skills http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/10801/all en-US 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://cdn.wisebread.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> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/learn-all-the-frugal-skills-you-need-with-these-9-great-video-tutorials" class="sharethis-link" title="Learn All the Frugal Skills You Need With These 9 Great Video Tutorials" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><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/finding-balance-how-to-practice-moderation">Finding Balance: How to Practice Moderation</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/gratitude-and-frugality">Gratitude and Frugality</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/on-problems-and-opportunities">On Problems and Opportunities</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/my-one-favorite-frugal-living-tip">My One Favorite Frugal Living Tip</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> 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://cdn.wisebread.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> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-kitchen-mistakes-good-cooks-make" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Kitchen Mistakes Good Cooks Make" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><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-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/12-cooking-rules-you-should-be-breaking">12 Cooking Rules You Should Be Breaking</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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-kitchen-luxuries-that-are-worth-it-and-5-that-arent">5 Kitchen Luxuries That Are Worth It (and 5 That Aren&#039;t)</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/the-new-face-of-poverty-is-fat">The new face of poverty is fat</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-money-saving-reasons-to-buy-a-food-dehydrator">9 Money Saving Reasons to Buy a Food Dehydrator</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> 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://cdn.wisebread.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> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-to-learn-skills-that-will-save-you-money" class="sharethis-link" title="10 Easy to Learn Skills That Will Save You Money" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><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-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/super-cheap-building-supplies-and-a-way-to-help-your-community">Super-Cheap Building Supplies and a Way to Help Your Community!</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-magic-marker-money-safe">The Magic Marker Money Safe</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-fun-and-frugal-things-to-do-with-origami">8 Fun and Frugal Things to Do with Origami</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/search-online-for-a-fix-before-you-toss-that-broken-gadget">Search Online for a Fix before You Toss that Broken Gadget</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/eight-natural-ways-to-make-water-more-flavorful">Eight Natural Ways to Make Water More Flavorful</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> 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://cdn.wisebread.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://cdn.wisebread.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://cdn.wisebread.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://cdn.wisebread.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://cdn.wisebread.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="http://elance.com">Elance</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://cdn.wisebread.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://cdn.wisebread.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> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-35-best-ways-to-spend-your-free-time-frugally" class="sharethis-link" title="The 35 Best Ways to Spend Your Free Time (Frugally)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><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-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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-fun-and-frugal-things-to-do-with-origami">8 Fun and Frugal Things to Do with Origami</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/life-without-tv">Life Without Television</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/25-easy-ways-to-make-your-life-more-interesting">25 Easy Ways to Make Your Life More Interesting</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/getting-by-without-a-job-part-2-boost-income">Getting by without a job, part 2--boost income</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> 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://cdn.wisebread.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> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-sell-your-skills-as-an-older-worker" class="sharethis-link" title="Best Money Tips: Sell Your Skills as an Older Worker" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><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-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/what-would-it-take-for-you-to-relocate-for-a-job">What Would It Take For You to Relocate for a 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/lose-your-job-without-losing-your-identity">Lose Your Job Without Losing Your Identity</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/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> <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/your-work-or-your-life">Your Work or Your Life?</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/are-you-underpaid-how-to-figure-out-what-salary-you-deserve">Are You Underpaid? How to Figure Out What Salary You Deserve</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> 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://cdn.wisebread.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> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-career-changes-you-can-make-today" class="sharethis-link" title="25 Career Changes You Can Make Today" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><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-6"> <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/give-your-career-a-boost-with-one-skill">Give Your Career a Boost With One Skill</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/tips-for-joining-an-excellent-startup-company">Tips for Joining an Excellent Startup Company</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-upside-of-mass-layoffs">The Upside of Mass Layoffs</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/book-review-the-adventures-of-johnny-bunko">Book review: The Adventures of Johnny Bunko</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-bad-networking-habits-that-will-kill-your-job-prospects">15 Bad Networking Habits That Will Kill Your Job Prospects</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> 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://cdn.wisebread.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> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-do-things-youre-bad-at" class="sharethis-link" title="Why You Should Do Things You&#039;re Bad At" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><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-7"> <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/13-easy-ways-to-improve-your-brain">13 Easy Ways to Improve Your Brain</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/my-number-one-tip-for-college-students">My Number One Tip for College Students</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-tips-for-remembering-names">5 Tips for Remembering Names</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> 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://cdn.wisebread.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> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/give-your-career-a-boost-with-one-skill" class="sharethis-link" title="Give Your Career a Boost With One Skill" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><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-8"> <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/finding-an-internship-as-an-adult">Finding an Internship as an Adult</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/25-career-changes-you-can-make-today">25 Career Changes You Can Make Today</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-ways-to-use-technology-to-upgrade-your-career">6 Ways to Use Technology to Upgrade 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/9-linkedin-changes-every-job-hunter-should-make">9 LinkedIn Changes Every Job Hunter Should Make</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-online-tools-to-help-you-land-a-job">5 Online Tools to Help You Land a Job</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Career Building Technology changing jobs computer HTML skills Fri, 26 Oct 2012 09:48:35 +0000 Carlos Portocarrero 954804 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Fun Activities to Help You Tighten Up Your Work Skills http://www.wisebread.com/9-fun-activities-to-help-you-tighten-up-your-work-skills <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-fun-activities-to-help-you-tighten-up-your-work-skills" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://cdn.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/7003590134_e0548c55b7_z.jpg" alt="soccer" title="soccer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>After a few months of Summer Fridays or hitting the blacktop for weekend road trips, it can be tough to reel your brain back from the beach into office mode, so now's a great time to invest some energy in tightening up your work skills. Trust falls and &quot;two truths and a lie&quot; might be common workplace team building games, but these nine activities will improve your office aptitude while adding a fun and fulfilling twist to your daily routine.</p> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Best-Times-Do-Work-Tasks-25173166">RELATED: The Best Times to Do Work&nbsp;Tasks</a></p> <h3>Do a Puzzle</h3> <p>Even your train commute can be a setting for work skills improvement. Whip out the daily crossword puzzle, carry a Sudoku book in your bag, or tap the word puzzle app of your choice and flex that powerful muscle in your head. Puzzles can broaden your vocabulary as well as your ability to problem solve by forcing you to think differently about the task at hand.</p> <h3>Enroll in a Public Speaking Class</h3> <p>For some people (including myself), standing before a room full of people &mdash; or even three &mdash; can be more petrifying than skydiving or swimming with sharks. Begin to overcome those fears by joining a public speaking class or club where you'll learn to orate like a politician, improve your overall communication skills, and network with other like-minded folks.</p> <h3>Play a Team Sport</h3> <p>Get involved in your local rec league or simply gather some friends together for a regular soccer afternoon at the park. Not only will you feel the physical and emotional benefits of exercise, playing a team sport will help you hone your teamwork and leadership skills while thinking on your feet.</p> <h3>Hang Out With the Kids</h3> <p>When your sister asks you to babysit her brood, don't turn her down! Playtime not only gives your inner child the green light to imagine, but it also allows you to observe how kids work through disagreements in order to cooperate...without the burden of office politics.</p> <h3>Clubs and Organizations</h3> <p>Plan to attend the next alumni association-sponsored tailgate, Junior League event, or PTA meeting. Joining clubs and organizations that align with your hobbies or stage of life can be a great way to meet new people and network over common interests. You can volunteer to head up a committee to gain valuable leadership and project planning experience.</p> <h3>Take an Improv Acting Class</h3> <p>Enrolling in an improv acting class <i>could</i> lead to other thespian career paths, but it can also teach you to think on your feet and anticipate your co-worker's next move through unscripted role play.</p> <h3>Volunteer</h3> <p>Whether you donate your time to an organization or another person in need, volunteering has to be one of the most personally rewarding activities in which one can participate. It's also another great venue for learning teamwork and leadership skills, improving communication, and even picking up new abilities that could be beneficial in your office environment.</p> <h3>Attend a Networking Social</h3> <p>Many professional organizations host socials, giving people from different companies a chance to rub elbows over cocktails and ice breaking activities. Sign up for a few and master the art of small talk!</p> <h3>Yoga and Meditation</h3> <p>Great for the body and soul, yoga and meditation can improve your posture, poise, and confidence. They also allow you some private time to mull over prickly office encounters or think through tricky work dilemmas.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Want to improve your resume and general workplace awesomeness? Try taking on one of these fun (and surprisingly useful) activities. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p style="text-align:center;"><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com" style="border:none;"><img src="http://cdn.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/u4/savvysugar-300-small.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> <p><em>This is a guest contribution from our friends at </em><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/"><em>SavvySugar</em></a><em>. Check out more useful articles from this partner:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Improve-Your-Work-Life-Balance-23367160">How to Improve Your Work-Life Balance</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Annoy-Professional-Contact-19073609">How to Not Annoy a Professional&nbsp;Contact</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/How-Stay-Awake-Work-10571962">8 Ways to Jolt Yourself Awake at Work</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/popsugar-smart-living">POPSUGAR Smart Living</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-fun-activities-to-help-you-tighten-up-your-work-skills">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-9"> <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/great-ways-to-invest-in-yourself">Great Ways to Invest in Yourself</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/15-free-ways-to-learn-something-new">15 Free Ways to Learn Something New</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-things-you-didn-t-learn-in-college-but-you-should-have">10 Things You Didn’t Learn in College (but You Should Have)</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/my-number-one-tip-for-college-students">My Number One Tip for College Students</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-tips-for-remembering-names">5 Tips for Remembering Names</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Education & Training Personal Development fun resume skills Thu, 04 Oct 2012 10:24:41 +0000 POPSUGAR Smart Living 954885 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Free Ways to Learn Something New http://www.wisebread.com/15-free-ways-to-learn-something-new <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-free-ways-to-learn-something-new" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://cdn.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/7878004748_4c8d06b245_z.jpg" alt="pottery class" title="pottery class" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're still paying off your student loans (or soon will be), learning might feel like more of a chore than fun. The good news is that learning can be fun <em>and</em> free. Below is a list of 15 ways to learn something new at no cost. So take a look, go forth, and expand your mind! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-great-frugal-skills-and-how-to-get-them">20 Great Frugal Skills &mdash; and How to Get Them</a>)</p> <h2>1. Lowe&rsquo;s and Home Depot Classes</h2> <p>Both home improvement headquarters offer free classes. Past classes at <a href="http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/catalog/servlet/ContentView?pn=HT_WS_WeeklyWorkshops">Home</a><a href="http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/catalog/servlet/ContentView?pn=HT_WS_WeeklyWorkshops"> Depot</a> have included lawn maintenance and bathroom workshops, and Lowe&rsquo;s has partnered with Habitat for Humanity for <a href="http://responsibility.lowes.com/community/our-partnerships/habitat-for-humanity-women-build/">Women</a><a href="http://responsibility.lowes.com/community/our-partnerships/habitat-for-humanity-women-build/"> Build</a> &mdash; clinics dedicated to teaching women home improvement tips and tricks. Lowe&rsquo;s also has a <a href="http://www.lowesbuildandgrow.com/pages/default.aspx">Build</a><a href="http://www.lowesbuildandgrow.com/pages/default.aspx"> and</a><a href="http://www.lowesbuildandgrow.com/pages/default.aspx"> Grow</a> clinic geared toward kids. Check out your local store to see what they have coming up.</p> <h2>2. Grocery and Kitchen Store Classes</h2> <p>If you&rsquo;re anywhere near a <a href="http://www.williams-sonoma.com/customer-service/store-events.html">Williams</a><a href="http://www.williams-sonoma.com/customer-service/store-events.html">-</a><a href="http://www.williams-sonoma.com/customer-service/store-events.html">Sonoma</a>, you&rsquo;ll have the most options. They offer complimentary technique classes for everything from knife skills to braising. Of course, they&rsquo;re trying to sell you a product, but you&rsquo;re still going to learn something. Oh, and you&rsquo;ll get a 10% discount in-store the day of the class. As for other grocery and kitchen stores, ask the manager if they have any events coming up or check out their website. Most of Publix&rsquo;s classes are at a cost, but they might have a few for free!</p> <h2>3. YouTube</h2> <p>YouTube is probably the easiest (but at times, the worst) place to learn on the Internet; people are really into YouTube tutorials nowadays. You can learn to play the ukulele, apply makeup, or sing like Lady Gaga, all in one convenient place. Of course, YouTube has its downsides (like if the person trying to teach you doesn't really know what they're talking about), but anything has to be better than <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D_orL8BFFqo">Phoebe&rsquo;s method of guitar lessons</a>. And if you can't find something that strikes your fancy, just stay on the <a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/TEDtalksDirector">TEDTalks YouTube</a> channel and let the ideas roll.</p> <h2>4. Foodie Sites</h2> <p>If you like to cook (or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/teach-yourself-to-cook">would like to like to cook</a>), get on the internet and check out the bevy of free culinary classes. Head over to <a href="http://allrecipes.com/video/main.aspx?prop24=PN_3.0.0_TN.Video">Allr</a><a href="http://allrecipes.com/video/main.aspx?prop24=PN_3.0.0_TN.Video">ecipes</a>, <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/food-network-top-food-videos/videos/index.html">Food</a><a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/food-network-top-food-videos/videos/index.html"> Network</a> (to learn from ole Alton sans cable), or <a href="http://www.bhg.com/videos/video-index.htm">Better&nbsp;Homes&nbsp;and&nbsp;Gardens</a>&nbsp;(there are also decorating videos as well as food!). <a href="http://cookingschool.epicurious.com/?intcid=epi_promobar">Epicurious</a> has a pretty boss &ldquo;cooking school&rdquo; from the Culinary Institute of America, but after the first class, you have to pay. It is, however, a one-time fee, so if you&rsquo;re passionate about being a better cook, it would be worth it. Try it out and see!</p> <h2>5.&nbsp;Coursera</h2> <p>Here&rsquo;s the skinny on <a href="https://www.coursera.org/">Coursera</a> &mdash; two awesome Stanford computer science professors started this website with one specific goal in mind &mdash; education should be available to everyone for free. Classes are designed and taught by professors from Stanford, Princeton, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Michigan. But this isn&rsquo;t just a bunch of online lectures to watch (and potentially snooze through). These classes come with time restraints, a syllabus, homework, and in some cases, a certificate of completion. You&rsquo;re not losing anything by not &ldquo;attending,&rdquo; but you&rsquo;re gaining everything by not having to pay hundreds of dollars a month afterward.</p> <h2>6. edX</h2> <p><a href="https://www.edx.org/">edX</a>&nbsp;has courses from some of the Ivy League schools missing from Coursera &mdash; Harvard, Berkeley, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sit-in-on-a-class-at-mit-for-free">MIT</a>. &nbsp;Their classes are also free and online, and you get a certificate of completion for them. For fall 2012, there are seven courses offered, but bookmark the site if you can't find something you like right now. And in the meantime, the <a href="http://www.extension.harvard.edu/open-learning-initiative">Harvard Extension School</a> Open Learning Initiative has quite a few videos for learning at your leisure.</p> <h2>7. PechaKucha 20x20</h2> <p><a href="http://www.pecha-kucha.org/">PechaKucha</a>&rsquo;s premise is simple &mdash; 20 pictures, 20 seconds. The event started in Tokyo as a way for young designers to network, but it turned into a way for people around the world to learn from each other. Each speaker has almost seven minutes to tell a story, whether it be about a business or an adventure. Most events are free, and if there isn&rsquo;t one in your area (most likely there is &mdash; they&rsquo;re everywhere!) you have the option of either <a href="http://www.pecha-kucha.org/night/start-a-city">starting&nbsp;one</a> or watching one of almost <a href="http://www.pecha-kucha.org/presentations/">500 presentations&nbsp;online</a>.</p> <h2>8. Parks and Recreation Classes</h2> <p>No, I don&rsquo;t mean my favorite show (although you could learn a bit about politics from Leslie Knope). I mean, of course, the best part of city government across the world. Classes range from identifying edible plants to arts and crafts to, well, recreation classes. Some do cost a small amount of money, but many are free.</p> <h2>9. Libraries</h2> <p>Libraries, of course, offer a wealth of information in the form of books, but most also offer courses. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-you-should-support-your-local-library">Turn to your local library</a> and see what&rsquo;s available, whether it be computer classes, basic life skills, or languages.&nbsp;</p> <h2>10. Volunteering</h2> <p>When I was volunteering at a recent event, the director of the organization I was volunteering with said the best thing. Someone made a comment about not having anything to give away, and the director said, &ldquo;Yes we do &mdash; knowledge!&rdquo; And there you go &mdash; when you volunteer, you can learn something. A great example is Habitat for Humanity &mdash; you can help someone own their own home AND learn how to fix yours. There are also tons of community gardens when you can learn all about fruits and vegetables. Check out volunteer opportunities in your area, and learn something!</p> <h2>11. Podcasts</h2> <p>I never quite dipped into the land of podcasts before this year, but I tell you what &mdash; there are some very educational ones out there. From <a href="http://www.openculture.com/2006/10/university_podc.html">podcasts</a><a href="http://www.openculture.com/2006/10/university_podc.html"> made </a><a href="http://www.openculture.com/2006/10/university_podc.html">by</a><a href="http://www.openculture.com/2006/10/university_podc.html"> universities</a> to podcasts made by public radio, there are multiple options to get your brain juices flowing. And if your brain needs a break, there are a ton of comedy podcasts. Check out the store section in iTunes, and get to downloading.</p> <h2>12. Skillsharing</h2> <p>From online to in-person, <a href="http://www.skillshare.com/">Skillshare</a> is a website dedicated to just that &mdash; sharing skills. Unfortunately, not too many of the classes offered on the site are free, but they can be found.</p> <h2>13. Cuppings, Wine Tastings, and Beer Tastings</h2> <p>This is a very specific category. If you love consuming caffeinated or alcoholic beverages but aren&rsquo;t sure what you&rsquo;re talking about, be sure to go to the free cuppings, wine tastings, and beer tastings sometimes offered by local groceries, liquor stores, and coffee shops. While you&rsquo;re there, ask every question you can think of.</p> <h2>14. From Your Family</h2> <p>A great, possibly untapped resource is your grandparents. Your grandfather probably changed his own oil, and your grandmother can probably sew up a storm. Take a minute to sit down with them and find out what they know. You&rsquo;ll have a chance to learn something new and bond with a loved one.</p> <h2>15. From Your Friends</h2> <p>Along the same lines, tap into your friends! I recently hung out with an old roommate in North Carolina, and while we were waiting for a table at a restaurant, we ventured into a yarn store. She picked up an unfinished scarf and two needles and finished the row. I had no idea she was could knit &mdash; I could have learned so much while we were living together. Oh yeah, by the way, at <a href="http://www.knittinghelp.com/">Knitting Help</a>, you can learn how to knit for free.</p> <p><em>How do you learn for free?</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-free-ways-to-learn-something-new" class="sharethis-link" title="15 Free Ways to Learn Something New" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jennifer-holder">Jennifer Holder</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-free-ways-to-learn-something-new">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/great-ways-to-invest-in-yourself">Great Ways to Invest in Yourself</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/learning-without-the-high-cost-of-higher-education">Learning Without the High Cost of Higher Education</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/9-fun-activities-to-help-you-tighten-up-your-work-skills">9 Fun Activities to Help You Tighten Up Your Work Skills</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-things-you-didn-t-learn-in-college-but-you-should-have">10 Things You Didn’t Learn in College (but You Should Have)</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/my-number-one-tip-for-college-students">My Number One Tip for College Students</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Education & Training Personal Development free courses higher education skills Wed, 19 Sep 2012 10:24:42 +0000 Jennifer Holder 954556 at http://www.wisebread.com Ingenuity: The Ultimate Frugal Skill http://www.wisebread.com/ingenuity-the-ultimate-frugal-skill <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ingenuity-the-ultimate-frugal-skill" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://cdn.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/wisebreadingenuity.jpg" alt="Lemonade Stand" title="Lemonade Stand" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In our modern world, we&rsquo;re often hand-fed information and ideas. We&rsquo;re plugged in, tuned in, and logged on in unprecedented ways. It can be both liberating and limiting. As I see kids growing up in this new reality, I worry about their ability to see the interplay between information and ideas, understand the big picture, creatively problem-solve, and negotiate the curve balls that life will inevitably throw their way. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-great-frugal-skills-and-how-to-get-them">20 Great Frugal&nbsp;Skills &mdash; and How to Get Them</a>)</p> <p>More specifically, I wonder how the gadgets of our lives &mdash; and the overwhelming volume of pre-packaged information that our culture delivers &mdash; will affect the next generation&rsquo;s financial health. In short, I wonder if we&rsquo;re risking the loss of our ingenuity. After all, ingenuity is what frugality is all about. If our economy continues to be challenged in the way it has been in recent years, will the next crop of young adults have the skills to succeed?</p> <p>Ingenuity, in all its forms, drives frugality, and it&rsquo;s the skill that underwrites our ability to live fully with less. In the game of simple living, ingenuity gives us a strategic advantage. Here&rsquo;s why.</p> <h3>Ingenuity Helps Us Save Money</h3> <p>My grandmother always said, &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not how much you make; it&rsquo;s how much you save.&rdquo; And while I agree with the spirit of this sentiment, I also realize that making more means being able to save more. But at root, her phrase illustrates ingenuity's proper place in the skill set of frugality. Ingenuity is the force behind creative reuse, bartering, identifying opportunities for friendly negotiation, and stretching ingredients in the kitchen. Ingenuity helps us save &mdash; and maximize what we save. It has the power transform scarcity into satiety and make limits&hellip;.well, not quite so limiting.</p> <h3>Ingenuity Helps Us Make Money</h3> <p>I&rsquo;ve always believed that there are two separate but equally important ways to successfully manage life on a limited budget. You can either learn to spend less money or figure out how to make more of it. Of course, to get ahead of the game, the most powerful approach is double down and do both at the same time. Again, a little ingenuity can make all the difference. Ingenuity inspired my mom and dad to turn our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-garden-as-classroom">family garden</a> into an income-producing machine. My brother and I became door-to-door fresh produce salesmen in our small-town neighborhood and earned enough money from our little business to live large at the state fair each year. Ingenuity helps enterprising kids across the country turn overgrown lawns and un-shoveled sidewalks into extra pocket cash (although I fear this particular breed of kid may be an endangered species). Ingenuity has the power to turn a surplus of anything &mdash; time, materials, skills, labor, or knowledge into a product or service. It gives shape and form to our ideas and turns opportunities into cash.</p> <h3>Ingenuity Helps Us Spend Money (Wisely)</h3> <p>Less obvious, but no less important, ingenuity helps us to make smart spending decisions too. Frugal folks tend to choose <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/quality-over-price-15-items-to-spend-more-on">quality over quantity</a>, picking products that are multi-purpose, versatile, and able to be easily repaired. Knowing how to spend your money wisely is just like saving money &mdash; the two are shades of the same color. Wise spending means understanding when and how to invest, what products will appreciate in value, and what products should be purchased now to save money later.</p> <p>Saving money, making money, and spending money are the three essential silos of frugal living. And ingenuity is the universal skill that gives practical use to each. It&rsquo;s a way of thinking that saw our grandparents and great-grandparents through the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/survival-basics-for-depression-era-kids">Great Depression</a> and helped families adjust to rationing during World War II. If our modern devices will enhance or detract from our innate ingenuity remains to be seen. I hope as our young people become more deeply plugged in to the Information Age, they don&rsquo;t unplug from their history and the generations of ingenuity that helped secure their wired lives.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ingenuity-the-ultimate-frugal-skill" class="sharethis-link" title="Ingenuity: The Ultimate Frugal Skill" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ingenuity-the-ultimate-frugal-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-11"> <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-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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/convert-your-crap-into-cash-without-a-garage-sale">Convert Your Crap Into Cash Without a Garage Sale</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-save-money-by-volunteering">Great Ways to Save Money by Volunteering</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-get-more-sleep-without-spending-more-time-in-bed">How to Get More Sleep Without Spending More Time in Bed</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-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less">How to Travel Full-Time for $17,000 a Year (or Less!)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Lifestyle ingenuity skills Spend Wisely Tue, 04 Sep 2012 10:00:42 +0000 Kentin Waits 952406 at http://www.wisebread.com 20 Great Frugal Skills — and How to Get Them http://www.wisebread.com/20-great-frugal-skills-and-how-to-get-them <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-great-frugal-skills-and-how-to-get-them" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://cdn.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/changing_a_tire.jpg" alt="Man changing a tire" title="Man changing a tire" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="160" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Independence is at the heart of frugality. The more that you can do for yourself, the less you have to pay others to do those things for you. But to be independent, you need skills.</p> <p>Then 20 skills below can all help you become more independent and frugal. Some of them might come naturally, and some of them might be frustrating &mdash; but they're all beneficial. And you don't need to develop full mastery to get the benefits; with many of these skills, just a little knowledge can provide a lot of help. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-lifesaving-skills-everyone-should-know">10 Lifesaving Skills Everyone&nbsp;Should Know</a>)</p> <h2>1. Gardening</h2> <p>Growing your own food can be a great way to get fresh produce for very, very cheap &mdash; as long as you know how to keep your plants from dying. I recommend that &quot;budding&quot; gardeners (I'm sorry, bad joke, I know) start with fresh herbs in containers. They can be grown inside or out, and since fresh herbs tend to be expensive at the grocery store, these plants offer a lot of value for a minimum of work. While every type of plant is different, having a couple of small container herbs will also help you get used to plants' needs &mdash; how much sun, when to water them, and so on.</p> <p>If you're interested in starting a bigger garden, make sure to do your research before diving in &mdash; the last thing you want to do is pick a plant that will immediately wither in your or-so-sunny yard or never truly thrive in your moderate climate. Get Rich&nbsp;Slowly has a great post on <a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2009/01/11/7-tips-for-starting-your-own-vegetable-garden/">starting your first garden</a>, and if you're interested in learning more about what grows well in your region, contact your local <a href="http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/">Cooperative Extension</a> office.</p> <h2>2. Cooking</h2> <p>Always dining out is one of the most budget-busting (and possibly health-busting) things you can do. Thankfully, while cooking might seem daunting, it doesn't have to take a lot of time or effort. When&nbsp;I first started cooking, I focused a lot on one-pot meals. The first &quot;recipe&quot; I cooked for myself regularly was simply this &mdash; mix drained canned kidney beans, thawed frozen spinach, and shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese in the microwave or in a pot on the stovetop. When the cheese is melted, spoon the filling into a tortilla, wrap it up, and eat. It's fast, it's tasty, and it's pretty healthy &mdash; and there are a lot of recipes out there like that.</p> <p>Learning how to cook has become so much easier with the Internet, too. You can search for recipes for your favorite foods, and if you don't know how to do something the recipe calls for (&quot;What the heck is a braise?&quot;), you can search for a how-to video. And there are great overviews on how to start cooking, too. Mark Bittman, the king of delicious, healthy, and simple cooking, did a Q&amp;A about <a href="http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/03/28/lessons-in-home-cooking/">cooking at home</a> that addresses several aspects of getting started. I also recommend this roundup post from The Kitchn that collects several <a href="http://www.thekitchn.com/kitchen-basics-15-ways-to-star-135498">cooking basics</a>, from cooking brown rice to roasting a chicken.</p> <p>Also, if you have a friend who cooks regularly, offer to buy ingredients in exchange for preparing dinner together. You get to hang out with a friend <em>and</em> get a great cooking lesson.</p> <h2>3. Baking</h2> <p>I put cooking and baking separately because I find that people often think of them as two separate skills; I've talked to a lot of people who say &quot;I'm a better cook than a baker,&quot; and vice versa.</p> <p>A lot of people get intimidated by baking because it seems less forgiving. Amounts need to be more exact. There are mysterious chemical processes afoot.</p> <p>The truth is that baking, like cooking, can be very simple. Take <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/beer-bread-i/">beer bread</a> for example. It requires three ingredients &mdash; beer, flour, and a little bit of sugar. You put it in a greased pan in an oven, and you get bread.</p> <p>Yeast bread does get a little more complicated, but this <a href="http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2007/11/04/homemade-bread-cheap-delicious-healthy-and-easier-than-you-think/">homemade bread tutorial</a> from The Simple Dollar talks you through the steps.</p> <p>As for sweets, again &mdash; start simple. Brownies are one of the most basic dessert recipes you can bake. Try this <a href="http://www.rachaelraymag.com/recipes/rachael-ray-magazine-recipe-search/dessert-recipes/the-best-basic-brownies">brownie recipe</a> from&nbsp;Rachel Ray.</p> <p>Whether you're cooking or baking, follow the recipe. There's time for substitutions later once you get more comfortable with cooking.</p> <h2>4. Canning/Preserving</h2> <p>Buying (or growing) produce in bulk when it's cheap and in-season makes frugal sense &mdash; if you're able to preserve it for later. Canning can be intimidating &mdash; sterilizing jars! Specialized equipment! But being able to preserve summer's best fruits and vegetables can make it worth it. Check out the&nbsp;USDA's <a href="http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html">home canning guide</a> &mdash; it gives you all the basics.</p> <p>If you don't want to go all the way with canning, the National Center for Home Food Preservation also has information on <a href="http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/freeze.html">freezing</a>, <a href="http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/dry.html">drying</a>, <a href="http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/cure_smoke.html">curing/smoking</a>, <a href="http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can6a_ferment.html">fermenting</a>, and <a href="http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can6b_pickle.html">pickling</a> foods. In fact, making <a href="http://allrecipes.com/recipe/spicy-refrigerator-dill-pickles/">fridge pickles</a> is one of my favorite easy ways to preserve vegetables ranging from carrots to cucumbers to okra.</p> <h2>5. Sewing</h2> <p>Sewing is a great example of a skill where just a little knowledge can help a lot. All you need is a needle and thread to <a href="http://www.esquire.com/style/tips/how-to-sew-a-button">sew on a button</a>, <a href="http://video.about.com/housekeeping/MendTear.htm">mend a tear</a>, or even <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Hem-Clothing-by-Hand">hem clothing</a>.</p> <p>Of course, if you do want to get a sewing machine, you have many more options. There are several super-useful, simple projects that you can tackle after you <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmaZBTMzkoY">learn how to use your machine</a>, such as <a href="http://www.designsponge.com/2010/02/sewing-101-curtains.html">sewing curtains</a>. creating <a href="http://www.lovetosew.com/aprons.htm">aprons</a>, or even making an <a href="http://quilting.about.com/od/quiltpatternsprojects/tp/easy_quilts.htm">easy quilt</a>. And when your skills really get up to snuff, well...it's time to <a href="http://voguepatterns.mccall.com/bridal-pages-186.php">sew your own wedding dress</a>.</p> <h2>6. Knitting or Crocheting</h2> <p>While sewing might be a more valuable skill when it comes to fixing things, knitting and crocheting allow you to make great cold-weather wear that's both useful and giftable (or even sellable). In my experience, the best way to learn these skills is to ask a friend to teach you or to take a class at a local yarn shop. Or you can try <a href="http://www.knittinghelp.com/">KnittingHelp.com </a>or the <a href="http://crochet.about.com/od/learnbasics/a/beginners.htm">About.com Guide to Crochet</a>.</p> <p>I also love these skills because they provide something relatively mindless to do while watching TV or riding on public transportation.</p> <h2>7. Exercising</h2> <p>Unlike many of the other items on this list, improving your exercise skills might not save you money directly. But a healthy lifestyle can help eliminate medical visits and improve your mental health.</p> <p>Several types of exercise &mdash; even something as simple as running &mdash; can be daunting when you first start them. Even if you plan to approach exercise frugally, it can be beneficial to talk to an expert or take a class before you start doing it on your own. For example, go to a running store and get fit for the <a href="http://running.about.com/od/shoesapparelandgear/a/foottypes.htm">right running shoes</a> for your body, or take a yoga class before using <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/half-moon-full-wallet-free-online-yoga-videos">free online yoga videos</a>, so a teacher can help you learn the proper alignment.</p> <h2>8.&nbsp;Making Minor Household Repairs</h2> <p>There are several things around the house that you want to hire a professional for. But when it comes to minor fixes like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">unclogging a drain</a>, <a href="http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,20051832,00.html">fixing a hole in drywall</a>, or <a href="http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,550857,00.html">installing shelves</a>, you can save hundreds of dollars by doing just a little work.</p> <h2>9. Making Gifts and Cards</h2> <p>Not only are handmade gifts and cards from the heart, they can be a lot cheaper than that store-bought stuff too. Check out our list of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-gifts-you-can-make-today">gifts you can make today</a> or five <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-5-cheap-greeting-cards-that-blow-hallmark-away">great homemade greeting cards</a>.</p> <h2>10. Writing</h2> <p>Want to communicate efficiently, be taken seriously, and land great jobs? Then shine up those writing skills. Being able to accurately get your point across will always serve you well.</p> <p>Now available online, <a href="http://www.bartleby.com/141/">The Elements of Style</a> is the granddaddy of all grammar and usage books; it will reteach you everything you forgot from school. But writing is about much more than knowing where to put your commas. You can read all of the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/29/books/review/colson-whiteheads-rules-for-writing.html?pagewanted=all">guides</a> <a href="http://chronicle.com/article/10-Tips-on-How-to-Write-Less/124268/">to</a> <a href="http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/a-guide-to-becoming-a-better-writer-15-practical-tips.html">writing</a> that you want (seriously, do that &mdash; one of the best ways to become a better writer is to read what other people have written), but, like any other skill, writing improves primarily through practice.</p> <h2>11. Haggling and Negotiation</h2> <p>Haggling can save you money on everything from furniture to medical care, and knowing how to negotiate can mean the difference between a good starting salary and a great one. Our own Kentin Waits has a great guide to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-laws-of-negotiation">the seven laws of negotiation</a>.</p> <h2>12. Painting</h2> <p>I'm not talking about artistic painting (although that certainly has its benefits). If you can <a href="http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,20159698,00.html">paint a room</a> or even <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-paint-the-exterior-of-your-home">paint the outside of your house</a>, you can save a lot.</p> <h2>13. Budgeting</h2> <p>A solid budget is at the core of any good personal finance plan &mdash; it's what helps you ensure that you're saving some of your money while also getting to spend some on things that really matter to you. There are several ways to budget &mdash; check out our pieces on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-first-step-to-budgeting">the first step to budgeting</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/budgeting-for-people-who-hate-planning">budgeting for people who hate planning</a>, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-comprehensive-guide-to-the-envelope-system">the envelope system</a>.</p> <h2>14. Selling/Marketing</h2> <p>If you ever plan to have a yard sale, list an item on Craigslist, or market yourself as a job applicant, it behooves you to know how to make whatever you're selling as appealing as possible. (And no, being good at selling things doesn't mean doing your best sleazy car salesman impression.)</p> <p>Discover <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-secrets-of-highly-successful-craigslist-sellers">the nine secrets of highly&nbsp;successful craigslist sellers</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-successful-garage-sale">how to have a successful garage sale</a>, or how one writer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-still-make-money-with-ebay">still makes money with eBay</a>. Or if you're trying to market yourself for a job, read about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/want-to-get-hired-be-memorable">the importance of being memorable</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stupid-things-to-put-in-your-cover-letter">stupid things to put in your cover letter</a>, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-unique-ways-to-score-a-job-interview">unique ways to score a job interview</a>.</p> <h2>15. Getting Rid of Pests</h2> <p>Some things &mdash; like bed bugs or roaches &mdash; usually require a professional. But you can deal with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/naturally-get-rid-of-ants-in-your-kitchen">ants</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/homemade-and-store-bought-mouse-trap-designs-that-work">mice</a>, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pesky-pests-easy-homemade-mosquito-and-insect-traps-and-repellent">other pests</a> yourself.</p> <h2>16. Fixing Broken Things</h2> <p>Yes, &quot;broken things&quot; is a pretty loose term. The skill to learn here might be better described as problem solving &mdash; a little bit of online research and elbow grease can save you a lot of money. For example, when my laptop stopped booting up correctly a few months ago, I was sure I needed a new computer &mdash; or at least a new drive.&nbsp;But some Googling showed me that my particular laptop has a design flaw that pinches one of the cables. Thanks to an online tutorial, I not only knew that I could get a replacement cable for under $50, but I also learned how to fix that part so it didn't pinch the cable again.</p> <h2>17. Entertaining Yourself</h2> <p>Frugality 101 &mdash; you're going to spend a <em>lot</em> of money if you feel like having fun means you always need to go to the movies, a bar, or another establishment where you pay to play. While it might seem silly, entertaining yourself is a skill, and one that you can get better at as you discover new things that you find enjoyable. Read. Make something. Visit friends. Go for a hike. Cook something new. Find a free event. Draw. Do a crossword puzzle. There are many, many <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-cheap-fun-things-to-do-this-weekend">ways to have cheap fun</a>.</p> <h2>18. Changing Your Oil</h2> <p>Most laypeople don't know how to fix the stuff that goes really wrong with a car, but you can at the very least a lot of your regular maintenance. The most intimidating of that regular maintenance (at least in my opinion) is changing your oil. But it's totally doable &mdash; check out this <a href="http://www.edmunds.com/how-to/how-to-change-your-oil-the-real-down-and-dirty.html">step-by-step how-to with photos</a> from&nbsp;Edmunds.</p> <h2>19. Changing a Tire</h2> <p>If you get a flat and you don't have roadside assistance through your insurance or an organization like AAA, you'll probably be stuck with a hefty fee. Don't let that happen. Popular Mechanics tells (and shows) you <a href="http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/how-to/maintenance/4199895">everything you need to know to change a tire</a>.</p> <h2>20. Couponing</h2> <p>Some people love couponing, and others think it's just <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-i-don-t-clip-coupons">not worth it</a> &mdash; but <a href="http://frugalliving.about.com/od/bargainshopping/a/Coupon_Guide.htm">good couponing skills</a> <em>can</em> save you money. At the very least, you should get in the habit of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/empty-coupon-code-box-you-re-paying-too-much">searching for online coupon codes</a> &mdash; a quick search can save you a few bucks.</p> <p><em>Did I miss any of your favorite frugal skills? Leave your thoughts in the comments.</em></p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-great-frugal-skills-and-how-to-get-them" class="sharethis-link" title="20 Great Frugal Skills — and How to Get Them" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meg-favreau">Meg Favreau</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-great-frugal-skills-and-how-to-get-them">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-12"> <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/secret-lawn-tonic-recipe-from-golf-course-groundskeeper">Secret Lawn Tonic Recipe From Golf Course Groundskeeper - Updated</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/should-you-repair-a-dripping-faucet">Should You Repair a Dripping Faucet?</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-easy-to-learn-skills-that-will-save-you-money">10 Easy to Learn Skills That Will Save You Money</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/is-diy-home-renovating-for-you">Is DIY Home Renovating for You?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> DIY Personal Development Cooking fixing problems gardening skills writing Mon, 27 Aug 2012 10:36:41 +0000 Meg Favreau 952375 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Use a Computer More Efficiently http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-a-computer-more-efficiently <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-use-a-computer-more-efficiently" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://cdn.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hand_typing.jpg" alt="Hand typing" title="Hand typing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many of us spend hours in front of our computers, pushing around the mouse and pecking at the keyboard. It may seem like there&rsquo;s no way to reduce the amount of time we spend here, but just by doing a few things a little faster, you really can be more efficient. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-save-time-by-spending-it">10 Ways to Save Time by&nbsp;Spending Time</a>)</p> <h3>How to Type Faster</h3> <p>It can seem like a big time investment to learn how to type faster, especially if you&rsquo;re a proponent of the hunt and peck method &mdash; also known as looking at the keyboard to find each individual key. But improving your typing skills can save you a lot of time. It&rsquo;s considered average for a computer user to be able to type between 30 and 35 words per minute. With a little training and practice, however, it&rsquo;s possible for most people to get up to between 50 and 65 words per minute, sometimes doubling their speed. Experienced typists may reach average rates of anywhere between 80 and 120 words per minute. Even if you don&rsquo;t hit that level, you can probably improve your typing efficiency.</p> <p>The key to learning to type faster is to know what keys are at your fingertips without having to look down. Being able to recite the layout of your computer keyboard isn&rsquo;t just a fun party trick. When you know the layout of a keyboard by heart, you can touch type &mdash; and from there, improving your typing speed is a matter of practice more than anything else.</p> <p>You can take classes in typing, but it can be more useful to use training software, because you won&rsquo;t be tied to an instructor&rsquo;s schedule. <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Mavis-Beacon-Teaches-Typing-18/dp/B0014ZQMXO/ref=pd_cp_sw_0">Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing</a> is one of the better-known typing software packages, and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Individual-Software-Inc-8037781-Instructor/dp/B001UHMVKO/ref=pd_cp_sw_1">Typing Instructor</a> is good as well.</p> <h3>How to Use Computer Shortcuts</h3> <p>Most computer users rely on the mouse to interact with computer programs. In fact, the mouse and the visual interface that most of us are used to were key to making computers mainstream. But if you want to be particularly efficient in how you use your computer, you need to learn the keyboard shortcuts.</p> <p>Every piece of software and even many websites have their own shortcuts. You can also go into your computer&rsquo;s settings and modify shortcuts to your own preferences. Because they can vary dramatically, I can&rsquo;t just give you a list of the different shortcuts out there. But if you search online for a particular software package or website&rsquo;s name and the word &quot;shortcuts,&quot; you can find a list of what's programmed. This <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Table_of_keyboard_shortcuts">table of common shortcuts</a> can also give you a start for the more common operating systems.</p> <p>The trick to getting full benefit from keyboard shortcuts is to make a point of using them instead of your mouse. You&rsquo;ll get a lot faster, to the point that typing a shortcut is automatic when you want something to happen, rather than having to shift your hands to the mouse and hunt around for the right menu. One word of warning &mdash; you may get so used to using your shortcuts that moving over to a new kind of computer with different shortcuts can become that much harder.</p> <h3>Software for Improving Computer Efficiency</h3> <p>There are a variety of software packages that can help you speed up your typing beyond just learning to type faster. My personal favorite is a tool called <a href="http://smilesoftware.com/TextExpander/">TextExpander</a>, which lets you create shortcuts of your own. I&rsquo;ve created a few shortcuts to help me use software faster, but most of my shortcuts are actually for typing &mdash; for instance, I type one shortcut and TextExpander automatically replaces it with my name. Another expands into my address and so on, for a few hundred different shortcuts.</p> <p>There are also dictation software packages, which allow a computer to transcribe whatever you say into a text document. The best software, such as <a href="http://www.nuance.com/dragon/index.htm">Dragon Naturally Speaking</a>, requires you to train it to better understand your speech patterns before it can provide accurate transcriptions. But once the software is used to you, it can be very effective. With it, you don&rsquo;t need to worry about speeding up your typing speed at all.</p> <p>There are a variety of tools and techniques out there that can help you be more efficient on the computer, but you&rsquo;ll get the most out of them by <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-become-an-expert">investing some time up front</a>.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-a-computer-more-efficiently" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Use a Computer More Efficiently " rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-a-computer-more-efficiently">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-13"> <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/15-free-ways-to-learn-something-new">15 Free Ways to Learn Something New</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/excel-the-most-underrated-software-you-already-own">Excel: The Most Underrated Software You Already Own</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-ways-youre-wasting-time-without-realizing-it">10 Ways You&#039;re Wasting Time Without Realizing 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/10-back-to-school-iphone-apps">10 Back-to-School iPhone Apps</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-fun-activities-to-help-you-tighten-up-your-work-skills">9 Fun Activities to Help You Tighten Up Your Work Skills</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Education & Training Productivity saving time skills type faster Tue, 03 Apr 2012 09:30:18 +0000 Thursday Bram 915075 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Not Be a Wage Slave http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-not-be-a-wage-slave <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-not-be-a-wage-slave" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://cdn.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/33194262_b698ea579a_z.jpg" alt="chain around arm" title="chain around arm" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Choosing to be a wage slave is very different from choosing to be a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-not-be-a-debt-slave">debt slave</a>, because it's a choice you make every day. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-way-to-avoid-the-worst-financial-problems">The Best Way to Avoid the Worst Financial Problems</a>)</p> <p>One doesn't become a wage slave with one decision, the way a single choice to take on debt can color your life for decades. The only way to become a wage slave is to make the decision to be one day after day.</p> <p>It starts like this: You get a job, find a place to live, buy the stuff you need &mdash; and without much thought going into it, pretty soon your lifestyle demands the continued flow of your wages or salary.</p> <p>Of course, just earning wages doesn't make you a slave. It's only slavery when you lose your freedom. But when your boss asks you to do something unethical, and you feel like you've got no choice but to do it &mdash; that's slavery.</p> <p>It's a gentle sort of slavery. No one makes you go to work every day &mdash; and yet, you do not have the freedom to say, &quot;Today I think I'll go fishing instead.&quot;</p> <p>Many people seem to think this is a good thing. Many people are afraid that, if they didn't <em>have</em> to go to work, they <em>wouldn't</em> go to work, and that that would be a bad thing.</p> <p>It's not just a fear that they might lose the lifestyle to which they become accustomed. It's a fear that they'd find a more meager lifestyle <em>acceptable</em>, that only the goad of keeping up with expectations keeps them from being slackers (or worse).</p> <p>The hard part of escaping wage slavery is making this mental shift &mdash; to stop choosing wage slavery every day, simply because it's what people do.</p> <p>Once you do that, the key moves are easy:</p> <h3>1. Be Frugal</h3> <p>Don't let your cost of living rise until there's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-finances-fragile">only one job in town</a> that pays enough to cover your bills.</p> <h3>2. Avoid Debt</h3> <p>...except perhaps to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/good-debt-bad-debt">finance the purchase of a productive asset</a>.</p> <h3>3. Earn Some Non-Job Income</h3> <p>Even small amounts of extra income &mdash; from a small business you run on the side, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-your-hobby-pay-its-way">a hobby that makes a little money</a>, interest or dividends on your investments, rent from a piece of property &mdash; can cover an important fraction of your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emergency-belt-tightening">bare minimum expenses</a>.</p> <h3>4. Expand Your Skills</h3> <p>New skills that would let you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-investment-yourself">find a job in another field</a> give you much more flexibility than just better skills in your current field.</p> <p>Even when people out there were warning against freedom because it enabled sloth, to my mind choosing freedom was always the right choice. And I think a lot more people have come to share my view. When jobs are plentiful, you can work for wages and still be fairly free. So what if one employer goes out of business, or one boss turns out to be a psychopath, or one career turns out not to suit you &mdash; you can always find another job.</p> <p>With the financial panic and recession, a lot of people were reminded that you <em>can't</em> always find another job.</p> <p>When there's only one job, the shackles of wage slavery start feeling pretty tight. (And, of course, when there's no job, it's even worse.)</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-not-be-a-wage-slave" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Not Be a Wage Slave" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-not-be-a-wage-slave">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-14"> <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/wage-slave-debt-slave">Wage slave, debt slave</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/a-society-of-fear">A Society of Fear</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/learn-good-financial-habits-from-your-parents-or-not">Learn good financial habits from your parents. Or not.</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/self-sufficiency-self-reliance-and-freedom">Self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and freedom</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/can-you-buy-your-way-out-of-the-rat-race">Can You Buy Your Way Out of the Rat Race?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Personal Finance freedom self employment skills Fri, 02 Mar 2012 11:36:15 +0000 Philip Brewer 905749 at http://www.wisebread.com Great Ways to Invest in Yourself http://www.wisebread.com/great-ways-to-invest-in-yourself <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/great-ways-to-invest-in-yourself" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://cdn.wisebread.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/investment.jpg" alt="Two men watching the market" title="Two men watching the market" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="133" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most people are scared of investing because it involves risk. No matter how sure you are about a stock, mutual fund, or business opportunity, there&rsquo;s always the chance that you could lose all your money.</p> <p>And that&rsquo;s scary.</p> <p>So what if I told you there&rsquo;s a way to invest with absolutely no risk? I can&rsquo;t promise an exact return on the investment, but I guarantee it will always be positive.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s called investing in yourself.</p> <p>I know it sounds cheesy, but when was the last time you learned something new made you a better employee or job candidate? Instead of trying to get rich by putting huge piles of your hard-earned money into a stock you think is going to go up, why not invest time and money into improving your skills and boosting your earning power? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-investment-yourself">Best Investment: Yourself</a>)</p> <p>More skills can lead to a higher pay, more job opportunities, and added job security. Bonus &mdash; more skills also make you <a target="_blank" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Most_Interesting_Man_in_the_World">more interesting</a>.</p> <p>That sounds great, but how do you invest in yourself without going back to school and paying thousands of dollars for a degree?</p> <p>Here are some ways you can invest in yourself to boost your skills.</p> <h2>Read a Book</h2> <p>Books are my favorite way of learning new things. Everything I learned about investing and personal finance I learned from reading books. I read everything I could get my hands on and became knowledgeable enough that I started my own site, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.thewriterscoin.com">The Writer&rsquo;s Coin</a>. I recommend <a target="_blank" href="http://www.amazon.com/Will-Teach-You-Be-Rich/dp/0761147489"><em>I Will Teach You to Be Rich</em></a> by Ramit Sethi to start.</p> <h2>Start a Blog/Site</h2> <p>When I started my site I did it because I felt I had something to say about personal finance. I had no idea it was going to teach me about networking, social media, SEO, entrepreneurship, CSS, and PHP, or that it would start to make real money for me. Bonus &mdash; blogging regularly will make you a better writer, and that&rsquo;s an essential skill in the world today. Go to <a target="_blank" href="http://www.Wordpress.com">Wordpress.com</a> and start your own blog today &mdash; it&rsquo;s free!</p> <h2>Subscribe to a New Site</h2> <p>Learn <a target="_blank" href="http://www.problogger.net/what-is-rss/">what an RSS fee is</a>. Then start adding new sites to your reader, and you&rsquo;ll stay up to date on whatever topic you&rsquo;re curious about. This is how I injected myself into the personal finance blogosphere.</p> <h2>Take a Course</h2> <p>There's a course for anything you can imagine out there. Whether it&rsquo;s a local class to learn how to cook or an online course about computer programming, if you can think it, I guarantee someone out there is teaching it. You&rsquo;ll meet new people, learn new skills, and broaden your horizons. Thanks to the Internet you can learn pretty much anything you can think of. <a href="http://www.apple.com/education/itunes-u/">iTunes U</a> has tons of cool courses for free!</p> <h2>Teach Something</h2> <p>The best way to become an expert on something is to have deep knowledge of it and then try to teach it to others. It <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-improve-your-memory-and-even-get-a-little-smarter">works your brain</a> in a totally different (and good) way. Plus you&rsquo;ll meet some interesting people. Pick a sport/instrument/topic you know a lot about and teach your niece/nephew/child a basic concept about it &mdash; you gotta start somewhere!</p> <h2>Learn a Language</h2> <p>This is easier said than done, but if your job requires a lot of travel or will be investing in another country soon, then another language might be essential. Tip &mdash;<strong> </strong><a target="_blank" href="http://www.duolingo.com">Duolingo</a> is gonna be awesome.</p> <h2>Freelance</h2> <p>Freelancing is a great way to get a taste of another job without leaving your current one. It&rsquo;ll also teach you about handling clients, running a business, and marketing.<strong> </strong><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-awesome-websites-to-help-you-get-a-job">Check out Craigslist</a> or ask your friends if they need help with something.</p> <h3>Be Smart About the Skills You Learn</h3> <p>Don't expect your boss to give you a raise simply because you can say &quot;hello&quot; in French. Be smart about which skills you tackle and how they fit into your career plan. If your company just signed a major client from France, then go ahead. If you're doing it because you like Paris, it probably won't have an effect on your value to the company.</p> <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/great-ways-to-invest-in-yourself" class="sharethis-link" title="Great Ways to Invest in Yourself" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><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/great-ways-to-invest-in-yourself">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-15"> <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-things-you-didn-t-learn-in-college-but-you-should-have">10 Things You Didn’t Learn in College (but You Should Have)</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/9-fun-activities-to-help-you-tighten-up-your-work-skills">9 Fun Activities to Help You Tighten Up Your Work Skills</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/15-free-ways-to-learn-something-new">15 Free Ways to Learn Something New</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/my-number-one-tip-for-college-students">My Number One Tip for College Students</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-tips-for-remembering-names">5 Tips for Remembering Names</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> Education & Training Personal Development investing in yourself learning skills Tue, 31 Jan 2012 11:00:16 +0000 Carlos Portocarrero 880960 at http://www.wisebread.com