quick stitch would fix it right up like new. By learning how to sew, you can also customize your wardrobe and even add new wearables for very little cash. Get started by picking up an inexpensive sewing kit or a needle and thread. Then learn some beginner mending techniques, like how to sew on a button, repair small holes, and fix torn seams. It's a lot of under-over-under-over and tying off to finish. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-cute-and-frugal-diy-clothes-you-can-make-for-your-kids?ref=seealso">20 Cute and Frugal Clothes You Can Sew for Your Kids</a>)</p> <h2>6. Cleaning Basics</h2> <p>There weren't a lot of brightly packaged cleaning products back in the day. Instead, people made their own cleaners and solutions at home. Here are five&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-diy-laundry-detergent-recipes">laundry detergent recipes</a> to get you started. I've saved a bundle of money (and plastic) by making laundry soap at home, and my clothes are just as fresh and clean. All-purpose cleaning is also made simple with a mixture of 1:1 vinegar and water solution. Pour them together in a spray bottle and get busy cleaning. Add some alcohol to the bottle (a couple tablespoons) to make a streak-free window and mirror cleaner. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clean-everything-with-just-3-all-natural-cleaners?ref=seealso">How to Clean Everything With 3 All-Natural Cleaners</a>)</p> <h2>7. Soap Making and More</h2> <p>Even the whole bath and body DIY phenomenon has its roots in the past. After all, the general store didn't carry limitless products and solutions. Of course, you can get fancy by mixing together bath bombs and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/homemade-sunblock-and-6-other-non-toxic-recipes-to-get-your-skin-sun-ready">homemade sunscreens</a>. I like to stick with the basics and use coconut oil as a moisturizer. Melting together olive oil, beeswax, and essential oils makes a quick and useful <a href="http://www.neverhomemaker.com/2014/10/homesteading-natural-vapor-rub.html">vapor rub</a>. Once you acquire the core ingredients, you can make most anything yourself. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-amazing-easy-diy-bath-and-body-products?ref=seealso">50 Amazing DIY Bath and Body Products</a>)</p> <p><em>What old timey skills do you rely on?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-old-fashioned-skills-that-save-you-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-guaranteed-easiest-way-to-make-your-own-pickles">The Guaranteed Easiest Way to Make Your Own Pickles</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-moonshine">How to Make Moonshine</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/win-your-next-potluck-with-one-of-these-23-cheap-easy-potluck-dishes">Win Your Next Potluck With One of These 23 Cheap, Easy Potluck Dishes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-amazing-easy-diy-bath-and-body-products">50 Amazing, Easy DIY Bath and Body Products</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-creative-delicious-things-you-can-make-in-a-blender">15 Creative, Delicious Things You Can Make in a Blender</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Food and Drink handmade Homemade homesteading skills Fri, 20 Feb 2015 16:00:10 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1300084 at http://www.wisebread.com Learn All the Frugal Skills You Need With These 9 Great Video Tutorials http://www.wisebread.com/learn-all-the-frugal-skills-you-need-with-these-9-great-video-tutorials <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/learn-all-the-frugal-skills-you-need-with-these-9-great-video-tutorials" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-cooking-eggs-477917887-small.jpg" alt="woman cooking eggs" title="woman cooking eggs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Frugal life skills: We all need them to get through the daily grind with less stress and fewer dollars flying out of our pockets. But what skills are essential to your everyday life for health, happiness, and saving money? (See also:<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-online-workout-videos-for-free-or-cheap?ref=seealso"> 7 Online Workout Videos for Free or Cheap</a>)</p> <p>These nine should get you started.</p> <h2>1. Calculate Tip</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/RyYIWKf65mQ"></iframe></p> <p>Have you ever totally blanked on the right tipping amount when you get your dinner check? <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyYIWKf65mQ&amp;spfreload=10">Calculating the percentage</a> is easy with some mental math you can learn in a snap. From there, it's just figuring out what percentage you want to give, and I've seen averages between 15% and 25%. This math comes in handy when you're trying to figure out how much something is discounted, too.</p> <h2>2. Cook Eggs</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/E05kxs4Bwg4"></iframe></p> <p>Eggs are tasty and super versatile for a variety of breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals. So, learning <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E05kxs4Bwg4&amp;spfreload=10">how to cook them five ways</a> is certainly to your benefit if you like quick, inexpensive protein. Scrambling is as easy as plopping a few eggs in a bowl with some milk and whisking before cooking. Poaching, which is my favorite, can be a bit more complicated and involves a swirling vinegar and water bath to set.</p> <h2>3. Change a Ceiling Light</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/fKI5wOwHc2Y"></iframe></p> <p>When we moved into our new house, there wasn't much to do except change out the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKI5wOwHc2Y&amp;spfreload=10">old ceiling light fixtures</a>. The good news: You don't need a professional to complete this job. The most important step is turning the power off at the circuit breaker and confirming it's off by flipping the switch. Then slowly disassemble the fixture starting with the shade and bulbs. Follow the instructions on your new light and match neutral to neutral and hot to hot wires. Double-check your work and then turn the power back on.</p> <h2>4. Calm a Baby</h2> <p>First-time parents (and anyone who is brave enough to babysit a newborn) can surely take advantage of these <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdIWdPNJ2Ao&amp;spfreload=10">tricks to calm a crying baby</a>. Those tiny creatures can only use crying as communication, so it's wise to first see that their needs (food, sleep, diaper, smiles) are met. From there, use motion, swaddling, or shushing noises to emulate all the sensations the baby had while in the womb. All free ways to get some peace and quiet.</p> <h2>5. Parallel Park</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/TMrO_-bsooQ"></iframe></p> <p>Yes. I still shy away from <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMrO_-bsooQ&amp;spfreload=10">parallel parking</a> even if it costs me extra money at the parking garage. The thing is, it's not so difficult. The first step is making sure the space will accommodate your vehicle. Then pull up parallel with the car in front of the space. Reverse. Once your back tire lines up with the other vehicle's back tire, you'll want to sharply turn your car toward the curb. From there, straighten out once your rear passenger door is even with the front car's rear bumper. And go slowly!</p> <h2>6. Jump a Car</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/wjvZw9jZCaE"></iframe></p> <p>You must learn how to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjvZw9jZCaE&amp;spfreload=10">jump-start a car</a>. Ideally, you'll want to have a set of jumper cables in your car at all times. Then pull the jumper car next to your car with the dead battery, turn off both cars and pop the hoods. Connect the red cable to the positive terminal on the dead battery and on the good battery. The connect the black cable to the neutral terminal on the live battery only and a piece of metal on the dead car. Start the live battery car for a few minutes before starting up the dead car and driving for at least 30 minutes.</p> <h2>7. Change a Tire</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/hDjbz5TrHJA"></iframe></p> <p>Keeping with the car theme, the other most basic thing you should know is <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDjbz5TrHJA&amp;spfreload=10">how to change a flat tire</a> in an emergency. You'll find your spare usually in the trunk. Then pop off your hubcap, loosen the lug nuts, and crank the jack up a few inches before putting it under the car. Then remove the old tire and replace it with the spare, making sure to tighten everything properly. Then don't drive farther than 50 miles and no faster than 50 miles per hour.</p> <h2>8. Fold a Fitted Sheet</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Q-a2FR1iwqg"></iframe></p> <p>I know, I know. This one doesn't really seem essential. But it's a heck of a lot nicer <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-a2FR1iwqg&amp;spfreload=10">folding fitted sheets</a> rather than stuffing them away in your linen closet. It might even save you some precious space. The key is getting all your corners folded up on themselves, and the rest is a breeze. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-make-your-tiny-apartment-feel-like-a-castle?ref=seealso">6 Ways to Make Your Small Apartment Feel Like a Castle</a>)</p> <h2>9. Sew a Button</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/hrSs_DiJ-ZA"></iframe></p> <p>I remember learning how to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrSs_DiJ-ZA&amp;spfreload=10">sew a button onto a shirt</a> when I was 10 years old. All these years later, I still use this skill, and it saves me money in the clothing department. Most shirts come with one or two extra buttons. And you can pick up a simple sewing kit at most stores (even grocery and drug stores). Then just thread your needle and go! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-save-money-on-clothing?ref=seealso">50 Ways to Update Your Wardrobe on the Cheap</a>)</p> <p><em>What frugal skills do you think everyone should know? Please share in comments &mdash; with a video, if you can!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/learn-all-the-frugal-skills-you-need-with-these-9-great-video-tutorials">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-more-hobbies-you-can-start-for-free">10 More Hobbies You Can Start for Free</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-35-best-ways-to-spend-your-free-time-frugally">The 35 Best Ways to Spend Your Free Time (Frugally)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-a-second-language-can-boost-your-career">11 Ways a Second Language Can Boost Your Career</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoid-these-5-pitfalls-when-moving-in-together">Avoid These 5 Pitfalls When Moving in Together</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-8-life-skills-you-must-learn-in-your-40s">The 8 Life Skills You Must Learn in Your 40s</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Personal Development life skills money saving skills Tue, 09 Dec 2014 22:00:09 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1264949 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Kitchen Mistakes Good Cooks Make http://www.wisebread.com/10-kitchen-mistakes-good-cooks-make <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-kitchen-mistakes-good-cooks-make" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/baking-disaster-119148197-small.jpg" alt="baking disaster" title="baking disaster" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>How did I manage to overcook that roast? Why did my cookies spread all over the pan? These cooking mistakes are common, yet can be avoided.</p> <p>We have all made mistakes, even pros like <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iR64GGyEv_o">Julia Child.</a> My mother once made a Baked Alaska mistakenly using salt; my mother-in-law set off the smoke alarm so many times we called it her oven timer. Just learn from your mistakes, and move on. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-cooking-hacks-that-save-time?ref=seealso">7 Surprising Cooking Hacks That Save Time in the Kitchen</a>)</p> <p>Here are 10 common errors, and how to avoid them.</p> <h2>1. You Didn't Taste Before You Served</h2> <p>So, you followed the recipe to the &quot;t,&quot; but it just didn't measure up when it hit the table. Who is to blame? You are! Taste as you go. Your sauce may need more sweetness, acid, or salt, and <em>while</em> you are cooking is the best time to add, not once it is ladled out. (Note: This does not apply to baking, where use of exact ingredients is important, and where you <em>do not</em> want to eat raw eggs.) If you are still unsure, get a second opinion. My husband is pretty used to me coming at him with a spoon.</p> <h2>2. Under-Salting</h2> <p>My parents' generation got a big scare from the media about the use of salt. As a consequence, food often tasted bland. Most salt in your diet comes from processed foods, so if you are cooking your own food, you don't have to be such a fraidy-cat. Just watch a few professional cooking shows or videos and see how much salt the chefs use. I am usually astounded. Certainly, if you have issues with high blood pressure or your heart, you need to be careful &mdash; but otherwise, salt away!</p> <h2>3. Eating Right Away</h2> <p>It is much easier to slice up a roast, or a chicken, and the result will be tastier, if you allow it to &quot;rest&quot; after cooking. Meat continues to cook even after you remove it from the oven. The center continues to heat while the outside cools down. Let the meat &quot;rest&quot; and re-absorb the moisture. A large roast needs about 25 minutes; a whole chicken or turkey should sit for 20 minutes. If you are worried about it getting cold, tent it with some aluminum foil. Slice too soon, and there go your juices!</p> <h2>4. You Don't Know Your Oven Temperature</h2> <p>The oven dial may <em>say</em> 350 degrees, but is it, really? Get a second opinion. For just a few dollars, you can buy an <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00004XSBV/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00004XSBV&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=5S3UVXXWHV4U5XPS">oven dial thermometer</a> to check. If it's off, check your owner's manual; you may be able to fix it. If not, you may want to call a professional repairman.</p> <h2>5. Over-Softened Butter</h2> <p>I do this too often, because I live in a warm, humid climate. Butter softens here in record time. And then what happens? Cookies, which should be plump, spread. Cake batter will not cream properly. If this happens, start over. Properly softened butter should be the consistency of Play-Doh.</p> <h2>6. Your Knives Aren't Sharp</h2> <p><iframe width="605" height="340" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/SBn1i9YqN1k?rel=0"></iframe></p> <p>Dull knives are <em>dangerous</em>. If your blade is dull, it can slip off of the food you are cutting and cut <em>you</em>! You also use more force with a dull knife. You are more likely to work more safely when using a sharp knife. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBn1i9YqN1k">Sharpening knives</a> is not that difficult to learn.</p> <h2>7. You Crowded the Pan</h2> <p>Sometimes, I just want to get some big-batch cooking done and put too many vegetables on the cookie sheet to roast&hellip; or try to brown too much meat at once. And then what happens? Things get soggy. Yuck! Food that needs to brown needs room, so it's better to do it in batches, if you have a lot of it.</p> <h2>8. Dang, Burned It Again</h2> <p>Most often, it's because I am using the wrong burner size on my gas stove. Sometimes, I have the flame up too high (it should never go up the outside of the pan). Also, sometimes I get distracted between the news, texting, or checking a recipe while I am cooking. Good tricks to prevent burning are to set a timer, if you are walking away, or to eliminate some of the distractions until you can turn the stove off.</p> <h2>9. What's Wrong With the Mashed Potatoes?</h2> <p>My mother insisted on &quot;whipping&quot; her potatoes with a hand-mixer, and that's why they became gluey. You are much better off using a ricer or a hand masher. The potato you select makes a huge difference, too. Try Yukon Golds &mdash; and <a href="http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/perfect_mashed_potatoes/">this perfect mashed recipe</a> &mdash; for really delicious potatoes.</p> <h2>10. You Didn't Practice &quot;Clean As You Go&quot;</h2> <p>Unless you want to end up with a sink full of dirty dishes, pots, and pans, you may as well clean up as you go along. It's pretty tiring to cook a meal, then turn around and survey the mess. If most of the dirty kitchen has already been dealt with, you will simplify mealtime.</p> <p>Cooking should be fun. Even if you make mistakes, chalk them up to experience, and move on. Everyone who cooks has a funny &quot;mistake&quot; story! Remember, as Julia Child said, &quot;Have the courage of your convictions!&quot;</p> <p><em>Have I overlooked any common kitchen mistakes? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/marla-walters">Marla Walters</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-kitchen-mistakes-good-cooks-make">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies">Cooking for Beginners: 10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-easy-ways-to-stretch-your-grocery-dollars">20 Easy Ways to Stretch Your Grocery Dollars</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-perfectly-respectable-uses-for-instant-mashed-potatoes">5 Perfectly Respectable Uses for Instant Mashed Potatoes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-foods-everybody-should-be-able-to-cook-by-30">12 Foods Everybody Should Be Able to Cook by 30</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/better-brewing-12-ways-to-make-coffee-at-home">Better Brewing: 12 Ways to Make Coffee at Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Cooking kitchen Mistakes skills Mon, 27 Oct 2014 17:00:06 +0000 Marla Walters 1243332 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Easy to Learn Skills That Will Save You Money http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-to-learn-skills-that-will-save-you-money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-easy-to-learn-skills-that-will-save-you-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/haircut-178723170.jpg" alt="haircut" title="haircut" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>That Double Mocha Coconut Latte Colossus sprinkled with chocolate &mdash; and you don't think you can make this at home yourself? And save yourself a few bucks in the process?</p> <p>Probably you can, but let's start with something that doesn't require an espresso machine. Here are some skills you can learn quickly that will help you save some big bucks in the long run.</p> <h2>1. Change Your Car's Oil</h2> <p>Cars have become increasingly complicated in the past 20 years. What's under the hood now resembles a small nuclear power plant. But <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nng2Ey3z8to">changing the oil</a> has not changed one iota. Usually the lowest component of the engine has a threaded plug you remove to let the oil out. You need a pan to catch the oil and a cheap specialty wrench to remove the oil filter. Refilling takes knowing the car's oil capacity and the ability to pour liquid into a funnel. That costs $15 to $40 around most of the country and takes less than a half hour. Three or more oil changes a year times 10 years, you save up to $1,200 in a decade at the cost of 15 hours of work.</p> <h2>2. Sew a Button</h2> <p>Button-down shirts cost $30 to $100 and up. Pants cost roughly the same. To <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fu3F8GSK8DQ">sew a button</a> and save an unnecessary throw-away, you need to learn how to thread a needle, tie a knot in the thread, and stick the needle through cloth. A button might take a total klutz 15 minutes or so, and it's a skill that almost teaches itself. If all else fails, trial and error costs nothing more than a little thread, 15 minutes and a few of those small, round bandaids. Piece of cake.</p> <h2>3. Give a Haircut</h2> <p>What does a trip to the hair stylist cost these days? Scissors, some forgiveness, practice or even just knowing how to change the depth setting on <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XFvG1xg6Wc">some electric clippers</a>, and you can pretty much <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RTu3yGWv_Q">cut your hair yourself</a>. (Just watch the ears, please.) That will save you an average of $25 per trim or $75 to $100 per year.</p> <h2>4. Make a Sandwich (Or Learn to Cook)</h2> <p>Americans spend an average of $936 per year or $18 per week on lunches bought in restaurants, a survey released in September 2013 by Visa said. So imagine what you could save just learning how to make one new interesting sandwich that would prompt you to cut that expenditure in half? Need some ideas? How about <a href="http://www.seriouseats.com/a_sandwich_a_day/">a different sandwich every day</a>?</p> <p>In addition, a consumer survey by AlixPartners, released in March said that 57% of American eat dinner in restaurants once a week, spending an average of $13.55 per meal or $704.60 per year. It's not free to eat at home, but you could still save plenty if you do. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies?ref=seealso">Cooking for Beginners</a>)</p> <h2>5. Dog Grooming</h2> <p>You pay what to have someone shampoo your dog and give it a fluffy brushing? Anyone with bored kids at home and a dog that needs a bath is blowing an opportunity and money, too, by taking the dog to the mall to see a canine stylist. (And while we're on the subject, learning to clean a dog's teeth is not beyond the realm of possibilities, either.)</p> <h2>6. Read a Contract</h2> <p>True story: When I bought a house, I went to a seminar on &quot;How To Buy A House,&quot; at a local bank and for a half an hour listened to a realtor tell the audience that it was seven steps past impossible to think about buying a home without a realtor. What do they do that is that hard? First, they are more impartial than the buyer or the seller, so they are useful as cool, calm, and collected brokers, but beyond that, here is their biggest skill: They know how to read. Well, it turns out the contract was in English, go figure, and I saved $6,000 by reading it myself, showing, in the end, one small paragraph that I didn't understand to a lawyer, and he gave me some advice on that, for free, because he was a friend and he owed me one.</p> <h2>7. Learn a Little Plumbing</h2> <p>Open the back of a toilet and a wondrous world of simple tinkering awaits you. Most of them have those float-arm things or one of those trip lever things &mdash; it really isn't rocket science to figure this out. Fixing a toilet is kind of like playing the game &quot;Mousetrap,&quot; but partly submerged in water. Meanwhile, your local hardware store sells a trip lever for under $12, while &quot;I've never seen a plumber under $80 per hour,&quot; a response on Yahoo! Answers says.</p> <p>The situation gets more absurd when you call a plumber to fix a leaky sink, which requires replacing a rubber gasket that used to cost pennies. Yes, you usually need one of those wrenchy-thingies, but that doesn't sound too difficult to operate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-plumbing-repairs-that-dont-require-a-plumber?ref=seealso">Easy Plumbing Repairs That Don't Require a Plumber</a>)</p> <h2>8. Design a Website</h2> <p>A plausible online story says that a small business in New York gave three Web development companies the same set of criteria and came up with bids of<a href="http://www.executionists.com/blog/website-design/cost-to-build-websites-2013/"> $2,800, $5,500 and $13,000</a> from the companies to do the work. And the same work can be done for free with one of the simpler web design programs, like <a href="http://www.pagebreeze.com/">PageBreeze</a>, <a href="http://kompozer.net/">KompoZer</a>, <a href="http://wordpress.org/">WordPress</a>, and the like. Yes, not long ago it took a pro to code a website together, but nowadays if you can use Microsoft Office it is likely you can learn to create a website.</p> <h2>9. Negotiate</h2> <p>&quot;How to negotiate&quot; tapes and tutorials are easy to find and the outcome may be securing a bigger raise then you might have otherwise gotten or getting a better starting salary. Negotiating well can also save you hundreds of dollars on your next car and thousands of dollars on your next house. Some people have fair luck negotiating lower fees from doctors or for services around the house. When you learn a specific approach to negotiating, you might also try to negotiate in situations you might not have done so in the past, because you have a system that could boost your confidence. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-negotiate-with-confidence-and-strike-the-best-deal?ref=seealso">How to Negotiate With Confidence</a>)</p> <h2>10. Tax Preparation</h2> <p>The National Society of Accountants did a survey in 2013 and found the average <a href="http://www.nsacct.org/life-and-taxes/life-and-taxes/2013/12/12/taxprepfees2013">cost for tax preparation was just under $200</a> and the average return for taxpayers was about $260. Do you see the problem here? Of course, complicated business taxes are generally best handled by professionals, but it is possible to learn how to fill out your income tax return if it fairly straight forward, rather than giving most of your return to the a tax service &mdash; especially when there is so much help online for getting it done yourself.</p> <p><em>Any easy to learn, money saving skills I've overlooked? Please share in comments &mdash; it's easy!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/anthony-hall">Anthony Hall</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-to-learn-skills-that-will-save-you-money">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-amazing-board-games-you-can-diy">8 Amazing Board Games You Can DIY</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-fun-cheap-projects-to-try-this-weekend">19 Fun, Cheap Projects to Try This Weekend</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pick-up-one-of-these-frugal-hobbies-this-weekend">Pick Up One of These Frugal Hobbies This Weekend</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/18-cheap-and-attractive-ideas-for-bookshelves">18 Cheap and Attractive Ideas for Bookshelves</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-old-furniture-shine-with-these-simple-refinishing-tricks">Make Old Furniture Shine With These Simple Refinishing Tricks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY DIY money saving skills Wed, 14 May 2014 09:00:27 +0000 Anthony Hall 1139225 at http://www.wisebread.com The 35 Best Ways to Spend Your Free Time (Frugally) http://www.wisebread.com/the-35-best-ways-to-spend-your-free-time-frugally <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-35-best-ways-to-spend-your-free-time-frugally" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/reading-482436757.jpg" alt="woman reading" title="woman reading" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Wise Bread readers are masters at saving more and spending less. You know how to shop smart, how to stretch a budget, and how to find the best deals on just about anything.</p> <p>But what about when you want to cut loose and relax?</p> <p>Life, after all, is about balance and having some hobbies is a key component of living a happy, healthy life. If only those hobbies weren't so expensive.</p> <p>Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to stay true to your frugal principles and still have a good time in the process. Here are 35 ways to enjoy yourself without breaking the bank. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-free-or-really-cheap-ways-to-relieve-stress?ref=seealso">20 Free Ways to Relieve Stress</a>)</p> <h2>1. Reading</h2> <p>Too obvious? Maybe, but it's cheap, cheap, cheap, and if you enjoy doing it, you'll never run out of new material. Find an endless supply of stuff to read on the Internet, pick up used books at garage sales and thrift stores, or take advantage of your free library card and gain access to everything from the old classics to the latest best-sellers.</p> <h2>2. Journaling/Writing</h2> <p>Writing offers a number of benefits, not the least of which is learning to write better by constructing your thoughts on paper. Work through your issues by journaling or leave something memorable for your descendants by writing your memoirs. If you're not yet ready to put your life on paper, try writing about someone else's life instead, or write about a cause or event that you think is important.</p> <p>Or just make the whole thing up. One of the great things about writing fiction is that you have control over how the story develops. Not sure where to start? Let this handy <a href="http://writers-den.pantomimepony.co.uk/writers-plot-ideas.php">online plot generator</a> start for you.</p> <h2>3. Writing Poetry</h2> <p><em>There is an art to making words rhyme,</em></p> <p><em>A rhythm that requires those words to keep time,</em></p> <p><em>But master it and you will see,</em></p> <p><em>There's nothing quite so creative as poetry.</em></p> <p>Where to start? Turco's <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0874513812/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0874513812&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">The New Book of Forms</a> and Hollander's <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0300088329/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0300088329&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">Rhyme's Reason</a> are classic introductions to English rhyme and verse, with clear explanations and plenty of examples.</p> <h2>4. Performing Slam Poetry</h2> <p>If traditional rhyme isn't your thing, consider <a href="http://nps2013.poetryslam.com/">slam poetry</a> instead. Meant to be spoken, slam poetry is much more visceral in content, often used as a means to vent about political issues, humanitarian injustices, and personal milestones. It's also much more flexible when it comes to style and syntax. You can use rhyme if you want, but it's not required; in fact, the only real &quot;requirements&quot; of slam poetry is that it's passionate, and if you're going to compete, your poem must be three minutes or under.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/hobby-482059289-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h2>5. Sewing</h2> <p>When I was in elementary school, my mother made matching outfits for me and my best friend. They featured faux suede vests and skirts with cream-colored satin shirts, and since this was the '70s, we were hot stuff in those outfits to say the least.</p> <p>I never really got into sewing after a dress-debacle in my 8th grade Home-Ec class, but now, with a daughter of my own, I've pulled out mom's sewing machine, and I'm slowly but surely learning how to make my own garments. My only regret is that I didn't do it sooner. Sewing is a wonderfully creative outlet and the perfect way to fashion a custom wardrobe for a fraction of what you'd spend buying off the racks. Plus &mdash; and this is my goal &mdash; if you get really good at working with patterns, you can start working on your own designs. Move over, Jaclyn Smith!</p> <h2>6. Walking</h2> <p>Despite the obvious cardiovascular benefits, walking is a great way to clear your head, let off some steam, and just enjoy the outdoors. You can walk the trail at your local park or just walk your neighborhood after dinner. The benefits are the same, and it's free. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-benefits-of-a-10-minute-walk?ref=seealso">Surprising Benefits of a 10-Minute Walk</a>)</p> <h2>7. Gardening</h2> <p>When we moved out of the city some seven-plus years ago, I wanted to fully experience the whole &quot;country-lifestyle,&quot; so I promptly tilled up an area for a small garden. It was one of the best things I've ever done. Not only do you get to commune with nature, but if you grow edibles, you can cut down your grocery bill to boot. And just let me say, there's <em>nothing</em> like homegrown tomatoes. Plus, you don't need lots of space to enjoy this hobby &mdash; <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-a-great-container-garden-started-with-this-guide">container gardening</a> works well even in the smallest of spaces &mdash; and if you grow heirloom plants and harvest your seeds, you'll only have to buy your starter plants once.</p> <h2>8. Bird-Watching</h2> <p>When we moved to said country home, we noticed a mud nest on our front porch. Hubby wanted to tear it down&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 13px;">&mdash; and</span>&nbsp;I wanted to know what lived in it. As it turns out, that nest belonged to a pair of <a href="http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/purple_martin/id">Purple Martins</a>, birds known for eating their weight in mosquitoes. And because they come back every spring, I've never had to buy a can of repellant. The moral of this story? Learning more about the birds in your backyard might be worth your time.</p> <h2>9. Painting</h2> <p>Years ago, my girlfriends and I decided to try our hand at painting. We began with oils, which I loved as a medium, but they were a little pricey and a pain to clean up. Then I discovered acrylics. Water soluble and much, much cheaper, they have been my go-to medium ever since. You can find canvases and brushes &mdash; also inexpensive &mdash; at most craft stores, and there's an endless supply of how-tos on the web.</p> <h2>10. Drawing</h2> <p>If painting isn't your thing, try drawing. Sketchbooks are relatively cheap and easy to tote, so you can take your hobby with you wherever you go. And like painting, you can self-teach using books, online instruction, and lots of practice.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/hobby-482330273-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h2>11. Cooking</h2> <p>Forget about prepackaged mixes and store-bought cans &mdash; there's something about cooking and baking from scratch that feels almost spiritual. Maybe it's the creative aspect of pulling it all together, tasting and adjusting along the way to be sure your recipe is just right. Maybe it's the satisfaction of seeing your creation turn out well, a manifestation of all the love and intention that went into making it. Maybe it's the presentation, with all the little drizzles and sprinkles that turn your dish into art.</p> <p>Or maybe it's just that it tastes better.</p> <p>Depending upon what you have in your cabinets, you may need to purchase certain spices and staples, but I've found that it's not too hard to keep a well-stocked kitchen, and it's definitely cheaper than eating out. Plus, it's nice to get a craving for something and know that I have the ingredients to make it, meaning fewer spontaneous trips to the grocery store.</p> <p>Where to start? Pick a cuisine or style you like, and decide to master its ingredients and recipes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cooking-for-beginners-10-recipes-for-kitchen-newbies?ref=seealso">10 Recipes for Kitchen Newbies</a>)</p> <h2>12. Genealogy</h2> <p>I can't tell you what got me started in genealogy. But I can tell you that once I started digging, I was forever hooked. There's something absolutely fascinating about tracing your past, learning where you came from, and even (occasionally) stumbling upon photos and stories of ancestors you never met. I have an ancestor who was a Revolutionary War Patriot, for example, and there's a memorial built in his honor in his hometown.</p> <p>I have another ancestor who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth and he, too, is remembered in a memorial, this one placed in an Abbey in Somerset.</p> <p>Not all of my ancestors have notable stories, of course, but following their trail is interesting nonetheless. You can splurge for an <a href="http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-2822544-10456885">Ancestry.com</a> membership or you can begin by exploring the free genealogy websites online and the genealogy section at your local library. If you're just getting started, try <a href="http://www.cyndislist.com/categories/">Cyndi's List</a>.</p> <h2>13. Become an Expert</h2> <p>When I discovered that I had an ancestor with ties to Queen Elizabeth, I couldn't help but learn more about that particular era. Between the assassination attempts on the Queen and all the betrayal and beheadings during her father's (King Henry VIII) reign, there's more than enough information to keep my interest piqued. And in the process, I've become a bit of an expert on this topic.</p> <p>Now, think about something that interests you. Are you a history buff? Fascinated by science? Passionate about climate change? Dig in deeper and learn everything you can. In a world where we're bombarded with information 24/7, it's a nice change of pace to cover more than just a few fleeting details. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-learn-something-new-every-day?ref=seealso">11 Ways to Learn Something New</a>)</p> <h2>14. Jewelry-Making</h2> <p>If you've got kids, then you've probably seen the rubber-band bracelets that are all the rage. My daughter loves making them, and has even branched out to woven friendship bracelets using string and cord. Helping her figure out new techniques and patterns reminded me of how much fun those smaller craft projects could be and while the rubber-band variation isn't really my thing, wire jewelry offers some great possibilities.</p> <p>There are literally hundreds of websites where you can get ideas and inspiration, along with step-by-step tutorials to walk you through a complete project. You can find wire at most craft stores, but you'll pay less if you order from some of the jewelry-supply websites, such as <a href="http://www.firemountaingems.com/">Fire Mountain Gems</a>. Beads can be found at most of these sites as well, or you can order them in bulk from Amazon.</p> <p>And if you find that you're especially good at jewelry making, you can sell your stuff on Etsy for extra cash. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-etsy-can-help-start-your-small-business?ref=seealso">5 Ways to Launch a Small Business With Etsy</a>)</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/hobby-481199535-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h2>15. Guitar</h2> <p>Of all the musical instruments you could play, the guitar is probably the most practical &mdash; easy to take with you, and if you buy it used, you can get one relatively cheap.</p> <p>There's also plenty of free lessons to be had. <a href="http://justinguitar.com">Justin Guitar</a> and <a href="http://guitarlessons.com">GuitarLessons</a> both offer free instruction as do many other websites. Or, you can just head over to YouTube &mdash; you'll find both generic lessons as well as instructions for specific songs, meaning you can finally learn how to play that 80s tune that you love so much.</p> <h2>16. Card Tricks</h2> <p>Who hasn't seen a card trick and wondered, <em>&quot;How did they do that?&quot;</em> Well, here's your chance to find out! The beauty of learning card tricks compared to other types of magic is that you can buy a deck of cards for a dollar &mdash; one dollar, and you have everything you need to start learning new tricks.</p> <p>Granted, some are more complex than others, but many are relatively easy and if you add a <a href="http://magic.about.com/od/Card-Magic-Tricks/ss/Learn-Shuffle-Card-Magic-Tricks.htm">fancy shuffle</a>, you'll look like a pro when you perform your trick.</p> <p>Cards not your thing, or a dollar to high a price to pay? How about <a href="http://www.goodtricks.net/coinmagic.html">coin tricks</a>?</p> <h2>17. Play Cards</h2> <p>Want to stretch that dollar even further? Learn to play Texas Hold 'Em or Five Card Draw or Bridge for that matter. Playing cards is a fun and easy way to relax and unwind, and it's also a great option when the Internet mysteriously goes down and you decide to reinvent family time.</p> <h2>18. Star-Gazing</h2> <p>There is something magical about looking out at the night sky, even if you don't have a telescope. Learn to spot the different constellations with one of the many astronomy apps available (I use <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/en/app/star-chart/id345542655?mt=8">Star Chart</a> &mdash; it's <em>free</em>!) and subscribe to some of the astronomy websites (such as <a href="http://astronomy.com">Astronomy Magazine</a> and <a href="http://skyandtelescope.com">Sky and Telescope</a>) to learn more about space and upcoming celestial events.</p> <h2>19. Fishing</h2> <p>You'll need a place to fish obviously &mdash; a lake or a stocked pond, for example &mdash; but that's about the biggest challenge you'll find with this hobby. Fishing requires patience, but it can also be a great way to get outside and clear your head. It's also a great way to take care of dinner.</p> <h2>20. Photography</h2> <p>No need to spend lots of money on expensive cameras; many smartphones can now take some really nice pictures and you can always upgrade later. If you've got an eye for photography, you can sell your images on sites like <a href="http://www.istockphoto.com/">iStockphoto</a> and make a few extra bucks in the process. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-awesome-money-making-hobbies?ref=seealso">Awesome Money-Making Hobbies</a>)</p> <h2>21. Chess</h2> <p>You can get a cheap chess board at Walmart, or you can play online for free (plus pick up tips and strategies) at <a href="http://chess.com">Chess.com</a>. In addition to being a great way to challenge yourself, chess is actually good for you. It exercises both sides of the brain, can help prevent diseases like dementia, and has even been shown to raise IQ.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/hobby-461263895-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h2>22. Whittling</h2> <p>All you need is a knife and a piece of soft wood; the rest is nothing but your own creativity. There are plenty of tutorials online to get you started, and there are even some whittling magazines out there as well. And if you're wondering what you could possibly make by whittling, <a href="http://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=whittling">take a look at these</a>.</p> <h2>23. Puzzles</h2> <p>Puzzles are cheap. Puzzles are easy to find. And depending upon your level of patience, puzzles can be a wonderful way to spend a quiet evening at home. Don't care for the jigsaw variety? Then try crossword puzzles or <a href="http://www.sudoku.com/en">Sudoku</a> &mdash; both help improve concentration, memory, and critical thinking.</p> <h2>24. Coding</h2> <p>Not everyone welcomes the idea of deciphering code, but for those that do, there are plenty of free resources to keep you busy. <a href="http://codeacademy.com">Code Academy</a> offers free lessons in several scripts and languages, including PHP, Ruby, HTML, and Java. Become proficient, and you can charge for your skills on sites like <a href="https://www.upwork.com/">Upwork</a>.</p> <h2>25. Dancing</h2> <p>Besides being a wonderful form of exercise, dancing is intensely expressive, allowing you release your tension while you work up a sweat. Learn specific dance styles, such as Salsa, Latin, or Hip Hop on YouTube or at sites like <a href="http://learntodance.com">LearntoDance</a> and <a href="http://www.thedancestoreonline.com/ballroom-dance-instruction/index.htm">The Dance Store Online</a>, or just turn on your radio and go freestyle.</p> <h2>26. Scrapbooking</h2> <p>If you buy all the ready-made scrapbooking kits, you can easily spend a small fortune. So don't do that. Instead, make your own scrapbooking accents with cheaper alternatives such as construction paper, coloring book pages, free printables off the Internet, and pictures cut out of magazines.</p> <h2>27. Pinterest</h2> <p>I've just recently started using <a href="https://www.pinterest.com/">Pinterest</a>, but I can definitely see the appeal. You create &quot;boards&quot; devoted to whatever topics you choose and then &quot;pin&quot; related items that you find on the Internet. Think of it as digital collecting, and you're on the right track. For me, it's like window shopping online &mdash; I have a board for shoes, one for recipes, one for wire jewelry, another for astronomy pics, and yet another for gardening ideas. It's a free and fun way to share the stuff you find online and follow others who share your interests.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/hobby-481194329-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h2>28. Raise Chickens</h2> <p>I currently have eight chickens &mdash; four that are full-grown and keep me well stocked with fresh eggs, and four new chicks, about three weeks old and currently living in a tub in my dining room until they're big enough to live outside.</p> <p>Getting chickens was one of the first things I did when we moved out of the city, and I have to tell you, I am in love. Chickens are easy to keep, funny to watch, and if you get the right breeds, sociable. My girls follow me around the yard, they keep the grasshoppers under control, and as I said, they keep me and my neighbors well stocked in eggs. If you decide to breed, you can sell your chicks to feed stores or direct to the public for $2 to $3 apiece. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-raise-backyard-chickens?ref=seealso">Raising Backyard Chickens</a>)</p> <h2>29. Homesteading</h2> <p>Homesteading is actually a broad term that covers a variety of activities and practices, all devoted to living self-sufficiently. Canning falls under homesteading for example, as does making your own wine and cheese. You don't have to go completely off the grid, but if making your own jerky sounds appealing, or if you've often thought about keeping bees, crafting elixirs, growing your own crops, or just &quot;going green,&quot; homesteading might be for you. And with the right planning and preparation, even a little homesteading can be very friendly to your pocketbook.</p> <h2>30. Papier Mache</h2> <p>Not only is this hobby extremely creative, it's also a great way to recycle all that junk mail and old newspapers. Visit <a href="http://www.ultimatepapermache.com/">Ultimate Paper Mache</a> for recipes, tutorials, and inspiration.</p> <h2>31. Origami</h2> <p>The art of paper folding, origami, dates back to 17th Century Japan. It uses a series of folds to create sculptures out of flat pieces of paper, no glue or cutting allowed. To start your origami adventure, try <a href="http://www.origami-instructions.com/">these projects</a>.</p> <h2>32. Whistling</h2> <p>Yes, whistling. I can whistle one note &mdash; one sad, little note that's barely audible, but I love the idea of being able to whistle a tune, or even just whistle for my dog. Those that can do it typically take it for granted, while those that can't would love to learn. And as with everything else, practice makes perfect. <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Whistle">Here's some tips to get you started</a>.</p> <p><img width="605" height="303" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u784/hobby-478115241-ggnoads.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h2>33. Singing</h2> <p>Everyone &mdash; <em>everyone</em> &mdash; likes to sing along to their favorite songs. So, why not improve that singing voice and share it with the rest of the world? There's plenty of singing tutorial videos on Youtube or you can take free lessons from <a href="http://free-singing-lessons.com/">Free-Singing-Lessons</a>.</p> <h2>34. Make Recycled Art</h2> <p>We've all seen those news stories about people who made impressive works of art from what might otherwise be considered as trash or junk. The <a href="http://kylebean.co.uk/portfolio/whatcamefirst">chicken made from egg shells</a> for example, or <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/nickgentry/sets/72157634425010430/">the paintings created from floppy disks</a> &mdash; the possibilities are endless, and what better way to recycle your trash?</p> <h2>35. Blogging</h2> <p>After you've mastered some of these other hobbies, write a blog about it! You can blog for free on sites like <a href="http://blogger.com">Blogger</a> and <a href="http://wordpress.com">Wordpress</a> or, if you want something more custom, you can download the <a href="http://wordpress.org">Wordpress</a> platform for free and install on your own domain. Domain names can be had for about $10 a year (I use <a href="http://www.kqzyfj.com/click-2822544-11757863">Namecheap</a>) and hosting for under $10 per month, depending on the package you choose (I use <a href="http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-2822544-10408508">Hostgator</a>).</p> <p>Blogging about your hobbies and interests allows you to continue improving those writing skills and connect with others who share your interests.</p> <p><em>Now it's your turn&hellip; what's your favorite frugal hobby?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kate-luther">Kate Luther</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-35-best-ways-to-spend-your-free-time-frugally">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-best-hobbies-for-introverts">8 Best Hobbies for Introverts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/50-things-you-can-do-today-instead-of-going-shopping">50 Things You Can Do Today Instead of Going Shopping</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-by-without-a-job-part-2-boost-income">Getting by without a job, part 2--boost income</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/life-without-tv">Life Without Television</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-easy-ways-to-make-your-life-more-interesting">25 Easy Ways to Make Your Life More Interesting</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living crafts hobbies pastimes skills Sun, 06 Apr 2014 02:45:22 +0000 Kate Luther 1134343 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Sell Your Skills as an Older Worker http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-sell-your-skills-as-an-older-worker <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-sell-your-skills-as-an-older-worker" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/senior-computer-4038603-small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some stellar articles on selling your skills as an older worker, schooling yourself post graduation, and preventing identity theft for your children.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://moneysmartlife.com/selling-skills-older-worker/">How to Sell Your Skills as an Older Worker</a> &mdash; When trying to find a job as an older worker, use the fact that you have tons of experience as leverage to get a job. [Money Smart Life]</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Continuing-Education-Adults-9115180">10 Ways to School Yourself Post Graduation</a> &mdash; Keep learning after you graduate by reading or finding books on tape to listen to. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <p><a href="http://cashmoneylife.com/preventing-identity-theft-for-your-children/">Preventing Identity Theft for Your Children</a> &mdash; To prevent identity theft for your children, run credit reports on your children from time to time. [Cash Money Life]</p> <p><a href="http://www.thefrugaltoad.com/frugal-living/kids-find-a-babysitter-budget">How to Find a Babysitter on a Budget</a> &mdash; Find a babysitter on a budget by asking your friends who they use for babysitting. [The Frugal Toad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.20sfinances.com/2013/07/10/5-benefits-to-studying-abroad/">5 Benefits to Studying Abroad</a> &mdash; One benefit of studying abroad is you gain independence. [20's Finances]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://onecentatatime.com/making-money-online-in-few-unusual-ways/">Making Money Online in Few Unusual Ways</a> &mdash; Did you know that you can make money online by being a bingo chat host? [One Cent At A Time]</p> <p><a href="http://www.narrowbridge.net/save-with-amazon-subscribe-and-save/">Easy Ways to Save with Amazon Subscribe and Save</a> &mdash; By subscribing to Amazon Subscribe and Save, you can save anywhere from 5% to 15% on products! [NarrowBridge Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://livingonthecheap.com/do-you-need-rental-car-insurance/">Do you really need rental car insurance?</a> &mdash; Chances are you don't need rental car insurance because your personal insurance will cover your rental car. Be sure to call your insurance agent before you rent to find out! [Living on the Cheap]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/7-not-big-like-disney-trips-to-take-with-the-whole-family">7 Not-Big-Like-Disney Trips to Take With the Whole Family</a> &mdash; Six Flags and Washington D.C. are two great places to visit with the family. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://www.stretcher.com/stories/07/07jul09f.cfm#.UeMSg457Pbw">Sizzling Tips for a Cool Summer Kitchen</a> &mdash; Instead of baking cakes for summer birthdays, serve ice cream sundaes instead! [TheDollarStretcher.com]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-sell-your-skills-as-an-older-worker">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-write-a-resume-12-steps-to-your-next-job">How To Write A Resume: 12 Steps To Your Next Job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-by-without-a-job-part-1-losing-a-job">Getting by without a job, part 1--losing a job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/standout-stuff-to-put-on-your-resume">Standout Stuff for Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lose-your-job-without-losing-your-identity">Lose Your Job Without Losing Your Identity</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-a-job-learn-the-secret-from-a-bad-movie">How to get a job--learn the secret from a bad movie</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income best money tips job older skills worker Tue, 16 Jul 2013 09:48:32 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 980620 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Career Changes You Can Make Today http://www.wisebread.com/25-career-changes-you-can-make-today <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-career-changes-you-can-make-today" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_office_window.jpg" alt="Man at office window" title="Man at office window" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="131" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We're all busy. And that means we get caught up in our day-to-day responsibilities and rarely have time to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, asking &quot;Where is my career going?&quot;</p> <p>Here are 25 things you can do today to make sure your career ship is cruising in the right direction. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-awesome-websites-to-help-you-get-a-job">25 Awesome Websites to Help You Get a Job</a>)</p> <h2>Read Up</h2> <p>Reading is important because it's how we learn new things and stay up to date with what's happening in the world. Here are some things you should read to keep you as productive as possible.</p> <p><strong>1. Books</strong></p> <p>There are a million books out there about how to &ldquo;boost&rdquo; your career. But here are four recent ones I've read that bring a unique perspective to the field. Their goal is to treat your career as if you are a freelancer offering your services. It&rsquo;s your job to hustle and make sure your services are in demand. The rarer and more valuable those services are, the better off you&rsquo;ll be. As for &quot;SPIN Selling,&quot; there are some sales strategies in there you can use during interviews to help you get the job.</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307951529/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=0307951529&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20"> &quot;The $100 Startup&quot;</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307888908/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=0307888908&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20"> &quot;Startup of You&quot;</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1455509124/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=1455509124&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20"> &quot;So Good They Can&rsquo;t Ignore You&quot;<br /> </a></li> <li><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0070511136/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;creativeASIN=0070511136&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20">&quot;SPIN Selling&quot;</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>2. The News</strong></p> <p>Make the news a part of your routine. It&rsquo;s important that you stay &ldquo;in the know&rdquo; about what&rsquo;s happening in the job market, what industries are getting coverage, and what&rsquo;s &ldquo;hot&rdquo; (and more importantly...what's not).</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://online.wsj.com/home-page">WSJ</a></li> <li><a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/"> Yahoo Finance</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>3. Blogs</strong></p> <p>Good blogs are a great way to keep the pulse of the career field and get actionable advice that&rsquo;s tried and true. If you're obsessive and love to read, make sure to check out <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-career-advice-sites-you-should-know-about">15 Career Advice Sites You Should Know About</a> or these blogs:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://calnewport.com/blog/"> Cal Newport</a></li> <li><a href="http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/"> Penelope Trunk</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/blog/"> Ramit Sethi</a></li> <li><a href="http://blogs.hbr.org/"> Harvard Business School</a></li> </ul> <h2>Connect With People</h2> <p>You&rsquo;re not going to advance far in your career without some help (and a little luck). So make sure you are constantly building a network of people you admire that you can learn from.</p> <p><strong>4. Online</strong></p> <p>LinkedIn is a great way to keep in touch with people in your industry and keep track of what they&rsquo;re doing and worrying about. If someone you admire tweets about a problem, you have a cool opportunity to help them out. It&rsquo;s also a great way to study up on a potential new boss/employer.</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://twitter.com/">Twitter</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.linkedin.com/">LinkedIn</a></li> </ul> <p><strong>5. At Work</strong></p> <p>The people you work with today are the people your next job will be calling for references. You don't have to be a fake, just remember that the goal is to get things done and for the entire group to be successful. Be friendly. Be a team player. You can&rsquo;t do it all by yourself &mdash; and you will have a heck of a time getting anything done if your colleagues don&rsquo;t like your attitude.</p> <p><strong>6. Your College Network</strong></p> <p>Most universities and colleges have an alumni association that you can join. Once you&rsquo;re in, you can search the alumni database by company, industry, and even title. Right off the bat you have something in common with these people, so use the relationship wisely (don&rsquo;t spam!).</p> <p><strong>7. Find a Mentor</strong></p> <p>Mentors are essential in developing your career. We all think we can do it on our own, but that&rsquo;s just youthful bravado talking. Find someone you respect and trust that has experience and try to learn as much as you can from them. It might be your boss or it might be a former boss...you never know.</p> <p><strong>8. Help a Coworker</strong></p> <p>Keep an eye out for someone that has too much on their plate or is obviously frustrated. Then try to help them out. Take on some of their work. Push a deadline back for them. Take them out to coffee to give them a break. Anything. Just let them know you&rsquo;re there to help. Help your team today, and they will be there to help you down the line.</p> <h2>Software Savers</h2> <p>I'm a tech guy, so I love using software to make my life easier. Here are some tools I highly recommend.</p> <p><strong>9. Use Prezi for Presentations</strong></p> <p>PowerPoint is a snooze-fest, so go to <a href="http://www.prezi.com">Prezi.com</a> and take a few minutes to learn the basics. Next time you (or a coworker) need to make a presentation, wow everyone by using Prezi instead. Then show everyone else how to use it. No more boring PowerPoint slides to sit through, and you've just demonstrated some leadership.</p> <p><strong>10. Defend Your Time Against Distractions</strong></p> <p>Regardless of what email program you use, this advice holds. Turn off the notifications that beep or pop up every time an email comes in; these distractions are productivity killers.</p> <p>Also, use your calendar wisely &mdash; schedule your day in advance by blocking off time so, a) no one bothers you, and b) you have clear direction on what you&rsquo;re doing throughout the day. Add a couple of blocks throughout the day for checking email.</p> <p><strong>11. Become an Excel Master</strong></p> <p>You&rsquo;ll probably never become as good as <a href="http://www.chandoo.org" target="_blank">this guy</a>, but you should at least learn to do more than basic charts with Excel. There&rsquo;s a reason why this is so expensive. It can save you hours of work, make you look real smart, and give you some great insight when you have tons of data. As I&rsquo;ve said before, it&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/excel-the-most-underrated-software-you-already-own">the most underrated piece of software you already own</a>.</p> <p><strong>12. Try Evernote</strong></p> <p><a href="http://evernote.com/">Evernote</a> allows you to store all your notes, pictures, lists, links, and anything else you can think of in one cloud-based location. It makes everything searchable, so you can always find that article you flagged or those meeting notes you stored. You may or may not wind up using it, but try it anyway. Some people use it to take notes in meetings and wind up becoming as attached to it as they are to their email client.</p> <h2>Your Salary</h2> <p>One of the most important parts of your career is what you're worth to the market. The sooner you maximize this, the better off off you'll be down the line &mdash; think of it as an investment that pays off the earlier you start executing.</p> <p><strong>13. Run a Salary Audit</strong></p> <p>The goal is to figure out if you&rsquo;re being paid fairly. Use salary-comparison sites like <a href="http://www.salary.com">Salary.com</a> and <a href="http://www.glassdoor.com">Glassdoor</a> to get a range of where you should be. Be warned &mdash; you might find you&rsquo;re paid fairly (and might be overpaid!) even if you feel you deserve more! For more on salary audits, check out my <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-the-most-out-of-salary-comparison-sites">salary guide</a>.</p> <p><strong>14. Control Your Spending</strong></p> <p>Making more is the best way to boost your finances, but you also have to control how much you spend. It isn&rsquo;t as hard as you think. Spend less than you make, and get rid of your debt as quickly as you possibly can.</p> <p><strong>15. Automate Your Finances</strong></p> <p>As much as we love to talk about money, we shouldn&rsquo;t be wasting all of our time thinking and worrying about it. Automate your savings, your bills, and your investments so you don&rsquo;t have to spend time managing it every month. Now take that time and devote it to planning ahead.</p> <h2>Plot Your Next Move</h2> <p>You should always be ready to make a move because you never know when a random opportunity (or a layoff) will come along.</p> <p><strong>16. Work Smarter</strong></p> <p>Before you try to find another job, make sure you&rsquo;re killing it at your current job. Make life easier for yourself and for others by finding efficiencies, working smarter, and getting things done. Easier said than done, I know, but when you&rsquo;re out there interviewing, you want to have concrete examples of how you created value in the past.</p> <p><strong>17. Learn More Skills</strong></p> <p>This isn&rsquo;t easy either, but if you&rsquo;ve been reading the news and some good blogs around your industry, then you should have a pretty good idea of what you should add to your arsenal. Maybe it&rsquo;s software skills or a certification, but in order to get to the next step you have to add these skills. Before you go back to school and go into debt, look into alternative online learning solutions like <a href="https://www.coursera.org/">Coursera</a>, <a href="http://www.lynda.com">Lynda</a>, and online universities.</p> <p><strong>18. Learn How to Interview</strong></p> <p>Interviewing is an art form, and you have to know how to drive the conversation and tell your story. I could point you to a million different resources on this, but I&rsquo;ll make this simple. Go to New York Times bestseller <a href="http://iwillteachyoutoberich.com">Ramit Sethi&rsquo;s site</a> and read all the free stuff he offers. Even without paying for his Dream Job program, you&rsquo;ll still get a ton of value. Start there and sign up to get his hilarious/insightful emails.</p> <p><strong>19. Be Flexible</strong></p> <p>Most people think they are in control of their careers. You pick a field/industry/job, and then you plow ahead, doing your best to go as far as possible. That&rsquo;s not realistic. Things that interest you will lure you into different areas. Stuff you had no idea existed will come into play. You&rsquo;ll get laid off. You&rsquo;ll get promoted. You&rsquo;ll switch jobs. Be open to these changes, and don&rsquo;t shut any doors because they don&rsquo;t mesh with your &ldquo;five year plan.&rdquo; The best course of action is to be ready for anything because the unexpected moves sometimes wind up being the best moves you ever make.</p> <h2>About Your Boss</h2> <p>This person is a huge player in your career &mdash; whether you like it or not. So make sure you're devoting some time and energy to this relationship.</p> <p><strong>20. Have a Sit Down</strong></p> <p>Communication is crucial, especially with the person you report to. Whether you get along with your boss or not (in a perfect world you at least respect and trust him or her), you need to have a clear understanding of what&rsquo;s expected of you and how you can exceed those expectations. Not sure how to &ldquo;hit a homerun&rdquo; for your boss? Ask, and then execute.</p> <p><strong>21. Pretend You&rsquo;re the Boss</strong></p> <p>I don&rsquo;t mean put your feet on your desk and start bossing people around. I mean really take the time to imagine yourself in your boss&rsquo;s shoes. Think about her day-to-day, the people she manages, the boss she has to answer to. All of that...think about it real hard. Sometimes a little empathy goes a long way. Plus, it will help you on your next task.</p> <p><strong>22. Help Your Boss</strong></p> <p>We&rsquo;re all very busy, but pay close attention to your boss for a week. I mean, really pay attention. What&rsquo;s bothering him? What&rsquo;s keeping him up at night? What worries him? Now spend some of your time trying to make his life easier.</p> <h2>Acquire&nbsp;New Skills</h2> <p>Your career can&rsquo;t progress if you don&rsquo;t learn new, practical skills that are valued in the workforce. Just because you graduated college doesn&rsquo;t mean you should stop learning. If you do, you&rsquo;ll stagnate real quick.</p> <p><strong>23. Get Technical</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/give-your-career-a-boost-with-one-skill">Learning to program</a> isn&rsquo;t easy, but having a basic understanding of how things like websites and apps are created can go a long way. So check out sites like <a href="http://www.about.com">About.com</a>, <a href="http://Udemy.com">Udemy</a>, and <a href="http://www.codecademy.com/">Code Academy</a> to get a jump start on the essentials. Heck, you might even find yourself getting into it and wanting to learn more.</p> <p><strong>24. Start a Blog</strong></p> <p>I&rsquo;ve always believed <a href="http://www.thewriterscoin.com/to-blog-or-not-to-blog-that-is-the-question/">everyone can benefit from having a blog</a>. If you commit to a regular posting schedule, you&rsquo;ll find yourself reading more industry-related news and staying on top of your space. This is a good thing. The blog is an outlet where you can discuss topics that you find especially interesting and potentially find others who are interested in the same things you are. Plus, it&rsquo;ll teach you the basics of SEO and social media, and you'll be building your &quot;brand&quot; as an expert in your industry. With practice you&rsquo;ll eventually become a better writer.</p> <p><strong>25. Teach Others</strong></p> <p>You can&rsquo;t call yourself a master at anything until you&rsquo;ve taught it to others. So pick out something you&rsquo;re really good at, and share it with others trying to learn it. It can be someone you work with or perfect strangers online. And if you can&rsquo;t get motivated to do it, you can try to sell your course on sites like <a href="http://udemy.com">Udemy</a>.</p> <p><strong>Bonus</strong></p> <p>Have something on the side. I've found that my day-to-day is way more satisfying when I'm working on a side project outside of work. It gives me a sense of empowerment and accomplishment that lets me know I'm not just my job. Which oddly enough motivates me even more at work. Whether it's a blog or a freelance business, just find something you enjoy doing and devote some time to it.</p> <p><em>If you have any other tips that you've found to be effective, please share them in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carlos-portocarrero">Carlos Portocarrero</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-career-changes-you-can-make-today">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-a-second-language-can-boost-your-career">11 Ways a Second Language Can Boost Your Career</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-networking-tips-for-people-under-40">The 10 Best Networking Tips for People Under 40</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-coworking-spaces-are-worth-it">4 Ways Coworking Spaces Are Worth It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-simple-networking-tricks">15 Simple Networking Tricks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-career-advice-sites-you-should-know-about">15 Career Advice Sites You Should Know About</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building career advice networking skills Thu, 08 Nov 2012 10:36:56 +0000 Carlos Portocarrero 955017 at http://www.wisebread.com Why You Should Do Things You're Bad At http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-do-things-youre-bad-at <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-you-should-do-things-youre-bad-at" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6129293752_fd81669783_z.jpg" alt="math" title="math" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a kid, I wasn&rsquo;t afraid of the dark, heights, or even, for the most part, monsters. Nope, what really knocked me awake in a cold sweat at night was the thought of my math homework, which, despite the consequences, I avoided doing at all costs. While I&rsquo;d happily labor away at a reading assignment or spend hours writing and illustrating essays and stories, by third grade, I&rsquo;d closed the book on all things numbers.</p> <p>What I later realized was that it wasn&rsquo;t so much that I was entirely hopeless at arithmetic, geometry, or even algebra, but that while working with words felt natural, working with numbers was like walking on my hands &mdash; it would not come easily.</p> <p>I think everyone has things they avoid because they don&rsquo;t feel comfortable doing them. Competence is comfortable. And I&rsquo;ll be the first to admit it &mdash; doing things you aren&rsquo;t good at can really suck. Fortunately, there are some really good reasons to dig in anyway. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-memory-and-even-get-a-little-smarter">How to Improve Your Memory</a>)</p> <h2>It&rsquo;ll Make You Smarter</h2> <p>Doing things we&rsquo;re good at makes us feel smart, but the cruel reality is that it actually makes us dumber. Crossword puzzles and Sudoku games are great, but once your brain has made those pathways, doing them over and over is just running over the same ground. Meanwhile, everything else gets thorny and overgrown.</p> <p>There&rsquo;s quite a bit of research that shows that new sensory experiences can cause massive rewiring in the brain, even as we age (which, for all the &ldquo;old dogs&rdquo; out there, means there&rsquo;s still hope). A recent study also found that all &quot;this rewiring involves <a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120524123209.htm">fibers that supply the primary input to the cerebral cortex</a>, the part of the brain that is responsible for sensory perception, motor control, and cognition.&quot; In other words, by traveling to new places, trying new sports, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-great-frugal-skills-and-how-to-get-them">learning new skills</a> &mdash; perhaps especially the ones that are least familiar to us &mdash; we&rsquo;re actually pulling back the overgrowth that can age our brains. When it comes to finding the fountain of youth, this might be as good as it gets.</p> <h2>Life Will Seem Longer</h2> <p>Remember back in grade school when the school year seemed to be decades long? As we get older, a year can often fly by so quickly we hardly even notice it. That&rsquo;s because we actually don&rsquo;t have to; when everything is so familiar, there&rsquo;s no reason for our brains to take notice. According to research by neuroscientist David Eagleman, the more familiar we become with the world, the less information our brains record. In other words, trying new things can make our lives feel longer and fuller.</p> <p>No, you probably can&rsquo;t go back to the days when you were fascinated by a stick or a rock at the park, but you can create a similar effect by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-new-things-to-do-today"> introducing new things to your life</a>. And if they&rsquo;re new, you can bet you probably won&rsquo;t be a pro at them.</p> <h2>Bye Bye Ego</h2> <p>I think if there&rsquo;s anything that holds us back from doing things we&rsquo;re bad at, it&rsquo;s ego (at least it is for me). I&rsquo;m competitive, and I like to feel like I can succeed, or at least hold my own. What I don&rsquo;t like to feel is totally out of my element. But when I do something that doesn&rsquo;t come easily to me, it does two things: it frustrates me, and it forces me to learn some new things &mdash; and some new things about myself.</p> <p>I took up yoga, for example, because I lack flexibility. And balance. And coordination...and any sense of grace whatsoever. That made spending an hour and a half in a class full of beautifully bendy people really hard sometimes. I got frustrated. I got angry. I tried too hard and hurt myself. Sometimes, I gave up even trying at all. What I (finally) discovered was that before I could get better at yoga, I had to learn to be OK with not being very good at it. The same has proved to be true with other things that aren&rsquo;t strengths for me, like math (we&rsquo;ve made peace) and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/whats-cooking-breakfast-cookies-for-the-life-hacker-on-the-go">making cookies</a>.</p> <p>If yoga was an Olympic sport, I wouldn&rsquo;t make the cut. I don&rsquo;t think any amount of practice can morph my brain into that of a math whiz. And my cookies, well, Martha Stewart would not approve. But I&rsquo;m not ready to give up on them yet. At least not until I get to be good at them.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-do-things-youre-bad-at">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-memory-and-even-get-a-little-smarter">How to Improve Your Memory (and Even Get a Little Smarter)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-a-second-language-can-boost-your-career">11 Ways a Second Language Can Boost Your Career</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-powerful-brain-hacks-you-can-do-in-under-2-minutes">8 Powerful Brain Hacks You Can Do in Under 2 Minutes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-free-ways-to-learn-something-new">15 Free Ways to Learn Something New</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/great-ways-to-invest-in-yourself">Great Ways to Invest in Yourself</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development brain hacks improve memory skills try new things Mon, 29 Oct 2012 09:48:36 +0000 Tara Struyk 954988 at http://www.wisebread.com Give Your Career a Boost With One Skill http://www.wisebread.com/give-your-career-a-boost-with-one-skill <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/give-your-career-a-boost-with-one-skill" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5183660971_938a7a828c_z.jpg" alt="working on computer" title="working on computer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Let&rsquo;s get real &mdash; the economy isn&rsquo;t in great shape right now. The unemployment rate is hovering around 8%, and companies like DuPont and Kodak keep announcing <a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/business/homepage/20121024_DuPont_cites_weak_quarterly_revenue__says_it_will_cut_1_500_jobs.html">more</a> and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/28/kodak-inkjet-printers-sales-to-end_n_1922528.html?utm_hp_ref=technology">more</a> layoffs. Amidst the doom and gloom, however, there are some positive signs...if you know where to look. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-awesome-websites-to-help-you-get-a-job">25 Awesome Websites to Help You Get a Job</a>)</p> <p>In this case, the place to look is the tech industry.</p> <h2>Tech Is Hot</h2> <p>Turns out the <a href="http://mashable.com/2012/07/06/information-technology-unemployment-rate/">unemployment rate for IT workers is 4%</a> &mdash; half the national average! In fact, many employers complain they're having trouble finding candidates to fill tech roles. Software developer (some of you call them programmers) is one of the <a href="http://bottomline.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/09/06/13530457-hot-jobs-careers-defy-sluggish-economy">hottest jobs out there right now</a>.</p> <p>Does that mean you should abandon your current field and become a developer? If it were that easy, everybody would be doing it. In order to join the tech party, you need a basic understanding of the fundamentals of coding and how developers approach their work. Learning how to be a developer can take years. But there are skills you can learn now that make you immediately more hireable, lay the groundwork if you want to continue pursuing tech, and can apply to any field.</p> <p>You need to learn the foundation of how websites are built. And that means learning&nbsp;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTML">HTML</a> and <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cascading_Style_Sheets">CSS</a>.</p> <h2>How Web Development Can Help Your Career</h2> <p>I don't expect you to become a web developer overnight (or at all), but I do believe there are some skills that will make you more valuable at your current job and to any future employer.</p> <p><strong>1. Learning to Think Like a Developer</strong></p> <p>Developer's brains work in a very specific way. They approach problems and projects in a linear, logical fashion. That means less chaos (in work and in life) and more organization. This type of thinking will help you get things done no matter what industry you're in.</p> <p><strong>2. Creativity</strong></p> <p>Most people think coding is like math &mdash; that there is only one right answer. Not true &mdash; developers need to be creative because there are a hundred different ways to solve the same problem. This approach is instrumental no matter what field you&rsquo;re in.</p> <p><strong>3. A Possible New Career</strong></p> <p>Believe it or not, it can happen. People who decide to learn coding can wind up with a new career. It&rsquo;s rare, and I wouldn&rsquo;t bank on it, but <a href="http://www.udemy.com/blog/how-to-become-a-web-developer-in-silicon-valley-sonya-eick/">some people are doing it</a>.</p> <p><strong>4. Understand the Magic</strong></p> <p>Most people think creating sites and apps is magic. But once you know the basics, you&rsquo;ll have a huge leg up on everyone else...and you&rsquo;ll be in a better position if you decide you have a great app you want to create.</p> <p><strong>5. Stand Out</strong></p> <p>If you aren&rsquo;t in a technical field but you have some tech skills, that can take you a long way. I was a writer who had SEO and analytics skills before they were mainstream, and that impressed a lot of people at former jobs because the two fields (writing and tech) felt so different to them. People took chances on me knowing I had the ability to learn new things quickly.</p> <h2>What About Mobile Apps?</h2> <p>Some of you might be thinking that web development is a waste of time, asking &quot;Aren&rsquo;t apps the hot trend right now? Shouldn&rsquo;t we all be learning to create iOS and Android apps? Aren&rsquo;t people using their phones and tablets more than their computers?&quot;</p> <p>Yes, mobile is very hot right now, and if you&rsquo;re a developer you should absolutely be learning how to develop apps. But if you're reading this, you probably <em>aren&rsquo;t</em> a developer. And learning to code isn&rsquo;t as easy as you might think.</p> <p>That&rsquo;s why HTML and CSS are such great places to start &mdash; they are relatively easy to understand, and you interact with them every single day.&nbsp;</p> <p>If you pick them up really quickly and decide you want to go even deeper down the rabbit hole, then by all means take the next step and learn how to develop mobile apps. &nbsp;</p> <p>But for most people, learning HTML and CSS is a better introduction to the world of programming. It&rsquo;s simpler, and there are so many tools out there to help you see how websites you use every day actually work (Firefox&rsquo;s <a href="http://getfirebug.com/">Firebug</a> and Chrome&rsquo;s Inspect Element come to mind).</p> <h2>The Best Places to Learn</h2> <p>Ready to get your learn on? I have great news &mdash; there are some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-free-ways-to-learn-something-new">fantastic learning tools</a> out there for you.</p> <p><strong>Code Academy</strong></p> <p>If you&rsquo;re a &ldquo;learn by doing&rdquo; type of person, then you&rsquo;re gonna love <a href="http://www.codecademy.com/tracks/web">Code Academy</a>. They&rsquo;ve broken down HTML and CSS into bite-sized modules that you complete by actually typing in code and checking your results. I recommend this free course to everyone &mdash; it&rsquo;s easy, it&rsquo;s engaging, and it&rsquo;s fun.</p> <p><strong>Udemy</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.udemy.com/">Udemy</a> is blowing up &mdash; it seems like they&rsquo;re adding more and more courses every day. Most of these aren&rsquo;t free, but if you&rsquo;re into learning by watching videos, this might be a good fit. <a target="_blank" href="http://www.udemy.com/how-to-become-a-web-developer-from-scratch/">How to Become a Web Developer From Scratch</a> ($199) is a great course that covers HTML/CSS and also goes into some additional languages for those of you that want to go a bit further.</p> <p><strong>W3Schools</strong></p> <p>If you&rsquo;re more into traditional reading-and-then-doing type of learning, then <a href="http://www.w3schools.com/html/default.asp">W3Schools</a> is a good place to do it &mdash; and it&rsquo;s free. W3Schools.com is a reference used by thousands of web developers, but it&rsquo;s also a great place to learn. Not only that, you can get a certificate (for $95) if you want to be a show off about it.</p> <p><a href="https://www.coursera.org/">Coursera</a> and <a href="http://www.apple.com/education/itunes-u/">iTunes U</a> also have tons of resources devoted to computer science if you still haven't found something that works for you. But if you're having trouble deciding where to start, I really recommend going through Code Academy; it's a fantastic, free place to learn.</p> <h2>Go Forth and Code!</h2> <p>I hope I've made a good case as to why the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-easy-money-and-learn-a-thing-or-two-about-website-design">basics of web development</a> are worth learning. It's a great portal into the world of programming, and who knows &mdash; maybe you'll find yourself getting more and more into it and eventually learning more complex skills.</p> <p>If you already have some coding skills but aren't a developer, please let everyone know in the comments how it's helped you in your career.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carlos-portocarrero">Carlos Portocarrero</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/give-your-career-a-boost-with-one-skill">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-career-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Career Changes You Can Make Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-a-second-language-can-boost-your-career">11 Ways a Second Language Can Boost Your Career</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/boost-your-computers-ram-in-seconds-very-easy">Boost your computer&#039;s RAM in seconds. Very easy.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-career-advice-sites-you-should-know-about">15 Career Advice Sites You Should Know About</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/great-ways-to-improve-your-resume-today">Great Ways to Improve Your Resume Today</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Technology changing jobs computer HTML skills Fri, 26 Oct 2012 09:48:35 +0000 Carlos Portocarrero 954804 at http://www.wisebread.com